Sunday, August 26, 2007

On the Crucial Distinction Between Considering and Acting

Tom Segev (yes, him again) has uncovered the story of some long-hidden sections of the diaries of Moshe Sharett (one of Israel's "Founding Fathers", whose most important claim to fame, and quite a claim it is, is that he was Not Ben Gurion). Before delving into the findings, Segev does an excellent job of describing the importance of the diaries as they were published in 1978, and how they were a motivating tool for the revisionists of Israeli history back in the 1980s. Then, he turns to the newly uncovered sections, which tell that according to what Sharett knew, and it's not clear how much he really knew, the minister of defense, Pinchas Lavon, was hatching some very diabolical plans, such as using biological weapons (it doesn't say that Israel had such a capacity in the mid 1950s. Or today, for that matter).

Sooner or later the friends of Israel will swoop onto this finding to prove, yet again, how bad we are. When they do so, let's hope that they tell the full story: that Lavon indeed does seem to have had some maniacal ideas, and that he was the minister of defense, not a fishmonger - but also that his subordinates (two Chiefs of Staff), his peers, and his superiors, all seem to have regarded him as off the rocker, and the ideas didn't happen.

The fact that crazy ideas can be mooted is quite different from crazy ideas that are implemented, and then defended as if they actually aren't crazy at all, they tell merely of the horrible frustration of the perpetrators and the narrow mindedness of whomever didn't save them from their frustrating conditions.

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