Carnaval de Pourim/100e: Ceux qui ne peuvent se rappeler le passé sont condamnés à le répéter (The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again)

Mardochée ordonna à tous les juifs de célébrer tous les ans le quatorzième et le quinzième jour du douzième mois, en commémoration de ce qu’en ces jours, les Juifs ont eu raison de leurs ennemis ; que les jours de douleur se sont changés en jours de fête, et il recommanda d’en faire des jours de joie et de festin. Les juifs firent des illuminations, des  fêtes joyeuses, des réjouissances et des festins… et s’envoyèrent réciproquement des présents…, et firent des dons aux pauvres. Car Haman, fils d’Hamdatha, de la race d’Agag, persécuteur de tous les juifs, avait eu le projet de les exterminer tous, et il avait jeté des pour c’est-à-dire des sorts  pour connaître le jour qui lui serait le plus favorable pour les anéantir…, c’est pour cela que ces jours de fêtes s’appellent Pourim. Esther 9:20-26
D’après tout le contenu de cette lettre, d’après ce qu’ils avaient eux-mêmes vu et ce qui leur était arrivé, les Juifs prirent pour eux, pour leur postérité, et pour tous ceux qui s’attacheraient à eux, la résolution et l’engagement irrévocables de célébrer chaque année ces deux jours, selon le mode prescrit et au temps fixé. Ces jours devaient être rappelés et célébrés de génération en génération, dans chaque famille, dans chaque province et dans chaque ville; et ces jours de Purim ne devaient jamais être abolis au milieu des Juifs, ni le souvenir s’en effacer parmi leurs descendants. Esther 9: 27-28
[Nous te sommes aussi reconnaissants] pour les miracles, la rédemption, les haut-faits, les actes salvateurs, les merveilles, les consolations et les batailles que Tu as faits pour nos pères en ces jours [et] en ce temps, au temps de Mardochée et Esther dans Suse la capitale, lorsque Haman le mauvais s’est élevé contre eux, qu’il a demandé de détruire, tuer et perdre tous les Juifs, jeunes, vieux, femmes et enfants en un jour, le treizième jour du douzième mois qui est le mois d’adar, et de piller leurs biens. Toi, dans Ta grande miséricorde, Tu as anéanti son conseil, corrompu ses pensées et Tu lui as renvoyé son salaire à la figure. On l’a pendu avec ses fils à l’arbre. Bénédiction spécifique de Pourim
Pour les Anciens, l’année débutait non en janvier, mais en mars. Le mois de mars était donc le premier mois de l’année, celui du renouveau de la nature et du réveil de la terre. Or, avant toute nouvelle création, le monde doit retourner au chaos primordial pour se ressourcer. Ce chaos était représenté par le Carnaval, au cours duquel un pauvre d’esprit était élu roi et revêtait des ornements royaux. Un âne était revêtu des vêtements épiscopaux et officiait à l’autel. Or, l’âne symbolise notamment « satan », c’est-à-dire l’inverse de l’ordre assuré par l’Eglise. Au cours des fêtes du Carnaval, toutes les individualités disparaissent sous les masques et le maquillage, permettant ainsi la confusion qui symbolise le chaos. (…) Le Carnaval est une survivance des Bacchanales, Lupercales, Saturnales romaines, des fêtes grecques en l’honneur de Dionysos, des fêtes d’Isis en Égypte ou des Sorts chez les Hébreux. Ces fêtes se rattachaient aux traditions religieuses de la plus haute Antiquité. Elles célébraient le commencement de l’an nouveau et le réveil de la nature. Pendant quelques jours, les esclaves devenaient les maîtres, les maîtres prenaient la place des esclaves, les servant à table par exemple : devenait permis ce qui était habituellement interdit. Comme toute fête au sens plein du terme, le Carnaval est la négation du quotidien. Symbole même de la fête populaire, il instaure un temps pendant lequel il est possible de s’affranchir des règles et des contraintes du quotidien. Ainsi, il permet d’outrepasser les règles morales et sociales. Tecfa
Celui qui ne connaît pas l’histoire est condamné à la revivre. Karl Marx
Ceux qui ne peuvent se rappeler le passé sont condamnés à le répéter. George Sanatayana
Nous essayons de rendre la décision d’attaquer l’Iran la plus dure possible pour Israël. Responsable de l’Administration Obama (au Washington Post, 02.03.12)
Aucun gouvernement israélien ne peut tolérer une arme nucléaire dans les mains d’un régime qui nie l’Holocauste, menace de rayer Israël de la carte et parraine des groupes terroristes engagés à la destruction d’Israël. Barak Obama (devant le groupe de pression pro-israélien AIPAC, 05.03.12)
Je ne peux plus le voir, c’est un menteur. Nicolas Sarkozy (confidence sur le président Netanyahou, G20, Cannes, nov. 2011)
Tu en as marre de lui, mais moi, je dois traiter avec lui tous les jours! Barak Obama

Où l’on redécouvre, derrière l’antique Fête des Sorts des Hébreux,… notre propre carnaval?

Au moment où  la mémoire et l’existence d’Israël sont à nouveau menacées par le régime terroriste qui sert actuellement de gouvernement aux descendants des Perses …

Et où, pour le Carter noir de la Maison Blanche qui continue à briller par sa pusillanimité, c’est désormais, du moins officiellement, la menace israélienne qu’il faut contenir …

Pendant que le correspondant de the Economist se permet de reprocher aux Israéliens, derrière le livre d’Esther que vient d’offrir leur président à son homologue américain,  leur « complexe d’Auschwitz » et leur « mentalité du ghetto » …

Et que le « printemps arabe » achève de remettre  à sa juste place  la prétendue centralité du conflit israélo-palestinien …

Comment résister, en ce centenaire du « carnaval juif  »  de la fête multimillénaire des Pourim (du mot hébreu pour les sorts que fit tirer le vizir de l’empereur Assuerus/Xerxes pour décider du jour le plus propice pour sa « Solution finale ») qui, comme l’autre fête non biblique de la tradition juive Hanouka (appelée elle aussi, proximité calendaire oblige, « Noël juif »), commémore la délivrance, grâce à l’initiative de la jeune reine juive Esther, d’une tentative de génocide de la part précisément des Perses …

Au plaisir de revenir sur le vilain petit tour qu’a joué le sort à deux de nos plus éminents gouvernants il y a quatre mois à peine  lors du G20 de Cannes?

Et ce non seulement parce qu’il les remettait si bien à leur place (n’est-ce pas là l’essence-même du carnaval?) …

Mais surtout parce qu’il faisait ainsi tomber les masques sur leurs habituelles déclarations d’amour pour Israël (à la veille d’élections, généralement,  importantes pour leur propre survie politique) …

Comme sur leur ignorance du passé qui, on le sait depuis au moins le philosophe ibéro-américain George Santayana, condamne ceux qui en souffrent à le répéter

Nétanyahou « menteur » : la conversation secrète Obama-Sarkozy

Diffusés par erreur aux journalistes pendant le G20, ces propos sont restés « off »

Dan Israel

Arrêts sur images

07/11/2011

C’était une conversation franche, entre chefs d’Etat, à propos d’un autre dirigeant. Echange à bâtons rompus, et à huis-clos. Enfin, qui aurait dû rester à huis-clos. C’était sans compter sur une maladresse de l’organisation, et la curiosité de quelques journalistes. Révélations sur deux petites phrases qui voguent bien loin du langage habituellement policé des sommets diplomatiques.

Jeudi 3 novembre, lors du sommet du G20 à Cannes, Nicolas Sarkozy rencontrait Barack Obama lors d’un « entretien bilatéral ». Comme il est d’usage, Les deux hommes ont fait face aux journalistes, mais ont aussi discuté en privé, dans une pièce à part, loin des oreilles indiscrètes, afin de pouvoir se libérer de toute retenue diplomatique. Cela a été le cas, mais pour la discrétion, c’est raté.

Selon nos informations, les deux présidents ont laissé de côté toute retenue à propos du délicat dossier des relations israélo-palestiniennes. Obama a d’abord reproché à Sarkozy de ne pas l’avoir prévenu qu’il allait voter en faveur de l’adhésion de la Palestine à l’Unesco, alors que les Etats-Unis y étaient fermement opposés. La conversation a ensuite dérivé sur Benyamin Nétanyahou, le Premier ministre israélien. Sûrs de ne pas être entendus, les deux présidents se sont lâchés. « Je ne peux plus le voir, c’est un menteur », a lancé Sarkozy. « Tu en as marre de lui, mais moi, je dois traiter avec lui tous les jours ! », a rétorqué Obama, qui a ensuite demandé à Sarkozy d’essayer de convaincre les Palestiniens de mettre la pédale douce sur leur demande d’adhésion à l’ONU.

On n’imagine pas des phrases si franches lancées officiellement, bien sûr. Que s’est-il passé pour qu’elles parviennent jusqu’aux oreilles de l’équipe d’@si ? Selon nos informations, plusieurs journalistes ont pu entendre quelques minutes de la conversation « off » entre les chefs d’Etat, en raison d’une erreur des services de l’Elysée. Pendant que les présidents discutaient, les journalistes se sont vu remettre les boîtiers qui devaient permettre la traduction de leurs propos, une fois qu’ils seraient prêts à répondre à la presse. Une voix bien intentionnée a cru bon de préciser que les casques n’étaient pas distribués, parce qu’ils auraient permis de suivre la conversation à huis-clos en train de se dérouler !

Ni une ni deux, une demi-douzaine de journalistes ont empoigné leurs oreillettes de téléphones portables ou leurs casques pour les brancher sur les boitiers. « Le temps que les services de l’Elysée s’en rendent compte, il a bien dû se dérouler trois minutes », raconte un journaliste présent, mais qui n’a pas eu le temps de bénéficier de ce coup de chance.

A notre connaissance, ces propos explosifs, dont l’existence ou la teneur nous ont été confirmés par plusieurs journalistes, ne sont pas parus dans la presse (mais ils ont été mentionnés en une phrase sur le blog d’Arnaud Leparmentier, du Monde, le 6 novembre, et dans son journal le même jour). Les journalistes présents se sont en effet mis d’accord pour ne pas les exploiter : « Nous n’avons rien enregistré, et les utiliser revenait à reconnaître qu’on avait triché, explique l’un d’eux. De plus, cela aurait gravement mis en difficulté les personnes chargées de l’organisation. » Un membre de la hiérarchie d’un média confirme : »Il y a eu des discussions entre les journalistes sur place, qui sont convenus de ne rien en faire. C’est un sujet un peu sensible : il est embêtant de ne pas faire état de ces informations, mais en même temps, nous sommes soumis à des règles déontologiques précises, et diffuser ces phrases revenait à les enfreindre. »

Voir aussi:

Sarkozy, Obama et Netanyahou « le menteur »

Le JDD

8 novembre 2011

Une conversation privée – et embarrassante – entre Barack Obama et Nicolas Sarkozy en marge du G20 de Cannes la semaine dernière a été rendue publique. Plusieurs journalistes ont en effet pu écouter quelques minutes du huis clos entre les deux chefs d’Etat. L’occasion d’entendre le président français traiter le Premier ministre israélien, Benjamin Netanyahou, de « menteur ». Des propos largement relayés par la presse internationale mardi.

Nicolas Sarkozy et Barack Obama pensaient s’exprimer librement et en toute discrétion, puisqu’il s’agissait d’un tête-à-tête, dans une salle à part et hors de portée de micros. Ils ont donc parlé sans la retenue qui caractérise habituellement les échanges diplomatiques. Mais c’était sans compter sur la malheureuse bourde des services de l’Elysée, organisateurs du G20 de Cannes dans le cadre de la présidence française. Selon Arrêt sur Images, qui rapporte la scène, les journalistes présents se sont en effet vus remettre les boîtiers permettant la traduction des propos des deux chefs d’Etats, en vue de la conférence de presse imminente. Mais plusieurs d’entre eux, en y branchant leurs écouteurs personnels, ont eu la surprise d’entendre Barack Obama et Nicolas Sarkozy!

Les deux présidents étaient alors en pleine conversation sur la situation au Proche-Orient. Selon Arrêt sur Images, Barack Obama aurait notamment reproché à Nicolas Sarkozy de ne pas l’avoir prévenu que la France allait approuver l’adhésion de la Palestine à l’Unesco, alors que les Etats-Unis y étaient fermement opposés. Puis la conversation dérive sur le Premier ministre israélien, Benjamin Netanyahou. « Je ne peux plus le voir, c’est un menteur », aurait alors lancé le président français. Réponse de son homologue américain : « Tu en as marre de lui, mais moi, je dois traiter avec lui tous les jours! ». Interrogés par l’AFP et Reuters, plusieurs journalistes présents au moment des faits ont confirmé la teneur de la conversation. Des propos forts peu diplomatiques qui embarrassent les chancelleries française et américaine.

Les journalistes présents avaient décidé de ne pas publier les propos

Toujours selon le site Arrêt sur Images, les journalistes ayant pu écouter une partie de la conversation – environ trois minutes – auraient décidé de ne pas l’exploiter. « Nous n’avons rien enregistré et les utiliser revenait à reconnaître qu’on avait triché », a ainsi confié l’un d’eux au site dirigé par Daniel Schneidermann, estimant par ailleurs que cela mettrait en difficulté les personnes de l’organisation ayant commis cette erreur. Un autre estime que publier de tels propos reviendrait à « enfreindre » les règles déontologiques. Le correspondant de la radio publique israélienne en France, Gideon Kutz, qui a couvert le sommet de Cannes, a de son côté indiqué que ses collègues avaient décidé de ne pas en faire état « par correction et pour ne pas embarrasser le service de presse » de l’Elysée.

Mais c’était sans compter sur Arrêt sur Images. Le site n’explique pas, toutefois, pourquoi il a décidé de révéler la teneur de la conversation entre les deux chefs d’Etats, précisant juste que les propos ont d’abord été mentionnés par le journaliste du Monde, Arnaud Leparmentier, sur son blog. Celui-ci écrit en effet : « Les deux dirigeants se sont affligés à huis clos de leurs relations difficiles avec le Premier ministre israélien. » Mais il ne va pas plus loin.

Le « faux-pas » de Sarkozy ou « la gaffe »

L’affaire a rapidement fait le tour du web et des médias étrangers, notamment en Israël. « Sarkozy a dit à Obama qu’il ne pouvait plus supporter Netanyahou le menteur », titre ainsi le Haaretz. « Obama et Sarkozy n’aiment pas Netanyahou », résume pour sa part Israel Today. En Grande-Bretagne, le quotidien The Guardian parle de la « gaffe » des deux présidents, quand aux Etats-Unis, le New York Daily News parle, lui, du « faux pas » de Nicolas Sarkozy. Interrogée par le New York Times, qui relaie également l’affaire, la Maison-Blanche n’a pas souhaité commenté cette information. Le gouvernement israélien s’est également abstenu de tout commentaire.

Interrogé sur cette affaire, le porte-parole du Quai d’Orsay, Bernard Valero, a dit être « au courant du buzz ». « Il faut voir quelle est la réalité de la chose. Je n’en ai pas la moindre idée. Je ne veux pas intervenir là-dessus. On est sur du buzz », a-t-il déclaré, renvoyant les journalistes sur la présidence de la République pour qu’elle « confirme ou démente » ces propos. « Tout cela nous fait perdre de vue l’essentiel. Tout ce que nous voulons c’est continuer à travailler pour que les choses avancent parce que les choses n’avancent pas » en faveur de la paix au Proche-orient, a-t-il conclu. Alain Juppé a lui estimé que la France avait « une position équilibrée » au Proche-Orient, à l’égard des Israéliens et des Palestiniens, sans que l’on sache, toutefois, s’il commentait les propos prêtés à Barack Obama et Nicolas Sarkozy. En début d’après-midi, l’Elysée n’avait pas encore réagi.

Voir de même:

Le Carnaval de Pourim, l’Adloyada à Tel Aviv

Rachel Samoul

Kefisrael

mar 2, 2012

Bientôt Pourim, l’ambiance est à la fête. A Tel Aviv, pendant des années, il y avait un défilé de chars, une fête populaire et un concours de beauté de la reine Esther. Le premier Carnaval de Tel Aviv a eu lieu à Pourim en 1912 sous l’impulsion du professeur d’arts plastiques Avraham Aldema qui enseignait dans le premier lycée de Tel Aviv, la Gymnasia Herzleyia. Ce professeur prônait les vertus éducatives de l’optimisme et de la fête, un pionnier de la pensée positive! Le projet fut orchestré par Barouch Agadati, une personnalité de l’époque, danseur et chorégraphe.

En 1932, on organisa un concours pour donner à ces réjouissances un nom plus lié à la tradition juive et le nom d’Adloyada עד לא ידע fut choisi d’après une formule rabbinique: מסכת מגילה, דף ז’ עמוד ב מיחייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי

On peut boire à Pourim ad lo yada, jusqu’à ne plus différencier entre Béni soit Mordechai et maudit soit Haman.

Lors des premières Adloyada, le maire de Tel Aviv, Meïr Dizengoff paradait à cheval en tête du défilé.

Voici des extraits du documentaire réalisé pour les 100 ans de Tel Aviv Une légende sur le sable אגדה בחולות du réalisateur Yaakov Gross, 100 minutes de film sur les 40 premières années de Tel Aviv. Pourim en 1928 en 1932, en 1933 et 1934.

En 1933, beaucoup de chars de l’Adloyada avait pour thème la lutte contre le nazisme et notamment une croix gammée dans une cage.

Pour se procurer le film, contactez yakgross@gmail.com

Aujourd’hui, il n’y a plus d’Adloyada à Tel Aviv mais Holon a pris la relève.

Pourim sameah!

Voir aussi:

The Purim Parallels

Seth Mandel

Commentary

03.07.2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often deploys historical analogies to help other world leaders understand the mindset of the Jewish people when faced with current threats or challenges. Tomorrow is Purim, the story of which Netanyahu brings up this time of year, each year, because of certain (mostly geographic) parallels.

The story begins on an alarming note when the evil Haman engineers a decree from the king he serves, Ahasuerus of Persia, calling for the annihilation of the empire’s Jews. The story ends with the humble Mordechai saving the king’s life and Queen Esther convincing her husband the king to sign a second decree discouraging the slaughter of the Jews and allowing and enabling the Jews to defend themselves against anyone who still attempted to carry out their annihilation. Esther, who was Jewish, fasted before making this request of the king, and so we fast today, the day before Purim, in solemn recognition both of Esther’s fast and the close call. But the point of the story and of Netanyahu’s decision to give President Obama a copy of the Book of Esther have been slightly misinterpreted.

First, the story of Purim is not about the “defeat” of the Persian empire, per se. Indeed, Mordechai went on to serve in the administration of Ahasuerus, and Esther remained the queen. Nor is it a story about Jewish power—the Jews needed the king to enable their self-defense, and the prayer and material deprivation of Jewish fast days is about faith and divine providence, not proud self-reliance. That’s why the primary purpose of raising the Purim analogy is to elucidate the differences. The Economist doesn’t like Netanyahu’s use of the Purim story and is tiring of his “Auschwitz complex,” as the magazine refers to it in a post on its Democracy in America blog.

“Mr Netanyahu is less attractive than Esther, but he seems to be wooing Mr. Obama and the American public just as effectively,” the Economist writes in a clumsy and undercooked metaphor of its own. The magazine faults Netanyahu for saying the following:

After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That’s why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate.

“News flash: Israel is not master of its fate,” the Economist interrupts. But neither, it says, is the United States–or Britain, Serbia, China, or Sweden. And that’s just fine. But that misses the point. It’s true that Israel isn’t, in the literal sense, the master of its own fate. Part of the lesson of Purim is about faith. But Netanyahu doesn’t mean Israel is in total control of everyone’s actions. In a January article for the New York Times Magazine, Ronen Bergman asked Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak about those within the Israeli military and political establishment who vocally oppose a strike on Iran’s nuclear installations. Barak offered a memorable response:

It’s good to have diversity in thinking and for people to voice their opinions. But at the end of the day, when the military command looks up, it sees us — the minister of defense and the prime minister. When we look up, we see nothing but the sky above us.

Another way of saying this would be the old Hebrew National slogan: “We answer to a higher authority.” The Economist calls this the “ghetto mentality,” and says Netanyahu’s gift to Obama of the Book of Esther proves “he’s still in it.” But the Economist gives the game away when faulting Netanyahu for Israel’s siege mentality, claiming “As prime minister in the late 1990s, he did more than any other Israeli leader to destroy the peace process.” The Economist elaborates:

Violent clashes and provocations erupted whenever the peace process seemed on the verge of concrete steps forward; the most charitable spin would be that the Israelis failed to exercise the restraint they might have shown in retaliating against Palestinian terrorism, had they been truly interested in progress towards a two-state solution.

That paragraph says it all. When the peace process gained momentum, the Palestinians engaged in terrorism to destroy the process. But “the most charitable spin” is that Netanyahu deserves blame for not rolling over. Even the Economist’s phrasing tells you where they are coming from: “the most charitable spin” is a dismissive way of saying “attempting to see the other side’s point of view.” But the Economist prejudges that view. It’s spin–no matter what it is, it’s spin.

Doubtless that same hostility will be displayed toward Netanyahu if one day the Economist wakes up to the news that Iran’s nuclear installations have been reduced to rubble. And that will be a sign that Netanyahu didn’t give Obama the Book of Esther as a map to the current reality. He will have been reminding the president of just the opposite: this time, the decree allowing and enabling the Jews to defend themselves won’t be signed, sealed, and delivered in a foreign capital.

Voir également:

Israel, Iran and America

Auschwitz complex

M.S.

Democracy in America

The Economist

Mar 6th 2012

DURING his meeting with Barack Obama on Monday, Bibi Netanyahu said Israel « must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. »

« I believe that’s why you appreciate, Mr. President, that Israel must reserve the right to defend itself, » Netanyahu said. « After all, that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state, to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. That’s why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains master of its fate. »”

News flash: Israel is not master of its fate. It’s not terribly surprising that a country with less than 8m inhabitants is not master of its fate. Switzerland, Sweden, Serbia and Portugal are not masters of their fates. These days, many countries with populations of 100m or more can hardly be said to be masters of their fates. Britain and China aren’t masters of their fates, and even the world’s overwhelmingly largest economy, the United States, isn’t really master of its fate.

But Israel has even less control over its own destiny than Portugal or Britain do. The main reason is that, unlike those countries, Israel refuses to give up its empire. Israel is unable to sustain its imperial ambitions in the West Bank, or even to articulate them coherently. Having allowed its founding ideology to carry it relentlessly and unthinkingly into what Gershom Gorenburg calls an « Accidental Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Accidental-Empire-Israel-Settlements-1967-1977/dp/080507564X)  » of radical religious-nationalist settlements that openly defy its own courts, Israel is politically incapable of extricating itself. The partisan battles engendered by its occupation of Palestinian territory render it less and less able to pull itself free. It is immobilised, pinned down, in a conflict that is gradually killing it. Countries facing imperial twilight, like Britain in the late 1940s, are often seized by a sense of desperate paralysis. For over a decade, the tone of Israeli politics has been a mix of panic, despair, hysteria and resignation.

No one bears greater responsibility for the trap Israel finds itself in today than Mr Netanyahu. As prime minister in the late 1990s, he did more than any other Israeli leader to destroy the peace process. Illegal land grabs by settlers were tolerated and quietly encouraged in the confused expectation that they would aid territorial negotiations. Violent clashes and provocations erupted whenever the peace process seemed on the verge of concrete steps forward; the most charitable spin would be that the Israelis failed to exercise the restraint they might have shown in retaliating against Palestinian terrorism, had they been truly interested in progress towards a two-state solution. Mr Netanyahu believed that the Oslo peace agreements were a mirage, and his government’s actions in the late 1990s helped make it true.

Having trapped themselves in a death struggle with Palestinians that they cannot acknowledge or untangle, Israelis have psychologically displaced the source of their anxiety onto a more distant target: Iran. An Iranian nuclear bomb would not be a happy development for Israel. Neither was Pakistan’s, nor indeed North Korea’s. The notion that it represents a new Holocaust is overstated, and the belief that the source of Israel’s existential woes can be eliminated with an airstrike is mistaken. But Iran makes an appealing enemy for Israelis because, unlike the Palestinians, it can be fitted into a familiar ideological trope from the Jewish national playbook: the eliminationist anti-Semite. With brain-cudgeling predictability, Mr Netanyahu marked his meeting with Mr Obama by presenting him with a copy of the Book of Esther. That book concerns a plot by Haman, vizier of King Ahasuerus of Persia, to massacre his country’s Jews, and the efforts of the beautiful Esther, Ahasuerus’s secretly Jewish wife, to persuade the king to stop them. It is a version of the same narrative of repression, threatened extermination and resistance that Jews commemorate at Passover in the prayer « Ve-hi she-amdah »: « Because in every generation they rise up to destroy us, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands. »

Mr Netanyahu is less attractive than Esther, but he seems to be wooing Mr Obama and the American public just as effectively. The American-Israeli relationship now resembles the sort of crazy co-dependency one sometimes finds in doomed marriages, where the more stubborn and unstable partner drags the other into increasingly delusional and dangerous projects whose disastrous results seem only to legitimate their paranoid outlook. If Mr Netanyahu manages to convince America to back an attack on Iran, it is to be hoped that the catastrophic consequences will not be used to justify the attack that led to them.

Mr Netanyahu thinks the Zionist mission was to give the Jewish people control over their destiny. No people has control over its destiny when it is at war with its neighbours. But in any case, that is only one way of thinking of the Zionist mission. Another mission frequently cited by early Zionists was to help Jews grow out of the « Ghetto mentality ». Mr Netanyahu’s gift to Mr Obama shows he’s still in it.

Voir par ailleurs:

 Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama

Even Democrats have publicly questioned U.S. statements and policies toward America’s most important Mideast

ally.

Dan Senor

The WSJ

March 5, 2012

‘I try not to pat myself too much on the back, » President Barack Obama immodestly told a group of Jewish donors last October, « but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration. »

Mr. Obama struck a similar tone at the annual policy conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in Washington Sunday, assuring the group that « I have Israel’s back. » And it’s little wonder why. Monday he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid growing concern that a military strike will be necessary to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He also knows that he lost a portion of the Jewish vote when he publicly pressured Israel to commence negotiations with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders with land swaps. With the election nine months away, he’s scrambling to win back Jewish voters and donors.

It is true that there has been increased U.S. funding for Israeli defense programs, the bulk of which comes from Mr. Obama maintaining a 10-year commitment made by President George W. Bush to Israel’s government in 2007.

But a key element of Israel’s security is deterrence. That deterrence rests on many parts, including the perception among its adversaries that Israel will defend itself, and that if Israel must take action America will stand by Israel. Now consider how Israel’s adversaries must view this deterrence capability in recent months:

October 2011: Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Israel, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised provocative questions about Israel. « Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? »

This characterization of self-created isolation surprised Israeli officials. After all, for almost three years President Obama had pressured Israel to make unilateral concessions in the peace process. And his administration had publicly confronted Israel’s leaders, making unprecedented demands for a complete settlement freeze—which Israel met in 2010.

.The president’s stern lectures to Israel’s leaders were delivered repeatedly and very publicly at the United Nations, in Egypt and Turkey, all while he did not make a single visit to Israel to express solidarity. Thus, having helped foment an image of Israeli obstinacy, the Obama administration was now using this image of isolation against Israel’s government. Mr. Panetta’s criticism was promptly endorsed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a harsh critic of Israel, who said Mr. Panetta was « correct in his assumptions. » Indeed, almost every time the Obama administration has scolded Israel, the charges have been repeated by Turkish officials.

November 2011: In advance of meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mr. Panetta publicly previewed his message. He would warn Mr. Barak against a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program: « There are going to be economic consequences . . . that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy. » Even if the administration felt compelled to deliver this message privately, why undercut the perception of U.S.-Israel unity on the military option?

That same month, an open microphone caught part of a private conversation between Mr. Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy said of Israel’s premier, « I can’t stand Netanyahu. He’s a liar. » Rather than defend Israel’s back, Mr. Obama piled on: « You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him every day. »

December 2011: Again undercutting the credibility of the Israeli military option, Mr. Panetta used a high-profile speech to challenge the idea that an Israeli strike could eliminate or substantially delay Iran’s nuclear program, and he warned that « the United States would obviously be blamed. »

Mr. Panetta also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by lecturing Israel to « just get to the damn table. » This, despite the fact that Israel had been actively pursuing direct negotiations with the Palestinians, only to watch the Palestinian president abandon talks and unilaterally pursue statehood at the U.N. The Obama team thought the problem was with Israel?

January 2012: In an interview, Mr. Obama referred to Prime Minister Erdogan as one of the five world leaders with whom he has developed « bonds of trust. » According to Mr. Obama, these bonds have « allowed us to execute effective diplomacy. » The Turkish government had earlier sanctioned a six-ship flotilla to penetrate Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Mr. Erdogan had said that Israel’s defensive response was « cause for war. »

February 2012: At a conference in Tunis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to « Zionist lobbies. » She acknowledged that it was « a fair question » and went on to explain that during an election season « there are comments made that certainly don’t reflect our foreign policy. »

In an interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Mr. Obama dismissed domestic critics of his Israel policy as « a set of political actors who want to see if they can drive a wedge . . . between Barack Obama and the Jewish American vote. » But what’s glaring is how many of these criticisms have been leveled by Democrats.

Last December, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez lambasted administration officials at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. He had proposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank and the administration was hurling a range of objections. « Published reports say we have about a year, » said Mr. Menendez. « So I find it pretty outrageous that when the clock is ticking . . . you come here and say what you say. »

Also last year, a number of leading Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Steny Hoyer, felt compelled to speak out in response to Mr. Obama’s proposal for Israel to return to its indefensible pre-1967 borders. Rep. Eliot Engel told CNN that « for the president to emphasize that . . . was a very big mistake. »

In April 2010, 38 Democratic senators signed a critical letter to Secretary Clinton following the administration’s public (and private) dressing down of the Israeli government.

Sen. Charles Schumer used even stronger language in 2010 when he responded to « something I have never heard before, » from the Obama State Department, « which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is a dagger. »

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, said of Mr. Obama last year, « I think he’s handled the relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel’s enemies, and really unsettled the Israelis. »

Election-year politics may bring some short-term improvements in the U.S. relationship with Israel. But there’s concern that a re-elected President Obama, with no more votes or donors to court, would be even more aggressive in his one-sided approach toward Israel.

If Mr. Obama wants a pat on the back, he should make it clear that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability, and that he will stand by Israel if it must act. He came one step closer to that stance on Sunday when he told Aipac, « Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States, just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. » Let’s hope this is the beginning of a policy change and not just election year rhetoric.

Mr. Senor, co-author with Saul Singer of « Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle » (Twelve, 2011), served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-04, and is currently an adviser to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

‘I try not to pat myself too much on the back, » President Barack Obama immodestly told a group of Jewish donors last

October, « but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous

administration. »

Mr. Obama struck a similar tone at the annual policy conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

(Aipac) in Washington Sunday, assuring the group that « I have Israel’s back. » And it’s little wonder why. Monday he

meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid growing concern that a military strike will be necessary

to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He also knows that he lost a portion of the Jewish vote when he publicly

pressured Israel to commence negotiations with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders with land swaps. With the

election nine months away, he’s scrambling to win back Jewish voters and donors.

It is true that there has been increased U.S. funding for Israeli defense programs, the bulk of which comes from Mr.

Obama maintaining a 10-year commitment made by President George W. Bush to Israel’s government in 2007.

But a key element of Israel’s security is deterrence. That deterrence rests on many parts, including the perception

among its adversaries that Israel will defend itself, and that if Israel must take action America will stand by Israel. Now

consider how Israel’s adversaries must view this deterrence capability in recent months:

October 2011: Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Israel, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised provocative

questions about Israel. « Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? »

This characterization of self-created isolation surprised Israeli officials. After all, for almost three years President

Obama had pressured Israel to make unilateral concessions in the peace process. And his administration had publicly

confronted Israel’s leaders, making unprecedented demands for a complete settlement freeze—which Israel met in

2010.

The president’s stern lectures to Israel’s leaders were delivered

repeatedly and very publicly at the United Nations, in Egypt and Turkey, all while he did not make a single visit to

Israel to express solidarity. Thus, having helped foment an image of Israeli obstinacy, the Obama administration was

now using this image of isolation against Israel’s government. Mr. Panetta’s criticism was promptly endorsed by

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a harsh critic of Israel, who said Mr. Panetta was « correct in his

assumptions. » Indeed, almost every time the Obama administration has scolded Israel, the charges have been repeated

by Turkish officials.

November 2011: In advance of meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mr. Panetta publicly previewed his

Dan Senor: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama – WSJ.com Page 1 of 3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240529702039866045772… 3/5/2012

message. He would warn Mr. Barak against a military strike on Iran’s

nuclear program: « There are going to be economic consequences . . .

that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy. »

Even if the administration felt compelled to deliver this message

privately, why undercut the perception of U.S.-Israel unity on the

military option?

That same month, an open microphone caught part of a private

conversation between Mr. Obama and French President Nicolas

Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy said of Israel’s premier, « I can’t stand

Netanyahu. He’s a liar. » Rather than defend Israel’s back, Mr. Obama

piled on: « You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him

every day. »

December 2011: Again undercutting the credibility of the Israeli military option, Mr. Panetta used a high-profile

speech to challenge the idea that an Israeli strike could eliminate or substantially delay Iran’s nuclear program, and he

warned that « the United States would obviously be blamed. »

Mr. Panetta also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by lecturing Israel to « just get to the damn table. »

This, despite the fact that Israel had been actively pursuing direct negotiations with the Palestinians, only to watch the

Palestinian president abandon talks and unilaterally pursue statehood at the U.N. The Obama team thought the

problem was with Israel?

January 2012: In an interview, Mr. Obama referred to Prime Minister Erdogan as one of the five world leaders with

whom he has developed « bonds of trust. » According to Mr. Obama, these bonds have « allowed us to execute effective

diplomacy. » The Turkish government had earlier sanctioned a six-ship flotilla to penetrate Israel’s naval blockade of

Hamas-controlled Gaza. Mr. Erdogan had said that Israel’s defensive response was « cause for war. »

February 2012: At a conference in Tunis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to

« Zionist lobbies. » She acknowledged that it was « a fair question » and went on to explain that during an election season

« there are comments made that certainly don’t reflect our foreign policy. »

In an interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Mr. Obama dismissed domestic critics of his Israel policy

as « a set of political actors who want to see if they can drive a wedge . . . between Barack Obama and the Jewish

American vote. » But what’s glaring is how many of these criticisms have been leveled by Democrats.

Last December, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez lambasted administration officials at a Foreign Relations

Committee hearing. He had proposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank and the administration was hurling a range of

objections. « Published reports say we have about a year, » said Mr. Menendez. « So I find it pretty outrageous that when

the clock is ticking . . . you come here and say what you say. »

Also last year, a number of leading Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Steny Hoyer, felt compelled to

speak out in response to Mr. Obama’s proposal for Israel to return to its indefensible pre-1967 borders. Rep. Eliot

Engel told CNN that « for the president to emphasize that . . . was a very big mistake. »

In April 2010, 38 Democratic senators signed a critical letter to Secretary Clinton following the administration’s public

(and private) dressing down of the Israeli government.

Sen. Charles Schumer used even stronger language in 2010 when he responded to « something I have never heard

before, » from the Obama State Department, « which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the

pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is a dagger. »

Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with

Barack Obama.

Dan Senor: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama – WSJ.com Page 2 of 3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240529702039866045772… 3/5/2012

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, said of Mr. Obama last year, « I think he’s handled the

relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel’s enemies, and really unsettled the Israelis. »

Election-year politics may bring some short-term improvements in the U.S. relationship with Israel. But there’s

concern that a re-elected President Obama, with no more votes or donors to court, would be even more aggressive in

his one-sided approach toward Israel.

If Mr. Obama wants a pat on the back, he should make it clear that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran

from developing a nuclear weapons capability, and that he will stand by Israel if it must act. He came one step closer to

that stance on Sunday when he told Aipac, « Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States,

just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its

security needs. » Let’s hope this is the beginning of a policy change and not just election year rhetoric.

Mr. Senor, co-author with Saul Singer of « Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle » (Twelve, 2011),

served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-04, and is currently an adviser to

the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

A version of this article appeared Mar. 5, 2012, on page A15 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with

the headline: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama.

OPINION March 5, 2012

Even Democrats have publicly questioned U.S. statements and policies toward America’s most important Mideast

ally.

By DAN SENOR

‘I try not to pat myself too much on the back, » President Barack Obama immodestly told a group of Jewish donors last

October, « but this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous

administration. »

Mr. Obama struck a similar tone at the annual policy conference of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

(Aipac) in Washington Sunday, assuring the group that « I have Israel’s back. » And it’s little wonder why. Monday he

meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid growing concern that a military strike will be necessary

to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He also knows that he lost a portion of the Jewish vote when he publicly

pressured Israel to commence negotiations with the Palestinians based on the 1967 borders with land swaps. With the

election nine months away, he’s scrambling to win back Jewish voters and donors.

It is true that there has been increased U.S. funding for Israeli defense programs, the bulk of which comes from Mr.

Obama maintaining a 10-year commitment made by President George W. Bush to Israel’s government in 2007.

But a key element of Israel’s security is deterrence. That deterrence rests on many parts, including the perception

among its adversaries that Israel will defend itself, and that if Israel must take action America will stand by Israel. Now

consider how Israel’s adversaries must view this deterrence capability in recent months:

October 2011: Speaking to reporters traveling with him to Israel, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta raised provocative

questions about Israel. « Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? »

This characterization of self-created isolation surprised Israeli officials. After all, for almost three years President

Obama had pressured Israel to make unilateral concessions in the peace process. And his administration had publicly

confronted Israel’s leaders, making unprecedented demands for a complete settlement freeze—which Israel met in

2010.

The president’s stern lectures to Israel’s leaders were delivered

repeatedly and very publicly at the United Nations, in Egypt and Turkey, all while he did not make a single visit to

Israel to express solidarity. Thus, having helped foment an image of Israeli obstinacy, the Obama administration was

now using this image of isolation against Israel’s government. Mr. Panetta’s criticism was promptly endorsed by

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a harsh critic of Israel, who said Mr. Panetta was « correct in his

assumptions. » Indeed, almost every time the Obama administration has scolded Israel, the charges have been repeated

by Turkish officials.

November 2011: In advance of meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Mr. Panetta publicly previewed his

Dan Senor: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama – WSJ.com Page 1 of 3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240529702039866045772… 3/5/2012

message. He would warn Mr. Barak against a military strike on Iran’s

nuclear program: « There are going to be economic consequences . . .

that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy. »

Even if the administration felt compelled to deliver this message

privately, why undercut the perception of U.S.-Israel unity on the

military option?

That same month, an open microphone caught part of a private

conversation between Mr. Obama and French President Nicolas

Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy said of Israel’s premier, « I can’t stand

Netanyahu. He’s a liar. » Rather than defend Israel’s back, Mr. Obama

piled on: « You’re tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him

every day. »

December 2011: Again undercutting the credibility of the Israeli military option, Mr. Panetta used a high-profile

speech to challenge the idea that an Israeli strike could eliminate or substantially delay Iran’s nuclear program, and he

warned that « the United States would obviously be blamed. »

Mr. Panetta also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by lecturing Israel to « just get to the damn table. »

This, despite the fact that Israel had been actively pursuing direct negotiations with the Palestinians, only to watch the

Palestinian president abandon talks and unilaterally pursue statehood at the U.N. The Obama team thought the

problem was with Israel?

January 2012: In an interview, Mr. Obama referred to Prime Minister Erdogan as one of the five world leaders with

whom he has developed « bonds of trust. » According to Mr. Obama, these bonds have « allowed us to execute effective

diplomacy. » The Turkish government had earlier sanctioned a six-ship flotilla to penetrate Israel’s naval blockade of

Hamas-controlled Gaza. Mr. Erdogan had said that Israel’s defensive response was « cause for war. »

February 2012: At a conference in Tunis, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to

« Zionist lobbies. » She acknowledged that it was « a fair question » and went on to explain that during an election season

« there are comments made that certainly don’t reflect our foreign policy. »

In an interview last week with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Mr. Obama dismissed domestic critics of his Israel policy

as « a set of political actors who want to see if they can drive a wedge . . . between Barack Obama and the Jewish

American vote. » But what’s glaring is how many of these criticisms have been leveled by Democrats.

Last December, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez lambasted administration officials at a Foreign Relations

Committee hearing. He had proposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank and the administration was hurling a range of

objections. « Published reports say we have about a year, » said Mr. Menendez. « So I find it pretty outrageous that when

the clock is ticking . . . you come here and say what you say. »

Also last year, a number of leading Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Steny Hoyer, felt compelled to

speak out in response to Mr. Obama’s proposal for Israel to return to its indefensible pre-1967 borders. Rep. Eliot

Engel told CNN that « for the president to emphasize that . . . was a very big mistake. »

In April 2010, 38 Democratic senators signed a critical letter to Secretary Clinton following the administration’s public

(and private) dressing down of the Israeli government.

Sen. Charles Schumer used even stronger language in 2010 when he responded to « something I have never heard

before, » from the Obama State Department, « which is, the relationship of Israel and the United States depends on the

pace of the negotiations. That is terrible. That is a dagger. »

Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with

Barack Obama.

Dan Senor: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama – WSJ.com Page 2 of 3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014240529702039866045772… 3/5/2012

Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, said of Mr. Obama last year, « I think he’s handled the

relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel’s enemies, and really unsettled the Israelis. »

Election-year politics may bring some short-term improvements in the U.S. relationship with Israel. But there’s

concern that a re-elected President Obama, with no more votes or donors to court, would be even more aggressive in

his one-sided approach toward Israel.

If Mr. Obama wants a pat on the back, he should make it clear that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran

from developing a nuclear weapons capability, and that he will stand by Israel if it must act. He came one step closer to

that stance on Sunday when he told Aipac, « Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States,

just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its

security needs. » Let’s hope this is the beginning of a policy change and not just election year rhetoric.

Mr. Senor, co-author with Saul Singer of « Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle » (Twelve, 2011),

served as a senior adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003-04, and is currently an adviser to

the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

A version of this article appeared Mar. 5, 2012, on page A15 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with

the headline: Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama.

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