I was regularly intimated out of applying for plum jobs when I was younger. I was once shoulder-tapped to run a professional theatre company and figured the board member who had approached me must have been on meth. Such a role would have been a tremendous opportunity no doubt and, had it eventuated, I may now be a grand old man of New Zealand theatre. But I didn’t believe myself to be properly qualified, so I didn’t apply.
Well, as it would turn out, someone with much less experience, knowledge, or talent did apply, and they got the job. I was stunned. Floored in fact. The episode led to some soul searching; did I not understand my gifts, and would I need to address this failing quick smart if I wanted a career? Or was I right in my original self-appraisal and I felt that theatre demanded only the very best personnel, rather than some pretender happy to risk an already precarious art form’s future for personal advancement?
Older and wiser, I now know that garbage people pepper every industry and that some of these garbage people can sit on thrones compared to us plebs, while probably knowing less than the poor sods who vacuum their offices every night.
One such person is former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Clark appeared on Newshub Nation this past Saturday to talk about the Israel-Hamas war. She informed us that she is part of a group called ‘The Elders’ – a name which says a lot about how she views herself – a global sage – and yet as the interview progressed the title proved akin to calling an oversized friend ‘Tiny’.
Her hope, she stated, was that the current ceasefire could become more permanent, a move that would see Hamas maintain control of Gaza post the atrocities of Oct 7th. But Clark clearly sees Hamas, even after the atrocity and twin decades of incessant rocket fire into Israeli towns, as a potential peace partner, which is sort of like seeing a starved Grizzly bear as a potential dance partner for your Rumba class.
“It takes two to walk together doesn’t it, and there hasn’t been that willingness on either side since Yitzak Rabin and Arafat shook hands a long time ago”.
This was plainly untrue.
Post the Rabin era, two comprehensive peace deals were tabled only to be dismissed by the PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas, the first by an admittedly politically beleaguered Ehud Olmert, and another by the Trump administration. In the case of the latter, Abbas rejected it before he’d heard a single detail. Gaza itself was given back to the Palestinians in 2005, which was likely a trial run for handing over the West Bank, but the area was quickly turned into a fascist war state by Hamas. So, it is wrong to say there had been no efforts to find peace post-Rabin: Israel took a monumental risk with Gaza, which, sadly turned into a two-decade-long headache (for Arabs it must be said) and now the source of the worst since atrocity Jews have had to suffer since the Holocaust.
But Clark wasn’t done just with misrepresenting the past three decades of the conflict. She quickly moved on to her solution: horrible as the past few months had been, maybe now was the time for all the actors to finally get together and negotiate for a final Palestinian state. Her interviewer reminded her at this point that Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction, and that Israel is sworn to the destruction of Hamas (a clumsy comparison, seeing the former is a terror group, and the other a democracy), to which Clark replied, “I don’t think that’s (an ongoing conflict) what most people want”.
She may very well be right on the last point. But if it were true that most people want peace and stability, that would necessitate the removal of the murderous, fascist death cult whose whole MO is to derail any peace process.
Clark’s ignorance to what drives the conflict was on wild display at this point. Her immovable Western lens tells her Hamas are finally rational actors who will put down their weapons and curb their hyper-racism if presented with what they consider a workable compromise. Clark is making the same mistake Pat J. Buchanan did in his cringe-worthy book “Churchill, Hitler and “The Unnecessary War” (2008), a fantasy rewriting of history that placed responsibility for World War Two solely at the feet of Churchill. In Buchanan’s world, Hitler was rational enough to have been negotiated with, and the West should have even encouraged (if not partnered) with him in his opposition to Bolshevism. But as writer Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his review of the book in Newsweek, Bunchan’s book is rendered ash instantly through recognition of a simple truth: Hitler was a homicidal maniac. Hamas, too, are homicidal maniacs. Clark is expecting Israel to negotiate and reach a lasting peace, essentially with an army of Michael Myers – the killer from Halloween.
But Clark saved her very best until last. According to Clark, China, Russia and even Iran could assist with the negotiations. While acknowledging that this may sound an unlikely grouping, she justified it but saying that even this trio “wants to see an end to this conflict”
In the immediate aftermath of the conflict on Russian state TV, a Hamas spokesperson told his interviewer that Putin had been informed of the Oct 7th attack ahead of time and that he had given them his blessing. Putin no doubt viewed a large-scale attack on Israel as a welcomed distraction from his imperialist actions of Ukraine: split U.S. attention and turn the public against participating in yet another foreign war, and this could push the U.S. into seeking a political solution to Ukraine favorable to the thug-in-chief of Moscow. From Putin’s perspective (that of another butcher) it makes perfect sense. Why in Hell, therefore, would Putin want the Israel/ Palestine conflict to end?
Hamas has long been a proxy of Iran, which has held aspirations of regional dominance since Khomeini was still an exile in Paris. Their meddling in Iraq, the destablisation of Lebanon through Hezbollah, support of the Houthis in Yemen, and their bloodletting in Syria to protect their asset in Damascus, tell you just how determined they are to achieve this goal. The timing of the Hamas attack happened on the eve of what would have been a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a deal Iran wanted to scupper. And yet Clark presents Iran as wanting the conflict to end. They were quite literally the architects of the attack.
China? Again, China wants whatever is going to make life worse for the U.S. in order to hasten its global retreat.
So where did we land by the end of the interview? With Israel around a table with Michael Myers in a set of negotiations brokered by Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Leatherface.
Listening to the interview you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Clark’s last job was delivering pizzas on a moped. But this woman was nearly picked to lead the United Nations.
Once Guterres retires, I may throw my hat in the ring.