After The `Disengagement` — Israel`s Approaching `Sickness Unto Death`
THE JEWISH PRESS - Posted 8/24/2005
By Louis Rene Beres
More than anything else, what now emanates from Prime Minister Sharon`s willful deportation of pious and peaceful Jews in favor of avowed Palestinian terrorists is an overwhelming scent of impurity. Surely it had been bad enough for the embattered Jewish inhabitants of Gaza to endure endless and inexcusable Arab cruelties, but to compound this unique suffering with a self-imposed policy of territorial dismemberment was beyond all reasonable explanation.
The next stage, of course, is perfectly obvious. Bolstered by Washington and London, the Palestinian side (Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, it makes no difference whatsoever) will demand that Israel leave Judea, Samaria and "Arab East Jerusalem." When Israel cries out with incredulity that this is "unfair" and "unjust" — after all, hasn`t the country already taken great strides at compromise? — the Arab answer will be more exploding buses in Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.
How sadly predictable it all is. The ongoing Arab/Islamic war against Israel is not about compromise. It is about annihilation. Jewish annihilation. Complete annihilation. The only "compromise" Israel could ever offer that would be acceptable would be to disappear and to die. To commit an auto-genocide. It is true, certainly, that Sharon`s "disengagement" is already a step in that incomprehensible direction, but even Israel`s most diehard champions of self-delusion and national surrender will likely draw the line at more direct complicity in collective Jewish immolations.
Here, therefore is a stunning irony. Following the government`s enthusiastic "disengagement," Israel — in spite of the extraordinary heroism of its Gaza settler resistance — is seemingly determined to die. Yet, Israel`s existential enemies won`t oblige this self-annihilatory determination all at once. Instead, they will "allow" Israel to disappear slowly; first, by more volitional territorial dismemberment and then by relentless war.
This long-planned Arab jihad will be initiated in carefully measured phases. Only when the IDF is contentedly fawning upon its own doom — an unutterable humiliation already begun during the "disengagement" — would the dissolving Jewish state become the inert object of absorption into "Palestine." Significantly, so long as Israeli soldiers are commanded to deport their fellow Jews in order to create sanctuaries for Arab terrorists, such absorption would likely be undertaken without even the use of force. Facing a so-called Jewish state that indefatigably defeats and defiles itself, force would no longer be necessary.
Washington and London will be pleased. Still unable to understand that Gaza will now become the ideal staging area for mega-terrorism against America and England, leaders in the West will celebrate Israel`s "incorporation" into a "democratic Palestine." Captivated by the anesthetized marketplace of empty jingles, and demanding a shared Jerusalem as the price of "fairness," their meticulously-crafted words will have a comforting ring. Yet their solution to Middle East "peace," accompanied by massive Jewish flight and quasi-medieval expulsions, will be an exterminatory one. If present Israeli surrender trends remain constant, disengagement will have begun the recognizable end of Israel and a corollary Jewish re-diasporization.
Despair, we learn from the philosopher Kierkegaard, "is the sickness unto death," and it is now Israel`s likely fate to despair for a long, long while, even to a point where it might prefer to die. The torment of Israel`s despair will be precisely this; that it will not be able to die, not until its enemies decide that they are ready for the moribund Jewish state, stained and stripped of all grace, to exit the earth. To be sick in this grotesque fashion, to be sick unto death and not even to be able to die, will be, for all Israel, the cruelest blow of all.
The despairing state, like the despairing individual, cannot die. For Israel, the agonizing hopelessness — in this case, even the last hope of death will be unavailable — will entail "dying the death," actually living to experience death. This fate is so much worse than simply being allowed to die; quickly, completely, blessedly. But to die and yet not to die, to actually die the death, would be for Israel a fate worse than death.
Israel probably will not be removed in the sudden spasms of an unconventional war. While this sounds like a prediction that ought to elicit far-reaching relief among all who love Israel, exactly the opposite is true. For the present Third Jewish Commonwealth may not avoid death altogether, and it will perhaps expire at the hands of its many villainous enemies. This Jewish state may die, but only after a seemingly endless period of despair in which death, paradoxically, will appear as distinctly welcome.
Thus it is that despair, this sickness in the Israeli-Self, that is the Jewish state`s sickness unto death. The despairing Jewish state is mortally ill, but it will not be allowed to die, at least not for a while. To be delivered from this sickness unto death is impossible, unless — unless — Israel`s profound sickness of the spirit is quickly understood and cured. This sickness, a rotting of Israel`s Jewish soul, is vastly more dangerous than enemy armies and missiles. Although it is certainly correct that a dramatic synergy exists between enemy military might and Israel`s growing "soulessness," it is the latter that breeds a virulent sickness unto death.
Israel`s sickness of the spirit is not its sickness unto death. Rather, it is the pathology that leads to the sickness unto death. It is, then, an illness that leads not to death directly (that would be a relatively favorable outcome), but to death very indirectly by an extended despair.
Israel`s sickness of the spirit has several expressions. One is the pervasive and collective self-loathing that turns away from everything Jewish in the country`s desperate search to be modern and "post-Zionist." Another is the unapolgetic servility with which successive Israeli governments have capitulated to every outrageous Palestinian demand. Proceeding from one forfeiture to the next, a proudly de-Judaized Israel has neglected all obligation, dignity and common sense in its frenzied ambition to become Los Angeles.
Fear and trembling. It is time for Israel to experience these sorts of dread, to acknowledge that the Third Temple Commonwealth may not live to see a Third Temple, and to understand that expelling its own people is always an unforgivable crime. But Israel is not simply destined to corrupted forms of wisdom. Instead, it has consciously chosen to be "progressive" so as not to appear "too Jewish."
Whatever his politics or degree of religious devotion, no Jewish soldier of Israel has the right to forcibly expel Jews to make way for openly-declared terrorists and genociders. Not now. Not ever. In such existential matters, there is a clear and overriding obligation to identify expulsion orders as manifestly illegal. This is true not only because of the generic Nuremberg obligation of all soldiers to resist crimes of the state, but also because of the specifically Jewish obligation not to be complicit in Jewish national suicide. The idea that this point should even have to be raised before a Jewish army in the post-Holocaust world reveals the grievously pitiable condition to which Israel has now allowed itself to fall.
It is not enough for the tormented Jewish soldier of Israel to weep together with his inconsolable Jewish deportees. An inexcusable act is not rendered permissible merely because of conflicted personal feelings. Now, Israel`s only hope to avoid the sickness unto death is to celebrate the stark difference between blind obedience and indispensable resistance.
The raw heroism of young Israelis who sought to defy the vile Gaza expulsions with every fibre of their Jewish beings is today a singular source of residual hope — a hope that even Sharon`s poisoned Israel can still avoid the sickness unto death. Alone and abandoned by America`s mainstream Jewish establishment, ridiculed by Israel`s terribly sophisticated literati and impressively enlightened intellectuals, these Jewish heroes — fighters armed with olive oil and eggs and fruit — were determined not to encourage future Arab terrorism. To prevent the delivery of Jewish land to the next generation of Arab terrorists was their only goal. They acted magnificently, with a clear sense of impending and inevitable failure. Facing an unspeakable complicity between their government and their prospective murderers, their inspirational resistance manifested the very definition of civilized nobility and high tragedy. However refined its editorial accents, no twisted column in Haaretz or The New York Times praising the collaborators can ever change this fact.
The Palestinian Authority`s appointed clergy, preaching on the Temple Mount, recently offered the following familiar sermon: "Palestinians spearhead Allah`s war against the Jews. The dead shall not rise until the Palestinians shall kill all the Jews....All agreements with Israel are provisional." As for expected Palestinian gratitude to the United States and Great Britain for pushing Israel into the "Road Map" gambit of genocide, here is what another PA-appointed preacher said on the Gaza-based Al Quds radio station the day following the July London bombings: "We welcome these blessed acts...."
The Palestinian solution for "The Jews" is an openly Final Solution. As long as Israel agrees to yield to such a plan, its sickness of the spirit will spread and spread. Finally, unless it can still be reversed by the sort of Jewish heroism just displayed by the faithful Gaza resisters, it will become the sickness unto death.
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LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). He lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law, and is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.