October 18, 2010

During a dinner at which the Anti-Defamation League gave Israel supporter Rupert Murdoch an award, the media tycoon said Israel faced a war waged by “€œthe media…multinational organizations…and NGOs. In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.”€ Murdoch knows about being a pariah. One of his many British newspapers, News of the World, is under official scrutiny for illegal telephone hacking of public figures. His current attempt to monopolize the British media has sparked a protest campaign that includes a petition  with more than 30,000 signatures and further opposition from almost all other media groups. Yet, like the Israeli “€œpariah”€ he defends, he knows that popularity is less important than power. He and Israel exercise far more power than all their enemies combined. When they play victim, they deny any link between their unpopularity and what they actually do. And it works until someone stands up to them.

While Murdoch may be beyond redemption, a new Israeli version of another Catch-22 character, “€œMajor “€””€” de Coverley,”€ could at the last minute rescue Israel from the loyalty oath amendment. It takes only one respected Knesset member to speak up, as the Major did when Captain Black denied food to all who refused to sign the oath:

He started forward in a straight line, and the wall of officers before him parted like the Red Sea. Glancing neither left nor right, he strode indomitably up to the steam counter and, in a clear, full-bodied voice that was gruff with age and resonant with ancient eminence and authority, said: “€œGimme eat.”€

Instead of eat, Corporal Snark gave Major “€””€” de Coverley a loyalty oath to sign. Major “€””€” de Coverley swept it away with mighty displeasure the moment he recognized what it was, his good eye flaring up blindingly with fiery disdain and his enormous old corrugated face darkening in mountainous wrath….

His eyes fell on the groups of other officers gazing at him in mute appeal, and, with righteous belligerence, he roared:

“€œGive everybody eat!”€

“€œGive everybody eat!”€ Milo Minderbinder echoed with joyful relief, and the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade came to an end.

I have sufficient confidence in Israeli democracy to hope that the Knesset one day will “€œgive everybody eat”€ without demanding a loyalty oath. It would help those Israelis who cling to the “€œdemocratic”€ in “€œJewish and democratic”€ if outsiders gave them a little support instead of excusing every idiotic law that Lieberman and his fellow travelers propose.



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