“Killing a King”: Why This Book Is So Crucial Now

“Killing a King”: Why This Book Is So Crucial Now


Leonard Zwelling

         Dan Ephron’s book of this title describes the two lines of
thinking that crossed when Yigal Amir murdered Yitzhak Rabin in November of
1995 and for all intents and purposes ended any chance that Israel could strike
a peace deal with the Palestinians. Rabin was working overtime to settle the
old scores with Arafat, Hussein and Assad. Amir invoked Old Testament logic
to murder the one who would give away part of the Promised Land. As is pointed
out in the book, more than the assassinations of Martin Luther King, John
Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln, all of which propelled the beliefs of the
assassinated toward general acceptance, the killing of Rabin ended his dream
and gave the murderer exactly what he said he wanted. This may well be the
single most important event in the 68 year history of Israel, because even more
than the Six Day War, it determined the course of events going forward and left
us with the current situation in Israel of divisiveness tinged with
indifference. Israelis are too tired of dealing with the Palestinians to care
about forging a peace deal. There is no upside for Netanyahu to make the
agreement and no one with whom he could make it anyway as the Palestinian leadership
is divided (between the PLO and Hamas) and weak.

         Having toured the 450-mile wall and fence that separates
Israel from PLO-held territory, I am quite certain that the Israelis are just
fine with the current arrangement. Most ignore it except the settlers who are
spreading. There simply is not a significant enough movement among the Jews of
Israel to find a peace settlement with their Arab neighbors. They have become
as numb to violence in Israel as we are becoming to violence in the US. For the
most part the wall on the “Green Line” has played the part that the Atlantic
Ocean plays here in America. It keeps most of the riffraff out. But not all.

         This 20-year stalemate was caused not by an Arab killing a
Jew, but by a Jewish radical killing the Prime Minister. The end of peace was
not at the hands of the Arabs, but at the hands of the Jews.

         We should consider this when listening to the likes of
Donald Trump who is advocating actions that are both demagogic and un-American.
It is simply unacceptable to create a religious litmus test for entry into the
US. Ditto the crazy idea put forward by Ben Carson that a Muslim cannot be
President. This is the unconstitutional drivel that gives birth to mindsets
similar to the one that took over Germany in the 1930’s and led to Rabin’s
murder. We cannot give in to such nonsense and that the news media can find
talking heads to agree with Mr. Trump’s policy of excluding Muslims from our
country only serves to indicate how poor our education system has become.

         The problem seems to be that men and women of good will,
particularly in the Republican Party, will not stand up to Mr. Trump and call
him out for the xenophobic bigot that he is. Just because he’s rich, doesn’t
mean he’s wise.  Just because he’s
powerful and a TV star, doesn’t mean he is capable of leading the nation. He
has absolutely no credentials for the Presidency other than having a big mouth
and a bigger wallet. That people like Chris Christie and John Kasich cannot
figure out a way to chip away at his lead is frightening. And, as frightening
as it is to me, it is far more frightening to most Republicans, particularly
the ones who might have to run for re-election with Mr. Trump at the top of the
ticket. There are 7 GOP Senators running for re-election in states won twice by
Mr. Obama. They must be thrilled. Not!

         If the GOP really wants to provide a legal alternative to
the plans of Mr. Obama and eventually Mrs. Clinton for the country, please do
so. Ducking and weaving behind the Trump golden mane is not leadership. If you
really want to be President, act like it. Take on the bully and shut him down.
Try using facts. If you can’t face down Trump, how can you face down Putin?

         More than ever, as the European community slinks back in its
socialistic stupor without sufficient armaments to fight its own wars and the
major players in the Middle East are either Shia bomb makers (Iran) or Sunni
billionaires (Saudis), the last best hope for humanity is the United States. We
cannot allow fear to cloud our judgment or panic to get us to suspend the

         As Senator McCain was saying to Ash Carter at hearings
Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill, “what’s the plan and the timeline to defeat

         To Mr. Carter and Mr. Obama I say, lead, follow or get out
of the way. At this moment in world history, much like in 1941, it is time for
America to save the world—again. But first, we may need to save America from
its own baser instincts.

         Rabin’s murder ended the chance at Israeli peace. Peres
could not follow in Rabin’s footsteps and we have virtually 20 years of Likud
leadership, which has gained Israel next to nothing.

         If only Mr. Obama was a leader of the stature of Mr. Rabin,
but alas he is not. I do not know where the next great American leader will
come from. It has been quite a while since the Gulf War and President Bush 41
showed the world what we stand for. We cannot allow the Trumps of the world to
kill the American ideal behind claims of security, for an un-American America
is secure for no one. We cannot let the cancer within kill the American ideal
as happened in Israel. Someone needs to step up. For now, who that is is not at
all obvious.

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