To be a Fly on the White House Old Family Dining Room Wall. . .

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family-dining-room-c1999.jpg
This is the roster of who is coming to dinner tonight:

President Obama
President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt
King Abdullah of Jordan
Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel
President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Quartet Representative Tony Blair

According to a pool report written by Huffington Post‘s Sam Stein, the White House won’t be sharing “many, if any details” from tonight’s dinner. All we can expect is an official photo.
OK then! I’m hooked.
Holding back is a good way to keep us me interested.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

29 comments on “To be a Fly on the White House Old Family Dining Room Wall. . .

  1. JohnH says:

    Yes, the Israeli economy grew last year, thanks mostly to its “homeland security” industry.
    Fighting terrorism is alive and well, and the Israelis intend to keep it that way, because tools to fight terrorism are Israel’s growth engine.
    That’s one huge reason Israel doesn’t sue for peace–it’s bad for business.

    Reply

  2. WigWag says:

    “Netanyahu – Previously failed and now-retreaded far-right leader of a state in moral, social and economic decline.” (Dan Kervick)
    Whatever you may think of Netanyahu or the moral or social state of Israel, it is certainly incorrect to say that it is in economic decline.
    Israel is one of the few nations in the world to experience economic growth last year. In fact, only 5 nations in the world had better GDP growth than Israel; they were China, Indonesia, Peru and India. Of course, unlike Israel, these are all “developing” nations while Israel is classified as a “developed” nation which makes Israel’s economic growth in 2009 even more remarkable. And it’s not just 2009, for the last several years, Israel has been on a tremendous economic roll.
    You are right about one thing though; the political leaders who attended the dinner last night all look like has beens. If you look at the photograph of the attendees, President Muburak looks more vital than any of the others and supposedly he’s dying of cancer.

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  3. Dan Kervick says:

    Seriously, what a bunch of geezers and has-beens at this dinner. Only Abdullah still has any gas in the tank and aplomb.
    It’s like they’re posing for Time Magazine’s Most Important World Leaders – 1998! Take stock:
    Mubarak – almost dead.
    Abbas – not even the Palestinian leader any more, and clearly exhausted.
    Clinton – loser, has-been, yesterday’s news.
    Blair – disgraced, outcast, yesterday’s news.
    Netanyahu – Previously failed and now-retreaded far-right leader of a state in moral, social and economic decline.
    When I think of Obama sitting around at table with these old cobweb-gatherers, in that stately old dining room, it has the feel of Guy Woodhouse in Rosemary’s Baby. You ask: What’s going on? Why is this guy hanging around with all of these codgers?

    Reply

  4. Dan Kervick says:

    The tea-baggers are probably already passing it around on their hyperventilating list-serves with titles like “Exposed – Secret Obama Plan to Muslimize the American Diet!”

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    I’m sure the teabaggers among your readers didn’t notice that,
    Dan: to them there’s no difference between two Abdullahs as
    long as both pray to Allah. They’re all scum of the earth.

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Thanks John. But only after writing it did I read carefully and realize that it was the Jordanian King Abdullah who was attending, and not the Saudi Abdullah. I had the wrong Abdullah! Since the Jordanian Abdullah is part American, the polygamy and cultural confusion jokes don’t make much sense.
    “The Wrong Abdullah” sounds like the title of a spy novel.

    Reply

  7. John Waring says:

    Dan Kervick,
    Once again you demonstrate your mastery of the literary form called burlesque. Very well done.
    Thanks to you and Wig Wag for providing welcome comic relief on this thread.

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    questions, “firms up the Hamas/PA differences”? What differences? They may have a big difference on which one of them should run Arab Palestine, but they have no differences on the virtues of killing Jews. Here is the “moderate” PA’s latest gesture for peace:
    “”The Palestinian mother is a central partner in the struggle…
    It is she who gave birth to the fighters, and she deserves
    that we bow to her in salute and in honor.”
    Those were the words of the Palestinian Authority’s Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake, when he honored a Palestinian woman by awarding her “the Shield of Resoluteness and Giving.”
    ?
    The Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Karake, honors mother of 4 terrorists with PA Shield. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 28, 2010]
    She received this honor because she is the mother of four sons who are serving a total of 18 life sentences in Israeli prisons. They all killed Israeli civilians in terror attacks.
    The Minister also “praised the Abu Hamid family as a model of willpower and of the struggle for the independence of Palestine” when he visited the family with a ministry delegation, human rights organizations and released prisoners, the official PA daily newspaper reported.
    The four sons are serving life sentences for the following crimes:
    Nasser Abu Hamid – 7 life sentences + 50 years – commander in Fatah’s military wing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Ramallah. Convicted of killing seven Israeli civilians and 12 attempted murders.
    Nasr Abu Hamid – 5 life sentences – Member of terror faction of Fatah, Tanzim, and convicted of involvement in two terror attacks and arms dealing.
    Sharif Abu Hamid- 4 life sentences – a member in one of the brothers’ units carrying out terror attacks against civilians and soldiers. Accompanied a suicide bomber to his attack in March 2002.
    Muhammad Abu Hamid – 2 life sentences + 30 years – involvement in terror attacks.
    Minister Karake also chose this week to visit the home of the suicide terrorist Ayyat Al-Akhras who in 2002 entered a Jerusalem supermarket and detonated a bomb murdering two Israelis and killing herself. The minister’s visit took place on the occasion of the Palestinian “National Day for Returning the Bodies of Palestinian and Arab Shahids and MIA’s.”
    The mother who received the award for having four terrorist sons was described as “Khansa of Palestine,” which is a reference to Al-Khansa, a woman from the earliest period of Islam who sent her four sons to battle and rejoiced when they all died as Martyrs. Calling the Palestinian mother by this name reinforces the message that seeking death as a Martyr is a worthy and honorable goal and that parents should proudly sacrifice their children.”
    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2982
    As seen in Al Hayat Al Jadida, August 28, 2010. (full quote at link) Nice timing, yes?

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    MJ Rosenberg posted this video which reflects an Israel negotiating position while it seemingly promotes a one-state, apartheid solution.
    http://tinyurl.com/25wjnfo

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    No.

    Reply

  11. Don Bacon says:

    Walt: “The best (only?) hope of averting that outcome lies in making the current negotiations a success and ending the occupation once and for all.”
    And who’s going to do the making? The current “negotiations” between Netanyahu and Abbas, two decidedly unequal negotiators, while the US (a strong Israel ally) supposedly facilitates this faulted process don’t look any more hopeful than, say, Annapolis, do they.

    Reply

  12. Paul Norheim says:

    “I’m on the hopey-changey express!”
    Wow, Questions: the never-ending, non-conclusive political
    theater called the “Peace Process” as some kind of Magical
    Mystery Tour? I’m truly amazed that this widely broadcasted
    blah-blah-blah has such a psychedelic effect on your nevro-
    cerebral system! No wonder you’re a fan of status quo,
    stalemates, incremental steps slowed down by paralysis and
    ambivalence – if this is what makes you high!
    Yes, Questions, the killings of the 4 Israelis make some of
    Israel’s security concerns come front and center – but probably
    not their most serious concerns. After all, it’s difficult to
    prevent someone from killing civilians no matter how strict the
    security is, if someone is determinant to kill civilians.
    In any case, your favorite analyst Steve Walt (yes, I’m joking)
    has an entirely different take on this that I guess you’ll disagree
    with, but anyway, here it is the money quote:
    “When I heard the news, my first thought was that the shooting
    was both a crime and a blunder, because it would only reaffirm
    Hamas’s pariah status and keep them outside the peace
    process even longer. But then I reconsidered. I think the more
    important lesson here is that Hamas has already assumed that
    this latest round of talks will fail, and that this failure will
    pound the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution.
    (…) …it also makes me wonder if Hamas is being a lot more
    far-sighted than the various parties who are sitting down to
    talks in Washington this week.
    Why? Because if the parties fail to reach a genuine and
    reasonable two-state solution, we are going to end up with
    one-state apartheid on the West Bank. That’s hardly headline
    news, of course, insofar as people like Jimmy Carter, Ehud
    Olmert, and Ehud Barak have warned about this possibility for
    years. At that point, the conflict will evolve into a Palestinian
    campaign for political rights within that single state, based on
    well-established norms of justice and democracy, and it will
    put Israel and its American patron in a very awkward situation.
    If that happens, Hamas will be in a strong position. Mahmoud
    Abbas and Salam Fayyad will have failed, and Hamas’
    rejectionism will have been vindicated. Its reputation for
    probity and superior grass-roots organizing ability will be a
    powerful asset in the struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds,
    and those same capacities will also help them resist the
    inevitable Israeli attempts to suppress them. Their star will be
    ascending, and the secular and more moderate Fatah will be
    even less legitimate than it is today.
    The best (only?) hope of averting that outcome lies in making
    the current negotiations a success and ending the occupation
    once and for all. If Abbas, Obama, and especially Netanyahu
    realize this, maybe they’ll surprise us all and get the job done.”
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    And this is pretty interesting too:
    “Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas both pledged themselves to be peacemakers, though each cited the issues that could keep them apart: security concerns on the part of the Israelis, particularly after the killing of four Israeli settlers, and Israel

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    Even Yossi Beilin, that inveterate give-away-the-store peace processer, understands how stupid and counterproductive these talks are. But not Obama. Obama likes charades, apparently:
    “Such talks, sponsored by U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, aren

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    “In one small but hopeful early sign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority agreed to meet in the Middle East on Sept. 14-15, and then to hold talks every two weeks thereafter, according to George Mitchell, the Obama administration envoy for Middle East peace, wire services reported.
    That would mean that a successive round of talks would fall just days after an Israeli freeze on new construction in the occupied West Bank is set to expire. Mr. Netanyahu has said he will not renew it; Mr. Abbas has hinted he cannot continue talking without an extension; efforts at a compromise were thus certain to be a central topic in Washington. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/world/middleeast/03diplo.html?_r=1&hp
    Nothing and everything changes. But when “nothing” “changes” for long enough, everything changes. Diplomacy is funky stuff.

    Reply

  16. questions says:

    Hey WigWag, try hopey-changey for a change!
    The key to the negotiations is to find language that says everything everyone wants without saying anything at all.
    Settlements will both stop and not stop so that both sides can go home and say, “Hey, I hung tough and we got a historic….” You need a writer to compose the script. Shakespeare, even. Indeed a doubling of meanings in Shakespeare’s style is exactly what we need. Honor and dishonor are the same. Father and son are the same. To abstain is to act, to wash is to be unclean….
    Diplomacy is funky stuff.
    I look for some interesting double talking and immobile motion to come out of this.
    Waking/sleeping, too. Macbeth does murder sleep, and all.

    Reply

  17. WigWag says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but President Abbas looks so bored with Obama’s speech in this picture that he’s actually fallen asleep.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/world/middleeast/03diplo.html?hp

    Reply

  18. rc says:

    So old Tony ‘the war criminal’ Blair has gotten over his tears at the few million his Christianity killed and maimed?
    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2010/09/20109183124378690.html
    So soon? Typical smooth talking sociopath at work.
    Hey, why not have mad-George, old Dick and the Saudi Puppets over for a ME card game? SNAP!

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    So are you going?

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Besides, no self-respecting fly would share the same room with this crew.
    So a “fly on the wall” is out, Steve.
    But a maggot on the floor would have more than an even chance of getting in.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Fantastic, Dan. I much prefer that over seeing you constantly feeding bananas to the monkey Nadine.

    Reply

  22. Dan Kervick says:

    “To be a Fly on the White House Old Family Dining Room Wall…”
    My sources say the following the fly overheard the following exchange:
    OBAMA:
    Gentlemen, I hope you are all enjoying the meal that was prepared for us by the White House chef, Cristeta Comerford.
    MUBARAK:
    Does anyone know what in the world we are eating?
    OBAMA:
    It is a special casual menu concocted to honor all of our guests: steak and kidney shwarma; bangers and couscous; aubergines and chips

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    I have a neighbor who delights in putting on a tuxedo and crashing events (with meals) in a nearby city. Steve?

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    “We have Hillary Clinton who just keeps repeating to herself,

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    Very good, Wigwag. Since the only thing they are all wondering is how to get out of the trap unscathed, I don’t know who could expect any interesting dinner conversation. Candor will be in short supply. It takes no genius to predict that.

    Reply

  26. dqueue says:

    Where’s Cheney?

    Reply

  27. Don Bacon says:

    Very good, WigWag, very good. A classic comment. I salute you.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    It’s really quite an interesting roster of dinner guests.
    We have President Obama who once threatened that if Israel didn’t acquiesce to his demands he would use his popularity to topple Prime Minister Netanyahu. Of course Netanyahu is more popular than ever in Israel while President Obama’s popularity rating in the United States is quickly approaching his popularity level in Israel. It’s really quite ironic.
    We have quartet representative Tony Blair who was undoubtedly promoted to represent the quartet at these talks because of his stellar performance earlier in the decade in Iraq.
    We have King Abdullah of Jordan. I’ve heard that the White House consults the National Weather Service every hour that the King is in Washington. Why? Because every time there’s a little bit of thunder in the vicinity, he dives under the table, afraid that like his Hashemite forebears, he might be under attack. This gets old for the other dinner guests pretty quickly.
    We have President Mubarak who is really too busy to pay much attention to the talks between the Israelis and Palestinians considering how busy he is planning a state funeral (his own) and figuring out how to get his son installed in the job Mubarak now occupies. As he watches his life pass before his eyes, you can just see Mubarak asking himself, “why didn’t I just have myself declared King; it would make this succession stuff so much easier.”
    We have Prime Minister Netanyahu whose major preoccupation is figuring out how to prevent himself from gloating from defeating President Obama over and over again. Does anyone doubt that rather than sharing dinner with this bunch of losers he would rather be supping with his friends from AIPAC and CUFI? Hell, the crowd he’s breaking bread with is so dimwitted that he’d rather be having dinner with the people from J-Street.
    We have President Abbas passing crumpled notes to Prime Minister Netanyahu under the table promising in scribbled Arabic to be the Prime Minister’s “best friend” if only he’ll start settlement construction again so he has an excuse to get out of these talks which are more likely to get him killed than produce a settlement.
    We have Hillary Clinton who just keeps repeating to herself,

    Reply

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