Monday, October 18, 2010

The Long Arab-Jewish War (1920 to the Present)

One way of looking at the conflict in the Middle East is as a single ongoing war between Arabs and Jews. If we think of it this way we can then break it down into its various overlapping phases and trends. It is, by the way, an Arab-Jewish war. It is not merely an Israeli-Palestinian conflict because the Arab combatants are not limited to the Palestinians. Nor is it merely an Arab-Israeli conflict because neither the combatants, nor the victims, on the Jewish side are limited to Israelis. I thus conceive of it as an Arab-Jewish war, despite the fact that Iran is a combatant and Iran is not an Arab country. In the broader scope of things, however, and until fairly recently, Iran was only a minor combatant. We could call it a Muslim-Jewish War, but that would be too broad a characterization.

The Phases of the Long War:

Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort

This last phase, the delegitimization phase, has overtaken the Terror War as the primary means of combating the Jews of the Middle East. This delegitimization process takes several interconnected forms including the attempts by Palestinians to negate Jewish history in the region (for example, Arafat's claim that the Jews never had their Temple in Jerusalem). The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize Israel in preparation for its eventual dissolution. The "progressive" political blogs, like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post, spread hatred. The United Nations, of course, is united in nothing so much as its efforts to perpetually condemn Israel while ignoring human rights violations the world over. Jewish students are regularly berated as "racist" on American and European college campuses if they dare to speak up for Jewish self-determination. The NGOs use lawfare in an effort to criminalize Jewish self-defense. And let's not forget Pallywood, of course.

So, the Delegitimization Phase is the current phase of this long war. One thing to note is that some western leftists have actually joined in the fight against the Jews of the Middle East. In fact, the western "progressive" component of the Delegitimization Phase is probably more significant even than Arab efforts. People disagree, however, on how effective the Delegitimization Phase will be. The Divest This! blog does an excellent job of tracking BDS efforts and shows that the BDS movement has been rather feeble, thankfully.

In any case, thinking about the conflict as the Long War helps to keep things in context. When we think about the I-P conflict it is absolutely necessary to hold this larger context in mind so that we can better understand the behavior of both sides. For example, the reason that the Palestinians continually refuse to accept a state next to Israel is because a state next to Israel is not their war aim. That much should be obvious by now.

By the way, I date the Delegitimization Phase from 1975 because it was in that year that the UN passed the "Zionism Equals Racism" resolution, which was the opening salvo. It should also be noted, tho I need to look further into this, that it was the Soviets who probably did the most for laying the propaganda groundwork for this latest phase of the war.

And, make no mistake, propaganda (and thus hyperbole) is the poison arrow of delegitimization... a poison arrow aimed at the hearts and minds of the ignorant and the malicious.

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