Reclaiming and deploying Shakespeare's Shylock as an exponent of empathic (if besieged) humanity, Israeli columnist Gilad Isaacs (@giladisaacs) movingly argues in today's +972mag that Europe's Jews have "lost their humanity" and succumbed to a kind of (uncharacteristic, he says) moral blindness in Gaza. Retelling the story of Jewish emancipation, near-extermination, and nationalist organization in Europe, he concludes:
The Jews are no longer knocking on doors to be let in. We have our own fortress now, bristling with arms. But the cost has been heavy; on the altar of nationalism and ethnic supremacy we have sacrificed the long-cherished ideal of common humanity. Israelis and Zionist Jews, and their most vociferous supporters, can no longer see themselves in the Palestinians. And what we are left with is the second half of Shylock’s speech:
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.