Another Tack: The Chicken Licken syndrome

It’s now up to Netanyahu to decide whether he’ll revive yesteryear’s resolve about Jerusalem or.

By
March 19, 2010 17:03
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu attends the week

netanyahu cabinet good 311. (photo credit: AP)

Hillary is hopping mad about Israeli “insults” (no less). Barack Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden (some of whose best friends are Zionists), has warned us (at Tel Aviv University) that “the status quo is not sustainable.”

Obviously doubting our abilities to comprehend so weighty a message, he slowly and deliberately reiterated the portentous mantra with extra emphasis on the really important syllables, so that even dim-witted vassals can get the point and get scared.

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Our left-leaning media did all they could to amplify the implicit intimidations. Opinion-molders prone to running with the pack and going with the flow were duly aghast with angst.

But upon cooler reflection, those of us with more than two weeks’ worth of historic memory might recollect that this is hardly the first time we received the harshest of warnings that time isn’t in our favor – heaven forefend – and that if we don’t rush to slash our own throats, our enemies might shortly decapitate us. Do we really want to lose our heads?

IN SEPTEMBER 2000, Hillary’s significant other, Bill, when he was still president, delivered the same warning in the same omniscient tone of we-know-better-than-you-what’s-best-for-you. It was at the Millennium Summit. “Like all chances, this one too is fleeting and there’s not a moment to lose,” Slick Willy wagged his disapproving finger. If we don’t do pronto as he wishes, he admonished, disaster would strike and the sky would come crashing down upon our thick skulls. He only tried to save us from ourselves. Just like Biden. For our own good.

Amazingly the sky is still hanging up there, as it did eons ago, contrary to the dark predictions that it wouldn’t.

Biden, dispatched here by his boss Obama to declaim the dire forecast, merely reenacted a shabby worn routine. Doubtlessly, he too was out to convince us that the state of our firmament is as precarious as Chicken Licken (a.k.a. Chicken Little) assessed after an acorn struck him. Young Licken reckoned on that occasion that the stratosphere had collapsed. His consequent hysteria infected Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey, all of whom joined his quest to locate the king and caution him.

Likewise converted to Biden’s doomsayer agenda were Ehud Barak and his labor leftovers, Tzipi Livni and her Kadima coterie, Meretz (always first to cheer any bad news), superficial scribblers and tendentious talking heads, as well as a host of gullible “useful fools.” The danger is that infectious fear may have already crept into Binyamin Netanyahu’s heart. We elected him our prime minister in the trust that he is made of sterner stuff, but is he?

So far we’ve only seen him backtrack in trepidation – from his freezing Jewish construction in the Jewish heartland to instructing Jerusalem’s mayor to suspend development plans lest Arabs be outraged. If Arabs are outraged, the rest of the world is bound to reverberate with righteous indignation and the soundness of the sky might be tested.

SHEER CONCERN for the well-being of the heavens above led Bibi to refrain from attending the rededication of Jerusalem’s rebuilt Hurva Synagogue – until 62 years ago the Old City’s magnificent Ashkenazi house of worship. It was deliberately destroyed and burned by the Arabs who illegally conquered segments of Jerusalem, occupied them for 19 years and forcefully expelled their Jewish inhabitants.

The Hurva was built between 1857-1864 on the ruins of an earlier structure constructed by Rabbi Judah the Pious in the late 17th century (over a synagogue site dating to the second century). There wasn’t a wee murmur of protest about this wanton arson nor about the devastation of 57 other Old City synagogues by conquistador Arabs. Likewise, not a whisper of displeasure about Arabs ripping out Mount of Olives tombstones to construct public latrines. The international community was decidedly unbothered when for 19 years Jews were prohibited from praying at their holiest sites.

But the Jewish return was deemed a reprehensible violation of good conduct codes by which, we know, all other nations faithfully abide. Ravaging the Hurva was acceptable, but rebuilding it is a sin against pie-in-the-sky peace. It was pardonable to cast Jews out of the Old City, but their homecoming deserves unreserved condemnation.

Jerusalem was always one united city save for a 19-year illegality arising from an Arab invasion in violent breach of the UN partition resolution. While the world convivially tolerated Arab occupation of half of Jerusalem, it never recognized the residual Jewish hold even on the other half, west Jerusalem. In the spirit of skewed evenhandedness, the global consensus now is that the result of 1948’s illegal Arab invasion must be upheld and that Jews must be barred from anywhere that the invaders once occupied.

That’s why planning permits for 1,600 additional apartments in Ramat Shlomo irk the world. Ramat Shlomo isn’t in east Jerusalem but to its north, doesn’t encroach on Arab neighborhoods and its birth 12 years ago triggered no squawk. It’s situated on what were barren slopes that overlook the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway. Ramat Shlomo’s already existing 2,300 housing units were erected on vacant wasteland, dispossessing nobody. Currently 17,500 Jews reside there. They marry, give birth and their families grow. Is their neighborhood to be made judenrein because for 19 years Jews were barred from it?

If anyone owes an apology for rank insults, Obama, Biden and Clinton do for assuming they can dismiss 3,000 years of Jewish history in the city which Jews put on humanity’s map. This trio disrespects us and our sensibilities and in so doing raises Arab expectations and deepens Arab intransigence. With the world’s one superpower espousing the Fatah/Hamas line, why should Arabs evince the slightest flexibility? Obama has placed all the bargaining chips in Arab hands.

On May 29, 1995, post-Oslo and five months before his assassination, Yitzhak Rabin told the Knesset: “There is one issue on which there is no debate among us – the integrity of Jerusalem and the continuation of its cultivation and consolidation as Israel’s capital. I said so yesterday and will repeat it today: There are no two Jerusalems. There is only one. Jerusalem is not subject to compromise. It was ours, will be ours, is ours and so it will remain for ever and always.”

Only after Barak was elected and succumbed to the Chicken Licken syndrome was the world given to understand that Jerusalem is negotiable, divisible and surrenderable. It’s now up to Netanyahu to decide whether he’ll revive – in more than lip service – yesteryear’s resolve about Jerusalem or, like Chicken Licken, be licked by his own panicky prognostications.

Chicken Licken led his feathery followers right into the den of Foxy Loxy, who had no fear of the sky falling but had all the birdbrains for dinner. None of the alarmists survived, but sly Foxy was satisfied.

The writer was The Jerusalem Post’s long-time political correspondent (as well as for years of the now-defunct Davar). She headed the Post’s Tel Aviv bureau, wrote daily analyses of the political scene as well as in-depth features. See her personal blog at http://www.sarahhonig.com


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