The shame of the century is not only the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. It's also the brutal Israeli use of body parts of its maimed citizens with the aim of turning them into cheap propaganda in its efforts to be perceived as the victimized side in the conflict. "This is Arafat's fence," Gillerman asserted in the tone of the robber pretending to be the victim, who was supposedly forced by the other side to build the fence. Another shame, albeit of a secondary nature, is the few friends we have left in the international community, who voted with us on that day, nearly all of them island entities in the Pacific Ocean, such as Nauru and Palau Islands, and especially the mythological Micronesia, which is hopelessly in love with us.
Friday, December 12, 2003
Black Box / Verse - and worse
By Benny Ziffer
Anyone who didn't hear the speech delivered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before the television cameras at the Israel Business Conference on Monday (Channel 1 News, 9 P.M.) has never heard avant-garde poetry.
That, at all events, was how it sounded in his declamation - a speech that someone else obviously wrote for him hastily and that Sharon didn't have time to read before delivering it. "Negotiations," Sharon stated and thought there should be a period. The embarrassing silence that followed was rectified by a bodyguard who aimed the microphones at the mouth of his confused master. "That must be sincere and genuine," Sharon continued, and thought that the period must come now. But no, the sentence didn't end there, either. Sharon read on: "According to the road." And then, with the excitement of a bar mitzvah boy who has got lost in the sermon that someone wrote for him and is delighted to see that he has reached the end of the text, Sharon mustered up his strength and finished with the word "map," which remained hanging in the air, divorced from "road," in the finest tradition of Dadaist poetry, which, as will be recalled, sought to shatter common phrases and present them as a collection of meaningless sounds.
To sum up, then: The prime minister is a poet. Which automatically makes his right-hand man for the plan of painful territorial compromises, Deputy PM Ehud Olmert, a deputy poet. In other words, if Sharon is the Bialik of politics, Olmert is the cricket, the "poet of meagerness" from Bialik's poem "Shirati," who, by Jiminy, chirps a song of uni- cricketal concessions, and of "there's no chance that we will succeed in maintaining a Jewish state that has an Arab majority," and of "we will reduce the number of Arabs in Israel to a minimum." This is what the deputy poet has been chirping everywhere of late, and he made the same noises on Dan Margalit's "Politika" current affairs program on Tuesday and irritated the extensive panel that was summoned to the studio to react to his declarations.
A pity. These people - from Uzi Landau on the right to Avshalom Vilan on the left - simply don't understand that the poetry of Olmert and Sharon, indeed all poetry, must never be understood at face value. So when Olmert says "we will ensure the Jewishness of the State of Israel," the deep meaning is: "The Jewishness of the State of Israel is of no interest. What we have to do now is pretend that we are generous and want to give the Palestinians everything, in order to look good to the international community and to make the leftists shut up. Because in any case, neither the Palestinians nor the settlers will agree to accept what we will propose, so what does it cost us to make a proposal?"
This is poetry at its best: to say in eight words what others say in more than 40.
The third shame
If at the outset I tended to agree with the Palestinian delegate to the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa, who said that the Israeli occupation is "the shame of the century," the response by Israel's envoy to the UN, Danny Gillerman, made me change my mind.
The events in question took place on Monday, during the UN discussion on the moral validity of the separation fence Israel is building. Gillerman, in the hope of making an impression on someone, held up two photographs (CNN News, 10 P.M.) of Oren Almog, a 10-year-old Israeli boy, one of whose eyes was shattered in a terrorist attack. Did he forget that this trick has already been used in the past and that one never repeats the same trick twice? Gillerman went on to relate that physicians in the United States are even now trying to restore the boy's sight and that if there had been a separation fence, none of this would have happened.
So Nasser al-Kidwa is wrong. The shame of the century is not only the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. It's also the brutal Israeli use of body parts of its maimed citizens with the aim of turning them into cheap propaganda in its efforts to be perceived as the victimized side in the conflict.
"This is Arafat's fence," Gillerman asserted in the tone of the robber pretending to be the victim, who was supposedly forced by the other side to build the fence.
Another shame, albeit of a secondary nature, is the few friends we have left in the international community, who voted with us on that day, nearly all of them island entities in the Pacific Ocean, such as Nauru and Palau Islands, and especially the mythological Micronesia, which is hopelessly in love with us.
The shame is that no one has yet proved beyond a doubt that these countries really exist and are not the product of Israeli propaganda: Just as Israel is capable of using the eye of a 10-year-old boy for its purposes, it will also not balk at sending a contractor to dump a pile of earth in the ocean so that we will have, amid the hostile world all around, one more friend who will automatically cast its vote for us. We, in return, will send the concrete waste from the separation wall when it is toppled. With so much leftover concrete, it will surely be possible to create another chain of islands.