Bibi To Chair Faculty


Leonard Zwelling

         Love him or hate him, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a
confused person. Frankly, I have rarely met a confused Israeli. The number one
thing I loved about Israel during my two trips in the late 1990’s was the
clarity of the thinking of the Israeli people.

         This week, Representative Amash, a libertarian from
Michigan, defeated his more mainstream opponent by 14 points in the Republican primary.
That’s not the story. The story is that unlike traditional speeches
acknowledging an electoral win, Representative Amash’s victory speech was
characterized by his further lambasting his opponent and his opponent’s
supporters. He was neither gracious nor conciliatory. He did not ask for his
fellow Republican’s support in the general election. In fact, he not only did a
victory dance in the end zone, he did it on his opponent’s face. He was not
confused either.–berates-opponent-315855427553

         Yet, even this is not the story.

         The real story is not yet written for the question to be
answered is: will this be the sign of the abandonment of the last remaining vestige
of civility in our politics BECAUSE it is viewed as hypocritical by the
youngest voters to laud the virtues of a person at whom you were spitting venom
the day before? Was Representative Amash simply reflecting the feelings of the
youngest voters by not being two-faced or was he just a sore winner?  

was the point being discussed on Morning Joe today, August 7. Where the older
panel members around the table thought Amash’s remarks rude and ill-considered
because in politics “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies” (said by Sen. Hale
Boggs, father of Cokie Roberts) or as Bill Clinton has said, “a good politician
has a poor memory and a great politician has no memory,” perhaps this duplicity
in political relationships has run its course after over 200 years of
campaigning like your opponent was the devil and then kissing and making-up the
moment the final count is in. (But, it got Hillary a job.)

younger voters might see being “nice” as being phony and “rude” as being
honest. I don’t know, but we will have to see how this plays in the general
election in November in Mr. Amash’s district.

         It is not that Israeli politics is all that much different.
In parliamentary systems as the Knesset is, alliances and coalitions form and
dissolve all the time and some really nasty things are said and then forgotten.
However, there is no confusion when Israel is challenged from outside its

         Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out yesterday in no uncertain
terms that the current ceasefire is identical to the one that Egypt proposed 3
weeks ago and that Israel accepted, but Hamas rejected. At that time about 185 Gazans had been
killed by the IDF. Now, three weeks later, arriving at the place that could
have been reached weeks before, 10-times that many Gazans were killed (how many
by IDF is not so clear). Netanyahu rightly will not accept responsibility for
these deaths when they are clearly at Hamas’ doorstep. He is not confused and
neither should we be.

         Unlike Israelis or Mr. Amash, the MD Anderson Faculty Senate seems very
confused. Time and time again the Senate has rightly identified major problems
with the way its members have been treated, led and resourced. Equity is a
thing of the past. Term tenure has been upended not by the system itself but by
the manner in which it has been applied by the leadership. Conflicts of
interest, self-dealing, nepotism and Imelda Marcos-like luxury purchasing but substituting
couches for shoes, has been the character of this Presidency at Anderson. Yet,
unlike Bibi, the Faculty Senate and its leadership do nothing.

         When you ask a faculty member if they get all of this, the
answer is always “yes, BUT.” BUT what can I do? BUT what about my lab? BUT what
about my patients? BUT what about my family?

         These are excellent BUTS, but when is enough enough?

         I am not sure what the equivalent of raining missiles and building
terrorist-stocked attack tunnels are for the Faculty Senate, but clearly that
threshold has not been reached yet. I wish I knew what that threshhold was.
Bring in Bibi. He’ll clarify it for you.

         For well over 2 years, I have been advocating a clearer and
less confused posture be adopted by the faculty and its representatives. Save
for Dr. Boyd, this has not occurred and the faculty is worse for it.

         Rather the faculty has done the equivalent of going to Cairo
with Hamas without first making its point through the faculty equivalent of the

         When he was President, George H. W. Bush wanted to know how
the Israelis learned all the American secrets. He consulted his top Israeli
advisors who told him it was all tied up in one word. “New?”  If you say that to a Jew, he will tell you
whatever secrets he knows.

         President Bush said, “I am going to test this out.”

         So he dressed up as a Hasidic Jew, black hat and all. Air
Force One landed secretly at JFK and he was dropped off in Crown Heights,
Brooklyn. He snuck into the synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway and sat in the

         Soon enough, the Lubavitch students and rabbis appeared for
the morning prayers. One very old man sat next to the well-disguised President.

         Mr. Bush leaned over to the old man, “New?” he said.

         The old man said, “Shhh. Don’t tell anyone but President
Bush is coming.”

         What to do in Israel was obvious. Bibi did it. What to do in
the Michigan race was less so, but a clear choice was made and it involved no
hypocrisy or backing down. We shall see if that assessment of reality was
correct. But what to do for the Faculty Senate at Anderson is less clear. How
about starting with a debate?


         Resolve: The current President of MD Anderson has our
confidence to lead the institution for the next 5 years. Yes or No?

         Talk among yourselves…

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