Mrs. Maisel, Macdougal Street, Mustapha - and me

The Arabs’ problem, including the ones relaxing in Village cafes, has never been a question about how BIG Israel is--but that Israel IS.

Gerald A. Honigman, | updated: 08:30

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President Trump recently released his "deal of the century" for the Middle East.

The latter-day Arafatians-in-suits, led by Fatah and the Palestinian Authority/PLO's Mahmud Abbas, rejected it long before ever seeing it. They've called the American leader a dog (can't get much lower in Arab eyes) and have refused to take his calls. After all, they're used to special treatment from the previous American administration for eight years.

The reality, of course, is that any plan which leaves a viable Israel standing on the morrow has always been dead-on-arrival for most Arabs. They've called any negotiations with Israel simply a "Trojan Horse," and have repeatedly spoken in terms of a "destruction-in-phases" future for the Jewish State. And these folks are the moderates...you know, the ones who pay other Arabs and their families large stipends as rewards for decapitating Jewish babies in their sleep and such.

 That brings me to my story:

I’m usually the last to enjoy the inventions and innovations of the times.

Whether it was my four adult children, wife, and mother--G-d bless all--acquiring their iPhones, while it took my flip flop getting dunked on a fishing trip before caving in to acquire one as well, or whatever, I just don’t think I inherited that particular gene on that specific chromosome that regulates such stuff.

So, it should not be a surprise that while most other folks that I know are now watching season #3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, my wife and I have only just recently begun season #2.

I’ve got mixed feelings about it. Not that the show’s not entertaining, and the acting wonderful, but I’m a bit nervous about stereotypes that will likely be reinforced.

Anyway…

Right from the get-go, I had a serious case of déjà vu. And I didn’t read up about the Amazon Prime show beforehand.

The street where Midge performed--the very below ground night club she visited and performed in--rang a loud bell.

About a generation after Miriam “Midge” Weissman’s television adventures at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I attended the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, virtually right across MacDougal Street--where budding comedians and musicians often got their starts at places just like the one where Mrs. Maisel did some twenty years earlier. 

Working full time and attending most of my graduate classes in the evening, Jews, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Turks, Iranians, et al would go to the popular Café Feenjon for Turkish coffee, Middle Eastern foods and music, conversation, debate, and whatever. I swear, I remember the Feenjon, which you walked down into from street level, being like a resurrected Gaslight---although most of those clubs must have been similar.

On the days when I took my afternoon Arabic classes, I’d eat lunch across the street in the opposite direction near the famous big arch at Washington Square Park, across from the Kevorkian Center (in the ‘70s,  a consortium of Princeton, Columbia, and NYU) and law school at NYU. The episode where Midge hears a woman giving a speech with the Arch in the background clinched this recollection for me. On numerous occasions, scenes from popular films, like When Harry Met Sally, were filmed there.

My days in The Village were especially raw ones for those concerned about the Middle East. And, as would become customary and even more true later, certain subjects never left center stage in most of academia and elsewhere, while others never made it onto a reading list, a United Nations discussion, or a doctoral seminar

The June ’67 War and its consequences were still of recent memory, and while we’re still dealing with those issues to this very day, the origins of that “Six Day War” are far more often than not simply ignored or given less than short shrift in the majority Middle East Studies Association (MESA)-dominated classrooms.

Try as they may to twist facts or ignore them, however, Israel was blockaded by Egypt’s President Nasser at the Straits of Tiran and Gulf of Aqaba (a casus belli) in an attempt to strangle it economically and prevent the supply of crucial materials. Thousands of Arabs were dancing in the streets yelling “Itbach al-Yahud”--slaughter the Jews. I have a large cooler filled with pictures, magazine articles, news clippings, and other documentation of these events 

The United Nations peacekeeping force, in place since the 1956 hostilities (regarding Israel’s participation, started by another, previous Egyptian blockade and non-stop murder and terrorism from Egyptian-held Gaza and Sinai; Great Britain and France were angered by Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal), was expelled so to give the Egyptian military a clear path to attack the sole, resurrected State of the Jews that requires a magnifying glass to find on a world globe.

The UN’s Secretary-General U Thant meekly complied, as someone later said, “like a fireman who flees as soon as a fire breaks out.” 100,000 Egyptian forces and hundreds of tanks thus amassed right up to the ’49 armistice line with Israel. Much evidence shows that the Soviets had been instigating these actions via Nasser’s Syrian partners.

Bottom line: The combined Arab plan to destroy Israel and slaughter its Jews backfired bigtime, and Israel--after wiping out several Arab air forces in six days (among other feats), subsequently found itself in control of territories which dwarfed its previous size.

By June 10, 1967, Israeli forces were looking at Egypt from their new positions along the Suez Canal; were now atop the Golan Heights, from which Syria had shelled Jewish civilians below at will since 1949 (all Jewish children in Kibbutzim below the Golan Heights had grown up sleeping in bomb shelters); and Judeans--Jews--were once again in Judea and had access to their holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere, from which Jordanian Arabs had previously denied them. Along with Samaria, these lands were not known as the “West Bank” (of the Jordan River) until the early 20th century when Great Britain lopped off almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine to give as a gift to Arab nationalism in one of its many subspecies in the creation, in 1922, of what today is known as Jordan.

To distinguish the remaining part (some 20%) of the Mandate of Palestine, that is Judea and Samaria, from Transjordan, created on the east bank of the Jordan River, that sliver now was called the "West Bank." However, it had been known as Judea and Samaria for millennia (the Judean Hills, Judean Desert, etc.) One question--does the Gospel of Matthew say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem,West Bank or Bethlehem of Judea, my Christian friends?

This became even more solidified after Transjordan joined other Arab states in attacking a nascent, reborn Israel in May 1948. After seizing Judea and Samaria, it annexed those lands and renamed itself “Jordan,” distinguishing the newly acquired territories as the “West Bank.” During this same time, Egypt grabbed Gaza as well. Funny how no one demanded a second state for Arabs in the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine region as long as Jordan and Egypt held these territories. “Funny,” however, is too generous a description for this hypocrisy.

Ergo, so much for Jews getting most of “Palestine,” as is typically related in most Arab taqiyya (legitimate lying for “the cause”) fairy tales. That statement is as truthful as the Arab accounts of Americans destroying Arab air forces in 1967 instead of Israel--accounts intercepted by radio intelligence, by the way. Check this recorded conversation between Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein for a good laugh ... but then please keep this in mind regarding anything else that Arabs claim regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict

Even more timely at the Café Feenjon in the early ‘70s was the then newest attempt on Israel’s life--one which came very close to succeeding--the combined Arab attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, in October 1973, when I
As usual, the Jews in the group were arguing among themselves about how much territory Israel should return to make the Arabs love--or at least not want to behead-- them.
was deeply immersed in graduate studies at the Kevorkian Center, a virtual stone's throw away from where Mrs. Maisel probably wet her television feet, so to speak, a generation earlier.

When the dust from the latest hostilities began to settle, a number of us crossed MacDougal street once again one evening after class and sat at a few tables mesmerized by the dancers and listening to our favorite music.

As usual, the Jews in the group were arguing among themselves about how much territory Israel should return to make the Arabs love--or at least not want to behead-- them. I was as nauseated by their ilk then as I am with their counterparts today. I had to travel many times the 9-15 mile width of Israel, by its 1949 Auschwitz/armistice lines existence, to get to class from where I lived in Brooklyn.

The Arabs’ problem has never been a question about how BIG Israel is--but that Israel IS. The region is supposedly, after all, by their own words, “purely Arab patrimony”…and if you don’t believe that, just ask the scores of millions of native non-Arab Kurds, Copts, numerous Semitic but non-Arab Lebanese, Assyrians, black Africans, Amazigh/Kabyle/”Berbers,” kilab yahud (Jew dogs), and others whose lands Arabs conquered and forcibly Arabized to create the almost two dozen states Arabs now call just their own on over six million square miles of territory.

Watching these pathetic Hebrews from another table were my very amused Arab colleagues. They were just having a grand time watching Jews arguing among themselves.

Well, I just couldn’t resist …

I walked over to the Arab table, pulled up a chair, spun it around, leaned my arms on its back, smiled and said:

“Hey, don’t stop enjoying what you see over there on my account. I find those folks amusing too. But keep this in mind…Some of us indeed have your number on all of this stuff. We know that it’s not Israel’s size nor the additional territories that’s the real problem for you, but that Jews--or anyone else besides Arabs--having the audacity to want their own small share of justice in a region you claim solely for yourselves. You’re going to have to deal with at least some of us with our eyes wide open and our heads out of the sand.”

Hushhhhhh

Even with my favorite Ya Mustapha being played on stage in the background, you could have heard a pin drop 

I then got up and walked back to my original table.

These events happened almost a half century ago, and I wish I could say that things have changed much, but that would be a lie.

We see this played out almost daily when some “Progressive” Jew indulges in the same fantasies and calls those who disagree right wing fanatics. The academic Ivory Tower is loaded with them.

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