Monday, 12 January 2009

End the Paranoia

In his book Fratricide in the Holy Land – A Psychoanalytic View of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Avner Falk, an Israeli psychoanalyst wrote:

"...we Israelis are a paranoid nation because we see ourselves as the victims of this world, with the whole world as our enemies. We live in constant fear of annihilation and as a group have no empathy for the suffering of our antagonists."

Similarly, in an emotional essay; "How Can Children of the Holocaust Do Such Things: A Jewish Plea", written in the aftermath of Israel’s attack on Lebanon in 2006, Sara Roy, a Jewish scholar on Middle-Eastern Studies at Harvard wrote:

"There are among Israelis real feelings of vulnerability and fear, never resolved but used, intensified. Seeing one's child injured or killed is the most horrible vision -- Israelis are vulnerable, far more than other Jews. Yet, we as a people have become a force of extremism, of chaos and disorder, trying to plough an unruly sea-addicted to death and cruelty, intoxicated, with one ambition: to mock the pauper."

The tenacity and courage of the Jewish people today are often credited to the many trials and tribulations faced by Jewish communities throughout history. Jews were persecuted by the ancient Egyptians, the Romans, Babylonians, early Christians and the Nazi Germans. From the tyranny of the Pharaoh to the lunacy of Hitler, the tremendous suffering endured by the Jews left indelible marks in their history which has now become a permanent feature of their psyche.

Many Jews believe they are victims of hate, not just any kind of hate but hatred that comes naturally from the hearts of many. This anti-Semitism to them, is the reason why the Jews were persecuted throughout history and the very reason why some people still continue to threaten the existence of the state of Israel today.

The Jews are the direct descendants of Abraham. Conscious of this fact, many Jews see themselves as a special group of people. It is by the will of God that Abraham was chosen as His messenger. And if indeed Abraham was chosen because of certain qualities, his descendants by right should also inherit some, if not all of these qualities. God favoured Abraham over the rest of His creations, thus his descendants should also continue to be favoured.

God, to the Jews is a patriarch God. And the patriarch God made a covenant with the Jews that they would be "as uncountable as the stars and through (them) would the nations of the world be blessed." This covenant is part of the Jewish natural existence, which is the unique characteristic that distinguishes them from the rest of mankind. God therefore, is contracted to provide more than equal treatment to the Jews in accordance with their position as the chosen people.

A chosen group of people may well have certain special rights, and they ought to have some special responsibilities too. But do these special rights make the life of a Jewish person more worthy than a life of a gentile (a non-Jewish person)?

In the last six months that Hamas has fired rockets to southern Israel and since the Israeli assault in Gaza began two weeks ago, the total number of Israeli casualties stands at 13. In contrast, the number of Palestinian casualties has risen to more than 850. The Israeli authorities have of course emphasised they are targeting Hamas militants, not civilians; and they had no choice but to attack in response to Hamas’ provocation and the need to ensure the safety of the people of southern Israel.

If indeed the Israelis are only targeting militants, why are they using white phosphorous munitions in densely populated areas? Unless of course, due to my ignorance on weapons technology, these bombs are smart bombs, so smart they injure only militants not civilians. And on their claim that they had absolutely no choice but to attack, did the Israeli authorities ever tried to talk to certain factions in Hamas who in the last few months have indicated their willingness to accept a two-state solution?

One would expect those among the chosen ones, and ones with ample history of sufferings, would conduct their actions in such a way that the innocents are protected and to ensure others do not have to suffer as they had suffered. Instead, they are inflicting suffering upon others as if to ensure others experience what they had experienced.

The Palestinians today most certainly have so much hatred against the Jews in Israel. But from where does all this hate comes from? Is it the case that all Palestinians by nature carry a certain unique DNA that makes them hate all Jews?

When the entire living memory of two generations of Palestinian refugees consists of destitute living conditions and constant scuffles with the Jewish-Israeli army, what other emotions can they have about the Jews other than hate? People don’t hate the Jews because they are Jews, and neither does this hatred comes from envious feelings against the special status of the Jewish people. People hate the Jews because of their unilateral actions and perceived arrogance in dealing with the Palestinians.

This specially chosen group of people should cease with the paranoia that they are perennial victims of the entire history of human civilisation. As much as they have suffered, others have suffered and are suffering too. Since they are now the side with considerable strength and power over the enemy, they should use their position to stop the war and enforce negotiations for peace. Special people should carry out this special responsibility.

No comments: