Saturday, January 31, 2009

Editorial: Barbarianism Unmasked - Paul Woodward

War in Context, January 30, 2009 - ....Yesterday’s session, “Gaza: the case for Middle East peace,” was a pivotal moment in political discourse between the West and the rest of the world. The self-righteous hubris of an enraged Israeli president collided with the outrage of those who refused to ignore his bloodied hands.

To fully understand what happened, watch the one-hour eight-minute discussion. (For readers who want to fast forward to the part where Shimon Peres starts venting his rage, drag the play marker across to 45 minutes 50 seconds.).... [Video available at the link.]

Beyond the passion of the moment, the incident exposes the hypocrisy that is embedded in the West’s view of the rest of the world.

If Hugo Chavez, or Muammar al-Gaddafi, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or any other non-Western leader had spoken with the vulgarity, deceitfulness and rage that Shimon Peres displayed, the universal response would have been that this was unbecoming and unacceptable behavior for a political leader on a world stage.

The conceit of Western civilization (within which Israel sees itself embedded and by which Israel is treated as a full participant) is that it has nothing to learn from the dignity of others.

As the self-appointed custodians of civilization we fail to see the degree to which dignity is something we often lack, while so many of those we look down upon regard respectful, dignified behavior as a fundamental mark of humanity. Commensurate with the loss of our dignity has been the rise of our arrogance.

If Israel wants to understand why it is currently viewed with contempt by so much of the world, it should not only consider the misery it has inflicted on millions of Palestinians; it should also consider why it takes pride in having as its preeminent emissary a man who acts like a thug.

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