By Jason Gold
For those of you paying attention, the past week had some truely memorable and remarkable statements by some truly, well, less-than-remarkable but colorful personalities. The common factor in all these statements? Israel in one way or another.
WTF#1: Obama shows up in NY at a fund-raiser hosted by assimilated liberal (nee, progressive) Jews on NY's Upper East Side, promptly turning Manhattan traffic into a nightmare during the holiday season and annual tree-lighting all the while proclaiming with a straight face and sans teleprompter that his administration has done more for Israel than any previous administration.
WTF#2: Obviously not getting his boss' memo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta blames the failed Quartet peace initiatives on Israel at a speech at the Brookings Institute and advises Israel to "get back to the damn table." What do you expect from someone who asked Congress to come up with sanctions for Iran that had teeth and then after the Senate voted in favor of them by 100-0 in a very rare display of bi-partisanship, tried to water them down and back away. Ah, but it was pure poetry watching Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from NJ no less, just eviscerate Panetta at a hearing in front of Congress.
WTF#3: Still searching for that missing memo, Obama's hand-picked Jewish ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, places the blame of Arab and European anti-Semitism on Israel's existence and refusal to knuckle under with more concessions. But by the end of his speech he must have found that memo as he too described Obama as Israel's best and most valuable friend with a straight face. When this hit the fan, watching the backpedalling was more fun than a video of Michael Jackson's best moon walking moves.
WTF#4: In a case of regional dyslexia, Hilary Clinton, thinking that Obama's memo applied to Iran and not Israel, opens an online virtual embassy in a reach out effort to Iran, while blasting Israel for allowing Chareidi women to ride in the back of buses and daring to try and limit Leftist NGO influence (aka known as "democracy" to the Left) in Israel. Fortunately in a rare display of self respect and self dignity, Israeli politicians respond that Hilary needs to understand the difference between Rosa Parks and religious life style choices and if she is so concerned about women and democracy, perhaps she should speak out against the brutality directed at women in Arab countries such as honor killings, rape, forced marriages, forced clitorectomies etc., or perhaps worry about American democracy, or just sit down with a nice large hot cup of STFU as we used to say in Brooklyn.
WTF#5: Secular Reform American Jews, and some secular Israelis living in the US go ballistic over an Israeli government advertisement campaign urging Israelis to return home to Israel or risk losing their Jewish identity. The noise/outrage/whining from secular/reform US Jews gets so loud that Bibi himself is forced to intervene and cancel the ads. It is clear that the ads hit a raw nerve with reform/secular Jews in the US whose numbers are diminishing at an alarming rate precisely because of intermarriage, assimilation and loss of Jewish identity. DUH!! anyone?
An finally, WTF#6 and my personal favorite WTF moment of the week: The Prime Minister of Israel, showing the true nature of "democracy" in Israel by announcing early Likud primaries and also trying to limit the influence of thousands of new people in the Likud from Yesha by attempting to redefine "one man, one vote" as only applying to people who vote the way I want them to or let's "redistribute" and "dilute" that territory vote and pump up the city votes. But it gets better. That same Israeli PM, with a completely straight face and in all earnestness, announced that he will oppose the Knesset trying to make the Supreme Court accountable and have to have a say in Court appointments, rather than allowing this worst example of judicial activism and overreach appoint themsleves. Why would he oppose a system like the US, the paragon of democracy? Why to preserve the freedom and democratic nature of the Supreme Court, silly. Ok, on cue, everyone's eyes roll back in your respective heads, please. Thank you. I guess seeing Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch so upset at the Israeli Law dinner whining at the politicians trying to hurt democracy (translation: limit my absolute power to damn well do anything I want) really just pulled at Bibi's heart strings. Cue the violins and pass the Kleenex.
Honorable WTF mention: After freezing the NGO bill he promised to support, Bibi was told by his Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that is was a good thing he froze the bill as Weinstein would not be able to defend the law in court because it was "unconstitutional". Really? Uh, hello, when exactly did Israel get a constitution? And why wasn't I told? Does this mean that there is actual separation of powers now? Ah, to dream.