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American Putsch



Many interesting articles were printed and posted online, and many fine words were written, and many thought-provoking observations were made regarding Israeli PM Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Washington, and his expected speech before a joint meeting of the American Congress. Good reasons aplenty were given why he should not go ahead with this speaking engagement, and some sharp arguments were made why, in fact, he should go ahead with it. President Obama, pointing out the close proximity of the visit to the Israeli elections on March 17, decided not to invite the Prime Minister to the White House and not meet with him while he is in town. Vice President Biden will be absent from his Congress’ high chair behind the speaker, and in front of him some chairs of Democrat Senators and Congress Representatives (29 and counting) will be empty as well. And yet, my friends, the truth was left behind.

How so, you may ask. Well, let me try to explain. According to House Speaker John Boehner – from now on will be referred to in this unbinding document as the “inviter” – the invitation was meant to give the Israeli Prime Minster an opportunity to share his views, and voice his concerns regarding the ongoing negotiations between America and its European allies with Iran about the latter nuclear program, with the deadline for reaching a framework deal due March 24. Who better, the “inviter” has said, than the Israeli leader, the leader of the country who would “supposedly” be most affected by the outcome of these negotiations, to explain the need to be tough with the Iranians, not to trust and believe them, stop these useless talks and help Congress see the light by passing a resolution – regardless and in spite of President Obama’s objections – to enforce more sanctions on Iran immediately, and be prepare to act, militarily, sooner rather than later.

According to the “inviter,” who has put forward a very innocent (if tanned) face and posture, the Prime Minister is coming because, first, he was invited, not only by the “inviter-in-chief” but by AIPAC – another prominent player in this sordid affair – as well. And second, because as the leader of his people in Israel and abroad – you heard that right, Jews of America – it is his obligation to use any platform and any opportunity to let his views, his objections to this deal with the nuclear Iran, be known. It is not only his duty, the “inviter” has said, and so did PM Netanyahu – from now on will be referred to in this unbinding document as the “invitee” – but his obligation to expose the fallacy and dangers of these negotiations and present the truth.

So let see about this truth then. From the American side the engineer of this brilliant gambit – i.e. the “inviter” – has expressed his view that the rationale behind this visit is the above mentioned need to hear from the leader of Israel before taking a vote. Really?! Are you serious?! Since when does the Congress of the United States invite foreign leaders to help it determine its vote? Never! But here’s the real lie: The “inviter,” and with him the entire Congress, knows very well what the “invitee” thinks about Iran, its nuclear ambition and capability. His views about the negotiations and the need for more sanctions without further delay are very well known. He will be preaching to the choir. As a matter of fact, there might not be a single person in the entire world – a regular person, like you and me, who pays an average attention to the news of the world – who doesn’t know the “invitee’s” view about it. He had made it famously clear in his September 27, 2012 speech at the UN Assembly, using the bomb diagram and the red marker. It went viral on YouTube. The entire world saw it.

Not only that: The Republican-led House – probably the Senate, too, before the ball of this “invite” has begun rolling — is going to vote against Obama and in favor of enacting more sanctions against Iran no matter what. Regardless of whether the “invitee” will speak or not. “Republicans apparently see value in trying to sabotage any possible success for Mr. Obama, even if it harms American interests,” wrote The NY Times in an editorial.

Indeed, the true raison d’etre behind this “invite” is what I call an “American Putsch.” Some Republicans, the “inviter” most certainly among them, still haven’t gotten the word, or haven’t gotten use to it, that Barack Obama is the American President. They and their trumpeters on the Fox Televising channel and radio talk shows still dream – following their failure last time when there was a democratic president in the White House – of impeaching him. Of unseating him somehow. Of taking him down in every way possible. He just acted on his own, didn’t he (because of the Congress’ inability to do anything) on immigration, on Cuba and on other matters. We will show him then. We will undermine him then. We will make his last two years in office hell, and the hell with the American people and the need to pass laws to better their lives. He would live to regret it, the president. That’s the only reason for the “invite” from the American side.

From the Israeli side, a different story: The need, in fact, to keep the prime minister in office! This brilliant maneuver is the brainchild of the current Israeli US Ambassador, Mr. Ron Dermer – from now on will be known in this unbinding document as “inviter #2”. American by birth and Republican by choice, he was a political operator for that party before he became an Israeli citizen. All the above-mentioned Republican’s reasons are dear to his heart as well. Hence the fact that he, too, “forgot” to inform the White House and the Secretary of State about their plans of inviting the Israeli prime Minister. “The invitation hadn’t been pre-negotiated with the White House, as is usually the case when foreign leaders are invited to address Congress,” wrote David Ignatius in the Washington Post. But “inviter #2” and the “Invitee” have another, different reason in their bag: Winning the upcoming Israeli Elections. For the average Israeli citizen, even those who are not die-hard Likud supporters, seeing the Israeli PM on the American Congress podium, giving his “oh so American” speech, getting all these thunderous applause and standing ovations, is a big deal. It warms their heart.

And who can blame them? Certainly not the writer of these words. No wonder, though, that after his last visit to the US Congress, just short of three years ago, when and where the “Invitee” used the same floor for the same purpose as he would do know, his speech was used – I repeat, used! – as an election campaign ad for the Likud and its leader. Which won him, in part, that election. This is the true reason for this visit on his part, and the hell with the relations between Israel and its greatest friend ever. I need to win this elections – screw you Obama. The same way I did with the French President Hollande when I showed up in Paris “uninvited” and pushed myself to the front row. I am a pusher, you see, and the entire world is my stage! Even if the truth, like a dead bird, is left behind.

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.”
** The “Leave a comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

A Tale of Two Cities

Jerusalem tripadvisor.com

Jerusalem tripadvisor.com

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

Tel Aviv tagzania.com

Tel Aviv

Which way will it be?… Will the citizens of Israel choose heaven or hell in the coming elections? Will they choose “spring of hope” or “winter of despair?” It is as much “A Tale of Two Cities” – to borrow the title and the classic opening sentence of Charles Dickens’ masterwork – as anything else that will determine the results of these elections. Never before, so it seems to the writer of these words, such a stark choice presented itself before the citizens of Israel, manifested so clearly by the choice of Jerusalem on the one side, and Tel Aviv on the other.

But let’s back up first. It can be argued, in broad strokes at least, that from Independence (1948) to the Six-Day War (1967) it was the age of the kibbutzim – דור הקיבוצים – which led the way in Israel. The spirit of settling the land, working the land, defending the land – was led by the kibbutzim and their kibbutzniks. They volunteered; they fought; they died; they led the army and the nation, in spirit and in deeds. In short: they were the tip of the spear. The leaders, too – from David Ben Gurion to Yigal Alon; from Golda Meir to Yitzhak Rabin; from Israel Galili to Shimon Peres – came from, or went to, the kibbutzim.

The Six-Day War changed all that. Once they liberated the country and secured its survival, they backed down, tired, confused and overwhelmed. By doing so, they enabled the age of Jerusalem – דור ירושליים – to commence and take over. Even though it was the kibbutzniks (in the larger sense and meaning) who captured the city on the hill and liberated it, they left it behind and returned to their kibbutzim. Which turned out to be disastrous. Left to their own devices, the messianic forces of religiosity, occupation, intolerance and biblical aspirations took over and ruled the land of Israel from then on. Rabin stood in their way for a while and tried to change course – so they murdered him.

That age of intolerance found a fitting leader in Benjamin Netanyahu, who was able – combining, indeed, excellent skills and much determination – to bring about, following Rabin’s assassination, the age of the status quo: דור מצב-קיים. A leader without a vision, without inspiration, without courage for change, a technocrat of the first order, he was still able to continue to solidify the anti-Zionist “occupation endeavor,” rejecting any and all overtures towards peace from the Arab League and the Palestinians, including America and Europe, resulting in a stalemate that, in the long run, might bring about a fate akin to – don’t take it literally, though – a third-temple-destruction of Jerusalem and Israel.

it is now up to Tel Aviv to come to the rescue of the “beautiful country.” Change now! That’s what needed. Change now – not later. A dramatic change, at that, and a new revolution. The city by the sea must bring about a new age: the age of Tel Aviv – דור תל-אביב. The white city, the liberal city, the fun-loving city should now go for broke and fight for its survival. It is the first, and the largest of Israeli cities, and it is where Ben Gurion and his colleagues declared Israel’s Independence. It is the center of art and culture; business and start-up innovation; sports and entertainment; live and let live kind of a place. My kind of a place.

But in order to sustain its values and grow, in order not to collapse, not to be destroyed by the “fools on the hill,” they must go to fight now and save Israel from its historic, biblical age, and bring about the modern age of enlightenment, of wisdom, of tolerance and hope.

* Published originally on “The Times of Israel.”

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


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