Israel and the Moral Striptease

Self-flagellation, if performed at the behest of someone else, with money from somewhere else, is no longer just self-flagellation. Israelis would do well to remember this.

July 20, 2015 | Matti Friedman
About the author: Matti Friedman is the author of a memoir about the Israeli war in Lebanon, Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War (2016). His latest book is Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel (2019).
This is a response to Who Censored the Six-Day War?, originally published in Mosaic in July 2015

Amos Oz listens to testimony he gave after the Six-Day War, in which he fought. Photo by Avner Shahaf.

Readers following the way that Israel is discussed abroad these days might be aware of two intertwined and mutually reinforcing tropes. According to the first trope, the story of Israel is not about complicated events with multiple players but about the moral character of Israel alone. Israel’s opponents generally appear as bystanders or corpses. Arabs don’t make decisions: they are merely part of the set upon which the Jews perform.

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now