Chelm was a mythical Yiddish-speaking town which had a disproportionate share of shlemiels and shlemazels whose mind-boggling stupidity provided an endless source of merriment and mirth.
Interestingly, the characters and behavioural traits portrayed have seemingly been transmitted into the real world. If we survey the political and international landscape today it is obvious that Chelm was a haven of common sense compared to the antics we currently face.
Some recent examples should suffice to illustrate the situation.
The President (for life) of the PA and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan intend to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court because Jews are uttering prayers on the Temple Mount. Just imagine, the heinous crime being committed by Jews for uttering Shema Yisrael in a place revered as the holiest site for Jews, is about to be considered by a UN body which obviously has nothing else to do. The Chelm aspect of this farce is that the two complainants represent societies where freedom of religion is restricted to followers of Islam. Christians may be barely tolerated but their presence is rapidly diminishing.
Jordan is touted by some as the natural guardians of Islamic holy places and a perfect candidate for taking over Judea and Samaria. How a country which destroyed all vestiges of a Jewish presence and ethnically cleansed all Jews can be considered a guardian of any holy place is beyond belief. Likewise giving Jordan control of the Jewish heartland is as insane as it gets but in Chelm anything is possible.
The UN represents everything that Chelm portrayed. It is overloaded with shlemiels eager and willing to condemn Israel at all and every opportunity. Thus it is no wonder that with Swiss-like clockwork regularity it churns out condemnatory resolutions against the Jewish State. No wonder our gloriously misnamed “peace partners” feel emboldened and confident that no matter how outrageous their accusations they will always be taken seriously. That’s how a non-State became elevated to the status of a fictitious member country. That is why the PA can boldly demand that the UN force the USA to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as our Capital and reverse the location of its embassy.
If Chelm did not exist UNESCO would not dare to pass resolutions which deny a Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Hebron amongst other places. At a recent meeting, these delegitimizing resolutions were appended to some sort of annex and this was portrayed as a great victory. The fact that some Israeli officials and politicians can assert that falsifications of historical fact relegated to a document appendix is any sort of victory merely attests to the fact that the Chelm spirit is alive and well.
An NGO well known for its obsessive anti-Israel fetish has been invited to give evidence at the UN Security Council. This body which obviously has no inclination to solve the world’s most pressing genocidal problems will once more devote its energies towards pillorying the Middle East’s only true democracy.
Meanwhile, elsewhere other shlemiels are running riot.
On a recent flight by Swissair to Israel the in-flight map eliminated Tel Aviv and substituted an Arab name instead. An embarrassed spokesperson for the airline apologised and blamed a technical problem which just proves that the Chelm gremlins have already taken over Swiss technology.
The Quebec Government intends to ban the wearing of kippot and other religious apparel by public servants. This assault on personal religious freedom elicited neither a censure nor any resolution from the usual sources which daily choose Israel as their preferred punching bag.
Canada announced that it was pouring another $38 million into the bottomless coffers of UNRWA proving yet again that the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters can always rely on a healthy bunch of shlemiels to throw taxpayers’ money their way.
The Israel public broadcasting TV channel, KAN, won the right to show preliminary world cup and championship league games. Now UEFA has demanded that these be confined to “pre 1967” areas. In other words, those of us living in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan must be denied viewing rights otherwise all Israelis will be cut off from seeing the games. This bullying threat by the shlemiels at UEFA will only result in an own goal because you can be sure that one way or another, games will be shown. UEFA, of course, blames Qatar for this debacle. It doesn’t really matter because the whole scandal is merely indicative of the insanity prevailing these days.
Evidence that Chelm is also alive and well in Israel is evidenced by the fact that Israel is expected to release 300 prisoners in line with a recent High Court ruling which said that overcrowded prison conditions infringed on prisoners’ human rights. Around 1,000 prisoners, possibly including individuals convicted of terror and other security offences are expected to be released when the law takes force on December 20.
Crowning a mad week has been the frenzy generated by remarks uttered by the Australian Prime Minister. No sooner had he mused that “maybe” / “possibly” it would be a good idea to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital and “perhaps” one day to relocate the Embassy there, than just about every politician, commentator and pundit here burst into laudatory hymns of praise. In scenes worthy of the antics by Chelm residents, none of those bursting into print or the airwaves bothered to look closely at the small print. If they had done so they would have quickly realized that this entire episode was nothing more than a hot air balloon launched on the eve of a crucial by-election.
The expected reactions from Australian security experts, political opponents, PLO representatives, the media and Islamic nations near and far were not long in coming. Threats of trade boycotts, electoral tsunamis and other anti-Israel manifestations will no doubt scuttle any action. Already we can perceive backpedalling on a grand scale with suggestions that it is “only” west Jerusalem that belongs to the Jews and maybe the eastern part of a unified city will be the Capital of a yet to be created terror-sponsoring Arab State. Any thought that the Aussies will actually transfer their Embassy from Tel Aviv has already been scratched. Even though Australia remains one of the few countries to vote against anti-Israel resolutions at the UN I am afraid that actually acknowledging reality by acting rather than pontificating is a pie in the sky hallucination.
Israel has today indeed “great mates” in Australia but unfortunately, they may soon be outnumbered by those who hate us and whose electoral clout is rapidly growing.
The premature euphoria displayed this week will prove to be yet another example of how wishful thinking succumbs to cynical double standards.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.