The Age of Absurdity

by Jerrold L. Sobel

Has anyone out there heard of Darfur? The questions get tougher now. Do you know where it is? And finally, who is Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir? Well, for those of you hanging on the edge of your seats; Darfu is a region of western Sudan about the size of Texas. Since 2003 it’s been in a civil war where the Muslim military government led by Omar Ahmad al-Bashir has by U.N. estimates massacred more than 300,000 civilians, displaced 2,500,000, and have forced another 200,000 to seek refuge in neighboring Chad. This week the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague charged al-Bashir with three counts of genocide. Earlier, in March of this year he was also charged with five other genocidal counts including; holding two and a half million refugees in Auschwitz like internment camps.

Not surprisingly, at last year’s Arab League Summit conference in Doha, Qatar, this monster was universally praised by the participants; one in particular was Israel’s “Partner for Peace,” Mahmoud Abbas, who offered acclaim and abutment with the following statement; “We reiterate solidarity with Sudan and our rejection of the measure of the ICC against his Excellency.” This comes on the heels of a little blurb in the July 9th edition of the Jewish Press regarding his eulogization of Mohammad Oudeh, better known as, Abu Dahoud, the mastermind of the mass slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Abbas is quoted saying, “He will be missed…..He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance and sincere work.” By this statement you would think this coward charged a battalion of Israeli troops rather than massacre a bunch of innocent kids. That’s some eulogy from a guy President Obama praised for his “Commitment to peace.”

In the July 9, 2010 Washington Post article entitled, “Obama Praises Abbas As Committed to Peace.” Our President further paid homage to the Palestinian leader for showing “restraint”….”in recent months in handling long-standing conflicts with Israelis.” That’s quite laudable. Perhaps Israelis should thank him for moderating and no longer blowing up school buses of children or exploding bombs in restaurants this year. While dealing with absurdity, we can’t pass up last month’s “summit conference” at the White House between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama.

To be honest, It was such a love fest I couldn’t help but feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Everybody was holding and touching, agreeing with each other. It was wild. For a moment there I thought they would don kippas and put on Tefillin. This one reiterated, “the bond is stronger than ever,” the other one affirmed the U.S. “commitment to Israel,” but all in all, most people were left wondering, “where’s the beef?”

As has become his custom, Netanyahu with hat in hand thanked the President for imposing additional sanctions and his unwavering support on Iran. My question is, sanctions? How are they going to prevent those Holocaust denying fanatics from getting nuclear weapons? If these two guys are actually serious and think sanctions are going to slow the Ayatollahs down, they’re both crazy. What’s next, an embargo on ice cream and water pipes? In my view, a “don’t cross the line” joint statement aimed at the Iranians might have a much greater effect than ineffectual sanctions.

Perhaps I’m actually the crazy one but it seems this show was more for the upcoming elections in the U.S. and to placate the left in Israel than it was for substance. Less than two months ago, Israel’s new best buddy, Obama, called out Israel for not signing on to the Non Proliferation treaty; that certainly wasn’t the act of a friend. Joining the chorus for an investigation of the flotilla nonsense also hasn’t endeared Obama to Israelis and many Jews here either. The Washington Post article saved the best for last when they quoted the White House saying that Obama and Abbas “discussed ways to revive direct talks in the near future.” It makes you wonder if our President ever considered coaxing the Palestinians into recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State for starters?

It’s quite astonishing how many people do not realize Israel is the only party in this dispute that has given something tangible for peace, but has yet to receive anything in return? By his recent actions, outlined at the beginning of this essay, does Abbas seem like a viable peace partner? Forgetting his complicity in the ’72 Olympics massacre, or his admission of being the mastermind of the Achille Lauro ship jacking in which 69 year old Leon Klinghoffer was shot and thrown overboard. But just by his recent actions alone is it plausible this baneful man has had an epiphany? For that matter, by his sudden reversal in rhetoric just prior to the Fall elections, can it be believed Obama has had one as well? Netanyahu would have to be a pretty good handicapper to take that bet on either of them.

Speaking of Netanyahu, let’s look at his background compared to the other two and ascertain what his motives might be.

Far from the serene walls of Harvard Law School, Netanyahu joined the Israeli Defense forces in 1967 and commanded an elite commando unit known as the Sayreret Matkal. In 1972 he was part of a 16 man contingent led by by future Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak which stormed a hijacked Boeing 707 passenger jet in Tel Aviv, killed the 4 terrorists on board, and rescued the passengers. The following year he served with distinction in the Yom Kippur War and before being discharged attained the rank of Captain. Upon leaving the military, he became a rising star in the Likud party and served four years as Ambassador to the United Nations; 1984-1988. Subsequent to that position he honed his diplomatic skills as Foreign Minister in the Sharon Administration, a post which he eventually left due to objections over the Gaza Disengagement Plan; a plan which called for and led to the evacuation and displacement of thousands of Israeli’s from their homes in Gaza. No doubt many in Israel today rue that fateful 2005 decision. A debacle all should remember when pressure today is applied on Israel for a continuation of the absurd “land for peace” non-starter.

In 1996 as the Chairman of the Likud party, Netanyahu ran and defeated incumbent Labor candidate Shimon Perez to become the 9th Prime Minister of Israel. On March 31, 2009 he was again sworn in for his second term as Prime Minister.

As if one period in Israel can be more daunting than another, Netanyahu came into office under the most dire of times. Israel today faces a combination of united enemies far more bellicose than anytime subsequent to the Six Day War. She does this within a back drop of world wide anti-Semitism not seen since the Second World War. But the enigma hidden deep within the puzzle is what strategy if any does he have moving forward under the circumstances just mentioned? That’s the $64,000 question. Does Netanyahu truly trust Obama based upon his pronouncements or does he weigh his actions of the past 18 months? In the crucial time ahead, how much faith does the Prime Minister really have in sanctions stopping the unthinkable, Iran getting a nuclear weapon? Subsequent to U.S. elections in the Fall, is he comfortable that Obama will stand with the Jewish State if Israel is forced to go to war with one or all of her enemies? If such a scenario plays out, how much political cover can Israel expect from this Administration? It’s funny, in some circles Netanyahu is denounced as a “right winger;” as if that’s a bad thing in of itself. Yet the most land Israel has relinquished with nothing to show for it has been under the leadership of military heroes; Ehud Barak in Southern Lebanon and Ariel Sharon in Gaza. It remains to be seen if Netanyahu joins that club.

August 17, 2010 | Comments »

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