My Mideast Punchlines: of turkeys, chickens and lame ducks…

Well, we are rapidly reaching the end of the season of goodwill. But while we may have wiped the plate of our turkeys, there is still plenty of stuffing to go around. And the recipient of all this stuffing? Why, Israel, of course. January may prove to be a tough month for US-Israeli relations.

According to a column in the Jerusalem Post, the Obama administration is said to begin gearing up to push Israel into a corner by offering its own proposals regarding how to shape a deal with the Palestinians. With the clock ticking on the nine months allotted for an agreement to be reached, US Secretary of State John Kerry is likely to be twisting Israel’s arm, and applying pressure to other anatomical parts, to coerce the Jewish state into capitulation.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must stand firm and spurn any pressure that may be applied. For although Barack Obama still has another three years in office, he is already starting to look like a lame duck, one whose clacking can and should be ignored. According to Washington Post/ABC poll released last week, Obama is closing out his fifth year in office with the lowest approval rating at this point in a presidency since Nixon.

Small FistI am reminded of two famous sayings: firstly, President Theodore Roosevelt’s “speak softly, and carry a big stick.” Most people would regard said stick as being for America’s enemies. Under Obama, there are two sticks, one made of balsa for the nation’s enemies and the other made of teak for Israel.

And, secondly, as the great comedian Bob Hope once noted, “the only thing chicken about Israel is their soup.” It behooves Israel to stand firm in the face of US pressure.

And while we’re in the mood for great quotations, it’s always worth mentioning the greatest orator of them all, Winston Churchill. French Marshall Philippe Petain, future leader of the collaborationist Vichy French government, who was convinced that Germany would successfully invade Britain as it had done France, sneeringly told  the British premier that in three weeks, Britain would “have its neck wrung like a chicken.”

Churchill’s unforgettable response in Ottawa on Dec.30 1941: “Some chicken! Some neck!


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