The Passion of Arafat

From the archive (legacy material)

Gilad Atzmon | | 13/11/2004

In the last ten days of his life the world held its breath following what appeared to be an everlasting battle between a giant freedom fighter and the angel of death. Many of us were following the news with care, many of us were praying for the president’s recovery. Apparently, not all of us: we also had a chance to see some necrophiliac Israeli ministers who would not let go, for them this was an opportunity to entertain themselves with fatality, an opportunity not to be missed. They tried to convince us for the last time that Arafat was a terrorist, that the notion of him being buried in Jerusalem amongst ‘Jewish Kings’ was inconceivable. These Israeli leaders insisted on telling us that this great man was an ‘enemy of peace’. But as it seems, their viciousness didn’t prevail.
By now the world is accustomed to Israeli politicians and their utter lack of manners, not to mention a complete absence of empathic qualities. And yet, Jewish ministers and the Israeli media were dismayed to discover that once again, Jewish sadism had been defeated, if anything it was found to be counter effective. With worldwide extensive coverage on all news networks, Arafat was buried today as an admired world-class leader. Arafat is probably the last popular ‘people’s leader’. A man of the people, who failed to become an American puppet or even an autocrat bureaucrat.
For three years, the old man was encircled in his bombarded compound, occasionally his life was put at a severe risk; the Muqata, the building in which he spent his final year, was torn apart and a threat of collapse was imminent for more than two years. In spite of his age, without electricity or running water, in spite of daily humiliation by the people who colonised his land, the man didn’t surrender. And yet the Israelis never stopped, when they didn’t bomb him they wanted to cleanse him. But the man did not give up. Presenting his people with the greatest form of mighty dignity, he encouraged them to resist and they did.
It was shocking to find out that the Israeli politicians and media outlets were foolish enough to bully the dying man. How blind can you be to the most basic sense of humanity? The old labour Zionists were as sadistic as their right wing successors but at least they were fully engaged in disguising their real motives. They always at least pretended to be peace lovers. It now appears that the current leading Israelis are far more genuine. Much like their ancient biblical ancestors, they went for the most banal vulgar populist choice; they provided their crowd with the most bloody message of vengeance. Israeli identity is obsessed with the search for the notion of ultimate revenge. The sensation of coming down on their defenceless foes like a ton of bricks makes them feel very pleased with themselves. This rather awkward philosophy matured into the Israeli official political and military strategy. The elected Israeli government is there merely to provide the Israelis with Palestinian blood. The Israeli government have very little claim for fame on any other front, neither in economy nor in social security, nor indeed in personal security. They specialise in providing the Israeli public with a high Palestinian death rate. In tactical terms they define it as ‘power of deterrence’ but in practice it is better articulated as sheer bloodthirstiness.
Very much like their biblical ancestors, the Israelis like to see their enemy beaten to death, whether it is an old dying Arafat or a family annihilated by a gun ship in Gaza. As terrifying as it sounds, the pain of others makes the Israelis cheerful. This is the only explanation for the murderous activities enacted by the Israeli army in occupied territories. This is the only explanation for them bullying the dying Arafat even when it was clear that he was on his last legs. The concept of compassion is completely foreign to them.
It now appears that the emancipation of the Jewish people that led to the birth of Zionism: a racist, colonialist and nationalist state, is now evolving into its very last phase: a sadistic manifestation. Israel is engaged in the daily bullying of the Palestinian people. When bullying gets boring, they go for the kill; when killing gets boring, they humiliate the dying Arafat. The Israelis enjoy their overwhelming power. At the end of the day, it must be quite good fun to threaten the entire region with your colossal nuclear destructive power.
But then, it is not entirely surprising that the Western world and especially the Europeans are uneasy with the latest manifestation of Zionism. They stand and stare at current events with a sense of familiarity. For Westerners, the passion of Arafat and the via-delerosa of the Palestinian people isn’t a revelation, it is merely a repetition. A repetition of the birth of the entire Western ethos, an ethos that is based upon the denunciation of sadism and the endorsement of empathy. Israel is going the other way, it is the narcissistic embodiment of any possible inhuman sense. It is the celebration of cruelty. History teaches us that when sadistic narcissism reveals its face, the end should be anticipated. Israel’s days are numbered; it is just a question of time before they turn against themselves.