“People Wants to Be Like Gaydamak”

Certainly the most colorful figure on Israel’s political landscape is Arkady Gaydamak, the Russian billionaire, owner of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, who made headlines during the Lebanon war when, using his own funds, he built a tent city for residents the beleaguered north, and then later repeated it for residents of barraged Sderot.

Today he made headlines again by donating $8 million to renovate the homes of Holocaust survivors. Though he has joined no political party, and speaks little Hebrew, he has set up his own movement called “Social Justice,” and the country is rife with speculation about when, how, and with whom he will enter the political ring. In the meantime, he’s made a mint in political capital by showing that one rich man can do a lot where bureaucracy fails. This, combined with his con
stant search for creative ways to stay in the limelight, will carry him well with Israel’s attention-deficit electorate.

This year, Gaydamak starred in a TV commercial advertising cell phones, where he danced and sang (sorry, no subtitles, but you get the point anyway). When asked by Israel television why a potential political leader would reduce himself thus, he responded in his uncertain English, “It’s about identification. People wants to see Gaydamak. People wants to be like Gaydamak.”

0
Shares
Google+ Print

“People Wants to Be Like Gaydamak”

Must-Reads from Magazine

A Familiar Paranoia

Donald Trump sees disloyalty even in his closest supporters.

In a performance that would have shocked sensibilities if they weren’t already flogged to the point of numbness, President Trump delivered a nostalgic, campaign-style stem-winder on Monday to a troop of boy scouts. The commander-in-chief meandered between crippling self-pity and gauche triumphalism; he moaned about his treatment by the “fake media,” praised himself for the scale of his Electoral College victory, and pondered aloud whether to dub the nation’s capital a “cesspool” or a “sewer.” Most illuminating in this manic display was an exposition on the virtues of fealty. “We could use some more loyalty; I will tell you that,” the president mused. These days, Trump seems fixated on treachery—among Republicans in Congress, among his Cabinet officials, and among his subordinates in the administration. His obsession may yet prove his undoing.

1
Shares
Google+ Print

Salaita, Out

Sympathy deferred.

I have written before about Steven Salaita. Once a tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech, he resigned from that position on the strength of an offer from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign to serve in the American Indian Studies program. But in the summer of 2014, UIUC rescinded the offer, mainly over of a series of reprehensible Salaita tweets.

1
Shares
Google+ Print

Syria’s Forsaken Rebels

Has Washington given up on Syria?

Last week, I wrote about one of the troublesome byproducts of the Trump-Putin summit in Hamburg: a ceasefire in southwestern Syria that Israel worries will entrench Iranian control of that area bordering the Israeli Golan Heights. The day after my article came out, the Washington Post reported on another troubling decision that President Trump has made vis a vis Syria: Ending a CIA program that had provided arms and training to anti-Assad forces.

4
Shares
Google+ Print

The Democratic Party’s False Centrism

It's a duck.

Democrats are finally digging out of the wreckage the Obama years wrought, and are beginning to acknowledge the woes they visited upon themselves with their box-checking identity liberalism. So, yes, the opposition is moving forward in the Trump area, but toward what? Schizophrenia, apparently.

13
Shares
Google+ Print

Challenging Violent Speech—Unless It’s About Israel

The border of incitement.

The idea that speech can itself constitute an act of violence grows ever more popular among the left’s leading polemicists. They argue that employing a politically incorrect word can be triggering; that the wrong gender pronoun can provoke; that words and sentences and parts of speech are all acts of aggression in disguise. The left seeks to stop this violence, or less euphemistically: to silence this speech.

36
Shares
Google+ Print