web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Resisting War, Terrorism, And Genocide (Second of Three Parts)


Beres-Louis-Rene

Israel, with an understandable desperation, still seeks to discover some discernible correctness and reassuring clarity in the theatre of world politics. However, the polite diplomatic meanings with which it is pressed to “make peace” remain squalid and elusive. Ominously, these meanings continue to seethe menacingly.

A sometimes alien mythology can help Israel to better understand its remaining options. In ancient Greek myth, as recounted by Albert Camus, the pagan gods had condemned Sisyphus to roll a great rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. Unceasingly. By rendering this dreadful judgment, the Greek deities had imposed a mysterious punishment of interminable labor. But, at the very same time, they had also revealed something more difficult to understand.

Even useless labor need not be meaningless. Such labor could also be heroic.

Israel now faces the prospectively endless task of pushing a massive weight up the mountain. Always. And, with near certainty, the great rock will always roll right back down, to its point of origin.

There is, it would appear, no real chance that the rock will ever remain perched, fixed, securely, reassuringly, at the summit. Why, then, should Israel even bother to push on? It is not a silly question.

For Israel, long-suffering and always in mortal danger, there is no easy solution to its primal security problem. In the fashion of Sisyphus, the Jewish state must now accept the inconceivably heavy burden of a possible suffering without end. There is, of course, always reason to hope, but for now at least the only true choice seems to be to continue pushing upward, with no apparent relief, or to sigh deeply, lie prostrate and surrender (that is, to follow the “peace process” to “Palestine”).

What sort of sorrowful imagery is this? Can anyone really be shocked that, for the beleaguered people of Israel, a Sisyphean fate must lie beyond their ordinary powers of imagination? Expectedly, Israelis still search formally for ordinary diplomatic solutions. They look, commonly, into politics, into personalities, into leaders, into tangible policies. They seek remedies, answers, peace settlements, cartography, disengagements and realignments. They examine, sometimes meticulously, the whole package of ordinary prospects that would allegedly make Israel more “normal” and hence more “safe.”

But safety will never come to Israel through banality or compromise. Israel is not “normal,” nor should it be made normal. For reasons that are bound to be hotly debated and argued for centuries, Israel is unique.

To deny this uniqueness, and to try to figure out ways in which the eternally tormenting stone might finally stay positioned on the top of the mountain, forever, is to seek superficial answers to extraordinary questions. Above all, it is to misunderstand Israel’s special place in the world, and to subject all Israel to what the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard had called (as a generic affliction) the “sickness unto death.”

Significantly, the decidedly worst fate for Israel is not “merely” to have to endure one war after another, or, to continue with our metaphor, even to have to keep rolling the rock up the mountain. Rather, it is to try to buy its way free abjectly, from its own irresistible destiny and torment, by falsifying itself.

For each individual on earth, his or her personal existence is wholly improbable. Consider that the number of possible combinations for the human DNA molecule is ten to the 2,400,000,000th power. This means that the odds of any one of us being “me” are one in ten to the 2,400,000,000th power.

These are not betting odds.

Similarly, one can readily imagine that these not very promising numbers apply as well to nation-states. Still, when we speak of Israel, the singular Jewish state, we must enter into an entirely different and incomparable kind of calculation. In essence, Israel’s existence is both more and less probable than the life of any single human individual.

The apparent paradox lies in Israel’s special origins, and also in its absolute and incontestable uniqueness.

Let us return to the Greek myth. We recall that Sisyphus is a heroic and tragic figure in Greek mythology. This is because he insistently labored valiantly, despite the apparent futility of his efforts.

Today, Israel’s leadership, managing to more or less disregard the nation’s special history, still acts in ways that are neither tragic nor heroic. Unwilling to accept an almost certain future of protracted war, terror, and possibly even genocide, one deluded prime minister after another has sought to deny Israel’s special situation in the world. Hence, he or she has always been ready to embrace, unwittingly, the then-currently-fashionable codifications of collective suicide.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Resisting War, Terrorism, And Genocide (Second of Three Parts)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Pro-ISIS Group Says ‘Use Ferguson Flames to Fuel Terror in America’
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Arabs create opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/resisting-war-terrorism-and-genocide-second-of-three-parts/2012/11/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: