Thursday, September 11, 2008

Self-defense

I'd imagine someone's probably already thought of this, but here goes: the way Israelis feel about American Jews worrying about (and intervening in) their fight against terrorism has a lot in common with the way New Yorkers (of all faiths) feel about 'real American' concern with terrorism following the 9/11 attacks. On the one hand, when terrorists strike Israel, they mean to attack all Jews, and when terrorists struck New York, they were aiming at America. So American Jews and heartlandian Americans, respectively, were/are not exactly fighting someone else's battle. They are, in a sense, under attack. However, when you're the person whose home happens to be the same locale as the one terrorists (and others!) assume to be the symbol of Judaism or America, respectively, when you are quite literally in the line of fire (or in New York's case, potential fire; cops are now swabbing our backpacks for bomb-powder or something in the subways, always a good sign) you are bound to feel a bit ambivalent towards those who think you don't know how to defend yourselves, that you're not taking threats seriously enough, that you're too worried about nonsense like peace and social justice to notice what's going on around you. It can be hard to hear people who think where you live sounds dreadful, good only for occasional visits, thinking they're your home's true ideological defenders.

(Before the onslaught of 'you're wrong' begins, I'm not saying how anyone should feel, nor have I consulted surveys of the attitudes of the populations mentioned above. Nor do I claim the situations are identical--NYC does not, as of yet, have compulsory military service. It's just my impression, take it for what it's worth.)

7 comments:

Petey said...

"I'd imagine someone's probably already thought of this, but here goes: the way Israelis feel about American Jews worrying about (and intervening in) their fight against terrorism has a lot in common with the way New Yorkers (of all faiths) feel about 'real American' concern with terrorism following the 9/11 attacks."

To some extent, sure.

But does it not occur to you that in your relatively hawkish stance on Israeli/Palestinian issues, you are much like the folks in Oklahoma who have relatively hawkish stances on American military involvement in the Middle East?

Folks far away from the front lines are always more eager to rally around the flag without considering the issues and risks.

Phoebe said...

"But does it not occur to you that in your relatively hawkish stance on Israeli/Palestinian issues, you are much like the folks in Oklahoma who have relatively hawkish stances on American military involvement in the Middle East?"

In what way was that not precisely the point of this post?

Petey said...

"In what way was that not precisely the point of this post?"

In no way.

I was just curious if you realized that you were to Israel as Palin is to NYC.

Phoebe said...

Um, I'm openly pro-Israel and openly an American Jew, on this blog and off. How much more 'out' did this post need to be?

Petey said...

"Um, I'm openly pro-Israel and openly an American Jew, on this blog and off. How much more 'out' did this post need to be?"

I think you are misunderstanding my point.

I agree pretty heartily with your post.

I just think that, much as 'heartland' folks are more enthusiastic about America having an assertive military policy in the Middle East since they don't have to worry about the increased chances of blowback hitting NYC, folks like you are more enthusiastic about defending a Greater Israel policy since you don't have to worry about the increased chances of blowback hitting Israel.

In the same way that NYC's fate is held hostage by a coalition of yahoos in places like Missouri who insist on defending America's honor and defeating the evil-doers, Israel's fate is held hostage by a coalition of American Jews and Christian evangelicals who insist on a maximalist Holy Land.

Phoebe said...

Have a look at the part of the post where I mention that I'm not saying what anyone should think.

However, it's news to me that I defend a Greater Israel.

Withywindle said...

I feel only gratitude for my fellow Americans, since I know my fellow NYCers would fail miserably at defending me. If my defense from terrorists depended on the efforts of NYCers, I would move out at once. I feel only minimally safe her because of the efforts of Texas and Wyoming in my defense.