“Palestine has become a great moral and political cause of our time that unites people across the world,” said Seamus Milne, addressing marchers in London on Saturday.
Drowning in their narcissistic self-obsession, this is a reality that completely escapes the comprehension of most Jewish Israelis, most Jews, and most Americans: the issue of Palestine has become a global cause not as an expression of antipathy towards Israel but out of sympathy towards Palestinians. To the extent that this has been turned into a Jewish issue, it has become so because so many Jews refuse to allow it to be seen otherwise.
Israel’s condition of national hysteria within which the existence of the Jewish state is perceived as being in perpetual danger, has become a psychological trap that rules out the possibility of a negotiated settlement to the conflict.
Israel is literally frozen in fear. And compounding that fear is the fact that it is repeatedly confronted by the fearlessness of those who challenge its claims.
To break out of the trap of fear, it is time that Jewish Israelis (and those in the Diaspora who share the same affliction) to ask themselves this question: How can we live in this world with dignity and nobility if we do not rise above our fear?
Never forget, never forgive — what at one time was a visceral expression of self-preservation — has become a crippling self-limitation. As a non-Jew, I cannot pretend to fully know what the trauma of the Holocaust feels like, yet the need for the Jewish people to become healed and liberated from this trauma is surely a worthy and necessary task to be embraced. Without this, the separation between Israel and the rest of the world will only widen and in that widening gap our common sense of humanity will be lost.