Flirting with Reality: Goldberg reviews Morris on Palestinian Irredentism

Nietzsche once remarked that thinking is like diving into an icy pond, going to the bottom and grasping a stone from the depths. Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, gets his feet wet and comes running out.

No Common Ground

By JEFFREY GOLDBERG
Published: May 20, 2009

In March, Muhammad Dahlan, a former chief of one of thePalestinian Authority’s multifarious secret police organizations, and once a tacit ally of the C.I.A., defended Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization, from the charge, made by Hamas, that it had previously recognized Israel’s right to exist.

ONE STATE, TWO STATES
Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict
By Benny Morris
240 pp. Yale University Press. $26


First Chapter: ‘One State, Two States’ (May 24, 2009)

“They say that Fatah has asked them to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and this is a big deception,” Dahlan said. “For the 1,000th time, I want to reaffirm that we are not asking Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Rather we are asking Hamas not to do so, because Fatah never recognized Israel’s right to exist.”

This was not a helpful statement, at least not to the peace-processors in Washington and in Europe, and to their diminishing band of confederates in Israel and the Palestinian territories. But Dahlan’s comment helps buttress the main argument of Benny Morris’s new book, “One State, Two States.” Morris, a professor of history at Ben- Gurion University in Israel, argues that Arab rejectionism is so profound a force that only the terminally obtuse could believe that Palestinians will ever acquiesce to a state comprised solely of the West Bank and Gaza.

Nice beginning, especially when speaking to an audience of self-selecting liberal cognitive egocentrists.

Morris is equally dismissive of those who believe that a so-called one-state solution might work in place of a two-state solution. Muslim anti-Semitism and the deep cultural divide that separates Arab from Jew, among other realities, make this notion a fantasy. In this short book Morris asserts there is no one-state solution to the Middle East crisis, and no two-state solution. Morris does promote the possibility of a Palestinian confederation with Jordan, but he makes the case anemically and cursorily.

This is not to say that Morris isn’t convincing at times, for instance when he says that one-staters, like the constitutional scholar Daniel Lazar and the historian Tony Judt, who envision a utopian post-Zionist future, in fact are calling for Israel to be eliminated.

Yet Morris, like Judt, has an almost irretrievably dark vision of Israel’s future as a Jewish-majority state. The difference is that Morris does not believe that Israel’s mistakes — even the settlement movement that colonized the West Bank — are what might doom it. The culprit is the implacable fanaticism of Arab Islamists, who are unwilling to accept a Jewish national presence in what is thought of as Arab land, a position that hasn’t changed since the meeting of the third Palestine Arab Congress, in 1920, which rejected Jewish claims to the land since “Palestine is the holy land of the two Christian and Muslim worlds.” Subsequent events that seemingly contradict this belief — most notably, the P.L.O.’s ostensible recognition of Israel in 1988 — have been staged for the benefit of gullible Westerners, Morris writes.

Most people still think that the PLO changed their charter. They voted to change their charter at some point in the future, and people like Hanan Ashrawi voted against it. Part of the reason we don’t know about it is that both the media , authors like Graham Usher (chaps. 10-11), and the proponents of the Oslo Process like President Clinton were so eager to move on that they pretended that it had already happened. Details and extensive references here.

When on journalist reported on Ashrawi’s no-vote — on the basis of good honor-shame concerns (“This will appear to be a succumbing to Israeli dictate.”) — she was told by her editor that that can’t be true because, “Ashrawi is a moderate.”

Morris has had a strange and tumultuous career. He is a onetime debunker of Zionist mythology, the father of Israel’s “new historians,” who have dismantled the romantic narrative of Israel’s founding and replaced it with more complicated truths, such as that during Israel’s War of Independence, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding prime minister, essentially ordered the forcible “transfer” of many thousands of Arabs from territory that would become Israel.

It might help to mention at this point that Morris’ work at this stage of his career was highly problematic. Of course this is precisely the kind of work that most appeals to the NYT readership (and Goldberg?). Imagine a Palestinian shredding the Palestinian “romantic narrative”…

As a result, Morris was denounced as an anti-Zionist, considered too radical for employment in the Israeli academy (in 1996, Israel’s former president, Ezer Weizman, finally arranged for him the teaching job at the university named after the man he exposed as a “transferist”). And he went to jail in 1987 rather than serve as an army reservist in the occupied territories. He was thoroughly a man of the left. But the failed summit at Camp David in 2000 prompted Morris to re-examine the assumptions of Israeli liberals, who believed that it was their own side’s intransigence that perpetuated the conflict. In “One State, Two States,” Morris argues that Ehud Barak, the Israeli prime minister in July 2000, offered unparalleled concessions but that Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, rejected them all and made no counteroffer. By December of 2000, Israel had accepted President Bill Clinton’s “parameters,” offering the Palestinians all of the Gaza Strip, 94 percent to 96 percent of the West Bank and sovereignty over Arab areas of East Jerusalem. Arafat again rejected the deal.

To Morris, this rejection and all that followed — the hyperviolence of the second Palestinian uprising, the rise of Hamas — confirm that there is nothing Israel could do to make Arab Muslims agree to its existence as a Jewish state.

But at the same time Morris ignores the possibility that recent Israeli mistakes have marginalized the lives of Palestinians who might in fact have been ready for compromise.

He’s backing out of the cold water.

Take the Palestinian reaction to the withdrawal of Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2005. The Morris camp would cite the rocket fire that followed the withdrawal as further proof of unyielding Arab rejectionism. But the empowerment of Hamas was inevitable, given the foolish way Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, engineered the withdrawal. He could have negotiated the pullout with the more moderate Palestinian Authority government, which would have then been able to prove to its constituents that it could extract concessions from Israel. But Sharon handled the pullout unilaterally, which allowed Hamas to claim — not wrongly — that it pushed out the Israelis by force, while the Palestinian Authority stood by impotently.

I’m not sure what to make of this. Either Goldberg is living in lalaland or he has no memory. At the time, the whole point of the pull-out was that Israel had no one to negotiate with, and that the “moderate PA government” had revealed itslef neither moderate nor a serious negotiating partner. Sharon’s dramatic pull-out was intended to bring people’s attention to that problem. Goldberg falls into the very trap that Morris warns against — thinking that “moderate” means “rational” by our standards, rather than willing to say moderate sounding things in English while pursuing in Arabic word and deed things that have nothing to do either with reciprocity, nor with Palestinian self-interest as we cognitive egocentrists understand it (e.g., a concern for the welfare of their people).

Morris’s gloom sometimes leads him to inflammatory conclusions. He recently suggested to an Israeli journalist that perhaps Ben-Gurion “should have done a complete job” of removing Arabs from the land that became Israel. “If he had carried out a full expulsion — rather than a partial one — he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations,” Morris explained.

In “One State, Two States,” he argues that this most enduring of conflicts is primarily cultural, not political. Between Arabs and Israelis, “the value placed on human life and the rule of (secular) law is completely different,” he writes, “as exhibited, in Israel itself, in the vast hiatus between Jewish and Arab perpetration of crimes and lethal road traffic violations.” But might the differences also be explained by higher rates of poverty among Arab Israelis?

No. Goldberg is falling for the classic liberal egocentric view that poverty causes dysfunctions rather than vice-versa. When the first Intifada broke out the World Bank listed the West Bank as one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Alas. Then they regained their honor by trashing themselves and shaming the Israelis in world opinion. The satisfactions of resentment seem to be absent from Goldberg’s radar.

This is not to overlook the great dysfunction among the Palestinians, whose national liberation movement remains, 89 years since the third Palestine Arab Congress, bloody-minded and incompetent. Gaza, after all, is currently ruled by a cult that sanctifies murder-suicide. But there are many Palestinians on the West Bank, and even in Gaza, who reject the Hamas way and seek dignity and quiet within the framework of an independent state that coexists with Israel.

If they are there, they are a) silent and b) powerless. Rather than tossing off such empty throw-away lines rather than following Morris to the bottom of the icy stream (or to mix metaphors, swallowing the red pill), Goldberg feeds his audience the pablum that allows them to ignore the iron grip that dysfunctional Palestinian leaders have on their people, and go on blaming Israel for their “mistakes.”

83 Responses to Flirting with Reality: Goldberg reviews Morris on Palestinian Irredentism

  1. E.G. says:

    One thing I’ve recently come to notice is the arrangement (for the sake of the reader’s “clarity” of view?) of the different players in the ME conflict in camps. The Israeli camp vs. the Palestinian one and, the moderates-fanatics camps within each camp. I think this simplified view both stigmatises supposed members of each camp and distorts some essential facts. The most fanatic Israelis don’t call or act to kill all Palestinians. Quite a few moderate Palestinians call and act to kill all Israelis. And it obliterates the fragmented nature of the Palestinian society (while sometimes, not here, highlighting the division among Israelis).

    Furthermore, such rigid classifications can get problematic when an actor seems to shift from one camp to another: Morris is described as the dove turned hawk. Not so Dahlan.

    And these are the broad-minded eminences who preach fine analyses of complex situations? That “it” may seem “this” but upon a closer look it’s not “this” but maybe “that”? That relatively to (sthg) interpreting an event less obvious than we’d previously thought/been told?

  2. oao says:

    there seems to be a denial about the reality of the world’s position on the conflict: it has decided that REGARDLESS OF WHO THE PALS ARE AND WHAT THEY DO they must have a country and the jews, whose country is illegitimate, stand in the way. the rest is commentary. the west is in free fall and wants problems to go away rather than having to solve them.

    as to morris, reviewing him without reading karsh on his creativity in representing the records (including reversing them) is useless. he never admitted it, but it was probably due to that criticisms that he became a sort of hawk.

  3. oao says:

    there is more flirting with UNreality:

    June is the Cruelest Month
    By Barry Rubin
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/05/june-is-cruelest-month.html

  4. obsy says:

    most notably, the P.L.O.’s ostensible recognition of Israel in 1988

    well:
    http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_plo_israel_exist_1988.php

  5. Eliyahu says:

    We ought to also recognize the role played by outside actors in encouraging the extremist-intransigent Arab position [both al-Fatah & Hamas]. The EU, US, Japan, Russia, China, etc etc, especially the first three named, give big bucks to the Palestinian Authority [= Fatah] and even to Hamas directly or indirectly. Tony Blair had his man on the ground in Israel, the aptly named Alistair Crooke, work to try to bring the avowedly genocidal Hamas into the “political process” or “peace process” as far back as 2002. See link on blair and crooke:

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/05/is-united-kingdom-israels-most.html

  6. nelson says:

    “it has decided that REGARDLESS OF WHO THE PALS ARE AND WHAT THEY DO they must have a country and the jews, whose country is illegitimate”

    sorry oao, but I think it is exactly the other way around:

    Israel, according to the International Community, is the cause of most of the world’s problems: it has been a mistake from the very beginning, well, actually, from even before.

    Thus, it must be abolished, and, after the failure of the Arab military option (and while we still don’t know whether the Iranian nuclear option will work or no — or how), the invented “need” of a Palestinian state is one of the main instruments with which to accomplish this.

    Once Israel is erradicated, nobody will care about the fate of a Palestinian state: the Palestinians may destroy it themselves, or their state may be swallowed up by their neighbours: who cares. The Palestinians are useful and interesting only so far as there is a Jewish state (to eliminate) in the region.

  7. oao says:

    my argument does not negate yours. they are the 2 sides of the same coin. and it does not matter which side you see first.

    it is also likely that they came to see israel as the problem because they were persuaded by terror, propaganda, channeling media, and ideology that the pals were robbed and oppressed and therefore they must have a state, and THAT’s why israel the only problem, as everybody else wants that state.

  8. JD says:

    Dr. Landes,

    There are other excerpts from the book review that are entertaining from a psych view.

    I call attention to the ending. A bit of western imperial cognitive egocentrism, or whathaveyou, knee jerk reaction to frame Israel as the bad guy. A wrongheaded, and otherwise meaningless in context, that Israel is the bad guy because they pulled out of Gaza unilaterally. It is classic anti-semitism as imbibed by the modern leftist victim of the Soviet Zionology phenomenon–the inability to cede just one credit to the Jewish side. Classic, because it derives from religious traditions where “the Jew,” if right even once, destabilizes the reacist’s religion, even world view. And the Gaza comments were gratuitous in any respect. It is like the author was disgusted with himself, unconsciously agreeing with Benny’s points, the author knee-jerked out on his keypad a reflexive anti-Israel screed which left him feeling better and of course, superior, which is what the endings of high brow book reviews are often for. It also serves as an American-leftist way to re-prove the “other” is merely reactive, a position 9/11 and the internet has made it hard for them to keep going.

    He did get in something he agrees with Benny, Benny’s comments about Ben Gurion doing only a partial, not complete expulsion. This is what Benny’s claim to fame, and citation, will be forever among anti-semites–the quotable one Jew who proves the veracity of the anti-semitic belief. Kind of like the obverse of collective guilt. Of course, Benny’s been debunked on this, and he may sense he had wrongfully fell in with Marxist fashion and corrective history, but he can’t say his foundational work was BS. So, he creates a new narrative point that Ben Gurion had some kind of “partial expulsion” policy, but there is no proof of this either, or any good reason if BG was an expulsionist, why go proper? The book reviewer made sure to get this in, though. The only reason for Benny to exist for them is to “prove” from the mouth of a Jew that the Jew is always at fault.

    Also, there was the invocation of Tony Judt again. There are plenty of real historians on the issues, but the nut Judt is brought into the review to establish an anti-zionist voice as if it were standard. But the new “one staters” of recent years are upper class palestinians dreaming of Israeli passports. They stirred up a few of the old Marxist anti-semites to start talking about one state again.

    /end quickie note.

  9. JD says:

    “We ought to also recognize the role played by outside actors in encouraging the extremist-intransigent Arab position”

    One inside role that is rarely acknowledged is that the second intifada was essentially a ruse for Arafat and the Fatah elite to avoid an election they knew they were going to lose (and eventually did). The are not democrats. Hugo Chavez almost felt he had to go a similar route to hold on to power forever–high oil prices allowed him to play democrat.

    I hear some Palestinians say that about the intifada, but rarely Westerners. Granting such independent thinking to the “other” disturbs their imperial hubris and liberal egocentrism.

    The biggest barriers to peace in the past 10 years was Arafat’s power interests and now Iranian meddling in order to rekindle revolutionary spirit by reliving Khomeini’s dreams of uniting Islam under Iranian leadership. I know, that’s a joke, but they really believe they can do it with their money to Hamas and fake munition ships to Gaza and the like.

  10. obsy says:

    oao,

    true. It’s the same coin.
    But the side that Nelson refers to is the important one.

    Because it is a “moral” issue.
    Moral is the guideline by which communities have to act. It is not about victims. It’s a code of conduct!

    True, a part of this conduct is that you do not treat people like the media shows Israel treating Palestinians.

    Nevertheless, the essence is that Israel is seen as a member of the white western communities who violates this code of conduct.

    Any community that observes such ignorance to their rules must punish the violator. That is what binds communities. That is what defines communities and makes them work.

    If another member of the community violates the code, he will look for somebody else who violates it worse and make the community act against this guy first.

    Now here is the problem:
    Our moral code is much to high to live up to – especially in difficult situations.
    And difficult situations do not count as much as an excuses for violation as they should – especially when the violation lasts very long.

  11. E.G. says:

    Palestinian official says two-state solution will destroy Israel:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1088054.html

  12. E.G. says:

    obsy,

    Saw the “Stasi-cop” info you broke in today’s Haaretz.

  13. obsy says:

    By the way:
    The real Israeli PR problem is not that doesn’t present the its case well. It is true, it does not do this, but the real PR problem is that Israel presents itself as a white western culture!

    Israel should present itself as a non-white non-western culture.

    And above all: it should stop to care about what Europe and America says. Apart from PR. Israels problem is that it ducks away most of the time. Too often Jews are used to their role as eternal victims. Israel can do better!

  14. oao says:

    This is what Benny’s claim to fame, and citation, will be forever among anti-semites–the quotable one Jew who proves the veracity of the anti-semitic belief.

    if i recall correctly, that’s the one karsh proved to have been reversed in its real meaning.

    be that as it may, it looks like morris has realized belatedly that he played into the arabs’ hands, hence his change of heart.

    Nevertheless, the essence is that Israel is seen as a member of the white western communities who violates this code of conduct.

    perhaps some do. but most of the anti-semites don’t bother with that. and to be honest, i don’t give a ff about their morals. it’s themselves they care about, not anybody else.

    Our moral code is much to high to live up to – especially in difficult situations.

    a moral code which is suicidal is hardly moral. and in any case, willful ignorance that permits them to apply the code the way they do renders it imooral.

    Israel should present itself as a non-white non-western culture.

    do you really believe that how israel presents itself will make any difference?

  15. obsy says:

    E.G.,

    thanks for the infomation.
    Though I can’t find it on haaretz.com

  16. obsy says:

    oao: do you really believe that how israel presents itself will make any difference?

    Yes.
    For Israel itself maybe.
    Though too many People need Israel as their sacrificial lamb. They won’t let you take away their favorite lamb without an adequate replacement.

    For Jews in other countries: Of course it makes a difference! (Though not to many Muslims.)

    The most important difference is possible on Jews in Israel itself. If they strip themselves from the western community and its hyper moral absurdities, they have a real chance to survive.

    That is not to say that they should strip themselves from all morals. That would be terrible! They would have a chance to define a reasonable moral for their specific circumstance.

  17. nelson says:

    There are only two groups of Jews that count in the world: Israel and the US Jewry. American Jews as a group placed all their bets on the Obamessiah (and it’s the settlers they call religious, messianic fanatics). Between the (historically indispensable) safety of their group and their liberal good conscience, they’ve opted for the second and have sold Israel out.

    While, apparently, the US, big, rich and powerful as it still is, can allow (for the time being) both its hands to be tied at its back, the same doesn’t apply to Israel. However, that’s exactly what is happening right now to Israel: the International Community has for long tied one of its hands; now the Obama government is tying the other one.

    The only question that remains is whether both its hands have already been firmly tied and, if not, how much time left does it have and what precisely it can do during this remaining and ever-shortening span. Have the earlier Israeli governments prepared the country for such an eventuality, namely, America’s betrayal? If they did, have they forged any alternative kind of alliance with, say, India or China or Japan or Russia or even some Arab countries?

    Given the limits already place on Israel’s actions, the only thing its rational enemies (thus, I’m not necessarily talking about Iran or Hizbollah/Hamas or the Palestinians in general) have to fear is the destructiveness of a desperate Israeli reaction, not because they’re afraid of the damage that can be done, for instance, to Teheran or Beirut, but because certain kinds of Israeli retaliation could indeed plunge the world in an economic, military or inter-religious or inter-civilizational crisis of huge proportions. I think that’s what used to be called “the Samson option”.

    During the Cold War it was generally admitted that the first side to use nuclear weapons would be responsible for all following consequences, including its own destruction. The degree Israel’s delegitimization has reached, however, is such that, according to the International Community, if nuclearly attacked, Israel would have no right to react — not even conventionally. In what concerns Israel, there’s no such thing as a right for self-defense anymore.

    But, in such an extreme case, that wouldn’t obviously be a deterrent. Obama’s problem, thus, is likely the following: how to allow Israel to be eradicated without any relevant reaction from the Israeli survivors? (Oslo was, in this sense, a good idea, and it was working pretty well, but Arafat and the Palestinians were not patient enough.) For me it is quite self-evident that the current American government (as a large part of the earlier one) wants to cut all its ties with Israel (and God knows with whom else: Taiwan, South Korea, Colombia, Japan?). In short: Israel is a problem the US wants to get rid of once and for all, as soon as possible. By the way, I happen to think that this is the only foreign policy initiative this American administration has really thought out from beginning to end, the only one for which it seems to have an elaborate plan and real political will. Israel has not only been betrayed, but it is being entrapped too.

    Does Israel have any card left to play? Is it a public rupture with Israel Biden was talking about when he said that Obama would soon be challenged or tested? After all, everybody knew that countries such as Iran, Syria, NK, Venezuela would defy the US – and the US would do nothing. None of these countries were the “test” the VP was talking about. What if, for instance, the US severs relations with Israel (isolating it completely) – obviously as a supreme act of friendship, for Israel’s and the Jews’ own good and safety? Is the US setting Israel up to make an (failed or useless) attack on Iran in order to, then, depict it (and deal with it) as a irresponsible paranoid nation? I mean: all crazy kinds of ideas start coming to one’s mind.

    Let me just add one thing to these already strange speculations (after the next 911 I won’t at least be accused of a “failure of imagination”): the only scenario up to now discussed for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear installations has been the aerial bombing. Well, logic advises that, when you are being expected to attack from a certain side, you should, if possible, attack from the opposite one. What can Israel count upon? Surprise, intelligence, much, very much forward thinking/planning and plain luck.

  18. nelson says:

    On the other hand, Obama may be bluffing.

    Technically, time is on his side, not Israel’s. If the president trusts his own policies, both national and foreign, he could count upon turning more popular, stonger, by the day, while Israel, enmeshed in a war of attrition on several different kinds of fronts, becomes weaker. Concerted economic pressures on Israel, less and less military cooperation and so on, combined with Obama’s (expected) rising popularity would be enough to do most of the job. Then, why the hurry?

    Let’s say Israel attacks Iran soon and Iran retaliates with a huge and widespread terror campaign around the globe. Would Obama and his circle be able to blame Israel, I mean, would the majority of the US population (not the leftists or the populations of the university campuses) follow automatically his lead? Or would he have to follow theirs?

    Obama knows that most Israelis don’t trust him and, were he playing for time (in order to give Israel as much rope it needs to hang itself), he would at least try to sound nicer to the Israelis. If the president himself doesn’t know it, his folks surely know there is simply no short term solution for the Palestinian problem — that is, a solution that doesn’t imply Israel’s destruction. Thus, he could for a while put the Palestinian question on the backburner (it would be easy thanks to the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas) while he makes nice to Israel, doesn’t put any real pressure on Iran, backs or helps with the further delegitimation and weakening of the Jewish state, and gets more and more power and prestige in the US. That, besides, would give him time to accumulate the prestige capital he’d need to be openly much tougher on Israel. Then again: why the hurry?

    What does he have to impress and pressure Israel right now? Well, his popularity. But that’s a still untested popularity (against a many times tested one: the relative popularity of Israel vs. Palestinians and other Muslims in the US). Were the US to be directly attacked as it was 8 years ago, the Americans would gather around him. But would the same happen right now if Israel attacked a country that many, maybe a majority of US citizens consider an enemy: Iran?

    What does the administration know that we don’t, what does it expect or count on? Does it, for instance, know that Israel has a window of opportunity and is trying to intimidate it with Obama’s “toughness” backed by the spectre of his popularity?

    It’s not difficult to guess that this is precisely what’s being evaluated now in several capitals.

    And, unless they’re hopelessly stupid, those charged with Israel’s security and survival had time enough to prepare. Condoleeza Rice was already much more a part of the problem than of the solution. I cannot imagine that responsible Israelis expected any Demoratic administration to be nicer to them than the Bush government.

  19. E.G. says:

    obsy,

    But… you’re making impossible demands.
    Developing sky-high moral principles has always been a Jewish speciality (Christianity replaced justice as a central concept with love). And Israel was conceived and built as a Western country.
    You’re asking people who, for thousands of years, struggled to be themselves despite pressures to leave their singularity, to renounce it in order to be able to live in the place they founded so that they’ll be at last able to live in their singular manner.

  20. nelson says:

    Individual and/or collective survival come first. Let’s leave the question of singularity for later on. I’m sure the survivors, if there are any, will be able to discuss and, then, repair that singularity, if needed.

    Anyway, a singularity that hinders survival is just another name for suicidal self-hatred (or narcissism). Besides, most Jews who moved to Israel didn’t do it to live in their own singular way, they basically did it to had a chance to stay alive.

    Frankly, this defense of the suicidal tendencies of the West almost makes Islamism sound reasonable.

  21. E.G. says:

    Nelson,

    There are things (principles) without which life is not worth living.
    This is not a suicidal approach. It’s a combative one stating that I/we want to live under the sovereignty (Law) of my/our choice. This approach got Jews “erring” or dead over the years. But there are still Jews around today.
    Stiff-necked people!

  22. oao says:

    There are things (principles) without which life is not worth living.

    looks like we need again to live without those principles to rediscover it.

    This is not a suicidal approach.

    yes, but the approach we’re taking is suicidal.

    It’s a combative one stating that I/we want to live under the sovereignty (Law) of my/our choice.

    but it looks like we don’t want it enough, that we don’t want to pay a price for it.

    This approach got Jews “erring” or dead over the years.

    no, what got them dead was erring the approach they’re repeating today.

    But there are still Jews around today.

    significantly less, though, and thus much easier to accept their demise.

  23. oao says:

    There are only two groups of Jews that count in the world: Israel and the US Jewry.

    are you sure? last time i looked the US jews were behaving just like the european jews in the 30′s. you know who they voted for, don’t you? and alibama lied to tem through their teeth and kowtowed to abdallah.

    http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/rosner/entry/the_natural_growth_game_of

    and america is no longer a superpower, but a bankrupt nation, supplicant to the chinese, disregarded by the russians, appeasing iran and nk who laugh in its face.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/05/023660.php
    http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20090527&fname=afpak&sid=1&pn=1
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1243346492366&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  24. E.G. says:

    no, what got them dead was erring the approach they’re repeating today.

    Namely?

  25. oao says:

    For Israel itself maybe.
    Though too many People need Israel as their sacrificial lamb. They won’t let you take away their favorite lamb without an adequate replacement.

    we must agree to disagree.

    If they strip themselves from the western community and its hyper moral absurdities, they have a real chance to survive.

    with the west dead, this can only extend their survival by a bit. and it is probably the best they can do.

    They would have a chance to define a reasonable moral for their specific circumstance.

    seems to me they’ve been doing it for 6 decades and slowly but surely it was not effective reative to what the rest of the world has been doing.

  26. JD says:

    “be that as it may, it looks like morris has realized belatedly that he played into the arabs’ hands, hence his change of heart.”

    Morris attempted to validate the Palestinians’ foundational national myth of massacreology. He didn’t understand the why and where of it, but bought into Western/leftist constructs. He freed himself pretty much, though.

    I still think Dr. Landes should dredge up Tony Judt’s article about how he sees Israel as a child. Better for comments than some hyperactive American NGO sort dredging up right wing nuts from Russia in order to scare American Jews into more contributions for the NGO.

  27. 4infidels says:

    Goldberg misses the most significant shift in Morris’ thinking resulting from his recent research and analysis: that the Arab war against Israel is a jihad and has been a jihad long before Hamas came on the scene.

    Yes, there are major cultural differences between Arabs and Jews. But the fact is that the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim attack on the Jewish community since the beginning of the Zionist movement has been explicitly framed for Arab-Muslim ears using Islam’s texts, historical references and communal obligations.

    Perhaps the NY Times won’t permit Goldberg to raise the role of Islam in its pages, though when he calls the Palestinians a “national liberation movement,” it is clear that either Goldberg or his editors are missing the point and thus misleading their readers.

    Whatever qualms I have about some of Morris’ work and political statements, the third and final chapter of his “One State, Two State” book sums up the conflict almost perfectly.

    Goldberg is a fine reporter who does a great job taking apart some of Israel’s most hostile critics. But as for that large number of Palestinian “moderates” who will one day accept living in peace next to Israel, it is hard to find evidence that they exist in significant numbers. And if those “moderates” exist in significant numbers, is it possible with in an Arab-Muslim framework for them to have the ability to influence the nature of their society to the point where peaceful co-existence could become a reality?

    The sad fact is that Islam commands believers wage jihad against neighboring unbelievers. Islam holds a special hatred for Jews (who are assigned a role of humiliation on earth and suffering in the afterlife) while putting a primary importance of recovering any lands that were once ruled by Islam. For someone in Palestinian society to oppose the jihad against Israel (even calls to end suicide bombings are done because they are hurting the Palestinian cause or peace is chosen at this time as a strategic choice…i.e. not acting violently to the choose is chosen as a way of advancing the war aims by other means) is to risk being called an apostate, and the punishment for apostasy in Islam is death. Look at how quickly those accused of “collaboration” find themselves executed. Islam and Arab culture are mutually reinforcing similar attitudes that leave little room for dissent.

    Add to this a religion and culture that put a primary importance on honor and not shaming the family, tribe, nation or faith, and you have a place where everyone–regardless of whether they desire to live in peace with Israel–must act as though they are supporting the anti-Zionist cause, at a minimum through words, if not through actions, so as not to shame their family and friends and not to risk death as an apostate or collaborator.

    I may wish the truth was different, but change comes slowly in Islamic lands. For now, Israel must remain strong and accept that the “partner for peace” that the majority of Jews desire, either doesn’t exist or has no influence upon Palestinian politics.

  28. obsy says:

    E.G.: “But… you’re making impossible demands.”

    That at least explains why it is not happening.

    Apart from some settlers who value the morals in the Torah more than those of Voltaire, Marx and Santa Claus.

    You’re asking people who, for thousands of years, struggled to be themselves despite pressures to leave their singularity

    Weird!
    Somehow I really am.

    Though for a good reason.
    Living as a minority under foreign (not very sympathetic) rule is a completely different thing than ruling your own country with a minority of (not very sympathetic) foreigners.
    Bowing down to the commands of others is not a practicable way anymore.

    Let’s see what the future brings. I guess you are right.

  29. obsy says:

    oao,

    we must agree to disagree.

    OK, but tell me first on which of the three sentences we disagree.

  30. Eliyahu says:

    In re suggestion above for Israel to redefine its identity. Of course, many Jews were never in fact pale skinned. Like my grandfather, born in Belarus [Grodno guberniya], who was in fact brown-skinned. Or various other swarthy relatives on both sides. One hundred years ago in Europe, including the UK, Jews [including Ashkenazim] were considered dark, swarthy, Oriental, etc. Consider George DuMaurier’s novel, Trilby, in which the villain is a swarthy Polish Jew. On the other hand, in America, where there used to be so much hatred of Blacks, swarthy Caucasian folk could be accepted as White. Like many Jews, Italians, Greeks, Armenians, etc. They were accepted as White, although one might sometimes hear that Jews or Italians were “niggers turned inside out.”

    Now, it was certainly a mistake for various Jewish and Israeli leaders to work to have Jews defined as White, even European, whereas Jews had never really been accepted in most of Europe, for various reasons. But part of this redefinition happened around Israel’s victory in the war of Independence, according to Martin Bernal. He claims that at that time the British started seeing Jews differently, more like Europeans, like White folk. So it seems that the redefinition of Jews as “white” also came from the outside as maybe a reaction to Israeli success in the respected enterprise of warmaking.

    Now, this view of Jews as “Europeans” is not only false, as it has always been, but harmful to the Jews.
    So what Israeli leaders should say is something like this:
    Jews are an ancient people originating in the Middle East, what used to be called the Orient. Jews have suffered throughout the ages from both Europeans, in Christendom, in the West, and in the Middle East under Islamic rule. We have our own culture which shares much with both the West and with ancient Middle Eastern traditions. Yet our culture and we ourselves are unique. While hoping to share the best of both these civilizations, we believe that we have much of value in our own ways and identity.

    Now if my proposal is of any value then it will be likely ignored.

  31. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyaho: Now if my proposal is of any value then it will be likely ignored.

    Either that, or both side will now see ample reason to beat the crap out of you.

  32. oao says:

    Namely?

    assimilation, appeasement, failure to defend themselves.

    OK, but tell me first on which of the three sentences we disagree.

    i think you’re referring to #17? if so, on all.

  33. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Of course, many Jews were never in fact pale skinned.

    Just like many (non-Jewish) residents of what used to be Palestine are still not dark skinned.

  34. E.G. says:

    obsy,

    O/T
    http://www.newmajority.com/ShowScroll.aspx?ID=42cd060f-b42f-4b26-9f03-3e083fdf11b7
    Made me wonder about the timing of the revelation of Stasi involvement.

  35. obsy says:

    Eliyahu,

    So what Israeli leaders should say is something like this:
    Jews are an ancient people originating in the Middle East, what used to be called the Orient. Jews have suffered throughout the ages from both Europeans, in Christendom, in the West, and in the Middle East under Islamic rule. We have our own culture which shares much with both the West and with ancient Middle Eastern traditions. Yet our culture and we ourselves are unique.

    Yes, I think that would be good!

    While hoping to share the best of both these civilizations, we believe that we have much of value in our own ways and identity.

    That is problematic if the word “hoping” isn’t emphasized enough.

    1. They might bind you to live up to the best of both cultures (as they see it).
    2. The Idea that this is possible contradicts the Illusion that all cultures are somehow equal.
    3. They might feel challenged: “So you think that you are better than us? Let’s see what malpractices (according to our definition) we can find in your way.”

  36. obsy says:

    E.G,

    Made me wonder about the timing of the revelation of Stasi involvement.

    amazon.de says that the 2nd edition of this book came out in February 2008. And that there is now a paperback in print.

    The association is probably:
    New historical insight -> reproduce book that slightly touches this topic for the mass market.

  37. E.G. says:

    obsy #37,

    1st paragraphe – it’s understated these days. Indeed it might be good to state it again.

    2nd paragraphe – Eliyahu used “hoping”, let him specify what he meant.
    I think that “while sharing many elements of both civilisations” better reflects the reality.

  38. E.G. says:

    obsy #38,

    How about “it’s not only national socialism (Brown), it’s also socialism (Red)”?

  39. oao says:

    Yes, I think that would be good!

    but would it make a difference? it is an illusion to think so. and illusions are never useful.

    nobody wants to hear that the jews have suffered. indeed, the claim against them is that the pals suffer just because they suffered, and that’s not fair.

    what is more, they suffered at the hands of the euros and by impugning oppression to the jews, they relieve themselves of the responsibility for that suffering.

    had israel made the focus of their argument the suffering and naqba of the arab jews from day one, systematically and insistently, they would have been able to counter the pal claims. they never did and now it’s too late. THAT was the biggest and critical mistake.

  40. oao says:

    some reality from the media:

    ————-
    Consider this:

    Settling the Settlements
    http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_spine/archive/2009/05/29/settling-the-settlements.aspx

    vs. this:

    Abbas’s Waiting Game
    By Jackson Diehl
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803614.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
    ———–

    The Egypt Speech: Obama’s Watershed Moment
    By J. Scott Carpenter
    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=3059

    How American aid supports terror
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/05/023669.php

    Consider this:

    ———–
    UN Gaza war probe to start next week
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1243346501499&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    vs. this:

    No Outcry on Sri Lanka
    http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/05/no-outcry-in-sri-lanka/index.shtml
    ———

  41. Cynic says:

    Nelson,

    With regard to your comments #18 and #19 assessing alibama’s thinking, please take into consideration the mind of this person when exciting your imagination with possibilities.

    Someone whom I consider rather astute at appraising human behaviour, without any political axes to grind, commented on seeing Obama on TV as an insincere actor who instilled no confidence in the part.
    Taking into consideration what has transpired so far is one to assume that his foreign policy is of a far higher order than that regarding his Financial and Social policies for the USA?
    Just looking at his abilitiy to choose an administration (tax dodgers etc.) leaves one in doubt as to his ability to size up foreign policy machinations, even with Joe Biden’s experience, no matter how Machiavellian, to help fill in his hour strutting and fretting.

  42. oao says:

    Someone whom I consider rather astute at appraising human behaviour, without any political axes to grind, commented on seeing Obama on TV as an insincere actor who instilled no confidence in the part.

    you don’t have to be astute to see that. he has a known history. who do people usually elect in crisis?

    even with Joe Biden’s experience

    you mean the plagiarizer? biden is all talk and nothing else. just like alibama. nk and iran are wiping the floor with them.

    Just looking at his abilitiy to choose an administration (tax dodgers etc.)

    not just tax dodgers. a czar everywhere. napolitano at dhs, holder at justice. whoeever does not understand this is an indicator of america’s fall is in for a shock.

  43. nelson says:

    Bush spent most of his second term (and maybe much of his first one as well) fighting not foreign enemies like Al Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgence(s), the Axis of Evil, the Iranian nuclear project, Old Europe and so on.

    Most of his time was probably spent fighting his own internal/national enemies — and I’m not talking (only) about the Democrats. Besides (obviously) almost a 100% of the MSM, he had to deal with the entrenched opposition to his policies in the State Dept. and the CIA. My impression is that when it came to these fights, he was mostly defeated.

    Depending on his intentions and goals, Obama doesn’t have to have a real foreign policy of his own. (nor does Biden.) That’s because the people who backed, helped and elected him do already have their own foreign policy agenda.

    Thus, even if the president is neutral about, say, Israel, the Palestinians and the Iranian bomb, or if he’s simply not interested in them because what he wants is, first, to stay in power getting stronger and stronger and, second, because he is only or mainly interested in domestic politics, anyway the easier route for him would be to give a free hand to those who already have the upper hand in these matters.

    Were the president to do nothing, to simply stay aside allowing the State Dept., much or most of the CIA, his leftist basis, his paleoconservative and realist friends and the MSM to have their way, the results would be much the same as those we are seeing right now.

    The State Dept. was deeply anti-Israel even before the country’s independence, wasn’t it? In the US, Israel is basically backed by the Congress, by much of the (religious) Republican basis (in spite or even against the wishes of a majority of the American Jews)and by the citizens in general.

    Most of the elite, the media, the academia and the career bureaucrats have always been pro-Arab.The only kind of POTUS who can make a meaningful difference, for some time at least, is a very pro-Israeli one, like Bush was. Any other kind of president, be him neutral or an enemy of Israel, means only business as usual.

    Let’s, for a moment, get back to eight years ago: to 911. That pure and simple sadistic and nihilistic act of agression was something so mad, crazy, perverse, unspeakable that, in normal times and among normal people, it would have filled American hearts and minds with righteous hatred and the urge, the necessity of exacting revenge and/or punishing anyone associated with it. That’s, after all, what happened in December 1941.

    Just seeing the scene of Palestinians dancing joyously in their streets, celebrating the deaths of thousands of innocents and distributing candies should have been enough for the Americans to sever any ties with that people forever and openly declaring them enemies to be destroyed. Even Arafat feared such a reaction and tried to control the damage by making a show of donating, on TV, his own blood for the victims.

    Well, if Arafat despised the Westerners in general and the Americans in particular, his disdain, after those days, must have grown exponentially. Who are these people, he must have thought, who cannot hate either their killers or those who celebrate their suffering? Needless to say how much everybody in charge, from the MSM to Bush (“religion of peace”) himself, contributed to the repression and then to the erradication of any trace of anger among their countrymen.

    In normal times and among normal people, 911 would have sealed America’s alliance with Israel against the Arabs and, particularly, the Palestinians. And that not because the Israelis had been or were suffering, but just because they would be punishing the hated enemies of the US.

    That the State Dept. is still pro-Arab, that the elite, the media and the academia can still openly depict the Palestinians as victims and sufferers, that many common Americans still buy this are all worrying signs that there’s something deeply wrong –psycologycally wrong– about the American mind. But maybe, coming to think of it, what’s really amazing is that a majority of the Americans are still more sympathetic to Israel than to the Palestinians.

    Maybe all this madness began sometime in the 18th century, with the modern ideas about criminal justice. Thanks to sociology and other disciplines, the need to understand the criminal and the so-called social causes of crime slowly turned the perpetrator into the real victim, a victim of a much worse, actually criminal, society. Instead of a predator deserving retribution or punishment, the criminal became a patient in need of care, treatment, attention, reeducation.

    Nowadays, from the hegemonic (liberal) point of view, whoever dares to get angry at a sadistic murderer, a serial-killer or a mass-murdering terrorist is considered a reactionary barbarian, a pervert, someone who’s much worse and dangerous than the criminal himself. So, for us Westerners and for you Americans, anger, hatred, not even to mention the idea of revenge, are out of fashion: they are as politically incorrect as they can be.

    Now, how can a culture that has forbidden or banished any kind of anger, that considers retribution of even self-defense barbaric, that’s much more interested in “empathizing” with its enemies than in protecting its citizens, in short, how can such an antinatural culture deal with another one that not only allows its members to openly feel what comes instinctivelly to them, but also encourages them to act upon those feelings?

  44. oao says:

    it is importat to realize that having destroyed itself, what we see in the behavior of the media and various govt agencies is the realization of the weakness and the striving to appease in order to prevent a hard to contemplate fate. when you have killed all your leverage you kiss ass.

    alibama is a consequence of this. his ascent to power is a reflection of america becoming insignificant in the world. his election is proof that america is becoming a banana republic, with its private sector in taters, up to its neck in debt, its education collapsed and private and public institutions incompetent and corrupt.

  45. oao says:

    one that not only allows its members to openly feel what comes instinctivelly to them, but also encourages them to act upon those feelings?

    you don’t go far enough: it is actually FUNDING and SUPPORTING them!!!!!

    to which i say: those who do this sort of thing don’t deserve to survive.

  46. Ray in Seattle says:

    Nelson, Great comment! You gave it a lot of thought. I have a couple of things to add. You said,

    So, for us Westerners and for you Americans, anger, hatred, not even to mention the idea of revenge, are out of fashion: they are as politically incorrect as they can be.

    I’d disagree. Those who you say are guilty of losing the ability for revenge and to hate have no problem hating the Israel or even the US. The DU I/P forum is a good place (there are many) to see this hatred and need for revenge in an ongoing tableau. I think what you are seeing is their ability to hate you and your allies (America and Israel).

    This is fueled by the emotions of identity, the strongest emotions available in the mind. You and they identify with two different sides that are at war. A more interesting question for me is how they became haters of America and our values rather than protectors. You could endlessly search for the butterfly in history who’s wings set this outcome in motion but just to offer some of many ideas that would probably be just as good – I would suggest that maybe the experience of WWII for many returning GIs, the A-bomb, Korea, Bull Conner, Viet Nam, Nixon, Iran-Contra, – and other events like those caused a shift in identity belief away from traditions of God and country which seemed to have failed in preventing such terrible destruction and politically motivated corruption.

    I think in places like the Arab ME there is a constant social tension whereby others would diminish you if they could. A person’s religiosity and Arabic patriotism is an easy target for challenge by anyone who can better themselves by diminishing you (honor / shame). I think this creates a society where no-one publicly questions the rightness of one’s own society / state – in fact they gain honor by publicly acclaiming it. Also, the Arab mind itself is interwoven with a built-in hatred of outsiders, infidels, apostates, unbelievers and especially Dhimmi who reject their submissive position such as Jews.

    In a democracy where freedom of speech is guaranteed constitutionally and where newspapers increase readership and sell more ads by following memetic trends and being controversial – ideologies that are opposed to one’s own society / state and even take up the cause of the state’s putative enemies can gain traction and become popular movements.

    Our society was founded on individualism, capitalism and personal freedom. Those offer significant rewards for those who embrace it and use their initiative but can create bitter disappointment in those who don’t make the cut or who, by skin color or ethnicity are cut-out.

    Add to these what I call my Lone Ranger syndrome and you have a possible recipe for a fractured society unable to defend itself from ideological and military enemies.

    For me these are important and interesting questions. Keep thinking and let us know what you see from wherever you are.

  47. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    I believe you’ll find quite a few interesting ideas on Arie Kruglanski’s site
    http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~hannahk/index1.html

  48. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Thanks much for the link. I’m going through it now. There’s a lot there. I spent a bit of time going through the original paper on Conservatisism as Motivated Cognition when it first came out a few years ago. This is a good time to to see some of the responses which this site links to which weren’t available then. And to understand just what this person’s view is.

  49. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    Please bear in mind the psychological aspects that drive people to where they get to.
    Plain jealousy is enough to drive some to absolute hatred of their environment.
    It doesn’t have to be the result of wars
    I have an example of one who despite being given a “home” with excellent health care, a reasonable job for one without any real talents or qualifications, availability of good food, hygienic conditions and reasonable security says the most terrible things about Jews you would only expect to hear from outright Nazis and derides the state to the point of jihadism.
    Why? Because he is so burnt up with jealousy and envy of those with more money. He literally slavers when discussing this or that entrepreneur mentioned in the media. He looks askance at anybody in case they might knock on his door to ask a favour.
    And more tight fisted than anything Dickens dreamt up.
    Of course he hates America and Israel.
    There are those who would destroy because of the inability to have.

  50. E.G. says:

    Obsy,

    Re:”pale-faced”/Western

    “Then there’s Yosefa Loshitzky, who until 2002 was at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and now, like Bresheeth, is at the University of East London where she’s professor of film, media and cultural studies. [...]
    Last January 5, Loshitzky published on the Electronic Intifada site her take on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, launched after over three thousand rockets had been fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians in 2008 alone. Loshitzky begins her piece, which she titles “Israel’s Blond Bombshells and Real Bombs in Gaza,” with the entirely false claim that the Hebrew name for the operation was meant to connote sadistic aggression toward Palestinian children.

    Loshitzky goes on to assert that Israel’s “murderous and criminal attack on Gaza” with its “cold, meticulous, and calculated cruelty” marked “not only a great military victory but also a success story of Israeli hasbara (meaning in Hebrew, explanation, but practically referring to misinformation, spin and lies).” Again, entirely false: hasbara means “making one’s case before public opinion”; although it may imply “spin,” it does not mean or refer to “misinformation…and lies.”

    But, as Professor Loshitzky would have it:

    Israel’s oiled propaganda-machine was further lubricated by its self-acknowledged decision to select women as their masbirim (misinformation spokespersons) so as “to project a feminine and softer image.” To add some cool glamour to Israel’s hot lies, Tzipi Livni, the state’s foreign minister and a natural blonde, announced, in response to calls for truce: “There is no humanitarian crisis in the [Gaza] Strip, and therefore there is no need for a humanitarian truce.” The blonde offensive, led by the rising star of Israeli politics, was fortified by a team of peroxide blonde Israeli women, whose sex, lies and video games decorated TV screens worldwide.”

    Source:
    http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/Editorial%20-%20Joel%20Amitai%20-%20Londons%20Anti-Israeli%20Academics.htm

    (O/T : see Michael C. Moynihan’s paper, subtitled “West German ‘fascism’ was made in East Germany” in the Weekly Standard)

  51. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    I think you’re making an excellent point by bringing up the issue of people ignoring what they already have and only focussing on what others have (but they don’t). Whatever the “would like to have” stuff means for the wanting person: sometimes totally useless stuff.

  52. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, EG – Yes, I understand your point. On this topic, I expect that the same basic psychological drives exist in Jews, Arabs and everyone else for that matter. One of the strongest of these is the desire for honor – which is the favorable impression accorded to you by others in one’s society – the society within which one’s life stakes – the rewards for success and humilations for failure, are played out.

    The view I impute to RL’s positing of the honor / shame paradigm in Arab society is that it is a different driver from those we follow in the West. As far as my impression of that is correct, I disagree. I think we all want to be seen as honorable by others whom we respect and we likewise try to avoid humiliation in their eyes.

    I think the differences are in the qualities that are admired in our respectve (East/West) societies and the means by which one acquires them. I also believe there are several useful windows through which to analyze these differences, which are profound.

    The personal qualities admired in the West seem to be based on rule of law and include such as honesty, fair play, deference to and protection of the weak such as the infirm, children, women, etc.

    In the ME you see it’s polar opposite played out. Instead of rule of law, it is the rule of power, domination and submission. These give free play to deception, dishonesty, winning no matter the cost, intrigue, taquiya, cruelty toward any weakness percieved in others – the infirm, children, homosexuals, women, etc.

    Of course, both the West and the East are capable of crossing that line, occasionally as a society and often by individuals going against the grain – in both directions. But, as I read and learn more about this, I am seeing the seeking of honor and the avoidance of shame as driving psychological forces endemic to all of humanity, not so much as a way of differentiating Eastern and Western culture.

    I see individual differences in both populations where some seem to have a belief near the top of their internal hierarchy that places their identity (self-worth) as being highly (perhaps totally) dependent upon the view others have of them. These persons will tend to make all life decisions to maximize that result. While others acknowledge the need for social approval, they are not willing to make so much effort to acquire it. I think that ME culture (where others constantly seek advantage by diminishing you) makes it very difficult to internalize the latter whereas Western culture often admires the former. Personalities, independent from strict social pressures (not following the herd) are then quite common in the West where this is often admired and given the credit for exceptional success in vocation. I think this is virtually unknown in the ME where respect (a grudging kind of respect, not really admiration) is only accorded to those who devote their lives to achieving domination over others and then succeed at it well enough to remain alive and out prison. Also, great posthumous respect is often accorded those who die trying.

    My thoughts on these things are constantly turning according to what I am reading. Right now, that’s Pryce-Jones’ “The Closed Circle” which I mentioned previously. This is turning out to be one of the best books I have read on this topic in some time based on the depth of his perspective. (I’m about 1/3 through).

  53. Michelle Schatzman says:

    I must admit that I was completely convinced by Joel Amitai’s piece that I should make myself into a barbarian, cruel, meticulously destructive zionist. In fact, I already acted on this conviction at the beginning of the afternoon, even before reading Amitai.

    While listening to a rather boring mathematical seminar, I drew myself as Croquemichelle, an avatar of Croquemitaine, aka Bogeyman – so that would be Bogeymichelle. I made myself a big mouth with large pointed white teeth, and a small pair of human legs dangling on the left side of said mouth, a single arm on its right side. Also very long fingers, extended by dagger-like nails. I made myself very, very frightening, and gave the picture to colleagues, for them to hang it over their desk and show it to reluctant students in order to frighten them.

    Oh, yes, I forgot to transform my hair into snakes. I’ll have to do that.

    Can we recognize the stuff of myths, of memes? Picturing Israel as bogeyman, or as Medusa, with a full hair of snakes, is a way of scenarizing fears. It is meant to increase fear and to diminish rationality. Why am not I surprised that Bresheeth or Loshitzky come from departments of cinema? What they are doing should be plain : they are organizing a theater performance, but Sapir college was not grand enough for their megalomania. What a fantastic theatrical and artistic performance, that to set up your countrymen, and organize the ultimate snuff movie?

    We are not dealing with honor/shame, we are dealing with self agrandizement, with the cult of one’s ego, and it has nothing to do with jewish self-hatred. For these people, the other israelis are quite below their own glorious selves.

    Bresheeth and Lovitzky seem to thave inherited their artistic taste from Nero, the roman emperor who was not quite brave enough to commit suicide when all was lost and regretted his death with a “what an artist perishes with me”.

    It is good that Bresheeth and Lovitzky do not have the same power as Nero.

  54. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Correction of typo:

    What a more fantastic theatrical and artistic performance, than to set up your countrymen, and organize the ultimate snuff movie?

  55. oao says:

    I must admit that I was completely convinced by Joel Amitai’s piece that I should make myself into a barbarian, cruel, meticulously destructive zionist.

    well, if everybody believes that’s what you are anyway and endeavors to finish you off, you might as well and take as many of them with you on your way out as you can. not go to slaughter like sheep as happened in the past.

  56. Michelle Schatzman says:

    definitely, oao! It’s a pity that it’s impossible to post pictures here, but maybe, I shall scan the picture of Croquemichelle, the dim zionist, the cruel and meticulous barbarian?

  57. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Scan Croquemichelle and send the file to our gracious host, enabling him to show how bad we really are?

  58. E.G. says:

    Ray in Seattle,

    Yes, it’s the same psychological processes. Except for self control.
    Like all children of a certain age want to get rid of one parent and espouse the other one, though few actually act in this sense.

    With few exceptions, we (Judeo-Christians) managed to make it through our Oedipal stage – in the sense that we internalised the restraints that leave our wishes at that very state: wishes (iow, we don’t challenge our enemies to duels or do justice ourselves; “eye for eye” is now taken at the symbolic, not the face, value). It’s even become (socially) distasteful to wish one’s enemy death.

    [I' wouldn't put is as "Westerners" because, for instance, the Japanese culture also has a very central honour/shame element in it - but this one comes with a host of self-restraint "commandments"]

    My guess is that there are at least 2 socialization processes that play with the different configurations of honour/shame: locus of control (grosso modo, placing one’s responsibility and power over one’s life on either internal resources or on external forces), and “think before you act” – preventing impulsive, perhaps instinctive, acts.

    Michelle would have liked to strangle that Lovitsky egomaniac (am I right, Michelle?). That she didn’t and wouldn’t certainly doesn’t result from physical constraints. At most, she’d spit in her face if/when they both share the same time/space (and I’d bet on a sneer). It results from Michelle’s upbringing/socialization. Look at how/where she places control, who she’s depicting, derisively – but significantly.

    Michelle – RU blonde? Natural? ;-)

  59. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Ray, I was blonde as a child :-). Now, I am a natural salt and (somewhat) pepper curly, but much thinner than Susan Boyle ;-).

  60. E.G. says:

    Michelle – Barbarian Blonde!

    You could have answered my other questions too, and address you replies to me (the Grand Inquisitor) rather than Ray.

  61. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, I’m sure Michelle thought I had sent that comment to her. Notice your salutation line at the top of that comment is “Ray in Seattle”. An honest mistake due to:

    a) Awkward and unwieldy commenting format imposed by hosting software

    b) We practiced commenters use a variety of means of overcoming a) which adds to the confusion for newcomers – such as your use of an exclamation to end your salutation in that one.

    As I’m sure your admonition is meant tongue-in-cheek.

  62. E.G. says:

    Me? Tongue-in-cheek? Which one?;-)

  63. Ray in Seattle says:

    I stand flummoxed, arms-akimbo!

  64. E.G. says:

    Ray,

    Please be seated. And do turn your other cheek. The Blonde Barbarian is at the gate!

  65. Michelle Schatzman says:

    My goodness, EG, what was your question again? You know what, I should be sleeping instead of questioning your question.

    I did send the picture of Croquemichelle to RL. I guess that he is going to post it, if he finds it palatable. But will he?

  66. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Oh, now, I see my mistake, EG. You were answering to Ray, and I got confused. My error. I apologize.

    So start again :

    I was blonde as a child :-). Now, I am a natural salt and (somewhat) pepper curly, but much thinner than Susan Boyle ;-).

    And also shorter, older, and certainly a common love for singing.

    Beyond that, I wouldn’t like to strangle Prof. Lovitzky. I would just be happy if she took one of the parts in the snuff movie she is trying to direct. Preferably a snuffed part. I have lots of close family in Israel, who are not suitable for this kind of rôle, so Prof. Lovitzky should take it. Come to think of it, my 19 months old grandson is not articulate enough for the part, though he is very good looking. Of course, I am partial.

    :-) :-) :-)

    Is this answer fair enough?

  67. Cynic says:

    E.G.,

    WRT #55 there are people who are only happy if they can deny the other, something. Just the fact that the other is satisfied, even if it is by buying a tuppeny popsicle, is sufficient to bring on the bout of indigestion.

  68. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    That’s a different case than the one you made yesterday. And it divides into denying the other something a) you own (you won’t have what I got), or b) you don’t own (if I can’t have it – neither will you).

    As tempting as it is, I find it hard to believe that a whole population is characterised by some anal-obsessive personality traits.

  69. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I was blonde as a child :-). Now, I am a natural salt and (somewhat) pepper curly,

    Like the other B.B.? ;-)

    Thanks for your replies.

    +Ray,
    QED. Michelle clearly places responsibility for her acts, and life, on that Blonde-bashing woman. As for her own behaviour, our dear ex-Blonde granny (once she realised the terrible offence she caused me ;-) by mistake) doesn’t even consider your charitable excuse (software), but assumes full responsibility. And politely apologises.
    It may seem trivial, but it’s less so for other mindsets.

  70. [...] self portrait « Studies in Honor-Shame: Sichar and Chramnesind in the late 6th century [...]

  71. Michelle Schatzman says:

    EG, politeness is (1) an acquired skill (2) a more sophisticated way of handling conflicts, if society is sufficiently civil (3) a way of not losing energy to trivialities.

    Two very standard social principles:
    - if someone does not thank you when receiving a gift from you, that someone is denying the social contract at its most basic, and should be cut off from social networks by all means.
    - if you refuse giving something that does not cost you anything, you should be cut off from social networks by all means.

    Curiously, I saw both principles being beaten down to pulp in the course of my professional career in academia. I shouted scandal, blowed my whistle as much as I could on that (and other more serious offences), with not much success. This happened between ’95 and ’02, when I was chairing some kind of structure.

    Not being able to make a living out of consulting, as some more fortunate mortals can and do, and having met a bad disease on my path, I just stayed where I was and where I am. Under other circumstances, I would have left and looked for a position elsewhere.

    Nevertheless, the situation improved, and almost every day, I find that the battles I have been fighting were not for nought, and that a much better situation is slowly emerging out of a somewhat desperate state.

    It is possible to raise the level of a university department. It is hard, it is painful, some people pay a high cost. I fought very hard, because I had my back to a wall, and no other exit than upstairs. Maybe, I did not fight that well, and I may have been not very polite. That was because I felt threatened.

    Insulting people, and finding scapegoats is a very inefficient way to fight.

    I have terrible thoughts when I read or see something I do not like, such as letting Prof. Lovitzky star in the snuff movie she would like to direct. Politeness prevents me from spoiling my energy into useless behavior. And I will not write to dear Prof. Lovitzky to explain her my view of her opinions.

  72. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I allowed myself to take your (re)action as an example, just to make my point about social norms and civilised behaviour for Ray.
    Thanks for confirming and elaborating.

    I fought very hard, because I had my back to a wall, and no other exit than upstairs.
    Ein Breira, eh?
    Kol HaKavod!

  73. Cynic says:

    E.G.,
    Sour Grapes mean nothing? That is one aspect.
    Then there are a lot of people who would rather trash something, they don’t want/need, than admit to someone else having it.
    Then there are those who indulge in an orgy of jealousy because someone has and they don’t.
    Then there are those who having something object to the “belief” that what the other may have, while being similar, might actually be better.

    As an afterthought :-) it seems that after today’s Cairo speech The Name is into revisionist history.

  74. Cynic says:

    As tempting as it is, I find it hard to believe that a whole population is characterised by some anal-obsessive personality traits.

    Apparently Harvard is setting up a professorship in Gay studies.

  75. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    ’cause they already have one in Oxford? :-)

  76. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    It all turns around possessiveness (and dispossession). Having, keeping, losing, giving… That’s the trouble for anal-obsessive personalities (it’s a psychoanalytic typology).

    Has HaShem come up with yet another Moslem invention?

  77. Eliyahu says:

    I read His Cairo speech. He has the gift of combining the sinister with the ridiculous. So the ridiculous in His words was also sinister. See my comments on the Cairo speech plus links to a half-dozen other critiques/analyses at:

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2009/06/obama-affirms-evil-sinister-anti-jewish.html

  78. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    And in the reconstruction of Jerusalem we shall be consoled.

  79. [...] of Palestinian activists for unquestioned support. Anything short of full-fledged adherence to the radical agenda of the irredentist Palestinians becomes its opposite: Peace Now thwarts my desires? They are right wing fascists. Only within the [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>