Revenge

Hey there,

I have to say the visitor numbers at the moment are astonishing. Thanks a lot folks.

And as considered thanking people I have to thank Beer7 for pointing my nose at a recent survey done by Prof. Milgram (no, not the Milgram experiment guy,  Stanly Milgram, but another one).

Prof. Noach Milgram, who holds teaching positions in Psychology at three major Israeli Universities (surprisingly at the rather conservative, religious-led Bar Ilan University (BIU) as well as at Tel Aviv University (TAU) which is said to be rather modern and secular), did research on how those directly affected by war and terrorism deal with it as opposed to those who aren’t directly affected (it’s not as if there was anybody in Israel who’s not touched by the matter at all).

While it may seem natural that those most affected by the conflict would seek revenge, that is not the case, Professor Milgram said. Instead, even those most affected by PA attacks on Israel were no more likely to turn to violence against Arabs or avoid reconciliation than the general population, he said. (source)

From the European peace-worshipping point of view that doesn’t seem to surprise one at all. One question I am repeatedly asked when talking to friends about the Middle East issue is “Why aren’t the Jews among all nations those who understand best what it feels like to be persecuted? Aren’t they supposed to be the people most opposing war and oppression?” Issues such as “revenge” don’t come so fast to an European mind (and if so a kind of cultural taboo would keep us from voicing the idea). I don’t know what about Americans (would be an interesting matter, I guess).

One could go into the matter of why the article took it as the “disproved claim” that victims of terror would be the most likely to commit acts of violence. Is it because they tend to be labeled like that by foreigners? Or – to go the opposite direction – do they think about revenge more often then Europeans (or are just more likely to voice it)? Maybe also because the example of violence been answered by counter-violence seems to (!) be given by Arab neighbour states? Or is it just so that some journalist could make a big deal out of Milgram’s survey? Sometimes doing journalism on journalism is a pleasure of its own.

It’d for sure be interesting to do the same survey on Arabs. Actually I wouldn’t be too surprised if the finding was just the same.

The whole issue reminds me of the manager of a Bethelehm (PA) conference center where we found a hole (approx. 20 – 30 cm in diameter) in the basement’s windows that has been fixed merely by a thin sheet of plastic. When we asked her about the hole we learnt that it had been caused by Israeli troops entering Bethlehem during the second Intifada, some 5 years ago. It was the only damage the building had to face yet they would never have it repaired claiming it served as a constant reminder of what had happened.

To me this was one of the small details that are so symptomatic of the whole situation: Not the real victims, those who suffered when the IDF moved into the Westbank, are those who are full of anger but those who hardly saw anything of it. Those who were told through mere hearsay – and mostly by Hamas and other equally trustworthy folks. Yet those of whom I personally would fully understand if they were completely into shooting at everybody who appears to be Arab – such as the people of Sderot – struggle to keep contact with their former (Arab) work mates at the Gaza Strip.

Migdalit

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