Metaphorically speaking

star-tiger-on-a-wire_150Death-defying figures of speech

Some Grammar Nazi (that’s a metaphor, isn’t it?) will probably comment that I am really writing about similes. Similely speaking doesn’t have the same ring does it? Too close to smiley ;-).

Feel free to quote these hasbara figures-of-speech when advocating for Israel.

Here’s a metaphor to start with.

Israel is like the proverbial man holding a tiger by the tail

He can’t let go because the tiger may eat him nor can he remain in relative control of the enraged animal, forever.

It’s not like the tail-holder hasn’t had experience with releasing sharp-toothed aggressive felines before. Remove the occupation stimulus and they don’t suddenly start chasing balls of wool. Not that the Panthera tigris is to be blamed for this, eating people is in his DNA, so to speak.

On the other hand, the man can’t hold on to the tiger forever forever. For the good of his democratic Jewish soul, if not for anything else. Does that sound familiar?

As with everything else Israel-related this tale has a unique twist. The idiomatic tail-grabber never had to deal with so many foreign-funded do-gooders demanding he release the defenceless kitten, immediately. In the curious Palestinian two-step the man with no choice becomes a serial animal abuser and the raging tiger an innocent child when it suits the narrative.

Economic tiger by the tail

Where is the Society for Protection of Animals when one needs them?

Here’s another metaphor.

Mahmud Abbas is a man on a tightrope

Five Minutes for Israel didn’t invent the wheel on this one. It’s a favourite of self-described Left.

Consider this from Haaretz:

Abbas is walking a tightrope
Palestinian president is stuck between his commitments to Israel and the United States, and the demands by Hamas and the Palestinian public.

Let’s call bovine excrement on this one. That’s a euphemism. grammar nerds!

The difficult and dangerous perambulation isn’t that of a politician caught between various difficult options. It’s the entire show. Yes, he could fall but like a circus performer there is nothing in his act he hasn’t done a hundred times, before. He’ll do it again, including the nerve tingling near misses.

Just as in the circus, reaching the other end, in this case a two-state solution with Israel isn’t the point. The spectators down below won’t even notice if he ever reaches that destination so long as they are concentrating on the thrills and apparent spills of the journey. He always returns to exactly the point he started. More conditions before not exactly returning to the table, anyone?

Abbas isn’t concerned about commitments. He’s broken them all. He is concerned about keeping the money flowing and not infuriating Israel so much that they remove his safety net. He’s concerned that if he is actually forced to concessions he knows he must make this cushy gig will be taken away. But that’s fine, he was taught his trade by the best.

To mix metaphors even further. The high-wire act is a magician’s sleight-of-hand trick. The harder you try to pay attention to lightning fingers feet, the more easily you’re fooled.

Netanyahu sports metaphor

Netanyahu sports metaphor

BTW Five Minutes for Israel introduced the metaphor of Palestine as as an overmatched boxer, demanding sympathy when clobbered, in Throwing punches at Klitschko.


Tiger by the tail cartoon by John Cole, The Times-Tribune, 7 Nov 2008, downloaded from the Cagle Post

Netanyahu sports metaphor cartoon by Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, 31 July 2014, downloaded from the Cagle Post

The earliest use of the phrase that I find is from 1829 in a Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava, in the Year 1827:

http://books.google.com/books?pg=RA1-PA65&vq=tiger+by+the+tail&id=GyYAAAAAQAAJ#v=onepage&q=%22tiger%20by%20the%20tail%22&f=false\

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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