I know I'll regret this later, because I've already upset a couple of friends by talking about this stuff. Look- please do disagree with me in the comments, but please support any arguments that you make? I *want* to be disagreed with, but I get pretty upset with intellectual laziness or dishonesty. Prove that I'm guilty of either, and I'll apologize and retract.
I don't like how Israel was created. I think the Jews should have been given Bavaria after WWII, not a chunk of the middle east. But Israel DOES exist and has a right to defend itself. These are the points I find myself repeating over and over again at the talking heads on the television:
1. 70% of what was once called "Palestine" became first "Transjordan", then "Jordan." Don't tell me that the Palestinians don't have a homeland.
2. I'm very tired of the equivocation I keep hearing from Americans and Europeans regarding the "Israeli-Arab conflict", suggesting that there is plenty of blame for both sides. While I agree that there is plenty of blame to go around, it is politically correct nonsense to suggest the blame can be evenly divided between Israel and the Arab nations.
Here are some of the reasons many Arabs are angry at Israelis:
- Because publc and private schools and state-sponsored media in Arab nations continue to teach children that Jews are descended from apes and pigs, and teach their citizens to hate Jews, Israel, the United States, and "the West". See for yourself same examples from Arab television. Remember the violent protests about the cartoons of Mohammed? Ask yourself: Would Americans allow this sort of racist crap in their newspapers if it were about Arabs? What sort of violent riots would we see in the Arab world if the west routinely created media this hateful and racist about Arabs? (By the way, Muslims overwhelmingly believe the hubbub was the fault of of Western disrespect, but note Americans, Jews, and Israelis don't riot over the racist crap printed in muslim newspapers daily.)
- Because corrupt, oligarchical governments in Arab nations deflect and redirect the legitimate frsutrations of most of their citizens by blaming the United States, Israel, and "The West" generally for the difficulties experienced by their citizens.
- Because Israelis have the audacity to continue to exist despite being surrounded by aggressive hostiles of much greater number on all sides
- Because Arabs keep trying to DRIVE THEM INTO THE @#$%ING SEA.
3. I am tired of hearing from well-intentioned European and American pundits that most of the world's muslims are reasonable and moderate, and don't support jihadist violence. The evidence I've seen doesn't seem to support this assertion.
- First, the Palestinian people, in a democratic election, elected Hamas. This seems forever to destroy the argument that the majority of Palestinians want peace. The majority elected to power an organziation that is publically and unapologetically committed to murdering as many Israelis as possible. There is no confusion on the part of Palestinians- they know what Hamas stands for, so I don't want hear from anyone that the majority of Palestinians want peace. Their electoral decisions show that they, like Hamas, don't want a Palestinian state living peacefully next to Israel- they want Israel to be obliterated.
- Second, recent polls show that a great number of the world's muslims live in an alternate reality from the rest of us, in which suicide bombings in defense of islam are sometimes or often justified. In Jordan in the Spring of 2005, 57% of Jordanians polled said suicide bombing and violence against civilian targets was often or sometimes justified. A whopping 88% of Jordanians polled said it was often, sometimes, or rarely justified. Only 11% said it was never justified. I'd like to believe that this 11% is running the show in the muslim world, but I don't see the evidence that helps me think it is.
So Europe (rightly, in my view) kept telling Israel it needed to pull out of the settlements, and Israel couldn't even get the P.A. to cooperate with THAT- so Israel started doing it unilaterally. Okay, Europe, things have surely gotten better now, right? Ummm...no. Why is it that Israel continually offers compromises and concessions while all that the P.A. EVER offers is the temporary halt of violent attacks on civilians, and Israel is STILL accused by Europeans of not doing enough. This brings two points to mind:
- First, how much has been gained by Israel offering concessions and compromises? How do we calculate what the benefits of accommodation have been to Israel and the cause of peace? (There's a mathematical formula for this: Diddly/Squat = Bubkis)
- Second, can you BLAME Israelis for crying "anti-semitism" every time they catch this kind of nonsense from europeans? What ELSE explains the double standard? I can't think of anything else, and I'm really, really trying.
6. This will NOT turn into WWIII. The worst that can happen is that Syria and/or Iran will be directly brought into the fight (as opposed to their indirect sponsorship of Hezbollah in money and weapons). If that happens, Israel's air force will sweep through Syria and/or Iran and wipe out their military capacity for years to come. War over. The last time(s) Arab armies ganged up on Israel, they had their posteriors handed to them. They're not dumb enough to try it again. Not right now.
Argument? Disagreement? Did I get some facts wrong? Any specious arguments? Let me have it. If I've said anything factually wrong or used faulty logic, I'll mark up and ammend this post.
Palestinian Media Watch
Pew Global Attitudes Project, The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other
Larry Miller's "Whosoever Blesses Them: The Intifada and its Defenders"