The King, The Jester, and The Fool...
Kind of reminds you of something Johnny Carson's 'Carnac The Magnificent' might say, placing a "hermetically sealed" envelope to his temple to channel the mysterious question inside. Carnac would repeat the phrase, rip the "hermetic" seal, blow into the envelope, repeat the phrase again, then reveal the inner query:
The King, The Jester and The Fool: Who are Jordan's King Abdullah II, Christian fanatic Tom Delay, and CongrASSwoman Illiana Ros-Lehtinen?
The true answer. They are three individuals inextricably linked to the Israel/Palestine travesty, but in uniquely different ways. The King wants a peaceful resolution. DeLay wants Raptured Revolution. Ros-Lehtinen wants persecution.
I'm with The King.
On March 7th, Jordan's King Abdullah II made an impassioned speech to the Joint Session of Congress to ask America to take a leadership role in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Sadly, his pleas fell on deaf ears. Few, if any members of Congress understood the gravity of the King's words. Like programmed automatons, they applauded when they heard the word "Peace," but never digested its meaning. They're so tied to AIPAC and the portrait of a victimized Israel, that they ignore the oppression of the Palestinian people. No one can tell them differently. Not humanitarian Jimmy Carter. Not the ally King who compassionately came to call.
Right now there is an uproar in Israel over last summer's assault on Lebanon, similar to the uproar in the United States over America's assault on Iraq. According to Israeli Vice-Premier Shimon Peres, "The greatest mistake is the very fact of war... Whoever wants to avoid mistakes should completely avoid war... If it had been up to me I would not have gone into this war."
Unfortunately, American mass media doesn't report on the actual happenings in Israel. Nor does it report on the growing movement of Jews worldwide who oppose Israel's misguided, oppressive policies toward Palestine, as discussed in this counterpunch piece.
The fact is, unless America adopts a truly balanced approach toward Israel and Palestine, it will NEVER be trusted in the Arab world. It will always be perceived as the enemy of Islam. Peaceful relations within the region will never be achieved.
As I viewed King Abdullah's speech, I noticed with interest how Florida Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen was even less receptive than many of her colleagues. I've been observing her closely in Congress, paying attention to her positions on issues, which is why I singled her out in this piece. She is "The Fool."
Ros-Lehtinen is a bizarre, paradoxical woman. She's a particularly staunch supporter of Israel and endorces its oppression of Palestine. As stated on her Congressional website, "Ileana continues to be a fighter for our U.S. ally, Israel, participating in the Jewish Federation's fund-raising phone-a-thons in Miami, as well as numerous visits to Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, and the Golan Heights during the bombings to demonstrate our steadfast solidarity with this beleaguered nation." In an interview with Haaratz.com, Ros-Lehtinen was challenged for her pro-Israel/anti-Palestinian legislation and views. Here are her responses.
What I find equally perplexing about Ros-Lehtinen is her unwavering support for the War On Iraq, with full understanding of the deaths, torture and maiming of thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi people. Ros-Lehtinen is a Cuban exile. Wanting Saddam Hussein deposed aligns with her personal history. But her lack of compassion for the Iraqi people is confounding. Would she feel the same if the United States attacked Cuba to oust Castro, then killed hundreds of thousands of Cubans in the process? Surely she must see some similarities in the suffering of Cubans and Palestinians as the direct results of sanctions. Then again, she endorses the sanctions. Why should her callousness be a surprise?
In my introduction, I referred to Ros-Lehtinen as a fool. Actually, she's a buffoon.
Not long ago C-SPAN featured Ros-Lehtinen and two other members of Congress on a trip to Iraq. The Congresswoman was dressed in her little flack outfit and having an absolute blast. She giggled like a giddy teenager at her very first party. But the dumbest part was Ros-Lehtinen handing out her business cards to newly trained, camera shy, non-English speaking Iraqi soldiers. They looked at her like she was crazy. There she was in a war-zone (the high profile visitor-safe war-zone) popping business cards into the hands of baffled Iraqis, saying, "I'm Illeana. Call me." It was ludicrous. I TiVo'd it to watch it again. I kept asking myself what the people in Florida could possibly be thinking by electing a cartoon character to represent them. The same moron who on video called for Castro's assassination. Here's the video of "Giddy-Girl" calling for the Castro "hit."
And then there's Tom Delay, "The Jester," whose unvarnished ideological support of Israel even shocked CNN's pro-Israel Wolf Blitzer. Ideally, considering what a sleaze Delay is, if Israel were smart it would shun his allegiance.
Here's the March 22nd Situation Room chat between Blitzer and Delay:
BLITZER: The [Delay's] book is entitled No Retreat, No Surrender. But a lot of people have already commented you retreated, you surrendered when you decided to give up your job as the House majority leader.
DELAY: Well, I don't see it that way. I see it as fighting in a different arena. When I decided to resign, I knew I had to do two things -- push the conservative cause and support Israel. And I knew that if I got reelected, I'd just be a rank and file member. I couldn't be a leader. So I could push the conservative cause and support Israel in a much more meaningful, constructive way outside of Congress.
BLITZER: Why is supporting Israel your -- I can understand, you're Mr. Conservative -- why is supporting Israel such an important issue for you?
DELAY: Oh, I've been the number one supporter of Israel my entire career. It started with me joining the Refusenik movement and getting persecuted Jews out of the Soviet Union in the '80s. I have been, as a leader in the Republican majority -- and it's all in the book -- I've been the number one guy to defend Israel against all comers and make sure that America stands strong in support of Israel."
Heads up, Israel!! Do the words "revelation," "end times," and "the rapture" have any meaning for you? If they don't, THEY SHOULD!!
The fact is, my purpose for tackling this highly controversial subject of Palestine and Israel stems not from the anti-semite tag some readers are certain to lay on me. It comes from my angst at knowing how horribly the Palestinians are living. It comes from my anger over Congress's dismissive response to King Abdullah's heartfelt plea for help.
Until America intercedes with equal fairness for both sides of the Israel/Palestine issue, Middle East peace is impossible.
Now...an encore appearance for "Carnac the Magnificent": Again the envelope tipped at his temple, followed by the words, "A Sicilian Catholic American, An Austrian Jewish American, and A Kid."
Tear open the hermetic seal and the question inside will read, "Who are My father, My mother, and Me?
Having a Jewish mother, by Jewish law I'm a Jew. I was raised in a 90% Jewish neighborhood in New York City. The only non-Jews I spent time with were my father's side of the family.
I grew up in a beachside community where MANY of my friends' parents and grandparents had ugly numbers tattooed on their arms. The Holocaust was the heavy cloud that hung over my ocean. It never lifted. A few people spoke about it. Most people didn't. Even as a child I realized their torment. I felt their stares when I eyed their tattoos. Their looks held the loudest silence. Some held their hand over their numbers. Others just seemed to forget.
As a child my favorite book was Exodus. My favorite author was Leon Uris. I can recite the names of every main character in the book. Their voices still ring in my head. My favorite song was the theme song from Exodus, sung by Andy Williams. I still remember the words. I gave my grandmother's ring to my best friend when she left for the Six Day War. The ring was never returned which broke my mother's heart. I grew up a Zionist.
I'm no anti-semite for wanting peace... or for wanting an end to the suffering... on both sides of the Wall... which shouldn't exist at all!!
Note: For younger readers who don't know "Carnac"... here's a little reference.