Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No Defense for Israel

It's quite possible Israel was a doomed state from its inception. It's tough to walk into a land, determined to take it from those that live there, on the justification of discrimination elsewhere and a sense of divine privilege. Yet that's pretty much how Israel was created, when, partially in reaction to the holocaust and partially because they felt it was their biblical heritage, the Jews marched in and battled Arabs to create Israel.

Needless to say, it was not easy, and the hostility they encountered exaggerated the already dominant "us against the world" psyche that seems to permeate Jewish tradition. The fact that they had, in fact, dispossessed another people in much the same way that they themselves were dispossessed in Europe no doubt fed into the notion that they must beat down those they displaced, who were clearly all too justified in their animosity.

So Israel starts, morally, from behind the eight ball. Not all Israelis know this, but their leaders certainly do. But, as is so often the case in situations like this, once created, the country existed and could claim a right to keep existing. It's here that there were many, many opportunities for Israel to reclaim the high ground, negotiate and support a separate Palestinian state, and reinstitute its own morality. Yet at every juncture those in power not only failed to do that but worked quite hard to ensure that it could not happen. They used the 1967 war to try to increase their borders, speckling settlements throughout the West Bank explicitly so that it could not become a Palestinian state and would instead be subsumed under the banner of "Greater Israel". Their right wing worked hard, and successfully, to torpedo any chance of the Oslo Accords' success, despite the fact that this could hardly be considered a fair agreement for the Palestinians.

This is not to say that the Palestinians, and especially their leadership, are blameless. But Israel, while lamenting its lack of a negotiating partner, has never, in its history, been an honest negotiating partner itself. And as for the Palestinian "terror": very few countries have systematically terrorized a people as thoroughly and regularly as Israel has the Palestinians, so there's no point in even going there.

So when I see all the nonsense in the American media attempting to justify Israel's attacks on Gaza and Lebanon as "self defense" due to a few captured soldiers and rockets fired across the border, you'll have to excuse my lack of sympathy. Israel has perfected the art of kidnapping and killing its opposition. You reap what you sow.

Like a bully that laments that nobody likes him as he beats up everybody that looks at him the wrong way, Israel seems destined to forever be a country that complains of persecution as it oppresses and destroys all opposition, always avoiding honest and fair diplomacy. It's unfortunate; despite it's equivocal beginnings it could have developed into a great country that could have led the world in a positive direction. Instead, it is intent on promoting endless violence and war in the Middle East, and supporting a mind-numbing propaganda campaign to garner acceptance for the injustices it perpetuates.