Wednesday, May 14, 2008

  • Wednesday, May 14, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
Iran's President Ahmadinejad's recent statements include, "The era of the Zionist literature and the Zionist political mechanism and the Zionist bullying policies has come to an end," "I just want to tell you that holding a birthday party for a dead person is of no use. These gatherings can not revive a corpse," and "The Zionist regime is dying. The criminals imagine that by holding celebrations ... they can save the Zionist regime from death."

Mahmoud al-Zahar said today, "The Palestinians and the Arabs have crushed the Jews' assumption of supremacy… The Zionist legend of invincibility has been destroyed. Now more than ever I tell you – will never recognize Israel… We will form the Palestinian state on all of Palestine's territories and the sun of liberty will burn the Zionists. To them I say – you will lose. You will leave and we will keep hounding you. The blood of our slain sons will haunt you forever."

These sorts of statements are nothing new, and we've been hearing variants since before Israel even existed. It is valuable to recognize what makes people say things like this.

Obviously, Israel is not going anywhere. While there are political threats to its borders and terrorist threats to its citizens, Israel's existence is in no doubt for the foreseeable future.

The biggest testimony to Israel's strength and self-assurance comes, ironically, from its own self-criticism. Only a people who are secure can look at their own faults and admit mistakes publicly, and no one admits mistakes - real or imagined - more publicly than Israelis do.

The Second Lebanon War is a case study in the difference between how Israelis look at themselves and how Israel's enemies look at it. From a military perspective, the war was a draw - Israel inflicted a great deal of damage on Hezbollah and the cease fire agreement drove Hezbollah north of the Litani, but it was not the crushing defeat that Israel desired nor was it enough to stop Hezbollah from re-arming quickly. But by no stretch of the imagination was Israel "defeated" unless your definition of defeat is very unrealistic.

Yet, Israel underwent much public self-criticism and self-evaluation after the war to learn from its mistakes.

Conversely, Israel's enemies celebrated their "victory," masking the loss of hundreds of Hezbollah fighters with huge banners across Lebanon .

This is not a reflection of reality - this is bravado.

People who act this way are fundamentally insecure. They cannot distinguish between putting up a brave front and real bravery.

They tell their people about their impending victories in an attempt to shore up their own delusions and to avoid any real self-examination, which would lead to despair. They surround themselves with people who will agree with their public posturing. They inflate events that are meaningless as long as they support their fantasies, and they ignore any evidence to the contrary.

A hallmark of this institutionalized bravado hiding insecurity is not only the lack of self-criticism but deliberate acts against those who dare criticize. Hence we see Iran's brutal attacks against dissidents, Hamas' threats against journalists, and Hezbollah's total censorship in areas under its control.

This bravado is so institutionalized in the psyches of its practitioners - and so much a part of the honor-shame mindset that helps spawn it - that they cannot understand that Israeli self-criticism is a reflection of its strength. To them, any criticism is shameful and only an utterly defeated people can admit mistakes. The more delusional actually start to believe that Israel is weak and they then start thinking they can defeat it.

The bigger the bluster, the weaker the core that the blusterers are trying to hide.

This does not mean that they aren't dangerous. Of course, they can - and do - inflict damage.

But their bravado is not an indication of their strength. On the contrary, it proves their weakness.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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