It's a safe bet that when Kurt Vonnegut published his 1961 classic short story "Harrison Bergeron," he didn't explicitly have Israel's anomaly in mind. Our local aberration hadn't yet burgeoned, and so the author merely engaged in satirical conjecture about how far a society could go to keep its more insightful members from critical thinking.
The fictional pretext for messing about with perceptive minds was ostensibly virtuous - to uphold the principle that all humans are equal. Thus, to ensure absolute egalitarianism, brighter folks were handicapped to reduce them to the lowest common denominator.
Persecuted genius Harrison's parents, Hazel and George, were cases in point. Hazel, Vonnegut explains, "had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little 'mental handicap radio' in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains."
IN TODAY'S Israel we haven't yet physically implanted microchips to shrilly nullify nonconformist notions, but we might as well have. Thinking heretically out-of-the-box is routinely reproved and impeded in the very state founded by supposedly ultra-clever Jews. Vonnegut's inserted brain-buzzer has simply been supplanted by Israel's equally cacophonous mass media, whose uniformly tendentious, all-pervading messages could well have been scripted by Vonnegut's "Handicapper General."
As a result, what misleadingly parades in our midst as "public discourse" is as controlled as George's cerebral processes. Moreover, as in Vonnegut's imaginary future, everything is all for a seemingly good cause - peace. With unremitting persistence it's inculcated into Israelis that no price is too great for peace, and that no gamble is too reckless.
Such endless indoctrination has presented peace and consummate political correctness as Israel's very raisons d'etre. To repeatedly justify their ever-questionable right to self-determination, Jews must prove to an ever-inimical world just how pacifist and pacifying they are. Otherwise, the world mightn't love us, and winning world love is what the opinion molders instruct us to care supremely about.
For instance, it's inexorably pounded into Israeli psyches that it's crucial to gain Condoleezza's affections. To that indispensable end, we must espouse Fatah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas as our peace-partner - even when Fatah plots to bump off Israel's premier.
Most Israelis, apparently capable of no more than fuzzy thoughts in short bursts, can no longer even recall that disengagement's folly was entirely based on the premise that "there is no peace-partner." Jarring establishment-orchestrated fanfares zap any faint fleeting flashback to the recent past, when no other than Abbas was in charge of the undivided Palestinian Authority and it was his frustrating obstructionism which persuaded Israelis that there's "nobody to talk to."
How was the self-same Holocaust-denying perfidious Abbas transformed into a "peace-partner"? He was kicked out of Gaza because disengagement emboldened his Hamas colleagues to a point that made Abbas superfluous for Allah's minions. Abbas is still trying to kiss and make up with Hamas, but his current powerlessness qualifies him as a suitable peace-partner, according to Israel's official topsy-turviness.
ANY ATTEMPT to shout that it's the identical Abbas - who can't deliver the goods and anyway doesn't want to - will be drowned out by the deafening chorus of popular pundits. To hear the "experts," Israel came into the world to fulfill its destiny to cede Judaism's most cherished sites to Nazi torchbearers. Our national goal isn't to safeguard continued Jewish existence, but to sacrifice security to still-implacable enemies. Israel's bizarreness is rationalized under the codeword "peace," even if that peace will kill us.
Accordingly, ominous predictions are stridently ridiculed as "panic-mongering" by the same mind-bending chorus. The people are conditioned to robotically revert to wishful thinking whenever any alarming prospects attempt to invade their consciousness. Denial is an ancient ghetto-honed Jewish penchant.
The judgment-jamming proverbial earpieces imposed on Israelis constantly drone the mantra that "there's nothing to lose" by playing along with Condi and making egregious offers to Abbas. If he doesn't cooperate, we will nonetheless have earned her undying gratitude and get to keep whatever Abbas doesn't obligingly take off our hands.
The manipulated masses may dimly suspect that Condi and the international community will blame Israel no matter what, but Israelis are trained to suppress healthy intuition in favor of decreed group-think. It's dejecting to dwell on the absolute certainty that whatever offers are made to Abbas - even if not immediately snapped up - will constitute the starting point of the next compulsory negotiations to weaken Israel.
Ehud Barak's then-incredible Camp David largesse toward Arafat proves that nothing evaporates. What Barak proposed in 2000 still haunts Israel - Arafat's violent rebuff notwithstanding. Olmert is now expected to top Barak's bid, and if that comes a cropper, Olmert's successor will be brutally pressured to relinquish even more.
THUS MERE words suffice to deprive Israel of every last sliver of the fruit of its successful Six-Day War defense. All the blood shed then and since is rendered meaningless by a rash diplomacy of concessions which willy-nilly drags us to 1949's vulnerable Square One - if not further back. Under these circumstances why should Abbas budge? All he needs do is stay intransigent while
Israelis outdo each other to "bolster" him so he can posture as their pseudo-viable peace-partner, to whom they must make the outrageous sacrifices essential to propping up an ersatz peace-partner, to whom to surrender vital strategic assets to boost said peace-partner.
Circuitous reasoning? Makes no sense? It's all too heavy to brood about. After Hazel witnessed young Harrison's murder broadcast live on TV, she only vaguely realized that she saw "something real sad."
"Forget sad things," advised George.
"I always do," she answered.
They could have both been exceedingly comfortable among Israel's own numerous Hazels and Georges.