Can a country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.
At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History”, as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.
The only dignitary who agreed to go was the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein… an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)
“An undignified show of personal cowardice”
Why? The president of the state, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.
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