Overcoming Israel's Death-In-Life

What sort of peace can one negotiate with a "partner" who illustrates daily by word and by action that their only question is, "How long before we can get the Jews to die?" And how shall Israel navigate such a problematic peace in a world where the traditional forms of anti-Semitism are now being ecstatically reinvigorated by the newer and increasingly popular fashions of Arab/Islamic Jew killing

Prof. Louis René Beres,

Prof. Louis Rene Beres
Prof. Louis Rene Beres
israelnewsphoto: R. B.
All people, Jews or gentiles, who dare not defend
themselves when they know they are in the right,
who submit to punishment not because of what they
have done but because of who they are, are already
dead by their own decision; and whether or not they
survive physically depends on chance. If
circumstances are not favorable, they end up in gas
chambers.


Bruno Bettelheim FREUD'S VIENNA AND OTHER ESSAYS

Bettelheim, like the Greek poet Homer, understands that the force that does not kill ? or at least that does not kill just yet - can turn a human being into stone, into a thing, while it is still alive. Merely hanging ominously over the head of the vulnerable creature it can choose to kill at any moment, poised portentously to destroy breath in what it has allowed, if only for a few more moments, to breathe, this force makes a mockery of the fragile life it intends to consume. The human being that stands helplessly before this force has effectively become a corpse before any lethal assault is even launched.


Israel, now manipulated and assaulted by a steady stream of barbarous Palestinian terror, is quickly becoming this pitiable human being writ large. Called again and again by our glaringly civilized world to throw itself upon the tender mercies of ritualistic murderers and child- sacrificers, the Jewish State must soon face a very basic choice. It can cravenly accept an immutably-genocidal Palestinian state carved out of its own barely-still-living national body, or it can courageously affirm its sacred post-Holocaust obligation to endure. Should the Sharon Government continue with its announced policy of territorial surrender and national self-defilement, a policy linked to an absolutely mythical "Two-State Solution," Israel will already lie defeated and diminished. Waiting meekly for an easily imagined collective death without Jewish honor or dignified remorse, the finally ingathered Jewish exiles will more or less grudgingly offer their tacit consent to a second Final Solution.

Even today, even after Oslo and the "Road Map" and the recurrent contrivances of an authentically villainous foe, the official Palestinian Authority (PA) map of "Palestine" includes all of Israel. There are no two states on PA maps; only one. There is no plan for coexistence with Israel in PA doctrine; only continuation of a longstanding "phased plan" for "liberation."


What sort of peace can one negotiate with a "partner" who illustrates daily by word and by action that their only question is, "How long before we can get the Jews to die?" And how shall Israel navigate such a problematic peace in a world where the traditional forms of anti-Semitism are now being ecstatically reinvigorated by the newer and increasingly popular fashions of Arab/Islamic Jew killing - fashions that call openly for the maiming and mutilation of Jewish children with nary a hint of condemnation from refined countries? Shall Israel complain? No problem, it can always find permissible jurisprudential comfort in the United Nations and its International Court of "Justice." Shall it be allowed to erect a fence to protect its children from being torn apart and burned alive? Certainly not, since the lives of Israel's Jewish children are internationally declared to be less valuable than the olive trees of a very largely pro-terror Palestinian population. Surely Israel should be more grateful for the civilized protections of contemporary international law.


One should expect that Israel, after all it has already endured, would betray itself no longer. When Priam enters the tent of Achilles, stops, clasps Achilles' knees, and kisses his hands, he has already reduced himself to a hapless and unworthy victim, one to be disposed of without ceremony and in very short order. Realizing this, a gracious Achilles takes the old man's arm, pushing him away. As long as he is clasping Achilles' knees, Priam is an inert object. Only by lifting him up off his knees can Achilles restore him to a position of self-respect and to a living manhood.


Here Israel and Priam part company. Israel's frenzied enemies, twisted and animated by Jihad, will never act in the honorable manner of Achilles. Their aim is not the gracious revitalization of a religiously despised adversary, but rather the "liquidation" of that inert object by means of genocide and war. It follows that the Illiad reveals certain important lessons for Jerusalem, but that these lessons must be gleaned from a fully candid appraisal of Israel's desperate predicament. For whatever reasons, Israel has now come to accept a deformed view of itself that was spawned not in Jerusalem or Hebron, but in Cairo, London, Damascus, Paris, Baghdad, Washington, Teheran, Hamburg, Jericho and Gaza. Degraded and debased, this is the view not of a strong and powerful Jewish people, determined to remain alive in its own land, but of a conspicuous corpse-in-waiting, brought home from a two-thousand year suffering only to make its widely-hoped-for slaughter easier to inflict. It goes without saying that large majorities of courageous Israelis have always fought bitterly against such an intolerable view - against the sordid vision of Israel's inexcusably loathsome "Peace Camp" - but it is currently the operative national image nonetheless. After Auschwitz, after Belsen, after Warsaw, after Lodz, there can't possibly be any more hideous expression of Jewish self-hatred than an Israel that has learned to "live with terror." To suggest otherwise, after every blown-up bus or lynching, that life in Israel must return to normal, is not normal. It is not normal at all.


Writing several years ago about Israel under Oslo, the Israeli novelist Aharon Megged noted: "We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation." This identification has taken poisonous root in a succession of Israeli governments that have stubbornly refused to understand their enemies, even while the streets of Israel's cities have been transformed by primal Palestinian killers from civilian thoroughfares to sacrifical altars. Today there are even Jewish "scholars" who advocate Israel's unilateral nuclear disarmament, arguing in prestigious American journals that Israel can negotiate true peace only by agreeing to a "nuclear weapon free-zone" in the Middle East.


There is a way out of this humiliating and fateful condition, but it must go far beyond the standard suggestions of policy and leadership changes. Replacing Sharon will not be enough. Israel requires a way that demands, more than anything else, an upright posture for the nation, an appropriately heroic posture that precludes clasping the enemy's knees and kissing his bloodied hands. It is a way of dignity, not of supplication. It is a way of open and full and unapologetic warfare against evil, of choosing to stay alive, of avoiding not only death, but also the shameless death-in-life that now cripples Israel in ways that are both grotesque and unforgivable.




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