Friday, July 18, 2008

Caught between sobbing and war chants

by Gilad Atzmon for Palestine Think Tank

Monitoring the current Israeli collective pornographic lament in the Hebrew press, I found, to my amazement, a critical editorial written by Dr Mordechai Keidar, an Israeli rightwing academic.

“Our enemies,” says Keidar, “see in front of them a frenetic, emotional, weeping, corrupted, hedonistic, possessive and liberal nation. People who grab and eat, people who lack historical roots, people who are short of ideology, naked of values, lack a sense of solidarity. People who are only concerned with the ‘here and now’, people who are happy to pay any price without taking into account the grave consequences of their reckless behaviour.” (Dr Mordechai Keidar,7340,L-3568863,00.html).

It is slightly encouraging to find out that someone in Israel may realize how severely the Israeli reality is viewed. Keidar grasps how pitiable the current collective mourning festival appears to outsiders and Israel’s neighbours in particular. As much as one can empathise with the pain of the soldiers’ families, Regev and Goldwasser were IDF soldiers in uniform serving a very hostile army. When abducted they were in a military patrol on the disputed Lebanese border. For those who still didn’t get the picture, they were soldiers rather than merely ‘innocent civilians’. They were theoretically capable of defending themselves. The case of Gilad Shalit is not very different. Shalit, who is presented in the world media as an ‘innocent victim’ was nothing less then a post guard in an Israeli concentration camp, namely Gaza. Shalit, like Goldwasser and Regev, was wearing an IDF uniform when captured. Neither Regev, Goldwasser nor Shalit were victims. They were all serving a state that employs some devastating genocidal tactics including starvation, ethnic cleansing and assassination of those it views as its enemies.

However, it is rather astonishing to find out how short the Israeli collective memory is. The failed IDF rescue of Regev and Goldwasser, following Hezbollah’s successful ambush evolved into Israel launching the Second Lebanon War. In an act of retaliation, retribution and vengeance Israel demolished Lebanon’s infrastructure, it flattened southern Lebanon towns and villages as well as some neighbourhoods in Beirut. It killed thousand of Lebanese civilians. Somehow the Israelis managed to forget all of this. The only thing the Israelis see is two black coffins. They even managed to neglect the fact that in return they themselves traded 190 plain coffins containing the bodies of Hezbollah militants.

The Israelis are pretty gifted in seeing themselves only. In their eyes, their pain is somehow superior to the pain others feel. Yet something puzzles me. In the light of the Israeli collective necrophilic weeping event I find myself rather confused. If Israel and the Israelis can hardly get over two tragic Israeli military casualties, how will they be able to cope with the global war they insist upon launching against Iran. If the Israelis cannot cope with two coffins, how will they ever be able to cope with Tel Aviv turning into the site of a mass grave? Their war cries suggest that this is something they seem to insist upon involving themselves in.

Funnily enough, Dr Keidar suggests an answer, “Only a nation full with ideological conviction, a nation with a sense of a strong belief in its just way, a nation who feels part of an historical process, a nation that can take the pain and buy its survival with blood, sweat and tears, only such a nation can last in the Middle East. This region,” says Keidar, “doesn’t have room for Post Jewish Rugs who sooner or later will reveal their true face as post Zionists.”

I must admit that Keidar, the Israeli rightwing zealot has a point. People who collapse in front two coffins better not initiate another international conflict. The Israelis are just not made of the right stuff. They are not exactly a nation of Spartan warriors. As much as they enjoy inflicting pain on others, they really can’t abide the idea of suffering themselves, they are clearly not ready to sacrifice, actually, they are a bunch of defeated cowards. They better run away for their lives. As Keider pointed out, their chance to survive in the region is zilch.