The deaths of five dozen or so Hamas militants and sympathizers at the border fence separating Gaza from the State of Israel elicited a charge of Israeli “genocide” from Turkey’s President Erdogan, and milder reproaches from some other world leaders. The Hamas government of Gaza, which both the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organization, attempted to breach the border fence in order to infiltrate armed fighters into Israel.
It sent its militants on a suicide mission, forewarned that Israel would defend its border against an enemy officially committed to its annihilation. Hamas May 16 announced that 55 of the 60 persons killed at the border were its members, which should put to rest the canard that Israel fired needlessly on peaceful demonstrators.
What we observed during the past several days in Gaza is a mass suicide. There is something especially horrifying about mass suicide; in some ways it shocks us more deeply than the deliberate slaughter of civilians. Hamas had told the world for years that it loves death more than the Jews love life, but the theatrical sacrifice of dozens of its adherents at the Gaza border brings home a horrible truth: the modern world has an ambivalent attitude towards life. We observe the slow-motion suicide of numerous countries, including Iran, in the form of fertility rates so low that they portend depopulation by the end of the present century.
Backward cultures thrust into the modern world have the highest suicide rates ever recorded. The Guardian reported in 2013 that members of Brazil’s Guarani tribe are 34 times more likely to kill themselves than other Brazilians:
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Thursday, figures from Survival International suggest that the Guarani-Kaiowá are 34 times more likely to kill themselves than Brazil’s national average. This has prompted warnings that a “silent genocide” is underway. The community of 31,000 people, mostly based in the south-western state of Mato Grosso do Sul, is plagued by alcoholism, depression, poverty and violence after losing its ancestral lands to ranchers and biofuel farmers. The problem is decades-old, but Survival says the rate has increased in recent years. Since the start of the century, one suicide has been reported on average almost every week.
The suicide rate among aboriginal Inuit youth in Canada is 11 times higher than the national average. A 2006 study by the US National Institute for Mental Health warned, “Indigenous people around the world have the highest suicide risk of any identifiable cultural (or ethnic) group. It is a youth epidemic.”
Human beings cannot bear their mortality without the hope of immortality, as I argued in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die. Indigenous peoples in the modern world know that their culture has reached its use-by date and despair. The Gaza suicides have the same motivation. In Hamas’ reading of Islam, Allah offers success to those who submit to him. The historical humiliation of the Jews, tolerated (sometimes) as a despised minority in Muslim lands, testified to the truth of Mohammed’s prophecy and the promise of Islam. The strength and prosperity of the Jewish State only can be an aberration, a passing exercise in colonialism rather than a permanent presence; otherwise the core beliefs of Islamic culture as Hamas understands it must come into question.
Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem incites Hamas and its supporters, not because it excludes the possibility of a Palestinian state (on the contrary, an American embassy to Israel in West Jerusalem might set a precedent for a parallel embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem, as Daniel Pipes observes). The provocation lies in the premise that Israel’s presence in Zion is permanent. The world’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital humored the self-consoling delusion among the Palestinians and many other Muslims that Israel was a transient problem. What is Israel, after all, without Jerusalem, and if the world does not concede Jerusalem to the Jews, it really doesn’t concede the permanent presence of a Jewish State, according to the Palestinian narrative.
The path of least resistance, to be sure, is to humor fanatics, and that is why most of the world’s capitals have refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. By doing so the Trump Administration threw a bucket of cold war into the face of the Muslim world, requiring it to come to terms with the fact that Israel won’t go away. That does not particularly bother the Saudis, who know that Israel does not want to occupy Mecca but that Iran does. But it is an existential challenge to Hamas.
That explains why Hamas chose the US embassy’s opening day to stage mass suicides at the Gaza border. But there is another dimension to the problem. Unlike the unfortunate Guarani or Inuit, the jihadists understand the West’s susceptibility to horror. The incident at the Gaza border is not a simple case of suicide by policeman, but rather a weaponized deployment of the horror weapon.
That observation motivated this series of essays in the first place. Three weeks after the 9/11 attacks in New York I wrote in these pages:
Al-Qaeda wants no territory, no conversions, no loot, no slaves. It wishes to destroy the West and happily will sacrifice millions of Muslim lives in order to do so. Indeed, the mass sacrifice of Muslim lives may lie at the heart of its battle plan. It has more in common with the Dostoyevsky of The Possessed or the Wagner of The Twilight of the Gods than with the Muslim conquerors of the Middle Ages.
Evil for its own sake becomes imaginable only when the Christian civilization of the West abandons Christianity and stares into the abyss of its own destruction… Unlike the Western adherents of Nietzsche, who cried, “God is dead, and everything is permitted!” the Islamist radicals have invented a God who permits everything…
The grand vulnerability of the Western mind is horror. The Nazis understood this and pursued a policy “des Schreckens” (to cause horror) and “Entsetzens” (terror, literally: dislodgement). Horror was not merely an instrument of war in the traditional sense, but a form of Wagnerian theater, or psychological warfare on the grand scale.
The West is hyper-sensitive to horror because its own predilection for life is tenuous. What the former Pope Benedict XVI called a “culture of death” Birth rates in dozens of Western nations are so low that populations will decline sharply during the present century. That is not only true of the West: Japan and Korea are in rapid demographic decline. In the Muslim world, countries that have achieved full female literacy show birth rates as low as those of the West. Iran’s fertility rate has fallen from seven children per female in 1979 to about 1.6 children today. Excluding the Kurds (who have roughly three children per female), the Turkish fertility rate is roughly the same as Iran’s.
Optimistic, exceptional America regards the Gaza suicides as a grotesque attempt at manipulation and supports Israel’s right to defend itself. The pessimistic Europeans, who long ago traded their hopes for national future for a dilute and tasteless universalism, regard the Gaza suicides with horror. Those European nations who want to revive their national spirit, not surprisingly, are sympathetic to Israel. This week Romania, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic blocked a European Community resolution criticizing the United States for moving its embassy to Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority responded by recalling its envoy to Romania.
There is no consolation for Gaza. I cite Spengler’s Universal Law #23 as stated in my 2011 book: “The best thing you can do for zombie cultures is, don’t be one of them.”
this is typical Israeli racist crap
what this actually is, is a prison riot. The largest open air prison in the world.
Spengler puede escribir buenos artículos económicos. Pero con el asunto israelí mejor no leerlo. Falsea la realidad.
LOL, Jews and Arabs are both Semitic people how can either side be racist to the other?
it’s a miracle that you can crawl out of bed each morning. Do. Not. Breed.
look at the suffering in the open-air prison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ij8h0F6xcM
As so many times before, Spangler is spreading Bullshit by giving the victims of the atrocities the responsibility of the crime. The hypocrisy of the west has no end when they talk of “human rights” and at the same time closing their eyes to slaughtering of the people in Yemen and Palestine. Honestly, there is one big lesson in it for us all to learn: It is not the power of logic that rules in this world but the logic of power.
Now Bibi and Mohammad Bin Satan don’t need to fly to Washington. They can go and shake their bloody hands with Trump in Jerusalem.
Despair at 60 years of world-supported, American financead occupation isn’t enough?
Not Spangler. It is spelled "Spengler", after a german historian. Yes, sometimes the victims are responsible for their victimhood. Dont feel pity for a poor widow, if she shot her husband.
You know, Gaza had a moderate government until Hamas overthrew it. What Gaza is today lies at Hama’s feet, no one else. All Hamas want is the end of Israel, nothing else.
Whatever happened to water cannons, tear gas, beanbags, and rubber bullets? Medics reported fist sized exit wounds on unarmed people. That is all you really need to know, and no amount of sophistry can prettify this massacre.
And sometime the raped woman should be punished instead of the rapist because she made it up to it right??!! I know your type!!!
And yes I pity for the widows in Gaza for the Israelis have shot their husband
"There is something especially horrifying about mass suicide; in some ways it shocks us more deeply than the deliberate slaughter of civilians."
The deliberate slaughter of civilians is exactly what the IDF did.
Israel is the answer to antisemites like yourself. Yes, you can spout your hate all day, but in 2018, if you act on it, you’ll get a bullet between the eyes.
La realidad es que jamas ha habido un gobiero en toda la historia humana que intentaba aumentar los fallecidos entre su propria poblacion civil, antes de Hamas. Eso es diabolico.
Some posters seem to forget that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, and that the blockade is Egyptian as well as Israeli, and made necessary by the fact that Hamas attempts to import rockets and other weapons with which to attack Israeli civilian targets. Hamas does not want a Palestinian state unless it includes the whole area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. There surely are victims here, but they are civilians pushed to the border fence by Hamas.
What has race got to do with this? Genetically Israelis are closer to Arabs than they are to Europeans. The issue I raised is cultural, not racial. I suppose in the carnival of intersectionality any criticism of culture is inherently racist, but that is a silly objection.
Bret Stephens makes these points in today’s New York Times. There is a willful evasion of any facts that weigh in Israel’s favor.
Gaza? That’s so 20th century. After the Islamic State, Yemen, Syrian civil war, Afghanistan … who can be bothered with a few malcontents unhappy that the world (including the Arab world) has far greater problems than to worry about self-immolation for primetime?
If I shot those kids I’d still be a child murderer you moron.
The majority of Israelis are Sephardic or Mizrahi, not Ashkenazic.
You sound very unhappy. What can we do to make you unhappier?
Sir, you are a decent human being ! Your detractors here are intellectually challenged, callous scumbags.
Mmm sorry Mohammed and Ivor if I was unclear or too brief, what I meant was that if the widows of Gaza are also childless, it often seems to be because they are pushing their own babies to the very frontline to be killed, or use schools as rocket launchpads, so using their own children as human shields. Thats not just unheroic, but diabolical. If we arranged for our parents to get killed, we shouldnt then complain about being orphans. But in a way we can admire the Palestinian patience or tenacity, they never, never give up. Almost as if the Germans had refused to admit defeat in 1945, but continued fighting in isolated besieged pockets for 50 years. It would have been pointless, of course, and not even Hitler in his Jew-hatred was that mad. Instead the Germans admitted defeat, took a necessary reboot, joined the winning sides, and turned into a success story of the after-war years. Its a pity the Palestinians never get any after-war years or success, they just keep a lost war going.
I love these opinion pieces that are predicated on the denial that Palestinians have been been protesting similar grievences for half a century, and that Hamas formed only in 1987 after decades of abuse and oppression at the hands of the amer-euro settler neocolonialist "israelis," as if israel is simply reaponding to Palistinian provocations carried out in a vacuum. Spengler is NOT expertly informed on the conflict, its history or its current politics.
The Israel lovers will find all excuses for wholesale murder. In real world Might is right .
There are no Israelis in Gaza. The Arabs elected Hamas to govern them. It’s a pity that the Israelis left Gaza. It was supposed to be a peace gesture.
It is time to have a rational discussion why Israel should exist as a country.
Long live BSD and freedom for Mirdechai Vanunu.
Buddy you’re rationalizing child murder. I’m not the one living in a bubble here.
Por que o suicídio dos judeus em Massada é elogiado e o suicidio
dos palestinos em Gaza é desprezado.
In a way we can admire the Palestinian patience or tenacity, they never, never give up. Almost as if the Germans had refused to admit defeat in 1945, but continued fighting in isolated besieged pockets for 50 years. It would have been futile, of course, and not even Hitler in his Jew-hatred was that mad. Instead the Germans admitted defeat, took a necessary reboot, joined the winning sides, and turned into a success story of the after-war years. Its a pity the Palestinians never get any after-war years or success, they just keep a lost war going.
Yuo either naive or playing dump, look and read about the middle east more, and keep in mind that the founders of this humongous millitary base called Israel,put the formula to the existance of this base which is : keep the surrounding countries weak and the base are stronger than all of them,just think about their obiection to any selling of decent air defence system to any country in the middle east,This can NOT go forever. the irony is that Jews had been addicted to repeating thier history cycle,and they forgote that thier surrounding base mentality are built on An eye for an eye, whatever it take or how long it take,70 years is nothing in history book,They have been lured and trapped by very devilish power to do what they have done to the Palistinians and the surrounding countries after the Holocaust, they eruded the world sympathy little by little untill it is turning to dislikeness which will grow to reach the level of hatred.Alas. .
I can’t express how much of a bullshit this article is. Holocaust was also a mass suicide of Jews then.
It’s totally not racist if you describe same phenomenon with different words for two nations: It is "protest" if the rich guy does it and "self-immolation" for the poor. And you’re the masters of democracy apparently!
You guys are complaining over a dozen illegal immigrants there in US and support the illegal invasion on Palestine and call those whom you massacred "terrorists". Hypocrisy level 1000%!
Masry Masrawy Yes, there is much I dont know about the middle east, but sometimes, if you want to check if a painting is hanging straight, you have take a few steps back. I too, can see that the world sympathy from 1945 is turning into hatred. But the Jews are not like Palestinians, they are not living on international sympathy or money transfers, the Jews would not have lasted long had they relied on occasional sympathy. I dont know if Israel can keep going on "forever", thats a very long time, but they have kept going since Abraham, and have faced worse adversaries than Hamas. I dont think these "Hamas"-bullies can succeeed where Ramses II and Hitler failed.
The Jewish civilization is twice as old as Christianity, and three times as old as Islam. Even Saudi-Arabia seems to acknowledge that Israel has come to stay. I am surprised, as a remote on-looker, that so many angry arabs in Iran, Lebanon and Egypt etc. think that they can simply throw all jews into the mediterranean, and make a free Palestine. Free as any other failed arab state, from which "refugees" pour into Europe, also into my hometown.
Svein Tore Ulset 1- Ramses II has nothing to do with this group because,they never been in Egypt except in their mytholgies, from 1967 to 1982 they never stopped digging in Sinai peninsula,hoping to find any tiny trace to the 2 millions who spent 40 years in Sinai in their way to the so called promise land,but they found none.by the way,in land of the lime stone which you will see most houses in Palistine built of, Why ancient king (Solomon) in this land who they said was the richest king in history have no trace of his palaces which they said use to have(according to thier mythology). In the middle east you find runs of all the ancient groups except this group. Why?!!
2 – Suadi Arabia`s regime time is up, it expired as well as the influnce of all religions.
The most dirty two word now in the middle east are : democracy (after the so called Arab spring) and clerck of any religion (after the Daesh`s experience).
Masry Masrawy Thanks for clearifying. If what you say in pt. 2, about democracy and religious clergy is correct, it is a sad development in the region. Little news from Egypt lately (compared to in 2013), I hope the situation has stabilized.
Well said, I don’t and will never hate USA and the citizens of America. At least and most, it’s the dream of most global citizens to visit US in their lifetime.
Nevertheless, the current trend of conditions and occurrences in the US and her foreign policies are not only inimical to geopolitics, but to the global citizenry and my brothers and sisters, friends and global compatriots in US.
As I read this debrief and letters to ICC, Congress and UNSC, what came to mind vividly is the Pearl Harbour incident, Harroshima and Nagasaki bombing, 11/09 Twin Tower and WTC attack.
It seems to me we are nearing the most proclaimed Armageddon in the making. The US is in the forefront campaigning against terrorism, funding terror, money laundering and proposed various Treaty Obligations on the above. How come, the father of democracy, peace and security is advertently and inadvertently circumventing the wheels it manufactured for peace and security in geopolitics. I am so sad and my heart palpitates in this regards.
Please US maintain the peace, and gain global good image rather create a bad image for the country which is a dream destination for most people than establishing fear and panicked for well meaning and global citizens with Good thought and intentions for the US from thinking otherwise.
I rest my case with two African proverbs.
(1). The ground will never knows the rain is an enemy unless it is accompanied by its friend the thunder.
(2). If the hunter tells people what he sees in the forest, even the farmer will fear to go to the farm.
My best regards and best wishes to the people of America.
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