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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The three myths of Israeli insecurity - the elephant in the room
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The three myths of Israeli insecurity - the elephant in the room

in my work with organization development, i frequently talk about "undiscussables," those elements that everyone knows are there but that simply can't be addressed in open forums, akin to the concept of the "elephant in the living room"... as ira chernus points out in the latest tom dispatch, the reality and hard truths of the israeli situation are among the largest of the undiscussables in the u.s...

when discussing "undiscussables," i always point out that the larger the mass of undiscussable elements in an organization or a society, the bigger the anchor that is being dragged and the less likely that anything will be able to move forward...

sadly, the sheer mass of undiscussables in the u.s. - the two-party system, the rule by corporatocracy, the slavish devotion to endless war and the defense industry, the utter domination by super-rich elites, the erosion and debasement of any notion of the common good, the near-religious fervor surrounding capitalism and private enterprise - have essentially killed any forward motion... not the least of these undiscussables is israel...

Myth Number 1: Israel’s existence is threatened by the ever-present possibility of military attack. In fact, there’s no chance that any of Israel’s neighbors will start a war to wipe out Israel. They know their history. Despite its size, ever since its war of independence in 1948, the Israeli military has been a better equipped, better trained, more effective, and in virtually every case a successful fighting force. It clearly remains the strongest military power in the Middle East.


Myth Number 2: The personal safety of every Jewish Israeli is threatened daily by the possibility of violent attack. In fact, according to Israeli government statistics, since the beginning of 2009 only one Israeli civilian (and two non-Israelis) have been killed by politically motivated attacks inside the green line (Israel’s pre-1967 border). Israelis who live inside that line go about their daily lives virtually free from such worry.


Myth Number 3: Israel’s existence is threatened by worldwide efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Early in 2010, Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that the country was not “suffering from terror or from an immediate military threat” -- only to warn of a new peril: “The Palestinian Authority is encouraging the international arena to challenge Israel’s legitimacy.”

The “delegitimization” alarm was first sounded by an influential Israeli think tank and then spread like wildfire through the nation’s political and media ranks.

There are shreds of truth in it. There have always been people who saw the Jewish state, imposed on indigenous Palestinians, as illegitimate. Until recently, however, Israelis seemed to pay them little heed. Now, they are deemed an “existential threat,” as Yadlin explained, only because the old claims of “existential threat” via violence have grown unbelievable even to the Israeli military (though not to the government’s American supporters).

It’s also true that challenges to Israel’s legitimacy are growing rapidly around the world and that the specter of becoming a “pariah state” does pose a danger. The head of that think tank got it half-right when he warned that Israel’s “survival and prosperity” depend on its relations with the world, “all of which rely on its legitimacy.” Survival? No.

and, of course, the most recent case of public sacrifice by daring to discuss the undiscussable is helen thomas, not unlike bradley manning, the whole-burnt offering designed to permanently discourage whistleblowers...

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