Vulgar defamation

533805_546104605408071_909129523_nLondon Sunday Times cartoonist Gerald Scarfe was quick to deny anti-Semitic undertones in his recent depiction of a monstrous Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu cementing the security barrier with the blood of victimized Palestinians, whose arms flail in agony and whose tortured faces are seen screaming among the red-streaked bricks. This cartoon was published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day – of all days.

Here it must be interjected that most anti-Semites nowadays are remarkably practiced in accompanying their invective with such instant disclaimers – by now an expected part of the pattern.

It is politically incorrect to even hint at their thinly disguised anti-Semitism. That immediately turns them into the muzzled good guys and the protesters into loathsome Jews seeking to silence yet more righteous critics of Israel with their doomsday weapon – charges of anti-Semitism. Continue reading

Fixing things

image009Israeli definitions for the political Left and Right are idiosyncratic in the extreme. The world resorts to our characterizations without quite understanding what we mean by them, erroneously dubbing our Right conservative and our Left liberal.

Yet these epithets bear scant connection to the Israeli lexicon. Our peculiar classifications hinge around attitudes to the historic Land of Israel, settlement, territorial concessions and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Going by the local designation, the moderate Right had emerged victorious yet again – especially if we do not count Yair Lapid’s neophyte party, Yesh Atid, as knee-jerk Left-of-center, something that political analysts tend to do without sufficient foundation. Continue reading

Another Tack: That unwitting indecency

All around cheery kids hoisted 'Save Palestine' placardsI wish more Israelis were with me in outlying County Kerry, Ireland, just recently. There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland.

It’s all gallingly beside the point.

Our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are. Distortions about us are blithely disseminated to the most susceptible and gullible members of society. Israel’s role as a scoundrel is made an axiomatic given, a premise for decent but distant folks, who know next to nothing (least of all Israel’s actual size) and couldn’t care less about the Mideast and its staggering complexities. But they are convinced that we are the bad guys. Continue reading

Rough ride ahead

It happens in our midst during every electoral bout. Without exception, a new, hip, cool and trendy political star flickers brightly in our parliamentary firmament.

It began in 1977 with the Democratic Movement for Change, continued through a bewildering array of factions from Tzomet to Shinui and most bizarrely, Gil, the pensioners’ list of two campaigns ago, which was the outright craze among adolescent first-time voters. Continue reading

Buttons comes to the ‘Post’


When Housing Minister Avraham Ofer committed suicide on the third day of 1977, I was already a political reporter, with a good few years in the profession behind me. Yet when I was sent out to cover his funeral and arrived at City Hall, where the body lay in state, I encountered a difficulty which few of my colleagues ever did. The cops wouldn’t let me near and chased me off saying, “this is no place for children.”

My problem was that I looked about 12. I waved my press card in their faces, but to no avail. A few minutes later, City Hall’s glass doors flew open and my then-editor Ari Rath (who along with Ofer and Asher Yadlin hailed from Kibbutz Hamadiya) peered out and called to the officers: “It’s OK, this child is with me.” My embarrassment was now complete. Continue reading

Concern in Cairo

Caged Mubarak in the defendant’s dockThe latest news from Cairo is that ousted president Hosni Mubarak is to face trial all over again, both on charges from which he was acquitted a year ago (corruption) and on those he was convicted on (the killing of demonstrators). The retrial was ordered speedily, even strangely, by the standards of Western legal procedure.

Nothing about it is clear and nobody can reliably interpret what happened. It could be presented as a legal victory for Mubarak. At the same time, it might well be another vindictive move to distract the public from its daily woes and from the undeniable failings of the new administration. The latter is the likelier explanation. Continue reading