I had a conversation at lunch yesterday with a friend, a neocon Jewish American, that fascinated me. We were getting ready to get up from the table when he said, "Hey, wait a minute, do you want to talk politics for a minute?" We proceeded to discuss the events in Iran and at one point I brought up my amazement at the protesters' embrace of non-violence and their courage in the face of aggression. I said, "I wonder if this will be a lesson to the Palestinians. That perhaps if they renounce violence and embrace peaceful resistance they too could garner more international support for their cause, a la Gandhi." His reaction fascinated me. He got this very serious, dour look on his face and replied, "That's what worries me. The biggest existential threat to Israel is that the Palestinians will realize the potential for non-violence and embrace it."
I finally understood why some of the more cynical neocons cannot stand the Green Revolution. Without a conflict, without a bogey man to demonize, they are scared to death. In their minds their legitimacy comes from the fact that they are better than the bogey man, that they are necessary to keep the bogey man at bay. I don't think that the nation of Israel is so fragile that it could not come to terms with a peaceful movement for Palestinian statehood.
Wacky thinking. "Oh no! People who now use terrorism might decide to pursue their agenda by peaceful means! Israel is doomed!" or "It's important that the oppressive regime in Iran wins, because if the people win then our foreign policy might not be hostile enough." This kind of upside down thinking reminds me of this passage in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.