Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself: first as tragedy, then as farce. The riots and Iranian fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie, which forced the British-Kashmiri author into hiding for 13 years, can only be described as tragic — for him and for the cause of freedom and tolerance.
For some, it is a spiritual moment of human dignity finally resting upon everyone. For others, it is a sign that society is being sucked into an eddy of moral dissolution.
Wars, like hurricanes, tend to expose flaws in societies. In Israel, the recent war with Hezbollah revealed lack of preparedness for this kind of war against an elusive enemy, mediocre
conduct of the operations, deficiencies in equipment, shortages of shelters for the civilians and more.
When it comes to politics in Israel, left and right rarely agree. In a country where even sports teams are aligned with political parties, there is one issue that should unite Israelis and their American supporters from across the political spectrum: the need to foster opportunity and equality for Israel's 1.2 million Arab citizens.
In 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a mannequin-like figure mysteriously appears on a billiards table, a half-formed thing without hair, face or fingerprints. Meanwhile, a woman insists that her uncle isn't her uncle, but an imposter who looks just like him; husbands say the same of their wives and children of their parents.
In a narrow Jerusalem alley a few blocks away from the souvenir shops of Ben Yehuda Street, a former drug addict who wants to
be called Shimon is telling me the story of his horrific childhood.
A war is brewing. A minority in our midst is being actively persecuted. Society fears and loathes them. The government is using legislation to identify them and the military to hunt, contain and kill them. This is not Nazi Germany. This is America.
In a key scene in "Masterpiece Theatre's" "Daniel Deronda," adapted from George Eliot's 1876 novel, the hero attends a Zionist meeting.
It has almost risen to the level of obsession, this concern about Hollywood Jews and Israel. Why aren't they speaking out on Israel's behalf? Why aren't they flying to Israel to show their support? Why aren't they sending gobs of money to help out?
"I can't wait until I'm older so that I can join the NRA," my son Danny, 9, announces.The National Rifle Association? My son?
"Danny," I ask, "don't you know that guns hurt people?'
"Mom," he answers, staring at me incredulously, "they're supposed to."