Friday, June 11, 2004

The Israeli Settlers

There is an outstanding article in the New Yorker - the only mainstream American magazine besides Harpers that isn't a waste of the dead trees it is printed on - by Jeffrey Goldberg entitled 'Among the Settlers' (if you read Goldberg, you should also read 'The Unsettlers' by Samantha M. Shapiro). Goldberg discusses the problems posed by the most evil group of people in the world, the Zionist Israeli settlers. Although the article is marred by bending over backwards to be 'fair and balanced', Goldberg manages to damn the settlers simply by quoting their own words. It is not a joke that they were led by a man named Rabbi Kook, and it is not a joke that a very small number of truly evil men can lead others into a moral monstrosity. Religious insanity is the kookiest and most dangerous form of insanity in the world. Goldberg also blames the morally ambiguous attitude of other Israelis towards the settlements for the current problems. The predictable attacks against the author and the article are nothing more than quibbles. The Israeli-Palestinian problem, which is usually depicted as insoluble, is the easiest problem in the world to fix. Clean out the insane settlers from the lands they've stolen (and along with them those who have moved to the Occupied Territories not for insane religious reasons but just for subsidized housing), grant the Palestinians a state over the whole of the Occupied Territories, and install some UN peacekeepers in the new Palestinian state to ensure Israeli security. Problem fixed, and along with it much of the impetus for worldwide terrorist attacks against the rest of the world. The problem of the unstated desire to create Greater Israel continues to blind Israelis to the simplicity of the solution. Can't they see how completely evil and insane the settlers are, and how that evil and insanity is the true cause of all their problems? To put it another way, if you have Charlie Manson living in your basement and the dead bodies of all your neighbors start piling up in your living room, you shouldn't start blaming the neighbors.