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Author Topic: a parable, a reality, and a chance lost...
'topherscompy
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Babbler # 2248

posted 01 February 2003 10:41 PM      Profile for 'topherscompy        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
A man once jumped from the top floor of a burning house in which many members of his family had already perished. He managed to save his own life; but as he was falling to the ground, he hit a person standing down below, and broke that person's legs and arms. The jumping man had no choice; yet to the man with the broken limbs he was the cause of his misfortune. If both behaved rationally, they would not become enemies. The man who escaped from the blazing house, having recovered, would have tried to help and console the other sufferer; and the latter might have realised that he was the victim of circumstances over which neither of them had control. But look what happens when these people behave irrationally. The injured man blames the other for his misery, and swears to make him pay for it. The other one, afraid of the crippled man's revenge, insults him, kicks him amd beats him up whenever they meet. The kicked man again swears revenge and is again punched and punished. The bitter enmity, so whimsical at first, hardens and comes to overshadow the whole existence of both men and to poison their minds.

You will, I am sure, recognise yourselves (I said to my Israeli audience) the Israeli remnants of European Jewry, in the man who jumped from the blazing house. The other character represents,of course, the Palestine Arabs, more than a million of them, who have lost their lands and their homes. They are resentful; they gaze from across the frontiers on their old native places; they raid you stealthily, and swear revenge. You punch and kick them mercilessly; you have shown that you know how to do it. But what is the sense of it? And what is the prospect?

The responsibility for the tragedy of European Jews, for Auschwitz, Majdanek, and the slaughters in the ghetto, rests entirely on our Western boursgeois 'civilisation', of which Nazism was the legitimate, even though degenerate, offspring. Yet it was the Arabs who were made to pay the price for the crimes the West committed towards the Jews. They are still made to pay it, for the 'guilty conscience' of the West is, of course, pro-Israeli and anti-Arab. And how easily Israel has allowed itself to be bribed and fooled by the false 'conscience money'.

A rational relationship between Israelis and Arabs might have been possible if Israel had at least attempted to establish it, if the man who jumped from the burning house had tried to make friends with the innocent victim of his descent and compensate him. This did not happen. Israel never even recognised the Arab grievance. From the outset Zionism worked towards the creation of a purely Jewish state and was glad to rid the country of its Arab inhabitants. No Israeli government has ever seriously looked for any opportunity to remove or assuage the grievance. They refused even to consider the fate of the huge mass of refugees unless Arab states first recognised Israel, unless that is, the Arabs surrendered politically before starting negotiations. Perhaps this might be excused as bargaining tactics. The disastrous aggravation of Arab-Isralei relations was brought about by the Suez war, when Israel unashamedly acted as the spearhead for of the old bankrupt European imperialisms in their last common stand in the Middle East, in their last attempt to maintain their grip on Egypt. The Israelis did not have to align themselves with the shareholders of the Suez Canal Company. The pros and cons were clear; there was no question of any mixture of rights and wrongs on either side. The Israelis put themselves totally in the wrong, morally and politically.


(from an Isaac Deutscher interview, published June 20, 1967, in the New Left Review)


From: gone | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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Babbler # 3192

posted 01 February 2003 11:20 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Michael Lerner used that metaphor somewhere, I think...
From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Flowers By Irene
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posted 01 February 2003 11:28 PM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think I have read that interview before... I can't remember where. Certainly not in a '67 issue of the New Left Review.

Do you have a link?

Edited to add:

A-Ha! I know where I've read it... it's an appendix to Tariq Ali's The Clash of Fundamentalisms

[ 01 February 2003: Message edited by: Flowers By Irene ]


From: "To ignore the facts, does not change the facts." -- Andy Rooney | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
'topherscompy
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2248

posted 01 February 2003 11:37 PM      Profile for 'topherscompy        Edit/Delete Post
no link, sorry, I read the interview in the book _Clash of Fundamentalisms_ by Tariq Ali.

i'll look around for a link though.


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Flowers By Irene
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3012

posted 01 February 2003 11:39 PM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well there we go, great minds huh?
From: "To ignore the facts, does not change the facts." -- Andy Rooney | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged

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