April 8, 2024

In Gaza Substack

The last time billionaire Bill Ackman was heard from, he perpetrated the most brazen assault on academic freedom in our country’s history. He engineered a coup that toppled Harvard president Claudine Gay by publicly threatening to withhold megabucks in alumni contributions if the Board of Trustees did not dismiss her. What was Gay’s crime? She was insufficiently repressive of student outrage at Israel’s genocide in Gaza. It is not, however, as if Ackman is a Zionist. Social critic Irving Howe once quipped that, if you have enough money to purchase a one-way ticket to Israel but don’t, then you’re not a Zionist. So no, Ackman is not a lover of Zion. Rather, he’s a typical Jewish supremacist. The notion that a Jew—or, in the case at hand, the Jewish State—can be anything less than the paragon of virtue amounts to a blood libel. When Ackman’s coup plans began to falter, he went after Gay for plagiarism. But, alas, Yahweh proved to be a mischievous God. It was miraculously revealed that Ackman’s wife had herself plagiarized in her doctoral dissertation. The difference was that Gay lifted passages from scholarly publications, whereas Ackman’s wife plagiarized Wikipedia. In a world replete with ironic coincidences that almost make one a believer, it appears that Ackman’s wife was channeling Mr. VermiNcelli, or vice versa.


In any event, Ackman is back. Now that the Gaza genocide that he facilitated is getting a bad rap, Ackman’s decided to cover his pig’s feet with the philanthropist’s white gloves. He’s touting enlightened “high-level thoughts on a potential solution to Gaza.” Except as an articulation of his infinite self-regard, it’s hard to make out what exactly makes his insipid banalities “high-level.” The essence of his supposed genius comes down to two steps. (1) Rebuild Gaza as a “model city” with “modern infrastructure.” Open any book on the so-called peace process and you’ll come across the same tired cliché of turning Gaza into the Singapore of the Middle East. “Imagine if Hamas had just a 2 percent interest in building Gaza,” peace process macher Dennis Ross pontificated a few months ago, “they could have turned Gaza into Singapore.” (2) The hitch in this plan is, of course, political: Gazans want to control their own fate, while Ackman wants them to be “governed by a consortium of Gulf states.” To square this circle, Ackman proposes a “high level” solution: defeat Hamas. How original. In his words, “Civilians in Rafah are moved to a refugee camp safe zone built in the Negev desert adjoining Gaza,” so that “the IDF destroys Hamas.” Setting aside that this scenario is as fantastical as his Emerald City over the rainbow, it also prompts this heretical thought: If Hamas must be destroyed because it killed 1,200 Israelis including 36 children on October 7, shouldn’t the population of Israel also be moved to a refugee safe zone built in the Negev desert so that Hamas can destroy Israel’s genocidal government and army that have murdered to date 32,000 Gazans including 13,000 children?


Ackman requests constructive criticism. Here’s mine: Stop making a fool of yourself by defending your wife’s plagiarism and marketing your drivel as “high-level thoughts.”