Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bill Clinton, Sociologist

On the subject of Mr. Clinton’s little tutorial on Middle East peace, delivered off the top of his heady-head-head at the Clinton Global Initiative the other day, much properly disgusted commentary and response has appeared in the last couple of days, with a particular focus on his assertion that “An increasing number of the young people in the IDF are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem. It’s a different Israel.”  (Different from what, one must interrupt oneself to ask: The Israel he attempted to coerce—not once, but twice—into making a deal with the gore-covered Yasser Arafat and his blood-soaked fellow Fatah terrorists? The Israel of hot Tel Avivi beach chicks with their cafe-society contempt for all the grubby little worries of those less fortunate and less esthetically pleasing than themselves? The Israel of peace conferences put on by “Kumbaya”-singing post-Zionist academics for the purpose of weeping mea culpa naqba into the hankies of their “Palestinian” opposite numbers?)

His fabrication of a long-ago conversation with Natan Sharansky—“I said, ‘Natan, what is the deal [about not supporting the peace deal],’” Clinton recalled. “He said, ‘I can't vote for this, I’m Russian. . . . I come from one of the biggest countries in the world to one of the smallest. You want me to cut it in half. No, thank you.’” Clinton responded, “Don't give me this, you came here from a jail cell. It’s a lot bigger than your jail cell”—is also a doozy, and on the order of his wife’s extremely wonderful Bosnia sniper-fire-incident experiment in language usage.  (Apparently there’s not much Mr. and Mrs. Clinton won’t say, given half a chance.)  

But for me the most delicious part of that performance was his extraordinary—no, his fantastical, his risible, his marvelously ludicrous—foray into sociology, with the ranking of Israelis’ attitudes toward peace according to their national origins:

The “most pro-peace Jewish Israelis” are the Sabras, who he described as native-born Israelis whose roots there date back millennia, because they have the benefit of historical context. “They can imagine sharing a future.” . . . Ashkenazi Jews who emigrated from Europe and have been in Israel for one or more generations are the next most supportive of a peace deal, Clinton said. . . . The “swing voters” are what Clinton called the “Moroccans”: North African Jews who immigrated to Israel in the 1970s. He described them as right-of-center citizens who nevertheless want normal, stable lives.

Res ipsa loquitur, as the lawyers say. Just a note of thanks, stain man, for the spurious, illiterate, and really amazingly racist lesson in Israeli politics! So glad we needn’t ever again imagine sharing a future with you.

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