MY FIRST reaction to Binyamin Netanyahu's exhibition of comics at the UN General Assembly was shame.
(One Israeli commentator suggested putting him on a rug with a lot of paper and Indian ink, and letting him play to his heart's content.)
He was speaking to a half-empty chamber (Israeli TV was careful not to show the entire hall during the speech), and the audience consisted of second-grade diplomats, but these were still educated people. Even Netanyahu must have realized that they would despise this display. But Netanyahu was not talking to them at all. He was talking to the Jewish audience at home and in the US.
THIS AUDIENCE was proud of him. He succeeded in touching their deepest emotions.
To understand this, one must recall the historical memories. Jews were a small, powerless community everywhere. They were completely dependent on the Gentile ruler.
Whenever their situation was in danger, the Jews chose the most prominent person among them to plead their cause before the emperor, king or prince. When this "pleader" (Shtadlan in Hebrew) was successful and the danger was averted, he won the gratitude of the whole community. In some cases, he would be remembered for generations, like the mythical Mordecai in the Book of Esther.
Netanyahu fulfilled this function. He went to the very center of Gentile power, today's equivalent of the Persian Emperor, and pleaded the case of the Jews threatened with annihilation by the current heir of Haman the Evil (same Book of Esther).
And what an idea of genius to exhibit the drawing of the Bomb! It was reproduced on the front pages of hundreds of newspapers and on TV news programs around the world, including the New York Times!
For Netanyahu this was "the Speech of his Life." To be precise, as one TV commentator dryly pointed out, it was the 8th Speech of his Life at the General Assembly.
His popularity soared to new heights. Moses himself, the supreme pleader at the court of Pharaoh, could not have done better.
BUT THE crux of the matter was hidden somewhere between the torrents of words.
The "inevitable" attack on Iran's nuclear installations to prevent the Second Holocaust was postponed to next spring or summer. After blustering for months that the deadly attack was imminent, any minute now, no minute to spare, it disappeared into the mist of the future.
Why? What happened?
Well, one reason was the polls indicating that Barack Obama would be reelected. Netanyahu had doggedly staked all his cards on Mitt Romney, his ideological clone. But Netanyahu is also a True Believer in polls. It seems that Netanyahu's advisors convinced him to hedge his bet. The evil Obama might win, in spite of the Sheldon Adelson millions. Especially now, after George Soros has staked his millions on the incumbent.
Netanyahu had the brilliant idea of attacking Iran just before the US elections, hoping that the hands of all American politicians would be tied. Who would dare to restrain Israel at such a time? Who would refuse help to Israel when the Iranians counter-attacked?