Friday, May 3, 2013

Rethinking the Conflict

Mike L.

{Originally published at the Times of Israel.}

One of the fundamental things that we are trying to do at Israel Thrives is simply rethink the conflict.  Two things, to my mind, could absolutely not be more clear.  The first is that the vast Arab majority in the Middle East, including those in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, have no intention whatsoever of giving up the long war against the Jews.  If that much is not clear by now, I cannot even begin to imagine what it will take for people to acknowledge the obvious.

The second thing that is absolutely clear is that the very way we speak on the issue is detrimental to the Jewish people because the language that we use comes from our enemies.  We need to wrap our brains around this notion, because it’s harming us and harming Israel.  This war, as much as it is anything else, is a cognitive war.

The Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East started off as a street fight by the Arab majority against the indigenous Jewish population.  It started in 1920 with riots and pogroms against the Jewish minority, turned to a civil war in November of 1947, became a conventional war (the kind with tanks and formal armies) between between 1948 and 1973, after which it is characterized by terrorism and the international effort to delegitimize both the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
A major element in the delegitimization process is the use of language.  Terms like “Occupation” or “West Bank” or “Israel-Palestine” are terms that determine the outcome of the discussion before the discussion even begins, because they immediately, and falsely, suggest Jewish guilt.  I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, but it’s vital and needs to be emphasized.  The terms above are central to our conversation around the Arab-Israel conflict, yet they are terms which automatically suggest Jewish guilt and Arab innocence.  That would be fair enough if these terms reflected actual or historical reality, but they do not.  What they represent are Arab and Soviet propaganda terms designed specifically to put the Jews and Israel back on our heals in the face of toxic anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist aggression by a much larger population.
The Big “O” in “Occupation”:
The Big “O” in “Occupation” suggests that the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is the mother of all occupations.  It conveys the notion not only that Jews have no rights to live, and thus build, in that region, which I would submit is illiberal on its face, but that the Jewish presence is somehow the source of all other occupations.  How else to explain the use of the Big “O” among the enemies of the Jewish people?  Whatever its purpose, the effect of this usage is to create hatred toward Jews.  It tells the rest of the world that the Jewish presence on Jewish land is an atrocity that should not be sanctioned or allowed.
“The West Bank”:
Judea and Samaria only became known as the “West Bank” after Jordan stole that land during Israel’s War for Independence.  It represents the west bank of the Jordan River, but it only became known as the “West Bank” after Jordan took that land and ethnically-cleansed the Jews throughout the region.  For four thousand years Judea and Samaria was know as “Judea” and “Samaria,” but once the Jordanians captured Jewish land they sought to remove any Jewish association with it, thus they use the term “West Bank.”  For obvious reasons the Arabs are not going to call Judea “Judea” because out of what they take to be religious necessity they refuse to allow Jewish sovereignty on any part of Jewish land.
“Israel-Palestine Conflict”:
There is no “Israel-Palestine Conflict.”  There is the Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East, or perhaps even the Arab-Muslim war against the Jews in the Middle East, but whatever this thing is it is not limited to the Jews and the local Arabs.  On the contrary, the history of the conflict shows very clearly that it is a conflict between if not 1.5 billion Muslims against 6 million Jews in Israel, then at the very least it is a conflict between 400 million Arabs in the Middle East versus the tiny Jewish minority.  For thirteen of the last fourteen centuries that Jewish minority has been persecuted under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism and religious supremacy throughout that part of the world.  The system of dhimmitude in the Middle East kept both Jews and Christians as second and third class citizens for centuries within a system that was never better than was the American system of Jim Crow at its very worse.
This is how Martin Gilbert describes Jews under dhimmitude in In Ishmael’s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands:
There could be no building of new synagogues or churches. Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims… A dhimmi could not – and cannot to this day – serve in a Muslim court as witness in a legal case involving a Muslim… men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims… Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public – an offense punishable by death. (pgs. 32 – 33)
The great Muslim poet Abu Ishaq, from the eleventh century put it this way:
Bring them down to their places and
Return them to the most abject station.
They used to roam around us in tatters
Covered with contempt, humiliation and scorn.
They used to rummage amongst the dung heaps for a bit of filthy rag
To serve as a shroud for a man to be buried in…
Do not consider that killing them is treachery.
Nay, it would be treachery to leave them scoffing. (pg. 49)
The fundamental problem is that the Jews are tiny in number because we have been kept tiny in number.  The reason that we have been kept tiny in number is because Europeans and Arabs continually tell themselves just why it is that we deserve a good beating and many Jews – immediately the term “progressive Zionist” comes to mind – tend to agree.  We have to understand that the reason so many imams scream for Jewish blood in the mosques throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds is not because we’re guilty of something.
We aren’t.
The Jews of the Middle East are not the aggressors in this conflict.
They are the victims.
So few people speak obvious truths on this issue, but here’s one.  There are about six million Jews with their backs to the Mediterranean surrounded by around four hundred million Arabs who do not want them there and many of those people are willing to use violence to get them to leave.
That is the most basic fundamental fact of the conflict and if you do not grasp that – if that truth is not central to your understanding – then you have no idea what is going on.


  1. The monsters in Gaza, and make no mistake they ARE monsters considering they published tweets recently showing little kids staging a mock funeral saying “Our Children Love Martyrdom”

    This is savage; this is child abuse. And the world yawns and supports the barbarians. No wonder there will be no peace anytime soon. Those poor kids. That Pink Floyd BDS idiot should be singing "HAMAS! Leave those kids alone."

    1. One of the very first albums that I purchased as a little tiny Zionist was "Dark Side of the Moon."

      I was a hip kid.

  2. Strangely enough I never cared for Pink Floyd....ever.

    1. They were before my time, but right in line with my way of viewing the world as a child.

  3. Shit Daily Kossers say -

    "israel's entire existence [...] is a war crime."

    Recommended by at least one (truong son) long-time, foul antisemite still in good standing at that site. The other one sounds vaguely familiar, too.

    That person's whole comment is, of course, astoundingly stupid, but those seven words reveal so much about progressive 'thought' on the conflict these days, don't they?

    1. Heh, and at least this one slyly admits what he is -

      Oh no, it's a lot deeper than that, but (5+ / 0-)
      I won't get into that. Not on the Daily Kos man.

      Yeah, that's what Stormfront's for.

      Considering that guy's history on that site, it's incredible that he acknowledges there's things even he wouldn't say there. The Stormfront 'joke' may not be too far off at all, in fact...

    2. I admire Kane in CA's ability to remain calm and, at times, even come across with a bit of deadpan humor (or at least it sometimes reads to me), in the face of so many dunderheads and reality-denying doofuses (doofi?).

      One thread in particular was amusing, where at the end of a long exchange he calmly stepped out while his interlocutor was reduced to a weird, acronym-spewing rage about something I'm not even sure she remembered what it was about at the beginning, though her mask definitely dropped with the "your precious nation-state" line...

    3. And of course, the only 'proper' way for the comments in that diary to close out would be with a thrice-recommended, antisemitic Israel-Nazi comparison.

      The hate still oozes off that site, I see...

    4. Many of those people are savages, not liberals.

      To deny the most abused people in recorded history - a people whose numbers have been kept to a bare minimum over the course of many centuries and who came through a genocide within living memory - a place of autonomy and self-defense is something akin to evil.

      Whatever those people think that they stand for it has precious little to do with the common good or universal human rights.

    5. Kane, btw, is a good and decent man who I remember well from my time on My Left Wing.

      His problem, tho, is the same problem that almost all progressive-left Zionists have, he always plays defense.

      They attack, we defend. They attack, we defend.

      I say that it's time to turn the tables.

    6. Being pro-Israel at a place like Daily Kos is like being the guy in the dunk tank booth at a carnival.

      It's simply impossible to play offense.

      You can say a few things back here and there, and you can even make a few random taunts, but in the end you can never really strike back at those who are trying to soak you; they know this as well as you do, and eventually you're going for a swim, brother...

      That's why it's worse than useless to 'fight' the anti-Israel types in such an environment, imo. It only lends legitimacy to their claims that they're open-minded, etc etc, when they're really nothing more than Mondoweiss with a smile and an occasional wagging finger at those who go a little too far towards open Nazism in their merely anti-Zionist (wink wink) zeal.

      The best tack to take is to let them gloriously wallow in their hate for all to see, and point it out in friendlier venues. Like here, and in the letter I'm crafting now to send to all local Philadelphia and statewide Pennsylvania politicians who participate there (if any still do) asking them not to do so at a site which harbors such open hate speech.

      Which is certainly not to say that we do, or should, reside in echo chambers (anyone who would say that about the people who contribute here at IT, for instance, would either be lying or must simply have never read a word here beyond the blog's title, which is the one thing we all agree upon), but rather to expose the obvious, and very unfortunate, turn that has been taken amongst those who used to be our allies.

    7. Jay, I love this:

      Being pro-Israel at a place like Daily Kos is like being the guy in the dunk tank booth at a carnival.

      A truer word was never spoken.

      Daily Kos, in and of itself, is irrelevant. We both come out of that joint, but the reason that I refer to it is because it represents the grassroots / netroots of the progressive-left and of the Democratic party.

      Daily Kos has no power. Daily Kos is done, but it still is representative of the thinking of the base of the movement along with other places such as the Huff Post and the UK Guardian.

      So, you're right. It's impossible to stand up for the Jewish people on these anti-Israel progressive-left venues, but we can do so through other venues.

      They could have us inside the tent pissing out, but instead (more and more) they have us outside the tent pissing in. That was entirely the collective decision of the western-left.

      They could have stuck with us. They could have remained friends to the Jewish people who have done more than anyone to promote their movement (our movement) but they are choosing not to.

      What we need to do is recognize that fact so that we can think beyond it.

  4. Be that as it may. You can't fix insanity and stupidity and you shouldn't waste much effort trying to. DKos and HuffPo are what we in a long ago era call Philistines; the kind of person who sees a Velázquez or el Greco in all their transplendent genius and wants to shake up their beer and open on them. If they see see or hear anything about Israel they go nuts. Today the volume of screams for extermination of Jews was so large on Huffington's 'moderated' comments section, it was overloaded and had to be reset to zero at about 7,000 comments. Talking over that is pointless. I've suggested to the fine people at HPM to bundle it all up and dump it on the AOL board members so they know what's being done in their name on their premier website. And then to advertise publicly that they did it and list the board members by name as well as the names of all the other companies they are affiliated with, work for or on the boards of. I never heard back and wouldn't expect to but to me it's the only thing to do. I doubt they would do anything since they're driven by clicks and advert volume and don't particularly care. But it would be good and healthy to let them know we know they're openly espousing antisemitic genocide if only for a few dollars. Maybe that's the 'good' reason can come up with. Frankly I don't care and it's unlikely you can shame the shameless unless and until their revenue stream is affected. For example, a few days ago the idiots who run some of the marketing channel at Pepsi fired Rick Ross as one of their spokesmen for rapping about drugging and date raping a woman. Tyler The Creator, similarly was fired for creating for what people in their own black community called "The most racist ad ever created in history". And then Lil Wayne just got fired from Pepsi for rapping about raping the dead body of Emmet Till (look up Emmet Till if you don't know). Everyone wants the dollar until it blows up in their face - and this the only way to deal with them.

    You can't stop MSNBC's Steve Kornacki (formerly of from going insane on his show about what he described basically as the evil Jewish Zionist Israeli plot to bomb all Syrian babies and puppies but you can bring his racist insanity to the attention of the people who cut the checks. If THEY'RE ok with it, fine. Publish all their names too and let everyone know they're fine goosestepping to the beat of a liberal drummer.

  5. By the by, it's not a conflict. A conflict is you send your tanks into my country because you invaded my country. Sending a military missile (see here for a description of what a Fateh-100 missile really is

    ) into a kindergarten BECAUSE IT'S A KINDERGARTEN isn't conflict, it's mass murder. One of the key events in the Bosnian war was when Serbian artillery intentionally bombarded a Sarajevo open air market killing more than 20 people. This is a key point - that the western media calls this a conflict not because Israel does or does not hit back, but because it CAN. This to them is the ultimate sin, the utmost Jewish perfidy - self defense.

    Of course they criticized us for going like lambs to the slaughter of the Holocaust and then they try to impose a new Holocaust on us when we don't.

  6. And yes I am thinking of a front page piece which I will get the time to do it... Between a new job, college graduations, helping my lawyer spouse with their CLEs and trying to get through my reading list (2 books on Stalin, 1 on Mao, 2 Ruth Wisse, 2 Edwin Black, 6 on Holocaust denial, antisemitism & media avoidance of the Nazi crimes and America's response to the Holocaust during the Holcaust and 1 book about Africa) - it's a bit hectic.

    1. Trudy, whatever you are comfortable with is fine.

      I find your material interesting and provocative, but people have lives.

      Do you as you will, my friend, and know that the front door is open to you.