This fits into my own intermittent thinking on polarization and the dynamics of conflict. Peacemakers are a threat to those who proft from war on both sides. I previously noted that there are standard intra-group conflicts between warmakers and peacemakers. In this particular case, because of the control one side has over the others' affairs, warmakers in Israel were able to reach across the conflict and sabotage a potential peacemaker on the other side.
The mechanics and dynamics of group solidarity and group conflict seem endlessly fascinating, the kind of thing that raises interesting questions that most people can't even recognize as issues. It seems perfectly natural that Israel and Arabs should go to war, or France and Germany should go to war. But "Israel" and "the Arabs" are composed of individuals, who have or ought to have their own goals and agendas. What makes people ready to sacrifice themselves for a group? Suicide bombing is only an extreme case; every solider has been convinced (or coerced) to risk his life for the good of a larger whole. The extroardinary level of social cooperation in humans is matched in the animal kingdom only by the social insects. They too, spend a lot of their energy on war. But the level of cooperation in ants and bees has a genetic explanation. Human groupings, for war and more noble purposes, rely on something else, something that can make abstraction seem worth dying for.
Reflecting on my current sniping with Gagdad Bob and his minions. My mild efforts to tone down the conflict have been unsuccessful. We are bitterly insulting each other, the internet equivalent of war, and over what? Abstractions called "left" and "right", which can't even be defined consistently. Nonetheless they are terribly real in their effects. So is the abstraction called "God", another cause of many a war:
Which led me to this piece, which I remembered reading when I was 12 years old or so.
The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of nonviolence has been the organization of violence.The years have not diminished its shocking clarity.