Friday, August 03, 2012

Bibi Netanyahu and Israel's primal fallacy

David Seaton's News Links
(David Grossman) said he feared that Netanyahu and Barak would bomb Iran partly out of a perceived strategic need to back up their threats with action, but also because of what he sees as Netanyahu’s sense of historic responsibility to save the “people of eternity.” “He has this idea that we are the people of eternity, am ha’netzach from the Bible, and our negotiations, as he sees it, are with eternity, with the primal currents of history and mankind, while the United States, with all due respect, is just another superpower like Rome or Athens or Babylon, and we’ve survived them all,” said Grossman. “I’m afraid that this way of thinking might encourage Netanyahu to take the step” of attacking Iran. The Nation
David Grossman, along with Amos Oz, is Israel's most prestigious writer and considered by many Israelis as the "conscience of the country". He has given an interview in The Nation on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rush to war with Iran which is terrifying. I find Grossman's insight into Bibi's mind endlessly frightening and disturbing, Up til now I had thought that Netanyahu was a common and garden variety thug... now I think he might be seriously insane
If Grossman is right, that Netanyahu's believes that Israelis are "the people of eternity", and that Israel's negotiations can only be with "eternity", (whatever that is) this means that Israel is governed right now by someone who is crazier than any Ayatollah in Iran... Frankly that idea of negotiating with the "primal currents of history and mankind" has a certain weird, Nietzschean-Wagnerean ring to it: the distilled, national-mystical, vapors of fascism.
So Israel, so small and vulnerable, is now apparently ruled by a madman.
This takes me to what I call "Israel's primal fallacy".
That fallacy is the proposition that the Jewish people will only be safe when they are gathered together in a land where they are the sole inhabitants and depend entirely on their own power to defend themselves and  that land must be in the tiny, biblical Israel.
I think if you proposed to the Jewish people's greatest enemy in history, the idea that half the Jewish people in the world should gather together in a very small area, a territory where they could be utterly annihilated in the space of a couple of hours, that monster would think it a brilliant idea: such a time saver.
Any infantryman will tell you that soldiers under fire should never bunch up, but rather spread out... that is a soldier's rule one. Not having crazy officers might be rule two.
Israel is breaking both rules.
My opinion is that the two greatest defenses ever possessed by the Jewish people, going all the way back to the days when Moses led them out of bondage in Egypt, are:
One: The United States Constitution, whose rules seem to be holding up better than the Bible's in the years since it was written.
Two: America's immense spaces.
In short I believe that the "promised land" of the Jews is the United States of America, where Jews can be as Jewish as they want (see Brooklyn's Hasidim) or as assimilated (see Noam Chomsky) as they wish and participate, à la carte, in  the mainstream of an amazingly varied human tapestry (see Walt Whitman) ... all in perfect safety.
Even the West Bank settlers (most of whom seem to already be US citizens) could make a pilgrimage to what I would call "eretz yiArizona", where they could keep their guns and try their luck at hassling Mexicans... America has something for everytbody... if you don't see what you want just ask.
Not only that, perhaps most importantly of all, the United States of America is probably the only country in the world that truly loves Jewish people, where they have actually created much of what the world knows and loves of America. What I am afraid of is that disasters flowing from the "people of eternity" mysticism could in any way sour that "promised land". DS

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