October 19, 2023
A major in the reserves of the Israeli army, Nir Avishai Cohen, got it more right than all the blowhards pumping out hot air about Gaza all week: Love Israel, Support Palestine is the name of his book written and published last year, and in a newspaper article after the horrors had begun, he reconfirmed it. And added to it: “There’s no such thing as unavoidable,” he wrote.
The ideology of the elite, whatever side they’re on, has never solved the problems of the masses, and it will not solve the Gaza conundrum, that’s for sure. Arabs in Europe are screaming bloody murder, as are Jews over in America. The reality is that a minority, Hamas, have gripped the majority of the Palestinians by force, and the innocents are paying the price. On the Israeli side, government extremists in cahoots with wildly religious bigots are as bad as Hamas.
So, what is there to do? If I knew, I’d act like those self-important blow-dried buffoons who blather on night after night on TV defending their ludicrous opinions. They do it for the moola, but Takimag operates on a higher level. We actually try to tell our readers what we conceive to be the truth, not what we believe will get us more exposure and a better payday. All I can predict is that the righteousness of their cause is deeply embedded on both Muslims and Jews, making it a safe debt that violence and hate will continue.
But before I go on about the morality involved, a few true facts are necessary. I’ll be as brief as possible: Palestinians are like everyone else when oppressed. They rise up. The Jews did it in the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazis, although they knew their chances of success were less than nil. With Netanyahu as head, there is no hope for a Palestinian state. More settlements are being built, more land stolen, and the West Bank is slowly but surely being annexed. A member of the Israeli cabinet, Itamar Ben-Gvir, has been convicted of incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist group. Finally, Israelis seem to have become immune to how Palestinians live under Israeli rule and what it is to be a Palestinian in that unhappy land.
And what about Palestinian violence and the murder of innocent Israelis, one may very well ask. I wish I had an answer that satisfied all Israelis, but I do not. Suffice it to say that what drove Polish Jews to revolt back in 1944 should explain a lot. But here’s an idea: I wish it were as straightforward as goodies versus baddies. As a Christian, I like to believe the goodies outnumber the baddies by a hell of a lot. Not all Palestinians like Hamas, and not all Israelis like to oppress Palestinians. Both Gazans and Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are terrified. Intelligent and God-fearing Israelis must see the suffering that terror attacks bring. Vengeance is mine is only the title of a Mickey Spillane novel, and not a very good one at that. The reality of the place is that more than 2 million people have been living in an open prison for more than fifteen years. Gaza is an incubator for hate if there ever was one.
When Israel is done crushing Hamas it will be time for Israelis to come to the aid of Palestinians, both in Gaza and in the West Bank. A functioning Palestinian state is a must. The Palestinian Authority has to go. It is corrupt and autocratic and reviled by Palestinians. Saudi, Qatar, and the UAE have to stop playing games and finance the new state. They’ve got the moola to do it, but until now they’ve preferred to keep the Palestinians needy and miserable in case a new state shows them up to be what they are: corrupt autocrats who make the Tsarist Russian aristocrats look like Benedictine monks by comparison.
There you have it, the Taki plan, but I need to lighten up a bit. Sincere is boring and doesn’t suit the poor little Greek boy. So here’s a true story that took place close to thirty years ago. I was in New York with Gianni Agnelli, the charismatic Fiat head and owner of the carmaker, who rang and asked if I would go with him to watch “half an hour or so of 42nd Street,” the Broadway hit. Gianni was the world’s most impatient man—worse than William Buckley, another close friend—and he wanted to hear a couple of good tunes, watch the girls jump around, and then have a quick dinner.
Well, being Agnelli, we had the two best seats in the house, right in the first row in the very middle. As the band finished the intro and the curtain was about to go up, a female usher came rushing and asked us to move. “You’re in the wrong seats, please move right away,” she whispered. Gianni, well brought up and as reluctant to draw attention as I was eager to protest rather loudly, started to stand. That’s when I saw a rather unattractive couple waiting in the wings. I recognized the man, not the woman. Then I looked at the tickets that Gianni had handed me and we were in the right seats. I almost forced Agnelli to sit back down and told the usher there was no way we would move. “Tell those freeloaders to get their own seats, we’re not moving,” I told her just as the curtain went up. We left after half an hour, and I’m sure those interlopers got our seats. Who were the couple? Who else but our old friend Benjamin Netanyahu, out on the town pulling a West Bank on us.