In an Age of Terror, the Left Needs to Listen to the Right
In a deeply disturbing and repeating 21st-century, paradox, however, the approach of Israel’s generous and selfless ones has worked to the benefit of most regressive forces on the planet — while on the contrary, the voice that awakening Europe needs most to heed in the current crisis is that of those self-centered Israelis who relate European woes to their own pain. The failure to understand this paradox explains both why Western elites are so poor at resisting global jihad, and why, for a disaffected youth — Muslim by birth or by choice — it makes sense to join that jihad. Indeed, this split in Israeli discourse about the Paris attacks illustrates the disproportionate impact of a peculiar Jewish dispute on the current cognitive disorientation of the West. …
This dichotomy between tribal and universal sheds light on the current paradoxical situation in Europe, where the most extraordinary cognitive disarray rules. Specifically, when it comes to judging Israel’s conflict with its neighbors, Europeans have inverted vision. And the ensuing radical cognitive disorientation contributes to a fatal misreading of the forces Europeans themselves face.
By and large, the European elites — journalists, academics, policy pundits, political class — are members of the universalist camp. In their reading, Israelis are the zero-sum players. They deserve the hostility of their neighbors; they have brought upon themselves the suicide bombings, the intifadas, and the deep hatreds. They have done so with their settlements and occupation and humiliating checkpoints and periodic bombing raids that kill hundreds of children and thousands of innocent civilians.
They think the Israelis are the tribal players here, needlessly but persistently humiliating their poor Palestinian victims; that if Israel stopped constantly frustrating Palestinian aspirations with their insistence on ruling over them and rather made noble gestures, Israel would take a dramatic step toward that peace and make the world a better place for all. Its refusal to so act, proves that Israel is the greatest obstacle to peace, the great provoker of Palestinian grievance. However lamentable, Palestinian hostility comes from an understandable reaction to what Israel does to them.
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