Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Israel itself is a mistake"


Well, let 'em join the club!

America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
--Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Remark to the author sometime after Freud's visit to America in 1909. In Ernest Jones' _The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud_ [1961], Chapter 18)


Anywhere else I am at the mercy of the government. It is very simple. I want to be in a country where I can defend myself when I am attacked.
-- Ada Sereni, in James McNeish, _Belonging_, 1980

Thinking over my recent posts on the Lebanon offensive, I realize that I've come close to endorsing collective punishment of the entire Lebanese population. I'll have to ruminate on that for a spell... But no one has a right to demand that Israel agree to some stylized parry-and-thrust choreography with terrorism, any more than a farmer should have to make peace with scorpions in his barn.

And I wept and said to myself: Away with the tears!
The sorrow will cease but the graveness will remain!
The graveness will remain, it will seep into the well of the world
like a prophecy, like holy scriptures -
Do not cry, do not weep ...
Eighty million murderers will atone for one worried child in Israel!
-- Yitzhak Katzenelson, "The First Ones"

And hey, have another quote while you're still here:

We're always in the headlines. _The New York Times_. CNN. The BBC. We get more coverage than India. Than China. Than the entire continent of Africa. There's so much news about us, you'd think we're also a billion people, not six million. We're all the time on TV and front pages, so people think they know us. Unsmiling soldiers. Screaming settlers. Crying mourners. Bearded guys in black hats. Well, Israelis are much more than those photos. We complain about our teachers. Worry about exams. Flirt at parties. Wonder if we look good in our bathing suits. We curse at traffic jams and cut in line at the movies. We've got normal fears and dreams. Like young people everywhere, we want to find love and be loved. We're just normal people trying to live in this abnormal, tiny, beautiful country.
-- Ori Heffetz, in Donna Rosenthal The Israelis, 2003

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