Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

This post is a follow-up to my recent post on the significant potential for Israel’s recent natural gas discovery to do long-term harm to Israel’s economy.  This post draw inspiration from a recent Planet Money podcast – Norway has Advice for Libya – which was in turn based on this very interesting Financial Times article.  In that podcast Planet Money’s reporters visited with Farouk al-Kasim, an Iraqi born geologist who was key in advising Norway on the development of its North Sea Oil wealth. Significantly, both Planet Money and the Financial Times assert that Norway may be the only country to date that has not suffered adverse affects due to the natural resource curse.


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Israel’s Resource Curse

Israel has been in the news lately for record natural gas reserves off its western shoreline.  Some of my friends are what I would describe as super-zionists – seeing things like “free money” for Israel through natural gas resources as unabashedly wonderful.  Much like the American gas and natural resource boosters, these Israeli natural gas boosters tend to ignore potential costs of exploitation of natural gas resources.  The New York Times had a recent article discussing this issue at more length.  One of the significant issues in exploiting natural gas is the “resource curse” – a frequently overlooked, but significant, phenomenon in resource rich countries.

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The Gift of Immortality

Abba Eban, speaking at a dinner in Washington in 1952, in which Israel honored President Truman for his contributions to the early successes of the Jewish State:

We do not have orders or decorations. Our material strength is small and greatly strained. We have no tradition of formality or chivalry. One thing, however, is within the power of Israel to confer. It is the gift of immortality. Those whose names are bound up with Israel’s history never become forgotten. We are, therefore, now writing the name of President Truman upon the map of our country. In a village of farmers near the airport of Lydda at the gateway to Israel, we establish a monument, not of dead stone but of living hope. Thus, when the eyes of men alight on Truman Village in Israel, they will pause in their successive generations to recall the strong chain which, at the middle of the 20th Century, drew the strongest and the smallest democracies together with imperishable links.

Abba Eban, An Autobiography, p. 164

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“Neighborhood Bully”
by Bob Dylan

Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

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