Friday, June 15, 2007


It was only a matter of time, in fact, I’m a bit surprised the refrain did not sound sooner.

The real, underlying cause of the civil war in Gaza this past week is (drum roll, please)…Israel!!!

Oh, and America.

But really, Israel.

Like Arnold Horshack, the famously stupid yet overeager student from Welcome Back Kotter, the New York Times has the distinction of raising its hand first, Horschack-style -- “Oooh!! Oooh!! Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kotter!!! I know!! I know!!! -- to (reflexively) identify the root cause of the reason why Gaza has turned into Hamastan, in a matter of days, with over 70 Palestinians dead.

But the Times was queasy about naming names. The reason behind the recent nightmarish warfare in Gaza rests in the failed policies, it says, of “Washington” and “Jerusalem.”

But readers, abandon your shock and above all, do not despair. There is yet hope. Though Israel (...whooops, Jerusalem) screwed the whole thing up, now is the time that it -- together with America (...whooops, Washington) can set everything right by “exert[ing] constructive influence in this dangerous situation.”

(Okay, I’m listening, even if I am wondering why only Washington and Jerusalem are being addressed when there is an entire international community watching Gaza implode.)

Hmmm. So, which “constructive” means does the Times have in mind?

*Impose a “total freeze on settlement building and expansion"
*Promptly ease the “onerous, humiliating and economically-strangulating blockades on Palestinian movements within the West Bank and
*Swiftly release “all tax revenues rightfully belonging to the Palestinians” to Mr. Abbas’s office

In other words, if only Israel had done this earlier, Hamastan would not have happened. And dismal as the situation is, taking the advice of the optimistic Times editorial staff constitutes a “new and wiser approach to Palestinian politics.”

Before I even dive into the heart of the specific recommendations of the newspaper of record, let me deconstruct the above statement. While I am all for some deus ex machina solution to the tragic drama of Gaza, I am against the subversion of language. To call what has unfolded over the past few days “politics” is preposterous. Politics has nothing to do with this, unless politics simply means power-struggle.

Politics dignifies the primitive, bloodthirsty violence that has taken place as an ineffective, internally corrupt Fatah has been overtaken by the sword-swinging Hamas fundamentalists bent on creating an “Islamic State,” whatever that means, ridding their conquered land of “heretics” and utterly ignoring a social agenda so that it might devote itself to rid the entire world of these so-called heretics, and, as the icing on the cake, eradicate Israel in the process.

And now to shoot down the Times’s three points, quickly and painlessly:

*Israel’s “settlement building and expansion” has about as much to do with igniting the Crips and Bloods-like warfare in Gaza as my mother’s new kitchen renovation. If the Times wants to be utterly irrelevant, it might as well toss in the O word at this point (occupation).

*Regarding the “onerous, humiliating and economically-strangulating blockades on Palestinian movements within the West Bank,” the Times is confusing cause and effect. These checkpoints are utterly essential in order to prevent the murder of Israeli civilians at the hands of new and eager recruits, such as the two Palestinian moms caught en route to blowing up Netanya and Tel Aviv last month.

If only Israel didn't have to worry about building blockades.

*Hey, instead of releasing the “monies” to Mr. Abbas, I’ve got a better idea! Let’s just hand them directly to Hamas! This way, we can at least save a few members of Fatah from being gunned down in front of their wives and children or thrown off the top of a high-rise building or shot in the back of their knees!

I admit it. Reading the Times this morning utterly ruined my day. Its lead editorial is more akin to something I’d expect to read in a college newspaper of a campus famous for its left-wing politics, and ill-informed student leaders.

But the Times editorial is depressing for another reason. To state that the ball for stabilizing the situation in Gaza rests fundamentally in the courts of “Washington” and “Jerusalem,” is to admit (without admitting it, of course) that the Palestinians are such animals/ incompetents/lunatics that the world can have no expectations of them. That they are so morally-challenged that the concept of accountability does not apply in their case.

So many analogies come to mind reading today's lead editorial in the New York Times.

Reading today's Times is like watching an episode of Law and Order that was produced after Hamas militants stormed the set. After shooting the interim DA Nora Lewin in the head, kidnapping Jack McCoy and throwing producer Dick Wolf off the top of the NBC building, the newly-cast judge, played by Mel Gibson, would render a decision that found Israel culpable for the crime at the heart of this episode -- an infectious virus that spread to humans because an animal activist stormed a laboratory where infected monkeys were being experimented upon – as well as every crime on every episode of Law and Order, including Law and Order: SVU and Law and Order: CI and other spin-offs I'm not aware of.

Because Law and Order is no longer watchable, I cruise the channels, only to discover reruns of Welcome Back Kotter, but it seems like Hamas stormed the set of that show as well, turning Horschak into a newly-converted Wahabist Muslim who honor-kills Hotsy-Totzie because she was seen talking to Epstein and recruits Barbarino and Boom Boom Washington as suicide bombers.

Mr. Kotter is killed, of course, because he is Jewish, and replaced by a new teacher – Mr. A. Dolph -- played by Mel Gibson. Horschack changes his name to Hamid and renames the Sweathogs the Palestinian National Struggle Against Zionist Imperialism.

Hamastan has taken over the American media, seeping into our homes and our minds.

1 comment:

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