2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? — Ezekiel 18
David Horsey’s 2002 cartoon applies as well 19 years later, though today we speak of missiles, not individual terrorists or tanks.
Details change, the Middle East does not.
Here’s what else does not change: We read, and write, history as if it were a novel, a nicely laid-out morality tale in which people behave as we wish they would behave in order for things to make sense.
There are any number of variants on Mark Twain’s observation, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
But more than that, truth does not come with a beginning and an end and everything wrapped up in a logical pattern, with heroes and villains and victims all behaving within their assigned roles.
As for the spectators, we don’t need polling. We need only compare the Likes and Shares for each of these Tweets.
Dutch cartoonist Maarten Wolterink (Cartoon Movement) riffs on Orwell, suggesting that some people’s rights are, unfairly and perhaps corruptly, considered more valuable than others.
But, while that is the case before us at the moment, it’s only the latest example in a line that goes back so far that not just the Patriarchs and Prophets but secular authorities like Hammurabi, plus patriarchs in secular roles, like Solomon, have struggled to apply order and justice to a world that often seems to feature, nor want, neither.
And to leave this conflict aside for a moment, we see it in the woke view of our own history, in which evil racist Europeans slaughtered millions of innocent, peaceful Indians in order to steal their land.
It is a morality play in which the white people are cast as purposeful and powerful villains while the native people are infantilized as weak and helpless victims, and we cherry-pick events and quotations to reinforce the logically, philosophically consistent narrative.
But start with the fact that most of the native deaths were caused by exposure to unfamiliar pathogens that Europeans had lived with for centuries.
Leaving aside the apocryphal stories of smallpox blankets, our experience with the coronavirus should provide a clue as to what might happen when strange contagions arrive in a world without antibiotics or vaccines.
Add the clash of culture in which hunter-gatherer people, whose civilization is based on having the space to exist in an expansive circle-of-life biosphere, are confronted with a semi-industrial people from a crowded land in which open space is required to be used, not left fallow.
Point being that even the positive interactions brought about dire consequences.
Of course, Israel wasn’t resettled 400 years ago, and what wide-open spaces that part of the world may offer are not rolling prairies and verdant forests waiting for the settler’s shovel and ax.
Someone argued the other day that the Ottoman Empire ruled the land and that there never was a nation called “Palestine,” which is marvelously irrelevant when we’re talking about specific people being pushed out of specific farms and houses.
There is a reason that members of the American Indian Movement visited Yassar Arafat and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people. You don’t have to agree with their analysis entirely to see the obvious parallel, and it takes some straining to weep for one while shrugging off the experiences of the other.
You also don’t have to reject the idea of a Jewish homeland in order to wish they’d done things differently, which leads us to our
Juxtaposition of the Day
If opposing Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party is Anti-Semitism, about half of Israel’s Jews fall into that category, because he has been unable to form a government, and is also facing corruption charges.
Aside from conservatives who simply disagree in degrees with Bibi, there is a significant peace movement in the country, and a significant number of Israeli Jews who oppose the West Bank settlements and the continuing confiscation of Arab land.
And it should be added that Hamas is losing its political grip on Gaza, a factor that adds considerably more gasoline to the fire, because both parties have something to gain in “standing tall.”
As for Hamas, we may return for a moment to our own continent, where the division among the Oglala in the 1870s has a parallel: Crazy Horse’s contingent did not trust the Americans and wanted active resistance, while Red Cloud had visited the East and seen the massive force they were up against.
But if you dismiss them as feathered, half-naked savages arguing around a fire, you are both insulting their intellects and showing your own ignorance of the elaborate debates that roiled their nation.
Similarly, dismissing the Palestinians as terrorists misses the point, and playing the “both sides” card is equally fatuous, given the imbalance of power.
For all the tangled politics that may have led here, as Tjeerd Royaards (Cartoon Movement) points out, the cause of trouble is fairly hard to miss, and will be fairly hard to reverse, should peace break out.
While, as Steve Bell notes, Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Benjamin Gantz are content to play the old game, familiar to resisters and rebels throughout history, that we can’t have talks until there is peace, and, if there is peace, everyone is clearly content and no changes are needed.
And thus no changes ever come about.
19 It is said that God lays up one’s punishment for his children. Let God repay the man himself, so he will know it.
20 Let his eyes see his own destruction; let him drink for himself the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what does he care about his household after him, when the number of his months has run out? — Job
One thought on “CSotD: Again and again and again”
Can someone please suggest the boundaries of a two state solution with Jerusalem as a world heritage peace city governed by an international committee of nations. (Not my idea but it seems like the only workable solution)
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