Infamy as a Way of Life

Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu

Israel has a right to exist. The Palestinians have a right to exist—though no one but a few die-hard Arabs say that Palestine as a nation has a right to exist. I am not sure now that Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud Party, however, have a right to exist.

The path taken by Netanyahu’s Israel is a dangerous one. You could be hyper-aggressive and murderous to the maximum extent, but only insofar as the people are backing your every play. Eventually, you could cross a line where not only the world at large but your own people are tired of infamy as a way of life. What happens then? Can you continue to do the same sort of thing and continue to get away with it? Probably not.

Crusader States

The Arabs see Israel as just another “crusader state.” After the wildly successful First Crusade (1096-1099), much of the Holy Land was divided into a series of feudal states run by the Crusaders. These included the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Edessa. Some of them lasted a surprisingly long time. And they might still be around today if the Arabs were not united under a powerful new leader like Saladin (from Kurdistan of all places), and the Crusaders became ever more disunited and fragmented over the next couple hundred years.

Who is to say that Israel’s continued aggression against the Palestinians and other Arabs will not result in a unified alliance to wipe it off the map? What will our attitude be in such a case? Will we have to send in our army to protect Israel’s right to exist? That would be good for another five hundred years of hatred in the Middle East.

I think the Western World had to keep a tight leash on Israel and do everything it can to stymie the right wing politicians who have been in the ascendant there since the days of Menachem Begin. (At the same, our own right wing will continue to support Israeli aggression and confuse the issue.)




Making Assumptions

Lemony Snicket

Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make — bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake — if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it had floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you’d made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.—Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy