web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



The Latest Chapter Of Israel And “Palestine” – Not Tragedy, But An Absurd Drama In Many Acts (Part I)


Beres-Louis-Rene

            Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now officially on record in favor of creating a Palestinian state (a position that he had long opposed), but only if the new Arab state is “demilitarized.Naturally, any such notion of demilitarization will be anathema to the Palestinians and their supporters, and has – in fact – already been rejected by all of them.

 

            So, my dear readers here in The Jewish Press, let’s now go back to the beginning and recall Mr. Netanyahu’s underlying objections to “Palestine,” which, ironically, remain more valid and well founded than ever.

 

            There is still no place on earth called Palestine. When a reborn Israel was authoritatively created by international treaties and international law in 1948, it did not replace Palestine, nor did it prevent Palestinian statehood. Nonetheless, most of the world, including U.S. President Barack Obama, prefers to think otherwise. This altogether basic misunderstanding and misrepresentation is now also as common in great universities as it is in very ordinary politics. Indeed, wherever one looks for informed commentary about the Middle East, a symmetrical condition is widely presumed to exist between two fully sovereign and hence equal states. To wit, much of this commentary speaks routinely of a protracted conflict between Israel and “Palestine.”

 

             Perhaps if this were the only pertinent falsehood here, Israel and its few real allies could still deal effectively with the attendant problems. However, certain “moderate” Palestinian factions still pretend to favor a “Two State Solution,” and Jerusalem – endlessly pressured by Washington – still goes along with the deception and charade. It follows that an authentic state of Palestine may actually come to fruition, and this 23rd Arab country will quickly bring about a de jure as well as de facto equivalence.

 

            Such a state should be prevented at all costs. Palestinian statehood would be inherently unstable. Above all else, it would lead, in short order, to major new assaults upon Israel. Cumulatively, these assaults could even have existential outcomes.

 

            Genre can illuminate. Israel, after the creation of Palestine, would await a tragic fate.  Yet, because of the fact that the Jewish State will have been more or less actively complicit in such creation all along, a different dramatic image would then more accurately reflect Israel’s geopolitical reality. Like the minimalist poetics of Samuel Beckett, this entire “play,” however blatantly tragic, would also be preposterous. The great Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco had labeled some of his own work a “tragic farce,” and this particularly odd juxtaposition would likely be the most suitable description of Israel and “Palestine.”

 

             More about genre. Both Israel and the Palestinians have long been engaged in an elaborate pantomime. Somehow, both have managed, by immense clamor, by vast rhythmic repetition, by ceaseless reliance upon platitudes, to make genuine thinking impossible. Now there is great danger that a continuously elaborated fiction of Palestinian statehood – a concoction governed by an inscrutably perverse and destructive logic – will soon become historical fact.

 

            Let us go back in time, to a much earlier era and a different (but still nearby) venue. The early Greeks, of course, did not share the monotheistic Jewish understanding of One G-d. But both the Greeks and the Jews did subscribe to the perfectly reasonable idea that all human beings and societies are obligated to ward off disaster as best they can. HaRav Saadia Gaon included freedom of will among the central teachings of Judaism, and Maimonides affirmed that we humans stand alone in the world, “…to know what is good and what is evil, with none to prevent him from either doing good or evil.” 

 

            Free will, we Jews understand, must always be oriented to life, to the blessing, and never to the curse. For Hellenes and Hebrews alike, the binding charge was to strive in this mandated direction of self-preservation through intelligence, and also through disciplined acts of decision. In circumstances where such striving was consciously rejected, the outcomes, no matter how catastrophic, could never truly rise to the manifestly dignified level of tragedy.

 

            Genre elucidates. The ancient vision of “High Tragedy,” as it has evolved from 5th century BCE Athens, is always clear on one crucial point:  The victim, says Aristotle, is one whom “the gods kill for their sport, as wanton boys do flies.”  It is this wantonness, this caprice that makes tragedy unendurable to human reason and sensibility.

 

             “Human reason and sensibility.” In seeking peace in the contemporary Middle East? Let us be candid. With the creation of “Palestine,” Israel’s unavoidable lamentations would be largely self-inflicted. The preposterous drama, as it is now still unfolding, is thus at best a disturbing page from Beckett or Ionesco, from the recognizable genre of the absurd.  There is certainly no hint of any cathartic element drawn from Aristotle, Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides.  At worst, Israel’s tragic fate is being torn directly from the pages of irony and farce, a demeaning form of comedy that relies principally on contrivances of plot, and on inherently low levels of credibility. 

 

            In a farce, matters often end badly except for a last-minute rescue via so-called deus ex machina. No such rescue could possibly await the increasingly imperiled State of Israel. Understood in explicitly Jewish terms, we should recall here the words of Rabi Yanai: “A man should never put himself in a place of danger and say that a miracle will save him, lest there be no miracle….” (Talmud) Perhaps Israel’s current prime minister does not expect a miracle, but then upon what precise manner of calculation does he now construct his farcical policy of “two states living peacefully side-by-side”?

 

(To be continued)

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with Israeli security issues and international law. Born in Switzerland, he is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press. 

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


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 “The Latest Chapter Of Israel And “Palestine” – Not Tragedy, But An Absurd Drama In Many Acts (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest Indepth Stories
William Safire

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

Whatever one has to say about Iran, it does have clout in the Middle East and the Gulf region and could play a key role in addressing the ISIS threat.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe states that every member of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the entire nation just as a leaf depends on the tree from which it grows.

“Israel must prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries, which may endanger its existence”

“I pray that fellow Jews open their eyes & connect themselves to the national side of being a Jew”

The big service ISIS is doing the West right now is checking Iranian power, just as the Sunni rebels inside Syria are keeping the Iranian agent Hezbollah in check, and just as the PLO is keeping Hamas in check, at least to some degree.

Research shows that high doses of marijuana can produce acute psychotic reactions, lower IQ in teens

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres
Louis Rene Beres

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

Louis Rene Beres

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.

An undifferentiated or across-the-board commitment to nuclear ambiguity could prove harmful to Israel’s’s overall security.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-latest-chapter-of-israel-and-palestine-not-tragedy-but-an-absurd-drama-in-many-acts-part-i/2009/09/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: