Response to Omar: Part IV

Omar and I continue to exchange views. We move away from the details to the big questions.

Now, I’m now looking at response Part III, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll reach part 1000 if we continue like this, thus, I’ll overlook many points, which I’m able to respond to, that I think it’s not significant to the current Israeli-Arab conflict, and I’m going to respond to it generally, in order not to create needless branches of this debate.

Okay, although I’d like a response to my question about 1973. I think it raises important questions about the “clash of narratives” that characterizes the Arab-Israeli conflict.

About the whole dhimmi thing, Both you and I agree on the fact that Muslims today, regardless to what you’re trying to prove, believe without any question that they have treated Jews with nothing but respect all over their years of dominating the world, in other words, Muslims today feel obligated to treat the Jews the same way they think their ancestors did.

You lose me at: “in other words…” If the Muslims who argue they’ve treated the Jews (and Christians) well represented something more than apologists, intent on denying history so they can make Islam look good in the eyes of outsiders who don’t know any better, then maybe. But the idea that modern Sharia states will feel as obliged to treat their Jews as well as they pretend they’ve done in the past makes no sense at all and certainly has no bearing on the reality of places like Iran and Afghanistan.

This is exactly what’s happening to Arab Christians who live today among Muslim Arabs, I invite to visit Jordan, Syria, Palestine, and to some point Egypt if you like to see how Muslims and Christians are living together, I’ll give you a short and recent example on that, only recently, Jordan had banned the Da Vinci Code of being showed in public theaters out of respect for the Christian Minority inside Jordan, regardless to what you may say about banning anything, but that’s an example of what’s going on.

Well, I can’t visit all those places just right now. Certainly, what one hears from the Egyptian Coptic community undermines your argument dramatically. As for the Christians in areas under Palestinian control, they also are getting out as fast as they can (as they did from Lebanon). I personally visited Nazereth in the summer of 2000, after a Easter 1999 riot of Muslims had ransacked Christian stores. The visit confirmed that a) the Muslims were putting heavy pressure on the Christians to move out, and b) except for an occasionally courageous person, most of the Christians were claiming everything was fine even as they prepared to move out.

And another important note here, Jews were different than Christians, actually, it’s Christians who often encouraged Muslims to apply different ways of treatment upon Jews. (e.g. One of the things that Christians in Jerusalem wanted Omar Bin Al khattab to do when he conquerred/liberated Jerusalem in the 7th century was to kick the Jews out of the sacred city).

Agreed. Indeed, some of the most virulent anti-Zionists were Christian Arabs who thought that, by emphasizing Arab nationalism (and it’s favorite scapegoat boogy-man Israel) they could be accepted in the overwhelmingly Muslim Middle East.

I’m not backing off at anything here, I’m ready to flood you with endless books and incidents that show how great Muslims were in treating Jews and dhimmies, and at the same time where you will find these books unfair and biased, the same accusation will be applied on books written by biased dhimmes who often hated Arabs and Muslims. What I’m searching for here is something that we can call “common ground”, something that we can both agree on and move on.

Well I don’t know what we can do here. The books you’re going to inundate me with are not necessarily what I would consider historically reliable. There is a historical method that tries to sift out the propaganda from the reliable information. Are you willing to submit your books to historical critique? I am for mine.

I’ve revised our debates in part I and II to find the main and general points that we ought to discuss. What we have to focus on, in my point of view, is your vision about modern Israel, your vision about how peaceful and poor this modern state is, your vision of how unjustified any resistance to this state is, and most importantly, your vision of how this state isn’t causing any troubles to the Arab world but the Arab world and leaders are the ones who want to see Israel like this.

Let me start by going through what the UN (the world) has to say about Israel; here’s a list of UN resolutions against Israel (1955-1992) (Over 30 resolutions) 106,111,127,162,171,228,237,248,250,251,252,256,259,267,
270,271,279,280,285,298,313,317,587,592,605,607,608,636,
641,672, 673,681,694,726,799
List of SC resolutions (Over 20 resolutions)

237,259,271,446,452,465,468,469,471,476,478,484,592,605,
607,608,636,641, 672,673,681,694,726,799
For more details of these resolutions click here .

Not to mention what Israel is doing with constructing the apartheid wall.

This is what I can call a drop in the ocean compared to what the Palestinians are facing each day inside the West Bank and Gaza of continuous humiliation and unbelievable levels of life. I can flood your blog with endless pictures of the most disgusting and horrifing pictures in the world describing children of three and four months scattered into pieces, I can bring endless pictures clarifying the kinds of weapons your peaceful and beloved Israel have used upon poor innocent civilians, I can swamp you with hundreds of thousands of horrible stories for Palestinians describing what the Israelis did to them inside their prisons. But what would I benefit by doing that? You’re ready to justify, you’re ready to come with opposite stories, you’re ready to tell me that Israel kills and butchers civilians because terrorists hide between them! But the real story remains that this has to be one of the most ridiculous and deceitful justification anyone could come with.

Okay. You could. What we’re going for here is not piles of pictures, stories, and UN resolutions, but reliable evidence and good analysis. I’m not questioning the reality of Palestinian suffering. I am questioning the reliability of much of the information that you’re getting, including many of the pictures. Your brothers in the PA have made something of a career of doctoring and staging photographs precisely so they can have the effect on people like you who take them for real. Second, the UN resolutions reflect nothing other than the fact that the Arab block, with the collaboration of the European block, have united to villify Israel. The resolutions are little more than propaganda, completely unbalanced, and understandably, you find comfort in them. But let me ask you this:

Is what Israel is doing in the WB and the GS, as bad as it may be, in any way comparable with the slaughter of civilians by the Sudanese Arab Muslims against Black Sudanese Christians, animists, and Muslims in their south and west? And if not — which I hope you’ll have the decency to grant me — why would the UN spend more than 1/3 of its time condemning Israel and not mentioning Sudan (until very recently, when it’s been going on for decades)? I know it makes sense to you to believe in the honesty and integrity of the UN (while it’s on your side), but we’re talking here — I hope — about reality testing.

Finally, and here’s the crux of my argument — the cause of Palestinian suffering… while the immediate cause is Israel, the long-range cause (Arabs in Palestine were oppressed long before the first Zionist arrived) is the elites who sacrifice their commoners to their need for honor and dominion.

How could you prove to me or to any other Palestinian that the early Jews came and had no intention of butchering and wiping them out, while the Israelis today are commiting the most horrifing genocides in the history of man kind upon them!

Okay. Help me here. How on earth can you refer to what’s happening now as “the most horrifying genocide in the history of mankind”? Are you kidding? Do you not know what genocide is, or what past genocides have been like? You have a counter on your site of the number of Palestinians killed since 30 September 2000. 4104. That’s a couple of hours work in a death camp, or in Rwanda where they machetied about 10,000 a day, or with the Armenians or the Cambodians (doing it to themselves).

If there’s anything you answer in my current response, please address this. How on earth can you call the situation where Israel has had the power to exterminate over 2 million Palestinians for the last 39 years, and yet their population has risen steadily at a high rate for the entire period… genocide? Is this rhetoric? Do you believe it? Do you expect me to? I really don’t understand.


How could you justify to me or to anyone what the Israelis are doing today in Lebanon? How could you justify the destruction of a whole country, the unbelievable endless pounding of Bridges, Airports, Highways, and the constant slaughtering of civilians in cold blood! How could you tell me that this is the right thing to do when two soldiers of your army are kidnapped in a terrorist-free operation near the Borders!!!

We’ve touched on this before. It’s a long conversation. I think Judith’s comment addresses that issue rather well. I’d rather focus on the fundamentals. But I would call into question your use of terms like “in cold blood” when the Israelis drop leaflets urging civilians to leave the areas they are about to bomb, where Hizbullah has stored their weaponry; and “unbelievable endless pounding” when you in the Middle East who know about things like Hama (where you aware of what was happening there?) know what real cold-blooded pounding is about (10-20,000 dead in a week).

Why on earth should I (or any other Palestinian) look at Arabs inside Israel and say “ok, let’s go there” only because comparing to Jordan they relatively enjoy better conditions of freedom!!!???

Comparing them to any Arab state they enjoy better conditions of both freedom and economic prosperity. Why look? Because it’s an unbelievable anomaly: Israel treats its Arabs better than Arab countries treat… not their Jews, but their own Arabs. Aren’t you the slightest bit curious why? Do you want to understand where freedom comes from? What kinds of disciplines are necessary to tolerate others? Or would it be too humiliating to learn something from the despised Jews?

I appreciate your efforts of describing and clarifying some points in the history of this conflict, but I can’t find the words to describe to you how painful it is for me to face claims like that Israel is peaceful, or Israel isn’t an imperialistic existence!

Well I guess the real question is, is it painful because you refuse to give up the story you’ve been given, and all the righteous anger it wells up within you, and the solidarity with your fellow Arabs, all of you living either in cheap dictatorships or vicious theocracies and regardless of the “regime” all living in poverty? Is hatred more important to you than your future?

I can’t keep going in debates about small details while overlooking the facts on the ground! Maybe this confrontation of opposite radical sources of history be useful when we’re living in peace, maybe it might be useful when we reach to a solution to more important things.

Regrettably, we’re going nowhere with this debate, and this is the exact problem in the whole Arabic-Israeli conflict; negatiations had got us nowhere, the best thing that can happen is a temporal ceasefire, an agreement on the ownership of a small piece of land, but the fight will continue later. You can blame the Palestinians and hold them the complete responsibility for everything happening there, you can imagine that Israel is the peaceful innocent side of this conflict, but by doing that, your not helping any side; your intensifting the crack.

First of all, I don’t blame the Palestinians nearly so much as I blame Arab leaders (the Arab League) and European diplomacy. The Palestinians are victims of systematic abuse from their “brethren” in this one, and their “cousins” the Jews are stuck in the same dance of death orchestrated by these “elites.”

Secondly, I know few Israelis who blame the Palestinians alone. Some will even take the greater burden of the blame for what’s gone wrong. But that’s because of an intense tradition of self-criticism among Jews and Israelis.

My impression in the Arab world is that self-criticism can only — if at all — occur behind closed doors because otherwise it’s stabbing your own people in the back. That’s part of the reason that you can come up with such astounding claims as that Israel is engaged in the worst of genocides, even as you plan to take over using demographic growth in a couple of decades. Or that you (not necessarily you Omar) can claim in the same breath that the Holocaust didn’t happen and that the Israelis behave like Nazis. As we say in America, “whatever floats your boat.” If it makes you feel good (e.g., reviling Israel) then you’ll say it. No consistency, no self-criticism or self-correction. And if I had to pronounce on what the single greatest reason there are no democracies in the Arab world, i’d pick the inability to self-criticize.

A month ago, there was an explosion on a Gaza Beach and almost an entire family was wiped out. The pictures of little Houda sobbing over her father traveled the world over, inciting great indignation over her tragic condition. But the evidence strongly suggests that was a Hamas planted bomb that blew them up. Let’s for a moment say that’s the case (there are plenty of cases like this). Will you get as indignant over a Palestinian orphan created by Hamas’ actions as you will over an orphan caused by an Israeli shell? Can you blame the guilty rather than the scapegoat? Do you get nauseous when Nasrallah declares the two Arab Muslim children he killed in Nazereth “martyrs”?

In other words, is there any consistency to your moral indignation other than that you hate the Israelis? Is it going to be “my tribe right or wrong”? — in which case why do you expect me (or anyone not in your tribe) to side with you? Or are we talking about justice, and attacking the sources of human suffering and oppression?

6 Responses to Response to Omar: Part IV

  1. Antidhimmi says:

    Omar seems incapable of anything but accusation and hatred. His own blog is so lacking in insight, knowledge or for that matter a disciplined use of information that I despair of much coming from this dialogue. He seems intent simply on asserting his prejudices without proof and without acknowledging any deficiencies in his own tribe. Maybe we should shift the conversation to honor killing. I’d be curious about whether Omar will defend the killing of women by family members on behalf of the family’s “honor”/ C’mon Omar – own up you- really believe in that stuff, don’t you?

  2. [...] esponse to Omar: Part III Response to Omar: Part IV I will continue to update this with more links sh [...]

  3. Eliyahu says:

    Let me begin by saying something nice about Arabs/Muslims, at the same time correcting `Umar. When the Arabs conquered Jerusalem in 638 CE, there were NO Jews there, since the Christianized Roman empire had renewed the exclusion of Jews from the city, first imposed by Hadrian in 135 CE, but later apparently allowed to lapse by the Romans before christianization of the Empire under Constantine. The khalif `Umar allowed Jews to return to live in Jerusalem. Various sources report a dispute over how many Jewish families would be allowed to settle in Jerusalem. I think that the Jews asked permission for 200 families and the Christian patriarch Sophronius wanted none. Khalif `Umar decided to compromise on 70 families. So here the Arabs did something good for the Jews. Of course, their ulterior motive was probably to dilute the Christian element in Jerusalem and make it easier for themselves to rule at the beginning of their conquest or occupation. Besides, the Arabs seem to have owed something to the Jews for aiding them in the conquest, which the Jews did because of Byzantine oppression of Jews in Israel.

    On the other hand, the Roman historian Tacitus reports that Arab auxiliary forces helped the Roman legions conquer Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. [Tacitus, The Histories, V:1:1]. See link: http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/arabs-helped-romans-destroy-temple.html

    The Arabs again aided the Roman imperialists in the Bar Kokhba war [132-135 CE], according to the historian Aryeh Kasher. A legion was recruited in the Provincia Arabia [today's Transjordan, grosso modo].

    I would like to see `Umar answer as to why the Arabs don’t accept the Quranic teaching that the Land [called Holy Land and Jews' Land, in the Quran] was divinely assigned to the Jews and that the Jews will return to their Land. See link: http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/quran-agrees-with-zionism.html

    If you are bringing over material from the seconddraft blog, why not also translate some of the articles on the Muhammad al-Durah affair from the Metulla News Agency [Mena]? Your French is much better than mine and you know the subject better too.

    Finally, I cannot agree with you, Richard, that Jews or Israel were practicing “colonialism” against the Arabs. Bear in mind that the Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan river was juridically constituted as the Jewish National Home in 1920 at the San Remo Conference, which was later ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, and endorsed by the USA in the Anglo-American convention on “Palestine” circa 1925. The British repeatedly violated their obligation, their mandate, to foster development of the Jewish National Home, most notably in 1939 with the White Paper, which was found illegal by the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League. No subsequent act of international law, not the Partition Resolution [a mere recommendation] of 1947, not SC Res. 242, nor 338, nor the Oslo accords, ever cancelled that legal status of the Land of Israel. So the so-called “West Bank” and GS have remained to this day legally parts of the Jewish National Home, and legally open to Jewish habitation and settlement on the land [in the words of the L of N mandate of 1922]. The effort to exclude Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza represents Arab and international racism against the Jews. See on this: http://www.israelwhitepaper.org for articles by Howard Grief and others on the international law status. In French, David Ruzie’ has written in this general direction. The accusation of “colonialism” made against Israel really echoes the European claims before the Holocaust that the Jews were alien to Europe and/or to particular European countries, and did not have the right to live in those places [an argument not only made in Nazi Germany].

  4. Eliyahu says:

    The Arab nationalists today –particularly the PLO [a pan-Arab nationalist body, according to its Covenant]– want to believe or have their population believe that the Arab armies “liberated” Jerusalem, as `Uman writes above. The Christians of course considered the Arab conquest as a disaster, although the Jews at that time may have seen it as an improvement. Eventually both Jews and Christians were reduced to the humiliated and exploited dhimmi status. `Umar still tries to believe that the dhimma was something generous and good. The Arabs are cute when they make their rationalizations.

  5. RL says:

    Answer to Eliyahu I:

    If you are bringing over material from the seconddraft blog, why not also translate some of the articles on the Muhammad al-Durah affair from the Metulla News Agency [Mena]? Your French is much better than mine and you know the subject better too.

    i will try. MENA is very prickly about copyright; their French is very idioscyncratic (a kind of intellectual slang); and my time is short. But you are right. I will try.

    Finally, I cannot agree with you, Richard, that Jews or Israel were practicing “colonialism” against the Arabs.

    did i say they were anywhere? it’s not my custom. and we’d have to define colonialism. the kind that bears the burden of guilt — justifiably — is imperial colonialism, like the British in South Africa, the French in Algeria. Jewish colonies were for an extended period, based on playing by the local rule set. I know there are people who believe the Protocols, who think that the Jews “just” played nice until they could martial their forces and take over brutally, but the evidence of the wide range of programs and attitudes before 1948 — including a very strong movement for a bi-national secular state — makes it clear that many wanted to use as little violence and as much voluntaristic cooperation as possible.

    Bear in mind that the Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan river was juridically constituted as the Jewish National Home in 1920 at the San Remo Conference, which was later ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, and endorsed by the USA in the Anglo-American convention on “Palestine” circa 1925. The British repeatedly violated their obligation, their mandate, to foster development of the Jewish National Home, most notably in 1939 with the White Paper, which was found illegal by the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League. No subsequent act of international law, not the Partition Resolution [a mere recommendation] of 1947, not SC Res. 242, nor 338, nor the Oslo accords, ever cancelled that legal status of the Land of Israel. So the so-called “West Bank” and GS have remained to this day legally parts of the Jewish National Home, and legally open to Jewish habitation and settlement on the land [in the words of the L of N mandate of 1922]. The effort to exclude Jews from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza represents Arab and international racism against the Jews. See on this for articles by Howard Grief and others on the international law status. In French, David Ruzie’ has written in this general direction. The accusation of “colonialism” made against Israel really echoes the European claims before the Holocaust that the Jews were alien to Europe and/or to particular European countries, and did not have the right to live in those places [an argument not only made in Nazi Germany].

    I agree with you entirely. the effort to depict the Jews as colonialists is, for the Arab spokesmen an ideal demopathic argument: of course the entire history of Arab Muslims is conquest and colonialism, with Sharia’s dhimmi laws as a legal mechanism for dominion. And yet they show indignance at the Jews’ far milder form of settlement. And they can count on duping the Westerners by appealing to their sense of guilt over how they acted and their effort to use accusations against Israel — we’ve stopped; they’re still doing it — as a way to claim moral high ground. It’s suicidal, and even though it’s a clear advantage for the Arabs to exploit this Western moral weakness, in the long run, even for them, it’s self-destructive. The only people who win this game are the haters and the war-mongers.

  6. rick says:

    I would be interested to know what Omar learned about Jews from his school books. Some of this hatred is so ingrained in these people and they have no idea how it has been done. Jews depicted as pigs and rats, using the blood of Palestinian babies to make matzos make a lasting impression on a young mind.It is a mindset that stays with them into adult life. As ludicrous as these stories seem to us, they believe them. The stories HAVE TO BE TRUE it’s been drummed into them since they’ve been old enough to think. Facts and reason will not dissuade them.

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