Friday, December 18, 2009

Norm in top shape


A rank piece of idiocy if ever there was. Two millennia of hatred and persecution, issuing in an act in mid-twentieth century Europe that humankind is still unable to assimilate without horror and shame, as well as an impulse towards denial and, increasingly, towards turning against the victim people; an act that destroyed two thirds of the Jews on that continent and one third of the Jews worldwide; and the man thinks it 'will not do' to suggest that these experiences have shaped Jewish life. Israel - wouldn't you know it? - gives the lie to a self-definition of powerlessness.

First, the anachronism: for Jewish identity wasn't born yesterday; it will have been shaped, ooh... why, even before the creation of the state of Israel. Second, the discounting: for maybe the way it has been shaped now influences Israel's determination to defend itself against its enemies. Third, the one-sidedness: ruthless treatment of the Palestinians, on the one hand; and from the Palestinians and Israel's regional neighbours, on the other hand, nix to be said at all - but the implication, in that silence, of nothing but peace, love... and let's forget the denial of the right of the Jews to nationhood. Fourth, the implication, a philosophical nonsense, that if some Jews are powerful, no other Jews may be marked in their identity by perceptions of prejudice, and also by fears, with a centuries-old pedigree. Fifth, the prejudice itself that associates Jews, not with powerlessness, but with power, with ruthlessness.


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