Thursday, 29 September 2016

Peres I – Really ?

The whole world seems to be coming to Peres’ funeral. One should bear in mind that much of the world’s love for Peres is due to the justifiable hatred of and disgust by Bibi.

Peres described himself as a man of peace and this is also how he is seen outside Israel. This is somewhat simplistic. He was above all a brilliant operator, mainly in the defence and security realm. Ben Gurion, in his wisdom, recognised Peres’ abilities and made him director general of the country’s ministry of defence at a young age of 29. Ever since and throughout his long career, Peres had his finger in every one of Israel’s defence pies, for good and for bad.

He became a “peace camp” politician rather late in the day. Indeed, the man, who tried to conclude a peace treaty with the Palestinians, was one of the first enablers of Israel’s illegal settlements in the areas it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War. He too, like many other labour party politicians, was land greedy.

Therefore, if you must read them - the eulogies - don’t just take them at face value.

Peres II – The son’s eulogy

Why do we need to hear the ruminations of dead people’s family members? The media love to give space to the parents and widows of accident, crime or war victims, who, surprise, surprise, inform the world what amazing, gifted, world-loving, full of potential, etc. young men and women their dead children had been.   

Immediately after Peres’ death was announced, his son saw fit to inform world media that his father had "worked tirelessly for Israel - from the first day of the state to the last day of his life… His sole focus was to serve until his last breath the people of Israel who he so loved…the loss we feel today is that of the entire nation.”

Not to be outdone, Peres’ son-in-law also gave a long tribute. Just in case we did not yet know, he spoke of how much the world’s grandees all loved and admired his deceased father-in-law.

In the case of a politician, it is simply ridiculous to get family members views and analysis of the man as a public persona. When it comes to people who one has never heard of before and who only appear in the public media because of the circumstances of their death, broadcasting the emotional ponderings of their next of kin is there but to serve the public’s unattractive voyeurism.  

Peres III - & Clinton (B)

It has been reported that former US President Bill Clinton will be flying in for Peres’ funeral in the private jet of Haim Saban, one of the mega-rich supporters of the Clintons.

Evidently the political advisers of Hillary do not consider such behaviour to be harmful to her presidential campaign.

Nothing, as yet, has been said about Trump, who could, of course, use the good services of the equivalent: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Hey Mr President, if you cannot afford the plane ride, stay at home.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Noble Ancestry ?

Israel has an impressive, well-known, and highly respected record of scientific discoveries.  

At the Tel Aviv airport, the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space has covered a long wall with placards describing the inventions and their inventors. Curiously, they have decided to include the Jewish but not Israeli Albert Einstein, and… Maimonides who died in 1204 in Cairo, 744 years before the establishment of the State of Israel, in this tour-de-force.

Is this an equivalent of claiming noble ancestry to reinforce a new ruler’s legitimacy? 

Headphones to rescue

I don’t know whether El Al sells tickets on the basis of buy one ticket and take two children for free but it seemed like that to me, as I arrived at the Frankfurt airport last week. The noise level was unbelievable. Already at the gate.

A few days earlier, I bought a pair of rather expensive headphones. I am glad that I did. It may sound like a commercial, but it was really wonderful: headphones on and I became oblivious to whatever else was happening on the plane. It felt as if I had just taken a drug. I saw everything, including all those annoying kids, through a kind of screen, only half taking it in, whilst I was totally immersed in the music I was listening to.

As an additional bonus, the headphones did a great job of keeping the engine noise out.

On Boycott and Blackmail

A month ago Brussels Airlines announced that, further to requests by Palestinian passengers, it had stopped offering a sweet (Halva), as it was produced in the Occupied Territories.

I personally think that products manufactured by the occupying Israelis in the West Bank should indeed be boycotted. The Israeli government – not surprisingly – does not share this view of mine. Moreover, Israel is evidently stronger than the Palestinian lobby and the airline has now announced that it has changed its decision and that said Halva will be available again.

In the campaign to pressurise Brussels Airlines, Israel activated Diaspora Jews and soon, claims that the airline was “giving in to racism” and about anti-Semitism could be found on social media. Whatever one’s views about Israeli settlements and occupation, it is outrageous and dishonest to suggest that boycotting products made by occupier owned companies is giving in to racism or anti-Semitic.