Wednesday, July 23, 2008

At the risk of being horribly politically incorrect:

I saw the picture of Barack Obama visiting Yad Vashem. When I was a college student living in Jerusalem, my friends and I used to make fun of the fact that every time a visiting dignitary alighted in the Land of Israel, the first thing they would do with him or her was take them to Yad Vashem, the National Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Mobutu Sese Seko -- Yad Vashem, Queen Beatrix of Holland -- Yad Vashem, George Bush Pere --Yad Vashem. If Che Guevara, Napoleon and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile were alive, that would be their fate as well.
We used to joke that they didn't even let the poor visitors finish wiping themselves with the freshening towelette, when they were already hurling them towards Yad Vashem. We used to say the airport should be at Yad Vashem. We were of course crude, cynical and exaggerating wildly, but there was something (and I bet half the people will beg to differ and the other half will use this as antisemitic fodder) kind of funny about the laying on of the guilt trip as soon as the foreign machers hit the ground. I think of my dearly departed friend Martine, with her caustic Dutch sense of humor, and I can't help but think she would be getting a kick out of the picture of Obama with his yarmulke, visiting the haunting, overwhelming hell that is that place.

No comments:

Post a Comment