Roll up, rollup the circus has come to town…writes Michael Kuttner

March 24, 2013 by Michael Kuttner
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One week before Passover, the Festival when Jews worldwide commemorate the Exodus of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt and the 40 year journey to the Land of Israel, we are in the midst of media frenzy over the visit of the President of the United States and his entourage to our region.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

When I was a child in Wellington (way back in the 1940’s) the highlight of the year was a visit by Ringling Brothers Circus. For weeks prior to their arrival, posters advertising the amazing acts would be pasted up on hoardings all over the city. I remember staring with amazement at pictures of lion tamers, fire eaters, trapeze and high wire performers, acrobats, illusionists and of course clowns. This publicity was designed to whet our appetites and induce our parents to hand over a small fortune in order to purchase tickets for the impending greatest show on earth, as it was billed. Hordes of parents and children lined the streets waiting with immense anticipation for the cavalcade to pass. As a build up to the main event it was always a terrific success and one which guaranteed sell out crowds for every performance.


My childhood memories of the circus are prompted by the current hoopla surrounding the current visit of the White House cast of performers who in many respects replicate the acts of the old Big Top. There are also some stark differences which may make it somewhat less attractive. Some of the preliminary publicity has provoked controversy. Instead of addressing the Knesset like other world leaders have in the past, a speech to a selected audience of sympathetic student cheer leaders was planned instead. As a symbol of the only genuine democracy in the region, the Knesset would have been the appropriate place from which to speak. Could it be that the US Administration fears it might have been an acknowledgement of Jerusalem’s status as the Capital of the Jewish State? Or perhaps the prospect of some of our elected representatives visibly disagreeing with Obama sent shivers of apprehension through the corridors of the State Department. The choice of a handpicked student audience was also patently exposed as a double standard, because no students from Ariel University in Samaria were invited. A blatant case of discrimination if ever there was one. In contrast to other visits by overseas visitors, the Kottel (Western Wall) was shunned, no doubt again as a spineless reaction to Arab and Moslem threats of mayhem should the leader of the free world dare to demonstrate that this last remaining spot from Temple times is an integral part of the Jewish People’s historical 3,000 years connection to Jerusalem. Last but by no means least, the plea to release Jonathan Pollard after so many years of incarceration, fell on deaf ears.


Predictably the media has had a field day and depending on which newspaper or TV channel one has managed to access the reports have ranged from ecstatic to doom and gloom. Wading through the torrents of shmaltz and navigating the sickening sycophantic chorus of adoring fans, it is fairly simple to sort out reality from fantasy.


First of all the reality:


President Obama is obviously devoutly sincere in his desire to bring peace to the region. In this he is no different from that of his predecessors and like them will quite likely fail. He obviously has realized that the tactics he employed during his first term were counter productive and therefore this time around he recognized the Jewish historical connection to Israel. He also mentioned that direct negotiations, without any preconditions was the only way forward. In a blatant attempt to put pressure on the elected Government of Israel and bypass the Knesset, he also advised his audience of selected left wing university students to apply pressure in order that “peace” could be achieved. I wonder what the reaction in the USA would be if the Israeli Prime Minister during one of his visits advised a similar tactic over some critical aspect of domestic or foreign policy. You can bet there would be howls of outrage from all and sundry. In contrast when this blatant interference in our backyard takes place there is applause and approval. The President was also exposed to Israeli innovations and expertise and there is no doubt he was suitably impressed. Summing up one can say that most of the right buttons were pressed, Hebrew phrases were trotted out and a feeling of goodwill generated. Those of us, however, who have seen many circuses before, discerned more disquieting motivations lurking in the undergrowth.


Now the fantasy:


Amazingly, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we are being lectured yet again that we have a credible peace partner in Abbas and his mates in Ramallah. This illusion is not confined to the US Presidential entourage but is also part of the hallucinatory narrative of those Israelis and Jews who will never learn anything from past and current disasters. In a perfect example of illogical thinking, Obama condemned Hamas as more rockets from Gaza caused damage and trauma in southern Israel, while at the same time promoting Abbas whose stated aim is to unite with Hamas. No doubt the rapturous reception from hand picked Israeli student cheer leaders he had received earlier convinced the American President that it was easy to bamboozle us with double speak. There is a certain logic to this approach because beyond doubt there are still individuals who believe that all we have to do is admit our original sin of being reborn in 1948, agree to every demand made by those whose aim is our removal from the scene and fantasize that following our successful self destruction, universal peace and brother/sister hood will envelope the Islamic world.


For those of us not seduced by the carefully crafted acts of this traveling circus, confirmation of its real purpose can easily be found. Both in Jerusalem and Ramallah the message was perfectly clear to anyone willing to look beyond the glittering hoopla and frenzied media mania. Trotting out the usual false mantra of “occupation, expulsion, settler violence and travel restrictions” and completely ignoring daily Arab/Islamic hate education and incitement, the onus for any lack of peace is laid directly at Israel’s door. Missing entirely is a recognition that the Palestinian Arab claim to nationhood is a post 1967 invention, Judea & Samaria was part of the Jewish Homeland 3,000 years ago and was moreover allocated to be part of the reborn Jewish State by the League of Nations, later ratified by the UN, that the refugee problem is one which could have been solved a long time ago, that Jewish refugees from Arab countries were absorbed and resettled, settler violence by a small minority is condemned and dealt with and that travel restrictions exist because many of our peace partners want to carry out terrorist acts.


The bottom line is clear. There could have been another Arab country in 1948. Between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan illegally occupied the territory now termed “occupied” there could have been an Arab State with half of occupied Jerusalem as its capital. The fact that this never happened is simple. Then as now, the ultimate aim is the removal of the Jewish State. Whether it is by direct armed conflict, threat of nuclear annihilation by Iran or today’s agenda of slicing Israel like salami and establishing a terrorist controlled territory in our midst, the end result is the same. The American Secretary of State has been tasked to do the dirty work and arm twist us into making gestures aimed at achieving this very end. His boss has performed the first act and now it is to be followed by an encore of hire wire performances. We must make sure that when John Kerry falls off his trapeze it is him not us who goes crashing through the non existent safety net.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and works for The Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem.    

Read him later this week on our new site J-Views


One Response to “Roll up, rollup the circus has come to town…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Yes, Michael Kuttner, the Reality and the Fantasy you describe so well are just that. Obama is such a charmer, too! he really is … but there’s no getting away from the facts as you present them.

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