• Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    dov on Animal Farm: a White House…
    Judah Rosen on Animal Farm: a White House…
    Gustavio on Clinton(s) and Israel
    Judah on Clinton(s) and Israel
    dov on Moral Cancer
  • Top Posts

  • Search by Category

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 11,107 hits
  • Pages

  • Twitter

  • Meta

Animal Farm: a White House Story

animal-farm-1
Or how I was forced by real, yet surreal events and frightening circumstances, to join the resistance once again. Either way, the message being written on the wall is very clear: Things are not normal in today’s America, following the election and its aftermath, and we shouldn’t pretend—though some good, and not so good people suggest we do—as if they are normal. But hold on a minute, let’s backtrack a bit here for the sake of clarity, and out of the need to bring you all up to speed, so that we can read from the same page. In short: learn how a bad joke became such a sad story.

In England, on August 17, 1945, George Orwell published his allegorical, dystopian novella: Animal Farm, a Fairy Story. In my library I still have the old Penguin Modern Classics edition, which I bought and read in London when I first arrived there for my studies (up above is the cover, as illustrated by Paul Hogarth). In the back cover, it says this in part: “The animals on a farm drive out their master and take over and administer the farm for themselves. The experiment is entirely successful, except for the unfortunate fact that someone has to take the deposed farmer’s place. Leadership devolves almost automatically upon the pigs, (naturally, H.D.) who are on a higher intellectual level than the rest of the animals. Unhappily their character is not equal to their intelligence, (get this? H.D.) and out of this fact springs the main development of the story.

You remember the rest of the story, don’t you? Or can find it out for yourself. Now Orwell is known to have written this book about the Russian Revolution in general, and Joseph Stalin in particular. He was a Democratic Socialist, Orwell, and a fierce critic of Stalin and his “cult of personality,” his style of dictatorship; though it was disguised—to the cheers of many European intellectuals—as enlightened, democratic, sun to the nations kind of a regime. Indeed, I propose to you here that all dictators, and all dictatorships, no matter their names and disguises, are inherently the same, and operate according to the same set of rules. Autocratic by nature, they are all alike: From Napoleon (the name of chief pig on the farm) to Hitler and Stalin. No wonder Putin helped Trump win the election.

Now hang on a minute, before you accuse me of jumping the gun here. Trump won the election democratically, you say, fair and square. (BTY: So did Hitler.) Now let’s see how democratically was it, really, and how fair and square. First, while Trump won the electoral collage, Hillary won the popular vote. What kind of a (rigged) democracy is that? Here are some stats: America, by land area, voted 85% Trump, 15% Hillary; by population, Hillary won 54% to 46%, or even by a wider margin, as by now (and counting) Hillary has more than two million votes over Trump. A democracy, you say? Second: The Russians interfered directly in our election by hacking into the DNC, and by illegally spreading that damaging information through WikiLeaks, and otherwise through a sophisticated operation of fake news online (even Facebook apparently got into the act), and now we hear that they might have interfered with the results of the election in three crucial states as well. The FBI, for its part, first joined forces with the Russians by refusing to disclose their attempts to sabotage our “free” election (and probably by not taking them seriously in the first place), and second by the action of the head of the FBI himself, James Comey, who interfered in the election, and had stopped the momentum of Hillary Clinton’s campaign on its tracks, saying he’s reopening the investigation into her “emails affair,” and a week later saying he’s not. You call that democracy? You call that fair and square?

I don’t. But wait: there’s more. Almost every TV network, every newspaper, every social media outlet would gladly tell you that Hillary Clinton is the fifth major candidate in history to win the popular vote in an American election, and lose the election. But guess what, none of them would ever tell you—why, exactly?—which party these losing candidates were leading: Democratic Party or Republican Party. It drove me nuts, so I did my own research on the matter. And guess what: All five candidates who ultimately lost the election, after winning the popular vote, were leading the Democratic Party. (An exception could be made only for the first one, Andrew Jackson, but not really, because after all he was a democrat, and created the party because the election was stolen from him due to a “corrupt bargain.”) So is that a democracy?

I say NO! I say it is a rigged system, par excellence, designed to favor the Republican Party every step of the way. Just as the Republicans did some major redistricting throughout the land in order to assure them control over the Congress for many years to come. While the majority of the American people have voted for the Democratic Candidate, and are leaning towards the Democratic Party, the Republicans will now have the power in the White House, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. What kind of a s system is that? A broken system, my friends, that what it is. For all these reasons and more, too numerous to count here—not the least among them is the character of the “chief pig on the farm,” who is a bigot, a sexist, and a racist, whose first appointment was of a white supremacist (who reportedly had refused to send his kids to school with Jewish kids) as his “Minister of Propaganda”—we must reject the notion of the appeasers. He is not our leader. The system is rigged against us. Therefore—democratically, civilly and disobediently, in the courts and in the streets—we must resist!

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

Masters of War; Masters of Peace

philosophers-stone.co.uk

philosophers-stone.co.uk

When it was announced that Bob Dylan was chosen as the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature (a somewhat controversial choice), one of the first songs of his that came to my mind was the iconic Cold War area protest song “Masters of War.” And since that announcement came just a short while after the death of Israel’s eldest, and most distinguished politician in recent memory, Shimon Peres – and again, some new revelations and controversy came to light following his death, too – somehow (though one is dead and the other is alive) both legacies intertwined in my mind and made me think again about war and peace. And in particular, in this regard, about Israel’s leaders since independence in 1948.

The first one is, of course, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister (PM from here onwards), who was so instrumental in Israel coming into being, in the language of its Declaration of Independence – a most wonderful document, still – the War of Independence and the building of the Israeli Defense Forces (i.e. IDF), and so on and so forth. Growing up in Israel, I still remember him declaring that Israel seeks peace with its Arab neighbors, and will sit down with their leaders without any preconditions, anywhere anytime. He meant it, too, I believe. And when Israel captured some of the Sinai desert in 1956, and word came from Washington to get the hell out of there, he did so right away.

Following him, at least in my order of “Masters of War; Masters of Peace,” came Menachem Begin. He, who was the head of the Irgun; he, who was involved in and commanded plenty of operations, and fierce resistance to the British Mandate – the terrorist attack of the King David Hotel in 1946 comes first to mind – and he, who had been carrying the torch of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his philosophy of “Two Banks has the Jordan” (river). But when it came to peace with Egypt, he’d made a complete turnaround and did the right thing. He didn’t initiate it, but when push came to shove – by President Sadat of Egypt, and by the ‘Peace Now’ movement and forces in Israel, both among the citizenry and the army, and by the inevitable march of history – he did the right thing and made peace.

Later came Yitzhak Rabin, possibly the best example for the headline above, and the one who had paid the ultimate price. A protégé of Ben-Gurion, a Palmach & Haganah Commander and a builder of the IDF, who became its Chief of Staff and led its forces to its greatest victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, no one could accuse him of loving Israel’s Arabs neighbors too much. But again, he first initiated and signed the peace treaty with Jordan, and then, when time came to understand, and to realize the complexity of the situation in Israel with the Palestinians, the debt we owe them (for their Nakba, in which he’d played a major role, as described in Avi Shavit’s book My Promised Land), he chose peace over eternal war. And paid with his life for it.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s most decorated soldier still, the commander of Sayeret Matkal, and the IDF Chief of Staff, was also a master of war, until he became a man of peace. When he became PM, he declared and even put forward a plan for a comprehensive peace, in which Israel was supposed to have given back most of the territories captured in 67, including the Golan Heights, in return for peace. One might say he was naïve, and faced resistance first and foremost within Israel and the IDF itself. He was later ready to do just the same thing in the Camp David negotiations with Bill Clinton and Yasser Arafat, but the folly of the latter, time constraints and other elements in the peace equation as well, worked against him.

Then came Ariel Sharon, believe it or not. He also became PM after being first a warrior and an IDF hero. He had led the settlement movement to an extent, and was the architect of the buildup of Jewish settlements in southern Gaza, Gush Katif as it was known, and in Northern Sinai previously. He, who fought the Arabs so viciously, was so extreme in his views of our never-ending war with them, had made a turnaround too, realizing his mistakes, and pulled Israel out of Gaza. It was later reveled, after he’d succumbed to his life-ending coma, that he had talked with his close confidants, and had begun to developed a plan of withdrawal from most of the West Bank, in order to make a lasting peace with the Palestinians, as he’d come (even if belatedly) to the realization of how crucial the demographic issue was, still is, to the future of the Israeli democracy, its Jewish dominancy and character.

Which brings me finally to our current PM, Benjamin Netanyahu. He is not a war hero (though he served honorably in the IFD in Sayeret Matkal), and most defiantly he is not a man of peace. Shimmy Peres, as we mentioned above, was also not a war hero, but worked tiredly under Ben-Gurion to establish Israel’s security capability, and to build its first nuclear reactor, but then in later years turned to making peace; i.e. the Oslo Accords. But what about PM Netanyahu, really? Will he finally realize, like the aforementioned leaders, his predecessors, the need for peace? The futility of constant war, and ruling over other people endlessly? Will he finally understand that his support of the settlement endeavor and movement leads to an Apartheid State, de facto, or to the end of Herzl’s Zionist dream of a secure, democratic home for the Jewish People? It remains to be seen, as this page hasn’t been written yet.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

%d bloggers like this: