Roger Cohen: The Dominion of the Dead (Middle East Crisis)





I had a dream: Israeli Arab students, enraged by the war in Gaza, were protesting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A counterdemonstration by Jewish students erupted. When the head of university security, a Holocaust survivor, tried to intervene, the Arab students called him a Nazi.

Actually, I didn’t dream this. Shlomo Avineri, a political scientist at the university, related the incident. But dreams cut to the quick. There’s no point denying that a line of sorts runs from the dozens killed by Israeli fire near a United Nations school in Gaza back to the Palestinian “Nakba” of 1948 and Berlin 1945.

History is relentless. Sometimes its destructive gyre gets overcome: France and Germany freed themselves after 1945 from war’s cycle. So did Poland and Germany. China and Japan scarcely love each other but do business. Only in the Middle East do the dead rule.

Their demand for blood is, it seems, inexhaustible. Their graves will not be quieted. Since 1948 and Israel’s creation, retribution has reigned between the Jewish and Palestinian national movements.

I have never previously felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing of any peace that might terminate the dominion of the dead in favor of opportunity for the living.

More than dreams, I’ve been having nightmares. I cannot see a scenario in which any short-term Israeli tactical victory over Hamas is not overwhelmed by the long-term strategic cost of this war....


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list