Wednesday, May 22, 2013

'When the Chips are Down': A Review

After reading Robert Magid's attempted satire in the 17 May issue of The Australian Jewish News, I can only conclude that Zionism is to humour what a lion is to a gazelle. (Magid is, of course, the owner/publisher of The AJN).  

Magid's short story, When the Chips are Down, features the tortuous deliberations of a bizarre, fictional BDS grouplet (based in Manly of all places!), the Israel Boycott Committee.

On learning that the chip in their computers and phones is manufactured in Israel, the committee earnestly debates whether or not to dispense with their phones and computers. (At one point the lone Jewish member of the group actually fears that he may become the victim of a pogrom at the hands of the others!)

When, after much argument (and even tears!), the matter is finally put to a vote, only two of the group are prepared to sacrifice their computers and phones. Outraged at the others' supposed inconsistency, these two brand them as hypocrites, tear up their membership cards (yes, membership cards!), and proceed to destroy their computers and phones before storming out of the meeting.

Such, we are supposed to infer, is the self-defeating folly of boycotting Israel.

Now exactly why Magid should think that the current point(s) of manufacture of a global component for a global product such as the computer should cause such ructions in the ranks of BDS campaigners is a bit of a mystery I'm afraid.  

As a thoroughly unconvincing caricature, When the Chips are Down should have been put down at birth. But then what AJN editor is going to stand in the way of his paper's owner?

Still, if Robert Magid wishes to persist in writing fiction with a focus on the need for absolute consistency in all things, if that's his schtick,  I've got just the subject for his next piece: former Israeli PM, Yitzhak Shamir (1983-84 & 1986-92).

Shamir, you see, was nothing if not a model of consistency. In his early days as a leader of Israel's notorious Stern Gang, Shamir not only sought a wartime alliance with the Nazis against the British* but went on in 1948 to order that the UN mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, be dispatched using a German-made Schmeisser MP40 sub-machine gun.**

What a mensch!


[*See my 4/7/12 post Yitzhak Shamir, His Gang & Their Nazi Flirtation; **See my 19/5/13 post What Would Raoul Wallenberg Do?]

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