Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fistfights, President Obama and Antisemites...

Few things will lighten up your Shabat evening like getting cracked over the head with a chair. Twice.

The evening started out as usual, with me and Quentin lighting the candles and heading off for Kabalat Shabat at the nearby Kippa Shul (The "dome" above it has the form of a Kippah, hence the name). After services we went over to the eminent Rav Nissim and had a nice shabbes dinner with signing and eating and a great atmosphere as per usual, nothing peculiar except that crazy Pavlova (see earlier post on the subject) was in attendance for the first time in a couple of months (the Rav had enough of his constant insulting and fight mongering with the other guests and asked him to stop coming). In any case, he behaved and around 10 PM we split for home, planning to make a quick visit to Peters birthday party.

Peter is a well-mannered English gentleman of 57 who made aliya about a year ago. He is also a fencing Master, busy teaching his students how to handles sables and other weapons in the art of fencing. When we arrived the party was at full throttle. We ended up having a few drinks and a good time. Present at the party was also Noddy, and unbenowst to me be – so I was later informed – he spent a large part of his evening aggressively prodding some of the other members into drinking more booze. Apparently he was particularly aggressive and obnoxious in pursuing this agenda with Dave, a South-African electrician my age, a very nice person with a bit of a temper and more muscles on his right arm than on Noddy's entire body. I'm not certain how Noddy had thought that idea through....Which brings us to the chair.

I found myself in an animated discussion with Peter when I hear an angry scream and turn around to see Dave lifting a chair over his head and Noddy backing away from him looking everything but calm and happy. And so I somehow managed to get between Noddy and the chair just in time to get whacked over the head with it. Twice.  The rest of the evening turned into tears, accusations and drunken discussions, neither of which wanton saving for posteriority, and ended around 3 AM. I got away with a minor bump on my head a pair of glasses that will need some adjustment to sit straight again.

I ended up sleeping the whole Shabbbes day away, and when I awoke after Shabbes had gone out, I Was informed by our papers that the US President thinks that Israel shouldn't be afraid of recent changes in the Middle East, and I quote: "All the forces that we see building in Egypt are the forces that should be naturally aligned with the US, [and] should be aligned with Israel." Really?

Did President Obama miss what his own Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton said this last Tuesday, about Iran's push to influence the outcome of the uprisings in the Arab world? “Either directly or through proxies, they are constantly trying to influence events. They have a very active diplomatic foreign policy outreach,” Clinton said. And how would the President assess the fact that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi drew over 1 million Egyptians when he held a speech at the Tahrir Square? Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in 2009 expressed his view on Shoah in the following way:

”Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption...The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them...Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

These are hardly the forces building that will "naturally realign" themselves with the US, even less so with Israel...

I'm all for democracy, and like President Obama I'm hoping that the Jihadists and haters will not be able to co-opt the Arab Revolutions. But Israel has very good reason to be apprehensive of the final outcome of these changes, that also include Hizballahs takeover in Lebanon, and the risk of a Shiite, Iran-friendly revolution in Bahrein. So for Obama to tell Israel to be "optimistic" from the comfort of the White House oval office, long before the dust has settled and democracy has won the day, come across as misinformed at best, and slightly ludicrous at worst.

Speaking of antisemitism. Lately it seems a lot of famous peeps (Charlie Sheen, John Galliano, Julian Assange, above)  have felt an irresistible urge to vent their preposterous views on us Jews. And I can't help asking myself: Have these people never met any Jews? How do they think that the Jewish people, whose members usually can't agree with themselves, let alone with other tribe members, could possibly set up a World Wide Conspiracy? My home Synagogue in Stockholm has, since 25 years ago, 12 empty frames painted on the side walls, meant to contain symbols of the 12 tribes. Now, why are they empty? Because a huge argument erupted as to which symbols should be painted, and who should do the painting.....In the end nothing was painted in the frames and that was that. World conspiracy - fat chance...

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