Posted by David Suissa
There are plenty of good reasons to dislike the Iran nuclear deal-- but here are two of my biggest:
One, knowing that Iran is oh-so-close to getting the bomb, why make a deal that lets them off the hook and buys them more time?
Iran has invested tens of billions over the past 25 years to develop their nuclear program. Everyone knows that they have lied and cheated to get there, including violating six United Nations Security Council Resolutions which demanded, among other things, that they stop enriching uranium.
Now that they are close to the finish line, why give them more time to cross that line?
If President Obama were dead serious about stopping Iran from going over the nuclear finish line, he would have been firm and explicit: “Either you respect the Security Council Resolutions and begin dismantling your nuclear program and stop all enrichment now, or all sanctions will remain in place and may even be strengthened. And rest assured that all options will remain on the table.”
Instead, the president opened the sacred door of sanctions relief in return for merely a “slowing down” of Iran’s nuclear program-- not a retreat.
Slowing down might be acceptable if Iran had first retreated to mid-field, but when its nuclear program is on the one-yard line, slowing down is a big gift to the mullahs.
And, being that they’re already so close, how will reduced sanctions convince the mullahs to retreat on their cherished nuclear dream in which they have invested so much treasure and prestige?
Which brings me to the second reason why I’m so skeptical about this deal: I’m smelling something fishy on the start date. As a rule, deals that involve technical matters don’t start until those details are finalized. Yes, God is in the details.
And there are plenty of technical details that must be ironed out and agreed to before the six-month Joint Plan of Action is finalized.
So when I hear everyone talking about “six months from now,” my question is: When does the “now” start?
Well, it doesn't look like anytime soon. As reported yesterday from Washington:
“Technical details to implement the Joint Plan of Action must be finalized before the terms of the Plan begin,” a senior administration official told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday. “The P5+1 and Iran are working on what the timeframe is.”
Adam Credo of the Beacon writes: “Congressional sources confirmed that the freeze would not actually begin until the parties agree to sign a supplemental agreement that puts the framework into effect.
“That means the six-month clock referenced by the administration and media has not yet started. Iran can continue its most controversial nuclear activities as negotiators work to finalize the interim deal reached over the weekend.”
And when will those negotiations start?
“It is unclear when negotiations on a final interim deal will take place and be completed."
So, they came to an interim understanding last Saturday in Geneva that involved many technical issues of compliance and verification, and now, the mullahs can comfortably continue their nuclear march as they negotiate and finalize all these fine technical details.
In other words, the mullahs bought themselves even more time!
Now, if someone has any evidence that the six-month clock has already started—and that Iran’s “slowing down” obligations have kicked in-- please send it to me.
In the meantime, regardless of when that six-month clock starts, we know that Iran is on the one-yard line of its nuclear dream, and that instead of strengthening our defense, President Obama has opened up some holes for them to sneak through.
No wonder the wily mullahs are breaking open the alcohol-free champagne in Tehran.
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October 1, 2013 | 3:32 pm
Posted by David Suissa
“It’s as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War!”
That hysterical response to the government “shutdown” is not from a rabble-rousing blogger overdosing on Red Bull, it’s from Democratic Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa).
He’s not alone. I’ve rarely seen such a feeding frenzy of hysterical commentators jumping on Republicans for “shutting the government down.”
Look, if Republicans were immature and irresponsible for igniting this “shutdown” in the first place, then their hysterical critics are no less immature and irresponsible.
You can call this latest episode of governmental shrinkage stupid, idiotic or simply partisan politics, but if you respect the English language, you won’t call it a “shutdown.”
I’m not saying I’m happy that so many governmental workers will have their salaries be “furloughed,” although that is certainly better than having their salaries be terminated-- as has happened to millions of employees in the private sector.
What I’m saying is that we would improve the national conversation if, before jumping to hysterical conclusions, we would calm down and look at the facts of this “shutdown.”
[Rob Eshman: The Shutdown]
Let me quote at length from a report by former Justice Department lawyer Hans A. Spakovsky in National Review Online (NRO):
“The truth from the experience of prior shutdowns, applicable federal laws, Justice Department legal opinions, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives, is that crucial government services and benefits would continue without interruption even if Congress fails to agree on a continuing resolution (CR) or President Obama vetoes it.
“That includes all services essential for national security and public safety — such as the military and law enforcement — as well as mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
“In fact, as the Justice Department said in a legal opinion in 1995, ‘the federal government will not be truly shut down . . . because Congress has itself provided that some activities of Government should continue.’ Any claim that not passing a CR would result in a ‘shutting down’ of the government ‘is an entirely inaccurate description,’ according to the Justice Department.
“Such a lapse in funding would be neither catastrophic nor unprecedented. There have been 17 funding gaps just since 1977, ranging in duration from one to 21 days. Under applicable federal law, operations and services would continue for those essential for ‘the safety of human life or the protection of property’ as well as those programs funded through multiyear or permanent appropriations such as Social Security.
“A 1981 memorandum by David Stockman during the Reagan administration that is still relied on by the OMB laid out the services that continue without interruption during any government ‘shutdown’:
• “National security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property;
• Benefit payments and the performance of contract obligations under no-year or multi-year appropriations or other funds remaining available for those purposes;
• Medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care and activities essential for the safe use of food, drugs, and hazardous materials;
• Air-traffic control and other transportation safety functions;
• Border and coastal protection and surveillance;
• Protection of federal lands, buildings, waterways, and other property of the U.S.;
• Care of prisoners and others in federal custody;
• Law enforcement and criminal investigations;
• Emergency and disaster assistance;
• Activities essential to the preservation of the money and banking system of the U.S., including borrowing and tax collection;
• Production of power and maintenance of the power-distribution system; and protection of research property.
“So planes, trains, and automobiles will keep running and TSA will keep patting you down…Social Security and Medicaid benefits will keep going out. The Border Patrol will keep patrolling our borders to prevent illegal crossings…
“The FDA and the Department of Agriculture will continue their safety testing and inspection of food and drugs, and medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care will keep right on going.
“The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department will keep printing and borrowing money and protecting the banking system. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service will continue collecting taxes.
“It is certainly true that ‘nonessential’ federal employees will be furloughed. But so many federal employees are considered ‘essential’ that when President Bill Clinton vetoed a CR in November 1995 in a dispute with Newt Gingrich over a balanced budget and welfare reform, only about 800,000 out of a total of almost 4.5 million federal employees were furloughed.
“In a second funding gap from December 1995 to January 1996, only about 300,000 employees were furloughed. So the vast majority of federal workers will keep right on working.”
Also, as Andrew Stiles reports in NRO, “even the implementation of Obamacare would proceed apace, provided the president does not unilaterally decide to delay it further. State- and federally run health-care exchanges — at least those whose implementation is going ahead on time — will still open on Tuesday, and other core aspects of the law will continue to receive funding, via mandatory appropriations.”
This “shutdown” won’t even reduce spending.
As Stiles reports, “because so many government operations would continue under a government shutdown, and because Congress has typically voted to reimburse the missed paychecks of furloughed workers, a government shutdown probably wouldn’t cut spending. By some estimates, in fact, the shutdowns of the mid 1990s actually cost the government more than $1 billion.”
Bottom line? Call it idiotic if you like, but don’t call it a shutdown.
There is enough fear and chaos already implied in the word “shutdown” that the last thing we need right now is to pour more oil on the fire.
What we should shut down are the hysterics, especially those coming from U.S. Senators who should know better.
September 22, 2013 | 12:31 pm
Posted by David Suissa
It appears that Rabbi John Rosove is excluding liberals like himself from the category of people influenced by recent scientific findings.
In his latest blog post, titled "Republican Craziness and Hubris Explained," the rabbi refers to two recent columns which quote new scientific studies that show “partisanship undermining reasoning skills.”
As the rabbi writes:
“If the researchers are correct, then the more real facts, information and logic that bonafide experts in various fields (e.g. economics, health care, science, climate change, etc.) present, the more convinced will be the extremist ideologues and their followers of whatever nonsense they started out with in the first place, and they will stick to what Stephen Colbert once called ‘Truthiness!’”
So far, so good.
But here comes the hitch: Even though the study applied to ALL humans --liberals included-- the rabbi writes that the study explains REPUBLICAN behavior:
“We now have brain science to explain the bizarre and destructive impulses and positions taken by the Republican Party and their irrational and extremist base vis a vis The Affordable Care Act, the United States budget and the US debt ceiling.”
Does he make any mention whatsoever that this new brain science may also explain the stubborn, ideological behavior of NON-Republicans?
In other words, he is ignoring a new fact from “bonafide experts” and sticking to his ideological guns.
Unwittingly, the rabbi has confirmed the very finding of the study: That real facts don’t influence ideologues, whether they're liberals or Republicans.
In the good news department, this just shows we’re all humans.
September 10, 2013 | 8:09 pm
Posted by David Suissa
“Imagine your congregation gathered to witness the first strokes of the Scribe’s quill on new parchment... Feeling a real connection to the shape of the letters, the texture of the parchment, the concentration of the Scribe, holding his quill, preparing to write the name of G-d.”
This is how my friend Rav Shmuel Miller, who passed away suddenly last week during Rosh Hashanah, described on his Web site his lifelong passion for enscribing Hebrew letters on holy scrolls.
He devoted much of his working life to the shape of these letters, the texture of parchment, the holding of a quill, with the concentration of a man always prepared to write the name of the Creator.
I first met Rav Miller when I moved to Pico-Robertson about seven years ago. I had just started writing my column, so I was making the rounds of the different shuls and rabbis of the neighborhood. I had heard from my French buddies about this unusual French-speaking rabbi (his friends affectionately called him “R’bbe Shmuel”), who had a little shul in his backyard.
As I got to know him better, I started to understand why he was so unusual.
For one thing, he looked like he came from another century. He had a glorious, regal look about him. He was tall and always stood up straight, ready to greet you properly. His eyes were dark and soulful, but with a mischievous sparkle. He wore his beard perfectly trimmed, framing a face ready at any moment to light up in laughter.
At home, he often dressed in jelabas and baboushes, much the way I remember my grandfather dressed in Casablanca.
As I wrote in 2007, Rav Miller would have looked right at home on the set of “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Although he was an expert in Hebrew letters, he had a lifelong fascination with Arabic and became an expert in that language as well.
His interest in Arabic, he once told me, started because he wanted to study the writings of Maimonides in his original text. This is what I wrote at the time:
“He says this [knowing Arabic] gave him a deeper, ‘more palpable’ understanding of Jewish ideas. For example, the word in Arabic that Maimonides uses for the Hebrew daat (knowledge) is eidrak, which refers to a knowledge that you ‘apprehend’ or ‘take in.’ It is a union between the modrak, the one who understands, and the modrik, the one who is understood.
"Whereas the Hebrew daat denotes something external and impersonal, the Arab eidrak defines a knowledge that is more personal and contemplative, one that ultimately becomes part of you.”
Ordained as an Orthodox rabbi, Rav Miller was an intellectual who seemed to know a lot about everything. When he gave classes at my house about the philosopher Emanuel Levinas, he would weave in sources from the Talmud, the Midrash and the prophets, as well as the Zohar.
For years, he was my go-to person for anything Jewish. We would meet early mornings at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Wilshire Boulevard, and I would pepper him with questions on a subject I was writing about. Usually, before I would finish my question, his face would light up with a big “Ah!,” as if to suggest he had a few surprises in store for me.
He also loved music.
On Tuesday nights, a group of hipsters would gather in his home for a kind of spiritual Middle Eastern jam session.
“We would sit in a circle and chant Tehilim until gravity no longer had any effect on us,” is how my friend Maimon Chocron, who played the bendir (north African snare hand drum) during the sessions, described it.
He had a small but intense following. He didn’t get much press, nor did he seek it. His home and shul became a gathering place for the eclectic Jews of Pico-Robertson.
For all the bohemia that surrounded him, there was a precision to everything Rav Miller did. Although there were stretches in his life where he experienced hardships, both personally and financially, his dignity never suffered. His thoughts and movements were always refined and meticulous, just as when he held his quill to shape letters on holy scrolls.
These scrolls are now read in countless synagogues on Shabbat, every time a Torah is opened. The letters in those scrolls are his personal legacy to our community.
His life itself, you might say, was a like a holy scroll. It had the Old-World texture of parchment, the sharpness of brilliant ink, and the permanence of great ideas.
In his distinguished, regal way, he spent a lifetime preparing to meet God.
September 8, 2013 | 8:07 am
Posted by David Suissa
As President Barack Obama tries to dig himself out of his self-inflicted Syrian fiasco, there’s one aspect to this crisis that few people are talking about.
What Obama can learn from Israel.
The president may run the world’s most powerful country, but Israel has vastly more experience navigating the treacherous ways of its unforgiving neighborhood.
Let’s take as one example the U.S. objective of deterring Syria from using chemical weapons.
Deterrence is a fancy diplomatic term for putting the fear of God into your enemy so that he won’t mess with you.
Obviously, Obama’s verbal attempt at deterrence—warning that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line”—didn’t exactly work, as Syrian President Bashar Assad had the nerve to call his bluff, not once but twice.
As the leader of the free world, though, Obama couldn’t afford to be publicly humiliated and jeopardize his country’s credibility and deterrence.
So, after Assad's second violation, when 1500 people were murdered, the president was forced to react. With great fanfare, he announced that he would send a “shot across the bow” to the Syrian tyrant, presumably to make the point that if you mess with him again, the next shot will be a lot worse.
But again, this latest attempt at deterrence is not likely to succeed, as Obama has hinted strongly that there won’t be a next shot— that his military strike will be “narrow and limited.”
It’s no secret that the last thing Obama wants is to get his hands dirty in another war, especially when he knows that forcing a regime change at this point might spawn an even worse regime.
With no good options, but feeling trapped into "doing something," Obama is trying to avoid humiliation by splitting the difference. As a U.S. official was recently quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Obama seeks a level of intensity “just muscular enough not to get mocked." How’s that for a clear military objective?
This pattern of ambivalence and weakness, Charles Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post, was there from the beginning:
“Assad has to go, says Obama, and then lifts not a finger for two years. Obama lays down a red line, and then ignores it. Shamed finally by a massive poison-gas attack, he sends Kerry to make an impassioned case for righteous and urgent retaliation—and the very next day, Obama undermines everything by declaring an indefinite timeout to seek congressional approval.”
As if things weren’t messy enough, this timeout is allowing the enemy plenty of time to move civilians to military targets and military targets to civilian areas. If the president ends up going through with a military strike, we shouldn't be surprised to see Assad parade lots of dead bodies killed by those big bad Americans.
Now let's compare all this hesitating, wobbling, grandstanding and zigzagging to Israel’s approach to deterring Syria.
When Israel sees that Syria is behaving badly, as when it tries to move weapons of mass destruction to Hezbollah, Israel doesn’t waste time with words or posturing.
It doesn't call any press conferences or give the enemy any advance warning of what it will do.
It just sends in its commandos, destroys the threat, goes home and never says a word. When the enemy senses that you mean business, that's called deterrence.
It’s not a coincidence that for the last 30 years, Israel’s border with Syria has been remarkably quiet.
Imagine if Obama had used this quick and decisive Israeli-style approach in dealing with Syria—if, for example, he had ordered punitive strikes a year ago as soon as Syria first crossed his red line on chemical weapons.
Or, for that matter, if he had decisively supported and armed the opposition early on, before it got so dominated by jihadists.
Had he shown such hard-nosed resolve from the start, would the president be in the pickle he’s in right now? Would America be looking so lame? I don't think so.
If the leader of the free world wants to make it in the Middle East, he’s going to have to think more like an Israeli.
It’s not so crazy to think that Obama should quietly consult with his Israeli allies whenever a tricky situation comes up in any part of Israel’s violent neighborhood—which, these days, is pretty much always.
When you see how America has lost so much credibility and influence with so many key players in the region, can anyone say that America would not be better off today had Obama sought the valuable advice of his only true ally in the Middle East?
If Israelis understand one thing, it's reality. They have no illusions about the neighborhood they live in.
This neighborhood's explosive brew of tribal, sectarian and ethnic conflicts, combined with economic stagnation and social uprisings, has created a dangerous minefield that only hardened and wily local warriors can navigate.
Israel is not only that hardened warrior, it’s America’s best friend.
However the Syrian mess unfolds, with three years left in his term, Obama would do well to take advantage of that friendship.
September 1, 2013 | 8:23 pm
Posted by David Suissa
The U.S. Congress must reject President Barack Obama’s attempt to lay his Syrian mess at their doorstep.
The president had two years to do the right thing in Syria, while more than 100,000 people were being killed and millions displaced, and he chose to drag his feet and do virtually nothing. This apathy and inaction allowed murderous jihadists to take over the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s murderous regime, and, guess what?
Now it’s too late to pick a good side. There isn’t any. They're both horrendous.
Obama has been trapped by his own negligence.
When Assad called Obama’s bluff two weeks ago and used chemical weapons, the president found himself in a real pickle.
On the one hand, he couldn’t be made to look like fool, not after calling the use of chemical weapons in Syria a “red line” he wouldn’t tolerate.
On the other hand, a "narrow and limited” military strike would also make him look like a fool, as Assad would certainly celebrate his heroic “victory” of surviving the wrath of the Great Satan.
There are a lot of unknowns in the Syrian morass, but this much we know: Obama has neither the will nor the inclination to start another Iraq war. No boots on the ground. No regime change. No nation building.
Obama knows that if we remove the Assad regime now, we can expect a chaotic terrorist state that would make Lebanon look like Club Med.
So, by the perverted rules of the Middle East, any limited U.S. attack that won’t remove the regime will only strengthen the hand of the very regime we are trying to punish.
Like a smart politician once said, “That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”
That was Barack Obama in 2002, before he met the temptations of power, passion and politics.
It was the president’s passion for politics that made him naively push for a “negotiated solution” to the Syrian civil war, while tens of thousands were being murdered and while it was still possible for the U.S. to arm and strengthen a more moderate opposition.
“Obama’s efforts largely stopped at calling for the Geneva II conference,” Michael Young wrote recently in the Beirut Star. “The president never sought to integrate a military strategy in Syria with his political aims…Early on American officials said that President Bashar Assad had to leave office, as if a mere statement would push him to book a flight out of Damascus. Yet nothing was done to turn that thought into a reality.”
As a result, “Syrian opposition has come to be defined, and to an extent overcome, by its most extreme elements.”
The effort to oppose Assad’s rule, Young adds, was crippled by “discord between the more moderate opposition figures, the bankruptcy of the Arab states, the futility of the Western Europeans,” and, most of all, by “the cowardice and lack of foresight of the United States.”
This cowardice and lack of foresight came to a head when Assad murdered 1,500 of his own people with chemical weapons and forced Obama’s hand.
What statement will Obama make if he attacks now? That it’s okay to murder 100,000 people as long as you use only regular weapons?
Try telling that to any of the thousands of Syrian mothers who’ve watched their children die from regular bombs and bullets.
When Obama says, as he did last Friday, that “the murderer of innocent children must not go unpunished,” those grieving Syrian mothers have every right to shout back at him: “Where were you the past two years while our own children were being murdered?”
He was playing politics without a military spine, something otherwise known as negligence.
Well, now that he wants to play G.I. Joe, it’s simply too little, too late.
At this late and messy stage, any “limited” U.S. military action would not only risk a major conflagration in the region, but also demonstrate how little power the U.S. has these days to exert a positive influence in the roiling Middle East.
As Fareed Zakaria wrote on CNN.com, "The manner in which the Obama administration has first created and then mismanaged this crisis will, alas, cast a long shadow on America’s role in the world."
Having painted himself into this very tight corner, on Saturday morning Obama went back to what he knows best—politics— by trying to draw Congress into a trap of his own making, or, as The New York Times put it, “into a box he made.”
Congress must say no to Obama's transparent search for political cover and hold him accountable for the strategic mess he’s created.
At the very least, as Marc Thiessen writes in the Washington Post, it should demand that "Obama show he has a plan beyond firing a 'shot across the bow' in Syria — a comprehensive strategy to alter the balance of power by strengthening the secular, moderate pro-Western elements of the opposition, so that al-Qaeda-backed Islamic extremists do not come to power and the regime that eventually replaces Bashar al-Assad’s is not worse than Assad’s."
The message is not that military action is wrong, but that, at this point, the proposed action is too lame and too late.
July 19, 2013 | 9:30 pm
Posted by David Suissa
In his personal and heartfelt speech yesterday on the Trayvon Martin tragedy, President Obama did a great job explaining why “the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
Had he stuck to that theme, it would have been a fine speech.
The problem is that he ventured into the tricky area of long-term solutions.
Specifically, he spoke about the need to “bolster and reinforce our African American boys…who need help [and] who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement,” and he asked: “Is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them?”
This is where he stumbled. He completely ignored the most important investment in a kid’s life— responsible parenting—and the troubling reality that, according to government statistics, 72 percent of African-American children are born to unmarried mothers.
As reported in The Root, an African-American Web site that is a division of the Washington Post, these are the consequences of fatherless homes:
As the Web site reported, these statistics apply to African-American homes in disproportionate numbers: “Compared with the 72 percent in our [African-American] communities, 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent.”
There is nothing a government can do to substitute for a missing parent.
So, for all his courage in discussing the emotional and historical context of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, when he ventured into "solutions," our president failed to confront the crucial and vexing problem of African-American children born in fatherless homes.
That's too bad. As a responsible parent himself, the president ought to know the immeasureable value of tough love.
I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's saving that message for another day.
July 18, 2013 | 12:47 pm
Posted by David Suissa
I don’t have to tell you what it’s like to be on a packed, nonstop, 14-hour El Al flight to Tel Aviv, but I will anyway.
You know, the usual: Crying babies; a Zionist youth group with plenty of testosterone (all wearing red T-shirts); an Israeli dude who looks like a former commando cheating to the last second to talk on his cell phone before takeoff; flight attendants who spend as much time taking care of the crying babies as the parents; an old lady who tries to peek at my computer screen as I write; the smell of homemade food (stuffed cabbage?); a Charedi man with a look of permanent grouchiness on his face, maybe due to the presence of very short shorts worn by several women within spitting distance of his window seat; a constant flow of human bodies rising up to search overhead compartments, with the neat clacking sound providing a welcome counterpoint to the soundtrack of the crying bambinos; and, well, I could go on.
But what I want to focus your attention on is a loose luggage strap, color black.
As you know, there’s a certain period after takeoff when the fasten seatbelt sign is on and flight attendants are AWOL. That’s the law-- they have to sit. So, if you need anything during that time, you’re on your own.
The grandmother sitting next to me (the one pretending not to look at what I’m writing) needed something. Urgently.
What happened is that she saw a loose luggage strap, color black, doubled up, sticking out of an overhead compartment. Maybe she thought it was a safety hazard. Who knows, maybe she used to be a flight attendant with Pan American Airlines fifty years ago and in her training they talked about how a baby got killed once because a loose strap forced open an overhead compartment during a rough takeoff and the falling luggage missile knocked out the poor bambino. I don’t know.
The point is, that loose strap was giving her the shpilkes.
She whispered to her friend and pointed at it. When she wasn’t peeking at my computer screen, her eyes gravitated back to the stray strap. She made the motion of looking for a flight attendant. I knew she was trying to play it cool—not wanting to make too big a deal out of it.
But her repressed shpilkes act wasn’t fooling me. I have a sharp antenna for Jewish grandmothers with shpilkes. That loose strap was weighing heavily on her mind, that’s for sure. Well, it was weighing on her, that is, until twenty minutes later when a flight attendant noticed the runaway strap and, in a sharp double-clacking motion, put a quick end to the whole saga.
Now the grandmother is sleeping like a baby.
You see, this is one of the occupational hazards of being a columnist and a passionate observer of humanity—especially Jewish humanity—AND having 14 hours to kill on a noisy El Al flight. You end up looking for loose straps.
Even more hazardous, when you also have a weakness for meaningful insights and metaphors, and you haven’t much else to do, you end up staring at that loose strap and asking deep questions like, “Is there meaning in that thing?”
Well, of course there is!
(What did you think I’d say?)
I mean, seriously, are we not the people of the loose strap? The people with forever unfinished business? The people who love to catch the smallest mistakes?
Are we not the people with thin skins and stiff necks who’ve learned the hard way to always look over our shoulders—just as that worried grandmother sitting next to me did?
Are we not the people who’ve lived for 5,773 years knowing that we can never be satisfied?
Forget the people of the book-- we are the people of “there’s always something.”
No matter how much we accomplish, no matter how loved and accepted we are, no matter how “good” things look, there’s always something.
A looming threat. An unanswered question. A fear that things may be too good.
Even a threatening loose strap sticking out from an overhead compartment with bambinos sitting just below.
Like I said, when you’re bored, you can find meaning in anything.
But now I have to go. It’s too hard on my neck to type while trying to hide the computer screen from the grandmother sitting next to me who just woke up. I can’t take the chance that she understands English.
In twelve hours, I will touch ground to seek relief for my Israel addiction.
If I see anything else interesting, I’ll let you know.