August 9, 2011
The Story of Ami and Bar Ami
There once was a man who was having a conference about a crisis affecting Israel. He had a friend named Ami that he wanted to invite to speak. There happened to be another man in town named Bar Ami that he had terrible disagreements with over almost every issue concerning Israel. His assistant started sending out invitations to speakers and mistakenly sent out an invite to Bar Ami.
Meanwhile, Bar Ami got the invite and thought that the other man had a change of heart and wanted to initiate dialogue. So he went to the Israel conference and prepared to speak. The host of the event saw that Bar Ami was going to be next at the podium and flew into a rage. He personally went over to Bar Ami and started to kick him out of the conference. Bar Ami tried to reason with him that he would be very embarrassed if he were dis-invited. However, the host didn’t back down. Bar Ami then offered to sponsor part of the conference. The organizer told him that he didn’t need his money or sponsorship. And so the host kicked Bar Ami out of the conference.
Bar Ami saw that there were all kinds of Israel supporters at the conference, even prominent ones. None of them stood up to speak-out when the host was kicking him out. “It must be,” reasoned Bar Ami, “that the participants all sided with the host.” So Bar Ami decided to retaliate. He went to the offices of a senator running to be president, and told him that the Jews were planning on working against him.
The Senator did not believe him.
Bar Ami told him to go to Israel and place a letter in the Kotel and see if the Jews respected his privacy, thereby showing their respect to him. The Senator agreed and went to Jerusalem. Bar Ami had suspicions that the note would be made public and that the Senator would not be respected or worse.
When the Senator arrived in Jerusalem, he went to the Holy Wall in an unannounced visit, donned a yarmulke and placed a note in the crack in the Kotel. Someone pulled the note, handwritten on King David Hotel stationery, out of the Wall, and a leading paper in Israel published it:
“Lord, Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”
The decision by the newspaper to make the note public on Friday drew criticism. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, said that publishing the note intruded in the future relationship with God.
“The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,” he told the journalists. The publication “damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves,” he said.
A rival newspaper claimed they had been approached to publish it and had decided against it to preserve the Senator’s privacy. Bar Ami was successful at persuading the Senator that the conference of Israel supporters and even Israel were working against him.
When the senator was elected President, he appointed Bar Ami as his trusted advisor on Israel, much to the dismay of the organizers of the Israel conference which had booted Bar Ami. The President immediately called on Israel to unilaterally advance the “peace process,” and refused to meet with the Israeli leader. The President now felt that the Israeli Prime Minister was an unwilling partner to his vision of a peaceful middle east.
Leaders in Israel squabbled about whether their Prime Minister had sabotaged good relations with the USA, and as a siege of Israel began, both sides dug in their heels. The political siege of Israel began to weaken Israel’s ability to conduct its affairs. Israel’s ministers and generals were prevented from travel abroad for fear of arrest. Boycotts of Israel, Israeli culture and Israeli products around the world began in earnest. Israel’s enemies tightened the siege, accusing Israel of war-crimes, genocide, apartheid, and any other crime that they could think of. The few friendly Muslim nations began to undo the friendship.
Meanwhile, vindicated against the other conference, Bar Ami started his own Israel conference. His conference, he proclaimed, was for peace, and had the stamp of approval of the President. People flocked to hear him. He garnered support from senators and congressmen, from rabbis and heads of large Jewish organizations. He took out expensive ads around the country critical of Israel, and the other Israel conference. He was invited to exclusive meetings at the White House and quoted in newspapers and on TV. He published op-eds and established offices around the country, and on college campuses.
However, soon it became apparent to supporters in congress and around the country that Bar Ami was more of a liability than an asset. His rhetoric seemed to line-up with the rhetoric of those waging the siege against Israel. Bar Ami’s standing with the President began to fade, and his conference drifted further and further to the middle, trying to stake out positions proved their were still pro-Israel. The President, realizing that he lost support of the other Israel conference, and the community of Israel supporters, started to reexamine his own stance towards the Israeli Prime Minister, hoping to gain their allegiance.
Bar Ami’s conference it was discovered had been funded by well known critics and enemies of Israel. He denied it at first, but then it was discovered that major funding came from dubious sources. Bar Ami lost more and more support even from his advisers and financial backers. His influence withered and he was no longer welcome in the halls of the great President.
The Siege of Israel meanwhile tightened. International activists set out to breach Israel’s borders, delivering aid to Israel’s enemies. Israel botched the defensive raid, and further added to her international isolation. As the isolation tightened, divisions within Israel grew stronger between those who believed Israel should unilaterally create a new state on their borders, and those who argued for the status-quo. The animosity kept the reining Prime Minister in office even after hundreds of thousands marched in the street against his government.
The President decided to forgo both the advice of either conference, and forge his own way, continuing to alienate them both, the Israeli public, and supporters of Israel. All the nations major opinion makers aligned against him, except for the New Amsterdam Times. The Times published critical op-eds of Israel and laying the failure of a peaceful future at her doorstep.
In Israel, the Prime Minister began to make concessions to maintain his position. He appointed advisers to sort out the internal mess of no housing. He hired outside consultants to help break the political siege. Those maintaining the siege were handed another political victory as they could portray that Israelis were more concerned about their own expensive housing, then they were of the Palestinians whose homes they were supposedly wrecking.
Soon Bar Ami’s conference was disbanded, torn apart by internal struggles between far leftists and centrists. The other conference grew more powerful than before, and teamed up with other gentile conferences all trying to aid the besieged nation of Israel.
The President was reelected after defeating a former governor from Alaska. He made a trip to the middle east and spoke more about peace and democracy, as democratic reforms soon gave way to Islamist regimes. Israel elected a new prime minister who promised to end the siege. The siege continued to get worse and worse, causing all but the staunchest supporters to withdraw their support for fear of siding with the enemy of peace. The boycotts worsened. The hatred of Israel grew and spread from college campuses into mainstream life, and Israel became a pariah of the nations.
Then a prophet arose in Israel who proclaimed that they were the long awaited Messiah. The Messiah made peace between the waring sides in Israel. The enemies put down their weapons and rhetoric and began to work together. As the internal strife lessened, the Messiah came to the United Nations and proclaimed that a unified Israel would no longer bow to the nations of the world, but would help free the billions of people in the world living under totalitarian regimes, and political slavery.
The totalitarian regimes of the world trembled and balked. The President and the Israeli Messiah won the noble peace prize, and then teamed up with the Dalai Lama, Matisyahu, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Madonna to make a huge peace concert in Jerusalem.
Seeing that political and social freedom was but a revolution away - the oppressed peoples of the world realized that Israel was not the enemy, but her champion. Their eyes were opened and they saw that America was not the great Satan, but a substantial source of trade, income, and action movies. They rebelled and cast off their totalitarian rulers and elected representative democracies.
The Messiah established peace in the world, built a mansion in a unified and peaceful Jerusalem, and played golf with the now former President on occasion. Tour buses of Jewish young Americans now included a stop at the Messiahs house, and returned to campuses and communities that no longer hated Israel or the Jews.
And then I woke up and realized it was all a dream.