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The seductive cult of eternal victimhood

Steven Spielberg's latest masterpiece, Munich, is looking more and more like it's tanking. And good riddance. But by making a movie about something so relatively recent, it's allowed people who actually took part in the events to comment -- and those comments are most enlightening.

The attack on the Olympic games, which led to the murder of 11 athletes, has brought the attack's mastermind -- Mohammed Daoud -- out in the open. And he's still not happy about how it's portrayed.

According to Daoud, "(w)hether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier." Therefore, by his definition, every single Israeli is a legitimate target. This is a common rationale among terrorists -- since Israel has universal conscription, every Israeli is a soldier -- past, present, or future. There is no such thing as an Israeli civilian, and all are fair game.

But on the Palestinian side -- who is a fair target? Apparently no one -- not even those who actually take up arms. Every Palestinian is a civilian, every one an innocent victim.

The argument, by itself, is an absurdity. But the fact that it's so widely accepted around the world is what makes it an obscenity.


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Comments (11)

Hmmmm.The ruse of ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

The ruse of "universal conscription" is also unnecessary as many proponents of Islam have repeatedly stated that anyone who isn't a muslim is by definition a valid target.

"According to Daoud, "(w... (Below threshold)
langtry:

"According to Daoud, "(w)hether a pianist or an athlete, any Israeli is a soldier." Therefore, by his definition, every single Israeli is a legitimate target. This is a common rationale among terrorists -- since Israel has universal conscription, every Israeli is a soldier -- past, present, or future. There is no such thing as an Israeli civilian, and all are fair game.

But on the Palestinian side -- who is a fair target? Apparently no one -- not even those who actually take up arms. Every Palestinian is a civilian, every one an innocent victim.

"The argument, by itself, is an absurdity. But the fact that it's so widely accepted around the world is what makes it an obscenity."

Thank you, JayTea, for encapsulating in so few words the absurdity of moral quivalence that goes on in the minds of seemingly intelligent people when it comes to "Palestine" and the Palestinians. When one boils it down to the most common denominator, as you closing sentence does, there is absolutely no justification for the Palestinian contention -- to support it is to advocate amorality and evil. I am a secular person, and evil has a meaning for me that is beside it's usually religious/biblical connotations. Evil is the complete devaluatuation of another's right to life and freedom, and that is what people like Daoud did in 1972 and continue to do to this day.

For Speilberg himself to not recognize the truth inherent in the words of people like Daoud, and
for him to continue to act as if reciprocal recognition of the value of life is a possibility for Black September members -- and their contemporary appeasers -- is evidence of fatal naivete. I recognize his right to comment as he sees fit in the artistic realm in which he clearly excells: but I cannot abide the fact he still thinks that the world operaties on the same set principles regardless of any and all demonstrations to the contrary. The world is not as simple as Hollywood would have us to believe, and even if he is a secular Jew, he should recognize this better than anyone!

Correction: "beside"... (Below threshold)
langtry:

Correction: "beside" should have been "beyond". I hate it when I do that!

You're right, Jay, to criti... (Below threshold)
cat:

You're right, Jay, to criticize those who say that any Israeli is a legitimate target. But your argument would carry more weight if you hadn't consistently taken the far-right position on every issue concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Murdering Israelis is obscene. So is justifying those murders. But you seem to welcome the death of every Palestinian and deny that they even have the right to their own land. To back up your argument, you usually quote extremists who distort history as much as historical revisionists like David Irving.

And that makes you part of the problem - because although Israel has a right to exist and its people have a right to live without fear of attack, so does Palestine and so do the Palestinians...a right that you and your government have consistently sided against.

You constantly whinge about illegal aliens in the United States while you cheer on the illegal aliens who steal the Palestians' land at gunpoint - and you deny that it was ever their land in the first place. You give the impression that you would be happy if the Palestinians ended up dead or in reservations like the indigenous population of your own country. Or perhaps you would be happy if they were all expelled.

The seemingly eternal spiral of violence will only end if both sides recognize each others' right to exist - or if one or both sides is exterminated. Those, like you, who only ever acknowledge the rights of one side make the second horrible possibility more likely.

cat:"The... (Below threshold)
langtry:

cat:

"The seemingly eternal spiral of violence will only end if both sides recognize each others' right to exist - or if one or both sides is exterminated. Those, like you, who only ever acknowledge the rights of one side make the second horrible possibility more likely."

With all due respect, cat, is that not the attitude of radical Islamists/Palestinians like Mohammed Daoud?

If one side clearly has no intention of acknowledging the other side's right to exist, and utlizies violence towards that side without qualification (i.e., the "other" is a child, or a supporter of the establishment of a Palestinian state), is it not foolhardy to assume that such people will do otherwise? Do you think people like Hezbollah or Fatah will suddenly adopt a judeochristian concept of right and wrong, in contravention to all they hold sacred? Do you think this will happen simply because well meaning people like yourself will it so?


The Palestine/Ísraeli conf... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The Palestine/Ísraeli conflict has been so emotive and so polemical that even to describe it ,one has to negotiate land mine words for both sides such as homeland,victimhood etc. To take up cat's point of Jay Tea's rather singular indignation at the special treatment of illegal immigrants in the US in epador's ephipany in the the new colonialism..Robert Fisk has a similar perception in the 'Holy Land 'but with different sympathies "So let's call a colony a colony, let's call occupation what it is, let's call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit."

Hi Jay,The referen... (Below threshold)
Avner:

Hi Jay,

The reference of the title to eternal victimhood at first made me think of something other than the Palestinians. There are also those jews who, like possibly Speilberg, are still uncomfortable with Jews who defend themselves. They are much more comfortable in this world of moral equivalencies and moral relativism in jews being victims than active defenders. After all, in our modern world who can be more moral than the victim?

So Eternal Victim is something the Palestinians would like to aspire to and something many Jews miss having once been.

I think this also explains the ease with which Europe accepts the villification of Israel, they too were much more comfortable with jews as the eternal victims, and were more comfortable with their guilt for the Holocaust when Israel was weak and always at risk of being overcome.

As to Cat... well there is just so much ignorance in what you have to say that I don't even know where to begin. Do you also support the return of 30-40% of Baghdad to Jews and 40% of the Old City of Jerusalem to Jews? After all, the Jewish population of Baghdad is easily the oldest continuous self-identifying demographic in Baghdad and was in the 1920's and 1930's 40% of the city's population. Or do you also promote the expulsion of any arab in Israel and the PA whose descendants in the area only go back to the 1920's and 1930's when they immigrated there from Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in order to take advantage of the economic and population boom brought on by the British and infulux of Jews?

My guess is your rationalizations are more in line with your anti-semitic leanings (and yes, we would find them to be such if we talk more) than with any of the justifications you would like to express.

Avner

Avner, your accusation of a... (Below threshold)
cat:

Avner, your accusation of anti-semitism is way off the mark, but I knew it would come from someone.

JT and I have often talked,... (Below threshold)
curiousandwatching:

JT and I have often talked, ok when it comes to politics It is more of he talks, and I try to get a clue about what the issues are. I read postings like this and see how emotions run one or the other. For me personally, I know I am removed enough from the issues to not really understand the why. I can understand the issues of land, religious fevor, supplies, control, needing an enemy to unite the masses.

What confuses me is that when so many understand that the issues are more basic then politics, That they are issues used to unite people together, I wonder how the issues fire people up so much

Here is where cat's positio... (Below threshold)
JD:

Here is where cat's position takes an abrupt turn from reality. Israel is perfectly willing to live in peace with a Palestinian state, provided that Palestinian state quits lobbing bombs and sending young children with explosives strapped to their bodies into their streets. On the other hand, seeing as how many in the Middle East, and Palestinians in particular, have vowed to never even acknowledge the legitimacy of an Israeli homeland ... well, rational thinkers get the drift. cat would have us believe that if the Joooooooooos accede to the Palestinian demand, the Palestinians would be all fine and dandy, and quit killing them. However, postions like that of the current ruling class in Iran seem to be more along the lines of mainstream thought over there. If you think about what Israel is capable of doing in their own defense, in comparison to what they actually do, it always amazes me how much restraint they show. I dare say we could not do so.

Question? If Israel is a de... (Below threshold)
PG:

Question? If Israel is a democracy why is Mahmoud Abbas not the President of Israel? The population of Gaza, West Bank and Israeli Arabs is larger than that of Israeli Jews.
Answer Because Israel is an apartheid regime where Arabs living in Gaza and West Bank dont get a vote in the Israeli elections even though they have to follow the laws and pay the taxes of the Israeli government.

Being anti-Israeli is not the same as being anti-semite. Frankly all Israel has done is give Jews a bad name.

The apartheid regime of Israel is a blot on the Jewish and world conscience and needs to be replaced with a true democracy. It can be done. Noone 150 years back would have imagined the US having voting rights and equal civil rights for Blacks in the US but they do have them now and so can the Arabs in Israel.




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