Tolerance & Representation
May 1, 2004, CBS Channel Five television sent a reporter to Israel with Arnold Swartzeneggar, the Governor of California. This was the first diplomatic trip for the governor since he took office. He went there to mark the opening of the Museum of Tolerance, in Tel Aviv on Sunday, the 2nd of May.
The governor said: "Since I've come here, the first time to Israel, I've had all this great luck with the people being exceptionally nice, and taking me around the country, educating me-and so every one of the trips was always very good."
The Governor announced that business deals between California companies and 5 Israeli firms would create 800 new jobs, most of them in Silicon Valley.
The Governor then concluded: "Like President Reagan many times said. 'America is the shining city on a hill.' I say California is the golden dream by the sea, just like Israel. So bring your business here! Thank you very much."
This was just a small news story on the late Saturday night news in San Francisco, but the ramifications for both what the governor said, and what he did not see or do, should have wide ranging ramifications far beyond himself and the Golden State of California.
The event that he and his wife are there to participate in will mark a Museum of Tolerance, in a City and a State that do not practice tolerance at all when it comes to any other people on this planet. And this subtlety seems to have escaped notice by any and all those gathered there to dedicate this new shrine.
Just as Swartzeneggar's sightseeing tours no doubt did not include the occupied camps, the disputed territories, or have much to do with their other brand new shrine to themselves which is the now infamous Wall of Separation, that is still under construction. Going there might have been a bit awkward, given that the wall stands for exactly the opposite sentiment from this new piece of spin; The Museum of Tolerance.
How could these two diametrically opposed shrines be accepted by the world as being of equal value, or indeed any value, to the continued existence of such a hostile state for all the rest of us, with whom the Israeli's must share this world? This dichotomy sums up the futility of the whole idea beneath the very existence of the state of Israel.
Israel was created by United Nations Resolution 194 (III) of December 11, 1948. Since that time there have been disputes between all the peoples on that land that have held the world in their agonizing grip, by the sheer weight of their mutual determination to find workable solutions to this continuing problem.
Tolerance and representation are two of the most intractable parts of what allows any nation to survive. Yet Arnold and his wife, went to Israel as official delegates from the State of California, the most populous state in the union, to condone both the opening to one shrine and to confirm by their absence, the validity of The Wall. Maybe he should have had his staff look further into this, before he chose to represent the public of cullyfornia as he calls us. The 32 plus million of us who live here might not want to be represented by him in this way: especially not for 800 new jobs that we should not have lost in the first place.
The State of Israel is unlike any other nation in the world today, and because of that she cannot be treated in the normal way. Much of this however has been directly due to her behavior towards those she displaced after the UN adopted Resolution 194 (III), back in 1948. While this has never been a one-sided issue, until GWB became dictator, it has always required special treatment because the UN document sought to displace a settled people to make room for the Israeli state. Now so many wars later, and still there's no solution but only deeper and deeper immersions into hate, and vengeance and retribution-all round.
Bush has tried to change the equation by ignoring all humanitarian considerations of the Palestinians, and simply ordering them to accept a blanket answer to the problem written by Sharon and his ultra-right wing thugs. The Wall has been approved by Washington and rejected by the Arab world. And into this comes Arnold, the Celebrity Political export direct from sunny cullifonia, to smile and bow and skip the blood, the death, and the tyranny upon that much disputed ground.
Beaming into the camera Arnie could have been a poster boy for 1954, except for all the history of both his family, and his very strong support for Jewish causes throughout his adult life. As an individual he can cheer and celebrate to his heart's content, but as the Governor of California, he is supposed to represent the people of this state. When Tolerance and Representation are used in something as twisted as this photo-op, then this needs to be discussed well beyond the cutting of ribbons and an exchange of a few hundred jobs.,%20February%2025,%202004.htm
Israel is an outlaw state within the community of nations, and she is a nuclear power, as well as a major player in the Middle East. What Israel does and does not do, matters greatly, just as what we do and do not do to aid that country (nearly $3 trillion of our money so far), matters; especially now.
The Governor of California should not have gone off in the middle of the night to do this. He's an amateur when it comes to politics, but he's surrounded by hundreds of seasoned veterans who know how to spin a moment well. And that's what happened here. California is a huge state and there are a lot more people here than just the entertainment giants, and the Empire moguls. The vast majority of the people of this state may not be nearly as enamored of Israel, and what might 'make their day' as is Arnold Swartzeneggar. It will be interesting to see whether there will be an outcry from Californians upon his return, or whether the cullifornians will only cheer him on to greater heights.



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