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Israel: A Country of Unresolved Trauma

There’s a lot going on in the middle east right now, and a lot of strong feelings on a lot of topics.  So first, let me tell you what I will not do in this post.

I will not defend Hamas.  Their actions are beyond the pale, and they (to some level) deserve everything they get – mostly because they’d do it again if given half a chance.  They’re unrepentant, and unrepentant needs to be squashed.

I will not defend the protestors.  They also deserve everything they get.

I will not defend Iran.  They’re a bunch of idiots who seem to revel in poking the bear – even though, for reasons I will get into shortly, that’s a terrible idea.

I won’t even (entirely) defend Israel.  I think their responses are understandable and defensible.  I don’t think they’re healthy and I think they’re really acting out in unhealthy ways.  Let me explain why I think so.

The Jewish people are an interesting people.  I don’t think there is another people on the planet with the kind of history they have.  Their history – even back to their origin stories – is based upon slavery, exodus, and redemption, and that’s arc that’s played through for many thousands of years.  Their foundation occurred when they escaped from the Pharoah in ancient Egypt, and wandered for many years until they found their “land of milk and honey”.  Then they spent thousands of years losing and regaining their territory, being subjugated and then being freed.  I can’t think of many peoples with the kind of traumatic history their culture is basically built on.  Japan might come close, and so might a few other countries, but Israel really is rather unique in this regard.

The current state of Israel is based on a particularly traumatic incident – the holocaust.  It’s not something I like to talk about because it’s such a nonsensical thing to have happened.  Terrible, yes, but nonsensical.  There’s not even really any point in going into the causes, etc – it’s just demonic, and we’ll leave it at that.  But after this tremendously traumatic cultural event, Israel was granted their own country (that they have a historical claim to, even if a somewhat dubious one) and they set about arming to the teeth to defend it.

Because they don’t want anything like that to ever happen again.

If you don’t understand this motivation, you don’t understand the Jewish people, and you don’t understand why they’re acting out in the way they are now.

Once, I dated a Jewish girl.  It didn’t work out.  She was in major need of therapy, and every one of her Jewish friends I interacted with seemed to be in a similar situation.  They could not even say the name “Hitler”.  They were young.  They may have had relatives who died in the holocaust, but odds are high they were very much removed from them.  But they’d heard stories, they probably knew survivors, or at the least people who were directly affected by it in one way or other.  They were traumatized.  And I think nearly every Jew that exists right now is also traumatized to one degree or other by their shared, even recent, history.

When you poke some who’s traumatized, they’ll lash out, out of proportion to the instigation.  They’ll beat the instigator to a pulp, then they’ll find all the other people who had anything to do with it, and beat them to a pulp too.  You can’t talk them out of it, you can’t do anything but either let them do it or stop them after their revenge crosses the line and say “that’s enough”.  Because they aren’t in control of themselves.  They’ll do anything and everything they have to, to make sure the threat is gone.

I understand this.  I don’t entirely defend it (nor do I entirely oppose it).  but I understand it.  And I can’t bring myself to do anything but feel sorry for them.

Jews really don’t like it when you mention Jesus (my ex got really pissed off about it – but how could I not?  I am, after all, at least nominally, Christian).  Their God is the God of the old testament, and they don’t even think the new testament even exists.  But you really don’t find much forgiveness in the old testament, in the talmud, in the Law.  You find revenge, you find “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth”, you find a war God who will fight for his people, but will also punish them.  You find the source of a whole lot of trauma, and you don’t find the solution.

You find the root of what’s happening now.  In the middle east.  In Israel, and elsewhere as well (lest we forget, the other peoples there also have Abrahamic religions related to Judaism, they’re just… a little different).  There’s no forgiveness – there’s never any forgiveness.  There’s just trauma, tit-f0r-tat, do unto others before they do unto you….  it’s a dog eat dog world over there, and they lack the foundation or language for forgiveness.  It just doesn’t exist.  And I fear that the traumatic acting out will drive everyone off a cliff at some point.

Christians think that “armageddon” will occur in Jerusalem.  Well, some do – I don’t.  But many do.  They may be right.  But it’s not because their God’s chosen people, it’s not because the final battle between good and evil will occur there, it’s not even because God’s going to choose Jerusalem to be some kind of apocalyptic seat of government.  It’s because all the peoples over there – Jews, Palestinians, Lebanese, Iranians…  have no idea how to forgive or let things go.

I hope that is a lesson that can be learned before it’s too late and someone over there starts lobbing nukes.  Because at this rate, it’s inevitable.

If you think this post is antisemitic – it’s not – keep it to yourself.

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