THE ABSURD TIMES
A reader passed on this interesting "thought-Experiment". I was thinking "Modest Proposal" as I read it, but the next missive already indicated that had been though of. Anyhow, here it is:
January 09, 2009
Slater's thought experiment
Jerry Slater has a unique way of looking at the terrible situation in Israel/Palestine, inspired by Jonathan Swift: What if the Situation Were Reversed? He writes:
There has been growing outrage at Israel’s attack on Gaza. It is hard to understand this entirely unfair and one-sided criticism once you understand the wider context.
Why do so many commentators forget that since 1967 the Palestinians have occupied Israel; colonized it with settlers; invaded it a number of times, killing, wounding, or otherwise destroying the lives of thousands of Israelis, including women and children; assassinated its leaders (including those democratically elected by the Israeli people); repeatedly attacked its political, security, and civic institutions; deliberately attacked its schools and universities; closed its trade and commerce with the outside world; bombed its roads and bridges; destroyed much of its electrical power system; imposed severe restrictions on Israeli drinking and agricultural water; prevented thousands of farmers from reaching their lands and orchards; disrupted its private and public health systems; surrounded Jewish areas with checkpoints and military outposts; built Palestinian-only roads that the Jews are not permitted to use; humiliated the Israelis in a variety of ways on a nearly daily basis--and more?
Even so, it may be argued, the Israelis should never have unleashed their inaccurate rockets against Palestinian town. For such actions are justly labeled as terrorism, even though only a few Palestinians have been killed. And terrorism—deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians—is rightly condemned by everyone, no matter how justified the cause (the end of the Palestinian occupation of the Israelis and the creation of a genuinely independent Jewish state), or how long the history of the failure of every other alternative.
Still, in our heart of hearts, do we really mean that all terrorism is equally to be condemned? Isn’t the thought going to occur: What are the poor Israelis to do, given the vast military power of the Palestinians as compared to their own meager resources, not to mention the enormous economic, military, and diplomatic assistance given to Palestine by its unwavering and entirely uncritical ally, the United States, the world’s only superpower?
Alright: Consider a purely hypothetical counterfactual. Suppose the situation were reversed, and it was Israel that was actually the occupying power, the oppressor, the impoverisher, the assassinator, and so on? In those circumstances, wouldn’t the civilized world be increasingly outraged at Israel’s behavior?
Of course, I understand that this may seem preposterous, since it is impossible to imagine that a Jewish state—a Jewish state!—could ever behave in such a manner. Still, it may be that such a “thought experiment” could be useful.