What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire

I was recently asked by some students from a Christian private school in Lexington to answer some questions on the Arab-Israeli conflict. I post them here, just in case any readers have suggestions to make in the future when I deal with these issues.

What do you think is the root cause of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

On one level, it’s a conflict between two different people for the same territory. But there are plenty of such conflicts that have been resolved, including ones where the damages in lives destroyed and uprooted have been far more terrible than what the Palestinians refer to as the Naqba. In India and Pakistan the division created tens of millions of refugees and over a million people were slaughtered by both sides. In Cyprus, tens of thousands were uprooted to divide the island in two. so the issue is not what happened, but why this conflict, more than any other, is so impossible to solve.

Here, I think the only viable explanation is to understand the blow to Arab/Muslim honor at the creation of a free and independent state run by non-Muslims in Dar-al-Islam. (For a larger discussion of this, see here.) As the Athenians explained to the Melians: “It’s not so terrible to be conquered by those who should rule (like the Spartans, or in this case the Christians), but it is unbearable to be defeated by those who should be subject (like the Melians or, in this case, the Jews).”

If you don’t know about the Muslim principles of Dar-al-Islam (the realm of submission where Muslims rule) and Dar-al-Harb (the land of the sword, with which Muslims are at war), you can’t possibly understand either the permanent hostility of the Arabs to Israel (including their refusal to recognize her), or the willingness of the Arabs to keep the Palestinians suffering in refugee camps so that they can be used as a weapon against Israel.

By Muslim standards, the very existence of Israel is a theological blasphemy and an unbearable affront to their honor. That’s what the Naqba is about. If it were about the terrible suffering of the Palestinians who had to flee as a result of the war (which is what the “pro-”Palestinian would have us believe), then the Arabs and Palestinian leaders would have done something to make their lives better (including using a tiny fraction of the trillions of petrodollars Arab countries have taken in in the last half-century). Instead they confined them to permanent refugee camps (no cement floors allowed, they had to live in tents and the mud for years).

It’s striking that during the Oslo peace process, when the Palestinian authority had control of both refugee camps and territory, they didn’t take one refugee family out of those camps. Indeed, the problem of Oslo was not too many Israeli settlements, but of too few Palestinian settlements. The PA did not behave as if they wanted a state, but as if they wanted to destroy the Israeli state.

What solutions would you offer to solve this problem?

I think that it’s important for the entire world community — and especially representative of the progressive left — to say to the Muslims, “Time to grow up and learn to live with your neighbors and take care of your own people. The Israelis haven’t done anything to you that you haven’t done to others, indeed that you haven’t done to your own people. If you want to live in a peaceful global society, it’s time to put aside vendettas and the need to regain your honor by spilling blood.”

Israel is the test of Islam’s readiness to join the world community as honorable partners, and not as belligerents whose borders are bloody almost everywhere in the world where Muslim countries border other countries, Muslim or not. Until the Palestinians are ready to have a win-win relationship with Israel, there will be no peace. And until the Arab world stops using Israel as its excuse for not liberalizing, Arabs will continue to lose.

The most obvious place to start is with the teaching of hatred in the Palestinian media and schools and mosques. The kind of thing that Palestinian children are taught about Israelis and Jews is as bad as the Nazis taught German youth. (In fact, no priest or minister, even at the height of Nazi frenzy called for the extermination of the Jews, something that happens regularly from the pulpit of the mosques, then broadcast on PA TV).

The other critical thing to address is the Palestinian inability to self-criticize, to take any responsibility for what they’ve done. Ask any Palestinian or pro-Palestinian what the Palestinians have done wrong and you’ll get a blank look. It’s all Israel’s fault. In order for positive-sum relations to work, both sides have to take responsibility. As for the israelis, and the Western Jews, there’s almost no limit to how self-critical they’ll get. Indeed, many have a kind of masochistic omnipotence complex where it’s all “our” fault, and if only we could be better (say sorry more, make more concessions) we can fix anything.

My point is not that Israel hasn’t done things they shouldn’t have, that they have nothing to apologize for. It’s that they are not only ready to, but have done so to such an extent that they take responsibility for things they haven’t done (like Ilan Pappe’s student inventing a massacre at Tantura). When one side takes too much responsibility and the other takes none, it’s a lose-lose — only the haters win.

Why do you think it cannot be solved?

It can’t be solved because — and here you have to listen to what the Palestinians and Arabs say in Arabic to each other, not what they say in English — it’s not “land for peace” (win-win), it’s a struggle on the Israelis part for existence. At the moment (and this is the big lesson of the Oslo peace process), Israeli concessions register among Palestinian leaders as signs of weakness and elicit not concessions from them (eg Arafat’s “no” to everything at Camp David), but violence (eg the second Intifada, or Hamas’ shelling israeli civilians the moment Israel left the Gaza strip in 2005). For an analysis of two competing paradigms about the conflict, see here.

For this to happen, Muslim society has to rise above the kind of violent honor-shame dynamic that now dominates the arab world. if Arab fathers and brothers will kill their daughters and sisters for shaming their families, imagine what they’d like to do to the Israelis for shaming their religion and culture.

Why haven’t your suggestions been implemented?

Because people instinctively side with the underdog, even when he’s not an underdog (Palestinians are only the tip of the iceberg of the Arab hostility to Israel. The very notion of Intifada means “shaking off” the way a large beast (camel, horse, cow) shudders its hide to shake off an insect, suggests that the Palestinians think that they are the large beast (Arab nation) shaking off tiny Israel. But we in the west have been sold on the idea this is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that Israel is the big mean Goliath who should be nicer to the poor Palestinian David. If you misread the problem, you misread the solution.

And behind much of the liberal sympathy for the Palestinians lie both cowardice and a(n) unconscious racism. Well-intentioned liberals and progressives who side with the “underdog” secretly don’t feel that the Arab world will ever change, and they’re afraid that if they ask them to, it will produce further violence.

Part of the fault here lies with our news media who, for fear of appearing Islamophobic, don’t tell us what’s going on. Here’s a representative example:

William Orme, correspondent for the New York Times, came to Israel in November of 2000, to explore the Israeli claim that Palestinian “incitement” drove much of the violence of the Second Intifada. In his article, “A Parallel Mideast Battle: Is It News or Incitement?”, he tackled the case of Sheikh Halabiya who, on Palestinian TV, called for killing Jews everywhere:

    The Jews are the Jews. Whether Labor or Likud the Jews are Jews. They must be butchered and must be killed… It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them, kill them.”

When it came to the case of Halabiya, Orme wrote:

    Israelis cite as one egregious example a televised sermon that defended the killing of the two soldiers [at Ramallah on October 12, 2000]. “Whether Likud or Labor, Jews are Jews,” proclaimed Sheik Ahmad Abu Halabaya in a live broadcast from a Gaza City mosque the day after the killings.

Given that Orme was specifically writing about the issue of incitement, this lapse seems inexplicable. Indeed, the omission was still more troubling given the global context. After all, Orme wrote only six years after a the media had played such terrible roles in the Rwanda genocide – both local (Hutu) media inciting to genocide and Western media failing to inform the world. And the Israelis had reminded him specifically of this.

Add to this the historical context: Only half a century earlier, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini had enthusiastically joined Hitler during the Holocaust (Muslim troops were at the Warsaw Ghetto); and to this day, Palestinian leaders continue to regret not being able to “finish the job” Hitler started. So why would Orme, at the top of the journalistic profession, working for the paper that prints “all the news that’s fit to print” misinform his readership so strikingly on the content of the speech and its implications for motivations all around – both Palestinian resort to violence and Israeli response to that violence.

So we in the West don’t even know about this stuff, and assume that if the Palestinians so hate the Israelis, then the Israelis must have done terrible stuff to them to make them hate them so. But compare what Israel did in four months to the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas) in 2008/9 — 1300 dead, mostly fighters — with what Syria did in two weeks of bombardment to the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Hama in 1982 — 20,000 civilians dead, or the civil war that the PLO waged in Lebanon with other Arab factions that killed over 150,000 civilians in seven years (1975-82).

Even if you accept every claim the Palestinians make about what Israel has done to them, it doesn’t hold a candle to what the Palestinians have done to their fellow Arabs and what their fellow Arabs have done to them.

Why aren’t current solutions working?

Because they’re based on liberal cognitive egocentrism. We project our values onto the Palestinians, assuming that they want their own country and freedom, not that they want vengeance and to destroy Israel. So we come up with positive-sum solutions (land for peace), and they say no, always finding some excuse to complain about (Israeli settlement, not enough land, sacred right of the return of refugees). If Arafat had said yes to Camp David (summer 2000), the Palestinians would have a state already, but he and his buddies, a fortiori Hamas, had done nothing to build a real state, only prepared to assault israel with a teaching of hate and expending all their capital on building bombing factories rather than schools.

So as a result, they assault Israel with suicide bombers, Israel responds by shutting down traffic between the territories and Israel, heavy checkpoints, and the Palestinians are far more miserable today than they were in 1986, before the first intifada, when the West Bank was one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world!

What do you think of foreign or outside involvement concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general?

I think it’s hopelessly misguided, based on fantasies that not only don’t work, they backfire (like Oslo).

Do you think outside involvement helps or hurts?

Like negotiations, outside help can only work when the two sides want to make peace. Until then, anything outsiders do that doesn’t build up a culture of positive-sum on both sides (not very hard in Israel which is a major positive-sum culture and hence so successful in the modern world of learning, university research, medicine, judicial thought, democratic institutions, social work, economic growth, education, etc.) will not contribute.

Right now the Arab world wants the west to be “even-handed” ie less supportive of Israel, not because they’re working towards a peaceful solution, but because they think they can get the West to force Israel into a weakened position so they can wage a successful war. Outside efforts to force Israeli concessions on the mistaken notion that those concessions (back to the 1949 borders) will satisfy the Palestinians, are deadly fantasies, not just for Israel, but for the West (which is also the target of Hamas and other Islamist hatred). And of course, in every scenario, the Palestinian people lose because every success of their own leaders means more oppression for them.

In particular, U..S. involvement?

Same as previous question. The Walt-Mearsheimer thesis is particularly destructive of the chance for a real peace. They essentially want us to sacrifice Israel so we can “make friends” with the Arab nations (who have oil and pack diplomatic punch at the UN). The result of following their advice will merely convince the Arab world that we are weak because we sacrifice our friends to appease our enemies. In the world of honor-shame cultures, that’s a sign of cowardice, and elicits contempt, not admiration.

Note, i’m not saying the arabs have to be our enemies. Just that, if we want them to respect us, we should not give in to their intimidation. We need to stand up for our progressive principles of freedom of speech and human rights (like women’s rights in the Arab world), rather than accept their excuses that because of Israel, they can’t stop oppressing their own people (starting with the Palestinian refugees).

please pray
Gaza, Israel, and Palestine
for prayer is powerful

If the first casualty of war is truth, then what is the cost of a crusade against terror? Perhaps it’s the knowledge that in order to eradicate evil, we must begin to emulate the evildoer. And if you label your enemy “evil” long enough, you justify even the most immoral act as noble.
– Jeff Stetson

No offense, but i think this is a mistaken if admirable sentiment. The whole point of maturity is to know when to use force (as rarely as possible) and when not to (as often as possible). The idea that if you use force you’re necessarily on a slippery slope to becoming like your enemies, is foolish.

We are not the ones addicted to violence here — neither Americans, nor Israelis like war — the Palestinians and, more broadly, the Arabs, on the other hand, are addicted to violence (eg Hamas incapacity to stop bombing israeli civilians even when it means catastrophe for their own people). If you want to preach morality about violence, we Westerners are the least serious offenders. That’s how we’re able to have societies that tolerate free speech. Try calling for peace with Israel in Gaza and see how long you live.

As someone put it, “if tomorrow the arabs lay down their weapons, there’d be peace; if the israelis put down their weapons, there’d be no israel.”

You may dismiss all this as the rantings of a jewish islamophobe; you may believe (a leap of faith here, the evidence is against you), that the palestinians — especially their dominant alpha male leadership — are just like you and me and want to leave in peace, and love, and mutual respect. but if you’re wrong, the consequences of siding with the violent haters in some mistaken notion that the underdog is always right no matter how badly they behave, of feeding their sense of outrage, will be to destroy the very things you cherish most.

“he who is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.” this process has been happening for a long time among people who think they are progressives.

78 Responses to What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire

  1. Diane says:

    Hey, gang, have you seen this?
    “WHO REALLY SHOT AL-DURA? THE NEWEST EVIDENCE”
    http://www.newmajority.com/ShowScroll.aspx?ID=4aee6f0d-eac1-467e-b802-2d5292b3b446

    i’ll be posting on it shortly. thanks for the heads up.

  2. sshender says:

    By Muslim standards, the very existence of Israel is a theological blasphemy and an unbearable affront to their honor. That’s what the Naqba is about

    I dare take a more psychological approach; I believe that Israel is the thorn in Arab/Muslim pride and a constant reminder of their own backwardness, ineptness and inability to rise above tribalism. The reason so many muslim commentators lay the blame for all their ills at Israel’s doorstep is precisely because Israel is the mirror which reflects their ugly state of affairs, and is thus best removed, since the maturity needed to confront ones own mishaps is sorely lacking in Muslim/Arab culture/mentality.

    I would argue that this is nothing unique to muslims or any other religious or ethnic group, but rather a natural reaction of an inferior party towards a superior party. People feel humiliated when deep inside they are aware of their inferiority, regardless of a specific outcome.

    Besides that, these questions are too general to be answered in one stroke. If given no other choice, I would have refrained from any elaboration and simply said that:

    The root cause of the conflict is the Arab world’s inability to come to terms with the existence of Israel and what it stands for. period.

    As I see it, there is no solution to this conflict, as it requires too large a reform from the other side. From Israel’s perspective, a more proactive detterance would serve well to lower the flames, but would not bring about a seccasion of hostilities.

    Regarding the proposed solutions and their ineffectiveness, I agree with Richard, that the blame lies predominantly at the feet of western delusions about the middle east and I would add to that the short-sighetdness of European politics in favor of economic gains.

    Overall, the situation is much too complex for questioneers of any kind.

    I see no reason to make this a zero-sum analysis. For the same reasons that, as you say, Israel is a blow to Arab pride, so is it a blow to Muslim pride, which registers as a theological issue. The two arguments are not mutually exclusive, but two aspects of the same problem. Which is why, despite the fact, as you say, that many groups feel this humiliation, few feel it as intensely as the Muslims, and few respond in so profoundly a self-destructive fashion. – rl

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  6. oao says:

    I would argue that this is nothing unique to muslims or any other religious or ethnic group, but rather a natural reaction of an inferior party towards a superior party.

    not necessarily. only when one’s religion and culture is directly responsible for the backwardness and does not permit self-progress.

    As I see it, there is no solution to this conflict, as it requires too large a reform from the other side. From Israel’s perspective, a more proactive deterance would serve well to lower the flames, but would not bring about a cessation of hostilities.

    the problem is not the arabs/pals, it’s the int’l community. had they stopped their support and revival of the pals, and reviving them each time they self-destructed, it would have been easy to defeat the pals. now that they also work to dismantle israel there is no chance in hell the arabs will give up. and they won’t stop because they are bankrupt, decadent and finished.

    i agree with oao here, with the exception of the “it’s too late” meme. -rl

  7. [...] Augean Stables » What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict … [...]

  8. sshender says:

    aoa, I think you overestimate the role of religion, at the expense of belittling the psychological primal mechanisms that drive all humans on a semi-conscieous level. Maslow’s pyramid is a good example of these needs, and I think that if you scrape off the coating of religious rhetoric, the bottom line is usually the unfulfilment of one or more of these basic needs that create dissatisfaction that can result in the honour-shame/prime divider societies like that of our neighbours.

    Also, the Muslim society is probably the most sexaully deprived and repressed on earth, comparable only to medieval puritanism. We should not underestimate the role of sex in life (or rather lack thereof) and how deep it’s deprivation affects muslims (especially young adults). But the key problem, I reckon, is the lack of any self-esteem.

    all these points are well taken. the point, i think, is that religion, like every other way of making one’s cognitive and emotional way thru life’s mazeways, is going to be effected by psychology. it’s just that religion, by placing matters in a cosmic plane, amplify everything, including the psychopathologies. rl

    But put aside, I meant to say that I am skeptical of theological explanations of the conflict such as the infamous Darb-Al-Harb vs. Darb-Al-Islam notion. As a an atheist, I think that you, as well as I, understand that religion is like clay and the same scripture can be used to justify diametrically opposed doctrines under varying circumstances, so to lay the blame at the feet of scriptural content is a bit missing the point.

    Dar al Islam and Dar al Harb are not, to my knowledge, in the Qur’an (ie scriptural). but they are embedded in Islamic self-definition and can draw people who might not otherwise be drawn or driven by their psychological issues, towards a violent us-them approach to the world. -rl

    One should, instead, look to what makes so-and-so cherry-pick certain themes and ignore the others. In other words, what drives this moral compass. Evolution-wise we’re all predisposed to basic morality within the in-group, and some degree of hostility towards the out-group. However, it seems that these strict rules of conduct are amendable under less demanding conditions and people tend to foresake these primal instincts at times of plenty, when there is no competition for limited resources. The Arab culture, however, originated in one of the most hostile environments imaginable, where survival was above all, even loyalty to the clan. Hence the famous Leon Uris quote from the Haj: “…I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidels”, which is probably the best summary of the “Arab Mind” up-to-date.

    that’s a well-known and widely attested Arab saying. and it explains one level of the problem. but the jump from the zero-sum universe of mistrust to an apocalyptic hatred that worships death — that’s got religious elements that go beyond the psychology of [normal] honor-shame culture. – rl

    It’s true that according to Islamic law, any land that was once under Muslim rule is forever part of the Caliphate and its “liberation” is a duty of the muslims, by means of Jihad. And yet, real moderate muslims, who proclaim to be just as pious as their more militant co-religionists, do not seek the reestablishment of the Caliphate and do not even bother with such specifics. There are recently quite a few Imams all too eager to shift the cause of Muslim animosity from the so called “occupation” towards a more theologically based, anti-semitic hatred of the Jews, but is this really the reason, or just pure demagogy? I think the latter; all throughout history these calls weren’t the norm and were usually deployed as a means to rally fellow believers in utterly earthly disputes and conflicts.

    in my book, there is not such thing as “just” or “pure” anything. that’s a way of reducing issues that are complex and worth. your comment about “utterly earthy disputes and conflicts” illustrates the problem. you were pressing a pyschological agenda — honor, envy, rage — and now you’re bringing it down to material issues. -rl

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but such hatred towards the Jews was all but non-existant in the pre-zionist epoch. Undoubtebly, there were strong anti-semitic sentiments all over the Muslim world and we all know that life as a dhimmi was far from milk and honey, and yet Jews were not singled out from among other minorities and were not subjected to this kind of Nazi-style verbal assaults from pullpits and government. Bernard Lewis is right in pointing out that this kind of anti-semitism is a relatively new phenomena adopted from Christian Europe.

    you shd probably read Andy Bostom’s latest book before pronouncing on the subject. i think that in general, while these episodes of anti-semitic delirium are not constant, they do recur with distressing frequency. the only way that jews don’t provoke these kinds of furies is by fully accepting the degradation that reassures insecure muslims (and christians). -rl

    Ok. I got carried away slightly. While religion does play a significant role in messianic apocaliptic type of movements such as Al-Qaeda, the Iranian Mullahs, and to some extent Hamas, it does not explain the general resentment of the majority of muslims, whose motives are a lot more “down to earth” than Richard suggests. That is to say that these (usually perceived and paranoid) grievances are material rather than theological in nature. That it is often phrased in religious terms, does not always make it as such.

    there’s a lengthy discussion of the difference btw material concerns and honor (spiritedness) in Fukuyama’s The End of History. You’ve got to be a bit less categorical. the appeal of a group like al Qaeda to the mainstream Muslim is primarily honor-driven — giving the US in kick in the balls was widely cheered even by westerners. They may not realize it, but they will be the first victims of any Caliphate that gets established, but apparently the appeal of seeing the humiliator humiliated is stronger than any long-term thinking about the new humiliators. so i’d say we need to analyze the symbiotic relationship btw the religious (apocalyptic) and the more mainstream honor-driven. and in both cases, insecurity plays a key role. -rl

  9. sshender says:

    I agree that western “enablers” are only making things worse. But even if the west took a solid stance against arab rejectionism anytime soon, it could result in any number of scenarios. It could, as you would probably argue, force them to tone down their demands and make them more succeptible to compromise with Israel. I take a similar pow. But thoretically it could backfire and achieve the exact opposite, namely radicalizing them even more, giving the Muslim Brotherhood enough leverage to topple the secular regimes and then all hell can brake lose.

    This is the reason why I look at the west as a secondary player, and think that it is entirely up to the Muslims themselves to pull their act together, and clean their Augean Stables, before any peace can ensue.

  10. Lorenz Gude says:

    I think that the situation is changing over time. It is getting more obvious that the Palestinians don’t want a two state solution and wont be satisfied until they destroy Israel. Their behavior in Gaza after Israel pulled out is about as clear as it gets. There is a tremendous blindness in the West – including in Israel – that I believe will continue to be eroded over time. The great uncertainty – the known unknown – seems to me the matter of Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian nukes are a game changer and may force Israel to act. So the erosion of Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism in the West may be disrupted by an attack and its aftermath. In other words, instead of the apparently endless kabuki theater of the peace process the Iranian nuclear program will bring things to a head.

  11. sshender says:

    Lorenz, do you honestly believe that a nuclear Iran poses any serious threat to any country besides Israel? Israel has been trying to rally the world to prevent Iranian nukes, yet the world seems pretty hessitant, by and large because it does not perceive a nuclear Iran as an immidiate threat, a nuisance at best. Israel and many jews in the US try to portray Iran as a threat to the whole western world, when in fact it’s pretty clear that all the doomsday scenarios of Iranian mushroom clouds over European capitals is pretty far fetched. Since they face no immidiate threat from Iran, and long sightedness is not their strongest trait, Europe gives Iran the benefit of the doubt, while the US’s main concern is not direct Iranian nuclear deployment, but rather fear of nuclear prolifiration that could follow unabated, A.Q. Khan style, or a worst case scenario of detterance such as the case of North Korea.

    To put it crudely, Israel and the Jews are alone in this one (much like in previous episodes in history), and unless they fend for themselves, no one is going to do this for them. That’s the ugly truth.

    Another fascinating aspect is the extent to which the messianism of Iran can tip the balance or rational thinking. I would take the pompous proclamations of mass suicide willingness made by some Iranian past and present leaders with a grain of salt. I would usually never do that when engaging liberals who so misconstrue and underestimate religious fervor, that any such honest analysis would only bolster their illusions. But I expect that in this forum of people who are well aware of the dangers of radical Islam, we could openly challenge our own perceptions. I’ve read quite a few books on Iran, and I have to say that my impression is that behind all the menacing rhetoric there is little to indicate that they would act on their words when the time is ripe. It appears that much like in any other place in the world, what the Iranian rulers are concerned first and foremost about is staying in power, and trading nuclear blows with Israel is hardly a self-preserver.

    There is, of course, a chance that I’m dead wrong and they would have no scruples whatsoever about anhialating Israel, even if hundereds of thousands of their own have to die in the process. And here I prescride to alarmist’s point of view, that it’s better to preampt, than stand the chance – however small – of not making it alive at all. So to summ things up, I support strikes against Iranian installations, even if results in conventional retaliatory strikes.

  12. sshender says:

    Ok, having reread my first paragraph, I stand corrected; it does pose a threat to other countries besides Israel, but not western ones. Rather it’s Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states who should be second in line for resisting a nuclear Iran, for obvious reasons.

  13. Cynic says:

    it does pose a threat to other countries besides Israel, but not western ones.

    So what happens when Iran controls the Arabian peninsula?
    They already have troops in Eritrea based at the mouth of the Red Sea, because of their Security Alliance with that country, and they are starting to form militias in Somalia so what of the Western countries economic interests.
    If Israel falls so does Egypt and then the West starts doing their bidding?

  14. obsy says:

    I miss a reference to Pallywood (staged scenes, faked photos and obvious lies reported as facts) in the answer to that question:

    “Why haven’t your suggestions been implemented?”

    There are multiple reasons why the Palestinians are seen as mistreated underdogs and that is one of them. An important one!

    Another one is that we want to see the Jews as aggressors. We are willing to manipulate our image of their opponent such that it fits the picture.

    Israelis are seen as white colonists that refuse to give up their colony (i.e.: W.B.+Israel+Gaza). They are the people that we can fight to make up for our past. We can’t fight the original colonists because they are gone. But we can invent new suppressive colonists and beat ‘em up!

    Jews are in the horrible position that they are considered part of the west and not really part of the west. We like to bind us to high morals (if “us” is not “me”) while we close our eyes to what others do. We are not responsible for them.
    Which is another point: especially the UN feels responsible for what Israel does Israel.
    (Also note that we don’t feel responsible for the Palestinians. That is clearly visible on our missing interest when they suffer under nonjewish attacks.)

    There are many reasons more:
    There is still hatred in disgust against Jews in western countries. There is still hatred against Jews in eastern countries (cold war enemies). There is even more hatred against Jews in the Ummah.

    Jewish bankers are secretly thought of as loyal Israelis who put all their power behind Israel.

    very good points – rl

    And so on.

    I know that you can’t mention everything, but the first one is important.
    And I think that your answer should begin like: “There are many reasons … I will focus on x . Those who are interested can find many more on my blog. …”

  15. obsy says:

    sshender: “The root cause of the conflict is the Arab world’s inability to come to terms with the existance of Israel and what it stands for. period.”

    You want to put that up against days and weeks of news reports showing bombs, smoke, dust, bodies and crying children?

    Intellectually you are right, but that doesn’t count for much. The details must be shown vividly – otherwise the essence will be forgotten quickly.

    I have seen many churches collecting money for Gaza’s children. There is no way to get money to Gaza without giving Hamas a chance to take it and transform it into weapons. They know it, but the image of suffering children is more vivid than that knowledge.

  16. oao says:

    aoa, I think you overestimate the role of religion, at the expense of belittling the psychological primal mechanisms that drive all humans on a semi-conscieous level.

    no. i am on record here usually referring to the combination of religion and arab culture. but in the case of the arabs the religion is an arab religion rooted in arab culture, so they reinforce each other.

    what is so insidious about islam is that it has a double whammy impact: otoh it inhibits and prohibits progress and otoh it inculcates superiority, dominance and supremacy. the gap between the 2 is made unbearable (which is what Peters recognizes).

    other religions could be clay. i have not seen evidence than islam can.

  17. oao says:

    The great uncertainty – the known unknown – seems to me the matter of Iran’s nuclear program. Iranian nukes are a game changer and may force Israel to act. So the erosion of Liberal Cognitive Egocentrism in the West may be disrupted by an attack and its aftermath.

    i very much doubt that israel will strike. if they strike, there is a good possibility they will fail. if they don’t fail, they will only delay the program somewhat. and in any case if they do, the world will be against them (just as they were against them with ossirak). to the extent that the world wakes up to the benefits of such an act, it’ll be too late. think of the somali pirates with nukes and if anybody’ll be able to stop them then (they can’t even now, without nukes).

    i really don’t think it matters much: the west is gone already, no matter what heppens, even if iran does not get nukes. because the problem is not islamism and iran, it’s the self-decline.

  18. oao says:

    Proposed Concessions to Hamas Show Obama Administration Is Clueless
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/04/proposed-concessions-to-hamas-show.html

  19. [...] O outro craque é o scholar Richard Landes que, em seu blog The Augean Stables, dá uma aula sobre o conflito Israel-Palestina, sem recorrer à ideologias políticas e atacando quem deve ser [...]

  20. RfaelMoshe says:

    In my business dealings with many Arabs over the years, I have sort of come to understand certain aspects of their culture, attitudes, and priorities. Within a very rigid social framework, and partially the result of a polygamous society, it is a highly competitive culture, inter-personally. Within a polygamous family, each wife is in competiton for the husband’s attention and the children of each mother are in competition. The favored son of the favored mother will inherit, and the others perhaps not so it becomes a dominance/submission pattern. Hard work and achievement through hard work are not priority values, but being a man of leisure, wealth and power creates high status. A well done, colorfulm, engaging, persuasive talk, whether true or not, is often FAR more important than accomplishig actual deeds. Its a greater priority to obtain revenge for an offense to honor,even at great cost to oneself,than to forgive, forget and achieve. Un-earned kindness is percieved of as weakness, and an opportunity for tactical advantage. One only explains facts to another to the extent, and only withinthe acuracy that the tranmission of facts is helpful to the transmitter. As I’ve often told my friends, anyone that wants to pontificate about the politcs of the Middle East first needs to go to the Shuk and buy a rug from an Arab. Then,after you’ve told me how long it took, what was represented ,and what you paid, we’ll re-visit your views on Middle Eastern politcs.

  21. Sophia says:

    I think a major key is the ambiguity – sometimes outright incitement – in the West.

    I think, cultural and religious and other considerations in the Middle East notwithstanding, this conflict would probably be essentially over except that powerful elements in the rest of the world fund and incite it.

    In the past this included the Soviet Union. Little nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa were pawns in the Great Game and the Cold War. Tribes, peoples and nations were armed and set against each other – proxy battles in the shadow war between great powers.

    How can we undo decade after decade of hurt, loss and rage at this point? Not to mention the dehumanization of putative enemies – the role of propaganda along with the experience of war -

    Also, I think the efforts to force a “peace settlement” might have resulted in worse violence. It makes both peoples feel threatened, especially when advised they must make “painful concessions”.

    Probably we should back off a little and try to help people simply see each other as human again?

    Start with simply that – get people face to face – allow the hatred and rage to seep out of the equation – fight the bigotry in books, from the pulpit, increase historical awareness, decrease the sense of mutual fear and humiliation.

    Meanwhile, the worst extremists continue to receive not only funding – via the UN as well as Iran and other sources – but also, well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning people continue to encourage and nurture a sense of grievance among the Palestinians rather than encouraging reconciliation and self-knowledge. Narrative has supplanted not only history but also “news” as well as political interaction at the highest levels.

    There are bigots among the Jews as well – we need to accept this and confront our brothers and sisters openly when they stereotype Arabs, and also when apparently well-meaning Christians advise Israel to carpet bomb the Palestinians – we should confront them too – the sheer inhumanity of such a suggestion is appalling and it is NOT in Israel’s, or the Jews’, best interests whatsoever.

    Now – as an example of American diplomatic shortsightedness: we claim to support Lebanon. Fine. But what about the Lebanese ghettoization of the Palestinians?

    This in itself is a contributing factor to ongoing violence. So is a lack of honesty about the Palestinian contribution to the Lebanese Civil War, which has embittered people in Lebanon and helped create and empower Hezbollah as a consequence.

    Meanwhile the world has turned a blind eye to the destruction of Nahr al Bared; had this been done by Israel the world’s outrage would have been incalculable. Meanwhile Arab attacks against other Arabs, African against African, are apparently not worthy of much news or serious reflection let alone action in the UN. This is to the shame of us all.

    Similarly we count as allies Egypt and Jordan – yet only Jordan has absorbed large numbers of Palestinian Arabs.

    Other Arab nations discriminate against the Palestinians – to the point of mass expulsions – this is rarely discussed however the “realists” claim Israel is the ur-problem regardless of the fact that, as pointed out, many other situations – like India-Pakistan – have occurred in the recent past without the endless angst and emphasis accorded the relatively tiny problems with Israel and the Arabs.

    Similarly, bad as the Palestinians’ situation may be, they are well funded and supported by many agencies, the UN, and NGO’s – whereas millions upon millions of war victims and refugees around the world are without resources, dying like flies. This reflects a critical imbalance in perception outside the Middle East, not within it.

    The fact is, Israel is seen as an exemplar of exactly what it is not: white imperialism that continues to enrage people who in the past were victimized by it.

    Many Black Muslims in the US blame Jews for slavery, for the humiliation of black people – many of the “unaligned” nations focus on Israel – regardless of the fact that most Israelis were victims themselves, not only in Europe but in Africa and the Middle East, and that Jews are unsafe and generally unwelcome in communities around the world.

    This is not essentially a Middle Eastern problem; rather it’s a reflection of dishonesty and historical anger that could be set right by open discussion in the UN to begin with, but also within political and religious and educational institutions around the globe. This should have been part of the role of Durban – but alas –

    Meanwhile the actual role of Middle Easterners in the oppression and murder of Jews, including during WWII, isn’t discussed either, as noted on another thread, and that’s an ongoing source of misinformation and anger – towards Jews – rather than towards the forces of darkness that oppress religious and ethnic minorites in the Middle East.

    This kind of oppression has victimized millions of people but it’s rarely discussed – only the Armenian genocide receives much mention – and that in itself is highly politicized.

    The vastly powerful oil interests are rarely discussed in public though there are obvious problems given the combination of extreme wealth and partnership with nations whose ethos is apparently from another century, another world.

    In short, I think it’s fine to examine innate cultural and religious problems in the Middle East but we in the West would benefit from some self-examination as well.

    One of the biggest problems vis a vis Israel and the Arabs, as mentioned above, remains a residual and powerful antisemitic undertone in the West which affects both Left and Right. This is not surprising since both (all) political wings in the West sprang from the same essential culture. Over-romanticization of the Arabs is the flip-side of this – as is denying them agency – seeing Britain’s former colonials as children.

    This double whammy is expressed in virulent forms, like the Nazis’, and in the apparently benevolent: Christians like Jimmy Carter who see the Palestinians as a latter-day Jesus; they have never come to terms with the fact that Israel – Jesus – was Jewish, occupied by Rome, and that the very term “Palestina” was created by Rome after the defeat and destruction and scattering of the Judean people.

    When Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire, their guilt was reflected onto the Jews, much as neonazis and far leftists alike now try to transfer guilt for antisemitism onto both Jewish people and Jewish state.

    We see this in screeds both left and right, Muslim and Christian, in Western university and Middle Eastern newspaper.

    Meanwhile, little in the way of constructive advice is offered the Israelis, who may often overreact militarily – but on the other hand – how are people to behave who are daily threatened, whose very existence is considered impermanent and expendable?

    At the same time the Palestinians wonder how they will survive, in what form, on what land – and there is little in the way of economic and geographic realism directed toward their existential problem. Carving up cis-Jordan – again – does this really make sense along environmental lines alone? Will any border leave either people feeling secure or permit them to make a living over the long term?

    Perhaps, we should get out a map and really look at it and try to think about it from a new angle. Or perhaps Israel should offer people on the West Bank the right to vote – are we over-threatened by the fear of “too many” Arab citizens? Would Israel be “less Jewish” if all her citizens upheld her essential ideals regardless of their religion? I ask this in all seriousness, as a Zionist.

    Are we ourselves too afraid (though obviously – with serious reason)?

    Meanwhile, understanding “the other” begins with understanding the self. We need to see ourselves – our culture and our religious underpinnings – more clearly and more honestly and accept the role we Westerners (and others) have played in maintaining this conflict.

    There’s no way the conflict between Israel and the Arabs can be ended peacefully as long as so many people want it to continue, see it in fact as desireable, as religious or moral justice, as the “resistance” of the “oppressed”; and are apparently willing to victimize both Arabs and Jews indefinitely for various reasons from the philosophical to the religious to the geopolitical to the economic.

    Sadly I think for some, like Jew-baiting, it’s a kind of blood sport.

    And that is a crying shame.

  22. oao says:

    How can we undo decade after decade of hurt, loss and rage at this point? Not to mention the dehumanization of putative enemies – the role of propaganda along with the experience of war

    most conflicts have big powers involved; there were many long conflicts with hurt, loss and rage that found a resolution, even despite of incitement. the a-i conflict seems to be an exception– have you asked yourself why?

    At the same time the Palestinians wonder how they will survive, in what form, on what land

    no, they don’t. they just want to destroy israel and get the whole thing.

    There’s no way the conflict between Israel and the Arabs can be ended peacefully as long as so many people want it to continue, see it in fact as desireable, as religious or moral justice, as the “resistance” of the “oppressed”; and are apparently willing to victimize both Arabs and Jews indefinitely for various reasons from the philosophical to the religious to the geopolitical to the economic.

    now you’re talking. you seem to want a solution where none exists.

  23. Sophia says:

    Yes oao, it is my nature to seek solutions to problems and not simply give up.

    Sorry but I’m not willing to just walk away and bury the West OR the Israelis nor forget that Arabs are my brothers too.

    We can find solutions but we’ve got to stop with doom and gloom already.

  24. Cynic says:

    Sophia,

    Yes oao, it is my nature to seek solutions to problems and not simply give up.

    But one needs to define solutions based on facts and reality.
    Unwilling to accept that one of the parties to the conflict continues to deny the continued existence of the other is not going to help find a solution.

    From a Simon Wiesenthal Centre email:

    On the eve of Israeli Independence  Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a Ramallah crowd, “A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean?  You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly…it is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic – it is none of my business”

    Only in your eyes are you brothers. Not in their’s.
    You still don’t seem to appreciate Islam and its message.

    There’s no way the conflict between Israel and the Arabs can be ended peacefully as long as so many people want it to continue, see it in fact as desireable,</i.

    Tell that to the Arab League which has been promoting that for many years now; and to UNWRA which has been only too happy to help, of course with the connivance of many countries associated with the world body.

  25. oao says:

    Yes oao, it is my nature to seek solutions to problems and not simply give up.

    i know. but that’s expressive, not instrumental behavior.

    Sorry but I’m not willing to just walk away and bury the West OR the Israelis nor forget that Arabs are my brothers too.

    it’s not i who walked away and gave up — it’s the west.

    We can find solutions but we’ve got to stop with doom and gloom already.

    if you find out that can and will be applied, let me know. but even if you do, the west won’t be what it was.

  26. oao says:

    Obama in 2012, after he fails to deal with Iran
    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1081979.html

  27. oao says:

    Farewell to the American Century
    http://www.realclearworld.com/

  28. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, you are very familiar and knowledgeable about psychological concepts but you seem not to want to accept that basic psychology can vary from one culture to another, here I use culture in the sense of civilization, not the differences between Spaniards and English, for example, since both are Christians with all their differences.

    Now Islam is a religion/culture/civilization that strongly believes in humiliating the non-believer, the infidel [Quran 9:29]. Right there you have a major difference. The dhimma is a much more dominant factor than you seem to realize. Within the dhimma status, Jews were and often are held to be the most hateful and sinister of dhimmis. This goes way back in Islamic history. Sometimes Jews suffered higher jizya taxes than other dhimmis. Here is a link to an article that argues for this position:

    http://hnn.us/articles/56698.html

    Moreover, the Algerian Arab/Muslim nationalist leader, Ahmed Ben Bella, made the specific argument –or complaint– that Islam could not continue to exist in the world if Israel continued to exist. In other words, Jews are so hated –and this goes back to Muhammad, according to John Foster Dulles, erstwhile US sec’y of state. Ben Bella was saying that the Muslims could not stand up to the shame of defeat at the hands of the Jews, the most despised of dhimmis.

    Now, you know that the Arabs and their Western apologists often complain of Arab humiliation at Israel’s hands. The reason for this has more to do with the basic Islamic worldview, in which Jews are eternally doomed to humiliation, etc., than with a reasonable sense of what humiliation is. After all, they often complain of the humiliation of waiting at checkposts, of security checks before going into supermarkets, etc. But everybody has to wait in line. Me too and my family. And Jews, by the way, resent the necessity of having to wait in line and being checked. Jews often blame Arabs for this inconvenience.

    Bernard Lewis pointed to part of the problem in his book, The Middle East and the West [circa 1965], also referring to the Turks’ shame of defeat at the hands of the Greek army in 1920. I don’t recall whether Lewis pointed out in that book or anywhere in his writings that Jews were seen as the lowest of the dhimmis. Now, wait a minute, I think that the article linked to above does have a quote from Lewis to that effect. Anyhow, the hatred and contempt for Jews go way back, centuries before Theodore Herzl was born.

  29. oao says:

    To reiterate: otoh islam and the arab culture inculcates supremacy and dominance in muslims, while otoh it inhibits and prohibits progress. IOW, it dooms the arabs/muslims to contant gap between expectations and reality, a gap that turns them into the vicious barbarians that they are.

  30. sshender says:

    So what happens when Iran controls the Arabian peninsula? They already have troops in Eritrea based at the mouth of the Red Sea, because of their Security Alliance with that country, and they are starting to form militias in Somalia so what of the Western countries economic interests. If Israel falls so does Egypt and then the West starts doing their bidding?

    Sorry. I meant to say that Iran does not pose an immidiate threat to any country besides Israel. Otherwise, your analysis is plausible, but we know from history that in most cases countries (especially with democratic ones with complex ruling apparatuses) are incapable of such foresight. I regret to say that as I think of an answer to your challenge I have no choice but to conclude the inevitability of Europe’s demise (probably much to aoa’s satiscfaction). I am really reluctant to do that, and I try clinging to any piece of hope there is left, but as a realist, there just so far I can go with denial. Well, at least it’s been a fun ride! :)

    But get back on the issue, any number of scenarious is possible, but Europe is not ready (and in complete denial/ignorant bliss) about any of them. At least so it appears.

    other religions could be clay. i have not seen evidence than islam can

    Emmm… Then how do you explain Sufi Islam? Or the Achmadi sect whose doctrine preaches non violence? Sam Harris argues that Jains can’t be violent precicely because of their religious teachings, and then given Tibetan Budhsists’ non-violence as proof of such influence. I guess there is some truth to that, and Islamic scripture (especailly the life of the prophet) is probably the easiest platform for justifying violence against non believers and infidels, yet I fear that it’s not the full picture. I mean, the old testament has its share of horific things that theoretically could be used to justify modern islamism, and yet Jews don’t even come close to such barbarism in the name of their religion. Here again, one can argue that this is only due to the Jews’ lack of power that other religions had, so it’s pretty inconclusive. As someone who’s familiar with the ultra-orthodox mores, I can’t rule out that given the same power and numbers such as other major religions, they would fit well within the realm of the worst of Islam, Christianity and others.

    what is so insidious about islam is that it has a double whammy impact: otoh it inhibits and prohibits progress and otoh it inculcates superiority, dominance and supremacy. the gap between the 2 is made unbearable (which is what Peters recognizes).

    You could be right, but that’s too general. I’d love to see real academic inquery about this (the ones I’ve seen so far reinforce my point). I feel like we have to distinguish between what role Islam plays at the moment (which you summarised correctly) and how much of it derives from purely doctrinary sources as opposed to social ones. In other words, we can’t deny the state of Islam as it is now, but we have to delve deeper, and try to understand what forces lie behind and have brought about this state of affairs. It is only then, that we can, having ruled out any other elements and if it indeed turns out to be the case, claim that Islam is intrinsically more diabolic than other faiths and the problem and the solution lies within Islam itself. It is my impression, however, that the current manifestation of Islam, in par with other faiths, is much more the product of external selective pressures, than of any theological doctrine. So are we truly right about singling out Islam, or would other faiths perform as miserably (give or take) under similar circumstances? This is the X million dollar question, that you seem to want to evade or simply brush off as irrelevant.

  31. sshender says:

    @Eliyahu:

    sshender, you are very familiar and knowledgeable about psychological concepts

    Just have a thing for anthropology, sociology and evolutionary psychology :)

    you seem not to want to accept that basic psychology can vary from one culture to another, here I use culture in the sense of civilization, not the differences between Spaniards and English, for example, since both are Christians with all their differences.

    I don’t think so, and here the key word is basic. I think that exactly at the basic, primeval, subconscious (call it what u like) level we are closer than we wish to admit, if not completely identical. It is the nature vs. nurture argument, where I think that Arab/Muslim culture/mentality is largely (if not completely) an aquired trait. Psychology is the product of both genetics and experience, and it is unclear who’s more dominant of the two, and if it varies from case to case. Are Arab/Muslim children predisposed to these traits, and would they develop these behavioral patterns if insulated from such an environment. The evidence is overwhelmingly possitive here (and applies to all ethnicities/cultures).

    Now, there are many (rather contravercial) theories about evolutionary trait selection, that try to explain the discrepancies between races in parameters such as IQ levels, and I think I even quoted one of them and proposed that it’s possible for insignificant changes between cultures to evolve down the generations if these cultures are insulated from one another and subjected to different selective pressures. Again, we don’t yet know that to be the case for sure, so any such speculation is just that, speculation. It looks plausible enough, given the distibution of phenotypical variation within the human species, but just to what extent remains a mystery.

    To make a long story short, it is highly unlikely that minor ingrained psychological variation can account for the cultural/psychological gap between the west and the Islamic world.

  32. sshender says:

    Now Islam is a religion/culture/civilization that strongly believes in humiliating the non-believer, the infidel [Quran 9:29].

    We have a problem from the onset:
    1. Islam is not unique in that regard. In fact, the only exception to that rule is the post WWII west which is the odd exception, not the rule.
    2. Is Islam as a religion to blame? You quote the quran, so I assume you think so. Well, I don’t. As I have elaborated already in my reply to oao, it is the arabian culture that gave rise to the religious doctrine and not vice versa. And such arabian pre-islamic culture was polytheistic idolatry and could not possibly have stemmed from any scripture. So I think that quoting Islamic scripture does little to explain these trends. I would accept, however, that Islam was the means by which this arabian culture spread to other parts of the world and replaced (or rather influenced) the local culture. The striking example is Indonesia. Confused? Me too. :) Anyway it’s pretty ambiguous.
    3. Christianity in the dark ages was at least as ruthless and demanding of subservience as modern Islam, even if the new testament has far fewer verses which justify such behaviour.

    The dhimma is a much more dominant factor than you seem to realize. Within the dhimma status, Jews were and often are held to be the most hateful and sinister of dhimmis. This goes way back in Islamic history. Sometimes Jews suffered higher jizya taxes than other dhimmis.

    Suppose it is. But just how relevant is it in modern times? How many Immams and clerics (whose honesty about the infidels is hard to contend if you listen to some of the stuff on MEMRI) have you heard speaking about Dhimma at all? You sure do hear much talk about killing Jews, Gays or adolterers, women’s inferiority, Jihad and so on, but I’ve yet to hear a theological discussion about the status of non muslims in modern muslim societies. I think tht even the most bigoted muslims have given that one up in the globalization era. That is not to say that xenophobia does not exist in the muslim world – it does, and is among the worst in the world – but I think that it’s longer justified in religious terms.

    Ok. I’m off to read the article. be back with comments soon.

  33. sshender says:

    So what happens when Iran controls the Arabian peninsula? They already have troops in Eritrea based at the mouth of the Red Sea, because of their Security
    Alliance with that country, and they are starting to form militias in Somalia so what of the Western countries economic interests. If Israel falls so does Egypt and then the West starts doing their bidding?

    Sorry. I meant to say that Iran does not pose an immidiate threat to any country besides Israel. Otherwise, your analysis is plausible, but we know from history that in most cases countries (especially with democratic ones with complex ruling apparatuses) are incapable of such foresight. I regret to say that as I think of an answer to your challenge I have no choice but to conclude the inevitability of Europe’s
    demise (probably much to aoa’s satiscfaction). I am really reluctant to do that, and I try clinging to any piece of hope there is left, but as a realist, there just so far I can go with denial. Well, at least it’s been a fun ride! :)

    But get back on the issue, any number of scenarious is possible, but Europe is not ready (and in complete
    denial/ignorant bliss) about any of them. At least so it appears.

    other religions could be clay. i have not seen evidence than islam can

    Emmm… Then how do you explain Sufi Islam? Or the Achmadi sect whose doctrine preaches non violence? Sam
    Harris argues that Jains can’t be violent precicely because of their religious teachings, and then given
    Tibetan Budhsists’ non-violence as proof of such influence. I guess there is some truth to that, and Islamic scripture (especailly the life of the prophet) is probably the easiest platform for justifying violence against non believers and infidels, yet I fear that it’s not the full picture. I mean, the
    old testament has its share of horific things that theoretically could be used to justify modern islamism, and yet Jews don’t even come close to such barbarism in the name of their religion. Here again, one can argue that this is only due to the Jews’ lack of power that other religions had, so it’s pretty
    inconclusive. As someone who’s familiar with the ultra-orthodox mores, I can’t rule out that given the same power and numbers such as other major religions, they would fit well within the realm of the worst of Islam, Christianity and others.

    what is so insidious about islam is that it has a double whammy impact: otoh it inhibits and prohibits progress and otoh it inculcates superiority, dominance and supremacy. the gap between the 2 is made unbearable (which is what Peters recognizes).

    You could be right, but that’s too general. I’d love to see real academic inquery about this (the ones I’ve seen so far reinforce my point). I feel like we have to distinguish between what role Islam plays at the moment (which you summarised correctly) and how much of it derives from purely doctrinary sources as opposed to social ones. In other words, we can’t deny the state of Islam as it is now, but we have to delve
    deeper, and try to understand what forces lie behind and have brought about this state of affairs. It is only then, that we can, having ruled out any other
    elements and if it indeed turns out to be the case, claim that Islam is intrinsically more diabolic than other faiths and the problem and the solution lies within Islam itself. It is my impression, however, that the current manifestation of Islam, in par with
    other faiths, is much more the product of external selective pressures, than of any theological doctrine. So are we truly right about singling out Islam, or
    would other faiths perform as miserably (give or take) under similar circumstances? This is the X million
    dollar question, that you seem to want to evade or simply brush off as irrelevant.

  34. oao says:

    I feel like we have to distinguish between what role Islam plays at the moment (which you summarised correctly) and how much of it derives from purely doctrinary sources as opposed to social ones.

    the gap i described should be rather obvious, as the whole point of the islamists is against modernity and progress and the nature of arab/muslim societies demonstrate the consequences. there probably is research on the topic, but there is always place for more, if it is sound.

    it is probably difficult to separate between indoctrination and social drivers, as they occur simultaneously.

    Islam is intrinsically more diabolic than other faiths and the problem and the solution lies within Islam itself.

    may have something to do with the different histories of judaism, christianity and islam. the latter was invented to allow muhammad political endeavors, while the other two were not (nitially; christianity from constantine on acquired similar diabolical qualities — witness the middle ages.

  35. oao says:

    So are we truly right about singling out Islam, or
    would other faiths perform as miserably (give or take) under similar circumstances? This is the X million
    dollar question, that you seem to want to evade or simply brush off as irrelevant.

    well, i am not singling it out except that TODAY they behave differently. but i see all of them as religions and therefore similar at the core. So there is nothing to evade, really.

  36. Eliyahu says:

    sshender, I am not complaining about the Arabs’ genetic heritage which is not far from the Jews, as an archeologist/paleopatholigist was telling me yesterday [also see scientific articles by Prof Hammer, Prof Bonne-Tamir, etc]. This judgement is based on modal DNA among these groups as found in DNA testing; that is, no genetic specialist claims a pure race for either Jews or Arabs. So if I complain about the Arabs’ culture, I blame the nurture [religion, culture] not the nature [genetics]. You are uninformed –but I am sure that you can quickly correct your misconceptions– about “just how relevant is it [dhimma] in modern times?” Quite relevant. Look at what regularly happens in Egypt to the Coptic Christians who are the purest descendants of the ancient Egyptians.

    Look at Pakistan, at how non-Muslims are treated there now. Indeed you mention the Ahmadiyya in Pakistan. Do you know that the Ahmadiyya are no longer considered Muslim in Pakistan –by law??? The Ahmadis are hounded there, which is ironic since they so much helped to set up Pakistan. But so are Shi`ites persecuted by Sunnis!! Do you know that hundreds of Shiites have been slaughtered by Sunnis there is recent years [including by suicide bombings in Shiite mosques]?? If they are killing Shiites, do you really have to ask how they treat Hindus and Christians? The Sufis by the way are not so peaceful if we look at history.

    In short, the dhimma is quite relevant, quite a living phenomenon [also a deadly phenomenon] today. You might want to look into Andrew Bostom’s books on jihad and Islamic antisemitism. Also consider the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam [exact title?] analyzed by David Littman. Here they cancel out human rights –and the Universal Declaration of HR endorsed by the UN circa 1948- while speaking of HR. Rather Orwellian, right?

    All that I have written above notwithstanding, I agree with oao [#6] and Sophia that the Western powers have encouraged the Arab-Israeli conflict by various means –by funding the worst of Arab leaders, by diplomatic pressure on Israel, training Fatah sharpshooters [by the CIA!!!], etc.

  37. Ray in Seattle says:

    This discussion seems to assume that peaceful coexistence is the accepted ideal state for human civilization and that contemporary Islam is some aberration.

    I think a good case can be made for human evolution following the success of genes that make a comfortable place in brains for badass MF’s who see any culture other than their own as lesser animals – to be controlled, exploited, enslaved or killed as necessary. And that also observe rigid internal codes that subjugate their own women to make them more prolific breeders of warriors – who glorify death in battle against other societies as the noblest end of life.

    Looking back through history those societies seem far more numerous than what we know as Western civilization today – and even ours has produced its Gengis Khan’s (Hitlers).

    Perhaps its time we “enlightened ones” get over our conceit that we are somehow special and immune from such brutality, that our exceptional worldview means that other societies owe us peaceful lives free from hate and war. Maybe its time we accept that and deal with it the way most of our ancestors have.

    I’m all for peace and love – but I think we have to understand that we will always have to defend whatever success we achieve toward that end from brutal aggression – which is, I suspect, the way things really work in the world, and always have.

  38. Cynic says:

    I mean, the
    old testament has its share of horific things that theoretically could be used to justify modern islamism, and yet Jews don’t even come close to such barbarism in the name of their religion. Here again, one can argue that this is only due to the Jews’ lack of power that other religions had, so it’s pretty
    inconclusive.

    If one studies the many verses in the Qur’an, the Hadith and Sira and compare them with the Tanach/Bible (5 Books) and Talmud one comes nowhere near to the incitement to violence that Islam provokes against other religions and even against Muslims of different sects.
    Pakistan’s majority sect has a lovely record of hatred and bestiality against the very sect that governs Syria today.
    Look no further than the maniacal hatred between Wahabbi and Shia sects.
    Look at the almost killing out of the Bahai faith in Iran so much so that its main centre and beautiful temple are to be found in magnificent grounds on the slope of the Carmel in Haifa, Israel.

    Certainly no Jewish clerics incite to slaughter Goyim (those not Jewish) as Muslim clerics do of those not Muslims.
    Nowhere in the Talmud (commentaries) does one find anything telling Jews to go out and murder.
    What one finds in the Bible is basically an historic account of fighting, the whys and wherefores, and nowhere is it extrapolated to the time of the reader.

  39. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    This discussion seems to assume that peaceful coexistence is the accepted ideal state for human civilization and that contemporary Islam is some aberration.

    What we seem to be witnessing is man’s extreme arrogance dictating how we should deal with the reality of life nature dished up for us, trying to force us to retreat from that natural instinct for survival and succumb to the postulations of politicians, the media and the clowns.

    A case in point being the followers of the rev., Al and his Goracle, dictating what would be an ideal temperature for the Earth by declaring CO2 a pollutant.

    The worst aspect of our arrogance is that we project our behavioral assumptions onto the other animals on this planet screwing up their lives miserably.

  40. Cynic says:

    sshender,

    It is my impression, however, that the current manifestation of Islam, in par with
    other faiths, is much more the product of external selective pressures, than of any theological doctrine.

    I suggest you read works by Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq and a host of other writers on the subject to discover the overriding force of the theological doctrine in the manifestation of Islam.
    The Hadith which is the words and doings of Mohammad is the role model for all Muslims; and it is very easy to be declared an apostate for not following to the letter that dictated by the clerics.

  41. Ray in Seattle says:

    As a follow-on from #37 I’d like to add this:

    Much of this blog and also Second Draft concerns the duplicity of Arab / Palestinain enemies of Israel and their dupes in the West. If, as I describe above, Israel’s enemies see themselves in a civilizational struggle as I propose, then the Arabs are fighting that war in a way that makes complete sense. Israel has repeatedly told them exactly what weapons work best. Israel is far more worried about what others in the West think of them than they are of their own survival. Pallywood is the perfect response. It’s grass-roots based and the dupes in the West provide the production support.

    Case in point, “Operation Cast Lead”. Here was a situation where there was no question as to Israel’s right to defend itself. Here was a chance to change perceptions of Israel’s enemies and the trajectory of the conflict in Israel’s favor. Here was Israel’s chance to show her enemies that the sure and final result for anyone attacking Israeli civilians will be death. That was the only message that would have made a difference.

    Instead, Israel had the oh-so-civilized goal of reducing, temporarily, the rockets and mortars – perhaps believing that the new US administration would see in that restraint, progressive reasons to support Israel in her struggle.

    But the only important message that was sent was to the Pals saying that there is still no real penalty for killing Jews in Israel – that the IDF, if the attacks become persistent enough, will only do what is necessary to temporarily disrupt the attacks, out of fear that the left in the West might be offended if Israel did more.

    In a better world there would be no viable Hamas organization today. Cast Lead was perhaps the last chance for Israel to draw a line that her enemies would respect – and the West would be forced to acknowledge. Rather than change the trajectory of the struggle Israel provided the Pals with several square km of new photo-ops and increased the power and influence of Israel’s enemies in the new American administration.

  42. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    I see it as a Catch 22 situation for Israel.
    Had they done everything to rid themselves of the rocket and mortar attacks they would still have come under heavy US criticism as the majority of the politicians cannot seem to see beyond the NYT, WaPo, networks etc., axis.
    Maybe even getting to UN sanctions.
    The Israelis have to tread on eggs. That is the unfortunate situation a duplicitous world has forced on them; Providing them with a land to call their own and then belting them at every opportunity when defending themselves from attacks.

  43. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic, I generally appreciate reading your comments. However, I find relating the civilizational struggle between Islam and the West – to the desire by scientists and politicians in the US to deal with a potential environmental problem, an ideological stretch that reveals the zero-sum nature of your very strong anti-liberal identity beliefs.

    I don’t begrudge you your opinions on this. I don’t have the pleasure of “knowing the truth” as you and some others here claim to enjoy. But so-far at least, we still govern by consensus. That doesn’t mean we will only make correct decisions as a society when trying to predict the future. It means that both sides at least have a chance to be heard and sway opinions. It also means we have the means to correct errors. Most important, we can do this peacefully and according to objective laws,which I really appreciate when I look at how much of the rest of the world deals with problems.

    You could be right and global warming could be an overblown fear of liberal environmentalists. I don’t know. I’m still listening to educated opinions on the topic. But this is in no way similar to the deadly struggle that’s going on between Islam and the West. To equate the two does disservice to both IMO.

  44. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic (#43) – That’s my point. Civilized people whose lives are under deadly attack – do not tread on eggs – unless that is, they believe they are really guilty of something that justifies the attacks on them.

    That’s the message that gets sent and, I believe, is the message that many leftists pick up – that has turned them away from Israel since 1967. It’s more complicated than that, for sure. But, that’s the underlying message that is communicated, mostly subconsciously.

  45. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic (#43) -xsaid Had they done everything to rid themselves of the rocket and mortar attacks they would still have come under heavy US criticism as the majority of the politicians cannot seem to see beyond the NYT, WaPo, networks etc., axis.

    Their goal should have been to completely destroy Hamas as a viable organization by killing the great majority of its members. Disrupting the rockets would have been a side-benefit but not nearly as crucial.

    Fuck US criticism. It would have dried up if Israel had done what was needed.

  46. Ray in Seattle says:

    Cynic (#43) said Had they done everything to rid themselves of the rocket and mortar attacks they would still have come under heavy US criticism as the majority of the politicians cannot seem to see beyond the NYT, WaPo, networks etc., axis.

    I just sent another comment on this but I used a naughty word. While we wait for moderation I’ll just say that what the West needs is a wake-up call as to how seriously Israel takes threats to its people and its existence. Such a wake-up call will force Westerners to contemplate the costs to our own society and the threats to our own future if we fail to support the only free-democracy and US ally in the ME.

  47. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    If some think that they can project “peaceful” co-existence in the form they imagine onto others and make it stick it they are as arrogant as those who think that they can overcome global warming by reducing their contribution of CO2 (some 3 %) to the atmosphere’s CO2 which is only some 3 % of the total atmospheric content, and overcome any effects by the sun and other physical factors.

    Speaking for myself I don’t know the truth as you put it but I am aware of behaviour and having witnessed such behaviour have formed an opinion. If you consider me somewhat myopic that is your call.

    As for Israel having the freedom to do as it needs to to maintain its security is not a given. This in the past has been demonstrated, and that they tread on eggs is to not sacrifice the only support that they still have with, what to the Arab World anyway, is a paper tiger.
    They discovered that in 56 and again in 67 and yet again in 73 where US vacillating on promises cost them many young lives.
    The displays of rhetoric that Rice gave to attempts to stop the entry of suicide bombers was an example of the tightrope Israel walks where the EU was blatantly financing the terror mechanism and the media cheering.

  48. oao says:

    Look at what regularly happens in Egypt to the Coptic Christians who are the purest descendants of the ancient Egyptians.

    not just copts in egypt or non-muslims in pakistan. in europe a lot of the islamization of areas is based on the notion of muslim supremacy over infidels. that’s how they justify their intention to fly the islam flag over the govt buildings. in sweden they say they want to see their boots over the necks of the infidels and have them beg for mercy.

    I think a good case can be made for human evolution following the success of genes that make a comfortable place in brains for badass MF’s who see any culture other than their own as lesser animals – to be controlled, exploited, enslaved or killed as necessary.

    when islam was ruling it was relying economically on the infidels it ruled over. that’s what jiziya was acceptable instead of massacre. had they destroyed all the infidels, they would have destroyed themselves, because their religion and culture did not permit innovation and progress. so evolution would not have rewarded complete destruction, but rather subjugation and exploitation, but only up to a point, as the progress and innovation would at some point demolish the rule. which is what happened, ain’ it?

    I’m all for peace and love – but I think we have to understand that we will always have to defend whatever success we achieve toward that end from brutal aggression – which is, I suspect, the way things really work in the world, and always have.

    that’s exactly what peters argues!

    If one studies the many verses in the Qur’an, the Hadith and Sira and compare them with the Tanach/Bible (5 Books) and Talmud one comes nowhere near to the incitement to violence that Islam provokes against other religions and even against Muslims of different sects.

    not only that, but the old testament refers to a period when the jews were subjugated and oppressed and they had to overcome it and get their own country (sounds familiar?). islam had no such background — muhammad invented it to conquer, rule and exploit non-arabs.

    A case in point being the followers of the rev., Al and his Goracle, dictating what would be an ideal temperature for the Earth by declaring CO2 a pollutant.

    and making big money from it!!!!!

    I suggest you read works by Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq and a host of other writers on the subject to discover the overriding force of the theological doctrine in the manifestation of Islam.

    one critical point that’s being missed by everybody — including the likes of dawkins and hitchens — is that religion was invented when humankind was utterly ignorant. violence was then what they knew. and up to the middle ages christianity was barbaric and atrocious too. the difference is that we have learned a lot since then and religion was tamed. but not islam, which insisted on staying in the 7th century and even return to it from any progress. therefore, i do not have much problem with religion and violence in ancient times. i do however have problems with it in the 21st century, and the difference between islam and the other 2 religions is quite obvious.

    re #42 — analysis is exactly right and an excellent example of what peters’ argument.

    You could be right and global warming could be an overblown fear of liberal environmentalists.

    i agree that the relationship between israel’s conundrum and the environment is extremely tenuous (to put it politely). the only relevance i see is that the same left that screws israel is also screaming about global warming and dismisses all the data that is inconsistent with that. that makes the argument suspect and the fact that gore has set himself up to profit from the scare sort of clinches it for me. if these people are ignorant about the ME and unable to make sound inferences from data, why should their environmental arguments be any better? not to mention that it is hardly debatable that this is a way to bring capitalism down.

    That’s my point. Civilized people whose lives are under deadly attack – do not tread on eggs – unless that is, they believe they are really guilty of something that justifies the attacks on them.

    you still have not responded to my holocaust example: did the jews react survivally to their elimination? that example — and there are others — is what their history, socialization and culture instilled in them.
    if they “lost” their instinct of survival and have been inculcated with the striving to avoid violence, to bribe or to appease, then their survival will be often at risk, as it is now for the west.

    This in the past has been demonstrated, and that they tread on eggs is to not sacrifice the only support that they still have with, what to the Arab World anyway, is a paper tiger.

    true, but that proves to be a mistake. because the more they tread on eggs the more they are screwed by the west (not very dissimilar to what the jews did in the 30′s, which israel is now in danger of repeating). at some point israel should understand that they should start behaving like an unpredictable, uncontrollable, crazy nation, which may scare the west into not pushing it into desperation. that at least has a chance of being effective. treading on eggs will lead them directly to extinction.

  49. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao: If one studies the many verses in the Qur’an, the Hadith and Sira and compare them with the Tanach/Bible (5 Books) and Talmud one comes nowhere near to the incitement to violence that Islam provokes against other religions and even against Muslims of different sects.

    The only disagreement I have is in your implication that Muslims are led (incited) by the Quran. I would say it’s the other way around. A culture that embraces violent conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims will write whatever book is necessary to justify and glorify and sanctify their worldview. That’s what religions are for – to add an air of total belief in what is already demanded by the society.

    oao: at some point israel should understand that they should start behaving like an unpredictable, uncontrollable, crazy nation, which may scare the west into not pushing it into desperation. that at least has a chance of being effective.

    More than a chance. If our current behavior toward Iran, Palestinians, etc. is any indication – we are likely to shower them with aid, invite them to head up the ME studies depts. in our universities and ask them if they have any enemies they’d like us to s*h*i*t on.

  50. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao: you still have not responded to my holocaust example: did the jews react survivally to their elimination? that example — and there are others — is what their history, socialization and culture instilled in them. if they “lost” their instinct of survival and have been inculcated with the striving to avoid violence, to bribe or to appease, then their survival will be often at risk, as it is now for the west.

    I’m not sure if this is what you are asking . . but, I am not sure what I think is the cause of that Jewish attitude. If I had to guess I’d say it’s more an oversensitivity to what Westerners think about them than it is a cultural rejection of violence.

  51. Peter B says:

    For students in a Christian school, maybe something like this would resonate:

    The Muslim version of the Binding of Isaac has Ishmael being bound, and the patrimony going to him.
    So, in that tradition, any Jewish claim to anything is illegitimate. That’s also not the sort of “dispute” that’s negotiable.
    Furthermore, the Bible in Islam’s view is a self-serving, wicked distortion of G-d’s revelations to “Musa” and “Issah;” any Jewish or Christian beliefs based on the Bible are therefore, in Islam’s view, a pale, dirty shadow of the truth.

  52. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao: when islam was ruling it was relying economically on the infidels it ruled over. that’s what jiziya was acceptable instead of massacre. had they destroyed all the infidels, they would have destroyed themselves, because their religion and culture did not permit innovation and progress. so evolution would not have rewarded complete destruction, but rather subjugation and exploitation, but only up to a point, as the progress and innovation would at some point demolish the rule. which is what happened, ain’ it?

    I think that societies, like species, evolve in many dimensions concurrently, to mold it into the most effective exploiter of its environment – while that environment is also changing from that and other pressures.

    A society that evolves into a violent conqueror of more peaceful, less warlike societies around it will also evolve mechanisms to make that approach work economically. Why kill off the free labor (slaves) that conquest brings? It’s hard to produce food and raise crops when there are so many non-subjugated infidels to kill.

    Jizya seems like a very efficient way to extract such labor since it is not necessary to supervise. The west derives similar advantages from taxation. However, before anyone gets all Reagan-ish on me, the difference is that our taxes are self imposed through representative government that can be deposed if the voters are convinced that they are taxed too heavily. Jizya is imposed by despots with swords over people who only have the choice to pay or be killed.

  53. oao says:

    ray,

    re your #50: that comment was not by me, but by cynic.
    i will point out, however, that your argument does not negate the argument you’re disagreeing with. it was my precise point that islam is an inherently arab religion, and therefore it has roots in arab culture. at the same time muslims ARE indoctrinated with it since childhood.

    More than a chance. If our current behavior toward Iran, Palestinians, etc. is any indication – we are likely to shower them with aid, invite them to head up the ME studies depts. in our universities and ask them if they have any enemies they’d like us to s*h*i*t on.

    it’s practically guaranteed. that’s another example of a culture that does not and probably won’t react in a way compatible with survival.

    I’m not sure if this is what you are asking . . but, I am not sure what I think is the cause of that Jewish attitude. If I had to guess I’d say it’s more an oversensitivity to what Westerners think about them than it is a cultural rejection of violence.

    you mean your theory of emotional adherence to identity values failed you here? sounds like it’s actually in opposition to your theory — identity was not a strong enough factor to override sensitivity ot the west.

    it may have had something to do with the jews not having had a political system of their own and being forced to abide by the rules of their hosts, thus not daring or having the skills to organize and fight (with some exceptions e.g. getto warsaw). this is what israel was supposed to solve and it did for a while. now we are back to square one.

    The west derives similar advantages from taxation. However, before anyone gets all Reagan-ish on me, the difference is that our taxes are self imposed through representative government that can be deposed if the voters are convinced that they are taxed too heavily.

    jiziyah is a purely religious supremacy concept.

    well, there are quite a few countries who tax their people to death (e.g sweden, UK), yet nobody is deposing their govt on their basis and the tax structure stays in place. what is more, the elites find way to escape taxation (US corporations and elite are expert at this) and there is no revolution.

  54. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao:you mean your theory of emotional adherence to identity values failed you here? sounds like it’s actually in opposition to your theory — identity was not a strong enough factor to override sensitivity ot the west.

    Your statement reveals a misunderstanding of my premise. Some see “identity” as a form of xenophobia – a self-protective reaction against outsiders. I use “identity” differently as a psychological term that I define thusly:

    * Emotional forces direct behavior in humans

    * These come from several sources such as instinct, predispositions, habit, acquired beliefs

    * Beliefs are the most significant source of these emotions for for human adults

    * There are low level beliefs such as “Millers is the best lawn fertilizer”

    * There are high level beliefs such as “It is wrong to steal even if no-one knows” or “Jesus is my savior” or “steal what you can if you think you won’t get caught”.

    * High level beliefs form a vast interlocking web that define one’s “identity”. They generally must be consistent. That’s why there are liberals and conservatives, for example, and you can tell them apart by their behavior.

    * These “identity” beliefs produce the strongest emotions that direct our behavior.

    * Societies, like persons, have identity beliefs that determine how societies characteristically react to external military threats, for example

    In that sense, an Israeli / Jewish propensity to habitually defer to others’ (Western state’s) opinions on matters of war and peace rather than follow some separate Jewish set of principles even in the face of condemnation – is an “identity belief” in the exact sense of the term as I define it. My statement was expressing the possibility that such an identity belief exists in the minds of most Jews in Israel.

    I don’t know if that’s true. I was only saying that that seems more likely to me than an identity belief that military violence per se is abhorrent enough that it should not even be used in self defense. Perhaps both beliefs exist in the Israeli / Jewish national conscience and right now, the deference belief is strongest. Although I don’t know the answer I do find it an interesting question.

  55. Ray in Seattle says:

    Addendum to #55: Another understandable source of confusion is my use of the term belief.

    I use it as an emotional connection between a mental image and it’s potential effect on one’s survival. In the example, I proposed that the minds of Israeli / Jews tended to hold a strong emotional connection between deference to the US in matters of war and their own survival.

    Beliefs in this don’t require that some intellectual concept in those minds to describe them. For example, the strongest belief in any person’s mind, if it could be described in words is usually “I want to live”. Even animals for whom words are not possible share this belief given to all living creatures by evolution. When faced with mortal threats people and animals will invariably behave according to that belief, within the limits of their own capacity. The next belief down in importance, that all animals share, if it could be stated in words, may be “I want to reproduce”.

    While beliefs, as I use the term, may or may not be describable by those who hold them using words – they provide emotional forces that influence behavior. That’s the critical part of the definition.

  56. Ray in Seattle says:

    1st sentence in 3rd paragraph above (#56) should read:

    Beliefs in this sense don’t require that some intellectual concept exists in those minds to describe them.

  57. Stu says:

    Ray,

    Completely off topic–I just finished The Utmost Island. Interesting.

    Good Lok to you.

  58. Ray in Seattle says:

    Thanks Stu. I was glad to pass that little gem of a book along. Ray

  59. oao says:

    Your statement reveals a misunderstanding of my premise. Some see “identity” as a form of xenophobia – a self-protective reaction against outsiders. I use “identity” differently as a psychological term that I define thusly

    i find your hypothesis not sufficiently rigorous for my taste. but i don’t intend to involve myself into demonstrating problems with it. i don’t find online exchanges a good forum for theoretical discussion for various reasons. so i’ll avoid the subject from now on.

  60. Ray in Seattle says:

    No problem oao. Your statement indicated a misunderstanding. I was not trying to argue or debate. I was trying to clarify.

  61. Cynic says:

    oao,

    i agree that the relationship between israel’s conundrum and the environment is extremely tenuous

    it was meant as an analogy to display the crooked thinking.

    at some point israel should understand that they should start behaving like an unpredictable, uncontrollable, crazy nation, which may scare the west into not pushing it into desperation

    During Bush’s first term there was a push to get UN sanctions against Israel but his understanding deflected it. Now with Ali and his cohorts the probability of the US stopping such action in the face of Israeli actions is very small.
    With Gates and Biden spelling it out and the screw up that is foreign policy regarding terrorism it is crazy for the Israelis to just flip a coin.
    Take a look at their trading partners for example. (That was built up during the years that the Arab boycott made sure that US companies did not trade; but the French did and got away with it! Birds of a feather ..)

  62. Cynic says:

    Ray,

    The only disagreement I have is in your implication that Muslims are led (incited) by the Quran.

    I can only suggest that you read the Qur’an and visit the mosques on Fridays to listen to the Imams.
    Read the Hadith, the sayings and doings of Mohammad, and discover how a Muslim is expected to follow those sayings and actions in daily life.
    Being declared an apostate comes cheaply in Islam and the tactics to bring everyone to heel quite blatant.

    I would say it’s the other way around. A culture that embraces violent conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims will write whatever book is necessary to justify and glorify and sanctify their worldview.

    Basically what Waffa Sultan said: “That Islam was created to satisfy Mohammad”.
    And the books of rules and behaviour are forced on that society to maintain Mohammad’s image, to the extent that many of their clerics are just jumped up little thugs in my opinion.
    It is not care-free living for freedom accustomed people as it is oppressive “always looking behind you”.

  63. Cynic says:

    For those interested in some of the groups involved in Islamic affairs here’s a link to volume 5 (PDF):

    Current Trends in Islamist Ideology Vol 5

    These thoughts prompted me to learn more about Islam and to devote myself to serving Allah. I remember one particularly defining moment in an Arabic language class when I was sitting beside a Christian friend named Nagi Anton. I was reading a book entitled Alshaykhan by Taha Hussein that cited the Prophet Mohammed’s words: “I have been ordered by Allah to fight and kill all people (non-Muslims) until they say, ‘No God except Allah’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). Following the reading of this Hadith, I decisively turned toward Nagi and said to him, “If we are to apply Islam correctly, we should apply this Hadith to you.” At that moment I suddenly started to view Nagi as an enemy rather than as a long-time friend.

    The other volumes are linked in the left column.
    Volume 2 is interesting as they discuss interaction between different groups.
    Sharia is most important.

  64. oao says:

    it was meant as an analogy to display the crooked thinking.

    which is exactly what i clarified too.

    Now with Ali and his cohorts the probability of the US stopping such action in the face of Israeli actions is very small.

    it may well be that alibama, who has proved a coward in doing anything with risks (remember how in congress he often voted “present” on certain issues?), will always let others spell out things (hence biden and gates). it is more than likely that he will let the UN and EU to put the screws on israel.

    heck, he’s even doing it with bushies: holder is considering submitting to the spanish judge on this, as they don’t have the guts to judge them themselves. appeasers are cowards.

    Following the reading of this Hadith, I decisively turned toward Nagi and said to him, “If we are to apply Islam correctly, we should apply this Hadith to you.”

    nothing new there. this is exactly what i meant when i said there is no moderate islam.

  65. oao says:

    a while ago i countered the illusion that netanyahu will be different than livni and barak (in fact, even lieberman is all talk and no action).

    well, the appointment of Oren as US ambassador is not promising. and now:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/131154

    the idiotic US and Israel keep repeating the mistakes of the past which consistently failed. the end result of this will be the opposite of what is desired: the retreat will be interpreted as hezbollah’s achievement and will enhance its victory.

    when a civilization has no learning curve whatsoever it dies. and I can’t say it does not deserve it.

  66. [...] Augean Stables » What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict … [...]

  67. [...] Submitted By: Joshuapundit – The Augean Stables – What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire [...]

  68. [...] my thinking on the Arab/Israeli conflict. Non-Council winner Richard Landes at Augean Stables quite literally hit the ball out of the park with his answer to some Christian students about his perspective on why the conflict is so hard to [...]

  69. [...] Noncouncil: The Augean Stables – What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire [...]

  70. Watcher’s Council results…

    First place in the Council category was Wolf Howling with Waiting For The Iranian Shoe To Drop. First place in the non-Council category was The Augean Stables with What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire…….

  71. [...] winning non-Council post was The Augean Stables’s “What Do I Think of the Arab-Israeli Conflict? Answers to a Questionnaire”. Second [...]

  72. Soccer Dad says:

    Council speak 05/15/09…

    A bit belatedly, the council has spoken. The winning entry this week on the Council said was Wolf Howling’s Waiting For The Iranian Shoe To Drop and the runner up was Bookworm Room’s Predators and Prey. On the non-council side the winning entry was W…

  73. Belated Watcher’s Council Results — May 8…

    I’ve again missed a couple of Watcher’s Council results posts — here is the first of these, from May 13. Winning Council Submissions First place with 2 1/3 points! – Wolf Howling – Waiting For The Iranian Shoe To Drop……

  74. Lak-17a says:

    What we think of the Palestine Question should be irrelevant. What matters is that it exists and we have no horse in the race. To get the United States out of the terrorist cross hairs we need to take immediate steps to stop providing the Zionist enterprise unlimited financial, diplomatic and military support. Enough already! A war in Iraq pushed by Israel’s friends, costing a trillion bucks and the hatred of a billion Muslim, we have hurt our selves plenty and for what? To have Bibi spit in our faces twice and have the Israelis denounce Petraeus as an anti-Semite? Time to cut these folks off!

  75. Dandre Gavreil DuBois says:

    May I respectfully suggest reading the book “The Ishmaelite Exile” by Rabbi Yechiel Weitzman

    I believe it will provide considerable information regarding the Islamic and Israel belief and conflicts. It certainly didn’t begin recently. Actually it began during Abraham’s time. Also, President Obama of the United States of America is playing a very dangerous game, that may very possibly cause an absolute horror upon this earth from which there may not be a recovery. He resides in a world his own, and like Luis of France “the state that’s me” syndromes The greater majority of the news media are simply and irrationally adding to the world’s present problems with their hardheadedness they know what is best for all the world, yet they actually create far more problems than cures.

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