FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Pandering Game

by RAOUF J. HALABY

The season of Pandering is upon us, and by now the routine is all too familiar. While negative ads, fund raising efforts in all their forms, email and robo phone calls, misinformation, and pandering have become the norm, to be elected, aspiring candidates have to make the obligatory trip abroad to “establish their foreign policy credentials.” How silly!

And by now the routine is all too familiar. Just as wine and bread are essential in the ritual Christians call the Eucharist, a pandering to the American Jewish community and a visit to Israel have become a must for every presidential hopeful and many an aspiring Congress person. To be anointed, the candidate has to do the following: visit Israel; don a skull cap; visit Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall and plant a prayer in a conspicuous crevice; bash Israel’s enemy de jour;  visit the Holocaust Memorial to lay a wreath;  tell the Israelis that they are “the only democracy in the Middle East and America’s most trusted and dependable ally;” make sure that the equally pandering American media outlets are covering every move, and promise that an unlimited amount of gold will be transferred (on a 24/7 basis) from Ft. Knox to Tel Aviv.

Poor Mitt. On his first stop in London, he put a Texas size boot in his mouth.  And his attempts to get out of the deep hole he dug for himself exposed him for what he is: an unthinking, android, and robotic wax figure. No wonder someone recently referred to him as “Sarah Palin without lipstick.”  Zero foreign credential points on the first leg.

Upon his arrival to Israel, Romney’s pandering revved into high gear.  The Wailing Wall routine, meetings with Israeli officials, and fund raising venues set the stage for what poor Mitt thought would be a perfect denouement to this theater of the absurd.  With a panoramic view of the old city of Jerusalem for a backdrop, Romney went on to claim Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cajoled the crowd thusly:

I am overwhelmingly impressed with the hand of providence [emphasis mine]. Whenever it chooses to apply itself, and also the greatness of the human spirit, and how individuals who reach for greatness and have a purpose above themselves are able to build and accomplish things that could only be done by a species created in the image of God [emphasis mine].

I’ll let linguists and rhetoricians comment on the faulty syntax and poor thought processes exhibited in the afore-cited statement. As far as I am concerned, the operative phrases are “hand of providence” and “ image of God.”   For Romney this was a twofer:  the man who takes pride in firing people was pandering to both, the Israelis and their like-minded evangelical American cousins. Is it possible that Romney was also including himself and referring to the wealth he amassed as a providential act, thus making him a part of this special species created in God’s image?

Romney does not comprehend the gravity of egging trigger-happy Netanyahu to attack Iran.  “We have a solemn duty and moral imperative to keep Iran nuclear free. Make no mistake. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel.”

Romney’s most egregious and blatantly racist comments were uttered at a Sunday fund-raising breakfast held at Jerusalem’s famous King David Hotel. Speaking to some 40 donors, Romney stated the following:

If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world, it’s this: culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.

That Israel is an economic success because of its culture while Palestine is an economic disaster because of its culture is, without a doubt, an outright racist and bigoted statement. What makes this statement so utterly insidious is that Romney the business man knows full well that a country that has been brutally strangled  by a 45 year occupation is doomed to fail economically and otherwise. The more insidious and sinister aspect of Romney’s statements at the King David Hotel has to do with the following: the most heinous terrorist attack in Jerusalem was the 1946 attack on the King David Hotel. Jewish terrorists detonated explosives so powerful they blew down a quadrant of the 9 story structure;  91  Palestinian civilians (and a handful of Brits) were killed and another 46 were injured.  For years to come Menahem Begin and his ilk would brag about this attack as one of their crowning accomplishments. At $25,000 a head, Mitt Romney snagged  1 million dollars.

Team Ob-illary is well ahead in the pandering game. With ingratiating speeches at AIPAC, the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom  to Shimon Peres, tough talk on Iran, an affirmation by Joe Biden that  the Ob-illary team “has done more for Israel’s security than any President since Harry Truman,” the just-released $70 million military package, and yet another United States Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act (the signing of which –with much fanfare — was perfectly timed to coincide with Romney’s arrival in Israel), candidate Obama is ahead in the pandering game.

Poland, Romney’s last pandering stop, was equally disastrous: A Romney aide cursed the media and a Romney attack on labor unions (in a country without whose labor unions political change would not have come about) is further proof of the plasticity and abrasive character of the presumptive nominee. Large Ron Paul banners and enthusiastic pro Paul chants in far-away Poland said it all. Zero credential points on the last leg.

Mitt Romney’s maiden foreign policy  voyage sprang many a leak and exposed him for what he truly is, par excellence,  Mitt the Twit unfit to lead. There are infinitely more important domestic issues that should be debated; as it has been and shall always be, the pandering game is here to stay, and the Supreme Court’s decision on campaign financing exacerbates the problem.

Raouf J. Halaby,  a naturalized US citizen, is a Palestinian from Jerusalem. He is a Professor of English and Art at a private liberal arts university in Arkansas. halabyr@obu.edu

 

 

 

Raouf J. Halaby has just recently been awarded a Professor Emeritus status. He taught English and art for 42 years. He is a writer, a sculptor, a photographer, and an avid gardener. He can be reached at rrhalaby@suddenlink.net

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail