Israeli PMs always have the last laugh
You want to talk to me? Then you’re too stupid for me to talk to you
Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians could be summed up by a tweak of Groucho’s famous credo: ‘Anyone who claims to be ready to talk with us proves, by saying so, that he is not worthy to be a negotiating partner.’
By B. Michael, Haaretz
May 16, 2014
Now we know: the State of Israel has adopted Groucho Marxism as its official policy.
For those with short memories, here is a reminder of the history and main points of the Groucho Marxist philosophy. It originated at the time when country clubs in the United States would not allow Jews to become members. The late Mr. Groucho Marx (one of the greatest Jewish-American humorists) nevertheless received an offer to join one of those anti-Semitic clubs despite the fact that he was Jewish. His (Jewish) answer was: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
This rule has now become the guiding principle for the Israeli government, which has made no changes to it except the ones dictated by circumstances. The new Israeli version of the Groucho Marxist philosophy is as follows: “We don’t want to talk with anyone who is willing to talk with us.” Or, to put it a bit more bluntly: “Anyone who claims to be ready to talk with us proves, by saying so, that he is not worthy to be a negotiating partner” (and, for that reason, deserves to be thrown in prison, deported, blown up, poisoned or removed from the agenda in any way possible).
At a superficial glance, this policy seems nothing more than an amusing paradox. A deeper look will show that it contains quite a bit of truth. After all, who knows the real quality and nature of the Israeli government better than the Israeli government itself? In the inner recesses of its heart, the government knows very well that the lip service it pays here and there to “its indefatigable quest for peace” is nothing but straw and stubble. So anyone stupid enough to buy its hypocritical chatter about peace cannot be considered a serious partner.
Or, as we said above: Anyone who is willing to talk to me proves that he is too stupid for me to talk with him.
We must admit that adopting Groucho Marxism has already gotten the desired result: the prisons are full of people who are willing to talk with us, but from the moment the king of Jordan announced that he had nothing to talk about with us (regarding the West Bank), he has been the only one we are willing to talk to.
His Majesty King Abdullah meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Amman on Thursday January 16th. No need to discuss the Jordan valley as the king is happy to leave it under IDF management. Photo Courtesy of the Royal Court
Full disclosure: Everything I wrote above — with only technical changes — is pure journalistic plagiarism. It appeared long ago in Haaretz — or, to be more precise, in Haaretz’s weekend supplement, on Friday, August 26, 1988. That was 26 years ago.
Only my typical modesty prevents me from noting that this writer was also the one who wrote the above 26 years ago — because even then, Israel’s crooked policy was obvious, transparent and predictable.
Logic would seemingly dictate that a trick exposed 26 years ago would have lost its power and charm. But Israel’s adherence to Groucho Marxism has only grown deeper, more sophisticated and more efficient, trapping the foolish and naïve in its net again and again. Over and over it succeeds in leading both the nation and the world by the nose.
And so, thanks only to it and to the foolish and naïve ones whom it trapped this time, everybody has sunk once again into the heated and hackneyed dispute over “who is to blame for the failure of the talks.” Might it be the violation of the prisoner-release agreement? The voracious construction in the territories? Israel’s built-in refusal to part with the real estate? Heaven forbid! It is the Palestinians’ fault. By announcing that they were willing to talk with us, they proved once again that they were unworthy of having us talk with them.
Every true Groucho Marxist understands this.
There is nothing more depressing or disheartening, more ludicrous or embarrassing, than having to learn yet again that Groucho Marxism was, is and evidently will remain the most sanctified ideology of (most of) Israel’s governments throughout the country’s history. For 30 years at least, and maybe more.