Divestment: An Alternative ViewpointApril 16, 2010
Let me say up front that this is not a polemic. I come here today not to demonize anyone, nor to call into question the righteousness of anybody’s cause. I merely feel that in all the hullabaloo about the proposed divestment from Israel, some perspective has been lost. I understand that those in favor feel that we should do all we can to pressure the Israeli government to moderate its policies toward the Palestinians in order to facilitate the peace process, and I understand that opponents feel that divestment would unfairly punish Israelis for the deeds of their leaders. The debate has been rigorous, to say the least. But in the end I must side with opponents of divestment, for this reason:
Israelis need their vests.
I don’t think the proponents of divestment are unfeeling towards Israelis. They just haven’t stopped to think about the sartorial damage the action would cause to the nation’s fashionable citizenry. Israelis use vests for numerous occasions: black tie galas, chilly days, Wacky Vest Day at Jerusalem High. Do we really want to take all that away from them for the sake of making a political point?
Vests serve many important functions in society, not just in Israel but everywhere. They keep our police officers safe from bandits, our dress shirts unstained, and our cabaret singers dapper. No society should be deprived of its vests, no matter how much we may dislike its foreign policy. Therefore, instead of divestment from Israel, I propose a revestment of Palestine.
Let us send more vests to the Palestinian people. Let us shower them with comfortably-fitting three-piece suits and jaunty old-timey wear. We cannot let Hamas be the group people depend on for their vest supply. Even better, why not convince Israel to begin a program of vest exchange? A people who would share their vests are clearly a people who can be negotiated with in confidence. I look forward to a world in which Israelis and Palestinians can live as neighbors in peace and harmony, secure in the knowledge that they will never again be under fire, underfed, or underdressed.