Here is my checklist of things I dream about for 2018:
- Fake News and Divided Jews: Reliving the Crazy First Year of President Donald Trump
- In 2017, Toxic and Turbulent Trump Changed America and the World
- From Biblical Layers to Neanderthal Dietary Secrets: The Best Archaeology Stories of 2017
1. That the Islamic regime in Tehran will be toppled, even at the cost of enduring the credit that Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu will demand and the accolades they will receive, justifiably or not. Obama-bashers will force Obama-defenders to eat murders of crow – that’s the word for the unkosher bird’s flock – but the Iranian people and the Middle East will be rid of a dark, oppressive and dangerous regime, which makes it worth the humiliation.
2. That somehow, nonetheless, Trump will see the error of his ways, undergo an extreme makeover and turn into the president he could be, if he wasn’t Donald Trump. That he will become a voice for moderation, not incitement, respect, not derision, truth, not delusion, decency, not degeneration. That he will stand up for minorities instead of harassing them, help the poor rather than arrange tax breaks for the mega-rich, speak on behalf of equality and human rights rather than encourage those who would destroy them.
Alternatively, that Robert Mueller will soon find the smoking howitzer in the Russia-collusion investigation that will obliterate the Trump presidency in record time.
3. That after a dozen years in office, Benjamin Netanyahu will find the way to leave in a dignified manner rather than with his tail between his legs, which is how he will go down if he continues on his present path. Netanyahu has devoted his life to what he considered to be Israel’s best interests, and he deserves to exit as a respectable leader rather than a white-collar cad trying to beat his rap. Even before the police issue their report, which is expected to recommend his indictment, enough facts are already known about Netanyahu’s unseemly schnorr from billionaires with interests, his unholy collusion with a supposedly-hostile newspaper publisher, the incomprehensible corruption that went on just under his nose, at best, in the multi-billion dollar purchase of German submarines and his yet unclear role in fixing the communication market for a rich friend and in selling off Israel’s enormous gas reserves. Netanyahu knows, or should know, that in many democratic countries that he professes to admire – with the notable exception of the new United States – he would be long gone.
4. That with Netanyahu’s departure, Israel’s slide into a neo-fascist mix of theocracy and authoritarianism will stop forthwith, the assault on the rule of law called off and the clampdown on dissent and free speech curtailed. That all Israelis will realize that the demise of their democracy will spell the end of their Zionist dream. A stifling and oppressive Jewish state might continue to exist, but really, who would want to live there?
5. That the Palestinians finally find leadership that is brave enough, smart enough, wily enough and rational enough to enlist the world to support a peace plan that enough Israelis will find impossible to refuse. And that such leaders make sure to take out comprehensive life insurance policies that cover political assassinations.
6. That ISIS will be crushed so it can never recover (again, despite the kudos that Trump will require), the refugee problem solved, the attraction of radical Islam decline (revolution in Iran could help...) and thus that the ascent of the far right in Europe stall and crash. And that the continent, including Brexit-ish Great Britain, will once again serve as a role model for how nation-based countries with centuries of bad experiences can still collaborate and flourish in a tolerant, hi-techy, socially-conscious alliance.
7. That people start to panic when they realize that they are probably consigning their own grandchildren to live in a world that climate change will make insufferable, if not impossible, to live in. And that Donald Trump (see number 2) would cease and desist from his idiotic denials of global warming and make a last-ditch effort, if not to make America great again then at least to make sure it stays inhabitable in the foreseeable future.
8. That women make their point, and achieve full parity and a safe environment in the workplace; and that men, especially those over the age of 40, can start breathing again.
9. That the news industry find the magic formula that will keep it relevant and profitable so that social media doesn’t conquer all, information doesn’t cease to flow, people aren’t turned into complete ignoramuses and malevolent dictators don’t take advantage to destroy democracy.
10. That Israel finds a way to reconnect to progressive American Jewry and vice versa. A permanent falling out between the two would be a tragedy for both.
11. That I wake up to find that 2017 was just a bad dream.