Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind
One of the saddest things that I perpetually come across as I read the I-P conversation in various places is what I am calling the Palestinian colonization of the Jewish mind. This colonization is a matter of degree. It depends on just how much the individual Jew has absorbed the so-called "Palestinian narrative."
The Palestinian narrative, of course, is a fantasy of pure Palestinian victimhood in the face of vicious Israeli-Jewish aggression going back to 1948. It is, in fact, a manichean story of Good versus Evil. It posits that an ancient people, and a contemporary icon of pure victim-hood, the Palestinians, is in righteous conflict with a brutal, militaristic enemy, the Jews.
The story is manichean, apocalyptic, and absolute.
Generally, the more one speaks in anti-Israel talking points the more one has absorbed the Palestinian narrative. Jews who have most absorbed this narrative are anti-Zionist Jews. If a Jew describes Israel as colonialist, imperialist, racist country born from the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, his mind has been entirely colonized by the Palestinian narrative, a narrative derived from PLO strategizing with the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
These are people so blinkered by this ideology of hatred toward the Jewish state that they have ceased thinking entirely. What is there to think about? They already know the truth, or think that they do, so there is nothing to think about. If a news report comes in from the west bank of the Jordan river that Israelis were mean to Palestinians by, say, ripping up Palestinian olive groves, the colonized mind of the anti-Zionist Jew already knows that the "settlers" are evil thugs who should not be allowed to live where they live. He accepts the story on face value because he has already been told, and has come to believe, that Jews who live in the area that many of them call Judea and Samaria are evil people, violent religious fanatics who want nothing more than to terrorize perfectly innocent, bunny-like Palestinians.
But that's the worst case scenario. Those people are lost to both reason and to their fellow Jews. What worries me a little more is the way in which many well-meaning liberal Jewish Zionists have also absorbed elements of the Palestinian narrative. The evidence is in the language used. If one speaks of "Occupation," with the "O" capitalized, as if it is the Mother of All Occupations, and without ever really describing what this word is intended to mean, than one has absorbed an important element of the Palestinian narrative and may have done so unconsciously. God knows I had for many years.
These things are important to keep in mind, because the language that we use often predetermines the conclusions that we draw. If, for example, we think of Israel as "an apartheid state" then it goes without saying that Israel is an institutionally racist country, much like the former apartheid South Africa, and it must therefore be eliminated as a Jewish state. The word "apartheid" predetermines the conclusion.
What I recommend to all my fellow Jews, if I may be so bold, is to rid oneself of all elements of the Palestinian narrative. Just root it out entirely and examine the elements. Remember, those who project the Palestinian narrative do not have an interest in Jewish well-being and the narrative, itself, is largely an ideological construct, a fantasy. It certainly doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny, not unless you think that Jews fleeing the pogroms of late 19th century Russia came to Palestine as the vanguard of some expanding empire, which of course they did not.
This being the case, it is worthwhile to reexamine the language that we use in regards I-P and the assumptions that we may bring to the table. The question to ask when we examine that language and those assumptions is whether or not they form a part of the Palestinian narrative? If so, it should be held up to serious inquiry and deleted if found to be just more anti-Israel propaganda that has snuck into the minds of well-meaning liberal Jews.
Let's take, for example, the term "West Bank." At this point we take it for granted that liberals talk about the "West Bank" while conservatives, Likudniks, who desire the annexation of Greater Israel, talk about "Judea and Samaria." So? How did this particular usage come about?
The truth is that prior to the Jordanian annexation of the "West Bank" that area was, in fact, called Judea and Samaria and had been for millenia. The Jordanians called it the West Bank because they sure weren't about to call Judea Judea, for obvious reasons.
This being the case, why should Jews not refer to Judea as Judea? Just because someone like myself adopts that language it doesn't automatically mean that I support the annexation of the west bank of the Jordan river and I don't.
I say that we rid ourselves of rhetorical conventions that were created by those who are acting in opposition to Jewish well-being. Let us avoid ideology in order to come to understandings that resemble the truth. And let us free ourselves from any and all vestiges of the "Palestinian narrative."
The narrative is a lie, a weapon, and its intent is malicious.
I say we root it out of ourselves.