When you take yourself and your readers on a journey through the globe and the universe in an intellectual and spiritual sense, and when you cover such a wide range of issues and topics, you are somewhat compelled to cover the issue of Israel. You can even sense to a certain extent that some of your readers are desperately waiting for you to address this issue and to clear the air so that everyone can move along. The issue of Israel is essentially “the elephant in the room” that everyone is trying to overlook, but it has to be addressed because it imposes itself on the minds and spirits of many people who focus on international affairs, regardless of whether they are inside or outside of the Washington establishment.
You are more at ease in addressing the issue of Israel when your concern is not to become big in Washington. If you do away with the desire or impulse to be in Capitol Hill or in the White House, or to become a bureaucrat or a media pundit or a think-tanker, then you can address various issues in an objective, open, and truthful manner. And some people will appreciate it. Not everyone will like you. There are those who will like you, and there are those who will never like you, no matter what you do. I can attest to this from personal experience.
But some of the people on the receiving end of your catharsis will appreciate you for your candor, objectivity, openness, and truthfulness. The goal for me at least is not money, power, or fame. Rather, the goal for me is the truth, because with truth you can actually get what you want. You can tell that many media pundits (except for the ones with unmatched seniority who also have street credibility with Israel such as David Axelrod or Gloria Borger) are not comfortable under their own skin. In the long run, you have to be comfortable under your own skin for the sake of your own health and sanity first and foremost. You can see the angst and constipation on some of their faces when they come on television, because even if one word does not conform to the meta-narrative that isn’t even really clear, then you are toast. How can any of us forget Rick Sanchez?
But lucky for me, my entire literary life over the course of the last eight years or so since I finished grad school was to challenge the meta-narrative and to find the truth, not conformity. I don’t have widespread recognition around the world. Nor am I famous. But I get to have my cake and eat it too, in the sense that I get to discuss and say things, and I get what I want at the same time. In the end, the world is so big and diverse. There is so much more to the world than just a bribe, disingenuity, and mimicry in a God-forsaken place like Washington.
When we connect the issue of Israel to the issue of philosophy, politics, and economics, we are ultimately dealing with a “meta-narrative” that encompasses certain governments and media outlets. Thus, we have to ask ourselves: what is the meta-narrative? What is it that we are trying to achieve? In an age of globalization, interconnection, interdependence, internet, and social media, the meta-narrative amounts to nothing other than suffocation, unfortunately.
That is why some of these people on television are anxious and constipated all the time, because the meta-narrative is not clear. And if there is a meta-narrative to be found, it amounts evidently to suffocation. And they know it. Moreover, the meta-narrative of suffocation, as mentioned before, comes from the fact that certain people are not comfortable under their own skin. Allow people to have an outlet without the impulse towards, censorship, intimidation, instilling fear into people, and suffocating them because you are not comfortable under your own skin.
I have had Jewish friends and professors through the course of my life. Many of them are incredible people with outstanding character, in a world where character is everything. Thus, an analysis of Israel does not equate to anti-Semitism. Equating an analysis of Israel to anti-Semitism is what logicians call a “false dilemma.” Without the likes of Marx, Einstein, Freud, Wittgenstein, Weininger, Arendt, Henry Kissinger, and David Bohm, I would not be a writer. Likewise, an analysis and critique of a singular government policy does not equate to anti-Americanism.
A lack of culinary culture, sense of humor, spirituality, and art ultimately leads to a negative migration rate. Moreover, a game of “whack-a-mole” on the internet and social media played by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is unsustainable in the long run. How many people are you going to go after? You can’t shut every single person up, nor is anyone in the business of mind control. Thus, one has to come up with an enduring solution not to the issues of land, refugees, borders, security, or Jerusalem. Rather, one has to come up with an enduring solution to the issue of suffocation and personal insecurity, as well as the issue of not being comfortable under your own skin.
Suffocation and “whack-a-mole” on the internet and social media has been justified by Israel’s foreign minister and future prime minster, Yair Lapid, as “protecting the good name of Israel.” That is what an Afghan mom would say when someone says something about her daughter. But the strategy has been futile. Thus, the strategy has to change.
However, Jews deserve basic kindness and respect simply by virtue of the fact that Jews are human beings like anyone else. Kindness and respect have to be the sine qua non of relations between Jews and non-Jews. For me personally, kindness and respect have always been the policy towards Jewish people as well as most other people I have met through the course of my life.
In the long-run, whether a “Jewish State” in a postmodern age was a sunk cost contrived by Theodore Herzl is an issue all on its own. But one has to step back for a second and ask whether it was worth all the blood and displacement that came as a result of everything. Having blood spilt weighs heavily on a person’s conscience. Nevertheless, the core issue should be civility and respect, which is something that is rightly demanded by all sides of the Israel issue.