You know who

 Robert Fisk on Fadlallah again, this time on our present season of grovelling whenever “anything might offend you know who.” or or

Last paragraph:

Looking back, the Obama grovelling started in that famous Cairo reach-out-to-the-Muslim-world speech, when he referred to the Palestinian “relocation” of 1948 (as if the Palestinian Arabs got up one morning on the birth of Israel and decided that they all wanted to go on holiday to Lebanon). But the moment the world should have got wise was when Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. A man of greater dignity would have acknowledged the honour of such an award, but explained that his own unworthiness prevented him from accepting. But he did accept. He wanted the Nobel Prize. It was more important to accept it even though he did not deserve it. And now? Well, we’ve all been watching the little groveller this week. Middle East peace? Further colonisation of Arab land? Crisis in southern Lebanon? The continued siege of Gaza? Forget it. Think of mid-term elections. Remember the fate of Nasr and Guy. And grovel.

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  1. Yes indeed! Our knight in shining armor on the white horse got to the white house, traded his horse for a mule, hung the armor up on the coat rack where it is now rusting fast. Since then he’s been consulting that wad of IOU’s in the saddlebag at every fork in the road to make sure they are all paid off at the next crossroads.

    – Børre

  2. Well, M. d’N., we’re getting perilously close to the kind of hideous-penny-drop moment that was alluded to in my ‘When, Not If’ contribution (the ACS Beirut compendium of war stories) … where I realized something about the nature of the Mideast conflict that I had earlier either been suppressing or was genuinely ignorant of. The trouble with the latest Fisk piece is that he equates the ‘you-know-who’ phrase with the Likudniks and their agents in the world … leaving out Zionism entirely, in this latest guise. And the trouble with that is that Zionism includes a lot of well-regarded people in the world. It was not so long ago (or is it still?) that most English dictionaries equated ‘anti-Zionism’ with ‘anti-Semitism’ … a clever fraud, putting it bluntly — but one that automatically places any dislike for a particular Jew or particular Israeli policy at risk as knee-jerk anti-Semitism. I suppose the real penny-drop moment for me was when I was reading the Philip Jose Farmer novel Riverworld, which has a character who (like everyone in the convention of the novel) cannot be killed, he can only be ‘done away with’ by the various miscreants of the novel, who are identified by the particular character as anti-Semites … who always put him to death because of their bred-in-the-bone, mother’s-milk hatred of Jews. As I indicated in the ACS alumni piece, though, I came to my doubt-filled suspicion of things Israeli NOT by exposure to anti-Semitism in my family or outside of it, but by contact with individuals connected with some aspect of the religion, race, culture, or modern state. The ones who distressed me the most were the ones who seemed to embody the very characteristics decried as ‘Jewish’ by real anti-Semites … and the truly remarkable thing was that this was not at all characteristic of everyone I knew who was of that religion, race, culture, or state. Thank god for small favors. But it was characteristic of a good, solid proportion of the people I have known who are of that religion, race, culture, or state. Don’t worry, I’m going to get to the point right now!

    So even to be able to discuss the topic with people without engendering some kind of backlash, generating some kind of offense of you know who, I conceived the notion, based on a flash of insight about the ubiquity and adaptability of this particular group of people, that they were comparable in some sense to Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches. Ergo, in any context where I would hesitate to offend, I would simply characterize them to a colloqutor who was properly apprised of the dodge as ‘Finches’. This involves ultimately an entire range of words based on its Latinate form, fringilline. Here’s a jingle on the subject:


    If I say “Finches are best friends of mine,”
    I’m a crypto-anti-fringilline.

    …Or maybe I’m just pulling some Finch leg.

    Thom Moore

  3. A huge, important distinction, but merely fuzzy nuance — indistinct from real, rabid anti-Semitism — for most folks who remain wilfully ignorant about America’s ugly part in even uglier realities “over there.”

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