The situation in the U.N. today strongly puts me in mind of the several conventions held, in 1860, just before the Civil War, by the group that was then called the Democratic Party, though, as the party of preference for the slaveowners, it somehow morphed over the next hundred years into being the present-day Republican Party, the party of preference for bigots of all kinds, and you can tell just how ignorant people are of history when they blithely refer to the Republicans as being "the party of Lincoln," when in reality they stopped being that the day that Jacob Javits, an outstandingly liberal senator from New York, no longer ran for office, in the 1950's.
Seeing that the Republicans embraced various views unfriendly to slavery, and that they could win, even with a candidate as rough-hewn and "homely" as Abraham Lincoln, the Democrats at their three conventions held within two months of each other, the first in Charleston, S.C., and the other two in Baltimore, tried to trick the American public into seeing things their way, and that included splitting apart, twice over, and presenting themselves in various guises. But try as they might to conceal the irreconcilable and terrible plight of the slaves from Africa in the southern states, mainly by never mentioning it, though that was at the heart of what the subsequent Civil War was all about, no matter how much the apologists for the secessionists insisted otherwise, then and now, those "Democrats" of the mid-19th Century were unable to succeed in such political sleight of hand.
Today all the pressure is being put on the Palestinians, the counterparts of the American slaves, to desist from applying to the U.N. for statehood, while nothing at all is being asked of the Israelis. Instead only one word is being spoken, and that is "negotiation," as if that is the be-all and end-all and the solution to all the problems between the Israelis and the Palestinians, when anyone who has followed the situation in the Middle East for any number of years would know that if one were looking for sincere adversaries with whom one would want to negotiate, men like B. Netanyahu and that Lieberman bird wouldn't even rate as a last choice. Negotiations, interminably drawn-out negotiations would only give the Israelis time to take over more and more land with settlements, build higher and higher walls, and maintain more and more checkpoints -- all designed to drive some Palestinians out permanently, while confining all the rest eventually into tiny reservations, a la the Indians in the U.S., where those remaining Palestinians would likely find life so intolerable that they would soon leave for good, too, and the takeover of the West Bank would be complete, with the rationale being, "See? the sand nig- Oops! I mean the Palestinians -- didn't even want to be there in the first place, and this proves it!"
So in a Haaretz article
devoted to supposedly reasonable reactions to the speech that Obama gave in the U.N. and in which he responded to the Palestinians exactly as he had been instructed to do by His Masters' Voice, you will find no mention of the things most hurtful to the Palestinians -- the economic chokeoffs, the settlements, the walls, the checkpoints, the segregated roads, and the segregated everything else. Instead everything is seen only from the point of view of advantages for Israel, though it is the stronger and more favored party in the matter by far.
Here is a typical paragraph from that article:
J Street rejected the Palestinian UN bid, but its President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement that Obama was right to say there is "no shortcut” to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflic
t (so what else is new?) and that Obama must turn this "crisis" into "an opportunity to jumpstart meaningful diplomacy that yields results."
But to jumpstart anything, at least in modern vehicles that don't have clutches that can be slammed while the car is rolling downhill, you need a jumper cable, and Obama's has long since fallen into shreds from disuse and dry rot.
Not so long ago in the U.S., Jews, along with Rainbows, were the perpetual underdogs and scapegoats for almost everything imaginable. But now they have left the Rainbows behind and have "graduated" into being among the overdogs. If I were Jewish I would feel very uneasy about being given that status, and I am always much more comfortable with remaining among the underdogs. I have found no reason not to continue thinking, as I always have, that to be an underdog is always the most moral, right, decent, just, and honorable position to be in. And so it is now with the Palestinians, regardless of the badly aimed rockets of today and the suicide bombers of yesterday, to which a simple request for statehood ought to be lightyears more preferable. But the Israel sympathizers seem to view every Palestinian initiative as worthy only of being thrown out of sight down the same desert well.
Of course the Israelis would instantly answer that they, not the Palestinians, are the true underdogs in this, pointing out all the hostile Arab countries close by with much larger populations. We are asked to forget all the F-16 fighter planes, the several nuclear subs, the hundreds of nuclear bombs, and all the other modern weaponry that is not easily noticeable in Arab hands, plus the biggest deterrent of all, possession of one impossibly large and bodaciously mean pit bull of a country that is kept kenneled up overseas until needed to be sicced on someone such as the Iranians or the Palestinians.
But you would think that nevertheless that would make the Israelis all the more disposed to showing how much benefit they can be to the small slice of the Arab population with whom they have the closest contact. Instead they just keep pressing their booted foot down on the Palestinian neck with all the more force, using the excuse that that kind of unrelenting torture is all that the Arabs understand.
It may be exceedingly idealistic to say this, but I feel comfortable in saying it anyway: That is a very slippery premise on which to base the whole future of the Promised Land.