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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/31/15

Bibi Coalition Echoes Groucho's "Duck Soup"

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Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
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The Times of Israel,Israel's leading right wing newspaper, can usually be counted on to lead the cheers for any Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli government. Not this time.

After his recent narrow election victory Netanyahu turned to a right wing collection of politicians to construct his latest coalition.

Haviv Rettig Gur, The Times' political correspondent, wrote that "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition-building has been "a disaster," even "a farce." He blames it on Netanyahu's strange amalgam of cabinet ministers.

"The list of seemingly incoherent appointments is a long one. The minister of justice has no background in law, the minister of science none in science, the minister of tourism is also in charge of the police and prisons.

"There is a full minister in the Communications Ministry, but he's not the communications minister; that title is reserved for the prime minister, who is also the minister of health (but promises not to act as such) and of foreign affairs, a portfolio effectively leaderless at a time of growing diplomatic tensions. The absorption minister is also the strategic affairs minister, while the transportation minister is also in charge of a newly christened 'Intelligence Ministry.' And on and on."

In the 1933 movie comedy classic, Duck Soup, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx, shown above) is building his own coalition to govern Freedonia.

Netanyahu's series of appointments to his 2015 Israeli cabinet reads like the draft for a movie sequel to Duck Soup, in which Freedonia's next-door enemy Sylvania, sends two spies to infiltrate Groucho's government, Chicolini (Chico Marx) and Pinky (Harpo Marx).

Groucho sees Chicolini (above, left) on the street and promptly selects him as his Minister of War. Next thing you know, Groucho has insulted the Sylvania ambassador because he does not trust him as a partner for peace.

The rich widow of the former Freedonia president, Gloria Teasdale (played by Margaret Dumont) plays politics with her late husband's money. A female 1930s version of the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson, Mrs. Teasdade offers to keep Freedonia's economy flourishing but only if Groucho becomes Freedonia's leader.

In the clip below, the widow Teasdale tells Groucho she doesn't want her money financing a war.

Groucho ponders her request. After a brief internal debate with himself, he decides he cannot trust Sylvania. He insults the Sylvania ambassador and instantly, war threatens!

"This means war."

Ha'aretz, more moderate than the Times, also predicts a dark future for Netanyahu's 2015 coalition. In their May 18 editorial, Ha'aretz's editors ask, "Who Will Save Israel from Bibi"?

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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