Some in Israel consider themselves even more infallible than the pope. Indeed the pope's declared infallibility isn't as infinite as those not into Catholicism's pedantic sophistry assume. But here, among us, are know-it-alls who place themselves on an even higher pedestal than the Pontiff of Rome's, both in the roles of moralizers and omniscients.
When such presumptuous status is combined with a devastating personal loss, emotive authority is lent to the cause of self-proclaimed absolute righteousness.
Not only can the infallible one audaciously conduct himself as if he's "unconditionally reliable, free from flaws or defects and incapable of error" (my World Book Dictionary definition for "infallible"), he's now additionally protected by the impenetrable armor of bereavement.
This is precisely why it's so difficult to take on author David Grossman's politicization of last weekend's Rabin memorial rally and his call for more territorial giveaways, which is the practical bottom line of his advocacy of "negotiations" with the unsavory likes of Syria's Bashar Assad.
Grossman lost his son Uri in the recent Lebanese conflict and, by Israeli codes, that bestows upon him near-immunity from criticism. But our tribal taboos must sometimes be violated for the sake of the tribe's actual self-preservation. A spade must be called a spade even if it's not "nice" to disapprove of Grossman's preaching.
Without belittling his pain, the retreatist - if not defeatist - policies he and fellow-travelers had advocated with an air of infallibility for so long weakened this nation's morale to the extent of swaying us into misguidedly relinquishing strategic assets essential for Israel's defense.
Our ill-considered pullbacks from both Lebanon and Gush Katif led to the overnight reinforcement there of the wickedest terrorist predators Israel faces. To make matters worse, the Grossmans among us not only sapped our willpower, they also pulled the wool over our eyes. They heaped praise on the folly of running away, portraying handovers to Hizbullah and the Gazans as sterling models for concessions-to-come.
They diverted attention from the rocketry and monster arsenals imported into security zones we naively vacated, hoping for the best - according to the wishful thinking that Grossman & Crew imposed upon us - after incessant brainwashing and resolve-depleting cant.
Grossman and his groupies - who dominate the trendy intellectually indolent media and therefore wield inordinate manipulative control over public opinion - brought us hither. They verbally terrorized any proponent of opinion opposed to their infallible decrees. They disparaged desperate forewarnings by those who refused to fall for their narcotic pipe-dreams. Even in his latest address Grossman berated apparently unjustified "anxieties" (of those whose perceptions differ from his) and "fear-mongering" (by those who caution against his hallucinatory panaceas).
In the ultimate spirit of self-professed infallibility, Grossman gave voice to a surfeit of sanctimonious accusations. Any hint of contrition was conspicuously absent - even though Grossman assured us that his misfortune had engendered in him a new "clarity of vision."
It's a pity that Grossman - who's sure to affect the outlook of many who chronically avoid exerting their gray cells - didn't ask out loud from the podium whether he personally and his coterie didn't create, or help significantly deepen, the morass he so passionately decried.
Did his relentless political offensive not strengthen the enemy and damage Israeli deterrence to the point that instigated the confrontation which claimed his son's life (but not only his)?
Did his doctrinaire clique's intolerance and unilateral monopolization of what it deems to be Truth and Virtue not lead to the loss of values he lamented so?
Where were he and his fellow opinion czars when a prime minister cheated his electorate in order to win the infallibles' approval and thereby escape his legal travails? Did Grossman raise a squawk against this travesty? He didn't because he endorsed all means to expel the settlers he detests. When ends justify means, ideals fade.
HOW CAN he talk about "the tie to the land," when he consistently demeans historic Jewish claims to this country, yet lavishes respectability and credibility on Arab distortions geared to wrest Israel's rights and legitimacy? The resonance he gives willful Arab falsifications, his apologetics and understanding for Arab belligerence serve to confound his fellow Israelis.
The doubt Grossman sows leads all too many to lose the Zionist convictions whose downturn he bewails. If the territory that was cradle to our national existence and renaissance is of negligible importance, then why struggle to hang on here?
It's ironically Grossman's holier-than-thou pseudo-sophistication which inevitably rends the last tattered shreds of our sense of identity and purpose and undermines the premise that we should at all remain here. When the historic homeland becomes so much barterable real estate, then Ramat Aviv isn't worth fighting for either. When nothing is of any value, nihilism takes over.
And while our belief in the justice of our attachment to this land is shaken, Grossman promotes the malicious inventions and spurious grievances touted by inimical Arab propagandists, whose unabashed aim is to slice Israel like the proverbial salami.
What does unrepentant Grossman advise? He proposes we ignore exhortations for genocide and ethnic cleansing against us (by Hamas) and demands we fabricate peace partners (like Abu-Mazen) who pursue equally bloodcurdling goals, but with more palatable prattle for overseas consumption and for the consumption of Israelis who parade their terminal gullibility as infallible sanity and sensibility.
Thus more vital holdings will be ceded, to be turned into more launching pads for more wars, which will cost the lives of more sons. Grossman's conceit of ethical and strategic infallibility isn't part of the solution - it's one of the core fundamentals of the problem.
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