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by Lawrence Bush
LAST YEAR I saw Sheldon Adelson suggesting to an auditorium full of Jews at Yeshiva University that the United States fire a nuclear missile into "the Iranian desert somewhere" as a warning to Iran not to go nuclear. (And I watched Shmuely Boteach, "America's Rabbi," sitting by the old billionaire's side, grinning and nodding at this grotesque idea.)
Adelson is Benjamin Netanyahu's key financial backer and his key booster in the Israeli media (Adelson now owns two major Israeli dailies, including the country's largest circulation newspaper, Israel Hayom, which is distributed for free). As Tsipi Livni recently said, "Adelson is a casino magnate who, with his billions, controls the Republicans in the United States, and here, he controls Netanyahu. And as in a puppet show, he pulls the political strings both there and here.”
Livni may have a (slightly) exaggerated sense of Adelson's influence in America, yet one has to wonder: Is Adelson's proposed nuclear missile launch the gist of Netanyahu's alternative to the Obama Administration's diplomatic efforts with Iran? The prime minister offered no other alternative in his speech to the Republicans in Congress. And after all, it's Purim — the holiday in which we celebrate not only Jewish survival, but the killing of 75,000 Persians. In self-defense.
To me, Netanyahu, like Haman, deserves to have his name blotted out. That's not a flag but a grogger, a Purim noisemaker, I've put into Obama's hand in the picture above.
NETANYAHU. ADELSON BOTEACH HAMAN. Ahh, that feels good.
If only the Israeli voters would shake their groggers at them, too. Uri Avnery describes the March 17 election as perhaps "the final battle for the future of Israel — between the zealots of Greater Israel and the supporters of a liberal state. Between a mini-empire that dominates and oppresses another people and a decent democracy. Between settlement expansion and a serious search for peace. Between what has been called here 'swinish capitalism' and a welfare state.... In short, between two very different kinds of Israel."
And here's how he predicted the speech would turn out:
The leader of the Jewish ghetto pleading at the court of the Goyish king for his people is a well-known figure in Jewish history. Every Jewish child reads about him in school. Consciously or unconsciously, people will be reminded.
The chorus of senators and congress(wo)men will applaud wildly, jump up and down every few minutes and express their unbounded admiration in every way, except licking his shoes.
Some brave Democrats will absent themselves, but the Israeli viewers will not notice this, since it is the habit on such occasions to fill all empty seats with members of the staff.
No propaganda spectacle could be more effective. The voters will be compelled to ask themselves how Herzog would have looked in the same circumstances.
I cannot imagine any more effective election propaganda. Using the Congress of the United States of America as a propaganda prop is a stroke of genius.
NETANYAHU. ADELSON BOTEACH HAMAN.
Lawrence Bush edits Jewish Currents.