A modest proposal (yes, satire)

Office of the President of the United States of America to the Prime Minister of Israel

Dear Bibi,

I want you to hang tough on all the flak you’ve been getting for telling it like it is — that “Israel is the nation-state for the Jewish people and them alone.” Take my advice. Don’t back down. Double-down! This is red meat for your base. I know. I’ve been there.  And when you say things like “Israel is not a state for all its citizens,” I’ve got your back. You’ve got more guts — I guess you people call it “chutzpah” — than any other politician I know, besides me.

I love the idea that you’re working a deal to hook Otzma Yehudit, the Arab-bashing Jewish Power party, into your coalition. Smart move. Let them call you racist. It energizes your own followers who love to see you give the liberals fits. What’s to lose? You’re not going to get any votes from the lefties anyway. And the whining from their American cousins only boosts your ratings in Israel. It’s all about power, baby, and if you get to keep it, all they can do is wring their hands. Besides, a few crazies on your right only make you look normal. So if Jewish Power talks expulsion, you just have to throttle down to exclusion. Once you’re in, wrap Otzma’s knuckles a bit and you’re practically a centrist. Look what I did with Ann Coulter.

A word of caution. Nothing is in the bag. I know how it is to be the target of a witch-hunt — and you might actually be facing jail time.  If you want my advice, you should pull out all the stops. So while you’re still in the driver’s seat, you might consider declaring a national emergency that could put you over the top. I do that here all the time. I don’t know much about history, but my son-in-law Jared, who’s up on these things, said you might think about issuing an executive order declaring Arab subjects to be three-fifths of a Jewish citizen. Reform and Conservative liberals could be four-fifths — you want to go a little easy at the start. This would deflate the Arab vote.  And since you don’t consider them citizens anyway, you’d have a perfect right to down-grade their in-put. So, just in case they don’t boycott the elections or, worse still, take a back-door deal with Gantz and Lapid — unlikely, but you never know to what the other side might stoop to win — you dilute their vote to make it more meaningless than it already is.

Jared tells me we’ve had great success with this in America. (He didn’t go to Harvard for nothing.) It was even written into the Constitution. The beauty part is that not only can you  limit their vote (we reduced it to nothing) but you can still collect property taxes. This worked for a helluva long time until the wrong side won the Civil War — sad! — and we had to adapt a little. But this forced us to come up with some creative solutions that I want to run by you.

First, I’d like you to think about literacy tests. They were a great success here for many years. The gimmick is that they never mentioned race, ethnicity or nationality. They simply sought to determine whether a voter could read. The beauty of this gambit was that it was up to the local officials to decide who qualified. So, in your case, you could have one of your tribe pass just by reading an eye-chart. But you’d make an Arab get through interpreting a page of Herzl’s “Jewish State,” a foundation document, like our Constitution. There are always a few smart-alecks who could pass, but not many.

If this seems like too much trouble, there’s the firewall that’s worked so well for us here: voter fraud. (This is a real witch-hunt, but who cares.) Gin up a crisis of illegal voting and use the hue and cry to purge the lists of groups likely to vote against you.  By the time anyone is on to the game, you’ve already won. If somebody calls you on it, insist you’re protecting democracy. Wave the halo and keep the franchise. It’s an old tactic that my party has given some new spins.   And it works like a charm. I’m sure you’ve run into similar long-term demography problems that we face, so hard-ball is fair game. Like you, we still conduct elections. We’ve just become a bit more result-oriented in managing them. I’m sure we’re on the same page on this.

As you’re probably aware,  I’m offering these pointers in the hope that you’ll win the upcoming election and impose a system like the one I’m trying to introduce in our own country. Together, we can do great things. If we play our cards right, we could both be in office for many years to come. Finally, while I don’t often give others credit for my success, I want you to know that I’ve learned a few things from you as well in how to reach the top, and stay there.  After all, you got there first.   We’ve got a ways to catch up to Putin,  but these days, nothing is sacred, including term limits. We could be a troika. For now though, let’s consider this the continuing of a beautiful friendship.

Your pal,


About the Author
Jack Schwartz is a former book editor of Newsday.
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