Commentary Magazine


Re: By Israeli Left’s Standard, U.S. Pledge Would Be Fascist, Too

Evelyn, that reminds me of a story Ariel Sharon tells in his memoirs, about how Jewish pride is a prerequisite for survival:

When Mr. Begin was elected prime minister, he left for the United States on a state visit. At the airport a beautiful leavetaking ceremony was held for him. Flags and banners were flying, Israeli Air Force jets were flying over, all the dignitaries were there to see him off. After shaking hands with the group that had assembled there, Mr. Begin walked along the line of flags and banners until he came to the national flag, and there he paused and bowed his head. This was broadcast directly on the radio and then described in the newspapers. And the reporting had an element of sarcasm in it, a touch of mockery about the fact that Mr. Begin had actually bowed his head in front of the flag.

Sharon then goes on to describe the ceremony held in Egypt after Israel and Egypt signed their peace agreement:

The announcers described how two tall Egyptian officers were holding swords in their hands and escorting a third officer who was carrying the Egyptian flag. They described how the officers approached President Sadat, and how Sadat bowed and kissed the flag. As they pictured the scene, the announcers’ voices were in a state of high excitement. And it sounded very natural. After all, it was a great event for Egypt, and the Egyptian national flag symbolized all that the moment meant. That’s how the radio reporters described it, with the dignity and emotion it deserved. And these were exactly the same people who had shown such an edge of cynicism when Mr. Begin bowed to the Israeli flag. And this, if you ask me, is the problem. Not security, not the economy, not whether a peace conference should have an international umbrella, only this. And if we could solve this, we could solve all the rest.