Chapter 6 - Davos, January 26-February 1, 2000 - Episode 8Listen to podcast
“You have made a mistake,” says Chaim to Larry.
It is the last afternoon of Davos 2000. The Rostovs and Lazards have ridden a funicular railway from the street to a restaurant hanging from the side of the hill and are now at a table on a snowy field. The wind has stopped; the sun is warm. The new snow is eye-hurting bright. There are bottles of fine wine on tables and in snow banks. Food is available from many countries, but Swiss food predominates.
In case the delegates might still be chilled, they have thoughtfully been given small metallic flasks full of brandy. The flasks say, of course:
World Economic Forum
Committed to Improving
The State of the World
“He is a Palestinian, of course,” says Chaim. “The Palestinian Authority is perhaps the most corrupt organization on Earth. It has fattened on money from European liberals and bribes from every administration in the US. So it is not surprising that bribes must be paid.”
“And all this bullshit about not letting the people know that the idea to help them came from Israel or that you and I are doing it? That’s alright, too?” asks Larry.
“I did not say it is right, but it is how things are,” says Chaim.
“What about Peres and King Abdu’llah sitting down together? Why can they do that?” asks Larry. “What about all this incurable hatred?
“One: that was in private. It was at Davos and this is acknowledged neutral ground. Two: the Jordanians and the Israelis are friends. The Hashemite kings have no more use for the Palestinians than we do. In fact, Yasser Arafat was thrown out of Jordan even before we drove him from Lebanon. The Jordanians were in danger from their Palestinian population with its high birth rate and Fayadin attacks on Israel. Jordan was glad to lose the West Bank and all the Palestinians in it to Israel in the Yom Kippur War.”
“Thanks for this history lesson,” says Larry, “but it still sucks and I’m not gonna do it.”
“‘Peace is hard work’. Simon Peres said that in his closing speech,” says Louise.
“Your father hated Peres,” says Larry to Louise. “Thought he was a ‘pinko commie peacenik’ or whatever the Israeli equivalent is. Maybe Likud is right. Perhaps there is no way but force. These don’t seem to me like people you can do business with.”
“My father hated you,” says Louise to Larry.
“Different reason,” says Larry, grinning, “maybe he was right about Peres.”
“There may be another chance,” says Chaim. “Your President Bill Clinton will try very hard to bring Barak and Arafat together. It is to be his legacy and the US can lean very hard. Perhaps this will work. And perhaps you should think again about helping, although I do not blame you if you do not.”
“I will think again because you ask me to. And because it is so fucking beautiful up here at the top of the world.” Larry hugs Chaim and Louise to him.
“I am glad you are thinking, Larry Lazard,” says Mahmud, who materializes beside Larry on the line to go down the funicular. He is gone before Larry can reply.
As they board the car, the sun has ducked behind the peak of an alp and it is suddenly dark and chill.
“Don’t forget the camel, Larry,” says Louise.
Hackoff closes the day at 155 1/2 after trading as high as 159 1/8.