Airs Jan. 7, 2017 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube: https://youtu.be/2EY_QSuKYss
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 8, 2017.
Remember that old Billy Joel song, “Leave a Tender Moment Alone?” He was talking about how he couldn’t just enjoy a romantic interlude; he had to undercut the good feelings with a gripe or a joke. Of course, the joke was on him, since he chose Cutty Sark over Christie Brinkley. But the idea of not leaving well enough alone, of doing your best but then having the world remember your worst — that can be applied to our outgoing commander in chief, Barak Obama.
This is a man who took on a country that was in the toilet financially, emotionally, and seemingly irremediably. Eight years ago, you couldn’t pay the bills, you couldn’t get a job, you couldn’t sell a house, you couldn’t retire, you couldn’t visit New Orleans without scuba gear. Since President Obama has been in office, change has been slow, but to deny that an epic turn-around has occurred means that either you’re a retard or a Republican. On top of this, we killed Bin Laden, pointless laws about harmless crimes have been easing up, and faigelehs can marry whomever they want and, therefore, be as miserable as the rest of us. Through it all, Obama has maintained his poise, his cool, and his through-the-roof hipness quotient, kind of like yours truly.
And yet, mistakes were made. He rammed Obamacare up the American tush like a bad thermometer, giving people who never had health insurance coverage, but giving the rest of us a severe pain in the wallet. He completely screwed the pooch on managing the rise of ISIS, or ISIL, or Islamic Gee-Whiz, or whatever nickname the religion of peace is using these days.
But the most resistible piece de resistance of Obama’s legacy came right near the end. He and his minion, John Kerry, saw an opportunity to take a little dump on Israel. The United Nations, a toothless and brainless entity that has kept exactly zero wars from happening since its founding in 1945, voted last month to condemn Israel for settlement building. These houses, built on the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are controversial because the territory was annexed when Moses kicked Mohammed’s ass in the Six Day War. In other words, it’s been legitimate Israeli land for 50 years, but the Palestinians are still screaming for it like babies ripped from their mama’s boobies. And, of course, the greater Arab world agrees because any reason to hate Israel is fine by them. England agrees because they’re still pissed at Israel for pushing them off the sand. Other countries agree because anti-Semitism has proved a lot more durable than communism. But the United States, our friend and ally, has always stood with Eretz Yisroel against these bullies and bastards. Until December.
See, the left-wing liberals don’t like Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, because he cares more about the safety and security of his nation than playing diplomatic blind man’s bluff. And he says, “Why the hell should we stop building settlements on our own soil until we actually make a deal—God forbid—to give the land back?” If you’re gonna sell your house when you’re 80 years old, does that mean you can’t put in a new bathroom when you’re 58?
Like every American president, Obama wanted to be the one who made lasting peace in the Middle East. He yearned to be the great statesman who solved the Israeli-Palestinian problem. How do presidents do this? By asking Israel to suffer. Give up this, give up that, and maybe the Arabs will promise to leave you in peace. Give away land you won fair and square in 1948 and 1967 and 1973, and maybe the Palis will cease lobbing scud missiles at you. Maybe.
What do the Arabs have to give up? Ummm.. ummm.. oh yeah.. they must make the terribly difficult sacrifice of admitting that Israel exists. Oh, the poor dears. Even John Kerry, in his misguided, hot-headed speech after the UN vote, reminded the Arabs that if they want Israel to come back to the negotiating table, they have to call it “Israel” and not “that smudgy place next to Egypt on the map.” But shamefully, Kerry and Obama made the United States abstain from the UN condemnation vote, rather than veto it. It was Barry’s last dig at Benjy. His way of saying, “You won’t obey me? Fine, I’ll tell mommy, and you’ll get in trouble.” Netanyahu, hearing this, stuck his tongue out and replied, “Nyah-nyah, neener-neener. So you’re the big peacemaker with Muslims? Do they know that in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Yemen? Pick a country; there’s a genocide. But Israel is the bad guy for constructing houses and universities on its own terra firma.”
I have long said that when it comes to Jews and Palestinians, I am in favor of a two-state solution: the Jewish state of Israel, and an Arab state — in Lebanon, or Libya, or Lichtenstein or Mexico, or the North friggin’ Pole — anywhere except on the tiny sliver of real estate set aside for a Jewish homeland. To demand as a condition of peace that Israel chop itself up and bestow its backyard on its worst enemy is unfair, unsafe, and untenable. Suppose a fly is buzzing on a windowsill, and there’s a cobweb in the corner. Suppose the fly surrenders half its rightful window to the spider? How long you think that fly has before he’s an entrée in Charlotte’s web?
Now, America gives a lot of money to Israel and has throughout Obama’s term in office. The President has stood with Israel on other issues, and, in the main, relations remain beautifully strong and important. With Donald Trump coming into the White House, complete with an Orthodox Jewish son-in-law and a converted Jewish daughter, ties between the two nations are likely to get even cuddlier. So it’s just a disappointment that a mere month before he sneaks his last cigarette behind the oval office, Obama chose to snub the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only true friend America has anywhere in that part of the world — all in the name of appearances and the pie-in-the-sky lie of the two-state solution.
You know, the Democrats thought they had a two-state solution for the last election: New York and California. We all saw how that worked out.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.
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