>Must David always become Goliath? Must the hero become the villain?


In 1947 Israel was seen as David, a small power facing huge Arab Goliaths, and worthy of pity because of it. Yet now Israel is seen as a clumsy bully, and sometimes even stupid in its stubborn persistance with its ‘Iron Wall’ philosophies. The ‘Iron Wall’ philosophy was developed in the 20s, so before Israel even existed. It says any sign of non-compliance with Israel must be met with over-whelming force. And there is little doubt that from then till now that philosophy has created a bully. So was the process inevitable?

Have you ever heard the phrase “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”? I’m afraid it doesn’t have a great intellectual source. It’s from the new Batman film (unless it was said elsewhere before). Do you think it’s true? Do good guys, heros, liberators and such forth always become the bad guys of the future?

P.S. I apologize for putting something else into biblical terms Sean. It just seems appropriate with Israel.


  • >I didn't pay much attention at catholic school but Batman's not biblical is he ? ;-)I always guessed that Isreal were a bunch of pricks because they didn't want the holocaust to happen again, but you say their Iron Wall idea is from the 20s. Is that true or a typo ?Obviously the Batman quote, although pithy, is not a truism. Granted the inevitable though that if you live long enough you're bound to make mistakes and/or show your more selfish side.Was it inevitable that Israel became a bully. I don't know their history much but I can't see why they couldn't adjust some of their foreign policy towards international opinion, or at the very least, and latest, towards US opinion.

  • >Yes the iron wall comes from the ideas of Ze'ev Jabotinsky. He was a radical Zionist leader who helped form the Jewish legion in the British Army during the First World War, and was an early leader of Irgun (a very radical organisation that wanted not only Palestine but also Jordan). He created the idea of having an 'iron wall' in 1923. You can read his essay here: http://www.jabotinsky.org/multimedia/upl_doc/doc_191207_49117.pdf. To summarize his view I'll quote you the most used line: "Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection ofa power that is independent of the native population – behind an iron wall, which thenative population cannot breach."It's interesting that you say Israel could have changed its stance. To my mind this is exactly why the issue sparks debate. Why does Israel still think the Iron Wall philosophy works? Why does it think that without the iron wall Israel will come crashing down? Almost nowhere else in the world do people think this. Indeed even in Israel many people are starting to say that the Gaza blockade is wrong. But by on large Israelis, as well as the Israeli government are very fearful of dropping the 'bullying' approach. In fact when protests started across the world about the 9 deaths of last week (when Israeli troops stormed the aid ship heading to Gaza) students in Israel responded by launching pro IDF marches.So were there and are there other options? Undoubtedly. But the fact that most Israelis still hold such radical views suggests that this is how the nation has evolved to respond to circumstances. So was it inevitable that after the holocaust Israel would develop a chip on its shoulder that made it difficult to bring Israel to the peace table? Or are Israel's actions more pragmatic?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s