Another Tack: Banana noses and freckles

Back in junior high I had a classmate called Patty Christie, better known to her peers as Cookie. She was big, plumpish and her ruddy baby face was often conspicuously plastered with makeup, to the strident displeasure of our homeroom teacher.

One day Cookie announced assertively that “all Jews have banana noses.” Uninitiated in the irrationalism of stereotyping, I rose to the defense of our tribe: “Oh yeah? How come my nose isn’t like that?” Cookie shot back without hesitation: “Coz you’re not Jewish.”

“Yes I am,” I replied defiantly.

“No, you’re not,” she insisted. “You got freckles.”

I was stumped and all I could come up with was “Huh, what’s that got to do with anything?” Continue reading

Another Tack: Just hate wholeheartedly

Iconic Palmach songwriter and Israel Prize laureate (1983) Haim Hefer celebrated hate (only partly tongue-in-cheek) as a downright pleasurable and invigorating force. In his poem Zehubim (Yellows) he muses (my translation) that

Love and amity
Are signs of immaturity.
Mercy and all the rest
Are worthless relicts of the past.

One thing hasn’t lost its attraction:
That strange penchant for abomination…

Nothing here is smart or dumb,
Or logical, my chum –
So just hate wholeheartedly
So utterly impulsively.

Hefer’s insights into the compulsive nature of hate are remarkably borne out by the unbridled offensive of Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer on Bank Leumi’s “Two Million Good Reasons” campaign. It set out to aid a broad variety of nonprofit organizations. The idea was for the public to vote online for its favorite among the 139 vying outfits – among them, alas, Im Tirtzu. Continue reading

Another tack: The poison in the well

On November 11, 1999, back when she was first lady, Hillary Clinton visited Gaza. She was graciously greeted by Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, who spiritedly launched into a blood-libel diatribe.

None of this, incidentally, could be laid at the door of Binyamin Netanyahu’s demonic disrepute. Israel’s then-prime minister was Ehud Barak, whose electoral campaign was enthusiastically aided and abetted by Hillary’s own hubby.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, it never really matters much who’s in power in Jerusalem. Israel is always the regional bogeyman. And so, back in the good old days of post-Oslo Labor rule, America’s first lady, self-satisfied and basking in ultra-liberal sanctimony, smiled contentedly as Suha railed in indignation: “Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.” Continue reading

Another Tack: Fools rush in

Literally just before stepping down from office, Switzerland’s Micheline Calmy-Rey has reaffirmed her country’s commitment to interfering in our affairs. As outsiders, uninitiated in the mysteries of the Swiss system, it’s not easy for us to define her role but as president of the Swiss Confederation, Calmy-Rey was head of government and, as head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, she was foreign minister.

Said Calmy-Rey spoke at a recent Geneva get-together summoned, in the words of an official Swiss Foreign Ministry communiqué, “to review the achievements of the Geneva Initiative and analyze its potential in the light of current developments in the Near and Middle East.”

We may well ask “what achievements?” Continue reading

Another Tack: The selective barking of hired hounds

Hysterical headlines and none-too-coincidentally promoted causes célèbres are more often than not revealed as having been much ado about nothing. But there are different sorts of superfluous fusses.

Some are grounded in crass sensationalism, motivated by pompous publicity-hounding, ratings-boosting and irrepressible rampant shallowness. The results can be dire even without malevolent premeditation.

Inevitably, however, the loudest screamers in any given media campaign are acutely aware of the underlying sham of their pose. They fabricate the fake with forethought aplenty. They intentionally orchestrate uproars against nonexistent provocations. Their much-ado-about-nothing isn’t born of vulgarity but by deliberate design. Continue reading