Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yoel Marcus Recalls Begin's 'Vassal' Remark

Bush's baby - and ours

Israel's fate does not depend on whether a trip to the United States is successful, Menachem Begin used to say, in the days of the peace process with Egypt. Once, he even called into his office Samuel Lewis, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and gave him an earful. "Are we a vassal of yours?" he famously asked.

But when Anwar Sadat and Begin landed at Andrews Air Force Base on September 5, 1978, on their way to the Camp David summit, Sadat praised America's involvement. Begin also applauded the U.S. administration as he disembarked from the plane. "The day will come and we will say 'habemus pacem' [Latin for "we have peace"] at Camp David," he said. Later, Begin's aides would join the journalists in singing "Habemus Pacem Aleichem" to the tune of "Heveinu Shalom Aleichem."

Unlike President Carter, a devout Christian from the South who was not a supporter of Israel, and who applied atomic pressure on Begin to give up all of Sinai and its settlements and made him sign a document recognizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, President Bush is a fan - even a groupie - of Israel.