Exodus Redux


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Josh Marshall linked last night to a fascinating take on the appalling Israeli attack on a ship full of Turkish do-gooders. George Friedman first discusses the book and filmExodus, then applies it to yesterday’s imbecilic act of violence in international waters:

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more
precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the
Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the
Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far
more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral
question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist
portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation
but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish
flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is
to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion
against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel
between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza
issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is
dangerous.

I don’t necessarily buy all of Mr. Friedman’s arguments but evokingExodus is a powerful thing. I’m hoping that there will be a backlash in Israel against the Netanyahu government but I have my doubts. The secular Social Democratic vision of David Ben-Gurion and other founders of Israel has been in full retreat for many years. The key event, alas, was immigration from the former Soviet Union, which was something fervently wished for by Israelis and American Jews alike. The FSU immigrants have pushed Israeli politics so far to the Right that Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir look like bleeding heart liberals. The Israel of Ben-Gurion, Meir and Rabin seems to have lost out to endless bellicosity and inept military adventurism in the name of survival.

As Athenae said earlier the whole thing is anenormous clusterfuck. It’s time for the United States to end its policy of declining to criticize the Israelis when they shit on themselves like this. Friendship is cited but that’s not friendship, it’s cravenness. If the US had listened to the French and the Germans, we would not still be embroiled in a seemingly endless stay in Iraq. Real friends tell one another the truth and not just what they want to hear.

Oy, such a mess. If only the warring parties would light a spliff and listen to Bob Marley and the Wailers, the world would be a better place:

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2 thoughts on “Exodus Redux

  1. Jude says:

    The key event, alas, was immigration from the former Soviet Union, which was something fervently wished for by Israelis and American Jews alike. The FSU immigrants have pushed Israeli politics so far to the Right that Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir look like bleeding heart liberals. The Israel of Ben-Gurion, Meir and Rabin seems to have lost out to endless bellicosity and inept military adventurism in the name of survival.
    Hmmm. Should I make a joke about Seminoles, or go with the claim that all of this is Tevye’s fault?
    It’s a dilemma.

  2. karen marie says:

    I hadn’t thought about the Russian immigration to Israel and how that would affect Israeli politics, but it makes sense that they would shift the politics rightward.
    Has anyone done a study breaking down Israeli political views by cultural subgroups?
    The argument that the “do-gooders” were trying to split Israel from the west — is that supposed to be some kind of reason why they deserved having the IDF board their ship and shoot them?
    While I am very skeptical of Israeli claims that their military were in danger as a result of hijacking a flotilla of ships, the people on board should have known better than to put up any resistance at all. I have a hard time wrapping my head around martyrdom.
    Every day I hate humans just a little bit more.

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