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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Israelis criticize Israel

At Soccer Dad, Daled Amos reproduces a fascinating article by Dr. Alex Grobman that attempts to explain why Israelis criticize Israel. "Stern" here is Sol Stern, a former editor of New Left Ramparts magazine. "Levin" is Kenneth Levin, an historian and psychiatrist.
"No nation in the world has taken so many mortal risks for a putative peace with its most implacable enemies," Stern observes. Even after the Oslo Accords were shattered when the Arabs began blowing up civilians in pizza shops and on buses, Ehud Barak offered another proposal at Camp David. Instead of accepting this offer, Arafat unleashed "yet another savage wave of extermination against Israel's civilian population" with weapons Israel had provided him.

Stern credits neoconservatives with understanding that Israel's right to exist as a democratic Jewish state has always been the main problem for the Arabs, not the "disputed territories." Arab attempts to bring their case to the attention of the world are not arbitrary. Suicide bombings are a cleverly planned strategy that has produced considerable advantages. After the first series of attacks against Israeli supermarkets, cafés, malls and buses, the Arab cause was championed by European governments and on American campuses.12 Israeli victims receive little sympathy, historian Tony Judt and a severe critic of Israel claims, because they are not seen as victims of terror, but as "collateral damage of their own government's mistaken policies."13

Israeli offers to exchange land for peace have not succeeded. Appeasement has only increased hatred of Israel. Yet Israel is continually pressured to make concessions. The reason, Stern believes, is that progressive critics cannot acknowledge a fundamental truth: "that there can be political movements, like Islamic terrorism--in which the jihad and the intifada merge--that are so pathological in their hatreds that we can solve the problems they purport to care about only after they are defeated." 14

Levin sees an element of arrogance in "this self-delusion" by Israelis who believe they can affect change. Jews assume a responsibility for something over which they have no control, to ward off despair. This is similar to an abused child who feels responsible for his plight and views himself as "bad." The child maintains, "the fantasy that if he becomes good enough," his father will stop hitting him, his mother will give him attention and whatever other form of abuse he suffered will end. In the same way, some Israelis are delusional when they assume they can control Arab behavior.
There seem to be two elements at work here. One is the basic truth taught to us by Isaiah the prophet during the time of the First Temple: Those who would destroy us will always come from among us. It is difficult to recall a serious Jewish nemesis who had no connection to Jews other than a desire to destroy them. As a result, the recent disclosure that many of the residents of the 'Palestinian territories' may be of Jewish descent is not comforting.

The second element is the Left-Liberal belief that all people are the same and that no one is unique or exceptional. That's not a Jewish belief (see Exodus 19), except to those who have substituted Liberalism for Judaism as their religion. Because of that belief - and not all of that is arrogance although there is some element of arrogance involved also - they cannot understand how their interlocutors could be disinterested in peace when they feel such a fierce moral urgency for it.

Read the whole thing.


At 3:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I think there is the desire among Israelis to have an impossibly perfect country. When we get right down to it, human perfection is an impossible goal for any one to ever meet, let alone a country. As long as Israel insists on holding itself to standards no one else does, the Jewish State will be scrutinized mercilessly. And very little of this criticism helps to improve the lot of life in Israel.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

Fine article and one that confirms what I have been writing for years: 1) in the collective, Jews suffer from the longest bout of battered wife syndrome on record, and 2) leftists are racists who refuse to hold impoverished brown-skinned people to the same standard of civilized behavior as they hold themselves and their own.

Resolve the first problem and Israel would destroy her enemies overnight. Resolve the second problem and Israel's enemies would be forced to starve or evolve.

Either way, the conflict would end.


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