Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama Spurned

September 18, 2009

Obama Spurned
There are some encouraging signs that Obama and his people are mixing his disastrous “rule-from-the-center” strategy with some more realistic steps, such as agreement to talks with North Korea and Iran, and modification of the missile program in Poland and the Czech Republic. If this is psychological preparation for a retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq, something significant is happening. But if Obama is just trying to “shorten the lines” in order to continue those wars, any realistic steps on different fronts will count for little.
Here, in the region, the Obama team has engineered a horrendous flop for U.S. prestige. Mitchell, who returned to the US empty handed after weeks of negotiations, achieved only the elevation of Netanyahu into a national hero, able to veto the designs of the U.S. President. One has to ask, what were the Obama people thinking? This looks like another total farce. If the U.S. apparatus had any sense of the objective situation, they would not have wandered into such an abject failure. The U.S. looks weak and confused, the Netanyahu government appears strong and competent. The only U.S. response so far, after Mitchell’s departure from the area, is to rush to the support of the Israeli government against the Goldstone report…
High Quality of Life in a Rare Environment
The moral, political and economic disintegration of the kibbutz and the kibbutz movement is for your correspondent some sort of personal obsession. This is the reason that I posses a busting file of clippings on events linked to the ongoing kibbutz crisis. It appears, unfortunately, that I will never get around to working this information into a comprehensive analysis of what Martin Buber called the “experiment in socialism that didn’t fail.”
I have, of course innumerable reasons, for not doing many of the things that I will not do. Here, the main reason for abandoning any extended projects on this subject is that the kibbutz is truly irrelevant to any central process in Israel today. It is interesting and instrumental to observe any social process, but alas, the kibbutz, is today really not that important. This being objectively true, I remain with my personal obsession on the subject. It may just happen that some of my friends and acquaintances will find sentimental interest in some of the material I have gathered and my comments on this sad, sad transition of the kibbutz as it morphs from collectives of devoted idealists who wanted, in their own fashion, to storm the gates of heaven into disparate and desperate groups trying to salvage economic remnants necessary for individual survival in a neo liberal wasteland.

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Growing Stature of a Rejected Poet
The Hebrew Poet Avoth Yeshuron
Those that know my background will understand that I do not have the slightest intention of presuming expertise in any subject connected to Hebrew literature. But any reader of the literary pages and supplements will have learned about the intriguing life and work of Avoth Yeshuron (1904-1992).
Ranked with the giants of Israeli poetry such as Alterman, Shlonsky and Uri Tzvi Greenberg, he was scorned and ostracized by the Labor party hacks in the fifties and deserted friends in the established literary circles. The event, that touched off waves of hysterical attacks related to a poem by Yeshuron in 1952, in which he dared to make a stark comparison between the plight of Jewish refugees in Europe and Arab refugees from Palestine.
A new collection of poems was the occasion for a major article (Ha’aretz, 18 September, 2009) devoted to the radical eccentric who started a long climb into the Israeli poetical canon from the Yom Kippur war in 1973 onwards. His daughter, Helit Yeshuron, told the critic, Maya Sela: “Yeshuron saw the Palestinian catastrophe, the Palestinian Arabs who were forced to flee, at a time when it was not customary to see them in the Israeli discourse. He was rejected both because of his Hebrew style and because of his attitude to the Arabs, said Helit Yeshuron… “Those were hard years. His comrades betrayed him…he was accused of the most horrible crime…hatred of the Jewish people, betrayal of the Jewish people.”
“In 1956, Yeshuron stated that the holocaust of the Jews and the holocaust of the Arabs were the holocaust of the Jewish conscience..he was not making comparisons but stated that what happened to the Arabs was a holocaust and that alone was desecration of the holy. He believed that we, the Jews, as a result of historical development caused a catastrophe to another people, and for us, as Jews, it was forbidden to happen.”
Yeshuron received the Israel Prize after his death in 1992.