Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Netanyahu he can't play chess . . .

So Bibi Netanyahu is not for, and has never been for, not really not no how, a Palestinian state. And he's been green-lighting precisely the kinds of settlements and/or settlement expansions that would forestall such a dreadful thing.

Who would have known? Didn't it seem like he was really an Oslo kind of guy, an Oslo guy under the skin, perhaps? A closet kind of Oslo mensch?

Or nah, it didn't seem that way, as in this is always what he was.

It's good — also pretty awful — to have it out in the open. The Prime Minister of Israel for so long now and maybe again abjures the Oslo Accords, spits on Rabin, Peres, Barak and the at least momentarily somewhat seemingly conciliationist Arafat.


Netanyahu's predecessor as Likud Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, played good chess. In Lawrence Wright's wonderful account — "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David" (2014) — of the arduous negotiations that led to Israel surrendering the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for which there was recognition of Israel by Egypt and a peace treaty with it — you can find photos of Begin playing chess with Carter advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Begin wins most of those games, while averring he hasn't played since being arrested by the KGB in 1940 for Zionist activity in the midst of, so he says, being immersed in a chess game. Begin's wife waltzes into one of his games against Brzezinski to exclaim, au contraire, that this is great, Menachem plays all the time, he loves chess, it keeps him young! 

Cutting back to Netanyahu: he would not play even half-way decent chess. He would attack and attack and attack. He would bring out his queen early and jeopardize the piece. He would lose his rooks and jam up his bishops. It might take a few games to find out what a decided klutz he was at chess — in the argot, a *patzer* — but then we'd know, we'd know for sure.

What Netanyahu's done, in attempting to formally terminate any Israel commitment to a two state solution, at least while he has anything to say about it, is to call down global opprobrium on the nation he purports to love.

And then there's the big ranch he lives on in high style in the midst of small embattled Israel.

Begin, say what you want to say about or against him, and there's no end, at least he didn't live like that. Ghettoes and pogroms shaped his idea of lifestyle. He lived small.

Forget for a moment chess etc.. To put it simply Netanyahu is, as we say in the Diaspora, a genuine —  in Yiddish, a "richtege" — shmuck. And such a schmuck to rule the Jewish state.

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