[ by Charles Cameron — contrasting perspectives, asymmetric warfare, and a bible story ]
Art Spiegelman, the creator of the acclaimed graphic treatment of the Holocaust, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale, has now posted a visual DoubleQuote of his own, along with a comment on Israel:
From today’s Jewish Daily Forward article, Art Spiegelman Breaks His Silence on Israel:
Captioned “Perspective in Gaza (The David and Goliath Illusion),” the Biblical-style art image consists of two panels. On the left is a traditional rendering of David facing Goliath. The right-hand panel presents a shrunken Goliath brought closer to the foreground. Using the tricks of size and perspective to make what is surely not an original political point, it’s a clever play on Spiegelman’s life’s work as an illustrator.
Spiegelman’s own comment, accompanying the image on his FaceBook page, reads:
I’ve spent a lifetime trying to NOT think about Israel—deciding it has nothin more to do with me, a diasporist, than the rest of the World’s Bad News on Parade. Israel is like some badly battered child with PTSD who has grown up to batter others.
That’s Spiegelman: I’m not in the business of psychologizing nations, so I won’t comment one way or the other.
In Koan 1 — Bibi, Walt, and the concept of buffer zones, I asked:
Is Israel best seen as a Goliath towering over the Palestinians, or as a David caught between a swathe of Islamic states and the deep blue Mediterranean sea?
I see some truth in both views, which is why I call the Israeli / Palestinian question a koan.
A while earlier, in Numbers by the numbers: two, I wrote:
The second is that within the asymmetries, it is not uncommon to find a reversal of polarities by which the lesser outsmarts and defeats the greater force. I’m thinking here of David and Goliath as the archetypal version, and of Nigel Howard, in Confrontation Analysis: how to win operations other than war, writing:
the problem of defense in the modern world is the paradoxical one of finding ways for the strong to defeat the weak.
A different aspect of asymmetry emerges when one can think of Israel as both the powerful high-tech occupier of a poorly-equipped and stateless mass of Palestinians, and a tiny emergent Jewish democracy surrounded on all sides (except the sea) by Arab and or Muslim once and future foes… a Goliath seen one way, a David the other…
What’s intriguing here is that in some ways everybody wants to be David, right?
In an ideal world..
.. but that’s not the world we live in, is it?