Quote of the week: Gideon Levy

Gideon Levy: how can we account for his warped perspective?

Gideon Levy: how can we account for his warped perspective?

The Israeli Left becomes more pathological every day. Here is how Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz responded to the admission by Judge Richard Goldstone that “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document”:

Anyone who honored the first Goldstone has to honor him now as well, but still has to ask him: What happened? What exactly do you know today that you didn’t know then? Do you know today that criticizing Israel leads to a pressure-and-slander campaign that you can’t withstand, you “self-hating Jew”? This you could have known before.

Goldstone’s recent statement that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy” repudiates the central blood libel contained in the report that bears his name. But Levy thinks the facts support the original accusation:

But let’s put aside the torments and indecision of the no-longer-young Goldstone. Let’s also put aside the reports by the human rights organizations. Let’s make do with the findings of the IDF itself. According to Military Intelligence, 1,166 Palestinians were killed in the operation, 709 of them terrorists, 162 who may or may not have been armed, 295 bystanders, 80 under the age of 16 and 46 women.

All the other findings described a more serious picture, but let’s believe the IDF. Isn’t the killing of about 300 civilians, including dozens of women and children, a reason for penetrating national soul-searching? Were all of them killed by mistake? If so, don’t 300 different mistakes require conclusions? Is this the behavior of the most moral army in the world? If not, who takes responsibility?

Actually, yes, it is a remarkably good outcome for urban warfare, especially considering the fact — which  the Goldstone report itself notes — that Hamas had a deliberate policy of fighting from among civilians. Evelyn Gordon points out that, according to Red Cross figures, the proportion of civilian casualties in war for most of the last century has been close to 90%. IDF figures put the proportion in the Gaza war at 39%, and even NGO figures — including Palestinian NGOs — don’t approach the 90% that is routine for the wars of Europe, the US, etc.

Goldstone attributes his change of heart to information developed by the IDF’s own investigation that directly contradicts much of the NGO testimony upon which the Goldstone Report was based. But Levy, who simply discounts IDF information because of its source, turns on Goldstone himself, blaming his recantation on cowardice.

Levy writes as one who is burning with hatred and bitterness. His own solution to the problem of Hamas is not clear. In a recent interview, he writes

No doubt the government cannot tolerate attacks on the southern part of Israel — no government in the world would have tolerated it.  It couldn’t go on, Qassams every second day and the state lives with it?  This is out of the question.  The problem is that nobody asks why they launched the Qassams.  I guess that if Gaza would have been free, there would have been no Qassams.  But Gaza is not free, and the occupation didn’t end in Gaza — it just changed its form.

So I suppose he advocates opening borders, relinquishing control over airspace and shipping, etc. The consequences of this would be obvious and tragic — yesterday’s attack on a school bus is an example. But in general he talks only from the point of view of the Palestinian Arabs, about how ‘the occupation’ is oppressive and must be ended. What will happen then, will happen, he seems to say.

“Nobody asks why they launched the Qassams,” he says. But do we need to ask? Don’t they tell us, in the Hamas covenant, in their media, and in the statements of their officials?

How can we account for his warped perspective?

I’m not qualified to psychoanalyze Levy, although someone like Dr. Kenneth Levin could use him as a case study in ‘Jewish delusional grandiosity (JDG)’ (I think I made up that term, but Levin would like it), the belief that Jews can protect themselves against antisemitic violence by a process of self-improvement, a process of making themselves better so that the antisemites will like them.

Note that this requires that the JDG sufferer must accept the antisemitic stereotypes of his persecutors. Is Levy’s outburst at Goldstone antisemitic? Perhaps.

By the way, Dr. Levin argues persuasively (The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege), that this strategy didn’t work throughout Jewish history, and is not working today.

You’d think that Levy, et al, would want to emigrate, and some other left-wing extremists like historian Ilan Pappé have done so. But perhaps part of the JDG syndrome is an exaggerated belief in the moral righteousness of one’s position, so that Levy sees himself as almost a martyr to ‘justice’:

It’s not always very pleasant, but do I have a choice?  I can’t change my mind, I will not stop raising my voice as long as I can raise my voice, and as long as I have the platforms to raise my voice — and altogether I still, as I said, feel very free to do so.  With all the price that I’m paying, it’s a relatively minor price.

Levy, as he admits, is doing well. Who pays the price for him, as well as myriad other media and academic personalities who are also anti-state activists, is the Jewish people.

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2 Responses to “Quote of the week: Gideon Levy”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    How to explain the personal resentment and hatred of Levy towards the Jewish state is a question of his own biography. But Levy would not be able to do the damage he does to Israel were it not for the support of its editorial director and its owner. Amos Schocken long- time owner of ‘Haaretz’ has supported Levy Amira Hess, and many others who seem to hate the Jewish state with all their hearts. They have provided much ammunition to Israel’s enemies and certainly have contributed to the delegitimization campaign against the Jewish state.
    Again these people do not provide constructive fair criticism of Israel but rather hate- filled consistent tirades against it, and a bias which is present in everything they write.

  2. NormanF says:

    Gideon Levy is the worst of the anti-Israel extremists at Haaretz. Then there is Akiva Eldar and of course Amira Hass. Their views represent only a minority standpoint in Jewish Israeli society but they are quite significant in their influence abroad, where the harm they cause Israel is greatly magnified.

    They will be with us for some time to come.