Mysterious are the ways

Machlokes / Controversy

Jewish World Review / Sept. 28, 1999 /18 Tishrei, 5760

Mysterious are the ways

By Josh Pollack -- CALL IT DISNEY MAGIC. Some way, somehow, America's favorite megacorporation has done what even the Oslo process has not: determined the status of Jerusalem to the satisfaction of all sides, and brought peace to the warring tribes of the Middle East.

That's right. Arab governments have lately protested against a forthcoming Disney exhibit on Jerusalem, partly funded by the government of Israel, on the grounds that it would describe the city as the capital of the Jewish State. (It's unclear where they think the Knesset, High Court and other government buildings actually are, and I hesitate to ask where they think they ought to be.)


In response, mighty Disney, which eats PR fiascos and boycott threats for lunch, has offered assurances to Arabs and Israelis alike, and lo! the storm has subsided. What exactly was said is not known, but if the peace process is any example, everything will leak in due time. Until that day, mysterious are the ways of the Mouse.

Don't believe what the cynics are saying. After all, telling everyone what he wants to hear eventually brought Bibi down, and the Mouse is much too smart for that. The real lesson of the affair is that Disney can do things that mere mortals cannot. King Mickey can split the baby and keep it whole at the same time. Yossi Beilin and Abu Mazen have nothing on this guy.

It would be a tragic mistake, therefore, to leave this special power untapped. So when final status talks begin to bog down, before calling on Ambassador Ross, Secretary Albright or even President Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat should conference in Michael Eisner.

Consider the possibilities. Disney specializes in making everyone happy, and what they can do with a Disneyfied Jerusalem in Florida, they can do with the real thing, too. Overnight, Disney Imagineers could transform the Holy City into the Holy Kingdom, an internationalized enclave or "corpus separatum" composed of four distinct universes: Jewishland, Muslimland, Christianland and Armenianland. Via Dolorosa, you say? Think Main Street, Judaea.

And that's not all. To bring in even the last purists, idealists, radicals and utopian holdouts, and promote the development of the West Bank to boot, a new Disneyland could be erected between Jerusalem and Jericho.

Everyone would get something: Frontierland for the settlers, Fantasyland for the maximalist Palestinians, and Tomorrowland for Shimon Peres. (Adventureland would be reserved for Jewish teenagers from the Diaspora.)

Careful diplomatists are bound to note that I have yet to mention the disposition of the Temple Mount. In keeping with the Solomonic proposal of the late King Hussein, sovereignty there will go to G-d. Whose G-d, you ask, and whom will He delegate to look after it? Hmm. Good question. Michael Eisner, you're wanted on line two.

Josh Pollack is a JWR contributing editor and Middle East maven. Let him know what you think by clicking here.


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