It's too bad, really. I always liked Ed Koch (mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989) – he was smart, quick-witted, blunt, and said whatever he liked and to heck with anyone who was offended. Thus he was the epitome of the New Yorker – the real deal. And, I hasten to add, he's still around... but... his article in Sunday's paper makes it sound like senility is setting in, big-time. The title is “Obama slanders, abandons Israel” -- and certain parties might cheer, if it were true. But it's not -- not in the slightest. We've talked about this pro wrestling-style farce that characterizes current U.S.-Israeli relations before, so I won't repeat myself on that score. But what is Koch seeing that the rest of us are not seeing? “Outrageous verbal attacks”... “verbal assaults and distortions”... orchestrated by no less than President Obama. OK Ed, so... let's see some examples. Oh, but first he has to compare Israel's shabby treatment by Obama to the Romans' treatment of the Jewish rebels in the year 70 A.D. Oh yeah, that's an apt analogy, all right – right on target. Obama is most definitely destroying the temple and committing genocide on the Jewish race, and kicking them out of their ancestral homeland. Uh huh. (See what I mean about the “senility” part?)
But he goes on. Koch cites the 1948 war (which was a response to the establishment of the State of Israel forced on the Palestinians by the European powers – but he doesn't mention that aspect), in which Jordan committed ethnic cleansing of the old walled city of Jerusalem as well as East Jerusalem and other parts of the re-occupied West Bank. OK, fair enough – that's what tends to happen when wars are fought over territory. But most of Israel was still in Israeli hands. And so it remains... but now comes Obama, whose administration has a higher percentage of Jewish members than the Knesset... and Koch throws a fit, because... he (Obama) has “in a few weeks... changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel”. And how has he accomplished this? But wait -- first we have to read about how Obama indulges in lavishly benign treatment of Afghanistan's Karzai. Well, yeah... we're trying to convince him to keep supporting our war on his countrymen. That takes a bit of bribery and persuasion. Whereas we're not trying to convince Israel of anything – just trying to get them to quit busting our chops, and to show a little appreciation once in a while.
But to get back to Ed – Israel “has been demeaned and slandered and held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.” OK, Ed... but once again, let's see some evidence. We're supposedly doing this in order to “weaken the resolve of the Jewish state” and make it more amenable to our “plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. And! We might even be fixing to “create a whole new relationship” with Arab states neighboring Israel. Well, imagine that -- us trying to get along better with Israel's neighbors. Oh, the treachery! And, says Ed, we might feel a need to accomplish this by “throwing Israel under the bus”. But the last time I looked, Israel was driving said bus.
Then he calls on AIPAC to get tough with Obama. What are they supposed to do, waterboard him? That would be the only way to get discernibly tougher than they already are. And for Hillary to quite harassing Netanyahu. And for Congress to protest Obama's “mistreatment of Israel”. Oh, what a world, what a world!
By now, you've probably noticed something. Yep, there is absolutely no evidence provided of any of these alleged “verbal attacks”, “assaults”, “distortions”, demeanings, or slanders. And how, exactly, has the administration held Israel responsible for our troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan? I mean – they are responsible, of that there is no doubt – because if it weren't for them we wouldn't be over there at all. Or, as Ron Paul might put it, we're over there because they're over here because we're over there – and that's because we were invited by Israel, and dared not refuse.
The only failing Koch can even cite is the alleged browbeating Hillary Clinton gave Benjamin Netanyahu. Does this quite come up to the events of 70 A.D.? Hillary – to give her credit – was only responding to the latest of the countless tricks and insults we have borne at the hands of Israel; the offense, I suppose, was that she actually responded rather than rolling over and playing dead, as our State Department usually does. In any case, other than this single incident – which would have justified far more than a 43-minute “hectoring”, Koch supplies no other evidence of what, precisely, has him so upset – which leads me to believe that there is, in fact, nothing more... which, in turn, leads me to think he is either mad or senile, and given his age I suspect the latter.
And as to the notion of our having “abandoned” Israel -- has as much as one dollar been excised from our multi-billion-dollar annual “foreign aid” gift to Israel? No. Have we withheld any of the expensive and exotic weapon systems – in many cases, better equipment than our own troops have – from export to Israel? No. Are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and saber-rattling at Iran on a daily basis? Yes. Plus -- have we changed our tolerant and benign position when it comes to Israeli espionage -- i.e. against us? Not in the slightest. So -- we have “abandoned” Israel about as much as one of two twins joined at the hip can abandon the other. So what on earth is Koch talking about? I have no idea... and I suspect he doesn't either.
You know, it's just possible that my local paper – known for its conservative, and even at times libertarian, leanings – published Koch's Lear-like rant on purpose, just to show how divorced from reality Israel and the Israel lobby can be at times. But then again, maybe they just saw it as a chance to provide “fair and balanced” reporting... but when one side of the scale is occupied by a lunatic, it hardly qualifies as “fair and balanced”.
So I will have to, regretfully, pronounce a “R.I.P.” for Ed Koch – at least for the brain part, which was always the most interesting.