The Israelization of America

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You feel a sense of relief when you leave behind a country caught in that never-ending cycle of violence, with all its consequences: The threat of terrorism in large urban centers by angry Arabs whose sources of hate remain unclear. The rise in nationalist hysteria and intolerance against those who don’t share that feeling. Attempts by the government to restrict civil liberties in the name of national security. Growing power of the national government and the expansion of the national security state, including the worshipping of the military. Discrimination of the Arab ci~izens of the state (again, in the name of national security). The continuing use of military power against an Arab people so as to force them to replace their leader. The sense that the country is’ heading into a wide and costly war with the Arab and Muslim worlds, which might include the use of nuclear military power. Yes, that’s right. I was leaving Israel behind, and a few days before Sept. 11, returned to the United States, a country that is supposed to be so, so different. Many Israelis have been frustrated over the lack of progress in Israel in the direction of “Americanization.” Instead, America seems to have been Israelized in the last four months. Now, go figure that out. . .

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