I’ve quoted Gideon Levy more than once. He’s smart, honest, and a good writer.
Thus one must assume that his questions in this article are rhetorical in nature.
[Secretary of State] Rice has been here six times in the course of a year and a half, and what has come of it? Has anyone asked her about this? Does she ask herself?
It is hard to understand how the secretary of state allows herself to be so humiliated.
No, it’s not. Levy has obviously reached, and perhaps passed, the fourth chakra; Condi seems to be stuck somewhere between the second and the third.
Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women on the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps. She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame “Matrix” jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn’t give her ensemble a double take — all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?
Rice’s coat and boots speak of sex and power — such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual.
Are there still people who don’t understand the conscious-subconscious dichotomy — the subconscious need to balance the excesses of the conscious with excesses of its own? Certainly; but I suspect Mr. Levy understands the reality and is tweaking his readers.
But there are more important rhetorical questions.
What happened since 1956, when the U.S. made Israel withdraw from Sinai overnight with a single telephone call, immediately after the “Third Kingdom of Israel” speech by the strongest Israeli leader of all times, David Ben-Gurion? Now, as the occupation continues for years, with a government no less dependent on the good graces of the U.S. than in the past, why is America a bystander?
…in the background, a fundamental question echoes, without a response: Is America at all interested in bringing about a solution in the Middle East? Is it possible that it does not understand how crucial it is to end the conflict?
As things appear, America can and does not want to. No government in Israel, and surely not the most recent ones, which are terrified of the American administration, would stand up to a firm American demand to bring the occupation to an end. But there has never been an American president who wanted to put an end to the occupation. Does America not understand that without ending the occupation there will be no peace? Peace in the region would deliver a greater blow to world terrorism than any war America has pursued, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Does America not understand this? Can all this be attributed to the omnipotent Jewish lobby, which causes Israel more harm than good?
Realistically, those are trivial questions to answer:
But of course Mr. Levy understands these things.
In the Middle East, the U.S. has an opportunity to fundamentally change its image, from a warmonger to a peacemaker. And how does the U.S. respond to the challenge? It sends Rice to tell the excited Ehud Olmert how she falls asleep easily on her unnecessary and ridiculous flights to and from the Middle East.