Monday, June 16

Jerusalem: ghosts of the Jaffa Gate

Night at the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City. (Dave Bender)

More (mostly) Israel photos are here.

'Israel As The Battered Woman'

(Graphic courtesy of Chabad)

I just came across this prescient article below, penned by American-born therapist Dr. Miriam Adahan, not long after the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the then nascent Palestinian Authority. Around the same period, I worked as a producer and program host at a "micro-broadcast" radio station in Jerusalem, called "RadioWest."

One evening as I was working the control board during the hourly newscast, Dr. Adahan was sitting in the studio alongside the news reader, waiting to begin her call-in show. As I watched the reader tersely recite a day's litany of terrorism and other mayhem, Adahan hid her eyes in her hands, and rocked back and forth in her seat as in grieved shock and mourning. How true her words ring today:
"In years to come, historians will be shocked at how Israeli leaders happily encouraged a gang of Arab murderers to create a country within our tiny borders -- a country which never existed before -- and gave them arms knowing that those arms could be used to kill and maim us, and then continued to try to appease the murderers. Why are we fulfilling Hitler's dream? Why did we ignore Arafat's rhetoric calling for our destruction, ignore the fact that they were flooding their cities with arms, and ignore the warnings that they are preparing for all-out war?"

(...)Want to understand what happened here in Israel? Listen to the battered woman:

1. "It takes two to make a fight. So I must deserve this abuse -- after all, I'm not perfect either. I left dishes in the sink, was talking on the phone when he came home and didn't have dinner ready on time. Sometimes, I was a little confused after he beat me up and didn't function so well. These sins of mine are so enormous that whatever he does is justified. I should have done better, should have known, should have anticipated...." (Israel: "As penance for not being perfect, we must allow them to continue murdering us.")

2. "If he's so angry, it means that I'm to blame. People don't get angry about nothing. It must be that I haven't done enough to please him. If I just try harder, I'm sure I'll eventually win his love." (Israel: "We must keep making more concessions. We're the more enlightened country, so we have to keep trying harder to get them to become more democratic, more humane, more civilized.")

3. "No matter how badly he acts at times, I truly believe that he doesn't really mean to hurt me and that he really does love me underneath it all. He just has to act like this to prove his masculinity. It doesn't really mean anything, because underneath it all, there's a good man." (Israel: "No matter how many of us he kills, Arafat is our partner. The fact that he keeps wanting to talk is proof of his love, isn't it? Otherwise, why would he take the time to talk to us?")

4. "I'm proud of myself for being loyal and determined! I stand by my man through thick and thin. You don't leave during the bad times. When you're willing to forgive after getting beaten up, that's when you prove how strong your love is." (Israel: "We take pride in the fact that we are the ones who care more about peace, and keep negotiating even when we're under attack. Hey world! Look at how much we're willing to suffer and not fight back! Now will you love the Jews?")

Read the rest, and weep.


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