The pool stage of the rugby world cup is now over and the knockout games begin tomorrow. So, it’s a good time to take stock.
Not of the rugby, of course. I wouldn’t try the patience of my devoted readers, most of whom have yet to reach full sports enlightenment, to that extent. Though maybe just a spare thought for the French (with apologies to Philippe.) I have never been much of a student of things French, so I don’t have the tools to understand why it is that, come crunch time, French sportsmen seem to go to pieces and start stabbing each other with knitting needles. It happened during the football world cup and, right on schedule, it has happened in the rugby as well.
Is it a cultural thing? I would be grateful for any explanations.
But back to the nether world. I purposefully refrained from commenting on the September follies – the Palestinians at the UN, the pitiful sight of Obama yet again subjugating himself to the Jews (he’s getting good at it,) Netanyahu’s lies, Liberman’s foaming at the mouth. We’ve seen it all before and, at my age, one has to watch one’s blood pressure. I have visions of a death certificate with “Death by Bibi” written on it.
Then, yesterday, there was a juxtaposition in the paper (actually on the Ha’aretz web site) that got me going. The first piece was an article about American anger at Russia and China for vetoing the Security Council resolution against Syria. The two perennial party poopers were protecting a murderous regime for their own internal purposes, one American official was quoted as saying. Fair enough.
Immediately below it was another piece about America’s determination to veto the Palestinian statehood bid when it gets to the security council in a week or two. Nothing new there. But does the US veto have nothing to do with internal American politics? Obama doesn’t have an election coming up? The fact is that being seen as pro-Israel is a prerequisite of American politics today and has very little to do with actually supporting Israel. In fact, some of the nonsense emanating from the so-called pro-Israelis in Washington, such as cutting off funding for the UN entirely, is so outlandish that not even the current Israeli government supports it.
I guess that I should be used to hypocrisy by now (it’s an Israeli staple, like sun and dog shit in the streets,) but the sheer flagrancy of it sent me running for my bottle of Bushmills. (The days of Laphroaig are long gone, I’m afraid.) Of course the Russians and Chinese are trying to preserve a lucrative arms market in Syria and are dead set against giving an inch to national aspirations. (Remember Chechnya? Tibet?) Just like the last thing that Obama needs is a target on his back reading “Anti-Israel” for all the morons to take aim at. All politics are local politics, someone once said (my memory has gone to shit.)
The reason the American hypocrisy pissed me off as much as it did was because it distilled things for me. I have known for a long time that there is absolutely no hope of a settlement in the Middle East unless the Americans drag Israel into it, spitting and screaming. For all the talk in the UN of immediate negotiations leading to a peace agreement, it’s never going to happen. And the reason it’s never going to happen is that, while Israel is quite partial to negotiations – which Israeli would refuse first-class junkets with cognac and cigars? – it just doesn’t want peace. There is no conceivable formula that would satisfy both Israel and the Palestinians in negotiations.
Which is why I and many others had such high hopes of Obama. In our fevered imaginations, he was a sort of modern Teddy Roosevelt, speaking softly (well, slickly will also do) and carrying a big stick. Turns out he forgot the stick – certainly as far as knocking Israel into shape is concerned, and probably in dealing with the Republican retards as well.
Salvation will not come from Obama, nor, I venture to predict, will it come from any other US administration in the conceivable future. And it’s certainly not going to come from the bum-in-the-dyke politicians of the EU, who have far bigger problems right now than war-crazed Jews and Arabs. No cavalry is going to ride in at the last moment to save us from ourselves.
The weird thing, on this Yom Kippur eve – also, of course, the 38th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war – is that most Israelis don’t seem to care. We have attained some sort of nirvana, in which we are free from worry; free from guilt. Our apathy is transcendental. Which, if you think about it, is pretty much where we were in autumn 1973, before the shit hit the fan.