Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frames



{Cross-Posted at Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers}

Karam

I have been criticized for my alternative framing of the Israel-Palestine conflict or, as I like to call it, the Long Arab War against the Jews. The truth of the matter is that framing is very much at the heart of what I am trying to do here.

Framing is important and what is most important is recognizing the framing of one's own political movement so that we can change that framing when necessary. It should be obvious by this point that progressive-left framing on I-P favors Arabs at the expense of Jews, despite the fact that we represent a tiny population in comparison to either Arabs or Muslims, who tend to be far more hostile to us than we are to them.

{The progressive tendency toward moral equivalency also needs analysis, but that is a discussion for another day.}

Given the uncertain status of Jews in the world, we win or lose this fight before it is even begun via framing. The well-being of the Jewish people, and the survival of the Jewish state, is very much dependent upon how our concerns get framed in venues throughout the world. The reason for this is because we are so small. 13 to 14 million Jews. That's it. We represent a tiny percentage of the world population, so what the world thinks of us makes a very big difference on the question of Jewish survival. This should be obvious. At the same time, a non-stop anti-Jewish / anti-Israel propaganda machine has been operating out of the Arab and Muslim worlds for decades and it has poisoned Jewish-Israeli relations with the progressive-left in Europe and the United States. This is because the inclination among progressives is to feel Palestinian pain due to Palestinian and Arab framing of the entire issue.

Let's take a couple of framing questions and hold them up to scrutiny. Let's take the "West Bank" versus "Judea and Samaria" and let's take the very notion that the conflict is one between Israelis and Palestinians.

The fact of the matter is that for thousands of years Judea and Samaria were called Judea and Samaria. It was only when Jordan occupied that land when we suddenly started hearing about a geographical location known as the "West Bank." Jordan called Judea part of the "West Bank" because it did not want to acknowledge the Jewish nature of that small part of the world. From 1967 until the present, despite the failure of Oslo, progressive-left Jews have also used the term "West Bank" because doing so encourages the possibility of giving that land away in a two-state solution deal. For quite some time now it has mainly been conservative Jews, the Likud, who frames the area as Judea and Samaria, their traditional names. Just as progressives want to give away that land in a two-state end of hostilities, so Likudniks, traditionally, believed that holding that land is a requirement for security.

The times have changed but, unfortunately, our framing has not changed with it. Since the Palestinians have shown the world in no uncertain terms that they have no intention of allowing the Jews of the Middle East to live in peace, state or no state, the old Oslo-based framing is now entirely counterproductive toward Jewish well-being. Calling Judea and Samaria the "West Bank" does little more at this point than validate the Palestinian narrative. The reason that Jews are almost always on the rhetorical defensive when it comes to discussing the Arab war against us is because we have a tendency to be so open-minded that our brains have fallen from our skulls and are now rolling around on the floor like marbles.

We cannot win a fight if we perpetually have that fight on our enemy's turf. That is, we cannot win the I-P argument if we insist upon adopting Palestinian framing. Calling Judea and Samaria the "West Bank" is Arab framing. Every time we use that framing we've already lost the discussion because embedded in the idea of "West Bank" is the notion that it does not belong to the Jews, but it's impossible to get people to believe that Judea is not Jewish so they don't call it by its proper, long-standing name. The reason to call Judea by its proper name is not because we necessarily wish to keep the area, but because it is, in truth, traditional Jewish land and if Israel wishes to be so gracious as to gift that land to their neighbors, so be it. In the mean time, Palestinian propagandists scream from the hillsides that the "West Bank" was stolen from them by those conniving Jews. I say that we force them to make the argument that the Jews stole Judea from its rightful owners, a brand-spanking new type of Arab that the world calls "Palestinians."

Another very big part of the framing issue has to do with underdogs and overcats. Between 1948 and 1967, the non-Arab, non-Muslim world was mainly in sympathy with the Jews of the Middle East who they viewed as a scrappy underdog surrounded by enemies 100 times their number. This is still the case. Israel remains under siege and its towns continue to get rocketed by Arab forces, but the world no longer sees scrappy little Israel as an underdog. Progressives like underdogs much more than they like facts. If even the most heinous and guilty individual can get progressives to view him as the underdog they will take his side.

After 1967, the Arabs changed the framing from that of a conflict between the vast Arab nation versus the small, harrassed Jews to a conflict between the great Israeli war machine versus the innocent, indigenous Palestinians and this is the framing that progressives use to this day. This is why "progressive Zionists" constantly get kicked around on places like Daily Kos. It's because other well-meaning progressives no longer see Jewish people as worthy of sympathy because the framing makes of us a colonial, imperalistic, racist people oppressing the other. This framing is entirely false, but so long as it operates in the background as a given among those having the conversation then the Jews can never win the argument. So long as "progressive" Jews continue to employ Palestinian-Arab framing of the issue they will continue to be kicked around in left-wing political venues and on the university campuses.

I say that we create new framing that stays true to history, that stays true to current events, but that frames the argument in such a way that the Jews of the Middle East are not maligned before the conversation even begins. Progressives, following the lead of Arab propogandists since 1967, have framed the I-P conflict in a way that maligns Jews and "Progressive Zionists" catapult that anti-Jewish framing, whether they realize it or not.

I have suggested that it is imperative that we must free ourselves from the Palestinian colonization of the Jewish mind, but we can only do that if we rid ourselves of Palestinian framing.

Times are changing and it is long past time that we change with it.

Adapt or die.

.

4 comments:

  1. How be we start with undeniable historical fact? For generations, ever since they conquered the land, Arabs/Muslims have been hating and killing Jews. When Jews began returning to their homeland, long before any "settlements," or 1967 war, Arabs/Muslims were hating and killing Jews. The problem always has, still is, and likely ever will be hatred of Jews. We have their holy books and holy men and leaders and everyday people who keep saying it, over and over again, daily.

    This creates uncomfortable facts for progressives who would rather ignore all that and put it on the "occupiers," and evil settlers, but there it is nonetheless.

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  2. That's an excellent point.

    You cannot discuss Israel, either its history or its current moment, without reference to the 1,300 years of Jewish dhimmitude in Arab and Muslim lands.

    They never want to discuss that because if one does, then we quickly realize that today's anti-Jewish violence is of a piece with anti-Jewish violence and rhetoric which long preceded the creation of the state of Israel.

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  3. That and the fact that they consider it  "racist," to criticize the Jew haters and any aspects of their religion which drive the hate. Cute little vicious circle. Yet the stats are out there all the time in the form of polls. The numbers speak for themselves; the hate is mainstream, not minimal.

    "The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes survey conducted last year paints a worrying picture of attitudes towards Jews in the Middle East.

    In
    the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, views of Jews were
    overwhelmingly unfavorable. Nearly all in Jordan (97 percent), the
    Palestinian territories (97%) and Egypt (95%) held an unfavorable view.
    Similarly, 98% of Lebanese expressed an unfavorable opinion of Jews,
    including 98% among both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, as well as 97% of
    Lebanese Christians."

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=168176

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  4. I like the title of this article. GROVELING is exactly what the West appears to be doing. You can be sure the Islamists see it that way.

    "


    Candidly Speaking: Groveling to the Brotherhood



    There is a precedent to the West’s appeasing attitude towards
    radical Islam – pre-World War II.










     





     






    It is profoundly disconcerting to read media reports of the unseemly competition
    between the US and Western governments to curry favor with the Muslim
    Brotherhood in the wake of its electoral victory in Egypt. There are chilling
    parallels between such behavior and the disastrous European policy of appeasing
    the Nazis which paved the way for World War II.What those attempting to
    embrace the Muslim Brotherhood fail to comprehend is that this organization
    represents one of the most fanatical and dangerous of the radical Islamist
    groups in the region, with a dark record of violence and terrorism imbedded in
    its DNA. It is rabidly anti-Western, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic, is
    committed to imposing sharia law and a global caliphate – and willing to employ
    any means to further its objectives....."

    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=254223

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