narcasse: Sebastian Flyte.  Brideshead Revisited (2008) (pathway)
[personal profile] narcasse
Recently I’ve had lots of opportunities to rant about the troubles in Gaza and since my opinion of the matter is pretty polarised I’m not going to go into that here, even if I will say that the fact that both sides seemed to have stopped fighting over security or territory and had instead started fighting over who was ‘right’ was an unpleasant development.

Aside from arguments over which side can claim moral superiority then, what has always confused me on some level has been the severity of Israeli retaliation. I hadn’t thought about it too much other than along the lines of seeing that they had the greater military force in the conflict and presuming that that was enough of a reason for them to use it. But when you look at any situation involving a large military force against anyone else, the way the conflict transpires doesn’t involve using excessive force, in the sense that it’s just an unnecessary expenditure when a smaller outlay would do the job just as well. So why then would Israel strike with such grand military gestures? Quite possibly for the same reason that France can and will sound like a great military power at times if you listen to the rhetoric.

It’s an emotional issue but not limited to specific individuals, rather it’s a case of defending the emotional vulnerability of an entire nation. France were overrun during WWII and that’s forever marked the national consciousness; the Jewish population likewise were the victims of genocide in the same period and that has impacted upon the national consciousness tremendously. The Jewish population across Europe weren’t a cohesive nation during the war but an extended religious community who were nationals of various countries. Their faith connected them to each other but a faith community doesn’t as a general rule tend to have its own military structure. And as nationals of various countries they looked to their own nations to act against Nazi aggression. Unfortunately, their various nations could do little to help as they were overrun, politically or via foreign invasion and the Jewish community were singled out as scapegoats by a madman.

This vulnerability among other things led to the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in the aftermath. And one of the first things the Israelis set about doing was creating a military that was capable of defending them from the sort of horrors they’d faced in the past. The only problem there being that many things were a potential trigger for those terrible memories. And Palestinian attacks on their very doorstep are more of a trigger than anything else. So Israel responds in the same way that it would have fought the Nazis had it existed at the time, because regardless of talk of peace there’s always the lurking suspicion of escalation, of seeing a second Holocaust if they don’t strike back hard enough to defend themselves and cripple the enemy so that it can never harm them again.

It doesn’t justify things certainly but it does to some extent explain them. Gavin de Becker probably says it best:

"Every human action can be explained by what precedes it, but that does not excuse it."
- De Becker, G. 1997: The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signs that Protect us from Violence. p. 216. New York: Dell Publishing.
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narcasse: Sebastian Flyte.  Brideshead Revisited (2008) (Default)

June 2017

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