Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Sunday, June 6th, 2010.

Stuff to Read

Obama Administration

Israel and the psychology of ‘never again‘” by Sandy Tolan describes the wrong turn Israel has been making for several years.

Why does Israel continue to act against its own interests?

Over the years, and especially since 2006, the Jewish state’s deadly, over-the-top military actions in response to provocations from Hamas and Hezbollah — and now from a flotilla ferrying humanitarian aid to Gaza — have backfired. And in each case, the Jewish state has grown less secure by increasing its international isolation and fueling fury much closer to home.

From here Tolan lists the many hand-handed attempts Israel has made over the years to wipe out its enemies through military force, but which makes its enemies stronger. Tolan then gives an explanation —

None of this is in Israel’s interest, of course. So why does Israel persist in such behavior?

One answer: The country is stuck in the political psychology of “never again.” The Jewish state appears so trapped by the wounds of its own terrible history that it keeps repeating its past mistakes of excessive force, even though it knows these will only isolate it and therefore weaken it further. In this way, the politics of trauma drive the nation ever further from the safe harbor that ordinary Israelis have so long craved and never enjoyed.

I’ve believed this for some time. It’s the only rational explanation for Israel’s irrational policies. See also “Chosen, but Not Special,” by Michael Chabon.

More: Mark Halperin, “How Obama’s Enemies May Help Give Him a Boost.”

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