So if the events of 2016 were not a precursor to the end of the world then it was certainly a pretty close call. From the deaths of Elie Wiesel to Carrie Fisher, from Brexit in Europe to Trump in America, and finally that UN security council resolution. A resolution where the delegates not only hung Israel and Jewry out to dry but publicly applauded themselves for doing so.
However the one good thing in being constantly beat up is that, like night follows day, closure of such an episode is inevitable.There is no inevitability in that what follows will be better but to be a Jew means you carry the hope in your soul for a better tomorrow.Who knows the villain of 2016, Israel, could yet be the darling of 2017. The All Mighty they say works in mysterious ways and from my vantage point they do not come much more mysterious than Donald Trump.
But why should Trump be causing us needless angst. Would life really be better if Clinton was in the White House? Would a continuation of President Hollande in the Elysee Palace, Cameron in Downing Street and a bunch of other nondescript leaders in other parts of Europe ,whose names for the moment escape me, ensure well all slept comfortably in our beds.What do these leaders offer the man in the Street let alone the Jew in the Street. In reality Just more of the same.
Now Einstein said that the true sign of madness was constantly repeating the same experiment and expecting a different outcome. Perhaps this is a rule which has been taken on board in the world of, science but believe me it has a long way to travel in the world of politics.If you are in any doubt just look at those round the world who still slavishly follow the path of Karl Marx no matter that in his hey day a trip on a horse and cart was still the normal mode of transport.
Since the Oslo Accords, now almost a quarter of a century old, the prevailing wisdom has been two lands for two peoples. This was the accepted way to end this never ending conflict. From a common sense point of view it should be simple. it reminds me of the football coach who in defeat offered the opinion that on paper the victors did not strand a chance. It was just a pity the game was played on grass.
In reality, even the simplest agreement needs proper conditions to flourish.If they are not prevalent then nothing happens. These conditions demand that at the table is a party frightened of losing everything and another worried that lack of an agreement will grasp back the gains made either on the battle field or in previous negotiations. The trouble is the backers of the Palestinians have always pulled them off the canvas at the last moment leaving them dazed but unbeaten, and the Israelis have been prevented from enjoying the fruits of their obvious victories.
Therefore, there is no incentive for the Palestinians to accept the best deal on offer because they believe they can do better next time around.Similarly Israelis look at a right of return demanded by the other side, a shrunken state, and no recognition of that state as Jewish and simply demur.
So time after time despite a string of failures the same basic deal is put forward, dressed in different clothes…… and the next time , and the time after that. One can see Einstein screaming ” Lord in heaven,” perhaps not as he was an agnostic, what do these stupid people expect. I will tell you strange as it may see these erudite educated people , the product of the world’s top universities expect a result Yes they really do.
Trump’s rise in politics in many respects mirrors that of Muhammad Ali in Boxing. In Sonny Liston Ali faced the man who could not be beaten. In Hilary Clinton Trump faced the impossibility of an iron wall of Democrat voting states. Both, to the astonishment of the world, triumphed. Ali went on from being a bogey man to everyone’s favourite American. It might be a stretch of the imagination to believe Trump could reach similar heights but why not?
Ali on facing and beating the odds not only with Liston but with George Foreman used to scream” I shook up the world, I shook up the world.”
How many more times are the great and the good going to place a two State solution in front of an unreconstructed Palestinian team and a team of Israelis looking to reap the rewards of history, and genuinely expect an outcome different to that of the last quarter of a century? However I fear there is only a limited time for a new approach and for Trump to shake out the cob webs before the spiders pull us back into the web of conformity where once again the old mantras will reign.
The signs are already there. The New York Times which said that the chances of Clinton winning stood at 97%,vowed to get out and listen to the people in the future. It has taken this august organ no time to question the ability of Trump’s team even though none of his Cabinet have yet to spend a day at the office. In Europe the so called ” chattering classes,” read The Guardian and are referred to as “Guardianistas” expressed a similar repentance but took no time on getting back to their anti Brexit views.
So far the only piece of common sense I have heard uttered from either side of the divide came from one of Trump’s picks which is nothing if not encouraging. Former CIA boss James Woolsey, now in the President elect’s National Security advisory team was asked by an eager CNN reporter how he would get the Israeli/Palestinian ball rolling.
In a matter of fact voice you would expect from a spy master and with a perfectly straight face Woolsey said first of all I would tell the Arabs they are not going to get anywhere if they keep killing the Jews.What a simplistic point I thought yet how little its ever mentioned in the corridors of power Pity that nice Mr. Kerry never found time to put it top of his agenda.