This fundamental human value of seeing others as human beings just like us is disappearing; some people even consider it a betrayal. From so much self-love and narcissism about the Land of Israel, the dogma of Israel and the Israeli people, we have sealed our eyes and ears and shut down our minds and consciences until we can no longer see or hear others. We can no longer be attentive to their point of view and give legitimacy to the logic of their claims and cultural narrative.
We are so full of ourselves and so good at understanding our own arguments that others have become invisible; for us, there’s no one else but us. No one wants peace more than we do, the Israel Defense Forces is the most moral army in the world, and no one can investigate our actions better than we. As Jews it’s obvious that we’re allowed to settle everywhere; of course it’s our right to wipe out enemies in every country and on every continent, and anyone who denies this is nothing but an anti-Semitic non-Jew or a traitorous Jew consumed by self-hate.
For some time, this has not been a vilified handful, but rather a large camp of fanatic pioneers. The majority first becomes reconciled to them and then adopts their ways.
We don’t see others, especially the Palestinians, as human in the full sense of the word, so, just like the ultra-Orthodox community vis-a-vis secular people, we, the Israelis, seek more rights for ourselves than we grant others.
In sum, when the mind and conscience are enslaved to nationalist narcissism, others become invisible to us, and we look like bullies and become lepers in the eyes of others. One’s heart breaks over the insensitivity that’s having a field day here, and its many victims – ours and the others’.
The writer is director of the Institute for Educational Thought at the Kibbutz Teachers College in Tel Aviv.