Another Tack: Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

How American President Barack Obama stroked our ego with all those smiles, all the photos he obligingly posed for, all the seemingly folksy chitchats, all that backslapping, all those effusive flatteries, all the facile historic allusions, all the Hebrew words he was painstakingly taught to enunciate by his Jewish aides – most of them left-wingers with well-known Peace Now sympathies.

It worked, at least for the short haul – like it did for Pal Joey in his very calculated and cynical pursuit of older-woman Vera Simpson. In the Rodgers and Hart 1940 musical adaptation of John O’Hara’s joyless book, Joey is a manipulative but charming heel. He starts out by insulting Vera but then plots with sly sentimentality to wow her. Vera, no ingénue, knows that Joey’s sweet nothings are insincere but she nevertheless surrenders to them because she loves to be loved.

Owning up to her own frailties, she belts out:

“I’m wild again,

Beguiled again,

A simpering, whimpering child again,

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I! …

Seen a lot.
I mean I lot,

But now I’m like sweet seventeen a lot.
Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I!”

Too many Israelis who should have known lots better were likewise reduced to the infatuation of a bewitched, bothered and bewildered teenager. Continue reading

Another Tack: Bad Jews = Good story

It was a PR windfall for Hamas when 11-months-old-Omar Misharawi was killed by a rocket that hit his family’s home on November 14, 2012 – at the very outset of Operation Pillar of Defense.

During that confrontation, thousands of Hamas missiles and mortars rained on Israel. The long-range ones reached all the way to Tel Aviv but were still depicted in news reports abroad as crude homemade projectiles with minimal damage potential.

Omar’s misfortune dealt Israel’s image a particularly nasty blow – probably the worst since the bogus Muhammad al-Dura episode. Newspapers the world over featured what became an iconic AP photo of Omar’s weeping father, Jihad, cradling the little corpse, his agonized face turned skywards as he plaintively exclaimed: “”We’re only civilians. So why did Israel do this?”

It was a damning question resonated unquestioningly around the globe. Continue reading

Another Tack: Out of the box, Obama

If our soon-to-arrive visitor, US President Barack Obama, truly fancies himself the harbinger of new tidings to this region – as he has tirelessly promoted himself in the past – then it’s high time for him to take the truly bold tack and think out of the box.

Had Obama by happenstance peeked over the edge of the conventional box, he’s have recoiled in horror from the two-state sham. He’d have realized that it will unleash all manner of mayhem and misery – as surely as the last vestiges of stability are right now brutally being expunged from the Arab realm in the traumatic wake of what’s still extolled as the Arab Spring.

But so far Obama has never dared venture outside his confining worldview container. His self-acclaimed innovative statesmanship wasn’t ever genuinely innovative. Continue reading

Anschluss legacy

Forty-two percent of Austrians believe that “not everything was bad under Hitler,” according to a poll conducted by the Viennese newspaper Der Standard. That’s very telling, especially this week when Austria marks the 75th anniversary of the Anschluss – its merger with Nazi Germany.

In the postwar years, Vienna sought to shirk all responsibility for the Holocaust by pretending that it was merely another conquered and victimized European country, whose citizenry was forced against its will to endure German occupation. But not all truth can be conveniently rewritten. Continue reading

Another Tack: Why it matters

There might not be any point to responding if it were only Shaul Mofaz who wondered why we need harp on Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

Mofaz has just barely managed to cross the Knesset entry threshold (having started out not too many months back with a 28- member parliamentary contingent). Since he nearly failed to hold on to his own seat, it’s safe to conclude that he doesn’t represent a powerful or even a relevant political camp. Therefore, what does any of his kibitzing matter?

Ordinarily it indeed wouldn’t, except that Mofaz’s professed failure of comprehension might reflect the intellectual indolence of others, alongside the trendy heedlessness popularized by assorted opinion-molders.
To hear them, it’s perfectly fine to embrace this particular incomprehension – be it expediently feigned or an actual inability to grasp the basic cause for the war waged against Israel. Continue reading

Another Tack: Movie musings

It’s not every day that news broadcasts open with a lament for what did not actually happen. But this anomaly is occasionally recurrent in our little insular setting. Periodically at this time of year the top item on our news purveyors’ agenda is likely to be what isn’t new: yet again no Israeli entry was awarded the coveted Oscar.

It’s as if the whole international community was holding its breath for some obscure Israeli documentary or film short to get the ultimate nod. All else in Tinseltown’s annual pageant is marginal.

And so Monday morning’s news announcers mournfully informed us that there would be no Oscar for Israel this year.

Neither Israeli nominee for best documentary – 5 Broken Cameras or The Gatekeepers – won. That, of course, afforded commentators their opportunity to ruminate and spew such time-tried clichés as “what a disappointment,” “it hurts” and “it’s a blow to our national pride.”

It’s here that a sanity check is called for. Continue reading