Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Not the experience of a lifetime: Joe Lieberman telling dirty jokes involving pickles

hillary-clinton-saban-465.pngHillary is Running: A Dispatch from the Saban Forum

Posted by David Remnick, New Yorker

Hillary Clinton is running for President. And the Israeli political class is a full-blown train wreck. These are two conclusions, for whatever they are worth, based on a three-day conference I attended this weekend at the annual Saban Forum, in Washington, D.C.

A word about the scene: Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media and entertainment mogul, has for the past nine years been hosting a conference, sometimes in Jerusalem, more often in Washington, focussed on the Middle East. The attendees are mainly government officials, present and former; business people; institute-niks; a few reporters. There are very few Arabs; this year the most notable exception was Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, though he didn’t stick around long, since the Palestinian Authority, thanks in large measure to Israel, is in grave peril, losing ground all the time to Hamas. Except for a few events, Chatham House rules obtain: meaning that the official events are off the record. The presumption is that the incidental meetings are more important than the panels and speeches.

Friday night, however, was on the record—and surprisingly revealing. Hillary Clinton was the main speaker. In a packed ballroom of the Willard Hotel, she was greeted with a standing ovation and then a short, adoring film, a video Festschrift testifying to her years as First Lady, senator, and, above all, Secretary of State. The film, an expensive-looking production, went to the trouble of collecting interviews with Israeli politicians—Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni—and American colleagues, like John Kerry. Tony Blair, striking the moony futuristic note that was general in the hall, said, “I just have an instinct that the best is yet to come.”

The film was like an international endorsement four years in advance of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The tone was so reverential that it resembled the sort of film that the Central Committee of the Communist Party might have produced for Leonid Brezhnev’s retirement party if Leonid Brezhnev would only have retired and the Soviets had been in possession of advanced video technology. After it was over there was a separate video from the President. Looking straight into the camera, Obama kvelled at length: “You’ve been at my side at some of the most important moments of my Administration.”

(More here.)

1 Comments:

Blogger Minnesota Central said...

Joe ? ? ?
Or Avigdor Lieberman ?

Did you read about the Cheney-McCain tribute dinner ?
The show stopper was Senator John McCain, who turned the otherwise polite set of greetings into "blue" roast for his longtime friend Joe Lieberman.

“I have a major announcement to make,” McCain opened, “I’m converting to Judaism.”

It turns out that in his many trips abroad with Lieberman, McCain picked up on some of the Jewish traditions and that out of respect to his colleague’s observant Jewish beliefs, McCain himself became somewhat observant. Now, as Lieberman readies to step down, it is McCain’s payback time.

“I had to put up all the years with the bullshit of religion, I might as well convert,” said McCain as Lieberman and the hundred other guests gathered at the ambassador’s residence burst out laughing. The Arizona Senator’s took issue with the Shabbat elevator, an elevator that stops on each and every floor, so that the observant Jew riding it will not have to push the button of the desired floor. McCain, who had to ride it with Lieberman on their Saturday work trips, just couldn’t stand the frequent stop.

And even worse — the salmon, a fish that has become the staple of any meal when hosts try to please their kosher observing guests. “Why in every f**king kosher meal do we have to have salmon?” McCain asked. He also complained about having to walk to vote with Lieberman on Saturdays and recalled a joint trip to Germany in which he woke up on the plane only to see Joe Lieberman praying wrapped in a talit, the Jewish prayer shawl. “I see this guy wrapped in a shawl,” he said, “I thought maybe I died.”

“I had to put up with this all these years,” McCain summed up his humorous rant, explaining why it would now be a natural move for him to simply convert to Judaism.

8:50 PM  

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