Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Few Controversial Statements....

This post is inspired by Joan Vennochi's comments in today's globe regarding Helen Thomas's statement that the Jews of Israel should go back to Germany and Poland. Ms. Vennochi's comments, equating Helen Thomas with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh et al seem to me to be poorly developed. It is interesting to read the many comments. Most of them would be amusing if they didn't expose such disturbingly poor reasoning on the part of the American public, but a few bring important points to the discussion, not least the difference between Thomas's position and voice as a serious reporter compared to the the position of outrageous talk show hosts who are, it is suggested, entertainers. Technically this is a valid point and might have been considered, but whether it obtains in the mind of the general public is a question- I will once again refer to "Oh what a blow that phantom gave me."

There are many difficulties involved in this discussion, not the least being coming to an understanding of the difference between being "anti-zionist" and "anti-semitic." I know Jews who are not Zionists, and by the way the Arabs are Semitic people. A subtext read in Thomas's statement, I suppose, is that returning to Germany or Poland would be a return to pogroms and death camps, which inference I think the Germans and Poles of today might resent, and by the way, wasn't America included in Thomas's original statement? And while reading the comments Obama's oil spilling in the gulf came up- I thought the oil was British, obviously connected with Balfour, I'm really surprised the commentators missed that, and I also learned that the Jews are right wing, I always thought they were left wing. The world is becoming so confusing to me, it must be my age, just as it must be Helen Thomas's age, which is great, and her career long. Perhaps, in the impatience of age, perhaps not quite at her best, she has slipped a little. We will all , at least the fortunate amongst us will get to that place in life, and having gotten there will think that the world might extend a little consideration, but alas, Dryden was right...

"When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat;
Yet fooled with hope, men favour the deceit;
Trust on and think tomorrow will repay:
Tomorrow's falser than the former day;
Lies worse; and while it says we will be blest
With some new joys, cuts off what we possest.
Strange cozenage! None would live past years again,
Yet all hope pleasure in what yet remain;
And from the dregs of life, think to receive
What the first sprightly running could not give.
I'm tired with waiting for this Chymick gold,
Which fools us young, and beggars us when old."

You cast your bread upon the water, as the good book says, when you jump to criticize the indiscretions of our seniors.

But still, that situation in the Mid-East is very confusing and distressing, so I want to share the opinon of a woman I once worked for with you. My first job out of college, where I minored in stained glass, was working for Durand Studios in New York City repairing stained glass. obviously this caused the team I was on to spend much time in religious establishments, I have many stories to tell! We were working in a Mid-manhattan Synagogue on this occasion. The Synagogues and temples were always the most hospitable and generous places to work- a marked contrast to the RC churches which wouldn't let come inside to eat our lunches. It was a cold rainy December day in 1972, and the woman who staffed the placed was busy making sure we had what we needed and were comfortable. "The Weather- you're working in this weather- we should be in Miami... You think it's warm in Miami? even in Miami it's cold!" She thought a lot about Miami it seems. During lunch we were chatting about the news which contained much distress from Israel just then. She threw up her hands and said "Oy! They should have given us Miami, then we wouldn't have all this trouble!" I still chuckle every time I tell this story.


Carolyn Roosevelt said...

Think of that--then Cubans would be the new Palestinians...

the man from Utz said...

Well, actually, the Mad genius, Carmen and Raoul didn't arrive until the mid sixties- Castro's revolution didn't even start until ten years after Israel was formed in 1948. So the Jews would have been first, but let's be frank, they would have gone to South Beach and Fort Ladeda while Carmen is a bit North speaking Spanish in Palm Bay. Knowing both groups as I do I have complete faith that they would have worked together nicely.