By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
Who else thinks the often use of Golda Meir’s quote to excuse killing children is twisted, sick and offensive? People think this is a “pro-Israel” quote that “explains” Israel. But anyone with a reasonable sense realizes not only is it not “pro-Israel” and a good “explanation”; it is a deeply disturbing, demented, inhumane quote that basically says “you deserve to have your children killed and we so dehumanize you that we also hate you for ‘making’ us kill them.” It is like the racists who say “I won’t forgive you for making me a racist against you.” It is illogical.
The idea that Hamas uses human shields may be correct, but the insinuation that Gazans don’t care for their children betrays an apparent total ignorance or even willingness to take time to ask individual Gazans if they love their children. By implying they do not it dehumanizes people in Gaza, turning them into “people who don’t care for children” and in some twisted way excusing the deaths of those children. But think logically for a second. If Hamas uses human shields and that people in Gaza don’t care as much about their children, then why oblige them by killing them? For instance, if one knows that there is an abusive father who harms his children and uses his children in his criminal activity and shields his crimes with his children, would it be ok to kill them? Wouldn’t the opposite be true, since he doesn’t care for his innocent children, the logic would be to stop him from harming them? That’s right, in a society where one learns of a person who knowingly harms their children or even wants someone to harm the children, no one obliges them by harming the children and then blaming the abusive parent; instead society views the children as innocent. So even in the case where Hamas was purposely using children as shields, why knowingly harm them?
There is no such thing as someone being “forced” to kill children. When a man robs a bank and takes children hostage, the police don’t shoot the children and then say “we won’t forgive him for making us shoot them.” The massive bombing campaigns of Germany or Japan in WWII killed many children, but not because the allies were “forced” to; they chose to. Maybe it was the “best” way to end the war; but there is never a case where one is really “forced” to kill a child.
Golda Meir’s quote was aimed at excusing actions that resulted in the death of children because it implies the author has little feelings for the ‘other.’ It is part of a cynical world view that values death over life. Golda’s quote pretends Israel values life of Israeli children more than Arabs do their own, but only because the quote has little or no humanity for Arabs. Did Golda believe in her heart that “all Arabs” did not “value their children”, because she was a backward racist living in a 1960s mentality?
Some people think that they are being “right wing” or whatever by supporting this malicious quote. But Golda was a leftist actually, schooled in the art of socialist propaganda and her quote is a classic Soviet-style masterpiece of blaming the victim, it is a sort of sadism; where the victim is blamed for being victimized. It is like the man who abuses his wife and says “you made me do it.” And Golda’s quote is classic propaganda, to fool the mind and make one think “yes, they make us kill them, and we must hate them for it.” Fascists too would have excelled at this theory. “You make us kill you.” No. It is a classic transference of responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim, so that the victim is turned into the perpetrator. The victim “forces us” to kill children. No. Take responsibility. When you kill children, take responsibility.
The quote reveals Golda was the ultimate irresponsible politician, she sought to transfer all blame for actions onto the other; like the thief that steals and says “I must steal” or the criminal who is violent and says he “must be violent” because of some supposed pain he suffered as a child.
Irresponsible, inhumane, illogical.
Postscript: It should be noted that even according to Jewish religious law and the laws of war enshrined by the sage Maimonides, that it was understood killing children was not normal in the course of war. In his laws of war, section 6:4 he notes that children under the “age of majority”, which would have been 13 should not be killed.