New Ironies Abound ... But the Old Scapegoat Remains the Same

Paul Greenberg
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Posted: May 13, 2016 12:01 AM
New Ironies Abound ... But the Old Scapegoat Remains the Same

If there is a more self-critical society in the world than Israel's, it does not come readily to mind, for the Israelis are famous, even notorious, for criticizing themselves, and were even before they were Israelis but just the Yishuv -- the Jews of Palestine with all their Zionist parties and ever-splitting factions. Their divisions go back at least since the days of Theodor Herzl and Ze'ev Jabotinsky, for has there ever been a more argumentative bunch? Not even the calm voice of Ahad Ha'am, ne Asher Ginsberg, could quiet them for long.

So, naturally, the United Nations and all the other powers that be, or want to be, tend to single them out as the source of all the troubles in the Middle East if not the world. That much has not changed.

Listen to Yair Golan, an Israeli major general speaking on Holocaust Remembrance Day: "If there is anything that frightens me in the remembrance of the Holocaust, it is discerning the nauseating processes that took place in Europe in general, and in Germany specifically back then, 70, 80 and 90 years ago, and seeing evidence of them here among us in the year 2016."

This is an occasion, the general added, to "discuss our ability to uproot from among us buds of intolerance, buds of violence, buds of self-destruction on the path to ethical deterioration." If that is supposed to be vainglory, what would humility be? Or as the general put it, "There is nothing easier and simpler than arousing fears and intimidating." What kind of danger to world peace and the brotherhood of man is that? Instead it is the essence of humility and self-criticism.

Naturally, the general caught it from the usual super-patriots of his own country. In this age of Trumpism the world over, his should be an example to follow, not deride. If all the nations of the world displayed the same approach to their out-of-control nationalisms, what a transformation would take place -- a transformation for the better, not worse. May the general's tribe increase!