aired March 28, 2015 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/t7yMCkes6B8
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 29, 2015.
Much to many people’s surprise, Benjamin Netanyahu was elected for a third term as the Prime Minister of Israel. Everyone assumed Labor would win. Everybody thought Netanyahu’s hard-line, status-quo policies were on the way out, and peaceniks were on the way in. Well, pre-April fool! Or technically, Adar fool, since it’s the Jewish calendar we’re dealing with.
But let’s be clear: for all Israel’s weariness of war, and for all the country’s gratitude to the United States for support, for money, for defense, for money, for money, for money . . . Israeli voters nevertheless sent a strong message and a mandate. The safety and security of Eretz Yisroel comes before everything else. It comes before friendship, before negotiations, before swallowing the latest Palestinian PR. They said to Netanyahu: “Give us strong borders and a promise that you won’t sell our country down the river—Jordan or Nile—and we’ll vote for you again.” He did, and they did.
Therefore, much to the chagrin of President Barak Oblivia, Bibi is back. And the shocking part is: he did it, not by kowtowing to the left, not by lying about the potential for peace with our sworn enemies, but by facing facts. The Arabs hate us, they won’t even recognize Israel on their maps or GPS systems, and any chance they get, they’d gladly send the Jews on a blind date with Robert Durst.
In his campaigning, Bibi went so far as to say that on his watch, there would never be a Palestinian state, which is harsh to hear even for a die-hard Zionist like yours truly. I’ve always said, I have no objection to a Palestinian state . . . in Algeria, in Curacao, maybe somewhere north of Omsk. The two-state solution, however, just seems like a disaster on the drawing board: unsafe, untenable, and you know it would just turn Jerusalem into a ping-pong ball. Filled with explosives.
Still, you’re not allowed to say that. If you’re a diplomat or a head of state, you’re supposed to make believe there’s always room for negotiation, that the Arabs really will lay down their arms and be all neighborly-like. Because, hey, they’ve been such good citizens in Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Libya – fill in the name of a country; the Muslims have probably terrorized it.
Our President won’t admit that, of course. It’s like he’s living in the movie “Candyman.” If you say the name “Moslem” five times to a camera lens, the bad guys’ evil will be unleashed. But here’s news, Mr. Pres, the bad genies are already out of the bottle, and if there’s one country on earth that knows not to trust the Bedouins, it’s their Semitic brethren.
Now, for the sake of diplomacy, Benjy Netanyahu has already gone back on his pre-election speechifying. He says he didn’t really mean there was no solution, that he’s always willing to schmooze with Abbas, and we should take his posturing with a grain of hummus. He’s a politician. He says what he has to to get what he wants. Once he’s got it, then he can be more truthful. Not completely truthful, but a percentage.
Meanwhile, the President, who has been going through an otherwise impressive stretch of lame-duck vigor, is pitching a hissy fit over Bibi’s bonanza. Obama wants to be the next Jimmy Carter, brokering the all-but-impossible peace deal that will cement his legacy for the ages. But lemme tell you, Barack, if you’re listening, which I know you are: with Israel and Egypt, Jimmy Carter did an amazing, impossible, fantastic thing. No one can take that away from him. But if you ask anybody about the legacy of James Earl Carter, 39th President, the response will be: hostages, oil shortage, inflation, Cold War, losing the Panama Canal, and a general American bad mood. In other word, that peanut-brained peanut farmer had as much business ruling the free world as Bill Cosby would have running a rape crisis center. So if Obama thinks he’s got anything to gain by twisting Israel’s arm into a phony truce with terrorists, he’s in for a rude awakening.
And yes, it was rude of Netanyahu to visit America and gab with Republicans when the White House all but begged him not to. But I repeat: maybe, just maybe, Bibi knows whereof he speaks when he cautions that trusting Iran to scrap its nuclear program is like trusting Bill Cosby to run a rape crisis center. I know, I already used that joke, but I’m hungry, and I want to finish this stupid essay and get to my brisket.
Folks in Washington are saying that relations between Israel and the United States are nearly at an all-time low. But I think—or at least, I hope—that’s overstating the case. Deep down, both American parties are very committed to Israel and realize how strategically important it is to the West, as well as its moral right to exist in a post-Holocaustal world. If Obama wants to rattle his saber—and you know, those people are blessed with long sabers—it could be the same kind of bluff and bluster Netanyahu was using to win his election. What actually goes on behind the scenes . . . that’s for statesmen to know and Aaron Sorkin to fabricate.
So I hope this is all just smoke and mishegoss, and that the Democrats—especially their presumptive 2016 candidat-ess—remember that what’s good for Auntie Israel is what’s most prudent for Uncle Sam. Or, put another way, don’t throw the Bibi out with the bathwater.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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