Let us imagine the dream-country of most Israelis – without criticism, neither from within nor from without. It speaks in one voice and is eternally united, with devotion and cohesion; all-Jewish, that goes without saying. It stands unanimously behind its government, every government, and also, of course, behind its army, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad espionage agency – Israel’s heroes.
There is not even a single “snitch,” no human rights organizations or peace movements, no nonprofit associations and no critical reports that are published here, or, heaven forbid, abroad. Its press never criticizes, never exposes, never investigates, publishing nothing but praise and admiration for the government and the state. It recites official statements and quotes from government and security briefings.
Every war that this dream-country wages is met immediately by nothing but cheers of approval. Any atrocity it commits in the occupied territories automatically earns across-the-board support – the most moral, the most just, the most security-oriented, in harmony. All residents must swear their allegiance, all those who wish to visit, too. Those who are faithful to Israel are welcome. All the rest must take the first plane (or truck ) out. In short, the country of one’s dreams.
But now let’s answer truthfully. Is that really the country we wound want to live in? Moreover, would the world that is always-against-us appreciate and like Israel better if that was how we looked and spoke, uniform and devoid of all self-criticism?
The benchmark upon which all psychological health and pathology can be assessed is the relationship between self and other. The breakdown of this relationship at its extreme results in psychosis: a condition in which an unbridgeable chasm has opened between the individual and the world he inhabits.
Is this where Israel is heading? A nation so deranged that the only source of comfort it finds is in a conversation that it mutters to itself? A nation that lashes out at anyone who ventures to close? A nation whose existence rests on a foundation of fear?