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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Palestinians versus self-hating Jews

In Whose suffering is greater?  Yoram Kaniuk meditates on the reciprocal relations between Jews and Palestinians. Citing Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, he notes:
Darwish is an extraordinary poet; he is bitter, often hateful, has a sense of humor and much wisdom, and hints that the Palestinians don't really interest the world. Those who actually interest the world are the "bad" Jews and their treatment of the Palestinians. And who on earth really takes an interest in the Arabs of Bahrain or in the suffering of the Arabs of Saudi Arabia where women's repression and religious fanaticism is rife? Who takes an interest in the Sudanese, who are currently killing more people a day than the number of Palestinians killed in a year?

Had it not been for Israel, even the Syrians would not have known that they threw live people out of planes. And when Jordan massacred thousands of Palestinians in what was termed Black September, the matter didn't spark much international interest either.

And he goes on to say:
If Darwish's interpretations are correct, then the Israeli-Palestinian covenant is a blood covenant and the bloodshed turns the two peoples into one inseparable chunk. Perhaps one day we'll join forces against the world and then they won't be liked either. I am not talking about who is more right.

The late Israeli-Palestinian author Emile Habibi maintained at the time that what really preoccupies us is who is suffering more. I once attended an Israeli-German-Palestinian meeting in Germany. A poet or perhaps a Palestinian author said passionately that "you the Jews don't know what suffering is." Ida Fink, the great Jewish Polish author who attended the meeting, said that we do in fact know a little about suffering.
Although I do not regard myself as a man of morals and I don't really believe there is any justice in history or politics, I sense and honor Darwish's harsh justness. Perhaps now, with the passing of so many years, he understands that the Jews haven't been particularly liked over the past 2000 years – but because of them, the Palestinians are now liked a little more. After all, overseas news broadcasts are headed by two Palestinians shot by Israelis.

Perhaps the Palestinians are fortunate; if they are now liked so much worldwide, they should allow us to keep acting brutally, insensitively and cruelly in our hundred year war. And perhaps they will get lucky and win; perhaps then we'll throw them into the sea.

There is so much self hate amongst us that it's hard to believe that our just attempt at Zionism will succeed in the long run. And when we lose our faith in our justness, and we shall no longer be around, they will become the victors and they will be less liked, and we perhaps will be liked a little more. And the party suffering more will once again be us, not them, despite the fact that when we were being murdered no one took an interest in us.
Ben Gurion said (not verbatim), "Never mind what the gentiles think. The question is, what are we going to do?" Don't we need more Ben-Gurion thought?
Ami Isseroff


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