All people, Jews or gentiles, who dare not defend themselves when they know they are in the right, who submit to punishment not because of what they have done but because of who they are, are already dead by their own decision; and whether or not they survive physically depends on chance. If circumstances are not favorable, they end up in gas chambers.
Bruno Bettelheim, Freud's Vienna and Other Essays
Bettelheim, like the Greek poet Homer, understands that the force that does not kill - that does not kill just yet - can turn a human being into stone, into a thing, while it is still alive. Merely hanging ominously over the head of the vulnerable creature it can choose to kill at any moment, poised lasciviously to destroy breath in what it has "graciously" allowed, if only for a few more moments, to breathe, this force mocks the fragile life it intends to consume. The pitiable human being that stands helplessly before this force has already become a corpse.
Israel, this pitiable human being in macrocosm, is now in a final process of becoming a "thing." Called upon incessantly by our "civilized" world to negotiate with unrepentant terrorists, every Prime Minister from Rabin to Olmert has proudly agreed to assorted policies of national defeat (arguably, Menachem Begin as well, when one considers the one-sided Sinai surrender - a first example of "land for nothing"). Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's idea for Middle East peace is more of the same. Prodded by Washington, which vainly seeks a single American foreign policy success amidst a sea of constant failure, Olmert's best plan has been to ratify another humiliating scheme of national auto-desecration.
The urbane Prime Minister generously accepts President Bush's proposal for a Two-State solution. The only problem is that the Palestinian side does not.
Years ago, in an early burst of strategic ingenuity, Israel decided to arm Hamas and its various Islamic fundamentalist antecedents against Fatah. Now, the leadership in Jerusalem operates on the understanding that the opposite orientation is more sensible. In both cases, Israel's leaders have missed the point: Both Hamas and Fatah are fully committed to Israel's annihilation. Neither terror organization can ever be expected to serve Israel's security interests.
It might seem that the Arab world would at least be grateful to Olmert for continuing to be so actively complicit in Israel's eradication. Surely the Arab world must be pleased that no words from the Prime Minister curse Fatah's unceasing support of genocide against Jewish Israel. In appreciation, one would surmise, this world should now be prepared to offer some significant quid pro quo.
The Arab world does not willingly play the gentleman. It is, at least in this respect, a distinctly honest world. Even today, even while Olmert slavishly follows the "Road Map," the official Palestinian Authority map of "Palestine" remains undisguised. On this revealing piece of genocidal cartography, Palestine includes all of Israel. There are no two-states on Abbas' maps; only one.
One might expect that Israel, after all the horror it has suffered at the hands of Arab terrorists, would betray itself no longer. When Priam enters the tent of Achilles, stops, clasps Achilles' knees, and kisses his hands, he has already reduced himself to a hapless and unworthy victim, one to be disposed of without ceremony and in very short order. Realizing this, a gracious Achilles takes the old man's arm, pushing him away. As long as he is clasping Achilles' knees, Priam is an inert object. Only by lifting him up off his knees can Achilles restore him to a position of self-respect and to a living manhood.
Here Israel and Priam part company. Israel's frenzied foes, twisted by Jihad, will never act in the manner of Achilles. Their aim is not the high-minded revitalization of a respected enemy, but rather the literal "liquidation" of an inert "thing."
Israel has come to accept a deformed image of itself that was spawned not in Jerusalem or Hebron, but in Cairo, London, Damascus, Paris, Baghdad, Washington, Teheran, Hamburg, Jericho and Gaza. Degraded and debased, this is the view not of a strong and righteous people, determined to remain alive in its own land, but of a conspicuous corpse-in-waiting. Large majorities of Israelis have fought courageously against such an intolerable view - against the endlessly hapless visions of "disengagements" and "realignments" - but this defiling image is still very much in force.
The moral confusion of many Jewish "intellectuals" sustains Israel's enemies. Writing several years ago about Israel's Oslo Agreements, precursor of the Road Map, Israeli novelist Aharon Megged observed: "We have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history; an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel's intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation." This unique identification has taken poisonous root in a ceaseless succession of Israeli governments. Unless it is finally ended with Ehud Olmert, this prime minister could bring a final end to Israel.
Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with Israeli security issues.