Thursday, September 19, 2013

Acoustic Emetic

If any of you happen to have eaten a bad bagel for breakfast, and need to bring it up
(“rendre la gorge”,  as our Gallic cousins  quaintly say),
you could hardly do better  than to listen to tonight’s NPR interview  with the (American-born) Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
The interviewer -- suave Robert Siegel -- does a very good job of precision-needling the interviewee:  pointing out that Israel is in rather rarified company (North Korean; Myanmar) in not having ratified the treaty against chemical weapons.
The ambassador obfuscates, tergiversates, and bloviates, before saying (on that kind of mock-patient, whiney note, which is becoming increasingly familiar)  that Israel has been saying, now and “for the past fifty years”, that it will “never be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East”.   This is quite amusing (revolting), since, as is well-known, Israel has had an abundance of such weapons, for many decades now (actually, for something like half a century -- is a Jubilee in order?)

Now, note:  This site, our stock-in-trade is logic, not politicking.  We accordingly do not blame Israel for possessing masses of nuclear weapons -- they live in a bad neighborhood, no contest.  (Indeed our own cul-de-sac here in town, has recently acquired nuclear weapons, to defend against the pretensions of neighboring Maple Circle re dominating the upcoming block party.  Maple Circle delenda est !!) But the smarmy treacly blather of the ambassador, we do object to.  Moreover, we note that his statement was in reply to a question concerning chemical weapons;  and his wording suggests (I do not know whether this is true or not) that Israel indeed possesses such, and is quite ready to use them, in a pinch. -- Again, we neither praise nor blame, but only observe:  that the Assad regime is in a pinch, and its (apparent) use of chemical weapons is accordingly  morally on a par  with the implied (threatened) Israeli use of them.

Just sayin’ ….

[Update 24 September 2013]  Tonight on NPR, the interviewer tiptoed close to the forbidden question, asking the expert:  Why does the US feel it can tell Iran not to develop nuclear weapons, whereas no-one is allowed to say the same thing to the US?
Fair enough, but hardly the trenchant question.  No-one in the United States, apart from a few Republican crazies (admittedly, a growing cohort), wants to nuke Iran;  whereas in Israel  Iran has a neighbor and mortal enemy, armed to the teeth with the things.

Not really so much making a political point here, as a psychological one:  How do the minds of broadcasters and listeners manage so to wall-off what they are certainly aware of, remaining piously mum  even when leaning against that very wall?

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