Rethinking the Conflict

One of the fundamental things that we are trying to do at Israel Thrives is simply rethink the conflict.  Two things, to my mind, could absolutely not be more clear.  The first is that the vast Arab majority in the Middle East, including those in Gaza, Judaea, and Samaria, have no intention whatsoever of giving up the long war against the Jews.  If that much is not clear by now, I cannot even begin to imagine what it will take for people to acknowledge the obvious.

The second thing that is absolutely clear is that the very way we speak on the issue is detrimental to the Jewish people because the language that we use comes from our enemies.  We need to wrap our brains around this notion, because it’s harming us and harming Israel.  This war, as much as it is anything else, is a cognitive war.

The Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East started off as a street fight by the Arab majority against the indigenous Jewish population.  It started in 1920 with riots and pogroms against the Jewish minority, turned to a civil war in November of 1947, became a conventional war (the kind with tanks and formal armies) between between 1948 and 1973, after which it is characterized by terrorism and the international effort to delegitimise both the Jewish people and the Jewish state.
A major element in the delegitimisation process is the use of language.  Terms like “Occupation” or “West Bank” or “Israel-Palestine” are terms that determine the outcome of the discussion before the discussion even begins, because they immediately, and falsely, suggest Jewish guilt.  I’ve talked about this kind of thing before, but it’s vital and needs to be emphasized.  The terms above are central to our conversation around the Arab-Israel conflict, yet they are terms which automatically suggest Jewish guilt and Arab innocence.
That would be fair enough if these terms reflected actual or historical reality, but they do not.  What they represent are Arab and Soviet propaganda terms designed specifically to put the Jews and Israel back on our heals in the face of toxic anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist aggression by a much larger population.
The Big “O” in “Occupation”:
The Big “O” in “Occupation” suggests that the Jewish presence in Judaea and Samaria is the mother of all occupations.  It conveys the notion not only that Jews have no rights to live, and thus build, in that region, which I would submit is illiberal on its face, but that the Jewish presence is somehow the source of all other occupations.  How else to explain the use of the Big “O” among the enemies of the Jewish people?  Whatever its purpose, the effect of this usage is to create hatred toward Jews.  It tells the rest of the world that the Jewish presence on Jewish land is an atrocity that should not be sanctioned or allowed.
“The West Bank”:
Map of Judaea and Samaria after 63 BCE:
Judaea and Samaria only became known as the “West Bank” after Jordan stole that land during Israel’s War for Independence.  It represents the west bank of the Jordan River, but it only became known as the “West Bank” after Jordan took that land and ethnically-cleansed the Jews throughout the region.
For thousand years Judaea and Samaria was know as “Judaea” and “Samaria,” but once the Jordanians captured Jewish land they sought to remove any Jewish association with it, thus they use the term “West Bank.”  For obvious reasons the Arabs are not going to call Judaea “Judaea” because out of what they take to be religious necessity they refuse to allow Jewish sovereignty on any part of Jewish land.
“Israel-Palestine Conflict”:
There is no “Israel-Palestine Conflict.”  There is the Arab war against the Jews in the Middle East, or perhaps even the Arab-Muslim war against the Jews in the Middle East, but whatever this thing is it is not limited to the Jews and the local Arabs.  On the contrary, the history of the conflict shows very clearly that it is a conflict between if not 1.5 billion Muslims against 6 million Jews in Israel, then at the very least it is a conflict between 400 million Arabs in the Middle East versus the tiny Jewish minority.  For thirteen of the last fourteen centuries that Jewish minority has been persecuted under the boot of Arab-Muslim imperialism and religious supremacy throughout that part of the world.  The system of dhimmitude in the Middle East kept both Jews and Christians as second and third class citizens for centuries within a system that was never better than was the American system of Jim Crow at its very worse.
This is how Martin Gilbert describes Jews under dhimmitude in In Ishmael’s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands:
There could be no building of new synagogues or churches. Dhimmis could not ride horses, but only donkeys; they could not employ a Muslim. Jews and Christians alike had to wear special hats, cloaks and shoes to mark them out from Muslims… A dhimmi could not – and cannot to this day – serve in a Muslim court as witness in a legal case involving a Muslim… men could enter public bathhouses only when they wore a special sign around their neck distinguishing them from Muslims… Sexual relations with a Muslim woman were forbidden, as was cursing the Prophet in public – an offense punishable by death. (pgs. 32 – 33)
The great Muslim poet Abu Ishaq, from the eleventh century put it this way:
Bring them down to their places and
Return them to the most abject station.
They used to roam around us in tatters
Covered with contempt, humiliation and scorn.
They used to rummage amongst the dung heaps for a bit of filthy rag
To serve as a shroud for a man to be buried in…
Do not consider that killing them is treachery.
Nay, it would be treachery to leave them scoffing. (pg. 49)
The fundamental problem is that the Jews are tiny in number because we have been kept tiny in number.  The reason that we have been kept tiny in number is because Europeans and Arabs continually tell themselves just why it is that we deserve a good beating and many Jews – immediately the term “progressive Zionist” comes to mind – tend to agree.  We have to understand that the reason so many imams scream for Jewish blood in the mosques throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds is not because we’re guilty of something.
We aren’t.
The Jews of the Middle East are not the aggressors in this conflict.
They are the victims.
So few people speak obvious truths on this issue, but here’s one.  There are about six million Jews with their backs to the Mediterranean surrounded by around four hundred million Arabs who do not want them there and many of those people are willing to use violence to get them to leave.
That is the most basic fundamental fact of the conflict and if you do not grasp that – if that truth is not central to your understanding – then you have no idea what is going on.
.Mike Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.

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  1. An excellent piece Mike and it begs the question why do Jews and others “sympathetic’ to the “Palestinian” cause never come out with these fundamental truths. They are there for everyone to see. There is no excuse for not knowing.

    In Australia right now official Jewry is bending over backwards to exclaim what a good bloke Anthony Albanese , Australia’s new Deputy Prime Minister, is, notwithstanding that he is a foundation member of the “Parliamentary Friends of Palestine” and behind the scenes an outspoken sympathiser with their cause . Not by the way a member of the “Parliamentary Friends of Israel.” I’m sure he is a nice man as politicians, especially Labor politicians go. But how can anyone serious about the plight of the “Palestinians ” can not find it within themselves to condemn Hamas and Fatah with their racist fanaticism against Jews. not even mention it, not even mention how fundamental and dangerous this primitive vile medieval view of the world is, and still expect to be taken seriously is beyond me.

    I do not take him seriously. I do not take any of them seriously. They do not give a stuff about
    the “Palestinians” . They could not. If they did they would be hollering from the roof tops for the liberation of these people from the death grip of Hamas and the other murder gangs. They do not give a stuff about them. They do not give a stuff about anyone.

    • Geoff, once again our weak Community leaders are afraid to tell it as it is, as is shown in this article
      in the AJN-Australian Jewish News, where they sing the praises of Albanese.

      To my great surprise Walt Secord, who is an outspoken advocate for all things Israel and Jewish, and who is an ALP NSW Upper House MP, also gave Albanese his tick of approval.
      “Anthony Albanese supports a two-state solution and he was at the forefront of the fight against BDS. I don’t question his support for Israel or the Jewish community.”

      Of course Albanese is opposed to the BDS, when it suits his purpose . The AJN tells us that he also played a major role in denouncing Marrickville Council’s failed attempt to adopt the global BDS campaign against Israel as policy in 2011, which he described as a “divisive and counterproductive policy”.

      The point the AJN fails to point out is that he really had no choice, his wife, Carmel Tebbutt, was fighting to retain her seat in the State election, which includes the Municipality of Marrickville. He knew which side the majority of the population was on, so of course he was against the BDS. Interestingly, her State seat of Marrickville is contained almost entirely within her husband’s Federal seat of Grayndler.

      Interesting to note too that Carmel Tebbutt is a member of “NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel.” !!

  2. It’s because they honestly believe that after 1,400 years of persecution and oppression under the boot of Imperial Islam that the Jews of the Middle East are the aggressors and the Arabs are the victims.

    They further believe, of course, as you know, that only when the Jews repent from their aggressive ways (i.e., measures of self-defense) can there ever be peace and thus it is in Israel’s best interest to not defend itself. It should thereby remove the security fence and give up any claims to historical Jewish land.

    They have been subject to decades of Arab and Soviet propaganda that has now taken on a life of its own.

    One of the very first big mistakes that Israel made was in recognizing a separate “Palestinian” people as a distinct ethnicity. Well, excuse me, but are we really under any obligation to recognize a people who came into existence as a people for the sole purpose of undermining Jewish autonomy and self-defense?

    I do not think so.

    The first thing that we need to do is either stop recognizing the “Palestinians” as a separate ethnicity or acknowledge, as Ziontruth insisted, that the Jews are the original Palestinians.

    Everything else flows from this.

    {Hmmm… that sounds like a pretty good topic for my next piece!}

    • Mike, it’s not only Israel which is at fault, it’s all of us in the Diaspora.
      STOP calling the West Bank just that. I have now for a fair while. It is Judaea and Samaria. The Arabs who live there are just that, ‘Arabs’, not the fictitious race of people calling themselves Palestinians. The Arabs of Gaza, are ‘Gazans’.

      As I see it we can’t be the original Palestinians. The region of Palestine has been so called for around 2,000 years and we are an older race of people than that.

      • We are not a race, certainly not in any normal use of the term, but a People, the Jewish People. Probably ethnic group is the most accurate term.With a faith (Judaism) thrown in, to boot, adopted and ultimately used against us by Christianity and its successor which must (can?) not be named.

  3. Like the Dark Lord Voldemort…..that of which cannot be spoken.

  4. The only thing that the Arabs can ever agree on is that they have to kill the Jews and destroy Israel. That is hardwired into Islamic scripture and belief. Business as usual is brother against brother, family against family, clan against clan and tribe against tribe, Israel lost 78% of the Mandate for Palestine because the Hashemites could not get on with the Saudis so the British created Jordan. But the Muslim Brotherhood is the real problem. The Project document found in a Swiss villa in 2003 contained a 12 point plan to destroy the west and restore the Caliphate.
    Central to the plans was to make Israel a wedge issue and maintain hatred against the Jews. It promised to support the terrorist groups in Israel and keep Muslims in a Jihad frame of mind.
    With a mission statement like that, how can there be peace when the Muslim Brotherhood are now the policy advisors to President Obama? The Brotherhood are showing their true colours in Egypt and when Morsi came to power he indicated that the peace treaty with Israel would be over. Israel must never surrender land to win peace. It didn’t work with the Oslo agreement and it won’t work in future deals. Israel should heed the prophet Joel in chapters 2 and 3.
    “I will punish those who divide my land”.

  5. Well, here is my two cents, a thing I wrote a couple of years ago. Maybe it will be published here as an article . Am currently negotiating publication of a major successor article dispensing with the many myths about “Occupied Territories”, Illegal Settlements”, Violation of the 4th Geneva Convention” etc., all key arguments used against Israel (and the Jewish People, by Proxy). Indeed they are used right no, today, as in the EU Boycott Directive based on the myth of “Occupied Territory.. Actually it was published here:

    Anyway, my own view of the “Conflict”, can read it here, if you want:

    The Palestinians’ great misfortune is having been relocated some 30 miles within one vast Arab nation to reside with their co-religionists, speaking the same language, and practicing the same customs, having been pressured to do so by their own leadership, of Arab National Committees, Arab Higher Committee, The Arab League and of course the Mufti. This is the unspoken and unpalatable truth of the current “refugee problem”, verifiable from any serious study of the history of the recently opened archives of the period of 1947-1949 (see Efraim Karsh: “Palestine Betrayed”), notwithstanding claims made by Tom Segev and other so-called revisionist historians, the left and far too many others.
    Also unspoken is the fact that some 650,000+ Jews were expropriated, often murdered, and ultimately forcibly expelled – many hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles – from all North African and Middle Eastern Arab and/or Muslim States after 1948, after centuries of habitation in those regions, from times preceding both Islam and even Christianity. They were all successfully absorbed by the newly established rag-tag, post Holocaust nation-state of Israel, after the Civil War and subsequent War of Independence, while simultaneously fighting numerous invading Arab armies (one even supported by the British). How is it that these “forgotten refugees” are so infrequently the subject of discussion, and, God forbid, their “Right of Return” back to those nations? Some things are perhaps conveniently better left unspoken.
    What is so interesting is that after the many enormous cataclysms of the 20thC, with all its significant population transfers: the Greek and Turkish population transfer after WW1, the millions of Germans fleeing Poland, Czechoslovakia, USSR etc. after WW2 (the greatest forced population transfer in history – what today would be called “ethnic cleansing”), Muslims and Hindus fleeing to Pakistan and India respectively (at exactly the same time, 1948) these refugees were all successfully absorbed by the surrounding nations within a few years. The Palestinians remain the only group that, after 65 years, for inexplicable reasons, have still not been absorbed by the surrounding (host) nations, many of them possessed of enormous oil wealth. The entire process has been enabled by the specially established UNWRA, along with its own uniquely customized definition of refugee, to one “whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948” (i.e. only 2 years) and, even more extraordinarily, also to their descendants having this status in perpetuity, thus swelling the ranks of these refugees perhaps tenfold today.
    Surely this a question that should be taken seriously by those obsessed with the Palestinian cause? Perhaps there is an untold story here? No, it is not untold. It’s been told many times, for those who have ears to listen, who are prepared to remove the ideological blinkers. It’s simple. As some have correctly noted, there is not, and never was any “Palestinian people”, since there was never any unique Palestinian ethnicity (as there are, say, Arabs, Persians, Kurds, Armenians, Turks, etc in the region) let alone a nation, let alone a nation-state. At most , one can say there were Arabs living in British Mandatory Palestine – and not all that many either, a very different concept. The creation of this concept was Arafat’s primary achievement, along with airplane hijacking often with destruction of same planes, fomenting enormous unrest in all places he lived (Jordan, Lebanon), and finally, homicidal suicide bombing. And for those who now bear this appellation of Palestinians, it’s quite clear that none of the then occupying nations want, or ever wanted to absorb them. Neither Jordan (illegal occupier of the “West Bank” from 1948-1967) nor Egypt (illegal occupier of Gaza from 1948-1967), ever wanted these people, nor did these people (“refugees”) ever seriously contemplate the notion of a unique Palestinian national identity, or homeland, let alone nation-state during that time, or before, rejecting the UN resolution recommending another Arab nation-state (the second such partition offer since the Peel Commission proposal of 1937, repeated and rejected time after time until 2008, a total of 6 such offers in all). Surely the maxim that we must judge people by their deeds, and not their words still stands.
    No, the bitter truth is that none of their co-religionists or pan-Arab “supporters” care, or ever cared for them, except as a perennial club with which to beat Israel over the head, a perpetual open wound, and to provide a unifying force within and across Araby and the Islamic world, the only “legitimate grievance” in a region where expression of grievances is generally not permitted. Why might this be? Well, that’s another conversation; let it simply be said that Muslim nations will simply not countenance the notion – let alone the reality- of a nation-state of former subjects (“dhimmis”) within what they see as the House of Islam, and after the long political and military decline of Islam, especially since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, not to mention the subsequent humiliation of numerous military defeats at the hands of these very same former second-rate citizens of Muslim lands (these descendants of “apes and swine” as the Koran would have it), the concept becomes ever more odious. The only good Jew, openly and publicly stated by its religious and political leadership, for a Muslim, and even more extraordinarily, its latter day supporters on the left, is one in a state of enduring humiliation and degradation (aka “dhimmitude”), if not a dead Jew.
    Yes they have a solution, a one-state. “binational” solution, one that precludes the despised “Zionist entity” from continued existence, yet another Arab state without the presence of this Zionist entity. That the Jews should have their own nation-state, or Jewish Homeland, despite the League of Nations being entrusted with reconstitution of this Homeland at the post WW1 San Remo Conference of the Principal Allied Powers and its endorsement of the Balfour Declaration, the Treaty of Sevres with Turkey, and the later Anglo-American Treaty of 1924 (and so becoming the supreme law of that nation, in perpetuity), implemented via the League Mandate of Palestine as a Jewish Homeland (all of Palestine – yes, read that again, all of Mandatory Palestine), all carrying the full weight of International Law, and still binding today, is an abomination to them, something they really need to get over. It’s a bit like getting over the loss of Al Andalus (Spain) in 1492…which the Muslim Salafists and others still haven’t.
    The Ottoman Turks chose the losing side in WW1, and so be it. The victors divide up the spoils, it was never different. Indeed, the Arabs did surprisingly well out of this, with the establishment of the several new Arab nation-states of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Transjordan (the last one a flagrant contravention of the Mandate). Sadly they have very long memories, and probably won’t get over it. So, I remain a pessimist, and see no near-term solution within the current default position of the prevailing two-state paradigm, especially when the PNA’s own Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat said recently, “Netanyahu will have to wait 1,000 years for someone to agree to talk to him.” And I believe him. Remember, they did win the Crusades after almost 200 years. They do believe that they have time on their side.
    Not so many decades ago, the Jew-Haters in Europe used to tell people “Jew, go to Palestine”. Today, it is “Jew, get out of Palestine”.
    So, which is it? There’s an old, archaic, if not archetypical psychosis of persistent Jew-Hatred at play here. Or perhaps is it just simple political opportunism? Whatever it is, they can’t have it both ways.
    ©George Peters, Melbourne, Australia, 2011

  6. The ALP needs to wake up to the fact that supporting the politicidal and genocidal fanatics who want to destroy Israel is bad for Australia. It needs to perceive not only the “moderate” face of the “Balestinian Authority”, but also the face that it shows to its own people.
    The ALP needs to recognise that the mantra of the “two-state solution” is hollow because the Arab side refuses to acknowledge the internationally recognised inalienable right of the Jews to national self-determination in their ancestral homeland, a right which the Jews have never renounced or yielded.
    Israel is not and will not be the Czechoslovakia of 1938-39, therefore continued Arab intransigence will once again trigger a war that will disrupt Australian trade, skyrocket the price of fuel in Australia with all the flow-on effects of that on inflation and unemployment.
    It will do the ALP no good then to blame Israel for all those consequences.
    But I suppose that the party of pink batts, carbon tax, mining tax, monstrous deficit bungles is unlikely to wake up.