Saying 'No' to Israel While Giving It the Go-ahead

When the world’s conduct is understood in terms of guilt, one realizes that it needs to be helped to understand that the best way to see to the wellbeing of Israel is to present it with boundaries.


A lot has been said about the Western world’s hypocrisy when it comes to Israel’s military control over the Palestinian people. Israel does in fact suffer torrents of wrath from the social networks and even from the United Nations Human Rights Council, but that does not prevent the country from receiving monetary and military assistance, and the criticism is not translated into real economic sanctions, boycotts or organized isolation. What could be the reason for the fact that the world’s mouth is telling Israel “no,” while its body is saying “yes”?

There is a purported inconsistency between what they are saying to or about Israel and the manner in which they are acting toward the country. If they are really objecting to what it is doing, why are they continuing to provide Israel arms? If the world really wants Israel to respect boundaries, why is it refraining from setting those boundaries? After all, without the support of Europe and the United States, the continuation of the occupation would not be possible.

The dual illusion between the verbal “no” and the deeds that say “yes” feeds the false Israeli self-image that enables Israel to continue to pursue its violent policy and at the same time continue to describe itself as a moral power.

When attempting to decipher the world’s lenient attitude toward Israel, which is revealed when you block your ears and pay attention only to the real action the world takes regarding the country, the guilt feelings plaguing the world following the Holocaust are raised. It can be roughly summed up as follows: The world feels guilt over what it did to the Jews in the Holocaust, and therefore has difficulty presenting it with boundaries, even when there is a consensus (and there is no real dispute over this around the world) that the occupation and the military rule over the Palestinian people constitute an ongoing injustice.

When the world’s conduct is understood in terms of guilt, one realizes that it needs to be helped to understand that the best way to see to the wellbeing of Israel is to present it with boundaries. Like the psychologist who explains the importance of setting boundaries for the development of a child to a loving parent. But what if the world’s guilt is not combined with a love for Israel? What’s lacking in the discussion of the guilt of the Europeans and of “the world” (the world that is referred to when Jews accuse “the world” of “remaining silent”) is the distinction between guilt and love. What if the world is only interested in ridding itself of the guilt without accepting the responsibility that is derived from love?

If the Western world’s only motivation is to free itself from the guilt that is transmitted from one generation to the next, it is possible that it will choose means that are not necessarily the best for Israel. Such a need could be satisfied by looking on at Israel deteriorating into collective violence. Perhaps the world’s subconscious desperately needs to see the Jews dressed in Nazi uniforms. “Historical memory is a complex matter and certainly is not absolute mercy,” wrote sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. “It feeds the desire of victims of the past to switch roles with their persecutors (sometimes expressed openly but mostly buried in the subconscious).”

It is possible that not only victims of the past have the unconscious desire to switch places with their persecutors. It is possible that the persecutors and their heirs have an unconscious desire to see the victim in the role of the persecutor. This is therefore an attempt to evade guilt and responsibility by switching roles, without really paying the price. Let the Palestinians pay. Or then the world can say: “Look at the Chosen People. It was just given the chance, and the light unto nations was replaced by darkness. Now they should leave us alone and stop preaching morality to us about how it happened. How did it happen? Like things happen. Just look at the Jews.”