|John Nebbish Kerry?|
Nonetheless, one can’t deny Kerry’s almost inexplicable series of mishaps, faux pas and unfortunate events: on Friday it was the press conference in Cairo with the UN Secretary General and the Egyptian foreign minister that was not only upstaged by the Israeli rejection but also marred by technical mishaps that either blotted out Kerry’s face or distorted his voice; before that it was the Egyptian security authorities who insisted on humiliating Kerry by carrying out a physical security check before his meeting with President Sisi; before that it as Kerry’s unfortunate “So how is your day” query to the grieving American mother of fallen IDF solider Max Steinberg; and before that it was Kerry’s hot mike comments about Palestinian casualties on Fox News. Never mind this week’s widely-mentioned New Republic investigative report in which Kerry was assigned most of the blame for the collapse of his own peace efforts.
Increasingly, Kerry comes across as a hapless nebekh, which many Americans pronounce as nebbish because, as Leo Rosten says, they don’t know how to clear their throats. The etymology of the word in Yiddish has been traced by researchers to Middle Age Czech, which is only fitting given Kerry’s renowned Jewish roots in the Czech village of Horni Benesov, where his forefathers were known as Kohn.
What is a nebbish?
Here’s one definition:
Nebbish: a person, especially a man, who is regarded as pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive.
Here’s another one:
The nebbish is the bumbling caricature of a Jewish male, embodied by figures like Woody Allen and George Costanza.
I guess you can put me in the Yes, He Is column, given his performance to date on many major files. A sonorous voice and pithy sound bites are no substitute for competence and knowledge; unfortunately, Kerry seems to prefer the former.