Saturday, January 11, 2014

Opportunity in Israel's neighborhood

by oldschooltwentysix

(originally posted at oldschooltwentysix)

Is the Arab-Israel conflict changing? A column by Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post suggests so, and it's worth thinking about.

Is Israel's strategic challenge of contending with pan-Arabism, which was invented at the same time that the nations of the world embraced modern Zionism, no longer central in a  new era where people from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula have gone back to identifying themselves by tribe, religion, ethnicity, and non-Arab national identity?

Intra-Arab fighting these days has nothing much to do with Israel, except if a scapegoat is necessary to incite hate and create diversion. Arabic speaking minorities in Israel, even Muslims, cannot be blind to the opportunities inside Israel to live a good life, particularly compared to record the rest of the neighborhood.

In her column, Glick refers to Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest from Nazareth who calls for Israeli Christian youth to serve in the IDF, as a symbol of what is taking place, a movement where some Christians identify more as Israelis than members of the Palestinian Arab nation.
It is because they see what is happening to their co-religionists in the post-pan-Arab Middle East that more and more Israeli Christians realize they will lead safer, more prosperous and more fulfilling lives as Christian citizens in the Middle East’s only democracy than as pan-Arabs battling the Zionist menace.
Much of the argument made by Glick is based on an article by Ofir Haivry, vice president of the Herzl Institute, in Mosaic online magazine, entitled, Israel in the Eye of the Hurricane, and should be read in its entirety by anyone interested in a more in depth analysis.

If Glick is correct,
The post-pan-Arab Middle East exposes the truth that has been obscured for a century. The Jews and their Jewish state are a natural component of our diverse neighborhood, just like the Kurds, the Christians, the Druse, the various Muslim sects, and the Arabs. The demise of pan-Arabism is our great opportunity, at home and regionally, to build the alliances we need to survive and prosper.
Perhaps the Arab-Israeli conflict as we know it is ready for a paradigm shift. Glick is surely advocating the Israeli government should change its orientation toward the Arab world away from powers based on Pan-Arab structures in favor of natural alliances based on mutual interests, the kind that most often stand the test of time.


  1. Let's hope so. I, personally, hope to see the Kurds, in particular, achieve a state of their own in my lifetime, as well. Ideally, very soon.

    I would certainly support Israel pushing for same.

    I do not agree with those who claim that time is not on Israel's side. In fact, I'd argue that the exact opposite is true, as diminishing fossil fuel reserves reduce the stature and power of the current Arab oil states (and for that matter, also the geopolitical reach of their consumer client states in the West), and force increased localism on all of us once again.

    Europe is in better shape when it comes to the matter of every day living, though its Eurabia problem will come to a head sooner rather than later. North America doesn't exactly face the latter problem, but our sprawling urban development patterns and our economic reliance on cheap overseas labor might perhaps prove to be an even worse problem.

  2. Arabs have very long memories and very short attention spans. They will nurse a grudge for a thousand years but of they think they can get a deal with you tomorrow, they'll do it. It's paranoia wrapped in pragmatism. Israel needs to understand that today's 'friends' won't be there tomorrow and today's opponents might come back around next week. There is no stability in the Arab world, no firm long term relationships. This is why they never developed treaties and contracts. It's a meaningless concept to them. One does not 'enforce' a contract, one does whatever is satisfactory to one's self today, right now. As long as Israel understands that everything is built on sand they should move forward. But the guy building the hotel today could be the guy burning down tomorrow, or he could be just walking off the job with all your tools.

  3. I would also hope that, in the meanwhile, my fellow Western liberals will join me in supporting women's rights to refuse wearing the medieval rags assigned to them by all too many illegitimate clerical regimes ruling things in that part of the world.

  4. The Arab Civil War, aka the "Arab Spring," represents the end of the pan-Arab movement.

    Glick is correct, as are you, School.

  5. Finished reading Haivry's article. It should be required reading to obtain a better understanding of the neighborhood and Israel's strategic situation, and especially for indifferent ignorant progressives that take harsh political standa, many who could not be bothered.