To be Israeli today

To be Israeli today

To be Israeli today is to organize your thinking around the enemy. Without the enemy, you can’t understand the world or your place in it. Without the enemy, you don’t know what you want – except more money, which is the default goal of the whole human race.

What else do Israelis want? We want security! We want those bastards to leave us alone! We want the enemy to go away! Fear and aggression toward the enemy – that’s all that drives us anymore, that and the desire for more money.

And even if we make more money, what do we want to do with it? Invest it in improving the country, in improving the world? Is that what the start-up nation stands for?

When we think of the economy, we think of “me.” But when we think of “us,” we think first and last of “them.” Of course, there are loads and loads of generous, public-spirited Israelis doing great things individually or in groups. But when we’re all together as a nation, all we see is the enemy. Stopping the enemy is the only national project we have left. It’s the only issue that gets people’s attention for more than a day.

As for the Jewish part of being Israeli, Judaism in this country is overwhelmingly tribal, to the point of belligerency. Israeli-style Judaism feeds this us-against-them mentality like nothing else except, maybe, the national cult of the military. [continued…]

Editor’s CommentAndrew Sullivan writes:

The Netanyahu government has all but declared war on the Obama administration and then openly disses a vital ally, Turkey. The slow cultural shifts in Israel – toward ever more arrogance, more fundamentalism, more Russian immigrant racism, contempt for the Muslim world, military adventurism, and the daily grinding of the Palestinians on the West Bank and pulverization and inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza … well maybe some others can explain it.

All I can say is: it saddens me, as a longtime lover of the Jewish state. It does not represent the historic mainstream of liberal Jewish society, it is a betrayal of many Jewish virtues that goyim like me deeply admire, and it seems designed for war as some kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind. I hope Israel shifts soon. For Israel’s sake.

It’s good that Sullivan is helping pull the issue of Israel into mainstream American discourse, but is he really as perplexed as he presents himself? Is the history of Palestinian dispossession really so murky that he must depend on others to explain what’s going on here?

He sounds like an aging aunt bemused about the downfall of a nephew she used to dote upon: He used to be such a nice boy but then he started taking drugs. I just don’t know what happened to him.

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3 thoughts on “To be Israeli today

  1. Dieter Heymann, Houston, USA

    It is sad that no one involved with or analyzing Israel-Palestine seems to have remembered or else taken seriously the answer that Theodore Herzl gave when he was asked whether he accepted the “half loaf” promised by the Balfour Declaration. He said: “we will accept the one half now and take the other half later”. Herzl is a Semi-God of the Zionists. One always obeys God’s commands. Netanyahu has vowed, if not publicly, then to himself that he will finish Herzl’s prediction by hook or by crook or by both.

  2. DE Teodoru

    Israel suffers from a variant narcissism derived from its Holocaust psychosis so that it steal the Palestinians’ drinking water for swimming pools and watering lawns; it bulldozes their homes to replace tem with EMPTY settlements; and, it trims the Palestinian population to solve its “demographic problem” with ordnance as if “shooting fish in a barrel”– all the while whining about how the “enemy” is all it thinks about. Could that be a deeply buried traditional Jewish moral conscience that’s telling them: “you’re not going to get away with being Zionazis forever? What will you do when they’re as strong as you?” Also, watching Haiti, a lot of Israeli can’t help but wonder: “what will the world that feeds us so luxuriously do to us when it realizes that what the earthquake did to Haitians, we are doing to Palestinians with American arms?” Israelis see no future; but, by acting like real Jews instead of like Zionazis they will find their way to security and prosperity modernizing the region. Just note this sign of hope:
    http://worldfocus.org/blog/2010/01/13/developer-builds-palestinian-west-banks-first-planned-city/9239/
    Israel should assist rather than destroy this Palestinian ultimate sign of respect: aping Israel’s path of modernization!

  3. Strelnikov

    My only problem with this West Bank city is that it will possibly be a target of the IDF/AF in some future war. That said, I wish them the best of luck.

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