Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We have met the enemy and he is us # 2

One definition of a victim is someone who believes they are a victim. And as Byron Katie says in one of the film clips on, people wo they believe they are victims can be dangerous. I would add - very dangerous - both to themselves and others.

I guess when thinking about her words it seems she might be talking not so much about those to whom unwanted things happen, but to those who inherit the legacy of this.

Palestians and Israelis both believe themselves to be victims. And those who identify with either "side" also see themselves as victims, or as righteous supporters of the victims. And they too do - or wish to do - incredible violence. For example journalists who romanticise Palestinian resentment and bigotry and turn it into resistance, or the Christian right who support Palestinian dispossession because it seems to "fit" with their reading of their holy texts.

But it seems to me that a strong case can be made that the biggest enemy of the Palestinians is the Palestinians, or at least the recurrent ways of thinking that go along with much Moslem Palestinian identity - and exactly the same can be said of the Israeli - Jewish identity.

I would say the greates enemy of a functional Israel is the growing discourse of resentment which infiltrates much thinking there, the corruption, misgovernance, lack of belief in, and respect for, the rule of law, and the lack of clarity and concensus around the priorities Israelis want to set for themselves.

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