Whatever Happened To “Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick”?

UPDATE: Now that the rains are temporarily over, the drizzle resumes. Mortars fired by Palestinian terrorists into the Nahal Oz area yesterday and this morning.


What do former Italian FM Frattini and Theodore Roosevelt have in common?

What has happened to Israel’s leaders?

Whereas there was a time that Israel’s military and political leaders were content to say little about their capabilities and intentions, we have seen a wholesale shift to bombastic speech–bombastic speech that has devolved completely into hollow threats spewed out in every direction.

In short, lsrael’s leaders have become Arabs.

If we’re not having to listen to IDF Chief Benny Gantz brandishing for the hundredth time that if the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fire just one more rocket, “they will pay the price”, then we are forced to listen to Defense Minister Barak boast for the thousandth time about how “all military options are on the table” when it comes to Iran.  And if they’re not empty threats being directed toward Hamas and Iran, then those hollow threats are being directed to the PLO in Ramallah: “if you proceed with seeking U.N. and UNESCO membership, there will be dire repercussions.”

In a remarkable interview yesterday in advance of his visit to Israel next week, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini politely took Netanyahu and the Israeli government to task–not for building Jewish communities in Jerusalem and elsewhere, but for talking about it so much: “When you see . . . decision on settlements without the concrete building of settlements, you run the risk of emphasizing the policy without having immediate results for settlers. That is, frankly speaking, a bit counterproductive to the interests of the Israelis themselves.”

Frattini continued: “What is needed is a decision to have a different approach on public statements, on making public announcements, emphasizing on TV [what] you want to [do] tomorrow or the day after. All these public statements are frankly counterproductive because these are not followed by implementation in many cases . . .”

Can you believe it–an Italian advising Israelis not to talk so much?  It is time for Israel to return to Theodore Roosevelt’s words of wisdom: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”


On November 23, 1848, Mordecai Manuel Noah gave a Thanksgiving Day address at the New York synagogue on Crosby Street outlining preliminary steps for building a Jewish homeland in the Middle East, starting with rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and establishing a relief fund for the Jews of Tiberias.

Building a Jewish homeland had long been a dream of Noah–beginning with his 1824 plan to build a home for world Jewry on Grand Island in upstate New York. Despite his success in gathering donations to purchase the Island and even laying the cornerstone for the first building (which still stands today), he could not persuade European Jews to come to America–and the idea died.

A prolific playwright, essayist, and journalist–not to mention Sheriff of the county of New York, U.S. Consul to Tunis under President James Madison, and regular correspondent with John Adams and Thomas Jefferson–Noah was the pre-eminent Jew in the United States at his death in 1851 at the age of 66. He was truly the original American Zionist.


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