Diagnosing Israel’s Imperial Narcissism

by | Apr 9, 2024

Diagnosing Israel’s Imperial Narcissism

by | Apr 9, 2024

depositphotos 320455212 s

As it continues to engage in a “plausibly genocidal” mass murder spree in Gaza, the state of Israel has embraced the most psychotic and psychopathic interpretation of one of the most violent narratives from the Hebrew Bible. This is fueling a narcissism that puts the very existence of Israel at risk.

On October 28, as Israeli ground forces began turning Gaza into a free-fire zone, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed his nation. He vowed to destroy Hamas for “our existence” and also “for the benefit of all of humanity.”

During the speech he said, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

This sparked immediate global controversy and concern. Amalek was the son of Eliphaz and Timna, which are not household names for the adventitious Abrahamic religious adherent. But Eliphaz was the son of Esau, and Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Esau and Jacob were sons of Isaac. These two have one of the most infamous rivalries in the Western Canon. Jacob’s line leads to the Israelites while Esau’s leads to the Amalekites:

“…descendants of Amalek, were an ancient biblical nation living near the land of Canaan. They were the first nation to attack the Jewish people after the Exodus from Egypt, and they are seen as the archetypal enemy of the Jews.”

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Amalekites went full 1973 on the embryonic state of Israel:

“While the Jews were still at Rephidim, recuperating from their escape from Egypt, the nation of Amalek launched a vicious surprise attack on them—though the Jews had no designs on Amalekite territory and were not even headed in that direction.”

As Libertarian Institute Executive Editor Sheldon Richman mused, “Since Yahweh many times had ‘hardened Pharaoh’s heart,’ causing him to refuse to free the Israelites, perhaps Yahweh put the Amalekites there for some unknown reason.” In any event, the Jews defeated the Amalekites in fierce battle. Almost 400 years later, Samuel advised Saul:

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” [emphasis added]

Hence the uproar over Netanyahu’s Amalek comment. However, Netanyahu’s rhetoric got even more spicy, when he said Israeli soldiers were “joining this chain of Jewish heroes. A chain that has started 3,000 years ago from Joshua ben Nun until the heroes of 1948, the Six Day War, the ’73 October War and all other wars in this country.” [emphasis added]

Why Joshua? Netanyahu could have referenced the first man, Adam. Or Noah, who saved humankind. He could have started the chain almost 4,000 years ago with Abraham, considered the first Jew and one of the Three Patriarchs of Judaism by scholars. Or Isaac or Jacob, the other two patriarchs. Jacob in particular was renamed Israel.

Netanyahu could have drawn a line to one of Jacob’s twelve sons, who gave rise to the twelve tribes (and thus the very foundation) of Israel. The obvious choice would be Levi or Judah, but there’s also Joseph, who became the trusted advisor of the Pharaoh. When famine hit the land of the Jews, Jacob and his sons sought immigrant assistance services in Egypt and Joseph was able to provide some much-needed administrative aid. That famine, by the way, was natural, unlike the famine being deliberately inflicted on Gaza by Israel.

Of course, the Jews ended up enslaved by the Egyptians. Moses eventually led the Jews out of Egypt, but it was Joshua who led them in victorious battle against the Amalekites and then onward into the Promised Land. He was a spy, a warrior, and a commander of men; no wonder Netanyahu evoked him.

We should keep in mind that archaeologists and other scholars have found no artifactual or documentary evidence of Israelite enslavement in Egypt or an exodus of two million people through the Sinai over forty years. And the Promised Land, Canaan, was part of the Egyptian Empire at the time.

Joshua fits perfectly as the patron saint of the Israeli Military-Intelligence Establishment. People around the world, and especially in America, should be able to empathize with such hero-worship.

The Joshua narrative portrays the Amalekites as archetypal, malevolent, and predatory evil. Contrast this with the portrayal of the Trojans in the Iliad, a Greek epic created for Greek audiences that actually views the enemy as human:

“Achilles is the hero of The Iliad, but he’s not described as the noble man—that title belongs to Hector the Trojan. The Greeks are just as much interested in the enemy as in their own troops, and they describe them with dignity and compassion and appreciation…There is a sense of respect for the other side: champions are matched as equals, and this is particularly Greek…The Homeric epics date to almost exactly the same period as the Book of Judges. Read the Book of Judges and see the way in which the Semitic Israelites regard their enemy. It’s a very different story.”

The Greeks destroyed Troy and killed and raped everyone they could get their hands on, but they acknowledged the Trojans’ humanity. Israel has stopped viewing its enemies as human. And that has allowed it to plan potentially suicidal military action.

The Palestinians are human beings. The Yemenis are human beings. The Lebanese are human beings. The Syrians are human beings. The Iraqis are human beings. The Iranians are human beings. Israel’s inability to accept this reality is a narcissistic flaw that imperils its existence.

About John Weeks

John focuses on the application of “Corporate Agent Theory” to the State. He argues that, despite their lack of phenomenal consciousness, states have their own beliefs, desires and intentions. Above all, states desire war.

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