Monday, March 17, 2008

Has Israel Lost the Will to Live?

An excellent article from Shrinkwrapped:

I have written a great deal about the anti-Semitic psychopathology of the Palestinians. I have described their illness as self defeating and self destructive. I have pointed out that every nation that has attempted to destroy the Jews has failed and been destroyed in turn. I have also written about the dangerous fecklessness of the Israeli government and the Israeli Left which believes that, against all historical evidence, this time the Palestinians really are committed to Peace. The evidence to the contrary continues to accrete, yet Palestinian genocidal threats, and similar threats from their supporters in Iran, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, et al, fall on deaf ears. This is all well documented and dispiriting.

Yet recently an additional suspicion has been insinuating itself into my awareness. It is much more troubling and my initial reaction is to dismiss the notion; yet even the most disturbing ideas must be examined and considered if the worst is to be avoided.

First, a digression: During my training in Child Psychoanalysis, I was privileged to see a videotape of a very young child, ~18 months, who was separated from his mother while she was hospitalized during the labor and delivery of a second child. At the time the original film was made, the 1950s if memory serves me, it was common practice to keep a mother and her newborn in the hospital for 10-14 days. Most children would be left with family or in the care of others. In this particular case, the child, for reasons I no longer recall, was placed in an orphanage, where he lived for 10 days surrounded by children of a similar age who had been in the orphanage their entire lives. The video was painful and striking.

The child behaved at first like a well raised middle class child. While still with his father, he was cheerful and happy. Once his father left him, he was midlly withdrawn at first but easily accepted the comforts of the staff members. During the first day, he was diffident, not terribly aggressive, and sought out the adults when troubled.

By the second day it was clear that this little boy was out of his depth. The other children had, of necessity, learned that when they wanted something they had to aggressively take it. They were exemplars of uncivilized, unmodulated desire. They pushed and shoved, took toys they wanted, and were not shy about picking on the "weak one." The little boy was devastated. The overworked, harried adults were not particularly tuned into his distress. If he cried they would pick him up briefly to console him but almost immediately had to turn their attention to one of their other charges who needed them with greater urgency. By the end of the first week the little boy had become withdrawn and sad. He no longer cried when another child stole his toy or cookie. He simply withdrew into the corner and gave up. When his parents came to get him after the harrowing week and a half, they picked up a different, clinically depressed, lethargic, withdrawn, and resigned child.

I keep thinking of this little boy when I notice how dispirited the Israelis seem to be becoming. Certainly the IDF can still inflict tremendous damage on the Palestinians. Yet the Israelis increasingly remind me of the little boy surrounded by more savage children with distracted adults who do not pay attention to him.

Israel is attacked in the most vicious and atrocious ways. The murder of 8 young boys, most of them children, is greeted with celebration in Gaza, given perfunctory condemnation in English by the Israeli's so-called partner in peace, and a source of joy through much of the Arab world. At the same time, the world community and the fools in the Israeli government counsel Israelis to be quiet, not cause too much of a commotion, not to discomfort the Gazans, and to move on.

The government of Israeli is beneath contempt, but I have to ask: Have the Israeli people become resigned? Have they given up? Where is their outrage? Where is their will to live?

Despair and depression are horrible states. We feel despair when all hope seems lost. When we feel despair in the absence of a hopeless reality, we call if depression.

But what happens to a people when they are told they have no recourse?

What happens to a people when they are told they must continue to live under constant threat of being attacked and killed by Jew hating monsters solely because they are Jewish?

What happens to a people when the adults, the nations that have the ability to either stop the killing and attacks, or enable the Jews to defend themselves, are either actively supporting the genocidal murderers or passively withholding support from Israel?

What happens to a people who understand that there exists no other country in the world that would be expected and counseled to have restraint in the face of daily attacks?

What happens to a people who have a government that professes over and over again an inability to respond effectively?

What happens to a people when the world's press maintains a constant barrage of anti-personal missives and anti-Semitism becomes increasingly mainstream and unobjectionable?

And what happens to a people when they feel like the world just wants them to disappear and go away and has no concern for the lives of Jewish men, women, and children?

Is there a threshold beyond which the entire population surrenders to despair?

I am very fearful for Israel. It is still a democracy. Yet where are the people? Why are they not marching through the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv in the hundreds of thousands, demanding their government do something to stop the reign of terror that they have been told repeatedly is their inevitable lot?

Why are the Israelis not enraged with their own government's fecklessness?

Israel has the power to destroy their enemies many times over. That is a frightening prospect. Their enemies do not believe that the Israelis, civilized in ways that their enemies are not, would ever take the necessary steps to safe guard their people and stop this war. Yet the Israeli government could win this war with methods far short of total war. It is a question of will.

If the Arabs are correct and Israel has lost the will to live, this war can only end with the destruction of Israel and a second Holocaust where they will, as they often boast, finish the job Hitler started. The Palestinians would be only too happy to administer the coup de grace but it will be the Israelis who have committed collective suicide.

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