Apropos uninformed outsiders interfering in serious matters they know nothing about (see my previous post) the New Yorker's David Remnick is on a roll, with the second silly column on Israel-Palestine in two weeks. This time he lambastes Netanyahu, which is a popular pastime among journalists. There's nothing particularly new or insightful in his column, but the degree of his self-absorption is a wee bit overblown. Musing on Obama, he notes that "When it comes to domestic politics in Israel, he is in a complicated spot. For some Israelis on the right, his race and, more, his middle name make him a source of everlasting suspicion."
Uh huh. Let's see. Back in the day, when Anwar Sadaat came to Jerusalem and told the Knesset, in Arabic, that peace would require that Israel return the entire Sinai, it didn't seem to matter much that he had an Arabic name, did it. I seem to recollect that masses of Israelis were swooning all over the fellow. The "No more war, no more bloodshed" part seemed more important than his religion, unless perhaps the two fused into an overpowering climax. It may be true, perhaps, that some Americans are troubled by their president's name or skin color, though not enough to prevent his election, but what does that have to do with Israelis? The Americans have their historical neuroses, and Israelis have different ones, and if Remnick insists on understanding Israelis through the prism of his own society, he should probably stick to writing about things he knows.