Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Place of Very Little Hope

Barack Obama was at Yad Vashem earlier today. At the end of his visit he commented that "ultimately, this is a place of hope".

Which of course it isn't, or shouldn't be.

Israel is ultimately a place of hope. The ability of the survivors of the Shoah to forge positive lives for themselves, many hundreds of thousands of them, is not only a place of hope, it's a deafening rebuke for all the fools who like to excuse victims or perceived victims for their consequent weaknesses. And yes, the designers of Yad Vashem's museum and grounds succumbed to the temptation and allowed their story to be caught up in the inspirational power of Israel, and at times they are carried away by the justified triumphalism of some survivors; by doing so, they diminish the story they're supposed to be telling.

But Obama, we're told, is extraordinarily intelligent, and sees farther and clearer than most of us. He should have been able to see through the distractions that were set in his path, and he should have been able to set aside the innate optimism of a liberal politician and of the black man who is poised to break the ultimate glass ceiling, and he should have recognized that Yad Vashem is anything but a place of hope. If there is hope for humanity it is in spite of that story, not as a result of it.


Anonymous said...


The democrats, in 1972, ran George McGovern. We were at war in Vietnam. The kids were going crazy in the streets. And, Nixon won his re-election in a landslide.

Personally, I don't think Obama has a chance. I do believe, however, that there's anger at Bush. And, this will mean the GOP lost its majority in Congress. But that has more to do with the jerks in Congress; than anything else.

The way American tend to vote is to "split" their tickets. So, a lot of Americans can give McCain the vote; while they also vote for democrats.

And, it's not as if Obama isn't give Rush Limbaugh sounds bites to play. And, I've seen stuff up at U-Tube, of his visit ... (where the other day, in Jordan, he said "Israel has a very good friend in Israel." Well, you can't get more circular than that.)

It's also an interesting race. Way more interesting than when Dukakis ran against the Elder Bush (1988). And, the Elder Bush became President #41.

Also, since you're watching Olmert getting clobbered by the press; it's worth mentioning that in America the audience is more mature. Ken Starr didn't lay a glove on Bill Clinton. Even though he used grand jury testimony to embarrass our president.

It's worth mentioning that grand jury testimony is considered secret. Well, Ken Starr, to get around this, sent all the testimony to Congress; where all the pages then flew open. But Bill Clinton held his ground!

And, I don't have to tell you that Ronald Reagan was called Mr. Teflon. Yes. It irked the press they couldn't lay a glove on him.

But if you looked, you'd see that journalists are of a different ilk. Like hollywood stars. No longer able to identify with the average American.

I only hope that Olmert will be as lucky; given who is after his skull. All those people who were against disengagement, by the way, happen to be in the minority.

As to Obama; Yad Vashem was turned into a "photo stop" long ago. I don't know why, but I think it's political. Which has nothing to do, at all, with the sadness of what happened during the Holocaust.

It's a terrible thing when you have "No Exit."

Could Obama have made his visit to Israel without a stop at Yad Vashem? I think not. So I don't blame him for going there at all.

Anonymous said...

A very concise description of the new architecture of Yad Vashem (put aside your more general remarks). I remember our talk when the new entrance and museum was still under construction.
Yes, Yad Vashem is a very special place, but it seems that it's message is not so obvious to everyone as it should be.
Still, there is one small point of hope: the alley of the righteous.

steve said...

".....Yad Vashem is anything but a place of hope. If there is hope for humanity it is in spite of that story, not as a result of it."

Sounds contradictory to me, Yaacov.