Friday, January 11, 2013

The Arab-Israel Conflict

Mike L.

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.


  1. Dr. Ruth Wisse:

    "...Not only the Jews, but, I think, the democratic West, assumed that the defeat of Nazism was synonymous with the defeat of antisemitism, which they always imagined wearing black boots and a swastika. But antisemitism was never at all synonymous with Nazism. It may have emerged in Germany in the 1870's, as it did[1], but one of the reasons that it proved so powerful was because it united so many otherwise divided parties. After all, Karl Marx's[2] 1844 essay, On the Jewish Question, had already pronounced, and I quote, that: 'The bill of exchange is the Jews' actual god.' And: 'The god of the Jews has been secularized and has become the god of the world.' What he [Karl Marx] did was to equate Jews with capitalism and capitalism with the exploiter of human beings in a modern economy. Antisemitism[1] arose at the same time on the Left and on the Right, and it arose at a time when democratic ideas were spreading, taking hold, creating enormous opportunities for demagogues, for the rise of Nationalism, for struggles over what is the best form of government. Antisemitism was an equal opportunity political instrument -- an ideology and a strategy that succeeded largely because it appealed to so many various constituencies. ..."

    "...The Communist Internationalists despised religion as the 'opiate of the people', and the Jewish religion above all others, because Jews were, at once, a religion *and* a nationality, hence they were culpable on both counts. ...they were culpable as a nation that was expected to dissolve itself, and as a religion that had to be eliminated. And on the other side of the political spectrum, nationalists -- the most fervent political nationalists -- often despised the Jews as the archetype of 'the alien usurper' who 'came and settled in your midst and took all the best opportunities for himself.' Fearful Christians denounced Jews as 'an enemy of Christ'. The 'cultural elites', which included people like Wagner, Dostoyevsky, Degas, Celine, complained that 'Jews were corrupting the culture.' Polish Jews were denounced for their 'Medieval dress', their 'dirty ghettos', their 'vulgar Yiddish', while assimilated Jews, like Captain Dreyfus, were suspected of treachery -- 'Why are they trying to worm their way into our society?' So the politician who ran on a platform of antisemitism could run a no-fail negative campaign with the assurance -- and here is the...splendor of antisemitism -- with the assurance that no one was going to answer back on the other side, because the people he was attacking [Jewish people] wanted only to be accepted by him. ..."

    "...Now, how do we get from the poison of anti-Jewish politics to the Jewish politics of 'Perfecting the World'? Well, antisemitism [anti-Jewish bigotry] is a politics of blame that holds Jews responsible for the aggression against them. Jews may be guilty of many things, but I would put it to you that they are never -- *never* -- guilty of the crimes with which antisemitism charges them, because antisemitism is a politics of misdirection. It deflects attention away from those who are actually committing the abuses, from those who want to accumulate the power, by scapegoating the Jews."


    1. (from continued)

      "Yet it is very seductive, and foremost among those who are seduced are Jews themselves, who believe that they can eliminate antisemitism by changing something in their fellow Jews. So when Karl Marx said: 'the bill of exchange was the Jews' actual god', there were Jews who said: 'Well, yes. But you mean the Rothchilds. You mean 'The One Percent'. You mean the middlemen who don't do anything productive. We Jewish proletarians, we agree with your assessment; and we will create a movement to help displace those Jewish plutocrats...We will be farmers, we will be tailors and shoemakers. Let's by all means close down the Jewish middlemen, but we will prove ourselves more useful than ever.' And when the well-healed European said: 'Dirty Jews.', there were those who said: 'You mean Moishke and Itske -- the Jews from Poland. You don't mean those of us who have university degrees from Berlin and Basel.' And so, too, when the Arabs passed their resolution declaring that 'Zionism is racism' there were Jews who rose to the bait -- 'Oh, you mean the evil Jews on the 'West Bank' -- those who colonize and abuse the Palestinians [the 'Palestinian' Arabs] -- but we are The Good Jews, who stay on this side of the green line. We will sign your petition of divestment. We agree with you.' But the Arab accusation was always against Israel -- against Israel as a whole, not against any 'dirty' part of it. The Six Day War [the 1967 War] was waged against Israel, with Jordan joining in the aggression, when Jerusalem was still divided [with Jordan occupying the eastern part of the city] and the center of Israel was only eleven miles wide. And here is the syllogism: Since the Jews occupied the rest of the 'West Bank' *as a result* of Arab aggression, the occupation [the 'occupation' of that area of land by Israel] could not have retroactively become *the cause* of Arab aggression. You see? It is totally illogical. Since the Jews occupied that territory as *a consequence* of Arab aggression, the occupation -- or the winning of those lands -- could not have been *the cause* of Arab aggression. It makes...It is an...absurdity to have thought so, or to have claimed so. And then of course the meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, of August 29th to September 1st of 1967, attended by eight Arab heads of state, resulted right then and there in a resolution that called for a continued state of belligerency. It contained the phrases: 'No peace with Israel. No recognition of Israel. No negotiations with Israel.'"


    2. (from continued)

      "And, yet, 'Peace Now' and 'American Friends of Peace Now' pretended that yielding territory was going to bring peace, as though the war against Israel had anything to do with the size of the country. Now, please understand, I am not...drawing the borders of Israel, nor would I ever presume to. If Israelis wanted to say: 'We will..withdraw to defensible borders.' -- if you want to do this for reasons of...thought out self-defense because of: 'these borders make more sense militarily', that's one thing. But to pretend that giving up territory is going to bring you peace? I would tell you, you have to...we have to face the fact that never in the history of the world has any people yielded land to its would-be destroyers *with the expectation of gaining peace*. You know, I teach -- as a Yiddish professor -- I teach the stories of Helm -- you know, the Jewish fools' town; and I will say categorically there is nothing in the stories of Helm to equal *that*. ...So all these understand, that this is all people of wonderful good will. This is all people who want peace. This is all people who want to bring about a better life. But they do so ignoring the very...difficulties -- the very problems -- which are creating the war -- which are creating the unrest -- which are creating the violence. ...And I would say...Harvard has its example. There were...groups involved in conflict resolution. It was very popular -- 'conflict resolution'. And they would bring Arabs and [Jewish] Israelis together. Very carefully invited Arabs would come and they would sit there at Harvard with these Israelis. And lots and lots of money was put into this. You know what? They never told us that these Arabs walked out of the negotiations. They never reported on what really happened. There was no 'conflict resolution'. Even within those precious little groups, there was no conflict resolution. It was *gameplaying* -- to make people *feel good* about the fact that there was *a 'process'* at work. And so, long before the advent of J-Street, American Jews began writing about 'the tragedy of Zionism', 'the failure of Israeli democracy' -- taking over -- internalizing -- the Arab accusation that Israel had usurped Arab lands, and using the post-1967 borders as proof of the fact that Israel had 'violated lands'."

    3. (from continued)

      "...Now they claim to be 'criticizing' Israel. And we often hear this: 'I'm just criticizing Israel.' Now this is weird. If you criticize me -- maybe this isn't the best example, but it's the one that came to mind -- you criticize me -- you're my neighbor and you criticize me because I'm not mowing my lawn. Right? And as a neighbor you want a cleaner street. And you come and you criticize me: 'You should be mowing your lawn.' But if the other neighbors are calling upon me to move -- if they are threatening my children -- if they are breaking my windows -- and, instead of calling *them* off, you say you're only joining in the criticism because you want me to mow my lawn, that is not criticism. That is joining the attackers. Your fastidiousness becomes part of the pogrom. And that is exactly what happens. If you are 'criticizing' Israel for little things, when the rest of the world is asking for it to be destroyed, you're simply adding your voice to that majority. There's no way you can change that. You cannot change the dynamic. And it's very interesting that Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, has just made this very point on September the 28th of this year, 2012. He said, sure, from time to time he doesn't like one or another Israeli policy, but, here I quote him: 'When, however, it is the one country of the global community whose very existence is threatened, our government refuses to use the international forum to single out Israel for criticism.' I continue to quote: 'And it is important to state that whatever Israel's shortcomings, neither its existence nor its policies are responsible for the pathologies present in that part of the world. And we are also mindful the lesson of history that those who single out the Jewish people as a target of racial and religious bigotry will inevitably be a threat to all of us.' And he concludes: 'Indeed, those who so target Israel today are, by their own words and deeds, also a threat to all free and democratic societies.' It is hard to say it better. So why then can some people see the political facts that others don't? And why do Jews, in apparently growing numbers, talk about 'Repairing the World', and substitute what they call 'Social Justice' for the goal of resisting the aggression against them, which really *is* the *major* abuse of justice -- 'social justice' and every other kind of justice in the world? ..."

    4. Notes:

      1. "Antisemitism" as referred to by Dr. Ruth Wisse in this talk: A set of particular manifestations of anti-Jewish bigotry prevalent in the 1800's and early 1900's. The term "anti-semitism" was first used in the 1800's, and was used as a 'racialist' anti-Jewish term, and was most influentially promulgated by the German anti-Jewish 'racialist' Wilhelm Marr, and is an imprecise euphemistic term.

      2. Karl Marx was an ethnically West-European-Jewish man who was the son of an ethnically West-European-Jewish Christian convert (and, incidentally, underwent the Christian religious initiation ceremony of Baptism when he was a child). Note: The person that the Christian cleric Thomas of Monmouth, the initial propagator of the murder-and-cannibalism-of-Christian-European-children libel ("The Blood Libel") that Christian European people subsequently propagated against the Jewish people for several hundred years, cited as being the 'confessor' of the supposed crime of which that libel falsely accused the Jewish people was an ethnically Jewish man who was a Christian convert -- Theobald of Cambridge.

  2. "...and I have this real moment of clarity, where I think: 'Okay. Well. Here I am in the state of Israel -- a Jewish democratic state. I've seen Muslims, Jews, Christians, going about their day to day business, with no sort of separation -- there's no impingement. I've seen Muslims going to Mosques, Christians going to churches. Okay. ...This is a democratic state. People are free to practice whatever religion they chose, there's freedom of worship, there's gender equality, it's a democracy,...Arabs are represented in every facet of society.' And then I...I look back and there's the flag of Israel, where the Kotel is...the white and the blue and the blue star of David in the center, and I thought: 'Okay. No matter what happens from this point, no matter what peace agreements are signed, no matter what conflicts may arise, there are six million who won't ever make it to this point...."

    "...and I thought: 'Here's a nation who I've hated -- I've dedicated many years of my life to campaigning against. And this isn't about politics. This is the only real manifestation of the idea of 'Never again' for the Jewish people.' And what struck me more than anything else was that after all the Jewish people have endured -- up until today -- what's going on right now in the region -- the most amazing thing is that Israel, as a state and as a people, have not allowed the hatred of their enemies to define who they are as a state. And that's...that's something amazing...."

    "...Now, if you look at the restrictions, let's say, [to coming into Israel from 'the West Bank' and 'the Gaza strip'] that have been put in over a number of years, they didn't come instantly post-1967. They have been in response to terrorism breaches. It's like this issue with...ambulances being stopped at checkpoints. Prior to a Palestinian [a 'Palestinian' Arab] ambulance volunteer using it to transport suicide bombers they weren't checked. I mean, it's an awful -- it's an awful -- situation. And, again, it highlights the uniqueness of Israel's security dilemma. And this is the thing -- when people talk about the security fence -- the security fence has only come into existence because of terrorism -- because of suicide bombings. So the issue really lies with: when the hatred stops -- when the terror stops -- checkpoints can come down, walls can come down, but those people who have died in terrorism, you can't...they can't come back. And that's really the thing...."

    "...Hamas, you know, their charter is very explicit -- they want to eradicate Israel [and, according to the Hamas charter, commit genocide against all of the Jewish people in the world], and they're doing their best right now, as we speak. And...the 'Palestinian Authority' [Fatah-PLO]...are doing this awful double-speak where they say that they want peace, they want two states, yet the TV, and their TV shows, and what they're showing their children, and in their textbooks, all they're doing is poisoning another generation against the Israelis. And this is the tragedy of it all. The Palestinian leadership, I firmly believe, don't represent the Palestinian people. ..."

    "...and this...has been the failing for the Palestinian people [the 'Palestinian' Arab people]. Their leadership is more obsessed with Israel not existing than their own state existing...."

    "...My main issue with Israel is their drivers in Tel Aviv. They're absolutely crazy. That's a huge imperfection. They need to really work on that...."

    -- Kasim Hafeez,

    1. "...My support for Israel isn't based on religion. It's based on: it's a liberal democracy. ...It champions the values I hold dear as a citizen of the United Kingdom, and it's, you know, without being too cliche, it really is a country striving to be a light among nations in a very dark region. ..."

      -- Kasim Hafeez,

      "...After much soul searching, I knew what I had once believed was wrong. I had to stand with Israel, with this tiny nation, free, democratic, making huge strides in medicine, research and development, yet the victim of the same lies and hatred that nearly consumed me. ..."

      -- Kasim Hafeez, "From antisemite to Zionist" (

      "...I support Israel, because no other state is vilified that way it is, no other state has the lies passed as fact about it as Israel does, I've experienced the real israel and more importantly once we say no [to] the hatred and try and find a balance, that's when we can talk and that's how peace begins. ..."

      -- Kasim Hafeez,

      " sixty-two years -- we will be celebrating next month -- the accomplishments and achievements that the state of Israel [has accomplished and achieved]...can be an example to...the entire Western world. Believe me, that's not an exaggeration, it's a fact. ..."

      -- Ishmael Khaldi,