Saturday, May 28, 2011

Casey as Metaphor

People who support Israel in their effort to resist the aggressions of their enemies in the Middle East are sometimes asked why they do. There are lots of reasons which come to mind, of course - our shared democratic values, shared language, the awful treatment that Jews have suffered throughout history, their courage, their status as victims of terrorism, their admirable ability to defend themselves repeatedly against overwhelming odds, the fact that their enemies are driven by an irrational hatred and a desire to kill every Jew (and every American for that matter), and so on.

Perhaps another reason is that so much of the world, not just Arabs and Muslims, is hostile to Israel. They criticize Israel simply for trying to defend itself. They criticize Israel for using "disproportionate" force in defending itself. Israel is expected to perpetually turn the other cheek while no such demands are ever made of the Arabs who attack them with rockets every day, blow up school busses full of children, and sneak into their homes to slit the throats of entire families. The world seems to treat such atrocities as what is to be expected from Arabs, but if the Israelis retaliate, or build a wall to keep the murderers out, then they're denounced at the U.N. for "brutality".

It all reminds me of a video that was the talk of the web a few months ago. In the video an Australian boy named Casey was being punched and taunted by a little punk - an ordeal he had had to endure on previous occasions as well. Finally Casey defended himself and a surprising number of commentators sniffed that the poor kid overreacted, that he shouldn't have resorted to violence, that he could have hurt his tormenter. Casey was essentially condemned for protecting himself and giving his antagonist the thrashing he deserved.

I'm sure the Israelis sympathize with Casey: