Friday, September 2, 2016

It's the narrative stupid, western version

Sar Shalom

Vic at Abu Yehuda posted this week how the core of the situation with the Palestinians is the narrative. He is right in identifying the Palestinians' narrative driving their national movement's decisions. However, in addition to our narrative and the Palestinians' narrative, we also have to focus on the West's narrative.

Just as the Palestinians' narrative drives them to pursue "revolution until victory," the West's narrative drives its actions on the diplomatic plane. Unfortunately, the West has mostly adopted the Palestinians' narrative. The West might reject Holocaust denial and disregard anything from Muhammad's lifetime, but they swallow the notion of "a proud culture rooted in the land, dispossessed by foreign invaders who have no connection with it" hook, line and sinker, with a possible exception for the part about lacking any connection to the land. As a result, there is no limit to what is seen as normal to demand from Israel in the way of concessions, because after all, Israel is responsible for the mess to begin with. Likewise, the Palestinians' lack of responsibility for creating the conflict absolves them from any responsibility for their current actions, hence nothing they say or do now draws a peep from any of the Western pooh-bahs.

A consequence of this is that the Palestinians can realistically think that they have no chance to militarily destroy Israel, but that they can suborn the West to deliver Israel to them on a silver platter the way Chamberlain did with Czechoslovakia. Therefore, the fight has to be over what will the West believe the conflict is about. If the West were to convey that denying the peoplehood of the Jews or the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people is unacceptable, then the Palestinians will learn that they will not get Israel delivered to them on a silver platter and be forced to adapt.

A final note is that declared "support" for Israel by political candidates means nothing. One thing we can count on is that they will make anodyne statements declarations of such support. What is more important is what is their narrative. Do they believe that there is some form of dispossession that must be undone, or do they believe that the conflict is about the Arab/Muslim drive to restore the Pact of Umar? The policies will follow.

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