Leonard Zwelling

In this long piece in The New York Times on January 19, Tom Friedman makes a compelling case that there will never be peace in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank or any of the surrounding area until there is a legitimate Palestinian state. He also relates how Benjamin Netanyahu is resisting this reality at all cost convinced that the right-wing Arab haters in Israel will keep him in office and out of jail. In this posture, Netanyahu is directly opposing President Biden who is urging an Israeli cease fire in Gaza and a pathway toward a Palestinian state as the only way toward peace.

There is clearly a stalemate here. Netanyahu may be forcing Biden to cut off Israel’s weapons supply and critical aid in an effort to end this war that has no end point short of killing every Arab in Gaza by the Israel Defense Force, a ridiculous notion. Netanyahu has become numb to any appeals from Biden, the US, or the rest of the civilized world.

It is very reminiscent of Dr. Pisters’ stance vis a vis shared governance. Like Bibi claiming that there will never be a Palestinian state, Pisters will never acquiesce to true shared governance. Like Bibi Pisters has surrounded himself with like thinking or intimidated yes people who would never dream of opposing Pisters’ megalomaniacal drive for money for fear they too would lose their salaries.

And the faculty? They are all like most of the American people who won’t bow down to Donald Trump and have lost faith in Biden. Most Americans are disengaged, as Michelle Goldberg writes in The Times on January 19, as well. The faculty of MD Anderson and a vast majority of Americans who want neither Biden nor Trump in the White House have become numb as a means of self-protection.

No matter how awful Donald Trump behaves, his followers grow more loyal and the rest of us run and hide hoping that avoiding the news will serve as a general anesthesia from which we may someday awaken.

That’s the faculty of MD Anderson.

No matter what awful things Pisters foists upon the faculty, from endless computer trainings (or the recent mandatory, in-person research misconduct training on South Campus where there wasn’t enough room for everyone, the badge readers didn’t work, and the slide projector malfunctioned) to seeing more and more patients rather than really helping those most amenable to alterations in the natural history of their cancers, the faculty has turned off the news of what’s coming next. They have become inured to the pain and have decided to come to work, go home, and try to avoid burning out or being placed on a performance improvement plan. Numb is better than facing HR or the lawyers.

The people of Israel deserve better than Netanyahu.

The people of America deserve better than Trump.

The faculty of Anderson deserve better than Pisters.

None of this is likely to turn around soon.

How sad!

How long can the world stay numb?

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