Monday, September 22, 2003
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The William Jennings Bryan of Israel
The New York Times reports on a gala 80th birthday party for Shimon Peres, the grand old man of Israel's Labor Party. Some highlights:
It is, perhaps, indecorous to point out a man's flaws on his 80th birthday. [If you were a high-falutin' op-ed columnist, maybe. You're just a blogger--ed. Well, that does make me feel better.] Peres' legacy in Israeli history will probably not be as sparkling as his birthday party suggests.
Although Peres has been Prime Minister twice, he may be the most incompetent politician in Israel's short history. How incompetent? Peres, when leading the Labor Party into a general election, never won an electoral victory over the Likud party. The closest he came was in the mid-1980's when, despite the previous Likud government contributing to hyperinflation, Peres was only able to get Labor to win enough seats to enter a power-sharing deal with Likud. In the mid-1990s, despite a Nobel Peace Prize and a martyred leader in Rabin, Peres lost to Benjamin Netanyahu.
Peres may be respected worldwide, but in Israel he's the William Jennings Bryan of politics. Bryan was a three-time Democratic nominee for President and a three-time loser in the general election. Bryan may have achieved the ultimate Pyrrhic victory when he successfully prosecuted the Scopes monkey trial but lost the larger public debate on evolution.
I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that the Oslo accords will be Peres' monkey trial. Perhaps the most telling sentence in the NYT article, and the one that regretfully consigns Peres to a minor place in the annals of history: "No prominent Palestinian or Arab figures were present, though Mr. Peres has many longstanding relationships in the Arab world."posted by Dan on 09.22.03 at 10:15 AM
"No prominent Palestinian or Arab figures were present, though Mr. Peres has many longstanding relationships in the Arab world."
Good God, what Palestinian leader do you imagine would be stupid enough to attend an Isreali politician's birthday party in today's climate? The two peoples are at war, you fool.posted by: flory on 09.22.03 at 10:15 AM [permalink]
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