Gideon Levy has a particularly revealing column today in which he rails against Israel playing the victim card. For someone who constantly plays the Palestinian victim card, pulling off this particular piece of Israel-bashing calls for special levels of lack of awarness. One of my readers, Jonathan Levy, has left a particularly pertinent response which I post here.
Like a beggar showing off his amputated limbs
By Gideon Levy
Tags: Israel, Barack Obama
It was yet another grotesque, if not macabre, scene: Barack Obama taking in a Qassam rocket exhibit in Sderot, holding a piece of rusting scrap metal in his hand after visiting with Osher Twito, the young boy whose leg had been amputated after he was hit by shrapnel from a Qassam. The distinguished guest had barely recovered from his obligatory visit to Yad Vashem, and now he was being exposed to more horrors. The visit, though, was a success. The Israeli propensity to extort sympathy the way an extractor produces carrot juice was in fine form.
The routine was split this time between meetings with the country’s political leaders and visits to disaster sites, like Yad Vashem, Sderot and, for dessert, the Western Wall, also known as the “Wailing” Wall. If only there had been just a bit more time, Obama’s hosts would not have missed an opportunity to include our national suicide memorial on the itinerary, Masada, just as they did when President George W. Bush was in town, or the grave of Yitzhak Rabin, to which many other guests have been guided. And there’s of course the mandatory flyover to show him Israel’s “narrow waist,” the Achilles’ heel of a small, weak country, that same country whose arsenal of weapons includes practically every firearm known to man.
Hosting and crying, crying and hosting – Israel does not hesitate to declare itself a disaster area before every visiting dignitary. A country in which “it is fun to live in,” as promised by our current prime minister, is depicted to our guests as a stockpile of tragedies and catastrophes; a fragile, threatened entity where the real fun takes place when its citizens wallow in its disasters. Only in Israel is it incumbent upon a guest passing through to see every wrong done to its people lest the visit not be considered legitimate.
Instead of showing our guests places and sites that we can be proud of, like the non-stop city life of Tel Aviv, the Philharmonic, the universities, the theaters, and agriculture and industry, we guide them on a tour of tears. We show them a Qassam exhibition in lieu of an art museum. Oh, how we revel in wallowing in our own suffering, at times real while at other times imagined or exaggerated; how we just love to force it on our guests. A regional superpower is telling its visitors: Look at how unfortunate we are. From the Iranian threat to the rockets on Sderot, our lives are a series of sad poems.
We didn’t always whine this way. There were years when our situation was worse than it is today, but when we actually showed pride in our country and its achievements. In the summer of 1955, David Ben-Gurion accompanied the Burmese prime minister, U Nu, to visit Degania Aleph. Upon returning to his country, an amazed Nu immediately ordered the creation of Burmese kibbutzim. Pinchas Sapir showed his guests the industrial factories; Levi Eshkol would often boast to visitors of the National Water Carrier.
If you can stomach it, read the rest.
Here is Jonathan Levy’s response:
“Like a beggar showing off his amputated limbs” – says Gideon Levy of Obama`s visit to Israel. Is this tough, sober criticism of Israel? Or just hate-filled ranting? Here`s a simple test: Does Mr. Levy honor the Palestinians with similar criticism when they show off their amputated limbs? When they prompted round the world the pictures of Muhammad Al-Durah? Ah no, those are the Evils of the Occupation – `tis is a Duty to expose them, and Saintly to decry them, and Mr. Levy is the greatest saint of all. And what of the Evils of the Intifada? No no, those are just the whinings of a pathetic people looking for some pity.
“We didn`t always whine this way.” reminisces Mr. Levy – “There were years…when we actually showed pride in our country and its achievements”. And I wonder – of whom is the writer speaking? Is he perhaps speaking of himself? Can Mr. Levy find for his faithful readers, in all of his articles, a single word of praise for Israel? A single note of pride in his country? And if, as he says, there are such achievements, and the Israelis have earned some pride, how would Mr. Obama ever learn this, if all he read were Gideon Levy`s articles?
This leads us to the crux of the matter. Why was Mr. Obama sent to the wailing wall, to Yad Vashem, and to Sderot? Because the western media is being submerged under a tide of Antisemitism, and anti-Zionism, the likes of which have not been seen since the 1930`s. And yes, it is necessary to remind the world, over and over again, that it is the Jews who are defending themselves in Sderot, and who have roots in the land of Israel.
Hence the reason for Mr. Obama`s itinerary, Mr. Levy – to correct some of the distortions which you and your ilk have spread.
This does get us to the crux of the matter. Mr. Levy’s obsession with Palestinian suffering, and his revulsion at any effort to place it in context — i.e., the suffering the Palestinians would like to inflict on Israelis, and partially succeed in accomplishing — reveals not a man who is proud of his people, but one who is steeped in a pathological need to revile his own people. Hence, the only time he wants to show off the glories of his native Israel is when he can dump on them for showing their pain.