Categories
Kibbitz

The Empty Hope of Liberal Zionism

“It’s time to imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.”

Those words – which appeared in a New York Times opinion piece last week – have created a tempest in that segment of the Jewish world that regards itself as progressive. They were written by journalist and commentator Peter Beinart, who, until the publication of the article, was one of the darlings of the Jewish Left.

Now he seems to be everyone’s favorite anti-Semite, the catch-phrase for anyone who disagrees with the Zionist mainstream. “Denying the right of Jews to a national homeland is anti-Semitism,” wrote Ben Dror Yemini in Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s largest daily, before apparently realizing the absurdity of his knee-jerk response.

“Beinart is not Anti-Semitic,” Yemini added quickly. “His intentions are different, but his position assists the anti-Semitic campaign.”

I’m glad we clarified that.

Even some columnists in Haaretz, the only surviving island of sanity in Israel’s media, have gotten into the act, describing Beinart’s about-face as “utopian” and “jumping ship”.

Personally, I’ve never had much time for Beinart’s blinkered and earnest liberal-Zionism, in which, “the dream of a two-state solution that would give Palestinians a country of their own let me hope that I could remain a liberal and a supporter of Jewish statehood at the same time.” Seventy-two years after the nakba and fifty-three after the occupation, intelligent people shouldn’t have been lulling themselves to sleep with such dreams.

But, to Beinart’s credit, he saw the light. “Events have now extinguished that hope,” he writes, pointing to the close to 700,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and the fact – obvious to all but those who refuse to see – that “the leaders of Israel’s supposedly center-left parties don’t support a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.”

Hardly anyone in Israel does. For decades, Israel’s leaders have had their fingers crossed behind their backs when talking of a two-state solution. It was the price they had to pay for the billions of dollars in American aid and access to European markets. No-one really believed they were serious, did they?

With Trump now in charge, Israel has largely dropped the charade. Talk of a two-state solution elicits little more than sniggers these days. Now it’s all about annexation – the de facto situation for years already, but the stamp of kashrut that the messianic right seems to need to cross ownership of the territories off their bucket list.

Beinart says he now believes in a bi-national state – “a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home. And building that home can bring liberation not just for Palestinians but for us, too.”

Yet, oddly, he writes that “this doesn’t require abandoning Zionism… It requires distinguishing between form and essence. The essence of Zionism is not a Jewish state in the land of Israel; it is a Jewish home in the land of Israel…”

Oops, just when he was getting it right he blew it.

It is true that Herzl originally spoke of a Jewish home in Palestine and the issue of full statehood was open until the Biltmore Conference in 1942, if not later – but that home never, ever included Arabs. The wimps of Brit Shalom may have spoken of Jewish-Arab equality but real, macho Zionists never did.

From the start of Jewish settlement in Palestine, the issue that most concerned the leadership of the Yishuv – aside from security – was avoda ivrit (Hebrew labor), which was code for separate development. Ostensibly a means of opening up jobs for new Jewish immigrants by getting Jewish farmers to hire only Jewish workers, avoda ivrit was in fact the means of developing an ethnically-pure Jewish society – long before the establishment of the state. Hebrew labor was achieved through violence and racism. Even David Ben Gurion, an activist for Hebrew labor, at one point accused fellow Jewish workers of treating Arabs with violence, arrogance and condescension.

Jewish racism and anti-Arabism dating back to the dawn of Zionism are well documented. “They behave toward the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, commit unwarranted trespass, beat them shamefully without any good reason, and brag about doing so,” Ahad Ha’am wrote in the 1880s. According to Israel Rokach, a resident of Jaffa, the Jewish farmers “do not think of the fellahin (peasants) as human.” And that was well over 100 years ago.

Many more scales need to fall from Beinart’s eyes before he understands that the essence of Zionism was – and remains – racism, ethno-centrism and Jewish exceptionalism. Those are the values on which the current generations of Israelis were weaned – and they don’t make for successful bi-nationalism.

Peter Beinart is on the right path. It took courage to write what he did and I applaud him for it. But he’s deluded if he thinks that Jewish statehood is the only obstacle – on the Jewish side; the Palestinians have their own obstacles – to the establishment of a bi-national state. The Zionism that he continues to swear by is rancid. There is no way it can serve as a moral basis for the state’s Jewish component

Israel’s Jews have been brought up to be conquerors, bosses and masters. They are uniquely unqualified to live as equals alongside Palestinians. A good place to begin a process that might, eventually lead to bi-nationalism would be an honest reckoning with Zionist dogma and praxis.

 

 

Categories
Kibbitz

Do You Really Want To Tell The Goyim The Truth?

With both the coronavirus and the germ of annexation clogging the air in these parts, it’s surprising that most of the stench is not coming from Jerusalem but from somber and measured Jews in the diaspora – those who call themselves Zionists but aren’t willing to walk the walk.

Take for example the letter sent by about 40 prominent British Jews to the Israeli ambassador in London, solemnly warning about the grave consequences of annexation. “We are yet to see an argument that convinces us, committed Zionists and passionately outspoken friends of Israel, that the proposed annexation is a constructive step,” opined the Jewish notables, among them historian Simon Schama, writer Howard Jacobson and former foreign secretary Malolm Rifkind, as reported by the Guardian.

“Instead, it would in our view be a pyrrhic victory intensifying Israel’s political, diplomatic and economic challenges without yielding any tangible benefit.”

Or, in simpler terms, do you really want to tell the truth to the goyim?

Where have Schama, Jacobson and the other tribal chiefs been over the past fifty years as, step-by-step, Israel put the foundations of  Jewish sovereignty over the West Bank into place? Where were they when Israel built and populated the settlements which it is now using as an excuse for annexation?

Hiding the truth from the goyim, is where they were. Being committed Zionists and passionately outspoken as Israel went about its apartheid business.

They certainly didn’t do much to prevent fifty-plus years of creeping annexation. But now, when Israel proposes to formalize what already exists in practice, they find their collective voice?

They give hypocrisy a bad name.

Annexation is not an aberration; it’s not a madcap idea that Benjamin Netanyahu and his sidekicks suddenly came up with in 2020, possibly under the influence of the coronavirus. Nor is it a partisan viewpoint held by a minority of the Israeli population.

Annexation is the natural – the organic, inevitable and inexorable – culmination of Zionist praxis going back to the late-19th century. For as long as modern Jews have coveted the land on which Palestinian Arabs were living, total Jewish sovereignty has been the one and only goal. There has never been any other goal.

“We are not coming to a desolate land to inherit it; rather, we are coming to conquer the land from the nation that resides there,” Moshe Sharett wrote in 1925.

For David Ben-Gurion, “We are not workers—we are conquerors. Conquerors of the land. We are a camp of conquerors … We worked and conquered and we were joyful with victory.”

The ultimate goal – conquest of the entire biblical Land of Israel, preferably with as few of its native inhabitants as possible – was never hidden. It wasn’t reserved for whispered conversations in dark corners between consenting adults. It appears repeatedly in public statements by Zionist leaders and in resolutions by Zionist organizations.

From the Second Aliyah onward Zionism had a clear and unwavering objective. Successive Israeli governments fiddled with the objective but never disowned it. Gaining and holding onto biblical territory in its entirety has always been the lodestar, even if committed and passionate Zionists in the diaspora preferred that it not be mentioned in their presence.

Over the years, Israel’s leaders have sometimes had to trim their sails to the prevailing diplomatic winds. In 1956, that meant withdrawing from the conquered Sinai peninsula, despite Ben-Gurion’s euphoric statement that the territories occupied by Israel would become part of “the third Jewish kingdom.”

The country’s ostensible acceptance of the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan was another such tactical realignment, as was Ariel Sharon’s dismantling of the settlements in Gaza in 2005. When the destination is clear and obvious, one can take the necessary detours to reach it.

The Sinai and Gaza are debatably part of the biblical heritage – few would wax lyrical today, as Davar newspaper did in 1956, about the Sinai being “the cradle of our transformation into a nation” – but there has never been any doubt about Judea and Samaria; Hebron and Nablus.

They were, are and always have been essential to the Zionist dream. What Netanyahu is threatening to do now – supported by Trump and his gaon son-in-law – is regularize what has been the quotidian since 1967. Diaspora Jewish leaders oppose it because it will call their bluff – highlight their hypocrisy. They will finally be seen for what they are.

Personally, I’m all for annexation. It will be a reactionary, atavistic move in every possible way – but at least it will reveal the Zionist mission for what it is. There is a chance, however slight, that it might clear the logjam; that it might finally get people thinking beyond their knee-jerk, romantic Zionism. It will show Israel in its true, apartheid light – a racist society lording it over its ethnic inferiors.

I don’t know what will happen after that, but letting in some light can’t be a bad thing.

 

 

Categories
Kibbitz

A Biography of My Father Jock Isacowitz

The Kibbitzer has been mostly missing in action during the current pandemic, though for good reason. I used the lockdown to complete and publish a biography of my father, Jock Isacowitz. I am pleased to announce that the book, “Telling People What They Don’t Want to Hear: A Liberal Life Under Apartheid,” is now available on Amazon in ebook format and will be available in paperback in July.

Jock, who died when I was ten, was an ex-servicemen’s leader after World War II, a former communist, a liberal and a prisoner of the apartheid regime during the 1960 emergency. He fought hard for the classic liberal values of equality, civil and human rights and freedom – values that were deprecated under the apartheid regime and remain elusive in many countries today, including some of those that call themselves democratic.

For me, researching his life and trying to come to grips with the man he was – and who I barely remembered – was a profound experience. Now two decades older than Jock was when he died, I was taken back to a period when people still believed in liberal and democratic values and were prepared to sacrifice for their achievement.

It sounds quaint and anachronistic in the period of Trump and his clones, but revisiting the opposition to apartheid in South Africa during the Forties and Fifties rekindled my dwindling belief in the possibility of truth, justice and freedom. I hope it does the same for you.

You can read more about the book, “Telling People What They Don’t Want to Hear: A Liberal Life Under Apartheid”, on The Kibbitzer Books. I have also written a short preview of the book on PoliticsWeb.

Of course, if you simply can’t wait to read it, it is available now on Amazon.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, either as reviews on the Amazon site or comments here.

 

 

 

Categories
Kibbitz

Bibi & Jacob: About Strongmen, Democracy and Whoonga

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EX-PRESIDENT

February 28, 2018

Sawubona Bibi:

Interesting that some people claim I’m a has-been. That it’s all over for me; that I’ll disappear from centre stage in a cloud of impepho. This is our home-grown version of incense, similar to the stuff they used to perfume your Temple in the days before those white monopoly capitalists, the Romans, razed it to the ground.

Yet earlier this week – as a private citizen, mind you – I gave a little talk to the students of Bizimali High School in my hometown of Nkandla and now it’s all over the fake news pages and web sites, presented as some sort of aberration.

My chat was merely a way of explaining the vital importance of education and the dangers of drugs as well as to let the young ‘uns benefit from my experiences and detailed knowledge of the history of the Zulu nation. Yet, as I say, you’d think that I re-wrote our famous Constitution – in my view, by the way, a foolish and lily-livered document. (Squirrel played too big a role in its writing and the Old Man agreed with its tenets only because he had a bizarrely soft spot for the white monopoly capitalists and also knew the boere had a ring of steel around Pretoria.) Homosexuals have equal rights – they can even marry each other – and women and journalists also have rights and, most worryingly, a man apparently can’t have sexual congress with a woman if she says “no”, or even breathes it throatily and passionately into his ear, which, as you and I know, means “yes”. And so on. As you would say: Oy.

Anyway, I explained to the students that if I had been allowed to be a dictator for six months – in other words, not have had to deal with that stupid Constitution and those lard-asses in parliament – I would have sentenced young people hooked on drugs to Robben Island where they would have been forced to study. This is what I said: “Those who do whoonga, dagga, alcohol, must be removed to a college, maybe Robben Island, and be forced to learn and leave that place with a degree.” You see my point, don’t you? Enforce some tough love, give these kids some worthwhile training for life. But of course the newspapers are rabbiting on today only about me “having wanted to be a dictator”.

Then I thought I’d teach them a little history as well as briefly explore the pitfalls of democracy (a crappy concept if ever there was one, as you well know – not at all good for either African or Semite). I said: “We need to take lessons from Shaka Zulu, one of our great, great leaders. Shaka ruled successfully for 12 years. But look at us. We have ruled for 23 years and we are still crying. Why? Because Democracy should have authority but ours doesn’t. Once there is no authority in democracy – once everybody has a say – it becomes worse than a dictatorship, it becomes more dangerous.”

And I explained a bit more. “Maybe it’s because Shaka did not sit in many meetings that Shaka was successful. He knew that if he called a meeting, people would derogate his authority. There is an important lesson we must take from him: that we enforce the right thing by imposing it.”

What do I get in response for these eminently sane words, these pearls of wisdom? You know the answer.

Yours, slightly depressed (though at least no more meetings!),

Jacob.


THE PRIME MINISTER’S BUREAU

February 28, 2018

Shalom Jacob

Amazing you should write that because I’ve been making the same point for years already.  We’ve all become so conditioned to thinking of democracy as the ultimate political system – the be-all and end-all – that we never stop to think whether that is really the case. I don’t think it is. When tough decisions need to be made, the endless give and take of one-size-fits-all democracy is more often an obstacle than a solution.

Take my good friend Xi Jinping, for example. Not that China is a democracy, but in good democratic fashion it has been changing its leader like clockwork every ten years. Then along comes Xi, who says (correctly, in my view) that it’s illogical to expect a leader to solve all the problems of two billion people in a mere ten years. He needs more time, more leeway. He needs authority. Like the Jews, the Chinese are a very argumentative people and difficult to work with.

I don’t claim to be an expert on South Africa, but with all the problems you have (I’ve heard you have far too many Moslems and Sharansky tells me that anti-Semitism is rampant), it doesn’t surprise me to hear that the greatest problems you faced while in office were all due to democracy. Over-fastidious courts, weak central authority, cheeky subordinates who won’t do as you say. I’ve been there my friend.

And then of course there’s the curse of the media and the insane notion that they should be able to write whatever they want. Serious leaders are now coming around to the understanding (first enunciated by yours truly) that  an uncontrolled media is the key obstacle to good governance. In the last few weeks I’ve discussed the issue with Don, Vlad, Abe (al-Sisi), Vik and Richie (my nickname for Erdogan) and they were all were adamant that they had to crack down on the media in order to serve their countries. (They’re all very good friends of mine and I speak with them often.)

As it happens, I’ve recently been looking at history for examples of strong and successful leaders. (Did you know that my father was a very famous historian? He didn’t get the recognition he deserved due to the hatred of the media and the scheming of the leftists in Israeli academia.) Anyway, I’ve become particularly interested in the Caudillo, which is the title given to strongmen in South American countries. What is most striking is that the Caudillo typically combines political with military leadership.

That would disqualify the man you call Squirrel (the closest he ever got to the military was shooting miners in the back, as far as I can tell), but it definitely works for the two of us, doesn’t it? I’ve just looked you up on Wikipedia and discovered that you, too, are a military man, having spent many years in senior military positions at ANC camps outside South Africa. Semper fi, bro!

If you’re interested, I’ll send you a picture of me standing on the wing of a hijacked plane just minutes after the elite commando unit I commanded captured it from anti-Semitic hijackers with tea towels on their heads. I always carry the picture around with me to flash as necessary; you have no idea how it pisses off President Bone Spur!

Think of Juan Peron; tough, loved by the people, the scourge of the left. That’s a Caudillo! That’s the sort of leader we need to be. You, of course, could also marry an Evita, while I’ll still be lumbered with old piggie motor-mouth.

In case life wasn’t interesting enough (in the Chinese sense. Did I tell you that Xi Jinping was a very good friend of mine?) a prosecutor told a court in Israel this week that I had done a businessman friend of mine favors valued at over one billion shekels in return for favorable coverage in a website he owns. Favorable coverage! The leftist media wouldn’t cover me favorably if I my name was Che Guevara, while the rational media, such as it is, is already owned by me and my friends. (Did I tell you that I have many good friends? Some of them even give me gifts of cigars.)

These charges are a form of political assassination. A person more paranoid than me would see the recent goings on as the first skirmishes in an attempted coup. Not unlike the one that unseated you, mind you.

Well, they’re not going to succeed. The Jewish People need me and it’s for them that I fight on. Remember, we’re on the side of the righteous, as Mike Pence said to me.

Your brother in arms

Bibi

P.S. I just looked up whoonga. My God, marijuana mixed with AIDS drugs?! Let Ramapussy try deal with that one democratically!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Kibbitz

Jacob & Bibi: Viva the grandchildren!

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EX-PRESIDENT

February 25, 2018

Dear Bibi:

So Friday afternoon I bade farewell to my former staff at the Union Buildings and needless to say there was a huge amount of weeping and so forth. We South Africans, Bibi, besides being happy and smiling, are a sentimental bunch. Only things we love more than money and bemoaning the evils of our holocaust (the apartheid years) are public farewells, funerals and apologies.

The farewell was of course captured in glorious technicolour by one of my (former) trusty photographers from the oddly-named GCIS, Government Communication and Information System, also known by many as the JGSU, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa – or sometimes Joseph Goebbels – Strike Unit. But I never named the GCIS; that’s one they can’t blame on me; if memory serves, it was christened during Thabo Mbeki’s reign or maybe even the Old Man’s.

But none of the pictures, though they were dispatched to all the fake news practitioners, will appear in this morning’s newspapers. If they did, the white monopoly capitalists and all their thousands, nay millions, of followers would erupt in a mammoth wail and general gnashing of teeth. On the other hand, Squirrel teeing off at some charity golf jamboree, even more incompetently than I ever did, two days ago, will be the lead story on the front pages for weeks to come.

But I have to say that Squirrel is learning fast. Very fast. Everyone’s chosen not to notice that a few days ago, Gigabyte the finance minister gave Squirrel R700 000 a year more than I got. Not, I concede, a lot in dirhams, rupees or dollars, but still.  And four days ago, Squirrel hosted a farewell function for me at the Tuynhuys (we have more official dachas than you fellows) in Cape Town – and, without even blanching, he paid tribute to me for my “contribution to South Africa’s development” during my nine years in office. Not bad, given that even an easily-bamboozled person such as he is knows my main contribution was always to my own development and my family’s.

Because you see, Bibi, I have always been, above all, a family man, as you obviously have also been – though, if you don’t mind me saying, my 23 (or 24 – sometimes I lose count) kids have been kinder to me than your few to you. Did you know, by the way, that I have a Jewish grandson? I have insisted he call me zeyde – and he does! I call him Bafana, which means boychik.

Yes, my boy Duduzane, cognizant that happy congress with a beautiful Jewish woman is accompanied by seven years’ good luck (but also, as you say, some tsuris), has shown himself to be as fruitful as I have been, and will,Insha’Allah, continue to be. My point is that, even amidst my troubles, I have put some money aside in Dubai for the young lad. Surely, after you complete your imperial ambitions in the Middle East, as you surely will, the bank there will be easily available to Jewish people?

Viva the grandchildren!

Jacob


 

THE PRIME MINISTER’S BUREAU

Dear Jacob

February 25, 2018

I’m delighted to hear that you have a Jewish grandson. You beat me to it! Normally, I would urge you to send him to Israel to absorb a little yiddishkeit, but the timing is probably not appropriate. You see, we’re trying to get rid of our black Africans right now and I wouldn’t want him to be mistaken for an infiltrator and sent to Rwanda. (Though that’s in Africa, so he could probably take an Uber home, couldn’t he?)

Your best bet would be to ensure that he gets a good Jewish education in South Africa – Zionist, but I’d steer clear of the Lubavitch – and then send him here to spend some time among his own kind. Yair has kindly to offered to show him around the strip clubs and whorehouses of Tel Aviv, complete with state-financed bodyguard and car. Though, come to think of it, that may not be a good idea. Most of the women are Russians, who are not particularly partial to people of color. Maybe Sara knows some appropriate non-Russians.

But I must insist that you teach him to avoid the mistake that you yourself made in your last email. There was, is and always will be only one Holocaust (spelled with a capital H) and that is the Jewish one. Other people have tragedies, disasters – catastrophes, even – but only Jews have a Holocaust. Talk of other holocausts is in most cases no more than disguised anti-Semitism. God gave the Jews the Book and the Holocaust (and a gift for finance, some say.)

Seeing that your grandson – I think you said his name is Banana – has a Jewish mother, it would be best to leave his Holocaust education up to her. That way, he’ll be up to speed when he gets here.

As for me, the local gestapo has ordered me in for questioning this week on what are colloquially known as Cases 3000 and 4000. Not, God forbid, 3 & 4. The Nazis want the public to believe that my supposed indiscretions run into the thousands! After all I’ve done for the Jewish people, they want to grill me like a common criminal – and about what? About favors I purportedly doled out to an old friend (almost family!) in return for positive coverage about me and my family in the press.

Could even Goebbels have made up a better lie? (By the way, I noticed your reference to him but didn’t really understand the context. Were you referring to the lies about you in your local rags?) Is it the fate of all great men to be besmirched by pygmies?

Last week that righteous Christian Donald Trump announced that the US embassy would move to Jerusalem in May. One of the greatest achievements of the Jewish people – a miracle no less than that of Hanukkah or the salvation of the Jews on Purim – that happened on my watch. But do you think I get any recognition for it? Any thanks? Forget it. Case 4000 is what I get!

Your brother in anguish

Bibi

Categories
Kibbitz

Bibi & Jacob: The Buffalo and the Judge

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE EX-PRESIDENT

February 21, 2018

Dear Bibi:

There is so much I have to tell you. At the same time, I have to keep up with the ever-changing news: the events of today and just yesterday. It’s so difficult. No wonder that most journalists get most things wrong most of the time. No wonder too that fake news is the order of the day, as that fine leader and human being, Donald “grab-‘em-by-the-gigaba” Trump, keeps remarking.

Actually I secretly met the Trompoppie a few months ago at a secret venue arranged by our mutual benefactor, Vlad Putin, and was most impressed by him – but was even more impressed by his gorgeous wife, who didn’t seem to care for him very much but afforded me a smile or two, I can tell you. (She’s heard about chocolate cake, don’t you worry.)

More of this another time. Back now to the fake news. Bibi, it’s been absolutely remarkable: I have never before witnessed such a massive outpouring – such a veritable tsunami – of misinformed euphoria as that which flowed from the fingers and addled brains of the fourth estate and from many others when I left office and my successor, Squirrel Ramaphosa, or The Buffalo, took over.

I’m not referring to the flood of holier-than-thou pieces, liberally slathered with righteousness, which were written or broadcast when I quit. Those, in the immortal words of a former South African judge, ran off my back like a duck’s water. I know that when a true servant of the people and liberation hero falls, Lilliputians everywhere swoon and virtually ejaculate with hatred.

No, I’m talking about the mind-boggling sycophantic adulation and idiocy that greeted The Buffalo’s first speech. For he did exactly the same as I did: uttered a raft of meaningless promises! Can you believe it? To be sure, he speaks much better English than I do (or pretend to do publicly) and has a much better grasp of the bullshit-speak popular in white monopoly capital boardrooms the world over. Still, you’d have thought he’d promised each and every citizen a cheque of one million rand.

Then today, when my former henchman, Malusi “Gigabyte” Gigaba – one of the fastest-slithering snakes of all time – he was one who turned and bit me faster than you could say “value-added tax” – was allowed to deliver the national budget, well, today, the truth might finally have begun to dawn on my fellow countrymen. This is: that they will continue to be ripped off like there is no tomorrow; that in his maiden speech as president, The Buffalo in fact delivered a master class in snake-oil salesmanship; and that life in general will continue in much the same vein as it did in my time. Heh-heh.

Cheers for now,

Jacob.

 


 

THE PRIME MINISTER’S BUREAU

February 21, 2018

Oy Jacob, Jacob

Don’t talk to me about false news and misinformed euphoria. About the plebs rejoicing at every drop of blood shed by their betters in the line of duty. You, my friend, are outside the firing line, at least for now. I envy you being able to luxuriate on the ample bosoms of your multiple wives without a care in the world. For your sake, I hope that none of them is a child psychologist.

Yours truly, however, remains in the firing line. Abandoned and forsaken on the field of battle. Can you believe that they (the bloodthirsty media and, no doubt, treacherous members of my own government) are now accusing me of attempting to bribe a judge by offering her a senior government position in return for dropping a case against my wife? Have you ever heard of anything as mean and contemptible? That’s the level I’m forced to descend to with this gutter press.

Who but the most malicious and spiteful of my enemies would take an innocuous conversation between an associate of mine and a senior jurist, in which he informally sounded her out regarding the circumstances in which she might be prepared to accept a certain appointment – the sort of guileless conversation that occurs daily in the corridors of power – and turn it into attempted bribery? What spite does it take to make such a leap? What evil?

Not only is it unthinkable that a person like myself who has dedicated his life to the service of his country would do such a thing, but anyone who knows me is aware that, were I to ever indulge in a little venality, it would not be in order to save that loud-mouthed ingulube (I think that’s what you called her), who is the source of all my tsuris (That’s problems in Yiddish.) I’d gladly see her in the dock were it not for the small matter of a legal document she forced me to sign after catching me with my shlong in the wrong parking spot early in my marriage.

And the rest, as they say, is history. So the next time you see me on the TV loudly proclaiming the innocence of Lady Macbeth and exalting her as an icon of womanhood, please notice that I’m being filmed from the chest up. That’s because she has my balls nailed to the dining table.

Speaking of balls, you’re right about Trump’s Slovakian (or is it Slovenian) hussy. She’s naughty that one. Gave me a look across the supper table that set the gonads tingling. I wonder if she’s ever wriggled on the end of a Jewish rod? They’re all anti-Semitic, you know, those Eastern Europeans, which makes defiling them almost a mitzva.

Tell me, why didn’t you get rid of that Ramapussy fellow with the teeth of a ravenous rhinoceros long before he plunged the knife into your back? My entire cabinet would do the same to me, given half a chance, were it not for the fact that they’re all halfwits and the country knows it. The only thing keeping me in office these days is the prospect of one of those Neanderthals succeeding me.

Well, I’ve got to be off now. Got some saber-rattling with Iran to do. Nothing deflects the attention of the media from one’s peccadillos like the prospect of a good war.

Shalom

Bibi

 

 

 

Categories
Kibbitz Kvetch

Israel Pursues True Apartheid

For those of us who consider Israel to be an apartheid state, it is sobering to realize that things are likely to get a lot worse before they get better. In South Africa, racial segregation took a long time to gestate, before reaching its full potential in apartheid. The Israeli version is only now showing signs of approaching maturity, never mind reaching its inevitable demise.

The term “apartheid” emerged in 1947 as the slogan of the pro-segregationist National Party in South Africa while it was still in opposition. It represented a slew of policies aimed at tightening white control over the country, deepening segregation and “balkanizing the country into separate socio-economic units,” as Richard Steyn put it in his new biography of South African statesman Jan Smuts.

In other words, apartheid was the formalization of the segregation that had existed in the colonies that made up the Union of South Africa, as it was then, for well over two hundred years. It’s implementation, in the years following the Nationalist victory in the 1948 elections, provided the legal framework for the entrenchment of practices – of a social reality – that, to a large extent, already existed.

The whites of South Africa were no more or less racist after the introduction of apartheid than they were before. What had changed was that they felt sufficiently unencumbered by their previous colonial master, Britain, were more organized and they finally had a plan.

It’s worth remembering that less than 50 years before apartheid became state policy, the Afrikaners were fighting the British in the Boer War, which they regarded as a struggle for survival against the colonial, commercial and, in particular, mining interests – represented by Britain – which threatened to swamp them.

Apartheid, then, was the culmination of a long and hard struggle by the Afrikaners to overcome foreign rule, establish themselves on the land, build up their power and create a nation. The presence of a large black population throughout that process was a problem that necessitated increasingly discriminatory and harsh measures, but until the formation of the Nationalist government in 1948, no overall solution to the race problem was ever put forward.

Even Jan Smuts, an international statesman and the drafter of the preambles to the charters of both the League of Nations and United Nations, was at a loss when it came to solving what was called the “native problem.” For most of his career, he preferred to side-step the issue. It fell to the Nationalist government of 1948 to propose an overarching race policy – apartheid. And it took close to another 50 years for apartheid to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions and in the face of international obloquy.

In a very similar vein, Israel has failed to come up with a policy for its own “native problem.” It wants the land of the West Bank, but it has no idea of what to do with the population. Like Smuts, Benjamin Netanyahu’s only policy is to side-step the issue, his vague nods in the direction of a two-state solution notwithstanding.

In a technical sense, therefore, Israel is in a pre-apartheid phase. It has the functional segregation, the oppressive measures and an apathetic population that is largely disinterested in the fate of the other. It is apartheid-ready. What it lacks is the legal framework in which to implement its aspiration toward a state in which Jews control all the land and all the power.

That could soon be on the cards. Following the passing of the so-called Settlement Regularization Bill in early February, Knesset members from the coalition have now set their sights on annexing the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim to Israel. That is likely to be followed by further annexation, either on a piecemeal basis or of large swathes of the West Bank in one go.

The Regularization Bill, which retroactively legalized Jewish theft of private Palestinian land, was the first law passed by the Knesset that dealt with the fate of the Palestinians and their land. Until then, the displacement of the Palestinians had been accomplished by means of military decrees and Supreme Court dismissal of appeals by Palestinians or their Israeli representatives against the decrees.

To put it another way, the bill was the first occasion on which the Israeli legislature passed a law enabling discrimination by one segment of society against another. As such, it was an important milestone in the advance to fully-fledged apartheid.

Apart from David Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu is Israel’s longest serving prime minister and he has fought numerous bruising diplomatic battles. He may not be the most appropriate person to lead Israel into the full bloom of apartheid. That distinction could well fall to Naftali Bennett, head of the avidly pro-settlement Habayit Hayehudi party, who, unlike the prime minister, does have a proper apartheid plan. Until now, Bennett has anchored the right-wing of the ruling coalition and prevented any deviation from the coalition’s pro-settlement line on the part of Netanyahu.

Bennett’s plan would involve the extension of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, the herding of West Bank Palestinians into areas reminiscent of bantustans and the creation of two legal systems, one for Jews living anywhere in the greater territory and the other for West Bank Palestinians. It is a plan of which the South African architects of apartheid would have been proud.

To the best of my knowledge, Bennett’s plan doesn’t envisage discriminatory action against the Palestinians living within Israel proper, but that could be only a question of time. With apartheid fully in place in the West Bank, it’s unlikely that Israeli Jewish baasskap (domination) will tolerate unregulated Palestinians elsewhere. Their model could be the scrapping of the qualified black franchise in South Africa’s Cape Province by the apartheid regime.

If the experience of South Africa is anything to go by, therefore, apartheid is a slow-growing plant that needs ample time and water. In Bennett, Israel has the means, but will it have the time?

 

Categories
Kibbitz Uncategorized

New Year Kisses from The Kibbitzer

President-elect Donald Trump will kiss himself at midnight tonight precisely, a senior source in the presidential transition team told The Kibbitzer.

“You’re meant to kiss the person you love most to welcome in the New Year,” the source said, asking to remain anonymous.

“Well in Donald’s case that’s Donald,” the source added. “Of course, he’ll also kiss Melania afterwards, but he’ll make sure to do it in front of a mirror so he’ll be looking at himself.”

“And he’ll tweet a kiss emoji to Putin for hacking him into the White House.”

A source close to John Kerry said he was considering stopping to speak about settlements long enough to kiss whoever is closest to him at the time.

In Jerusalem, meanwhile, a source in the prime minister’s bureau said that Benjamin Netanyahu would be spending a quiet evening at home, building a settlement with his Lego Christmas present.

“He’s not really a kisser,” the source said, “though he wouldn’t mind having the nation kiss his ass.”