Trump’s Munich 1938 Moment

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned home from a meeting with Adolf Hitler on September 30, 1938, waving a piece of paper and assuring the waiting crowd that the agreement he had signed that day with Hitler would “ensure the peace of Europe.”

World War II began exactly a year later.

This week, US President Donald Trump assured a delirious crowd of Israel supporters in the White House that the so-called Israel-Palestinian peace deal he had just announced would be “a giant step toward peace.”

The similarity between the two events is not just semantic. Not does it lie in the bombastic self-assurance exhibited by both leaders, each of whom had betrayed a small and, for him, insignificant nation to achieve his moment in the spotlight.

The true parallel is in the fact that the victim in both cases – Czechoslovakia in 1938 and the Palestinians in 2020 – had no say in the dismantling of its territory. Czechoslovakia was not present at the Munich conference at which Hitler and Chamberlain decided its fate and the Palestinians were neither consulted during the drafting of Trump’s plan nor invited to its ecstatic unveiling.

Chamberlain’s peace entailed the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, a large chunk of which was handed over to Nazi Germany. Trump’s peace does the same to the Palestinian territories; he proposes dissecting them into small pieces and handing the juicy parts in-between to Israel.

Hitler took the formerly Czech Sudetenland sacrificed by Chamberlain and immediately began planning to grab the rest of Czechoslovakia, which he did six months later. Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would begin the process of annexing the parts of the West Bank so graciously donated by Trump next week.

It is unlikely to end there. Part of the territory will not suffice for the far-rightists on which Netanyahu’s political life depends – just as the Sudetenland was merely the appetiser for Hitler. Like Czechoslovakia, Palestine will eventually be swallowed up entirely.

Over eighty years have passed since Munich, but small nations are still the playthings of their larger and more powerful masters, to be toyed with and disposed of as necessary. Nothing much has changed.

Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler, though deluded and reckless, was at least prompted by a sincere desire to preserve the peace. As far as I know, he was never accused of being motivated by ulterior motives, such as a desire to advance his political career. He resigned in May 1940, after Hitler’s invasion of Belgium, and died six months later.

Neither Trump nor his Rasputin, Benjamin Netanyahu, can be accused of sincerity or good faith. Both have elections coming up and both see benefit in the support of the other. Both are also encumbered by legal challenges. The Trump plan no doubt conforms with Netanyahu’s political agenda, but its timing and presentation were determined by pure self-interest.

Does self-interest and political expediency make them worse than Hitler? No, of course not – if only because we know what Hitler went on to do and how he (and much of Europe) ended up. But would a critical bystander in late-1938, unaware of what was to come, see much difference between Hitler’s Czechoslovakia gambit and the treachery of Trump and Netanyahu? I doubt it.

Would You Like Fries With Your Holocaust Hypocrisy?

JERUSALEM – A Jerusalem hamburger restaurant is making a killing with its new line of Auschwitzburgers, The Kibbitzer’s food critic reports.

The burgers were released this week to coincide with the events being hosted in the city to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazi death camp’s liberation.

The Auschwitzburger selection consists of four new combos: the Premium Putin with Lies, the BBQ Bibi (only available until March 2), the Filet-O-Pence and the Prince Charles Quarter Pounder with Bacon (optional).

The Premium Putin may also be available as a Happy Meal with Na’ama Nuggets, though its price has yet to be determined.

The menu describes the BBQ Bibi as “a seasonal favorite … a juicy patty of 100% self-interest, wrapped in a fresh indictment bun and smothered in a tangy smug sauce.”

However, an informal survey of diners indicated that the Premium Putin was the crowd favorite.

“It’s a liberating new take on classic historical revisionism, layered with a slice of creamy, fresh hypocrisy,” one satisfied customer said.

“Best crispy fried lies I’ve ever tasted,” said another, licking her lips.

When Christmas Met Hanukkah in Sweden

I spent Christmas in Ramshyttan, a tiny Swedish village in the middle of dense birch woods and semi-iced-over lakes. Despite the absence of snow – almost unheard of at this time of year, according to the locals – it was the ideal location for a misty and mystical Yuletide (Christmas in Swedish is Jul), complete with 18th century hunting lodge and a wood-fired sauna on the edge of the lake.

What I didn’t expect to find there was any hint of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday roughly congruent with Christmas but so remote from the frosty and peaceful forests of Sweden as to be its polar opposite. Yet there it was: an enormous old painting in the house we were occupying featuring Judith (or Yehudit), a prominent member of the Maccabee clan, and the ancient – possibly mythical – bloodletting at the heart of the modern holiday.

Continue reading

SCOOP: Bibi Gets Coup Survival Lesson From Erdogan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has turned to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for advice on how to survive an attempted coup, The Kibbitzer has learned.

In a televised statement on Thursday night, following his indictment on bribery and fraud charges, Netanyahu accused the country’s judicial and police authorities of mounting an “attempted coup” against him.

“What I did was kill as many as I could and arrest the others,” Erdogan says in a transcript of the telephone call with Netanyahu which is in the possession of The Kibbitzer. Erdogan himself survived an attempted coup in 2016.

“Not sure I can do that,” Netanyahu says.

“Why not? Use the guys from the Mavi Marmara. They’re experienced at killing.”

“You can’t suggest something less … uh … bloody?”

“Well, you can take over the papers and arrest all the journalists. It worked for me.”

“Yes, I like that.”

“And of course you have to purge everyone – politicians, lawyers, teachers.”

“Also sounds good. Can I include my wife?”

The Kibbitzer wishes to assure its readers that it will resolutely oppose any attempt to force it into the Netanyahu stable, alongside Yisrael Hayom, Walla and Noni Mozes.

 

It’s a Third Vote or Magic in a Bitterly Divided Nation

Jews have a venerable history as practitioners of the black arts, dating back to biblical times. Divination is specifically forbidden in halakha (Jewish religious law) and the sheer number of condemnations of the practice in the Talmud is a good indication that it was widespread. In the Middle Ages, demonology, the writing of amulets and other techniques (known collectively as Practical Kabbalah) were common, though great sages such as Abraham Abulafia and Isaac Luria condemned them.

Continue reading

Bibi Supports Honor Among Princes

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has congratulated Prince Andrew for reaffirming the role of honor in public affairs, The Kibbitzer has learned.

“In my capacity as Chairman of the Society of Honorable Israeli Thieves (SHIT) I congratulate you for putting gentlemanly honor ahead of raped teens and other such inconsequential issues,” Netanyahu wrote in a letter that was hand delivered to the prince today by the Israeli ambassador to London.

“It is a necessary corrective to those of who would have us concern ourselves with pedophilia, mendacity, incitement to racism and other such preoccupations of the unwashed classes.”

‘I myself have been the butt of the sort of crude accusations that you are facing,” Netanyahu continued. “Please know that my gentle wife and I fully support you and will testify that you were sharing a pizza with us, should that be necessary.”

Sources in Buckingham Palace told The Kibbitzer that the prince’s response on receiving the missive was “What do I need this Jew shit for? Do you know how much crap I got into for mixing with someone named Epstein?”

Bibi Gets His Little Military Adventure

Whether or not this morning’s assassination of an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza and the retaliatory barrage of rockets fired at the south of the country will escalate into another mini-war in Gaza has yet to be seen. At this stage, the Palestinians are threatening retaliation and Israel is talking tough. Given that cool heads are a rare commodity in this part of the world, things could still get uglier.

What’s already clear is that Benjamin Netanyahu is playing by the book. Creating a security crisis to deflect public attention from political failure is a time-honored tradition in Israel; virtually every prime minister has resorted to it at one point or another. Media pundits have been forecasting a military adventure ever since Netanyahu lost the second 2019 election and failed to cobble together a workable coalition. He is not one to slip away without a fight (though preferably with someone else doing the fighting).

Continue reading

Howard and I, Part II: He Should Stick to Fiction

The political acuity of Howard Jacobson is inversely proportional to his skill as a writer. The better he writes – his latest book, Live a Little, is wonderfully whimsical and delicate – the more foolish are his public remarks on current affairs, particularly as regards Jews and Israel.

That fatuousness is on stark display in a recent interview Jacobson gave to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, which was published today by The Times of Israel.

“To not see the necessity of Zionism, or to refuse to see the necessity of Zionism, and to think of it as an ideology of cruelty, you have to be an anti-Semite, you have to be uneducated and ignorant,” Jacobson says in the interview.

Continue reading

A HEARTFELT APOLOGY TO ALL MY READERS

Sorry about burdening you with a glut of Kibbitzers in recent days, but I have an important announcement to make and it cannot wait.

This is a sincere and heartfelt apology to all my readers regarding an incident in my past of which I am now terribly ashamed.

While idling through a collection of family photographs earlier this week, I came across a Purim photo of me, aged about six, dressed in a pirate outfit.

I can only imagine the hurt and trauma suffered by all pirates due to my act of cultural appropriation. As one who cares deeply about social justice, inclusivity and diversity, I can only apologize from the depths of my soul.

I was old enough at the time to understand the traditional oppression of pirates and I beg all pirates to forgive my insensitivity.

What’s worse, that same Purim photo includes my brother Steven, aged about four, dressed as a clown. My heart dropped to my ankles when I saw his mindless misappropriation of the disadvantaged clown minority. Our privileged background has clearly left us with a massive blind spot, which we are going to have to rectify.

Stephen is in the jungles of Papua New Guinea right now and unable to convey his own apology, which I’m certain will be profound. Please accept these words on his behalf.

There is also a photograph of the two of us wearing women’s shoes. Words can’t express my remorse at the obvious sexist and racist implications of something as dreadful.

I will be contacting all the world’s pirates, clowns and women to apologize personally for my behavior, after which I will take time to reflect on how deeply bigoted I really am.

 

 

Secular Israelis May Be Celebrating Too Soon

Spare a thought for the religious parties.

It’s true that the election results have been a blow for the entire religious-right community, but the knitted kippot and seculars among them will muddle on. Most of them have jobs to go to, fields stolen from the Palestinians to plough … That sort of thing. They’ll live to fight another day.

But for the ultra-Orthodox – Shas and the Ashkenazi Haredim – losing the election is an existential catastrophe. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.

Continue reading