Yair Lapid, an Israeli columnist asked a long, painful, and highly relevant question. Why the hate? Not Palestinian hate, but Arab, Muslim? My attempt at the beginning of a answer aftewards.
The Mystery of Hate
by Yair Lapid
Hundreds of years of fighting, six and a half wars, billions of dollars gone with the wind, tens of thousands of victims, not including the boy who laid down next to me on the rocky beach of lake Karon in 1982 and we both watched his guts spilling out. The helicopter took him and until this day I do not know whether he is dead or survived. All this, and one
cannot figure it out.
And its not only what happened but all that did not happen – hospitals that were never built, universities that were never opened, roads that were never paved, the three years that were taken from millions of teenagers for the sake of the army. And despite all the above, we still do not have the beginning of a clue to the mystery of where it all started:
Why do they hate us so much?
I am not talking about the Palestinians this time. Their dispute with us is intimate, focused, and it has a direct effect on their lives. Without getting into the “which side is right” question, it is obvious that they have very personal reasons not to stand our presence here. We all know that eventually this is how it will be solved: in a personal way, between them
and us, with blood sweat and tears that will stain the pages of the agreement. Until then, it is a war that could at least be understood, even if no sane person is willing to accept the means that are used to run it by.
It is the others. Those I cannot understand. Why does Hassan Nasralla, along with tens of thousands of his supporters, dedicate his life, his visible talents, his country’s destiny, to fight a country he has never even seen, people he has never really met and an army that he has no reason to fight?
Okay, here’s a pop quiz: is this question naive? (i.e. he doesn’t know)? Or is it cognitive egocentrism (by his [civic] “rational” standards there is no reason)? Is Nasrallah’s reason — Islamic triumphalism by which no non-Muslim entity can exist within dar al Islam if it is not subject to Islam — not reason enough? Does Lapid not know about this? Has he ever granted his Muslim neighbor, his “other,” enough respect to listen to what he says and understand how he thinks?
Why do children in Iran, who can not even locate Israel on the map (especially because it is so small), burn its flag in the city center and offer to commit suicide for its elimination? Why do Egyptian and Jordanian intellectuals agitate the innocent and helpless against the peace agreements, even though they know that their failure will push their countries 20 years back? Why are the Syrians willing to stay a pathetic and depressed third world country, for the dubious right to finance terror organizations that will eventually threaten their own country’s existence?
In other words, why do they so consistently choose zero-sum games which they are so likely to lose that they almost guarantee negative outcomes.
Why do they hate us so much in Saudi-Arabia? In Iraq? In Sudan? What have we done to them? How are we even relevant to their lives? What do they know about us? Why do they hate us so much in Afghanistan? They don’t have anything to eat there, where do they get the energy to hate?
This question has so many answers and yet it is a mystery. It is true that it is a religious matter but even religious people make their choices. The Koran (along with the Shariaa – the Muslim parallel to the Jewish Halacha) consists of thousands of laws, why is it that we occupy them so much?
There are so many countries who gave them much better reasons to be angry. We did not start the crusades, we did not rule them during the colonial period, we never tried to convert them. The Mongolians, the Seljuk, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, the British, they all conquered, ruined and plundered the whole region. We did not even try, so how come we are the enemy?
And if it is identification with their Palestinians brothers then where are the Saudi Arabian tractors building up the territories that were evacuated? What happened to the Indonesian delegation building a school in Gaza strip? Where are the Kuwaiti doctors with their modern surgical equipment? There are so many ways to love your brothers, why do they all prefer to help their brothers with hating?
Right on. Just scratch the surface of the Arab solidarity with the Palestinians and you’ll find that given a choice between bettering the Palestinians and damaging Israel, the latter wins out every time.
Is it something that we do? Fifteen hundreds years of anti-Semitism taught us – in the most painful way possible – that there is something about us that irritates the world. So, we did the thing everyone wanted: we got up and left. We have established our own tiny little country, where we can irritate ourselves without interrupting others. We didn’t even ask a lot for it. Israel is spread on a smaller territory than 1% of the territory of Saudi-Arabia, with no oil, no minerals, without settling on another existing state’s territory. Most of the cities that were bombed this week were not plundered from anyone. Nahariya, Afula, and Karmiel did not even exist until we established them. The other katyusas landed on territories over which no one ever questioned our right with regards to them. In Haifa there were Jews already in the 3rd century BC and Tiberias was the place where the last Sanhedrin sat, so no one can claim we plundered them from anyone.
However, the hatred continues. As if no other destiny is possible. Active hatred, poisoned, unstoppable. Last Saturday the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called again “to act for the vanishing of Israel”‘ as if we were bacteria. We got used to it so much that we don’t even ask why.
Israel does not hope and never did for Iran to vanish. As long as they wanted, we had diplomatic relations with them. We do not have a common border with them or even any bad memories. And still, they are willing to confront the whole western world, to risk a commercial boycott, to hurt their own quality of life, to crush what’s left of their economy and all that for the right to passionately hate us.
I am trying to remember and cannot: have we ever done something to them? When? How? Why did he say in his speech that “Israel is the main problem of the Muslim world”? more than a billion people living in the Muslim world, most of them in horrible conditions. They suffer from hunger, poverty, ignorance, bloodshed that spreads from Kashmir to Kurdistan, from dying Darfur to injured Bangladesh. How come we are the main problem? How exactly are we in their way?
I refuse to accept the argument that claims “that is just the way they are”. They said it about us so many times that we have learned to accept this expression. There must be another reason, some dark secret that because of it, the citizens of South Lebanon allow to rouse the quiet border, to kidnap the soldiers of an army that has already retreated from their territory, to turn their country into a wasteland exactly at the time they finally escaped twenty years of disasters.
We got used to telling ourselves worn expressions – “it’s the Iranian influence”, or “Syria is stirring behind the scenes” – but it is just too easy explanation. Because what about them? What about their thoughts? What about their hopes, loves, ambitions and their dreams? What about their children? When they send their children to die, does it seem enough for them to say that it was all worth while just because they hate us so much?
There are, it seems to me, several components of this problem, and they reinforce each other. First, the obvious, but apparently still unspeakable point is that Israel’s very existence shames them. The fact that the author does not even mention this strikes me as eloquent evidence for why Israelis don’t understand their foes.
The second reason for this hatred comes from the images that their own media constantly feed them about Israel. If we were inundated every day with ugly images of Muslims killing, planning murder, spewing hatred, we’d probably grow to hate Muslims. That’s why our MSM are so reluctant to show us this face of Islam, precisely for fear of our reaction.
But Palestinian, Arab and Muslim elites take the exact opposite position: they do everything they can to create this hatred, and as the author suggests, they do so despite how much their own people — far from the influence of the Israelis — suffer from poverty and despair. Or, maybe because… This is classic scapegoating. Blame Israel, feed your people the poisoned meat of hope for honor revenged, and you can distract them from the real sources of their misery — you.
This catastrophic tendency of Muslim media to scapegoat Israel has enormous implications when viewed in the light of Pallywood, the systematic effort to create images of hatred. When such grotesque and patently dishonest material gets affirmed and reified by an incompetent — an Augean — media, then the impact of such imagery multiplies.
If you were a Muslim, inundated with images of your fellows ruthlessly murdered by heartless Israelis — carried by a MSM that convince them that this is “true”, wouldn’t you hate them?
Perfect storm: honor-culture shamed, triumphalist religion defied, scapegoating media affirmed by a western media duped. That’s why they hate you.
What can you do about it? Start by realizing what’s going on.