Jean Pierre Braun

An Immense Balagan

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There is no other word to describe the situation in which Israel finds itself today. It seems that, wherever we turn, we are looking at an irrational picture with no rhyme or reason, the fleeting reality of an unstable military and political scene.

What better way to take stock of this “immense Balagan [1]” than to distribute awards – Oscars, if you like – to the political and other figures who give substance to these situations.

The Oscar for “irresponsible diplomatic incompetence” goes to David Cameron. This poor excuse for a diplomat, Britain’s foreign secretary and special envoy (to deal with what exactly?) found nothing better this week than to declare to anyone who would listen that his country is ready to immediately recognize a “Palestinian state”, without any further details, and that according to this gentleman, this is the only way to bring lasting peace to the Middle East by creating “an irreversible situation”. Mr Cameron, your statement is idiotic and dangerous. Other alleged friends of Israel will surely grab that idea, leave Israel entirely out of the process, and empower Israel enemies to launch the next, more devastating war against the Jewish Nation. I am convinced that most Israelis will take a very negative view of this de facto pressure exerted exclusively on Israel. They will also remind you that Israel has in the past made numerous concrete proposals to implement a Palestinian state, all of which have been contemptuously rejected by the Palestinian leadership, and that what was perhaps conceivable at the time of the Oslo Accords is impossible today because of the radicalization of the Arab street. They will ask you to listen carefully to the speeches of all the Palestinian leaders: they don’t want one, two or three states, they want the complete disappearance of Israel and the genocide of the Jews. Finally, most Israelis will tell you to mind your own business, to go and deal with the Arabs who are sowing discord in London among other places; they will no doubt remind you that the United Kingdom is the main party responsible for the endless wars in the Middle East, but also in the Indian peninsula, Asia, Africa and elsewhere, thanks to its disastrous colonization. England gave History a Neville Chamberlain 85 years ago. The world doesn’t need a second Chamberlain.

The Oscar for “criminal interference” goes without hesitation to Thomas Friedman, editorial writer for the New York Times. Friedman declared in an interview with Israel’s Channel 14: “I tried to make sure in my own voice, in my own way, that the conditions that Saudi Arabia demanded of Israel were at a high level in favour of the Palestinians (and therefore against Israel, nda) and in favour of the peace process. I made sure that these conditions were high enough for Netanyahu’s cabinet to implode”. Friedman poses as a Jew, a supporter of the state of Israel, which enables him to have the ear of Biden, and other executives and legislators. His statements show that he is probably neither. His virulently anti-Israel stance shows that he should instead be considered a traitor to the causes he claims to love.

The Oscar for “counter-productive slalom” (by which I mean dangerous, close-range changes of direction) goes to the upper echelons of the IDF. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tzahal like all sincere Zionist Israelis do: with all my heart and with all my means. I love the soldiers, the fighters, all those in the field, at the front or in the rear, who actively participate in the war effort. But the senior officers, the decision-makers, the strategists who, for example, wisely agreed one day to implement a 1km no-man’s-land on the Gaza side of the border, only to reverse this decision a few days later by forbidding Israeli soldiers to fire on Arabs approaching the border, seem somewhat irresponsible. The same decision-makers who declared a short while ago that the northern Gaza zone was secure, and who quickly withdrew most of the Israeli fighters from this zone, only to redeploy them there now amidst renewed hostilities and rocket launches. What a mess! There are surely political pressures behind this conundrum, but it should not matter. The whole thing smacks of amateurism, and contributes neither to the morale of the troops nor to the confidence of the nation.

I must be careful with this next award: I’ll call it “The Achitophel Syndrome [2]” award. G-d forbid, I’m not accusing anyone of being a modern day Achitophel, but the attributes of his behaviour towards King David can be observed today all around us. Achitophel betrayed King David on several occasions, showered him with bad advice, bad information, fake news. Achitophel is the best friend nobody wants to have.

Sadly, there are many candidates for this Oscar: those who openly present themselves as fervent friends of Israel, guarantors of our security and anxious to see us live in peace, yet who inundate us with harmful advice, build coalitions dangerous to Israel, and are most often motivated by considerations of their own, unconnected with the existential imperatives of our nation. Here are just a few examples: Biden with his blackmail over arms deliveries, Macron with his obsession about an immediate ceasefire, the European Union with its constant pressure for the immediate implementation of a Palestinian state, etc. etc. All these people, all these organizations exhibit an acute case of “Achitophel syndrome”. These are the best friends we must be worried about!

The Oscar for “out-of-control weathervane” goes to Yair Lapid, the leader of the Yesh Atid opposition party. For a former leading figure in Israeli broadcasting, this character seems to have a very monolithic game: the impression he gives is that his sole aim in life is to destroy Netanyahu. When the war cabinet was formed in October, Bibi offered him a seat. He curtly refused, so as not to have to face the Prime Minister or even work with him. Since then, he has been constantly pressuring members of the opposition who, for reasons of national emergency, have agreed to work within this war cabinet to leave it, to drop Bibi. Well, Mr. Lapid, our national weathervane, has now declared that he wants to join this same war cabinet, provided of course that certain other members leave. Don’t hold your breath, he’ll change his mind tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that…

The Oscar for “ill-concealed hypocrisy” is shared between two equally deserving recipients: UNWRA and the ICJ [3]. Since 1949, the year of its creation, all UNWRA school textbooks have educated Palestinian children in the hatred of Jews and Israel, in the glorification of jihad, and in the promise that “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free”. The whole world knew it. The United Nations knew it all along. The directors of UNWRA knew, encouraged, and financed it. And today, everyone seems to be shocked when we learn that a great many UNWRA educators and employees also worked for Hamas, took part in the October 7 massacres, in other words, are full-fledged terrorists. What a bunch of hypocrites! The ICJ is supposed to represent international justice. It disgraced itself by agreeing to examine South Africa’s illegitimate complaint accusing Israel of genocide, and by hosting the same trial in The Hague. It further dishonored itself by failing to demand that in this same trial, in the interests of justice and fairness, Hamas’s atrocities on October 7th be fully disclosed. It has further dishonored itself by publishing a verdict that leaves Israel with the image of a genocidal country, and by imposing iniquitous and humiliating further tasks on Israel. All this while making us believe that they only seek justice. What a bunch of hypocrites!

My last Oscar will be for the “least communicative leader”. It will, unfortunately, go to our Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu. This war is unlike any other conflict we’ve experienced: never has a war in Israel been so long, never since the Holocaust have Jews suffered such a devastating pogrom, never have our enemies succeeded in taking so many of our people hostage. The existential threat still weighs heavily on Israel; our many dead, wounded and permanently disabled soldiers are there to remind us. Never have the questions the world is asking about the day after and the possible creation of a Palestinian state been so pressing. Never has the war-induced precariousness of so many Israelis been so agonizing: when and how to rebuild the south and also the north, when to return home, when to start living again.

Mr. Prime Minister, the world needs to hear from you. We need credible perspectives on all these issues and more. If you don’t communicate, others will, and we won’t like what they have to say. More than ever, because of the particularly dramatic circumstances of this war, you need to speak out, to explain, to give us a credible vision of our future, of the reconstruction of our country, of the return of the hostages, of the prospects for peace, of the absolute military victory you promised us, and so on.

Mr. Prime Minister, I have chosen a light tone to address all these subjects but, like so many Israelis, my heart is heavy. My remarks are serious. Thank you for addressing us and the world soon. We look forward to hearing from you, not just with words of comfort or promises, but with solid content and explanations. I’ll be seating in the front row.


[1] – The translation of the word “Balagan” or in Hebrew בלגן is “disorder”, “disorganization”, “confusion”. It’s interesting to note that in the Israeli vernacular, this word is one of the most frequently used…

[2] – The “friend” who betrayed King David, and who is mentioned in Tehilim 41:10 and Tehilim 55:14-15, is Achitophel. See also Tractate Sanhédrin (106b – 107a)

[3] – UNWRA: United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees has been created in 1949. Its annual budget is 1.6 billion US$ (2022 figure). It seems that UNWRA’s only mission is to keep the palestiniens as a refugee group with no present and no future for the sole aim of sustaining itself forever. In doing so, UNWRA is an enemy of peace and of Israel. ICJ: International Court of Justice, is a United Nations agency based in The Hague. Its judges are nominated by the UN general assembly, and like to UN, it is severely biased against the Jews and Israel.

About the Author
Jean Pierre Braun is a retired Silicon Valley CEO now living in Jerusalem. Born in Paris, Jean Pierre immigrated to the USA after completing its Electrical Engineering degree in France. Besides being a serial entrepreneur, Jean Pierre was also the founder of a unique, very successful Silicon Valley Synagogue, and upon his return to France became Vice President of a local CRIF branch, and the President of the Rachi community in Grenoble. A father of 3 and grandfather of 10 ב'ה, Jean Pierre and his wife Annie made Aliyah in 2016.
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