May 13, 2004

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. CV

Bloody hell. I had a long introductory screed prepared concerning Richard Cohen’s CV but I cannot find it now. I must have deleted it with the last proto-Scourge I got too bored to finish. (Imagine that.) Oh well. Rather than try and recompose it, I thought I better rush this Scourge to print in time to catch the tale end of the snuff-film-alanche while I can, so let’s just jump into Settlements And Master Plans:

ARIEL, West Bank –

Damnit! Sharon is naming towns after himself now to prevent the Palestinians from moving back. Of course he knows that no self-respecting Palestinian would dare live in a town named after him. Even stevens, that cat’ll do anything to derail the Peace Train Process – dee dah dee dah dah, come on, come on, come on, come on.

Ron Nachman is the mayor of this settlement, if it can be called that.

What’s wrong with the title mayor?

It is actually a city, …

Oh, never mind.

… complete with housing, stores, banks, schools and a college -- the College of Judea and Samaria.

Wait until the student activists at the College of Samaria and Judea find out!

About 18,000 people live here, and the place, like a Starbucks, is totally wired in a wireless fashion.

Like, totally. But is that something like being loved in a loveless fashion?

Plunk down a computer anywhere, and you can get the Internet.

Assuming, of course it is set up for wireless communication, turned on, not damaged in the plunking action, or plunked straight into a sink full of soapy water.

The streets are clean, the air is crisp, and Russian émigrés sit in the parks taking the very un-Russian sun.

Even the sun is like McCarthy. Chilling.

There is nothing wrong with Ariel that a mere shift in location would not fix.

If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain. No wait, bad analogy.

It is in the middle of the West Bank.

Nachman in the Middle. Cue “You’re not the boss of me now…”

Of course, Nachman sees nothing wrong with that.

There’s no accounting for taste in sitcom theme songs.

He is a blunt-spoken hard-liner who thinks his settlement is right where it should be and will remain a part of Israel no matter what some "peaceniks" -- and here he includes much of the Clinton administration -- would like.

The Clinton administration?

The town and other nearby settlements will be surrounded by a security fence and so will the highway leading out to it from Israel proper. "I call it a gated community," he says.

I call it prudent measures for survival, but then maybe something was lost in translation.

"The whole state of Israel is one gated community."

Gated, hated, whatever.

He is not exaggerating.

Me neither.

The so-called security fence -- here a fence, there a wall -- is slowly sealing off Israel and the settlements from parts of the West Bank and much of the Palestinian population.

The wall goes up, and homicide bombing goes down. Causation does generally imply correlation, even if the Richard Cohen and Fox Butterfield don’t get it.

It is a mind-numbing enterprise, a reordering of the landscape -- roads and tunnels and fences and walls and barriers designed to separate Muslim from Jew.

Muslim from Jew? Richard you simplisme racist pig. I must have missed all the headlines and stories about Sharon ordering all Muslims out of Israel, and since when are all Palestinians Muslims? How about separating Israeli’s from people who have stated that they would kill them all if they only could?

The fence appears and disappears, surfaces and dips, and although it does not yet extend as far as Ariel, it someday might.

If they are going to go around Ariel Sharon, that will be one big fence.

Even today, though, the road to it is only accessible from Jewish areas.

Seems to cut down on the car bombs.

It is easy enough to call the effect "apartheid," but to residents of Ariel and indeed much of Israel, it is tantamount to merely locking your door at night.

Sure it’s easy. Wrong, but easy.

What would you do?

Exercise some restraint before casually throwing accusations of apartheid around?

When some talk of Israel simply yanking out its West Bank and Gaza settlements, they are not envisioning Ariel and others like it. They have in mind the scattered hilltop settlements, some of no more than a handful of families and others where the settlers have already had enough and are anxious to build a life somewhere safer.

Good luck.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is trying to pull out of Gaza, …

But I thought Dick kept saying that Ariel was trying to f*** 'em? Well, which is it? F*** ‘em or pull out?

… but he has been temporarily stymied by his own Likud Party. Still, it is impossible to imagine that Israelis will remain in Gaza.

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn’t hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace...nah.

Earlier this week six soldiers were killed there and at least five more were yesterday. It's being compared to Lebanon, where an Israeli occupation produced a debacle.

Talk about your quagmires, Vietnam must be just around the corner.

The place -- poor, densely populated and unloved by Israelis -- has already cost too much blood.

And who’s fault is that exactly?

But the West Bank is different. It is bigger, less populated and of greater religious significance to devout Jews.

Oh? Well, this may be true, but when is the last time you heard Big Media refer to the Holy City of You-Name-It when it came to devout Jews, whereas the Reuters book of political correctness demands that any mention of Hebron, Karbala, Kairouan, Mecca, Medina, Najaf, Qum, Touba, and even Jerusalem be preceded by “the Muslim Holy City of” without exception.

A tour of the area proved to me that it is easier to demand an Israeli withdrawal than figure out how it could be done.

I have not toured the area, yet I have managed to reach exactly the same conclusion. Weird.

Not only would both secular and religious settlers fight such a move, but so would their allies in the United States. A frequent visitor here, for example, is the head of Billye Brim Ministries. She lets you know right off where she stands. "I was strongly impressed of the Lord to study Hebrew in the Land," her Web site says, and she takes Christians to Israel at least twice a year. While she is in Ariel, her group and others like it sing Israeli popular songs in Hebrew and make spur-of-the-moment donations. At the senior citizens center, they know Billye Brim well.

Well, if Christians are for it, then it has to go.

So in a way that few people could once imagine, political support for Israel -- and for a muscular settlements policy -- is hardly limited to American Jews or others who merely look kindly on the lone democracy in the Middle East. Fundamentalist Christian groups are at least as zealous about the settlements as right-wing Israelis or their Jewish supporters in the United States.

Oh my, they’re not just Christians, they’re fundamentalist Christians. And we all know how bad they are.

What's more, they have the ear of George W. Bush.

That would explain why President Bush insists on having pictures taken only in profile from his right side.

This is an unlikely marriage -- one bound to hit the rocks come Judgment Day -- but for the moment it has huge political clout.

New rule: If you don’t believe in Judgment Day, you cannot use it to support a facile argument.

Still, bit by bit, even a growing number of Israeli right-wingers are coming to terms with reality. Israel cannot remain a Jewish democracy and still retain huge swaths of land that the Palestinians consider theirs.

For instance, like Israel?

Here in Ariel, Nachman cocks his head in the direction of nearby Jordan and pronounces it "the Palestinian state" and tells me that his "master plan, for Mr. Bush's and Mr. Powell's information, is for 60,000 people."

Hey, that’s enough for a 180,000,000 man march!

Could be. But as years of terrorism, particularly what's been happening in Gaza, have shown, the Palestinians have something of a master plan of their own.

What the Palestinians have is less of a master plan than a final solution, it would seem, particularly with what's been happening in Gaza.

Posted by Charles Austin at May 13, 2004 11:08 PM

This may have been your best Scourge yet.


Posted by: fred at 12:34 PM

Whip it! Whip it good!
Fine work.

Posted by: Greg Williams at 03:48 PM

"The Clinton administration"? Hasn't anyone told Cohen?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 10:25 PM