Another Tack: Batman and the Iron Dome

Rare are the violent clashes from which all sides emerge positively cheery. But the latest exchange of fire with Gaza was just such an atypical conflict. When the smoke cleared, both combatants came away upbeat and sure their respective enemy was taught a painful lesson.

We are near-giddy with gladness over the technological wonders of our Iron Dome anti-missile missiles, while the Gazans are hoarse with victory whoops because they managed to fire off as many rockets as they did. We effusively congratulate ourselves because no major catastrophes were wrought on our side of the border. Nevertheless, the Gazans know that had we truly won, they wouldn’t be left standing and able to spark another conflagration at another time.

What does all the sound and fury signify in real terms? Most likely that no lessons at all were taught, that no one was punished and that in all probability we once more critically misread the signs. It’s as if somewhere along the line we’ve managed to lose sight of what constitutes triumph in our peculiar immediate environment. According to Mideastern conventions, the absence of incontrovertibly humiliating vanquishment denotes a degree of victory.

This local logic mustn’t be dismissed out of hand. Continue reading

Another Tack: Learning to love the bomb

The upside to an Iranian missile onslaught on Israel is that it would facilitate new real estate projects on the crammed Coastal Plain and render obstructed sea vistas visible again. Increasingly, such morbid predictions of Tehran-initiated mega-scale land clearances in central Israel crop up in casual conversation.

Pent-up angst is vented via macabre gallows humor which presupposes that our dreadful end is inevitable, that by summertime we’d be flattened by Iranian rockets. We paint ourselves as pitiable pawns in the hands of trigger-happy leaders, as wretched victims of the unrestrained hubris and folly of demented higher-ups.

To hear some of what’s proffered by left-wing gurus and commentators, we’re now living though a terrifying real-life reenactment of Dr.Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Stanley Kubrik’s 1964 black comedy spotlighted a loony general who ignites a nuclear apocalypse that a coterie of bungling politicians and frantic generals fail to stop. Continue reading

Another Tack: Marie in Morag

More than anything, Marie Colvin, who was laid to rest Monday, will be remembered for sacrificing her life for the London Sunday Times’ circulation figures (albeit pro forma in the name of intrepid reporting on the siege of Homs). Her immortality in the annals of journalism is guaranteed.

With that in mind, it’d be especially instructive for us to recall one of her eyewitness accounts which is most pertinent to our own circumstances.

It was published nearly six years ago – in April 2006, only a few months after we disengaged from Gaza.

Colvin tossed the truth about our self-bamboozlement directly in our faces. This perhaps was why that specific item generated near-zero resonance among us. Why focus on the unpleasant even if it’s the straightforward bottom line with profound implications for our possible future follow- up follies?

If there’s anything we dislike, it’s to be confronted with evidence of our own inexcusable imbecility. Continue reading

Another Tack: Prelude to murder

The word “occupation” invokes differing definitions in the Arab realm. All involve Israel but the precise connotation depends on the context.

Liberal-hearted foreigners, whose sympathy and political support is sought, are told that occupation refers to lands Israel took (obviously out of unadulterated malice) in 1967. Unless these arbitrarily usurped territories are ceded, Mother Earth will know no peace and harmony.

But Arab/Muslim listeners discern other undertones. For them any Jew’s presence, even inside Israel, amounts to sinful and insufferable occupation. Rectifying that wrong means terminating the existence here of all Jewish trespassers. Continue reading

Another Tack: The context of Mustafa’s misadventures

An Arab fable (as distinct from a potentially biased Western narrative) focuses on Effendi Mustafa’s relaxing afternoon in his idyllic orchard. Suddenly Mustafa’s pastoral peace is disrupted by a bunch of mischievous boys exuberantly chasing each other among his trees. Mustafa’s yells and threats go unheeded. He realizes he must conjure up a clever ruse to get rid of the noisy intruders.

He cloyingly summons them and whispers that apples of solid gold hang heavy off the boughs in their neighbor Ahmed’s garden. If the youngsters rush over quickly enough, Mustafa counseled, they may avail themselves of the alluring bounty. No sooner had he finished spinning his tale, than the kids disappeared in search of fabulous riches.

How sweet the lie! Continue reading