How we discuss the conflict makes all the difference in the world on how we think about it. If we use terms developed by the enemies of the Jewish people then we will see the conflict through their eyes. This is what I have called "the Palestinian colonization of the Jewish mind." One possible explanation for the fact of that colonization of Jewish understanding is Jewish Stockholm Syndrome, or what Kenneth Levin has called The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege. Our friend Stuart has suggested, rightly, that notions around "Stockholm Syndrome" represent a sort-of psychologicalization of disagreement. It is, he has suggested, a sort-of high rent way of calling people that we disagree with "crazy." The tendency to question the sanity of people who may disagree with on politics has a very long and nasty history and was followed to its logical conclusion by the Soviet Union which regularly locked people up in mental institutions for daring to disagree with the prevailing orthodoxies and dogmas of the regime.
I therefore have to agree that Stuart has a point. However, whether the explanation for this behavior, or way of viewing the conflict, is Jewish Stockholm Syndrome or something else it doesn't change the fact that it exists. The tendency, particularly on the progressive-left among Jews, is to view the conflict through Palestinian eyes because we describe the conflict in terminology developed by the enemies of the Jewish people. This I would suggest is a huge and fundamental mistake and one that we need to begin the process of undoing. We can never understand the conflict in a manner that will be helpful to the Jews of the Middle East if we persist in describing that conflict in ways that are ahistorical while also being unfair and unjust toward our own people.
Examples that leap immediately to my mind are referring to Judea and Samaria by the Jordanian term "West Bank" or even referring to the local Arabs as "Palestinians," a term that carries the innate implication that this is a distinct and indigenous ethnicity, which it never was until very recently. For the moment, however, I want to limit my comments to the question of, is it an "Israel-Palestine" conflict or an "Arab-Israel" conflict?
The first question to ask is not which better reflects the interests of the Jews in the Middle East, but which is more historically accurate. I would submit to you that even on a moment's reflection it should be fairly obvious that "Arab-Israel" conflict better reflects the history of the matter. As I have pointed out ad nauseum in these pages, the Jews of the Middle East were subject to thirteen hundred years of second and third class citizenship under the boot of Muslim imperialism within the system of dhimmitude since Mohammed's armies came pouring out of the Arabian peninsula early in the seventh century. Understanding this simple fact indicates that the Jews of the region represent the indigenous population and the Arabs are the conquerors. Whatever dhimmitude may have sometimes been like, it was never better than the American system of Jim Crow at its most benevolent and whatever else Jim Crow was it certainly wasn't benevolent toward African-Americans.
With the fall of the Ottoman empire during World War I, and the subsequent Palestinian mandate under British rule, the Jews were freed (and freed themselves) from all those centuries of servitude and abuse. However with that freedom also came war. Our Arab-Muslim masters in the Middle East were not about to allow Jewish freedom on Jewish land in part because under the rules of Sharia the religion of Islam will not allow. Any land that was at any time part of the Umma is considered Islamic land in perpetuity which is why we just saw an Egyptian protests demanding the return of Andalusia (Spain) to the Muslim world.
The ongoing Arab war against the Jews of the Middle East following the attainment of our freedom there continues to this day and took the following forms.
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
Thus we can only conclude that this is a conflict not between Israelis and the local Arabs, but between the larger Arab-Muslim world and the Jews of the Middle East. Therefore it is unquestionably the "Arab-Israel" conflict rather than the "Israel-Palestine" conflict. Understanding this is no small matter because the measure of justice of Jewish autonomy on historically Jewish land is embedded directly into which terminology we decide to use. If we call the conflict the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the clear implication is that this is a conflict between a militarily sophisticated power and a small indigenous population. If, however, we understand that the conflict is really one between Arabs and Jews, which it most certainly is, then it becomes equally clear that it is a conflict with 300 to 400 million people on one side (backed by huge percentages of 1.5 billion Muslims) versus about 6 million Jews in the Middle East (backed by about 7 or 8 million Jews scattered throughout the diaspora). The Jews are thus outnumbered by a factor of something like 100 to 1, depending upon how you wish to count things.
Ultimately, however, the terminology that we use must reflect the reality of the matter in the most accurate way possible. "Arab-Israel conflict" is far more historically accurate than "Israel-Palestine conflict" and that is how we should discuss it.
If we insist upon calling the long Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East the "Israel-Palestine conflict" then we've lost the argument before it even begins. What I say is not only should we be fair to history, but we need to be fair to ourselves.