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Friday, 28 September 2012


Mannie Sherberg
Every word you've written about Bibi's speech is, Yael, perfectly chosen -- and perfectly true. As a speech junkie who sometimes regrets not having been there to hear Lincoln speak at Gettysburg or Patrick Henry declaim "If this be treason, make the most of it," I finally had the satisfaction of knowing that I had heard -- as it actually happened -- one of history's great orations. And as a guy who once earned a living by writing speeches, I can say only that the passages in Bibi's speech detailing the construction of a nuke were a masterpiece of clarity and concision -- and beyond the capacity of many ordinary speechwriters. The entire speech was -- in a word -- magisterial, or -- in still another word -- momentous. Why momentous? Because it introduced something new into a world ravaged by lies: it introduced the TRUTH. Incidentally, the speech also, I believe, did something it wasn't intended to do: It gave us all a lesson in how the "new" antisemitism differs from the old. In the past, most so-called upper-class antisemitism was fairly genteel; that is to say, it was practiced mostly behind closed doors and in hushed tones. Successful businessmen may have told crude jokes about Jews -- but they usually told them in the "safe" confines of their country clubs or in letters written privately to friends. But, as we saw yesterday when our UN ambassador, Susan Rice, chose not to attend Bibi's speech and chose to attend a luncheon instead, today's "upper" class antisemitism is anything but genteel; it is raw, open, and in-your-face. The luncheon, not so surprisingly, was hosted by Hillary Clinton for visiting foreign ministers. Surely Hillary knew, when she scheduled the luncheon, that it would conflict with Bibi's speech, and -- just as surely -- she didn't care. This is bald, sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb, plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face antisemitism. The antisemitism of the elite was once an addiction reluctant to show its face in public; today's elitist antisemitism shouts itself to the world. In the end, of course, none of this will really matter. As Bibi made plain yesterday -- in ringing language worthy of the prophets of Israel -- we Jews are here to stay. So I suppose Rice and Clinton will just have to get used to the fact. Or not.

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