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The Cross of Bethlehem II

Black September: Barak Sends Jews to Finland



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Semantics matter. In An Eye for an Eye: On War Semantics I expanded on the Hebrew media odd choice of words: "Kidnapped Soldiers" they blared in 2006, after a soldier was captured in Gaza and two in Southern Lebanon, while in fact they had been only captured in action. Many other times, I commented on the 1984-style rhetoric of Israel. “The year was 1983, but at school we were already studying Orwell’s 1984, a book which frightened us by its similarity to life in Israel. The Lebanon War, which had begun a year earlier, was still called ‘the War for the Peace of Galilee’ by the government. The Hebrew possessive contraction brought together the two words which sounded exactly like ‘War-Peace,’ creating a perfect Orwellian oxymoron. We all skipped the obvious contemporaneous context of the book in our commentaries; such semantics could belong only to the enemy and we lived in an enlightened society. Our government could not have made such an Orwellian choice consciously. And yet a little voice in my head told a different story, one that must be kept to myself. The glitch allowing such a subversive book to be on our reading list could only be interpreted as some inconsistency of the system. However, a frightening alternative explanation was that 1984 had been placed on the Education Ministry's official list of books intentionally, so that we would forever fear authority and behave. It was our first lesson in government manipulation of its people.” This text belongs to The Cross of Bethlehem, and describes the similarities between the Israeli society and the futuristic society described by George Orwell. Today, April 19, 2011, I found myself forced to expand on this issue due to yet another truly unbelievable declaration from a Zionist leader.

Jerusalem is trembling and bracing its dingy foundations for what is already being called the “Black September.” This is the name usually given to September 1970, which was when King Hussein of Jordan crashed Palestinian organizations in Jordan. Thousands of Palestinians died until next July, when the PLO was expulsed to Lebanon. It was the first public – though quietly so – cooperation between Jordan and Israel. The IDF and the Jordanian army created a corridor along the Jordan Valley through which the Palestinians were allowed to move northwards to Lebanon. Now, the term is being used for September 2011, the month in which Palestine would probably declare independence with the support of the Middle East Quartet – the UN, the EU, the USA and Russia. Israel knows it has lost this battle. Which shouldn’t have existed at all since the UN – the body that gave Israel conditional sovereignty – conditioned the foundation of Israel on the foundation of a Palestinian state. Why wait sixty years?

In the last week of February 2011, Netanyahu said over the phone to the German chancellor that he was about to launch a diplomatic initiative, explaining he is making a speech in two weeks in which he will outline a new peace plan. The prime minister claimed he intended to launch a new peace plan that would be a continuation of his Bar-Ilan University speech of June 2009, in which he agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Israeli media confirmed that, saying that Netanyahu is frantically looking for a way to jumpstart the peace process, in view of Israel's growing international isolation. "Netanyahu has recently begun talking about a second Bar-Ilan speech," said a senior Foreign Ministry official close to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (in the lingo of the Hebrew media this refers to Lieberman himself). The speech would outline an alternative to the interim agreement with the Palestinians, similar to Lieberman's plan. The initiative consisted of establishing a Palestinian state within temporary borders on about 50% of the West Bank. The “Bar Ilan II Speech” as it became known in the Hebrew media never took place, probably because the idea was badly seen practically by all sides. Instead, Netanyahu would visit Washington in May and speak before the two houses of Congress. Alas! Washington is nothing more than one-of-many-players these days and nothing would really change. Black September would eventually turn into a white one, at least in the eyes of the Palestinians

Under these circumstances, the silence of Defense Minister Ehud Barak was surprising. This little tsunami of ultra-ego was expected to make declarations on the issue; the only surprise was their stupidity (I apologize for the choice of this word, but as it comes out, it is merciful towards Barak). First he was forced to make a zig-zag. A few days ago he said: “Israel was enjoying the kind of calm that hasn't been seen for years.” Then following violence in the south he corrected himself with an amazing insight: “There is no ‘bang-and-it's-over’ solution.” By saying this he finally recognized what the whole world is trying to communicate to the Israeli leaders for more than sixty years: “There is no military solution to a political conflict.” In Barak’s highly evolved language, you can’t just shoot at the enemy. Bravo Barak; I recognize your achievement by dedicating you the alliteration at the beginning of this sentence. But Barak – oops, again – couldn’t stop here. He kept rambling and said:

“Those who came here in order to set up a national home have to know how to stand firm. For those who want complete quiet, there is Finland and there is Western Europe, and they can go there.”

Few outside Israel would recognize Barak is paraphrasing here Yitzhak Rabin – his mentor. Many years ago, Rabin called the “yordim” – Israeli citizens abandoning Israel – “nefolet shel nemushot;” a phrase which could be roughly translated as “cowards’ fallout,” only that the original is ten times more insulting in its connotations. Sometimes sticking to the origins is wise – especially for someone like Barak with a poor command of language, maybe the result of his Ugandan days. By adding so many words he added also several secondary meanings. Let’s see:

First, Barak implies Israel is not a national home because it must be set up. Interesting. Then, he clearly recognizes Jews do have an option to leave in peace elsewhere. Third, by omission, he recognizes all the Israeli comments about Western European anti-Semitism – recently Peres said: “England anti-Semitic” and Haaretz claimed Is the Vatican Training Hezbollah? - are void of truth and propagandistic – Goebbels-style - in nature. Bravo Barak, thank you for helping me so much; now be careful, Mossad may attack you as well.

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