Turning off the lights
David Ben-Gurion’s boastful slogan, “It’s not important what the Gentiles say, it’s important what the Jews do,” has always been part of the State of Israel. It not only gave permission to the defense establishment, including the Mossad, the army, and the nuclear research facility, but also supplied the public with the nationalist fervor that helped it unite around the idea, “the whole world is against us.”
Another of Ben-Gurion’s stupidities, “a light unto the nations,” from the days of the raids on Qibya in 1953 and the Gaza Strip, became over the years an extinguishing of the lights so no one would see and no one would know. In short, Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who provided legal advice to the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza offensive, was invited to teach law at Tel Aviv University while the real work of “a light unto the nations” was done by the Jewish judge Richard Goldstone. (To our legal experts who are now calling for “a commission of inquiry,” where were you during the war?).
Over time, the West was reduced to the United States, which was reduced to the Israel lobby (which is very unpopular there), the military industries, the intelligence services and the Pentagon. In short, the world was reduced to what the military elite identified as its world. The “special ties” were seen as an achievement because, after all, Israel had made great efforts since its establishment to convince the United States that it was a strategic asset. Our democracy was sold merely as a wrapping for the main thing – we will do our work, which will also be your work.
If once upon a time Israel’s wars were planned according to the number of battle days left until the Security Council reached a decision, since 1967, the American veto has freed us even from this obstruction. The defense establishment learned that world public opinion can be based on pictures of atrocities, so the strategic concept of negative news ratings was developed. Gaza was closed to photographers and the war was planned for the saccharine season on Western television between Christmas and New Year’s.
To put it briefly, the bluff about “it’s not important what the world says” is once again blowing up in our faces. There is a world. Not all of it sells arms. Not all of it is hypocritical. Not all of it is anti-Semitic. There are good Jews who do not carry out each of the IDF’s orders. The time has come for us to equip ourselves with a few new examiners of reality.