Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gideon Levy on Israeli Exceptionalism

I strongly recommend Gideon Levy's newest essay in Haaretz, where he castigates his fellow Israelis for what has become their innate sense of Jewish/Israeli exceptionalism, which he cites as manifesting itself most recently in the national jubilation after the Nobel Prize was awarded to an Israeli scientist.  Dr. Daniel Schechtman's achievements surely merited the award, and the world is better off for his success.

But reading Levy's essay, one can't help but be struck by the parallels with the sense of exceptionalism that has become so ingrained in so many Americans, and that scholars like Andrew Bacevich have lately been pointing out so persistently.  As with Israelis today, the sense of exceptionalism - the sense that alongside Israel, America has become God's "chosen people" - blinds us to the destruction and ill will that spring from our blinkered myopia about the effects of our actions and policies around the globe.

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