Many have wondered why the Netanyahu government of Israel has chosen a course so irritating to Israel's longtime ally, Turkey. After all, it shouldn't be terribly hard to keep Middle Eastern Muslims from uniting over how much they all hate you when they already hate each other so much. (The Ottomans, for example, managed to hang on in control in that region for hundreds of years after they had declined into indolence.)
Here's a brief quote that caught my eye this week. It's over the top, but helpful in gaining perspective on the news. It's from The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, a 2007 best-selling novel set in an alternate history in which European Jews found refuge in the 1940s not in Palestine, but in Alaska. The hero, a Sitka police detective named Meyer Landsman, decides to do something he's reluctant to do:
Just to spite himself, because spiting himself, spiting others, spiting the world is the pastime and only patrimony of Landsman and his people.