Author Meir Shalev: “My suggestion is that Lieberman ask Dershowitz to be Israel’s Foreign Minister”
Author Meir Shalev is satirizing, but Nathan Sharansky is apparently very serious with this new proposal: A Jewish Nobel Prize.
Excerpt from column, Meir Shalev, Yediot Friday Political Supplement, May 7 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
I read in the paper that Binyamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman had offered Alan Dershowitz the position of the next Israeli ambassador to the UN. Dershowitz is a renowned Jewish-American attorney, a talented polemicist, and he has often expressed himself on matters concerning us and our predicaments. Most recently, one recalls his harsh criticism of Judge Goldstone, which was, as could have been anticipated, seized upon by Netanyahu and Lieberman as plunder, and caused them great elation. But I wonder if they recall that Dershowitz raised the banner of a two-state solution long before the current prime minister had dared utter this despairing notion.
As a criminal attorney Dershowitz is remembered as the defense lawyer for boxer Mike Tyson and former football player O. J. Simpson. It is hard to avoid the thought that not merely his views, but also his two trials and defendants indicate his ability to represent Israel as well, whose actions and choices are more than once reminiscent of the fields of sport in which Mike Tyson and O. J. Simpson took part.If you seek my opinion, I prefer that Israel be represented by a real-estate or divorce attorney, but if there is really no choice and we have to take someone from the field of sports, I prefer that Tiger Wood’s attorney be our representative at the UN. At least it’ll be fun.
Men of repute
Alan Dershowitz is not the first talented Jew summoned from the diaspora to save Israel. Already back in Biblical times, the Jewish-Persian Jew Nehemiah immigrated to Israel to run the matter of building the wall of Jerusalem, something that the poor Jews in the Land of Israel were unable to do on their own.
In the modern era too, there are examples, beginning with lobbyists and envoys like Elie Wiesel and Ron Lauder, to military men like Col. David Marcus who was recruited in the US during the War of Independence. An even better known example is the approach made to Albert Einstein, who was asked to be president after Chaim Weizmann. Einstein refused, but a few years ago, Israel approached a Jewish-American economist named Stanley Fischer, who immigrated, received Israeli citizenship and became governor of the Bank of Israel.
Like Einstein at the time, Dershowitz also refused the offer. I understand him completely but hope that his refusal will not stop Netanyahu and Lieberman from continuing the trend of asking capable Jews of stature to move to Israel to fill positions — a welcome trend. And we don’t have to make do with secondary positions like the governor of the bank and the ambassador to the UN. My suggestion is that Lieberman ask Dershowitz to be Israel’s foreign minister and that Netanyahu ask him to be prime minister in his place.
But on second thought — for these two positions you don’t need stars of the magnitude of Dershowitz. There are enough Jewish grocery store owners, teachers, doctors, engineers and cab drivers in the diaspora, and many of them would be a better prime minister and foreign minister than the two currently serving in the Israeli government.
And not just these two. We can, and should, seek among diaspora Jewry a serious education minister and a tourism minister and an interior minister who knows what democracy is, and a health minister, and a transport minister who will improve our faltering and dangerous transportation system and not wave about fantasies like a new railway from Jenin to Ariel. We will import them all, and at the same time, continue to let out our own talented Jews, Israelis who because of their government’s priorities don’t have work and a future commensurate with their abilities in their own country.