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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israel Arabs’

Fowl Peace Talks a Treif Thanksgiving Turkey

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Middle East experts are experts by virtue of their positions of power.

Some of them, like former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even have learned a thing or two about international affairs. Rice actually has a Ph.D., which as comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said, should be read as “phttttttttttt.”

The experts, and that includes John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and the Oslo Accords crowd, may have learned about prophets, kings, oil and sheikhs in International Relations 101, but they missed out on the basics, like selling non-kosher turkeys to the Arabs.

I learned more about Arab-Jewish relations by working in kibbutz turkey barns than Kerry and Ashton could ever learn in their worldwide visits to official residents of presidents and prime ministers in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.

Turkeys, like people, are cute when they are babies, but after a few weeks, they are not like most people. Their feet are scratchy and they begin to stink. When they get to be three months old, some of them pick up a cold, a little bronchitis, or start to hobble on weak knees, probably from too many carbohydrates.

Then they start acting like grown teenagers. The stronger turkeys pick on the weaker ones, just like fifth-graders playing king of the hill. They peck at the skin until the poor gobbler cannot stand on his feet.

When I was in charge of the birds on a kibbutz farm, the sick and injured had their own quarters, a fenced-off intensive care ward where the bullies couldn’t bother them. But sometimes it was too late. Their broken legs and their bronchitis often are more than modern medicine can cure on a cost-efficient basis.

What can you do with a sick and lame turkey? You sell it cheaply. After all, the reason to raise turkeys is turn them into fat candidates for the slaughterhouse and convert them into cold cash. The Humane Society really does not have much demand for them.

That’s where a revised International Relations 101 course could have taught the experts, sitting in their sterilized offices, something besides making roadmaps to nowhere. Even Professor Yossi Beilin, the darling of the Israeli Left, doesn’t know a kibbutz from Damascus.

Peace is a business, like anything else these days. But you have to know the rules of the game. A good Western businessman knows that a handshake is a handshake, a word is a word, and a deal is a deal.

For instance, Tom wants to sell his two-year-old Chevy for $5,000. Clyde wants to buy it for $4,000. One of them budges or there’s no deal. Jim tries to cut a deal at $4,400. If Tom and Clyde compromise at $4,500, Tom gets his money and Clyde gets his wheels. As for Jim, that’s his problem.

But that’s not the way it works in the Middle East. Here, Abe writes out a check and Ahmed gives him the key. The next day, Abe discovers the key doesn’t fit. “Of course it does not fit,” Ahmed retorts. “The price of the car was according to the real value of the dollar. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent yesterday. You owe me $10!”

Abe protests, “Where’s the cell phone antenna that was on the roof? I am stopping payment on the check. You owe me $25 for the bank charge.”

“I’m not finished stripping the car,” retaliates Ahmed. The DVD is mine, but I’ll put back the original radio. It works most of the time, especially the Al Jazeera channel.”

“Look, here,” snarls Abe. “I paid you $4,500, but that was based on the price of gold. It went up two cents yesterday. The real price is $4,498.09.”

“You can add another $120 for the deluxe hub caps, or I’ll take them with me,” Ahmed shouts.

They agree to talk again tomorrow. That was 10 years ago. They still are talking.

It doesn’t matter that Abe still has to thumb a ride to work and that Ahmed does the same because he doesn’t have enough money for gas. The principles are that the other guy didn’t get what he wanted so they can continue arguing.

In Western societies, negotiations are a means to an end. The objective is to make a deal so both sides get what they want.

The Old New Jew

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

It’s an old Jewish joke:The gentile drew a circle on the ground, stood the Jew inside and triumphantly declared, “If you leave the circle, you’re a dead man!” He then proceeded to rob the Jew’s wife and went on his way.

 

When the danger had passed, the wife angrily said to her husband, “Why didn’t you help me? Don’t you have any self-respect?”

 

“Didn’t you see?” the husband retorted. “While the non-Jew was robbing you, I put my foot out of the circle.”

 

There is no need to explain what this joke reminded me of. Somebody in Israel’s Foreign Ministry dared step out of the circle. But in today’s reality, the joke continues. The non-Jew, after he has robbed the Jew’s wife, notices that her husband stepped out of the circle and demands an apology. Then the Jew boasts to his wife that he didn’t apologize exactly the way the non-Jew demanded.

 

Astute observers of the joke, called Israel’s foreign relations, could easily guess how the diplomatic crisis between Israel’s deputy foreign minister and the Turkish ambassador would turn out: The Jew apologized once again, in the language dictated by the non-Jew.

 

Israel’s relations with Turkey epitomize the sad story of Zionism. We wanted to be a normal nation so badly. “On the day that the Jewish state is established, anti-Semitism will disappear,” Herzl promised. Well, at least the first part of his dream was fulfilled. The second part smolders deep within our being, giving us no rest. The desire to be normal – to be part of the “family of nations,” to be rid of the Diaspora hunch on our backs, to purge ourselves of our Jewish destiny – is actually the inner, founding ethos of the State of Israel. It is also the open secret of its infirmity and its Achilles heel.

 

In the whole world, there is not a leader more dismal than Mahmoud Abbas. He is a scarecrow set up in Ramallah by Israel, surviving there only with the help of the IDF. But this scarecrow stands Prime Minister Netanyahu in a circle and makes conditions for his very willingness to speak with him. From where does Abbas get his chutzpah? From where do the Bedouins and Israel’s Arabs get theirs? How is it that the spy, former Knesset member Azmi Bishara, was allowed to escape to Jordan and continue to receive a hefty Knesset pension? How has Israel been transformed from a local superpower to a doormat for the whole world?

 

We are experiencing a closing of the circle. First, there was the Jew from the joke. After that came the proud Zionists who created the new Jew, the Jew who knew how to fight back hard.

 

Our new Jew establishes a state that is not Jewish. It is Zionist. Together with the curse of the exile and the spinelessness that was rightfully shed, the new state also sheds its Jewish destiny and disengages from the long chain of Jewish heritage – from our forefathers, from the ethos of the Exodus from Egypt, from King David, from the Holy Temple, from the Diaspora, from the biblical and Talmudic epic. From everything.

 

But the values that Zionism pretended to establish in place of Judaism have evaporated. All that is left is reality TV, grotesque celebrity figures, and a president who hates history. The only real remnant of Zionism is the aspiration that never fades: to be like everyone else, to be accepted, to stop being different.

 

And that means that we absolutely cannot have Turkey recalling its ambassador, because that would return us to the starting point that we tried to escape. And we absolutely cannot arrest Bishara, because in the high profile trial that would ensue, it would become clear that there is no such thing as an “Israeli Arab.” It would be obvious that Israel must be a strictly Jewish state.

 

           We have come full circle. As soon as the non-Jews in Israel and the rest of the world understood that we needed them to fulfill our fantasy of the “new Jew,” we became doormats; the strongest doormats in the world, replete with nuclear weapons and advanced technology, doormats that look and act more non-Jewish than the non-Jews. We have glittering American types like Netanyahu; tough, proud Russians like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman; and a deputy foreign minister who married a Christian evangelist.

 

            The Zionist dialectic has turned us into first-rate non-Jews. We have come full circle. The entire world looks at us and sees the Jew from the joke. It turns out that the new Jew is really the new, old Jew. With just one difference: He has sold not only his honor but also his ancient culture – down the river.

 

For information about Manhigut Yehudit’s Shushan Purim (March 1) dinner at Yankee Stadium, visit www.jewishisrael.org.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-old-new-jew-2/2010/02/03/

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