Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics

Operetta diplomacy


I was somewhere between amused and frightened in skimming Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress, finding this passage:

We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.

(APPLAUSE)

Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us.

SPOILER ALERT! How are you going to get people to come to hear the whole megillah in synagogue if you just give away the ending? I love the fact that everyone applauded “The plot was foiled.” And what’s with this “Persian potentate” stuff? I thought the Iranians were supposed to be Islamo-fascists.

Seriously, though, if you’re an Israeli prime minister with a reputation for telling tall tales about your neighbours’ military plans and capacities, and you’re trying to make the case that this time it’s really really serious, maybe you don’t want to reveal right up front that your diplomatic calculations are heavily influenced by a 2500 year old fairy tale with as much inherent plausibility as the plot of HMS Pinafore.

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