Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Even if it's forgotten
In today's Yediot Aharonot (Israel's most read daily newspaper which doesn't have an English translation and appears in part on the net on Ynet) Amos Carmel ridicules the responses of the media and left-wing politicians to Bush's speech.

"On September 14 1998", he writes (the translation is mine), "while up to his neck in the Monica Lewinsky affair, Bill Clinton made a speech about world economy. The next day an Israeli columnist wrote that the impression made by this speech on the history of world economy "will be recognized many years after no one remembers ... what exactly Monica did with the cigar". So far, it seems, the complete opposite has happened. On October 4 2001 Ariel Sharon announced in a press conference that Israel would not be Czechoslovakia (of 1938) ... everone was explaining that the U.S. administration wouldn't forgive Israel for this dangerous and insulting speech. There were even those who maintained that as a result we would have to ask Arafat to use his connections to help us be included in the great anti-terror coalition. Does anyone remember that speech? Does anyone remember that coalition (that never came to be)? [...] Speeches and analysis are just speeches and analysis. In the great majority of cases they are not a non-returnable commitment."
[...] "(Shimon) Peres is the best man to bear witness to that. On Monday he was bitterly saying that Bush was "making a fatal mistake" and that "the area will fall into an abyss as large as the expectations of the speech". Yesterday, he was already explaining that this was a "great" speech."

He says that the columnists and political analysts seem dismayed that "the head of the one superpower in our world did not supply a one-speech magic-solution to a hundred-year-long bloody conflict. And wonder of wonders, he didn't take the opportunity to tell us (Israelis) off. How can we cope with this calamity?"