Arab academic: “Israel, the good enemy”

Via Naomi Ragen’s mailing list a rather amazing article by a self-described “Jordanian of Palestinian heritage”. Some gleanings:

Israel’s critics, either willingly or out of ignorance, choose to overlook the way many Arab countries mistreat Palestinians. Some Arab countries are almost never blamed for what they have been doing to the Palestinians for decades.  Such selective recognition of facts by Israel’s critics is bizarre when weighed by truth instead of myths.

In December of 2008, Israel launched operation “cast lead” against Hamas which was launching rockets on Southern Israel on a daily basis.  This operation has resulted in the death of more than 1,400 Palestinians, many said to be civilians; an absolute tragedy, nonetheless, those criticizing Israel fail to recognize that the number of causalities is small comparing to Gaza’s population of 1.5 million, considering the high density of Gaza’s population per square kilometre, the number suggests the Israeli forces were very cautious in carrying out their attacks, despite the fact that they were chasing a moving target, Hamas militants.  If Israeli forces were [deliberately] targeting Palestinian civilians, the number of the dead would have reached tens of thousands.

On comparison; in 1976, Lebanese militiamen butchered 2,000 Palestinians; almost wiping out the entire population of Tell al-Zaatar refugee camp within days.  This was revisited again in 1982 in Sabra and Shatelah massacre; where, in less than four days, Lebanese militiamen killed thousands of women and children who posed no threat as most Palestinian fighters had left then to Tunisia. Two years ago, al-Jazeera satellite network aired rare footage of Palestinians running to Israeli soldiers for refuge from the massacre.

Furthermore, most Arab atrocities against Palestinians have included documented rape cases, even of children, while not a single rape case has been reported against Israeli forces in more than sixty years of operations.

Of course, the latter did not stop some Israeli leftist whackademic from claiming that the absence of rapes proved racism against Palestinians. [Some ideas truly are so insane that only a soi-disant intellectual can believe them.] But there is more:

Arab governments’ oppression of the Palestinians does not stop at bloodshed and wholesale  slaughters, in fact the more troubling aspects of the way they treat Palestinians is in the systematic long-range exclusion and discrimination.   In Arab countries where Palestinians make up a good percentage of the population; they are depr[i]ved of all basic necessities, starting with education, down to basic healthcare.  Even [in] countries that have granted the Palestinians citizenships; the Palestinians stand helpless and banned from every potential to improve their livelihoods.

[…] The complexity Israel has with Palestinians revolves around security rather than ideological issues; Israel does not have an aim to enslave the Palestinians for life or purposely degrade their humanity. While many Arab countries have designed their systems to discriminate and humiliate the Palestinians, squeezing them into illiteracy and poverty while milking them for tax money.

[…] Ha[d the] Intifada taken place in any Arab country; it would have ended within the first couple of weeks with an Arab army killing more than ten thousands Palestinians, most being civilians.  Examples of this are countless and in all Arab countries hosting Palestinians; yet the world seems to think this reality is too overrated to recognize.Today, with peace negotiations up and running, some Arab governments seem to want to butcher the Palestinians again on the altar of dictatorship by worsening their living conditions and making their lives more miserable, just to secure a better negotiating position or merely a seat at the negotiations table.  Not to mention that many of those actually would rather see the negotiations fail in order to keep more international aid money flowing to them for “hosting” the Palestinians.

Quoting a commentator on one of my articles; “the Palestinians, do obviously need a break from their sworn Arab friends”, and perhaps they can reconnect to them when they have learned a lesson or two from their Israeli “enemies”.

Indeed.

Must-read: Yoram Hazony, “Israel Through European Eyes”

Via Martin Kramer’s twitter feed, a link to an essay by Yoram Hazony that is an absolute must-read for anybody trying to understand the swing of Euro opinion against Israel and in favor of the “Palestinians”: Israel through European eyes.

Hazony references the classic of science philosophy, “The structure of scientific revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn, and specifically the concept of “paradigm shift”.

Kuhn argues that the traditional picture of science—in which scientists conduct universally replicable experiments to accumulate verified facts, which together make up the body of scientific truths—is without basis in the actual history of science. Instead, scientists are trained to see the world in terms of a certain framework of interrelated concepts, which Kuhn calls a paradigm. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the paradigm not only determines the interpretation that a scientist gives the facts, but even what facts there are to be interpreted: The “facts” that scientists consider admissible for discussion are those that easily conform to the dominant paradigm, or that can be made to conform to it by extending the paradigm or introducing minor repairs into it. Those facts that can’t be made to conform to the reigning paradigm are overlooked entirely or dismissed as unimportant.

Kuhn was famous, of course, for pointing out that things don’t go on like this forever. The history of science is punctuated by shifts in the dominant paradigm, as when Aristotelian physics gave way to Newtonian physics, or when Newton’s science was displaced by Einstein’s. Kuhn calls these shifts in paradigm scientific revolutions, and in the book he discusses tens of such shifts from the history of the physical sciences. Kuhn concludes that while most scientists are reasonable people, what we would usually consider reasonable discussion and argument only takes place among scientists who subscribe to the same paradigm. Nothing like a normal process of persuasion is involved in battles between competing paradigms. Indeed, when scientists representing competing paradigms argue, there is often no way at all that either one will be able to prove his case to the other[…]

[…]

As Kuhn points out, even a mountain of facts will not change the mind of a scientist who has been trained in a different paradigm, because the fundamental framework from which he views the world is different: The facts themselves mean something completely different to him. In fact, very few scientific paradigms, including the most famous and most successful, are able to provide the kind of decisive experimental evidence that can force scientists to give up the old paradigm.

How, then, do scientists come to change their minds? Kuhn says that in many cases, they never change their minds—and that an entire generation has to pass before the scientific community enters a new paradigm:

How, then, are scientists brought to make this transposition? Part of the answer is that they  are very often not. Copernicanism made very few converts for almost a century after Copernicus’ death. Newton’s work was not generally accepted, particularly on the Continent, for more than half a century after the Principia appeared. Priestley never accepted the oxygen theory, nor Lord Kelvin the electromagnetic theory, and so on…. And Max Planck, surveying his own career in his Scientific Autobiography, sadly remarked that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” [2]

He then identifies a similar “paradigm shift” in the field of international relations:

What’s the old paradigm? And what’s the new one to which the international arena is shifting?

Let’s begin with the old paradigm, which is the one that granted Israel its legitimacy in the first place. The modern state of Israel was founded, both constitutionally and in terms of the understanding of the international community, as a nation-state, the state of the Jewish people. This is to say that it is the offspring of an early modern movement that understood the freedom of peoples as depending on a right to self-protection against the predations of international empires speaking in the name of a presumed higher authority.[5] And while there have always been nation-states—the Jewish kingdom of the Bible was the most important classical example[6]—the modern history of the national state focuses on the rise of nation-states such as England and the Netherlands, and subsequently Richelieu’s France, whose self-understanding as sovereign nations was sharpened and consolidated during the long struggle to liberate their peoples from the pretensions to universal empire of the Austro-Spanish Habsburgs (that is, the “Holy Roman Empire”) beginning in the mid-1500s. […] The defeat of the universalist ideal in the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 led to the establishment of a new paradigm for European politics—one in which a revitalized concept of the national state held the key to the freedom of peoples throughout Europe. By the late-1800s, this idea of national liberty had been extended to the point that it was conceived not only as a governing principle for Europe, but for the entire world. Progressives such as John Stuart Mill and Woodrow Wilson championed the sovereign nation-state, which would have the right to defend its form of government, laws, religion and language against the tyranny of imperial actors, as the cornerstone of what was ultimately to be a new political order for humanity. Herzl’s Zionist Organization, which proposed a sovereign state for the Jewish people, fit right into this political understanding—and indeed, it was under British sponsorship that the idea of the Jewish state grew to fruition. In 1947, the United Nations voted by a 2/3 majority for the establishment of a “Jewish State” in Palestine. And the birth of Israel was followed by the establishment of dozens of additional independent states throughout the Third World.

But the idea of the nation-state has not flourished in the period since the establishment of Israel. On the contrary, it has pretty much collapsed. With the drive toward European Union, the nations of Europe have established a new paradigm in which the sovereign nation-state is no longer seen as holding the key to the well-being of humanity. On the contrary, the independent nation-state is now seen by many intellectuals and political figures in Europe as a source of incalculable evil, while the multinational empire—the form of government which John Stuart Mill had singled out as the very epitome of despotism—is now being mentioned time and again with fondness as a model for a post-national humanity.[7] Moreover, this new paradigm is aggressively advancing into mainstream political discourse in other nations as well—even in countries such as the United States and Israel.

Read the whole thing. For related reading, two essays (double h/t: Syrah @ C2) for related reading: Daniel Gordis’ “The Tower of Babel and the Birth of Nationhood.” and Lee Smith’s “Hollow Men”.

Walter Russell Mead on “frozen conflicts” and Israel

Walter Russell Mead:

Years ago I spent a lot of time studying the state of US-Cuban relations.  I came to the subject with the optimism that most Americans bring to just about every world problem; surely there was a solution somewhere that moderate people of good will could find.  But the deeper I got into the subject, and the more I met with people in the US and Cuban governments, in the Cuban American community, and in the community of activists and lobbyists who work on the issue, the more I came to see that things weren’t that simple.

After a lot of head scratching and a lot of wasted time it finally dawned on me that there were important reasons why US-Cuban relations had been frozen in this pattern for so long.  Nobody really liked the status quo: but everybody preferred it to any of the feasible alternatives. This was true of the Castro government, of the Cuban American community by and large, and also of the US government.  It was also true of many of the other countries in the region; no Caribbean country wants to think about what would happen to its tourism industry if Cuba suddenly opened up to Yankee visitors.

Since then, it’s become ever more clear to me that this pattern fits many of the other frozen conflicts around the world — and it definitely fits the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  We don’t really like the status quo, but nobody sees a realistic path to a viable alternative that would work much better.

Read the rest, including the discussion of the various silver linings for Israel.

Flying pig moment of the day

Khaled Abu Toameh reports that a Turkish anti-Israel TV show has aroused the anger of “Palestinians”, and has even PA officials denouncing it as “out of touch with reality”. This surely can count as a “flying pig moment”.
Even the Palestinians are opposed to an anti-Israel Turkish television series that is being aired these days on two popular Arab satellite networks.

The 13-episode Separation: Palestinian in Love and in War (Cry of Stones) is about a Palestinian family that leaves for a vacation to Jordan, only to return to a home that had been demolished by the IDF.

The drama, which was first broadcast on Turkey’s state television last October, depicts IDF soldiers as cold-blooded murderers and rapists.

The Turkish drama, which has strained relations between Turkey and Israel, has also enraged many Palestinians, especially female prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The inmates are particularly outraged over scenes showing IDF soldiers “raping” a Palestinian women.

“This film defames the female prisoners and their struggles in occupation prisons,” the prisoners said in a statement. “We call on the producer of this Turkish drama to apologize to the Palestinian people for the scene which shows Israeli soldiers raping a Palestinian female prisoner called Miriam [presumably a typo for “Maryam”, F2].”

The statement said that the scene has nothing to do with reality. They also condemned the scene where the family of the “rape victim” kills her upon her release from Israeli jail.

“Palestinian families have always embraced their daughters when they are released from prison,” the women said. “We see this [drama] as an attempt to defame the image of Palestinian female prisoners and as a public insult to the Palestinian people. This film serves only the occupation.”

The statement strongly denied the accusation made in the Turkish series according to which Palestinian women are raped in Israeli prisons.

“Those who think that a Palestinian female prisoner is raped when she’s arrested are living in an illusion and are mistaken,” the female prisoners said. “There has never been such a case. Nor have we heard of a Palestinian family that killed their daughter after her release.”

The women also called on the Saudi-owned MBC network to stop broadcasting the Turkish series immediately.

Palestinian Authority officials [!!!] have also expressed outrage over the drama, dubbing it “offensive” and “detached from reality.”

Never thought I’d live to see this.

New website: 10 facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict

Via Israel Matzav, here is a new, interesting resource: Ten facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Each fact is presented in a concise text, which is however densely linked for those who desire further information. This one belongs in our planned “reference library” section.

The ten facts are:

Very much worth a visit. This is better than “Nekama’s Troll Hammer” of old.