Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where I stand on Israel

Where does Gubu World stand on Israel. People have said to me recently that they are confused by my stance. They do not know if I am pro or anti. It seems timely to address this because in recent weeks I have been called a Jew hater on Seraphic Secret and a Muslim hater on MPAC.ie. Obviously I am neither as anyone who reads this blog knows. My readers know that I believe in a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. I have also posted regularly on the dangers of Israeli and Palestinian supporters taking more militant views on the conflict than the actual parties themselves. This moderate stance that I take generally leads to accusations from both hawkisk camps that I am anti their side. I am used to this. It is nothing knew. However I do accept that my fierce criticism of Jewish settlement policy combined with my equally fierce criticism of Arab rejectionism might lead to confusion.

In my view there are three ways of examining the Arab Israeli conflict. The first is to look at the Israelis and the Palestinians simply as two tribes fighting over land. Forget Islam and Judaism and all the other international and historical factors at play. In such a scenario it is the Israelis who are primarily to blame. It is they who seize land and occupy the largely powerless Palestinians. It is they who divert water from the river Jordan and expand Jewish settlements in order to invalidate the future viability of a Palestinian state. And it is they who are prepared to use extraordinary levels of military force to combat the terrorism which a reasonable person might say is inevitable given the circumstance just outlined.

The second way to view the conflict is in the wider Arab Israeli context. In this case it is the Arabs who are clearly at fault. It is they who have consistently rejected all efforts at peace. Only two nations of the 22 member Arab League currently recognise Israel's right to exist. It is difficult to expect Israel (particularly give 20th century Jewish history) to let its guard down when twenty of its neighbours don't recognise its right to breath. The Arab Nations, all of whom are dictatorial in nature constantly use Israel as a domestic tool to look tough in front of their people. They continue to promote the deeply rooted anti semitism that exists in Arab/Muslim. When these nations inevitably underachieve economically due to corruption and incompetence they generally play the anti Israeli card to get themselves out of trouble. Their strange mixture of belligerence and indifference contributes greatly to the prolonging of the conflict.

Of the 22 Arab Countries, only Egypt and Jordan recognise Israel.

The third perspective is the most important because unlike all the issues above, it is not a tangible issue that can be openly solved. This is the issue of conflicting values that stem from two different civilisations. Western Christian civilisation and Eastern Islamic civilisation have been clashing ever since Islam was founded in the seventh century. Up until the Christian reformation in the 16th century both sides were as bad as each other where bloody crusades and counter crusades dominated the Middle Ages. Today that clash has taken the form of the current tension we see between western Liberal democracy with its Judea Christian values and Eastern Islamic religion and culture. Their compatibility is clearly the issue. Can a democratic form of government with its liberal society coexist with Islamic nations who favour a totally different form of government. Their coexistence has been brought into focus in the second half of the 20th century with the foundation of Israel, and globalisation which has seen the spread of liberal values into conservative Islamic states. However it is the existence of Israel, a Jewish state, a liberal democracy right in the heart of the holy land that is the ultimate symbol of this clash.

The crusades lated 300 years.

Many people in the west believe that the western system with its parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, human rights and individual liberty is the superior model. I am such a person. Hence, I believe Israel as a political entity is worth defending. I don't want it to win outright. I don't want them to succeed in expelling the Palestinians (as some hawks want to) in order to fulfill the biblical prophecy of a greater Israel. However, as a democracy that has maintained its democratic principle despite enormous pressure I think it should be admired. I believe that if the Arab/Muslim extremists in Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran were to succeed in their goal of ending Israel's existence it would be a massive victory for Eastern Islamic Values over western democracy. And, it would only be the beginning of it. Those that believe the west should take a tough line against Israel in order to calm the Arab/Muslim world fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict. There are many in the west that do not support Israel because they believe it is an illegitimate state. These people are always far left Marxists who do not believe in western democracy. They therefor do not believe it should be defended. If you look at Ireland, Israel's fiercest critics are hard core leftists like Richard Boyd Barrett and Kieran Allen. If you read their literature they actually believe the Irish sate is illegitimate and should be overthrown. If they don't think the Irish sate should be defended its hardly surprising they are less committed to Israel.

So I hope that is clear ! Gubu World will continue to criticise many aspects of the occupation as well as the methods in which Israel conducts its wars. The legions of Arab and Muslims nations and groups that oppose peace with Israel under any terms will also get an earful from me. However Israel and the case for the Jewish state in the Middle East to thrive and survive will continue to be made on this site.

10 comments:

Gary said...

This is one of the best summaries of the situation in the Middle East I have read. I completely agree with your position and believe your analysis of the conflict is dead-on.

thesystemworks said...

I like the dual pro-Israel and pro-Palestine approach you are taking. It is the philosophy promoted by Alan Dershowitz and many friends of Israel. Unfortunately, supporters of the Palestinians in my opinion do not tend to be as nuanced. Most Israelis and Palestinians are willing to accept compromise, more so than the synagogue groups of the Diaspora or the raving lunatics in the Palestine Solidarity Campaigns.

This approach makes sense because there are really four conflicts going on right now in relation to the Israeli and Palestinian question, according to Professor Michael Walzer who wrote a good article in Dissent back in 2002:

The First is the Palestinian war to destroy Medinat Israel.

The second is to create an independent Palestinian State (unlike Jordan) behind the Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The third is a war for the safety and prosperity of Israel based on the 1967 borders.

The fourth is a war for Greater Israel along biblical borders.

The aims of those fighting the second and third conflict can be reconciled. The first and last can never reconcile with any other aspiration, and will lead to a cataclysmic war on the scale of Lebanon or Yugoslavia.

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Thank You indeed for the kind words. As Jimmy Carter says, "if you want to make peace in the Middle East you have to be prepared to upset both sides". Carter, he might not have been the greatest President but he is a very wise man.

Ted

Ted Leddy said...

TSW

Thanks for the comment which as always is very well thought out.

You say "Most Israelis and Palestinians are willing to accept compromise, more so than the synagogue groups of the Diaspora or the raving lunatics in the Palestine Solidarity Campaigns"

This is a very important point. As someone who has studied the Northern Ireland peace process in detail I know that Irish Americans who were often accused of being "more Irish than the Irish themselves" at times hampered progress in the peace process. Even today many of them believe that the Good Friday Agreement is a sell out. Quite unbelievable really when you consider that as Americans living in America they will never suffer any of the consequences if there were to be a return to violence.

The same is true of many Christian Zionist organisations in the states and as you say the Palestinian Solidarity Campaigns in Europe. In Dershowitz's book "The case for peace" he accused such people of being more Israeli than the Israelis and more Palestinian than the Palestinians echoing the Irish comparison.

I must look out for that Michael Walzer article. It is an excellent assessment of the situation. As you say points 1 and 4 cause the most problems. These people see the conflict as being thousands of years old and don't seem to mind if it goes on for another 1000. It truly frightens me when you here Jihadists say "the crusades lasted 300 years and we eventually won, the Israeli crusade is only 60 years old".

Perhaps war is the only answer. As my father says, if you see two drunks fighting outside a pub, what is the point in trying to intervene. They are beyond talking sense to. Maybe you just have to let them at it and see who wins.

I don't like that option. I would like a strong American president and a firm International community to say to both sides that the world is beginning to tire of this. We are in the midst of one of the worst global recessions ever. The world can't afford another couple of decades of violence in the Mid East. Make peace now, we are not asking, we are telling.

I know I am being somewhat naive to think this could happen and as you say, supporters of the Palestinians appear emphatically opposed to compromise but who knows. We have seen unbelievable change in Northern Ireland. And sometimes in world politics things do turn completely on their heads and massive change happens. I suppose we have to keep on believing. There are more people who want peace than want war.

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that the only way a Jewish existence will prevail in Palestine will be through their submission to the Caliphate, there simply is no other acceptable option. Democracy has had its day, the Islamic resurgence is now in full swing.

Ted Leddy said...

That's part of the problem Liam/anonymous/Mujaahid,

The only solution that is open to you is total victory, and you're not even Palestinian, you're not even an Arab.

I also don't accept your point because I don't think it's just Palestine you want to see "liberated". I'm pretty sure you have said on your site that the only acceptable solution to Ireland's problems is "submission to the caliphate". The truth is if that if Israel ever fell, the Jihadists would then come for the rest of us.

By the way, to say that the only way Jewish existence in the Holy Land will prevail is for them to convert to Islam is quite hilarious. They wouldn't be Jews then would they. You have just admitted, utter annihilation of the Jews is all you can accept.

Anonymous said...

I firmly believe that the only way a Jewish existence will prevail in Palestine will be through the dismantling of Arab/Islamic imperialism. This will be done through the emergence of a free and sovereign Kurdistan, recognition of indigenous peoples i.e. Berbers and black Africans, and a secular Iran.

Islam is an unenlightened religion, and Islamism is it's last attempt to hold onto it's captive populations. Once Iran throws off the shackles of Islamism and embraces secularism, democracy, and the rights of the individual, many non-Arab Islamic cultures will follow. Remember Iranians still have historic disdain for the Arab Islam that culturally cleansed them, and there is, if given the chance, a natural curiosity of pre-Islamic Persian culture.

They are plenty of Islamic countries who have be culturally cleansed by Islam and Arab imperialism and when they are free from fear, the Saudis and Arab supremacism will be buggered.

As for the end of democracy you are well and truly mistaken. Western civilisation is going to the stars whereas Islamism is going the the grave. Any ideology that curtails the freedom of the individual and rules through fear has a natural expiry date. Sadism is the only card Islamism has to play and it's not a good card at that! Islamism's victims will have their limits.

Lucky for you we live in a globalised and highly-scientific world, which means Islam's enlightenment won't take centuries!

Edward the Hamster

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YgrLcMOEM8

Dr. Tawfik Hamid blueprint for an Islamic enlightenment. Objective, straight-forward, and beautiful. No relativist rubbish or inter-faith love-ins!

Edward the Hamster

Ted Leddy said...

ETH

Apologies for the delayed response. Yesterday was one of those days.

Thank you for the fascinating and articulate comment.

As far as I know there is nothing wrong with Islam as a religion in itself. The problem is its inability to separate itself from politics. My understanding of why this is so is because in Islam if a person is not an adequate follower then it is a bad reflection on the rest of society. Islam is about the collective good of the community. If one person or group of persons is not doing their bit, action must be taken. It then becomes the reponsibility of the authorities to deal with. Hence religion and society become inseparable from politics. This is in contrast to post reformation Christianity and Judaism where the spiritual health of the individual is the priority.

What you say about Iran is key. I believe that the answer to this global clash can be found in Persia. Iran for all its flaws is a country where religious scholars have relative freedom. There are many senior clerics in Qom who recognise that there is a problem with Islam and its apparent incompatibility with democracy and Human Rights. Some have even called for an Islamic reformation. There is nothing like this in any Arab country. Iran is a vibrant country with a dynamic and young population. If a movement were to emerge with a clerical leadership that favoured such a reformation, it could take hold and its success could spread throughout the region. I definitely think this has a better chance of success that the noeconservative approach we saw under George Bush.

I also agree with your assessment that Political Islam is on a downward spiral and that western democracy will continue to spread. The problem with the Jihadists is that they think they defeated a superpower when they fought the Soviets in Afghanistan and the Soviet empire preceded to collapse. Someone needs to tell them, it wasn't them who either beat the Soviets in Afghanistan or wrestled the USSR to the ground. It was Nato, the West, Ronald Reagan and the likes.

Thanks for the link to the Dr. Tawfik Hamid clip. I might post it myself and measure that blueprint against Mr "anonymous" Liam Egan's Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

Ted Leddy said...

In my above comment I intended to say that the Soviet Union proceeded (not preceded) to collapse.

In case my point was unclear what I was trying to say was that the Jihadists think they brought down the Soviet Union, and now think they can bring down the USA and the west. Good luck with that boys !