My word: Lost soles and Achilles’ heels

Asghar Bukhari, a British Muslim activist, claims the Mossad’s scare tactics include stealing his shoe while he was sleeping.

Woman lacing shoes (illustrative photo) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Woman lacing shoes (illustrative photo)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Sorry to bother you. I know you might be busy with all that’s going on in the world – massacres in Syria, fighting in Yemen, the situation in Ukraine, the flow of migrants into Europe, the state of the Greek economy, the weird weather leading to disasters in places as diverse as Texas and Tbilisi, the MERS outbreak in South Korea and the plight of the boat people forced to flee Myanmar without a homeland to turn to.
Okay: Not many people are worrying about the Rohingya. That’s probably because they are a Muslim minority being persecuted by Buddhists and no3 one has yet found a way to blame the Jews.
Israel has been accused of a long list of crimes recently, ranging from spying on the Iranian nuclear talks in European hotels to the WHO’s resolution last month singling out Israel as the world’s worst violator of healthcare rights – for its treatment of Syrians on the Golan Heights. I laughed for all the wrong reasons at the assessment that Druse and Alawites on the Golan might prefer to be treated in Damascus rather than in an Israeli medical center, especially given that, as I write these lines, Israel is preparing for a possible influx of refugees escaping the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organizations that control much of the Syrian side of the Golan since the murderous regime of Bashar Assad collapsed. Or maybe they’re expected to opt for healthcare Islamic State-style: Those who survive forget anything else that ever ailed them.
But when I really needed a laugh it came from a particularly unexpected source: What Britain’s Daily Mail nicknamed “The shoe-ish conspiracy.”
The story, which was picked up by so many outlets it’s hard to determine which carried it first, followed the Facebook post on June 13 by Asghar Bukhari, a founding member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, who claimed that the Mossad’s scare tactics included stealing his shoe while he was sleeping.
Bukhari’s original message was posted under the headline “ARE ZIONISTS TRYING TO INTIMIDATE ME” and – permit me as editor to add both “sic” and “sick” – it read: “Someone came into my home yesterday, while I was asleep. I dont know how they got in, but they didn’t break in – the only thing they took was one shoe.
“Now think about that, the only thing they took was a single shoe – they left one shoe behind to let me know someone had been there. Of course I cant prove anything and thats part of the intimidation. The game is simple – to make me feel vulnerable in my own home. Its Psychological. Neither can I do much about it.
“It is not the first time I have heard this happening. I have had another Muslim leader call me a year or so ago, in tears – she told me they had been coming into her house and re-arranging things – just to let her know they had been there.”
He urged readers to share the message and they obliged, happily, leaving him without a leg to stand on.
Within hours, dozens of mocking tweets with the hashtags #MossadStoleMyShoe and #ShoeishConspiracy trended on Twitter while Facebook was flooded with comments. I was not the only one to note that I usually blame the dog when a shoe goes missing – that’s “dog” as in my canine friend, not a Zionist conspirator. Others suggested Bukhari was “hopping mad.”
Some told him to “put a sock in it” but this just lead to a discussion on who’s behind the worldwide disappearance of socks from washing machines.
It didn’t take long for the other shoe to drop. In response to the mocking comments, Bukhari produced a 15-minute video on You- Tube in which he claimed his slippers had also been stolen and said “the Zionists” were doing it to make his life hard because he is a Muslim, pro-Palestinian activist. “I’m making a reasonable, educated call,” he said, and explained he was sharing his story as a warning to his “Muslim brothers” and called on them to “expose” the harassment. To back his theory that Israel had stolen his shoe and slippers he said Israel “stole Palestine” and steals the organs of Palestinian children.
“Look it up on Google,” he urged. “It’s a fact.” The “sole purpose” of the video was to encourage young Muslims to become “the new leaders” because the current Muslim leadership, as he put it, is “hiding under the bed,” which, by the way, is the first place I’d look for my shoes and slippers, or even Mossad spies, for that matter.
I wondered if there was a coded message in the song “Baruch’s Boots,” by Israel’s iconic group Kaveret, emphasizing the difference in types of footwear and how the Baruch of the title lost his mind because of the fate of his beloved boots: “But one day he got up still sleepy Looked for the boots in the cupboard.
And in the place they should have been only socks remained...”
FRANKLY, BUKHARI’S rants were a relief.
They provided a welcome distraction from global sorrows and local stories of wars, cultural wars and the never-ending sordid allegations surrounding MK Oren Hazan. But more important, they showed that Israel hasn’t completely lost its deterrent capability.
The fact that some people will believe Israel is capable of anything has certain advantages, particularly as the Islamic Republic of Iran races towards nuclearization with a little help from its friends and ours.
I would feel more confident about Iran’s peaceful intentions if it wasn’t continuing to develop a sophisticated weapons system.
After all, as others have pointed out, for nuclear- based medical programs you’re more likely to need a syringe for delivery than an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Times have changed.
Prime minister Golda Meir is said to have once told a journalist: “If you think we’ve got the bomb and our enemies think we’ve got the bomb, does it really matter if we have it or not?” The MAD days have gone forever. The principle of mutually assured destruction maintaining that neither side in a conflict will attack the other if both are guaranteed to be completely destroyed might have worked in the Cold War, but I wouldn’t trust it in the age of global jihad, when one side holds martyrdom in high esteem.
Golda’s words came to mind this week along with a couple of other quotes, one of them being, “We Jews have a secret weapon in our struggle with the Arabs – we have no place to go.”
The other was: “Fashion is an imposition, a rein on freedom.”
And, yes, it was a shoe-related story that had me kicking it around this week.
Israel’s first and so-far only female prime minister gave her name to a particularly dowdy but comfortable line of footwear, known as “Na’alei Golda” – Golda’s Shoes – which were once standard issue for women soldiers in the IDF.
This week El Al, Israel’s national airline, drew fire from women’s groups after it announced a policy requiring its female flight attendants to wear high heels until all passengers have been seated, explaining the rule as part of the need to be “presentable.” Previously, stewardesses could change into comfortable shoes once they boarded the plane.
Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich, whose Knesset career has focused on both women’s rights and workers’ rights, tweeted: “I suggest that all the men in El Al’s management wear high heels at work. Let’s see them.”
And Galia Wallach, head of the women’s group Na’amat, stopped just short of calling El Al CEO David Maimon “a heel.”
I admit, I can’t stand high heels. Not even for so-called pleasure, let alone work.
In fact, I have been accused of many things – including being a Mossad spy – but nobody in their right mind could accuse me of having a foot fetish. I leave that to Mr. Bukhari, whose attack on Israel only raised its standing and deterrence.
Stories like Bukhari’s aren’t an insult to our intelligence service; they’re a credit.