In the end, after deducting all the other ills, we find that the worst of them all, the mother of all disasters, is that Israel is too strong. If it weren’t so strong – too strong – it would be more just. If it couldn’t do whatever it felt like doing, its conduct would be more moral and more considerate. A good part of its crimes and whims comes from its power drunkenness. A good part of what it does stems from the fact that it simply can. It can thumb its nose at the whole world; ignore international law; control another people by force for generations; infringe on the sovereignty of its neighbors; act like it’s the be-all and the end-all, only because it has the power to do so.
Like any other country, Israel needs to be strong. Weakness might indeed lead to its destruction, as Israelis are told constantly from the day they are born. But too much power has ruined it and caused it damage of a different kind. It’s not its weakness, as it describes itself – surrounded by enemies that seek only to destroy it, little David facing Goliath – that molded its character. It’s the overabundance of power that it has accumulated that has molded it more than anything else. If Israel were weaker, it would work harder to be accepted in the region. If it were less strong, Israel would have had to put an end to the curse of the occupation.
Even if it was born in sin, Israel is not a country of particularly bad people. Even the arrogance Israelis show the whole world is not an inborn trait. Israel probably did not intend to become what it is: a regional power, which largely dictates to the most powerful country, the United States, how it should conduct itself; a country that many others court and even fear and at the same time is considered an outcast by anyone with a conscience. Israel has become this way because it is brimming with power. It accumulated it gradually, and today it has reached its zenith.
Israel has never been stronger. It is not by chance that now its image is at the lowest point in its history. That’s the price of too much power.
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Israel is walloping the whole world. Not only with the occupation, which it continues undisturbed despite the opposition of most of the world; not only in the horrific siege on Gaza and its cruel attacks on it, which include war crimes that Israel is never punished for; not only with the settlements, whose legitimacy most of the world also doesn’t recognize – the entirety of its foreign policy says hubris.
The daily bombings in Syria and other countries and regular flyovers of Lebanon as if there were no border and no tomorrow; arrogant, criminal, unrestrained international assassinations; leading the world to fight the Iranian nuclear program; the shocking international criminalization campaign against the BDS movement; the fact that it refrains from signing international treaties to which all democratic countries are signatories; that it endlessly disregards resolutions by international bodies; attempts to interfere in the domestic matters of its neighbors, becomes involved in wars that have nothing to do with it and even attempts to stir things up in the European Union and lead to disunity there; takes subversive action against the (former) president of the United States and closes its embassy in Paraguay only because the latter took a step that Israel didn’t like – doing all of these things like it’s a superpower.
It’s hard to think of another country that is not the United States, Russia or China that would dare to act like this. Israel can.
Ostensibly, this is a dizzying success of the Zionist enterprise. Who would have dreamed that we’d become like this? In fact, this is the greatest threat to its justness. Except for a few mishaps, like in 1973, this power drunkenness has so far continued without Israel having to pay any significant price, except in terms of its image, which it has also learned to disregard.
On the eve of the new year, Israel is not facing challenges that endanger its belligerent super-powerful status. It seems that it can probably go on doing what it is doing – in the occupied territories, the Middle East and the whole world.
Only history itself insists on reminding us from time to time that such shows of unbridled power drunkenness usually end badly. Very badly.