By Alan Hart
One very well informed and courageous Israeli who thinks the answer is “Yes” is Merav Michaeli, a radio and television presenter who also writes for Ha’aretz. She is completely without fear when it comes to telling it like it is. On 2 January this year, for example, she wrote: “The Israeli government doesn't want peace. There's nothing new in that. It has been the proven way since the establishment of the state.”
The headline over her latest article is Israel’s never-ending Holocaust. One of her main points is that Israel has never confronted the trauma of the Nazi holocaust and has “turned it into a placard in the service of the national trauma, to reinforce the constant existential fear and the aggressiveness that comes with it.”
Because what she wrote is so important, and in my view ought to be read by all peoples of all faiths everywhere who want to understand why the Zionist state is what it is, I am going to quote her at some length.
The Holocaust is the primary way Israel defines itself. And that definition is narrow and ailing in the extreme, because the Holocaust is remembered only in a very specific way, as are its lessons. It has long been used to justify the existence and the necessity of the state, and has been mentioned in the same breath as proof that the state is under a never-ending existential threat.
The Holocaust is the sole prism through which our leadership, followed by society at large, examines every situation. This prism distorts reality and leads inexorably to a forgone conclusion… that all our lives are simply one long Shoah (experience of persecution and extermination – my amplification not Merav’s).
The ‘Hitlers’ are always there: Just a week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said for the nth time that there is no shortage of those who want to exterminate us completely. In other words, there is no lack of reasons to continue to reinforce the fear of the Holocaust – which, according to his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, has never ended.
So it is that we don't have any rivals, adversaries or even enemies. Only Hitlers. This is how the Holocaust is taught in school, this how it is that Israeli students are taken to visit death camps – and how it came to be that, as Ha’aretz reported on Friday, just 2 percent of Israeli youth feel committed to democratic principles after studying the Holocaust… That's the way it is with traumas. Because of our human limitations, a trauma that is not dealt with makes us constantly see yet another trauma approaching – even when whatever is coming has no connection to the previous trauma and may even be a good thing. Trauma leads to belligerence and a strong tendency to wreak havoc on one's surroundings, but first and foremost on oneself.
What we consider rational is actually a frightened, defensive, aggressive pattern. Our current leaders have made Israeli Judaism just a post-traumatic syndrome, while they lead us to self-destruction.
I imagine that most if not all Arabs and other Muslims everywhere would welcome the prospect of Israel self-destructing, but in my Gentile view it is not actually a prospect to be welcomed. Why not?
If there comes a time when it seemed to them that the Zionist state’s self-destruction was imminent, Israel’s leaders would respond in the same way as they would if their state was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield. As readers of my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews know, that response was put into words by Golda Meir in the course of one of my BBC Panorama interviews with her when she was prime minister. In a doomsday situation, she said, Israel “would be prepared to take the region down with it.”
The question arising is something like this. Is there any power on Planet Earth that could assist Israeli Jews to save themselves from themselves – perhaps I should say save themselves from their deluded leaders?
The more I think about this question, the more I am convinced that there is only one power that could do it – the Jews of the world. But that must be the subject of another post and I will welcome thoughts from others before I write it.