Daniel Pipes: Obama vs. McCain on the Middle East





[Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org), director of the Middle East Forum, is the Taube/Diller Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University during the spring semester.]

How do the two leading candidates for president of the United States differ in their approach to Israel and related topics? Parallel interviews with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, who spoke in early May with Democrat Barack Obama and in late May with Republican John McCain, offer some important insights.


John McCain and Barack Obama, in close discussion.
Asked roughly the same set of questions, they went off in opposite directions. Obama used the interview to convince readers of his pro-Israel and pro-Jewish bona fides. He thrice reiterated his support for Israel: "the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea"; "the need to preserve a Jewish state that is secure is … a just idea and one that should be supported here in the United States and around the world"; and "You will not see, under my presidency, any slackening in commitment to Israel's security."
Obama then detailed his support within four specifically Jewish contexts.

Personal development: "when I think about the Zionist idea, I think about how my feelings about Israel were shaped as a young man — as a child, in fact. I had a camp counselor when I was in sixth grade who was Jewish-American but who had spent time in Israel."
Political career: "When I started organizing, the two fellow organizers in Chicago were Jews, and I was attacked for associating with them. So I've been in the foxhole with my Jewish friends."
Ideas: "I always joke that my intellectual formation was through Jewish scholars and writers, even though I didn't know it at the time. Whether it was theologians or Philip Roth who helped shape my sensibility, or some of the more popular writers like Leon Uris."
Philosophy: "My staff teases me sometimes about anguishing over moral questions. I think I learned that partly from Jewish thought, that your actions have consequences and that they matter and that we have moral imperatives."
In contrast, McCain felt no need to establish his Zionism nor his pro-Jewish credentials. Taking them as a given, he used his interview to raise practical policy issues, particularly the threat from Iran. For example, asked about the justness of Zionism, he replied that "it's remarkable that Zionism has been in the middle of wars and great trials and it has held fast to the ideals of democracy and social justice and human rights," then went on: "I think that the State of Israel remains under significant threat from terrorist organizations as well as the continued advocacy of the Iranians to wipe Israel off the map." Again referring to Iran, McCain committed himself "to never allowing another Holocaust." He referred to the threatened destruction of Israel as having "profound national security consequences" for the United States and he stressed that Tehran sponsors terrorist organizations intent "on the destruction of the United States of America."

A second difference concerns the importance of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Obama presented it as an "open wound" and an "open sore" that infects "all of our foreign policy." In particular, he said, its lack of resolution "provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions." Asked about Obama's statement, McCain slammed the idea that radical Islam results mainly from the Arab-Israeli confrontation: "I don't think the conflict is a sore. I think it's a national security challenge." Were the Israeli-Palestinian issue resolved tomorrow, he pointedly continued, "we would still face the enormous threat of radical Islamic extremism."

Finally, the two disagree on the import of Israelis continuing to live on the West Bank. Obama places great emphasis on the topic, commenting that if their numbers continue to grow, "we're going to be stuck in the same status quo that we've been stuck in for decades now." McCain acknowledged this as a major issue but quickly changed the topic to the Hamas campaign of shelling Sderot, the besieged Israeli town that he personally visited in March, and whose predicament he explicitly compares to the mainland United States coming under attack from one of its borders.

Goldberg's twin interviews underscore two facts. First, major-party candidates for the U.S. presidency must still pay homage to warm American ties to Israel, no matter how, as in Obama's case, dramatically this may contradict their previously-held views. Second, whereas McCain is secure on the topic, Obama worries about winning the pro-Israel vote.


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R.R. Hamilton - 6/16/2008

You say that we "read different history books", and then you quote extensively from "yours". But you do not show one example of anything written by me that contradicts anything written by these ancient historians.

Did you think I meant that the Arab Conquest of the southern half of the Byzantine Empire was a bloodless affair -- with Christians throwing flowers at the hooves of the Arab horses? I certainly did not say this, and I'm sorry if you got that impression.

Come to think of it, we could compare the Arab Conquest of, say, Palestine with the more recent American Conquest of Iraq: Now that most Iraqi Muslims have concluded that we Americans are not there to "destroy their religion", they are content to recognize some of the benefits of American rule -- one of which is that, unlike the days of rule by their fellow Muslims, now the majority can worship as they please without fear of oppression for their beliefs. Yes, the more I think of it, the more similarities there are.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/16/2008

Messers Friedman and Eckstein will read it:

Thank you for your kind words. I hope, as you hope, that my loyalty is to truth and justice in the Jewish-Arab dispute, and not to any particular side.

In my experience, I have seen that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all distort history when they think it serves their interests.

As you may know, and Messers Friedman and Eckstein no doubt know, my surname is the same as the famous Alexander Hamilton. While I am not descended from that Alexander (though by coincidence I am descended from a different Alexander who lived in America at the same time as the famous one), I try to follow the pattern of the more famous Alexander in looking at the world with a clear eye. My standard is that I will support the side that is "more reasonable".

I think that there are many Palestinian Arabs today who would say, "We wish our ancestors had agreed in 1919 to give the Jews a 'Gaza Strip' of their own, encompassing Tel Aviv and Haifa (and agreed to an international city of Jerusalem)." However, that did not happen. The reality today is the Jews have a New Jersey-sized state in the heart of the (Asia-sized) Muslim world. Even worse, the Jewish state bifurcates the Muslim world -- separating Muslim Asia from Muslim Africa. The only way to get over it is to fly over it.

Mr. Baker, I don't know if you are an American, but I suspect you're not, so I will give you a bit of American history that might apply to your concerns:

Nearly 150 was the American Civil War -- an extension, many historians believe of the English Civil War of the 17th century. In that war, more Americans died than in all the other wars of American history. Consider that with the knowledge that America had only 1/10th the population then that it has now. They talk about 4,000 Americans dying in five years in Iraq? Many Civil War battles had 4,000 (or more) dying in 1, 2, or 3 days.

As one historian wrote (I'm paraphrasing from memory), "Every Southern school boy imagines himself in July 3, 1863 [the third day of Gettysburg] and that Southern Independence can still be won." But Southern Independence was not won. Northern numbers and technological advantages won over what is generally regarded as superior Southern leadership and fanatical devotion of her troops. The South had to "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable": Yankee conquest and occupation. Despite the long tradition of Southern leadership of the nation from George Washington on, it would be more than 100 years before another Southerner (Jimmy Carter in 1976) was elected in his own right to the Presidency. Since then, every President has been elected only with the consent of the South. Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II.

I am not saying, "Just wait 100 years and there will be an Arab leader of Israel". I am saying that I understand the humiliation of the Palestinian Arabs and that I understand what it means to "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable". Ironically, my reading of history shows that the Jews understand this condition as well.

Now, if I can, I will continue to try to re-educate Messers Friedman and Eckstein on the history of the "Crusades" (itself a misnomer). I will do that another day, though.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/16/2008

Just a couple of notes:

First, for Mr. Baker. No, the analogy is not North Koreans taking over Rhode Island. The analogy might be where America loses a major war and the victorious powers decide that black Americans deserve there own state. If the whites negotiate, the black state could be limited to Mississippi (which has the highest proportion of blacks, though they are still a minority). But the whites refuse to negotiate. In the end, the victorious powers award to the blacks not only Mississippi but also Alabama and Louisiana. The American whites refuse to accept this and attack, but are defeated by the blacks, who conquer Arkansas and Tennessee.

Don't worry, I will piss off the Jews in my next post.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/15/2008

Just a couple of notes:

First, for Mr. Baker. No, the analogy is not North Koreans taking over Rhode Island. The analogy might be where America loses a major war and the victorious powers decide that black Americans deserve there own state. If the whites negotiate, the black state could be limited to Mississippi (which has the highest proportion of blacks, though they are still a minority). But the whites refuse to negotiate. In the end, the victorious powers award to the blacks not only Mississippi but also Alabama and Louisiana. The American whites refuse to accept this and attack, but are defeated by the blacks, who conquer Arkansas and Tennessee.

Don't worry, I will piss off the Jews in my next post.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/14/2008

Mr. Hamilton
Sir
Once again I believe that your depiction of Israel as merely "a sliver of land", in an earlier post, and now here for the early 1920s, as a potential/possible Jewish :
"Gaza Strip' of their own, encompassing Tel Aviv and Haifa " is way off historical and socio/cultural/economic/political truth for then and for now.

I hate to say it, you being apparently a gentleman, but that depiction can only translate into :
a- an abysmal ignorance of Zionism as a doctrine,
Or, for which I would be equally sorry but have to say:
b-part of a deliberate misinformation and disinformation of the general reader effort .

Re your US implied analogy:
I believe you can not be unaware of the totally ALIEN character of Israel in its milieu versus/relative to the position of the South in the USA.
Your implied analogy can NOT, does NOT, stand no matter what, good or bad, intentions lie behind it.
If we have to go to a more reasonable analogy and extrapolate their from, all you have to do is:
Imagine, say, Rhode Island or Connecticut being forcedly populated by, say, North Koreans and after ethnically cleansing it of its native American population and denying them their right to return to their state proclaiming their own , independent Korean communist state.

Would Americans put up with that and what would their reaction be??
(No American would depict that merely as a colonized and deAmericanized “sliver of land”.; although area wise it would be.)

I believe that Israel's fundamental weakness lies in its ALIEN character relative to its regional environment and its present and future unintegrability therein.
This Alien identity, and no matter why, has , with Israel's mode of birth and subsequent Israeli policies and practices, come to rightly include the attributes of colonialism and pro imperialism , racism and total disregard for the rights of others.

Had you been reading what I write you would recall that I have been advocating the deZionization of Palestine, the dismantlement of the Zionist Jewish state and NEVER did I call for the killing or eradication of the Jews presently residing in Palestine.
DeZionization to start with the implementation of the Palestinians' RIGHT to RETURN to their HOMELAND would be the first and most effective step towards deALIENATION.

It is a hard task but ages, and generations, long wars is much harder for all!
(Looking forward to read more from you.)


R.R. Hamilton - 6/14/2008

Messers Friedman and Eckstein will read it:

Thank you for your kind words. I hope, as you hope, that my loyalty is to truth and justice in the Jewish-Arab dispute, and not to any particular side.

In my experience, I have seen that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all distort history when they think it serves their interests.

As you may know, and Messers Friedman and Eckstein no doubt know, my surname is the same as the famous Alexander Hamilton. While I am not descended from that Alexander (though by coincidence I am descended from a different Alexander who lived in America at the same time as the famous one), I try to follow the pattern of the more famous Alexander in looking at the world with a clear eye. My standard is that I will support the side that is "more reasonable".

I think that there are many Palestinian Arabs today who would say, "We wish our ancestors had agreed in 1919 to give the Jews a 'Gaza Strip' of their own, encompassing Tel Aviv and Haifa (and agreed to an international city of Jerusalem)." However, that did not happen. The reality today is the Jews have a New Jersey-sized state in the heart of the (Asia-sized) Muslim world. Even worse, the Jewish state bifurcates the Muslim world -- separating Muslim Asia from Muslim Africa. The only way to get over it is to fly over it.

Mr. Baker, I don't know if you are an American, but I suspect you're not, so I will give you a bit of American history that might apply to your concerns:

Nearly 150 was the American Civil War -- an extension, many historians believe of the English Civil War of the 17th century. In that war, more Americans died than in all the other wars of American history. Consider that with the knowledge that America had only 1/10th the population then that it has now. They talk about 4,000 Americans dying in five years in Iraq? Many Civil War battles had 4,000 (or more) dying in 1, 2, or 3 days.

As one historian wrote (I'm paraphrasing from memory), "Every Southern school boy imagines himself in July 3, 1863 [the third day of Gettysburg] and that Southern Independence can still be won." But Southern Independence was not won. Northern numbers and technological advantages won over what is generally regarded as superior Southern leadership and fanatical devotion of her troops. The South had to "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable": Yankee conquest and occupation. Despite the long tradition of Southern leadership of the nation from George Washington on, it would be more than 100 years before another Southerner (Jimmy Carter in 1976) was elected in his own right to the Presidency. Since then, every President has been elected only with the consent of the South. Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II.

I am not saying, "Just wait 100 years and there will be an Arab leader of Israel". I am saying that I understand the humiliation of the Palestinian Arabs and that I understand what it means to "bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable". Ironically, my reading of history shows that the Jews understand this condition as well.

Now, if I can, I will continue to try to re-educate Messers Friedman and Eckstein on the history of the "Crusades" (itself a misnomer). I will do that another day, though.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/13/2008

Mr Hamilton
You inquire :
"I'm not sure how it came to be that we in the West began calling all these peoples "Arab". '
**The answer is quite simple: it came to be when you in the West, and all over the world, came to realize and noted that "all these peoples” call themselves Arabs because they are "Arabs"!

(Once again for the inattentive: to be Arab implies absolutely NO RACIAL or ETHNIC bond.
The nationalist bond than binds us all together is PRIMARILY a cultural and linguistic bond .)
Another noteworthy element/comment I hope you will high light when you come to it...Mr. Hamilton..
The Crusades were not perceived by the Arabs at the time as a "Christian"
Conquest.
Arab historians shied away from the term, in solidarity with Christian Arabs and in recognition of its innate imperialist character and objectives no doubt, although the derivation and meaning of the appellation the “Crusaders” chose for themselves was quite known to them.
They used the term "Hurub AL Farangah" which translates into “ Wars of/with foreigners” and, particularly lately, “ wars of/with westerners” (from Ifrangi or Farangi)!
(Hurub: plural of Harb=war)


omar ibrahim baker - 6/13/2008

Mr Hamilton
It is heartening to find out that although you are "pro" Israel ( no body is entirely faultless) you are NOT part of the HERD who relishes rewriting history to serve a 20th century colonialist conquest/cause.

Rewriting history can be done, as you surely know, as effectively by OMMISSION, their favourite tactics of withholding facts, and occasionally by outright commission of untruths.

Here, at HNN, they infrequently use the latter tactics because of the presumed level of the readers.
The horror is that among them there is a gentleman in charge of
"educating" students.
This "gentleman" is blind to facts he deems unsavory to his biases and he believes that should he omit them they will cease to exist.
Had he been anything but in charge of educating students the whole thing could be dismissed for the triviality cum inanity of it.
Looking forward to read more of your posts.


N. Friedman - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

My comment was in support of the point, which you denied, regarding colonization. You indicated that there was no widespread colonization. I said there was colonization, although I did not use, so far as I know, the word "widespread" or anything of the sort.

Further on that point: I noted, in particular, that there was a very small Arab population, per agreement with the Byzantine Empire. That seems to have escaped your notice. In any event, that fact contradicts your point about the Arab population before the Muslim invasion. It also supports my point that the Fatah brought with it colonizers.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton, you wrote as follows:

1. The Arabs defeated a Byzantine army but had no means of conquering the great Byzantine cities such as Damascus, Jerusalem, or Alexandria. So, the Arabs must retreat, right? Not so fast: It happened that most Christians in these regions adhered to a different version of Christianity from the rulers in Constantinople. While the Arabs could not conquer these "heretic" cities, they could protect them from "orthodox" armies. So the deal was made that the Arabs (Muslims) would become the nominal rulers of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, but the life for Christians would go on as before."

The four-month Muslem siege of Jerusalem, which took four months was quite violent, and was ultimately successful, shows that this statement, with its focus on a deal with a population dissatisfied with Byzantine rule, is inaccurate.

2. "So, from ca. 640 to 1070, there was the happy situation of Muslims cooperating with their Christian hosts. The annual pilgrimages of European Christians was welcomed by and profited the Muslim rulers of Palestine. As sea travel was still unsafe and expensive, the normal pilgrimage of European Christians involved walking to Constantinople, then across modern Turkey, entering Muslim territory near the modern Syrian-Lebanese border, and thence to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, etc."

The destruction of the Holy Sepulcher in 1009 shows that this statement, too, is inaccurate. Actually, it also shows that the first statement's remark about the Muslims being "nominal rulers" of the region is also inaccurate--there was nothing "nominal", in name only, when Hakim ordered the destruction of the Holy Sepulcher, and there was nothing the Christian population of Jerusalem could do about it, or about his forbidding them to pray in the ruins.

I don't think the differences between us are all that large, but I think the actual facts present us with a much darker picture of the origin and nature of Muslim rule in Jerusalem than the "legend of the golden time" you wrote up earlier this morning.



R.R. Hamilton - 6/12/2008

You say that we "read different history books", and then you quote extensively from "yours". But you do not show one example of anything written by me that contradicts anything written by these ancient historians.

Did you think I meant that the Arab Conquest of the southern half of the Byzantine Empire was a bloodless affair -- with Christians throwing flowers at the hooves of the Arab horses? I certainly did not say this, and I'm sorry if you got that impression.

Come to think of it, we could compare the Arab Conquest of, say, Palestine with the more recent American Conquest of Iraq: Now that most Iraqi Muslims have concluded that we Americans are not there to "destroy their religion", they are content to recognize some of the benefits of American rule -- one of which is that, unlike the days of rule by their fellow Muslims, now the majority can worship as they please without fear of oppression for their beliefs. Yes, the more I think of it, the more similarities there are.


N. Friedman - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

My religious heritage has nothing to do with any of today's discussion.

As for colonization, we evidently read different history books. The books I am familiar with do not see a large Arab population living in historic Palestine before 638, only on the edges of the region. See e.g., Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634—1099. I believe he states on page 61 "Palestine was inhabited by Jews and Christians" And, "The Arab tribes were to be found in the border areas, in keeping with arrangements made with the Byzantine rulers." (Emphasis added). That, however, changed with the conquests, which were a bloody affair, as described by historian Bat Ye'or:


Abu Bakr organized the invasion of Syria [Syro—Palestine] which Muhammad had already envisaged. He gathered tribes from the Hijaz, Najd, and Yemen and advised Abu Ubayda, in charge of operations in the Golan, to plunder the countryside, but due to a lack of adequate weaponry, to refrain from attacking towns. Consequently, the whole Gaza region up to Cesarea was sacked and devastated in the campaign of 634. Four thousand Jewish, Christian, and Samaritan peasants who defended their land were massacred. The villages of the Negev were pillaged by Amr b. al—As, while the Arabs overran the countryside, cut communications, and made roads perilous. Towns such as Jerusalem, Gaza, Jaffa, Cesarea, Nablus, and Beth Shean were isolated and closed their gates. In his sermon on Christmas day 634, the patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, lamented over the impossibility of going on pilgrimage to Bethlehem, as was the custom because the Christians were being forcibly kept in Jerusalem: 'not detained by tangible bonds, but chained and nailed by fear of the Saracens,' whose 'savage, barbarous and bloody sword' kept them locked up in the town...Sophronius, in his sermon on the Day of the Epiphany 636, bewailed the destruction of the churches and monasteries, the sacked towns, the fields laid waste, the villages burned down by the nomads who were overrunning the country. In a letter the same year to Sergius, the patriarch of Constantinople, he mentions the ravages wrought by the Arabs. Thousands of people perished in 639, victims of the famine and plague that resulted from these destructions.

The countryside [in Syro—Palestine, Iraq, Persia, and Armenia] suffered constant razzias, while those who escaped the sword swelled the contingents of enslaved women and children, shared out among the soldiers after the deduction of the fifth [share of the 'booty'] reserved for the caliph.

According to [the Muslim chronicler] Baladhuri (d. 892 C.E.), 40,000 Jews lived in Caesarea alone at the Arab conquest, after which all trace of them is lost...


[Quoted from an article by her student Andrew Bostom].

In any event, there was substantial colonization by Muslim Arabs. That is a fact, whether or not you accept it. And, it is a fact no matter what religion you profess or do not profess. As for me, I am not religious.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

1, Regarding the Muslim siege of Jerusalem, 638 A.D.:

The standard text for this period is George Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State. Ostrogorsky draws an explicit contrast between Antioch, the then-metropolis of Syria, which surrendered to the Muslims without a fight after the great Muslim military victory over the Byzantine Christian army at the Yarmuk, and Jerusalem: Jerusalem, where resistance was fierce and which required a four-month siege before finally surrendering because of its hopeless strategic position (p. 99).

2. Yes, Christians were generally tolerated in Jerusalem, but the Muslims were in military and religious control, Christians were second-class citizens, and tolerance could come and go depending on the Muslim mood.

Thus in 1009 AD, the Fatimite Khalif of Egypt al-Hakim explicitly ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This spot was obviously THE holiest place in the world for all Christians. The Muslim historian Yahia ibn Sa`id describe the events thus:

"the holy deed [NOTE PLEASE: "The Holy DEED"] commenced on Tuesday, the fifth day before the end of the month of Safar of the year 400 of the Egira (1009 AD in our calendar). Only those parts of difficult access were spared". They started by demolishing the tomb itself, the dome and the high parts of the buildings until the debris at their feet blocked their destruction.

For eleven years the Christians were prohibited to visit the rubbles on the site and were not allowed in to pray even in the ruins.

It was only some years later that the Christians could rebuild their sanctuary on the site. This was due to a peace treaty between the Byzantine emperor Argyropulos and the successor of al-Hakim in which the reconstruction of the Holy Sepulchre basilica was stipulated. It turned out that the destruction was so thorough that little of the Constantinian-era church could be rebuilt.

The Muslim destruction of the Holy Sepulcher--THE holiest place in Christendom, to repeat--was one of the causes of the Crusades.

3. I believe N.F. is using the term "reconquista" in a broad fashion. He didn't mean Spain specifically. Hence the Crusades were certainly not an unprovoked attack on Islam (as most Muslims see it because they assume their origianl violent conquest of the Middle East is Allah-given and unproblematic) but rather a counter-attack to win back Christian lands originally conquered by the Muslims. One of the provocations was the Muslim destruction of the Holy Sepulcher, as noted above.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/12/2008

Mr. Friedman says:

"Mr. Hamilton,

I still stand by my account. Again, there was a Muslim conquest [of Jerusalem] in 638 - exactly as I stated."
That much is correct; the rest of what he says is either incorrect or irrelevant.

1. There was no large-scale "Arab colonization" of the conquered portions of the Byzantine Empire -- notably, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. (nor of the rest of North Africa, or France, or Sicily, or Italy).

The vast majority of the Muslims in these countries today are descendants of converts, not ancestors from the Arabian peninsula. In fact, it's my understanding that modern Syrians are probably more than modern Greeks closer racially to Alexander the Great.

I think, Mr. Friedman, that you suffer as most Jews do from a habit of seeing humanity as divided into two camps: Jews and "Everyone Else (who all want to kill us)". Even the deservedly famous Mr. Lewis has this same failing: "The Muslim attack on Christendom and the resulting conflict, which arose more from their resemblances than from their differences, has gone through three phases. [He then gives an utterly simplistic account of a millenium of history.]"

This Jewish bifurcation of humanity and the resulting Jewish inability to understand interactions between different non-Jewish cultures was discussed at some length in The REAL Anti-Semitism in America by Nathan Perlmutter, former head of B'nai B'rith. I highly recommend this book.

(Mr. Perlmutter, who lived and traveled extensively in the American South, compared liked this Jewish view of Gentiles to the Southern view of Northerners. And as a Southerner, I had to smile as I read the comparison, because it's true: We do tend to think of the people in South Dakota and New Hampshire -- and everyone in between -- as interchangeable "Yankees", with no important distinctions to be made. And if I may digress a bit, Mr. Perlmutter also made one of the most perceptive observations I've yet read about Americans: "When the Northerner leaves the North, he's touristing; but when the Southerner leaves the South, he enters into his own Diaspora." From personal experience, I can attest to the accuracy.)

2. The "Crusades" were not part of a general plan of "reconquista".

The Muslim invasion of Spain in the 8th century began seven centuries of nearly uninterrupted warfare between the followers of Islam and the followers of Latin Christianity. Please note the im ... I need to go again. Will come back to this later.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Christians were tolerated in Jerusalem, but the Muslims were in military and religious control, and tolerance could come and go depending on the Muslim mood.

Thus In 1009 AD, the Fatimite Khalif of Egypt al-Hakim explicitly ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Arab historian Yahia ibn Sa`id describe the events thus:

"the holy deed [NOTE PLEASE, Omar and Mr. Hamilton: "The Holy DEED"] commenced on Tuesday, the fifth day before the end of the month of Safar of the year 400 of the Egira (1009 AD in our calendar). Only those parts of difficult access were spared". They started by demolishing the tomb itself, the dome and the high parts of the buildings until the debris at their feet blocked their destruction.

For eleven years the Christians were prohibited to visit the rubbles on the site and were not allowed in to pray even in the ruins

. It was only some years later that the Christians could rebuild their sanctuary on the site. This was due to a peace treaty between the Byzantine emperor Argyropulos and the successor of al-Hakim in which the reconstruction of the Holy Sepulchre basilica was stipulated. It turned out that the destruction was so thorough that little of the Constantinian-era church could be rebuilt.

The Muslim destruction of the Holy Sepulcher--THE holiest place in Christendom, obviously--was one of the causes of the Crusades.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

The basic text for this period is George Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State. On p. 99 Ostrogorsky specifically contrasts the surrender of Antioch after the battle of the Yarmuk, the metropolis of Syria which surreneder without a fight, to the siege of Jerusalem, where resistance to the Muslims was fierce but in the end, after four months, unavailing.

But as you say, N. F., actual facts may be equally unavailing with this crowd.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Following their great victory on the Yarmuk River in 638, one Arabian army pressed northward to Damascus while a second Moslem force launched an attack against Jerusalem. With no Byzantine army to defend them, the residents, under the patriarch Sophronius, rallied behind the city's walls. The strength of the Moslem armies lay in their cavalry, which could do little against a fortified city. They surrounded it, besieged it, cut it off from supplies, made occasional attacks on the gates.

For four months the Arabs, under the personal direction of Caliph Omar I, besieged Jerusalem. There were occasional fierce assaults, which failed. Finally, realizing the hopelessness of their isolated position, the defenders surrendered the city to Omar. They got good terms.

To be sure, this was not as bad as the capture of Jerusalem by the Sassanid Persians in 614. Neither was it a peaceful interaction, however, with a happy population coming under Arab protection.


N. Friedman - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

I still stand by my account. Again, there was a Muslim conquest in 638 - exactly as I stated. And, the conquest was followed by colonization - exactly as I stated.

That there was colonization does not mean there were not otherwise any Arabs in the region. It means, instead, that there was colonization after 638, in which Arab - or, to be more exactly, Muslims - entered the region as colonists, often as colonial overlords.

In Islamic heritage, the events are marked by the word "Fatah," as I previously noted. And "Fatah" carries with it the meaning, in addition to conquest, of colonization. In fact, there was a Fatah directed at historic Palestine. It was a rather successful one.

As your comment notes, there was the offer to live under a pact of submission. That pact, known as a dhimma, creates the overlord subordinate relationship which distinguishes Islamic civilization. Part of its requirements comes from the Qu'ran 9:29: "Fight those who do not believe in God or the last day, and do not hold forbidden that which was forbidden by God and His Apostle, or acknowledge the religion of truth (even if they are) of the people of the book, until they pay jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." Ibn Kathir explains that the rule is to fight the People of the Book [Ahl al- Kitâb] until they pay the poll tax [jizya] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

Part of the dhimma pact owes its origins to Byzantine law which had been directed toward placing Jews at a disadvantage. The Muslim twist was to apply such rules also towards Christians, not just Jews.

Also, as I noted, the crusades were, in part, an effort at a reconquista. The point was to drive off the Muslim invaders who had conquered and colonized the holy land. The dean, so to speak, of serious scholarship of the Muslim regions, Bernard Lewis, said, in a March, 2007 speech:

The Muslim attack on Christendom and the resulting conflict, which arose more from their resemblances than from their differences, has gone through three phases. The first dates from the very beginning of Islam, when the new faith spilled out of the Arabian Peninsula, where it was born, into the Middle East and beyond. It was then that they conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa--all at that time part of the Christian world--and went beyond into Europe, conquering a sizable part of southwestern Europe, including Spain, Portugal, and southern Italy, all of which became part of the Islamic world, and even crossing the Pyrenees into France and occupying for a while parts of France.

After a long and bitter struggle, the Christians managed to retake part but not all of the territory they had lost. They succeeded in Europe, and in a sense Europe was defined by the limits of that success. They failed to retake North Africa or the Middle East, which were lost to Christendom. Notably, they failed to recapture the Holy Land, in the series of campaigns known as the Crusades.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/12/2008

I appreciate the replies, but in this case, Mr. Baker is the only one with his facts right:

"1-Would you care to mention that the Arabs have been PRE ISLAM outside of Arabia, strictly speaking, for quite some time in what is now known as Greater Syria, which encompasses Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and in Iraq."

This is correct. There was some Arab immigration into and settlement in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire (notably Greater Syria) even before the Arab Conquest of the 7th century.

"2- Would you care to mention that Arab is PRIMARILY a cultural and linguistic bond and NOT a RACIAL/ETHNIC [one.]"

Again, absolutely correct. Until the last 100 years or so it common to call residents of, for example, Syria, Egypt, and Morocco, "Syrians", "Egyptians", and "Moroccans" -- not "Arabs". I'm not sure how it came to be that we in the West began calling all these peoples "Arab". I know that Middle East specialists -- fighting a rear-guard action -- tried to maintain at least part of the distinction by calling the residents of the Arabian peninsula "Arabians", but the effort failed. I have compared calling all these people -- stretching from Iraq to Morocco -- "Arabs" to calling
all the people in South and Central America "Spaniards". As Mr. Baker says, it is (identically to the case in Latin America) a linguistic and cultural bond, not a racial one.

Now, as to Mr. (Prof.?) Eckstein's contention that, "The Muslims came to this region as military conquerers, and they ruled it as a superior caste. Jerusalem for one was a city taken by violence (there is, archaeologically, a burnt level)."

My recollection of history did not include a "violent" capture of Jerusalem or any "burnt level". This site -- an Israeli source -- seems to back me up:

"In 638, following a protracted siege, the residents of Jerusalem surrendered to the Caliph Omar ibn Khattib. Accounts of the actual surrender vary, but both Christian and Moslem sources describe Omar [...] presenting its residents with a letter of protection. In this letter they were guaranteed protection for person and property under the condition they pay a tax...."

There is no mention of a "burning" of Jerusalem in 638 in any source of which I'm aware. If there is a "burnt level of Jerusalem" dating to the 7th century, I would guess it resulted from either an accidental fire or from the Judeo-Persian conquest of the city in 614.

I decided to research this question and found this about the 614 conquest of Jerusalem in Wikipedia:

"Once the [Persian] army had breached the city's fortifications, the Jewish rebels joined the Persians, and Shahrbaraz ordered a swift razing and looting of Jerusalem....

"Shortly after the Persian army entered Jerusalem, unprecedented looting and sacrilege took place. Church after church was burned down alongside the innumerable Christian artifacts, which were stolen or damaged, by the ensuing arson.... The human toll of Jerusalem's razing was also catastrophic, some 90,000 Christian citizens are said to have perished in the sacking, as a result not only of the Persian army's actions, but also of the commissioned attacking opportunity given to the Jews by Shahrbaraz." (emphasis added; footnotes omitted)

So it looks like I was right: Any 7th century "burnt level" for Jerusalem should be ascribed to the 614 Persian conquest, not the 638 Arab conquest.

As to Mr. Eckstein's contention that, "Spanish imperialism in Latin America copied the worst discriminatory aspects of Islamic imperialism", I fully agree and have said similar things in the past. It is interesting to note that the "most barbaric" of Christians are the ones with the most contact with Islam (i.e., in 15th century Spain or more recently, in the Balkans).

I'm sorry, I have to stop again. I will come back to this later.


N. Friedman - 6/12/2008

Professor Eckstein has his facts correct.


N. Friedman - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

I stand by my historical account. In 638 CE, the Christians of Jerusalem surrendered to the conquering armies of the Islamic Empire. That is a black letter matter.

The Arabs then proceeded to colonize.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Patricia Seed's book American Pentimento, which in part deals with how Spanish imperialism in Latin America copied the worst discriminatory aspects of Islamic imperialism, won the Atlantic History Prize of the American Historical Association in 2002.

Mr. Hamilton, I suggest you read it: your view of Muslim rule will be far less sunny.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton, your history is inaccurate.

The Muslims came to this region as military conquerers, and they ruled it as a superior caste. Jerusalem for one was a city taken by violence (there is, archaeologically, a burnt level).

Those who were not Muslims were dhimmis, and suffered social stigmas of such significance that gradually people converted to Islam. Many of these social stigmas were experienced as far west as the Muslim conquests in Spain, and the Spanish Christians adopted the Muslim system of discrimination when they arrived in the New World--though of course with the Christians on top. This has not left them with a good reputation! Please read on this Patricia Seed's award-winning book, American Pentimento.

The Crusades were in part a response to Muslim depredations--not Muslim welcoming--of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, and in part the result of a desperate appeal from the Byzantines after Manzikert to balance the power of the Seljuk Turks.

In any case the Crusades were a conquering counteroffensive against the Muslim conquests.
The conquests--which were huge--were the result of the fact that Muslims believed, and still believe, that those who rightfully worship Allah have a right to rule the world. This was promised to Mohammed. The original conquests--the jihad--were successful because the Muslims were attacking two empires, Byzantium and Persia, which had weakened each other in mutual wars. Those conquests were purely aggressive on the Muslims' part. Now of course the Muslims view their rule in these regions as unproblematic and natural and God-given.

This theological promise of world rule to Muslims, and especially Middle Eastern rule to Muslims, is why the existence of Israel, not to mention its military victories over Muslims, are a THEOLOGICAL threat to Islam. Dhimmis are not allowed to do this!


omar ibrahim baker - 6/12/2008

Mr Hamilton you have interesting things to say and coming from memory is admirable. Two points before you go on and it is too late:

1-Would you care to mention that the Arabs have been PRE ISLAM outside of Arabia, strictly speaking,for quite some time in what is now known as Greater Syria, which encompasses Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and in Iraq.
That the Nabateans,of Petra/Jordan fame, the Gassanites, in what is now Syria and the Muntherites in Western present Iraq, are Arabs that established Arab states and dynasties in their respective domains... PRE ISLAM!

2- Would you care to mention that Arab is PRIMARILY a cultural and linguistic bond and NOT a RACIAL/ETHNIC which includes together with Arabian Peninsula Arabs
(the Qahtani and Adnani) and all their descendants outside the Arabian Penninsula AND the indigenous populations of Iraq, Greater Syria, Egypt and the Sudan and all of North Africa who were, culturally, ARABIZED.

That, as such, historically and presently, "Arab" WAS NOT/IS NOT a racist or ehnic classification , IS NOT A RACIAL/RACIST bond.

It would be enlightening to add that to your history for both its historical accuracy and portent and for its present political significance !


R.R. Hamilton - 6/12/2008

Actually, Mr. Friedman, I think you have the history wrong.

"After all, how is it that Arabs - a people from Arabia - came to be "indigenous" in Israel? A clue: conquest and colonization....

"Many Christians thought, back in the 11th Century, etc. that they could right the wrong of that noted Muslim invasion. The means employed by such Christians to accomplish that form of justice: the Crusades, a form of religious militant struggle modeled on [Jihad.]"

It's far more complicated than that and I've hesitate in even attempting to try to explain it. With that caveat in mind, I offer the following:

First, before the Arab Conquest (ca. 632 et seq.), there had existed between the Roman and Persian empires for 600 years a semi-permanent but constantly hostile military frontier passing through the Iraqi western desert. The tribal and semi-nomadic Arabs were largely ignored in their arid land by both the Romans (both in its pagan and Christian eras) and the Persians. At most, the two sides would pay small fees to prevent Arab tribal raiding or pay the tribes to fight one another.

(Btw, I'm writing this without reference to outside sources, so I may get some dates and things wrong.)

In about 608 AD, Persia attacked the Eastern Roman Empire. At first the Persians were spectacularly successful. (Among other incidents, the capture of Jerusalem by a Judeo-Persian army in 614 AD resulted in a massacre of the Christian population by the Jews.) Just when all seemed lost, a Byzantine -- oh wait: I need to mention that in the midst of this war, about 615 AD, the official language of Constantinople was changed from Latin to Greek, a change which historians use to mark the change from the "Eastern Roman" to the "Byzantine" empire. (I warned you it was complicated.)

So to continue ... Just as all seemed lost for the Byzantines, a new general, Bellasarius(sp?), led the Christian forces to a series of miraculous victories, erasing all of the Persian gains. After 20 years of fighting, the war ended in a draw, with both sides exhausted. It was at this moment, in one of the freakish coincidences of history that the Arab attack occurred. I will leave aside the Arab conquest of Persia to focus on what happened to the Byzantine Empire.

The Arabs defeated a Byzantine army but had no means of conquering the great Byzantine cities such as Damascus, Jerusalem, or Alexandria. So, the Arabs must retreat, right? Not so fast: It happened that most Christians in these regions adhered to a different version of Christianity from the rulers in Constantinople. While the Arabs could not conquer these "heretic" cities, they could protect them from "orthodox" armies. So the deal was made that the Arabs (Muslims) would become the nominal rulers of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, but the life for Christians would go on as before. The result was an "Arab Empire" that was less than 2% Arab.

It was also not Muslim. The Arabs noticed that it was actually not in their interest to disturb their (considerably more civilizationally advanced) Christian subjects, since the more who converted to Islam, the fewer would remain to pay the tax imposed on non-Muslims. This is the birth of the legend of "Muslim tolerance". The Muslims were very tolerant of Christians and Jews because it was by virtue the tax on their subjects' non-Muslimness that filled the treasuries. (This same pattern repeated itself in some places in India, where the ruling class might be Muslim but everyone else was Hindu.)

This "happy time" -- of Arab Muslim rulers basking in the wealth provided by their Christian and Jewish subjects -- lasted for about 400 years. (It is from this period that most of the "contributions of Muslim science" came -- a closer examination reveals that those contributions were made almost exclusively by Christians and Jews. That the scientific advances were credited to Islam is now seen to be little different than crediting Arabs for the "Arabic numerals" which we know know were developed in non-Muslim India.)

So, from ca. 640 to 1070, there was the happy situation of Muslims cooperating with their Christian hosts. The annual pilgrimages of European Christians was welcomed by and profited the Muslim rulers of Palestine. As sea travel was still unsafe and expensive, the normal pilgrimage of European Christians involved walking to Constantinople, then across modern Turkey, entering Muslim territory near the modern Syrian-Lebanese border, and thence to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, etc.

Then in 1071, the Seljuk Turks, swooping in from Asia, crushed a Byzantine army at Manzikert, near the present-day Turkey-Iran border. (Yes, I remember that one by heart.) There were two results from this battle: first, the Byzantines lost half of Anatolia (modern Turkey) and, second, the emperor in Constantinople issued an appeal to his "brother" in Rome for aid. The Latin church showed no interest in coming to the rescue of the Orthodox.

I'll finish this later. It's much too long already.


art eckstein - 6/12/2008

Because N.F. Hamilton, and myself do not believe that Israel should be wiped from the face of the earth, and because we believe that support of a working democracy with a vibrant economy is in the U.S. interest, as opposed to supporting a bunch of primitive and genocidal religious fanatics, we are now called traitors to the United States by Omar.

Wow.

How crazy can Omar get?

.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/12/2008

Exactly as for the question of my earlier post : "What kind of STATE ?" the Professor fails to address the issue of what kind of MAJORITY ? are we talking about here!

Any think will do except the question; he wonders far and wide to Rwanda, the Greeks of Egypt and, of course, to that catch all, save all, cover all magical incantation "The Holocaust"!
Any thing will do except the issue at hand!


omar ibrahim baker - 6/12/2008

OH yes!
He, Mr. Eckstein, is a
" Professor" and a no less than a "multi awarded" one at that!


omar ibrahim baker - 6/12/2008

A good American who happens to care about America had the "temerity", while addressing the herd, to proclaim :

"Heh I know this may come as a surprise but at some point I like to think about what would be best for America"
(Re: Further addressing my earlier point. Please respond!!! (#123638)
by james joseph butler on June 10, 2008 at 12:58 PM).

None of the herd, who otherwise were quick to respond, even bothered to note that:
"what would be best for America" !

They went on plodding with what they think are their strong arguments with every thing except "what would be best for America"; a subject they would rather NOT tackle because:
1-they DO NOT CARE about what is best for America
AND, when and if they do
2-they seem to believe that American policy is solely meant to serve and protect Israel and NOT to serve and protect America!

This is, though not new, illuminating and should be chastising to the American people.

It is UNTHINKABLE for some
“Americans” to ever ponder what is best for America!


A. M. Eckstein - 6/11/2008

In the past few months more than 3,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, areas that might in a negotiation fall to the Palestinian Authority, have applied for Israeli citizenship. "They've weighed the pros and cons of life under the Palestinian Authority and those under Israel, and they''ve chosen," as one East Jerusalem Arab resident said of his neighbors.

This fact speaks louder about reality than all the vicious blather of Omar and Butler.


N. Friedman - 6/11/2008

Mr. Butler,

First, who is Nate?

Mine was an argument that opposing the creation of something is quite different from advocating the destruction of that same thing, once that thing is created.

Consider: we can all uselessly sit around and point out that any of history's innumerable injustices is an argument to undo all that followed. The Arabs, it should be noted, have more than their share of injustices to right, if we go by that reckoning. After all, how is it that Arabs - a people from Arabia - came to be "indigenous" in Israel? A clue: conquest and colonization or, to apply the Muslim term for such conquest and the accompanying colonizing activities: Fatah (i.e. opening).

Many Christians thought, back in the 11th Century, etc. that they could right the wrong of that noted Muslim invasion. The means employed by such Christians to accomplish that form of justice: the Crusades, a form of religious militant struggle modeled on the existing Muslim form of religious militant struggle known as Jihad fi sabil Allah (i.e. struggle in the path of Allah).

Now, we have you, 60 years after an event that had both positive and negative results, advocating something no different than what the Crusaders advocated. That is your right. But, it is mine to suggest to you that a new reconquista, this time by Muslim Arabs, is no more justified - in fact, less so - than were the Crusades. And, like the Crusades, this struggle will be bloody and will not result in any justice or happiness for anyone.


james joseph butler - 6/11/2008

I'm so really sincerely Sorry for getting my consonants crossed R.R. And you're most probably right about the self-referencing.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/11/2008

Sounds self-referencing, but I doubt that it is.


james joseph butler - 6/11/2008

Omar: Art, Nate and J.J. argue from a fact free environment intellectually speaking. "The fact that Arabs oppose Israel is not an arguement against Israel" is like saying the fact that the Indians didn't like Custer isn't an arguement against Custer. When they state that Israel has been a "positive" nation their solipsism is transparent. Justice and empathy are irrelevant where they are concerned.
Their facts are F-16s, UAVs, tanks, cluster bombs and 200 Israeli nukes. The Holocaust taught Zionists might makes right and the Palestinians paid and continue to pay the price.


A. M. Eckstein - 6/11/2008

Omar simply cannot accept the fact that the majority of the Jewish population of Israel is in fact Middle Eastern and not from Europe: the majority are Middle Eastern Jewish refugees (or their descendants), people who were expelled or who fled under pressure from various Muslim countries in a frenzy of ethnic and religious cleansing between 1948 and 1960, and who arrived in Israel penniless and destitute. Not exactly "alien" to the Middle East, and not exactly "colons". Some Arab is enjoying their stolen property as we speak. But that doesn't bother Omar--only what happened to the Palestinians does.

This tunnel vision is why, in the century of the Holocaust and Rwanda, of the millions killed when India and Pakistan were formed, of the million Tibetans killed by the Chinese, he nevertheless sees the Naqba as "the crime of the century." And even here, more Jews were expelled from Arab and Muslim countries, robbed and penniless, than Palestinians who suffered in the Naqba. What makes it "the crime of the century", then? The outrage that Muslims suffered defeat by dhimmis.

By the way, Egypt also expelled 300,000 GREEKS in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing in the 1950s (some of whom had been there for 2,500 years), and Turkey expelled 100,000 Pontic Greeks in the same period. But...for Omar...this is unimportant and irrelevant for understanding what was going on in toto in the Middle East after WWII. He has no historical understanding.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/11/2008

To whom do you refer -- Mr. Eckstein? If so, I didn't know he was a professor.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/11/2008

He neither knows history nor can think ahead.
Join me pitying his students!


omar ibrahim baker - 6/11/2008

A majority formed through conquest and forced entry is NOT a “democratic” majority as the Professor claims ( "colons" (#123668)
by art eckstein on June 11, 2008 at 9:34 AM).
Nor is it entitled to the same rights as an indigenous majority.

To contend that it is means that:
should any nation/country/state be conquered by another and exposed to forced emigration and colonization by nationals, or members, from the conquering state/nation/confession and ethnically cleanse a large portion of the indigenous population to the extent to outnumber them would then constitute a "majority".

Such a numerical "majority" constituted through forced entry and ethnic cleansing is neither legal nor is entitled to the rights of self determination of the indigenous, native, population!

To claim otherwise would be an open invitation for the powerful nations such as , say, China and India or the USA to conquer and ethnically cleanse less powerful nations and form their own "majorities" therein.

Absurd by any standard, except the Professor's of course, and according to the Professor's same inanely skewed logic an open invitation for the more powerful to conquer the less powerful.


The presumed Jewish majority in Palestine the Professor refers to was formed in exactly this manner: FORCED ENTRY and ETHNIC CLEANSING.

However and regardless of the fallacy of the Professor that "Middle Eastern Jews" were "expelled" his contention that they form a
"majority" in occupied Palestine now IS ,I contend ,another fallacy:
they DO NOT and never did unless of course he includes among them the one million plus (?) from the ex Soviet Union and ex Soviet bloc !
(Absurd as it sounds he, being what he is, is liable to do it).

However it is remarkable that he uses the misleading qualification "Middle Eastern" and NOT the correct qualification:” Arab"; Palestine being Arab!
That presumes;
- Negation of the obvious Arab national and cultural character of pre conquest Palestine and of its indigenous population; a patently objectively dishonest, not ignorance, subjectively engendered self (argument) serving fallacy
-opens the door for him to claim that Jews of say Iranian, Turkish and Greek (possibly also of Ethiopian) origin are "indigenous" to Palestine according to his own skewed logic

This shows what kind of "Professor" he is!
(Once again I pity his students!)


R.R. Hamilton - 6/11/2008

"What will happen when there are millions of them in 1/10th of the land and only a half-million of us in the other 9/10s?"


R.R. Hamilton - 6/11/2008

Mr. Eckstein, I think you are accidently making an argument for the Arabs. If, as I have said, it was wrong for the Arabs to refuse to negotiate boundaries for a (smallish) Jewish state in Palestine, they could have used this argument:

"Yes, Mr. Hamilton, viewed in isolation, it might be fair for us to grant the Palestinian Jews a state of a size roughly equal in proportion to their population. But today that is 1/10th -- 65,000 out of nearly 650,000. [Note: I know these figures are subject to debate; I am using these, Mr. Butler's, figures only for purpose of this argument.] But, Mr. Hamilton, we Palestinian are only a half-million and we know there are millions and millions of Jews in the world. Under the Zionist plan, many of those millions will come to this new Jewish state. What will happen when there are millions of them in 1/10th of the land and only a half-million of us in the other half? Won't they demand a large share of the land, and how could we then stop them. Isn't this a case, Mr. Hamilton, of truly "letting the camel get its nose under the tent"?

Now, the fact is, the Arabs did not make that argument in 1919. Their argument was more akin to "Not one inch of our (newly) sacred soil!!" Nevertheless, I do not think it is helpful to Israel for it to be pointed out that the potential Jewish immigrant population for the Zionist program was and, as it turned out in history, would be so large.

Btw, for Mr. Baker: I think you are still confusing the Palestinian Jewish population of the Ottoman Empire (1919) with the immigrants that followed under the British Mandate. I would also point out that many Arabs also immigrated to the British Mandate during the interwar years. So, it wasn't a "one-way street".


art eckstein - 6/11/2008


1. What kind of state?

a. The MAJORITY of the current israeli Jewish population--that is, Israel as it currently exists--are from the Middle East themselves. They are not "alien colons", if by this Omar means Europeans(although of course Jews in Europe were always viewed as aliens and NOT Europeans); Repeat: the MAJORITY of the current Israel Jewish population are in reality, Middle Easterners.

The MAJORITY of the Jewish population is MIDDLE EASTERN because they are descendants of the Middle Eastern Jews who were expelled or fled from Arab and Muslim lands between 1948 and 1960.

MORE Jews were expelled fro Arab and Muslim lands between 1948 and 1960 than Palestinians in the Naqba: 850,000 vs. 750,000. Like the Palestinains, they lost everything, and arrived penniless.

Omar refuses to recognize this fact, and has described these people as willing participants in a colonial enterprise--which shows the level of his willful and violent ignorance. He can see only the Palestinian tragedy here, not the full picture. He keeps forgetting the other half, or more than half--though it has been underlined to him numerous times.


Some Arab or Muslim is enjoying the property of the Middle Eastern Jews, stolen from them, as we speak. If the Palestinians still demand compensation for the land they lost when the launched a genocidal war in 1947-1948 and lost it--well, perhaps they should get the Jewish property, stolen from people who were (a) peaceful fellow citizens, not armed attackers, and (b) from people who had been living in Iraq, or Egypt, for literally thousands of years. Yes, let the Palestinians, if they want compensation, ask their Arab brethren for all that property that was stolen from the unoffending Middle Eastern Jews by all those Arabs and Muslims. Good luck.



2. What kind of violent igorance?

One must always remember when talking to Omar that last month, when talking about the intentional murder of Jewish women, children and infants by Muslim genocidal suicide bombers, he puts civilians in scare quotes: "civilians".


omar ibrahim baker - 6/11/2008


Mr Hamilton "opines" that:
1-"As Mr. Butler has shown, there were already sufficient numbers of Jews in 1919 to justify a state. "

***That was at most 10% of the total population; the balance being Palestinian Arabs both Moslems and Christians.(Read KING-KRANE commission report for details and totals.)

2-"(Btw, up until 1918, the "imperialist power" was the Ottomans, not the British.) "

***Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire untill its defeat in WWI with its own Palestinian representatives in the Ottom Assembly of Representative (Majliss al Mabuthan).
As such neither The Ottoman Empire was an imperialist colonist nor was Palestine a colony.
It was part of a multi nations state, as with many at the time, with, inevitably, a predominant nation (Turkey); much as Scotland was, still is, part of then Great Britain , now the UK, with a predominant partner: England.

3-"The Arabs had no right to refuse to negotiate boundaries because they had no right to forever rule the Palestinian Jews in a permanent state of dhimmitude"

The Arabs had every right to refuse to negotiate with alien colons the establishment of a separate state or homeland of their own with its own borders particularly that all of them that were residing in Palestine at the time,except for the 10% indigenous Palestinian Jews, were allowed entry into Palestine by empiralist GB against the express will of the overwhelming majority of its indigenous population.
AS such all non indigenous Jews were illegal residents and alien "colons" with no political rights or legal
"nationalist" claims.

Although "dhimmitude" was neither then, nor is now, proposed the point is: alien " colons" have no right to participate nor of course to determine or veto whatever the majority of the people chooses.
(More about self determination latter.)
















The Arabs had no right to refuse to negotiate boundaries because they had no right to forever rule the Palestinian Jews in a permanent state of dhimmitude.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/11/2008

In the first half of your comment, I thought you might be speaking about Kosovo, or, more anciently, Turkey or Cyprus.

As Mr. Butler has shown, there were already sufficient numbers of Jews in 1919 to justify a state. (Btw, up until 1918, the "imperialist power" was the Ottomans, not the British.) The Arabs had no right to refuse to negotiate boundaries because they had no right to forever rule the Palestinian Jews in a permanent state of dhimmitude.

Anyway, I want to move to the subject of "self-determination". Of course, self-determination is an important concept of Anglo-American and, more recently, Western, civilization. It is an individual right. Unfortunately, during the Cold War, the Communists were able to twist this popular concept into a so-called "collective right". They said self-determination meant the "right to be tyrannized by a dictatorship of your own race or religion." Many dictators in the Arab world, having made the deal with the Devil and alliance with the atheists, latched on to this. (They also tried to make their "governments" seem more civilized by giving them Anglo-American terms such as "republic" and "president".)

As we can see today, there are no Arabs who have self-government, because they cannot govern themselves. I mean that on an individual level. They do not admit that they, as individuals, have freedom of speech, of religion, of security against the State. Self-government means also self-restraint, another trait altogether in short supply in the Arab-speaking world.

Even Iraq does not have self-determination -- and not for the silly reason that American troops are stationed there. South Korea has been American occupied for decades, but the South Korean people have self-determination; North Korea is unoccupied, but it has no self-determination. While Iraqis, because of their mental conditioning (a mentality which is little different throughout the Arab-speaking world), are probably incapable of knowing self-determination, their children may and their grandchildren certainly will.

Here's hoping that the grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs will also know self-determination -- if their grandparents can only be restrained from killing them all first.

(Btw, I hope you realize that self-determination is such a new concept for humanity that it is unlikely (hopefully) that the Arabs will be the last to grasp it. And the majority of Jews seemed to have learned it, for the most part, only about 50-75 years ago.)

Best wishes to you Mr. Baker.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/11/2008

Mr. Friedman opines:

"However, an argument not to create a state is not an argument to dismantle a state. "

The question is WHAT KIND of STATE?

A state born out of a colonialist conquest whose establishment could only materialize after it dislocated, dispossessed, disfranchised and subjugated the indigenous population in their homeland THEN supplanted them with ALIENS selected and screened
according to a strict racial/racist standard has NO RIGHT to exist any where any time!

The amorality and illegality of this model of nation/state building is even further glaringly obvious if we recall the following facts:
-The indigenous population was consistently denied his RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION
-The emigrants who supplanted him were admitted into his homeland against his express will
-Their admission was enabled through their collusion with the then prime imperialist power Great Britain
-The declared objective of the emigrants, and their enabler, was to establish a state on RACIAL/RACIST basis
-After its establishment the indigenous people of the colonized land is denied his to return to his homeland and to repossess his legitimate properties

Israel is a state born out of: aggression , the violation of elementary human rights and sustained by the continued violation of the rights of others established on usurped land with the declared intention to be a RACIAL/RACIST nation /state
AND
all that was fundamentally undertaken and achieved in the TWENTIETH century the era of universal SELF DETERMINATION and DECOLONIZATION.

The innate aggressiveness of conquest and the inherent deliberate violation and denial of a people’s fundamental human right to SELF DERTERMINATION which led to its establishment were the solid legal and moral grounds, and argument, for “ not to create (such) a state “

While its continued denial of that people’s Right of Return and its declared intention to maintain its racial/racist character which sustains her is the morally compelling reason and argument “to dismantle (such) a state”.

If universal morality and legality fail to redress such a patent crime , other methods will!


N. Friedman - 6/11/2008

Thank you.


art eckstein - 6/10/2008

Very well said, N.F. In fact--crushing.


N. Friedman - 6/10/2008

Mr. Butler,

The fact that Arabs oppose Israel is not an argument against Israel.

I do agree that not everyone supported Israel prior to her birth. And, not all of the opposition was from bigots. However, an argument not to create a state is not an argument to dismantle a state. That was then and this is now.

That said, 60 years on, Israel has been more positive than negative, most especially for the Jewish people. So, the fact that opposition persists is a fact, not an argument.


art eckstein - 6/10/2008

Yes--Butler has no answer to our specific arguments. This is his admission.


james joseph butler - 6/10/2008



Yup, you're right you win. Bernard Lewis, Cheney,Truman, Pipes,Perle,Wolfowitz,Woolsey,Feith,Abrams, etc. Oh yeah W Bush. Ya,ll got that Middle East figured out and I've no doubt Israel and the U.S. will live happily ever after.
The truth is because so Americans don't know anything about the M.E. AIPAC and the Israel Lobby in collusion with dumb born agains inflict their respective obsessions on America and the whole world.
Good night Irene


art eckstein - 6/10/2008

Mr. Friedman and Mr. Hamilton--

I note that Mr. Butler does not even attempt to answer any of our specific arguments.

He is evidently satisfying himself (if no one else) by simply spewing out more vague anti-israel blather, without actually engaging in a debate on any of the specific issues we have raised.

It is legitimate to conclude that this is probably because he can't answer our points.


james joseph butler - 6/10/2008

Heh I know this may come as a surprise but at some point I like to think about what would be best for America, I also think it would be good for Israel but that's beside the point, the fact that you can't acknowledge what George Marshall and the State Dept. knew and correctly predicted would occur in the aftermath of 1948 doesn't detract from the reality of Obama's "sore" reference, occasionally the truth happens-sorry aipac, in regards to Israel's illegal occupation.
I want peace and I want America to be an impartial advocate.
I go years not posting on this because so many Jews and Christians think God has something to do with Israel. If there was a God she'd have as much to do with Israel as she would with America.


N. Friedman - 6/10/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

This is one of your most interesting posts. Thank you.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/10/2008

Mr. Butler,

You seem to make a great deal of the fact that "nearly 9/10s" of the population of Palestine in 1919 was non-Jewish. If I must use my former example of Latvia, then what percentage of Russia was Latvian? Far less than 1/10th, I would wager. Did that mean that the Latvians couldn't have a small country on the Baltic coast -- a country which I understand is still today half populated by ethnic Russians?

Thus, you have not opposed my earlier point: If the Arabs had negotiated, then the Jews -- who were concentrated near Tel-Aviv, Haifa, and in Jerusalem -- could have been granted a small state, probably not amounting to more than 1/10th of the land area of Palestine, to which even you would agree their numbers entitled them.

Instead, the Arabs chose to roll the dice of war on an all-or-nothing campaign. That for them the dice came up "nothing" is the result of their choice.


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Mr. Butler,

You evaded my question. Again, are Jews entitled to a national state or not? If not, why not? How are Jews different from actual Arabs, who, with the exception of those still living in Arabia, are the offspring of colonists?


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Not a chance that any will sink in. And, even if it did, he does not appear to care.


art eckstein - 6/9/2008

1. The MAJORITY of today's Jewish population of israel comes from the Middle East: they are not colonists from Europe.

2. They are the descendants of Jewish citizens of Muslim countries who were EXPELLED between 1948 and 1960. They were expelled penniless, without any of their property, none of it was allowed them. Some Arab, some Muslim, is enjoying that Jewish property as I write this. You need to understand this, Mr. Butler, when you talk about "compensation" as if the Palestinians were the only victims of what occurred.

In the case of Iraq and Egypt, these Jews had been living there for 3,000 years.

3. The NUMBER of these Jewish refugees, Mr. Butler, iwasLARGER than the number of Palestinians in the Naqba: 850,000 vs. 750,000. They are classified as refugees by the UN.

4. These Middle Eastern refugees arrived penniless in Israel, and many had to live in miserable refugee camps for years. I know some of their descendants. This was all the work of Muslim governments. You need to understand that, Mr. Butler. It took enormous effort by the israel government to integrate these people into society and to set them up economically.

(Nothing parallel was done for the Palestinians, but that is the fault of the Arab governments.)

5. So if we want to talk about compensation to the Palestinians, here's my suggestion: ALL the JEWISH property STOLEN by the Arab and Muslim governments from these refugees can go to the Palestinians as compensation for what happened when they lost their genocidal war in 1948, and again in 1967. Even Steven. How about that, eh? (In fact, the Palestinians would come out way ahead in terms of actual property.)

Yes--if you are so concerned about compensation for the Palestinians, why don't you ask the Muslims who are enjoying all that Jewish property STOLEN from their Jewish fellow citizens (who had NOT attacked them) to give it to the Palestinians?

Ye--and see what happens, Mr. Butler.

Wake up, sir.


james joseph butler - 6/9/2008

Israel is like Northern Ireland and America for that matter,if you could do it over...No do overs. Truth and Reconciliation is neccessary as is a return to the 1967 borders and compensation to the aggreived Palestinians in question, which America, Israel, and the E.U. could all contribute to and yeah why not the Arab League. The whole world would contribute if we could actually solve this problem. Then America could apologize to Iran for 1953 and to the Iraqis for sanctions, support for Saddam etc. I know the Arabs committeed sins too.
Apologies are basically free, yeah the compensations would cost but they're a pittance compared to a peaceful future.
Extremists will remain but when real peace and justice is perceived by the masses Israel and America will profit enourmously.


art eckstein - 6/9/2008

Well, I agree with most of this, N.F. I think most reasonable readers will as well.

I'd just point out that the Zanj rebellion, which involved 500,000 primarily agricultural slaves in Iraq, did not occur because the (primarily African) slaves were being treated well by their Muslim masters...

One question, though, is whether any of this will sink in on Omar.


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Mr. Butler,

Is it your position that Jews are not entitled to a national state? If so, why not?


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Professor,

There is no serious doubt as to why slavery continues to flourish as a legally sanctioned activity in certain Muslim countries. It is, (a) not forbidden in the Shari'a law - and, hence, is considered morally acceptable and (b) the founders of Islam - as was the case of all other religions - held slaves which, since such founders are the sanctioned source for modeling human behavior, makes such activity morally acceptable.

Of course, there are many Muslims who would reject such understanding as an anachronism, as is the case in similar understandings about slavery that existed in the teachings of many other religions. However, there are also many Muslims who maintain to the view that noted points (a) and (b) are the be all and end all of the matter.

As a matter of fairness, it is to be noted, as shown in Bernard Lewis' excellent book, Race and Slavery in the Middle East - An Historical Enquiry, that slavery in Islam was, compared, for example, to slavery in the US, often a comparatively humane endeavor - although the taking of slaves was the same horrid activity. I am not endorsing Muslim slavery but am noting that the worst aspects of slavery were, in Islam, generally outlawed in the Shari'a law. It is also to be noted that there were some examples of slavery - for example in what is now Iraq - in mines that was as bad as the worst examples anywhere on Earth but such was, so far as is known, more the exception than the rule.

And, that said, so far as I know, the only countries today where slavery continues to exist are countries ruled by Muslims. Slavery, whether or not better than what was practiced in pre-Civil War US, is a terrible institution. It is shameful that it is allowed to continue. It is shameful that it still finds religious support.


art eckstein - 6/9/2008

No, Omar--the question is why slavery has lasted so long in Muslim countries. We are talking about legal chattel slavery of human beings. In the 20th and even the 21st centuries. You confuse the point by bringing up conditions of "servitude" which are nevertheless not the same as someone legally OWNING someone else. Only Muslim societies continued this practice into the 1970s.

It does no good to say that "slavery is wrong, everywhere". Of course it is. But that does NOT deal with the question of why Muslims are the only people who continue to practice it, and why, in erms of legal chattel slavery, Muslim countries were the ONLY countries where slavery was legal in the 1970s. The 1970s, Omar. Or why a prominent Saudi cleric could advocate the legal sexual enslavement of Jewish women in 2002. That's 2002, Omar.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/9/2008

Prof
-As usual you insinuate; that is, not surprisingly with you, dishonest.
You write:"Omar:
Kuwait outlawed slavery in 1962. Not 1862--but 1962."
Did I claim that for you to pretend to refute it??

Slavery is indefensible any where any time!
It is as ugly as your racism that you boldly defend ! A question of ethics: to defend the indefensible.

I understand there is still a lot of slavery in Africa , Eastern Asia, in both Moslem and non Moslem countries, and a system of semislavery in South America and untill recently in Eastern Europe.

Your selective reading is an indication of a one tack mind.
Did you or did you NOT read my sentences:
*"As far as I am and a great many Moslems are concerned things could, should, have been different re "toleration" and "mulk al yamin" .
It is out of the question now, for many many Islamists possibly a majority, (to condone it) no matter what for all ….irrespective."

However mankind should work for the total abolition of that system, slavery, as much as it should work for the total eradication of Zionist/Jewish racism.
Both are equally terribly ugly and abhorent!
I will go back to Israel Shahak to refresh my mind about what he had to say about Judaism.


james joseph butler - 6/9/2008

Yiddish, according to Jewish.co.uk: "at the start of the 20th cent. Yiddish seemed to be emerging as one of the major languages of Eastern Europe". It later became one of the official languages of U.S.S.R. As long as the defenders of democracy were singing Power to the People why not Yiddish? You're doubtless aware of the Israeli laws regarding Yiddish in the past I'll let you figure out why Israel would create those laws.
I've little doubt you're aware of the King-Crane Commission but just to refresh your memory. Wilson sent King/Crane to research the former Ottoman Syria/Palestine to help determine it's future given his professed desire for former colonies to be freed. King/Crane state their sympathies to the Zionists at the start of the report. However given that "nearly 9/10 of the whole" is non-Jewish the goal of a Jewish state can't "be accomplished without the gravest trespass on the non-Jewish community in Palestine."


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

CORRECTION:

In the above post, delete the sentence that reads: "If you do not believe that, check some public opinion polls. Israel is the most population foreign country to Americans, with the sometimes exception of the UK."

Substitute:

If you do not believe that, check some public opinion polls. Israel is the most popular foreign country to Americans, with the sometimes exception of the UK.


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Omar,

Your first point is a statement of theory, not a statement of fact. It is not all that logical since you fail to consider that the US was, at one time, a colony. The indigenous population in what is now the US live on reservations.

Your second point, that foreign policy is based on calculation, is partially true. However, if you do some checking, the US, more than any other democracy, makes foreign policy that has some degree of fidelity toward what the general public thinks. In this regard, there is no doubt at all that many US presidents have been ardent Zionists. Such included Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, to name only a few. Contrary to what you think, the source of these and other Christians who support the rights of Jews in their ancestral home is their sects of Christianity.

As for being in the US interest to support Israel, there is no doubt whatsoever that the US interest is to balance between Israel and Arab interests. Such has always marked US policy. Were it, instead, left to the views only of the typical American, the Arabs would have no say. If you do not believe that, check some public opinion polls. Israel is the most population foreign country to Americans, with the sometimes exception of the UK.


N. Friedman - 6/9/2008

Mr. Butler,

You claim that the Arab Israeli conflict is not about religion. Do you have some evidence for your point that refutes the evidence I have pointed to? If so, we can consider it. If not, then I shall take your point as empty rhetoric.

Again, there are the religious proclamations of Muslims related to the dispute. These include fatwas calling for Jihad, which arises from a religious institution, not a secular one. Then there are, in today's disputes, "martyrs." Do you know what a "martyr" is? Let us cut to the chase on it. Martyrdom is a religious concept, strongly associated with the spread and maintenance of a religious faith. One bears witness, by his (or her) suffering. In Islam, unlike in Christianity or Judaism, the martyrdom concept has often been associated with Jihad in the path of Allah (Jihad fi sabil Allah - i.e. religious warfare).

My suggestion to you is that before you wax elegant about the supposed secular nature of the war, read a bit about the motivations which have stirred up the Arab side in the dispute. It is not as simple as you seem to think it is.


art eckstein - 6/9/2008

Omar:

Kuwait outlawed slavery in 1962. Not 1862--but 1962.

The Islamic Republic of Mauretania outlawed slavery in 1980. Not 1880--but 1980. In reality, it is still practiced there.

The Islamic Republlic of the Sudan still practiced slave-raiding as government policy against the "Kaffir" South of the country into the 1990s. Such things are still going on in Darfur today.

I think you have to explain to us how come the ONLY countries in the world that still practiced human chattel slavery into the mid-twentieth century, the late twentieth century, and even the twenty-first century, are Muslim countries.

As for the figure of 10 million violently extracted from Africa, the Africanist in my Department says it is closer to 20 million. Many of the men were castrated before sale.

Omar, look up the Zanj Rebellion--a rebellion of 500,000 African slaves, laborers in southern Iraq, in the late ninth century A.D.--which was put down very bloodily.

And then, there's THIS--not from 1202 but from 2002:

A government paid official Saudi cleric, Sheikh Saad Al-Buraik, said the following on Saudi (govt-funded) national television during the Saudi "telethon" to provide money for the families of dead genocidal suicide-bombers in 2002:

"Muslim Brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don't you enslave their women? Why don't you wage jihad? Why don't you pillage them?"

Get it, Omar? Jewish women should be enslaved by the Muslims according to this major Saudi cleric, as part of the legitimate and indeed God-given, right of conquest.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/9/2008

Mr Hamilton
-You are dishonestly putting words in my mouth that I did NOT utter nor did "not deny"! Childish conclusion!
Should you read carefully my post you will find it was a parody of Friedman's that started with the expression” Had Friedman's absurd statement:"!
Do note "absurd"! Learn the meaning of "absurd" and “parody”.

-If you think that Israel is all about "a right to rule over a tiny sliver of the Middle East " then I suggest you read about colonialism , read history and try to understand what you read; that is get yourself an education !
That that "tiny sliver" was conquered,colonized then usurped , that its indigenous population was dislocated from , dispossessed, disfranchised in his own homeland and then supplanted by and subjugated to aliens does NOT seem to bother you is a reflection of your ethics and standards! Good for you!

-Domestic violence is, unfortunately, a world wide problem with more horrific consequences in your environment that in Moslem countries.
Pedophilia is much more rampant in your environment than in ours.
The USA keeps the greatest number of prisoners in its official and clandestine prisons of all the nations of the world.
This does NOT mean that we are faultless or our society is perfect ....far from it.
Read about "white slavery" i.e. the trade in prostitutes in your beloved Israel...it is one of the worst world wide.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/9/2008

Mr Hamilton
It is a fact that I find totally unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible that Islam did "tolerate" slavery, in a “reformed” form, for some time after its advent some 1400 years ago and did NOT forbid it outright.

That it was not the only old culture to do so is no excuse but is equally a fact.

However, since we are referring to something way back in history, it is pertinent for you to note the following:

-Moslems were strongly urged by the Prophet to free and let go those slaves desiring to go their own way. Most believers did free their slaves.
The unliberated came to be known then, post Islam, as "mulk al yamin =owned".

-Among those freed some become army commanders and district governors; one, Bilal, was a close companion (sahabi) of the Prophet, among many, and his personal caller to Prayer "Muezzin".
Bilal happened to be a black man.

-Many refused and chose to stay put; which is a sad comment on the human condition in general.

-Slavery was not "inherited"
, is NOT “inheritable by the children
; the children of "mulk" were not
"mulk"!

Hence many Islamists, with whom I do NOT agree, contend that the intention was to spread out over a period of time their liberation and assimilation into society.

Also note worthy is that:
-"Mulk" was restricted to, direct and indirect, spoils of war and NEVER had a racial/racist justification or
"allowance".

-Later periods of Islam witnessed the phenomenon of "Mamalik ;plural of mamluk=owned", particularly of soldiers, some of whom became virtual or official rulers.
That would be the equivalent of "serfs" in western civilization.

As far as I am and a great many Moslems are concerned things could, should, have been different re "toleration" and "mulk al yamin" .
It is out of the question now, for many many Islamists possibly a majority, no matter what for all ….irrespective.

(This is said assuming that you want to learn and NOT to make silly insinuations as your reference to “kaffirs ” suggests!
What 10,000,000 blacks are you reffering to?? Or is that another one of your presumed jokes?)


R.R. Hamilton - 6/8/2008

Mr. baker, what ever happened to those more than 10,000,000 blacks the Arabs enslaved and carried off to Arabia and Iraq?

Btw, do you believe that Muslims still have the right to enslave "kaffirs"?


R.R. Hamilton - 6/8/2008

Mr. Butler, at the Versailles Peace Conference, the French premier asked Pres. Wilson, "Must every language have its own country?" To which the American answer was, Yes. With the breakup of the large multi-ethnic empires at the end of World War I, "every language" got its own country, wherever practicable. In a few places, like Yugoslavia (created by joining Serbia and Montenegro with parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire), it was deemed impractical -- until the 1990s when it became imperative.

So, if the Latvians were entitled to a country, why not the Jews? There had always been a significant Jewish presence around Jerusalem -- amounting to a plurality and possibly a majority of that city from the 1860s on. Also, the Jews had rendered a lot of help to the Allied war effort while the Arabs fought mostly for the Ottomans.

The Arabs didn't complain when vast territories -- including non-Arab ones like Kurdistan -- were taken from the Turks and given to them to rule. If the Arabs had been willing to negotiate over Palestine, the new Jewish homeland could have been a narrow slice of shore between Tel-Aviv and Haifa, with Jerusalem as an international city. The U.S. in fact proposed in 1947 that Jerusalem be governed by the U.N., but the Arabs rejected the plan, preferring to go to war instead. The U.N. (a/k/a the leading representative body of the whole world) voted to create the Jewish state -- about 30 years late. The surrounding Arab-ruled states immediately invaded. Having chosen war over negotiations, the Arabs cannot be now heard to complain about suffering the normal consequences of losing a war of aggression -- including loss of lands.


R.R. Hamilton - 6/8/2008

At least you don't deny that Muslims are "convinced that only Muslims have a right to rule". You simply say that Jews have the same conviction.

The difference is the Jews just claim a right to rule over a tiny sliver of the Middle East while Muslims claim a right to rule the whole world.

Oh, and Jews don't beat their daughters and sisters to death for the "crime" to talking to an "infidel".


art eckstein - 6/8/2008

That doesn't answer the question of a death-cult culture that has proclaimed genocide for Jews as its goal and implements this ideology through the practice of genocidal suicide bombing in which any Jew is a candidatae for death--including women and babies.

I disagree about Islam's role. This is in great part, not totally to be sure but in great part, about religion.

My own view is opposition to Israel's existence among the Muslim masses is rooted in religious belief that Muslims have a right to rule--to rule others, of course, but especially in "their own area" (translation: what they have already
conquered and colonized by force; that's a historical fact).

This means that Israel's existence is a theological
problem. It's existence means either that Allah favors the Jews (!), or that Allah does not exist--since it is a violation of Allah's promise of worldly geopolitical and military success for the Believers. Israeli victories are even worse of a theological problem than its existence, but its existence is per se unacceptable
theologically.

The more we see the rise of radical Islam among the masses, the more powerful this argument and this perception and this fear and hatred
increases (but note especially the fear--the painful question the existence of Israel raises for the masses is: Am I worshipping wrongly, foolishly?)

Ayman al-Zawahiri had a "long night of the soul" after June 1967, before he turned to a
stringent and violent Islam in which he feels he has the right to kill any and
all who have doubts such as he himself once had.

The intellectuals and the dictators and kings--the leadership class--have somewhat different focus, and their own governmental (national)
interests to pursue, which involve real estate and hegemony. But that is different from
the masses, in whom these leaders consciously instilled the theological hatred,
nausea and fear--in order to avoid being held accountable for their own failures. But also--I think this leadership class are not completely immune from the toxic religious ideology they themselves spread.

In this sense the existence of Israel is perceived as constituting a deadly threat to traditional Muslim assumptions and traditional Muslim culture. It doesn't have to be that way (imo), but it IS that way for now.

A government paid official Saudi cleric, Sheikh Saad Al-Buraik, said the following on Saudi (govt-funded) national television during the Saudi "telethon" to provide money for the families of dead genocidal suicide-bombers in 2002:

"Muslim Brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don't you enslave their women? Why don't you wage jihad? Why don't you pillage them?"

Get it, Mr. Butler?


james joseph butler - 6/8/2008

Palestine/Israel is ultimately no more about religion than Ireland, India, vs. Britain was about religion. People use religion the same way they use flags as icons of culture. Real estate and hegemony are the real sources of conflict.


art eckstein - 6/8/2008

Butler simply reiterates his propaganda, and the opinion of some politicians with their own huge biases.

He does not, however, answer the points raised in my posting.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/8/2008

As in the case of South Africa of yore the racist and privileged "Whites" had to confine the "blacks" in Bantustans and subject them to a strict white suprematist Apartheid System.
The system was meant and designed to protect white suprematist South Africa.
Israel, an equally colonialist conquest, had to have its own Apartheid system to, equally, protect itself.
Both Archbishop Tutu and minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, a white Jew, would know perfectly well what they are talking about when they assert that :
"...that the Israeli occupation is worse than apartheid in South Africa was. Israel has never passed a Bill of Right because it would mean equal rights for Muslims"
(Re: Obama and aipac (#123506)
by james joseph butler on June 6, 2008 at 4:27 PM)


No amount of cut and paste could either belie those two distinguished gentlemen or justify what is clearly an Israeli/ Jewish racist and suprematist regime.
You have lost your furiously sought after, but harly earned, veneer of objectivity , Mr Friedman, when you try to belie both men.
(Do NOT worry Prof Eckstein you never had any!)


omar ibrahim baker - 6/8/2008

Mr Friedman
Answering your question:
-No it is NOT possible "that both Obama and McCain are pro-Israel because they support Israel's right to exist as a country? "
For the simple reasons that:
a-
A "country" that came into being as a result of a colonialist conquest which dislocated , disfranchised and dispossessed an indigenous people in his own homeland is a "colony" and NOT a "country".
b-
USA policy, like all major states', has invariably been decided by cold hearted calculations about the pros and cons, the cost/benefit, of any of its policies.
You surely agree I hope , Mr Friedman, that "Israel has been an exception to that rule.


art eckstein - 6/8/2008

1. Omar in his posting on this on May 28, 2008 (#123154) put scare-quotes around the term civilian when discussing the intentional murder of Jewish women and children. Reader, read the posting and judge for yourself.

2. "If any other country..." Well, China conquered Tibet in 1950 by military force, has killed ONE MILLION Tibetans, has intentionally destroyed 95% of all Tibetan religious structures, has intentionally destroyed Tibetan culture, has colonized the country with ethnic Chinese--everything far far worse than anything the Israelis have ever done--and China has great international respect, and sits as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

"If any other country..." Or take Iran: the northwest quarter of the country consists of conquered Azeris, not ethnic Persians, there is always restlessness in Tabriz because of this (though it is savagely put down by the Iranian secret policy and Revolutionary Guards), and meanwhile you have a government that has overtly threatened another member-state of the U.N. with complete genocidal destruction, and is building the atomic weapons that might do it. Yet no one questions Iran's right to exist, and to exist within its current (imperial) borders.

We've discussed this before. The problem is that for Omar, the only victims in this world are Arab victims of israelis--even if the Arabs are genocidal suicide bombers.

3. Omar's obsessions with "Powerful Jews" is a paranoid fantasy that derives ultimately from Nazi propaganda beamed incessently into the Arab world during the Third Reich. (Not least was this done by his hero Amin al-Husseini, who worked with Hitler and Himmler, as Omar well knows, and who had been promised by them that he could annihilate every Jew in the Middle East. But Husseini was part of a larger Nazi program)

Traditional Muslim views of the Jews were contemptuous of Jews because of their weakness and incorrect Faith, but somewhat tolerant as long as Jews knew their place as inferiors to Muslims. This new "Powerful Jews" ideology is indeed new in Muslim culture and derives from the vilest days of Germany. The Nazis saw themselves as victims of the Powerful Jews even as they were bent on annihilating them, and did annihilate them. The Muslims are at stage one of this process, seeing themselves as victims of the Jews even as they plan to annihilate them (as they planned to do in 1948), and infuriated that the Jews dare to strike back.

4. N.F. is correct: Omar needs to consider the likelihood that Obama and McCain support Israel not because they are afraid of "Powerful Jews" in U.S. politics, but because they sincerely think (unlike Omar) that Israeli has a right to exist as are a country, and should not be annihilated. Conversely, Omar needs to consider the likelihood that Obama and McCain, like the vast majority of Americans, are sincerely morally repulsed by genocidal suicide bombers and Ahmednijad's threats about future atomic bombs..


omar ibrahim baker - 6/8/2008

Had Friedman's absurd statement:
"is that the opposition to the Jews by Palestinians involved hatred of Jews and religious conviction that only Muslims have a right to rule."
been correct .

Had it been correct one would assume that, according to Friedman, its exact opposite such as the following statement would ALSO be correct:

" There is NO opposition by Jews/(Israelis) to Martians ( or XYZians) sharing with them their homeland since there is NO hatred and NO religious convictions that only Jews/Israelis have a right to rule their Jewish homeland”


The Jews/Israelis, being the exact opposite, the antonym of the Palestinians it is only reasonable to assume according to Friedman , that the Jews/Israelis would have welcomed, or failed to resist, the emigration of any collection of , say, South Americans or East Asians coming in and ruling with them, if not over them, their “homeland”!

Do they still welcome any now?
(Let us forget about the indigenous Palestinians for now.)


omar ibrahim baker - 6/8/2008

Had Pipes’ article been about any other country than Israel; what kind of reaction would it have been met with; if any at all!
(Although in all likelihood neither the original interviews would have taken place at all , nor the candidates would have allowed them , nor would Pipes have shown any interest in them.)

Would it have aroused the master of "Cut and Paste" or his side kick, or their pro XYZ equivalents, to the same indignant replies we have seen?

Had my post had , say, South Korea in the place where Israel sits now in my "original" post how would the reaction have been by any of: the general reader, US citizens of "Korean" faith and/or the herd??

I would expect that riposters would have stressed the importance of South Korea to the USA !
Which would make sense for anybody genuinely interested in the interests and security of his homeland!

What has been happening here recently is the exact opposite: the importance of the USA to Israel, whereby the USA is judged by what it offers Israel and not vice versa as it is only logical to expect from citizens of the USA.
That smells "fishy" to me!


N. Friedman - 6/8/2008

Mr. Butler,

Jews, by any standards, were as bad off as it was possible to be back in 1947 - 1948.

In any event, the point I was making - and, evidently, you do not wish to absorb - is that the opposition to the Jews by Palestinians involved hatred of Jews and religious conviction that only Muslims have a right to rule.

Neither side is irrelevant to the story. To ignore one side is to be an advocate, not a person interested in understanding events. You should consider that.


james joseph butler - 6/8/2008

I'm an atheist. I enjoy reading about religion because in the end they all express aspects of the human condition: we're special. In regards to Israel and Palestine, Moses and Muhamed are irrelevant, Herzel, Balfour, Weizmann, Wilson and the whole neo-colonial scenario are very relevant. Palestinians were not white and that was worse than being a Jew, Semitic heritage aside they hadn't acquired an understanding of the rules of the game. So the fact that Jews owned only 7% of Palestinian land in 1947 and constituted one third of the population didn't stop the U.N. from granting the Zionists 56% of the land. If you know the rules you're chances of success are greatly enhanced. American Indians are still learning.


N. Friedman - 6/7/2008

Mr. Butler,

Further augmenting my point about the primacy of religion, vis a vis Israel, for the Arab side, Elie Kedourie notes in his classic book, Islam in the Modern World, and Other Studies, that Egypt printed a million copies of a book regarding Jihad for reading by the Egyptian military, likely in preparation for the Yom Kippur War. The military book, like any book intended to motivate troop, extols the virtues of war, but with a twist. I quote below at length from this passage of Kedourie's excellent book (pages 58 - 59):

Another document is even more significant than this speech in exhibiting the political vocabulary and arguments by means of which the Egyptian regime seeks to establish a rapport with the people and involve them in its purposes. This is a small booklet entitled Our Religious Faith is our Path to Victory. This booklet was printed in a million copies in the summer of 1973 and distributed to all Egyptian soldiers, obviously in preparation for the coming war. In itself a booklet of this kind is nothing out of the ordinary. All armies find it essential to indoctrinate their soldiers, teach them the virtues of discipline and obedience, and the necessity of surmounting fear on the battlefield, as well as the allurements of enemy propaganda. What is remarkable about this Egyptian booklet is the manner in which it seeks to attain this end. It does this exclusively by quotations from the Qur'an and the Traditions of the Prophet, by recalling Muhammad's record and the early Islamic conquests. There is hardly any reference to Arabism as such, or to the Zionist or Israeli enemies. The cause is Islam, the example is the Prophet and his Companions, and the Jews are the enemies, the very same Jews that Muhammad had to fight. The relevant section here is entitled: 'Good Tidings of Victory over our Enemies the Jews.' The good tidings consist of citations from the Qur'an where the Jews are cursed for their transgression, denounced for their hostility to the believers and threatened with punishment here and thereafter. Jihad is recalled as a Muslim's duty the accomplishment of which is rewarded with Paradise, and the military virtues which jihad necessitates are extolled as peculiarly Islamic virtues which the Arabs have learned in 'the school of Islam'. Islam, the booklet says 'praises the believer who is strong, and considers him more useful and better in the sight of God than a believer who is [physically] weak'. Islam, again, exhorts the Muslim to be prepared to encounter his enemy: the Prophet is quoted as saying that 'Whoever learnt the Qur'an and then forgot it is not one of us, and whoever learnt shooting and forgot it is not one of us'; the Prophet, the booklet also recalls, approved the use of mosques as military training grounds.

In short, then, the cause for which the soldiers were to do battle is pre-eminently an Islamic cause, and the military virtues are pre-eminently Islamic virtues. The whole doctrine of the booklet may be summed up in the Qur'anic verse that God has made the Arabs as the best among nations (umma wasatann), which the booklet quotes and follows with the comment that God in his wisdom has designed Muhammad's umma to be an umma given to holy war, to be impregnable and not submissive or acquiescing in humiliation. Arabism and Islam are coeval or, rather, Islam is the soul of Arabism.


Such is entirely consistent with Professor Morris' point, which I quoted previously to you but which you chose, thus far, to ignore.


N. Friedman - 6/7/2008

And, your point?


james joseph butler - 6/7/2008

Mr. Goldberg's first two pieces for The New Yorker, prior to March 2003, attempted to connect Saddam to 9/11. His book which the NYTimes and the Wash. Post lauded chronicled his time serving as an IDF prison guard where the treatment of Palestinians is not dissimilar to prisoners at Guantanamo.
One might think this kind of record might not be particularly appealing to "liberal" magazines like The Atlantic but what do I know?


N. Friedman - 6/7/2008

Omar,

Is it not possible that both Obama and McCain are pro-Israel because they support Israel's right to exist as a country?

If that is not the case, prove it.


art eckstein - 6/7/2008

The statement above is another example of Omar's obsessive anti-semitism.

Jews don't control American foreign policy. Time and again Congress has sold advanced weaponry to Arab states that threaten Israel's existence, for reasons of U.S. interests. Note, too, that the Israelis didn't want the Iraq invasion to happen--and it did.

Omar might also want to consider the fact that Americans are repulsed by the genocidal suicide bombing, vicious dictatorship and totalitarian religion that is all too typical of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and by contrast they like democracies and respect societies that produce science and symphony orchestras, as opposed to the death-cult that is Palestinian society now.


omar ibrahim baker - 6/7/2008

Irrespective of what Obama and/or McCain had to say about Israel it only goes to prove that this is one subject American politicians, particularly so the Presidential hopefuls among them or any one of them considering contesting an election for that matter, DARE NOT speak his mind in public or just have a noncommittal comment!
IT HAS TO BE, it BETTER BE, an all out endorsement of Israel and of whatever policy Israel happens to be claiming and marketing, particularly in the US market, at the time; be it a policy of war, or peace or of neither.
Several memoirs claim to have “candidly" reported private view "privately"!
But that usually is far from ever being expressed publicly!

It is NOT merely their "cowardice”; it is, primarily, submission to the fact that Israel/US Jews have come to have a virtual stranglehold on elective American politicians in matters that inevitably will ricochet on American policies and interests.

What we have seen in the last few decades is a "Made in Israel" US policy that not only preempts the "Made in the USA" but, by definition, entails relegating the interests of the US to, at best, second place!


art eckstein - 6/7/2008

There is something truly evil when those who are seeking to defend themselves from annihilaton by religious fanatics who proclaim they want to kill every Jew, and whose tactic of suicide bombing is a practical APPLICATION of that genocidal philosophy, since ANY Jew will do to kill (men, women, old, young, political position irrelevant)--that those who must defend themselves are tagged as racists.

As Omar Baker made clear two weeks ago, as far as the Palestinians are concerned Jewish women and children are legitimate targets for annihilation. This is why during the Second Intifada the percentage of women killed on the Israeli side was thirty-one PERCENT of all deaths, whereas on the Palestinian side the total number of female deaths was 35 out of 2800. (That is, a little over 1 per cent.)

The Palestinians cannot adopt such a genocidal philosophy, and turn their entire society into a death-cult, without expecting a blowback (about which, of course, they complain bitterly) Nor can one argue that this genocidal philosophy is new, or merely a response to the bad West Bank settlements. Read Nonie Darwish on the savage and genocidal anti-semitism to which she was subjected as a child of an Egyptian colonel when the Egyptians controlled Gaza in the 1950s. (By the way, no one objected to THAT--just as Jordanian maps showed the West Bank as legally part of Jordan from 1950 until 1967, and no one objected to THAT.)


N. Friedman - 6/7/2008

Mr. Butler,

I forgot to note that my view that religion goes to the heart of the dispute, so far as the Palestinian Arab side is concerned, has substantial historical support and it is a view held by many, if not most, serious students of the dispute. You should read the new book, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, by historian Benny Morris, . He wrote, in an article that is based, in part, on the concluding chapter of that book:

Historians have tended to ignore or dismiss, as so much hot air, the jihadi rhetoric and flourishes that accompanied the two-stage assault on the Yishuv [the Jewish residents of Palestine before the founding of Israel] and the constant references in the prevailing Arab discourse to that earlier bout of Islamic battle for the Holy Land, against the Crusaders. This is a mistake. The 1948 War, from the Arabs' perspective, was a war of religion as much as, if not more than, a nationalist war over territory. Put another way, the territory was sacred: its violation by infidels was sufficient grounds for launching a holy war and its conquest or reconquest, a divinely ordained necessity.

Moreover, according to Morris:

The evidence is abundant and clear that many, if not most, in the Arab world viewed the war essentially as a holy war. To fight for Palestine was the "inescapable obligation on every Muslim," declared the Muslim Brotherhood in 1938. Indeed, the battle was of such an order of holiness that in 1948 one Islamic jurist ruled that believers should forego the hajj and spend the money thus saved on the jihad in Palestine. In April 1948, the mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Muhammad Mahawif, issued a fatwa positing jihad in Palestine as the duty of all Muslims. The Jews, he said, intended "to take over ... all the lands of Islam." Martyrdom for Palestine conjured up, for Muslim Brothers, "the memories of the Battle of Badr ... as well as the early Islamic jihad for spreading Islam and Salah al-Din's [Saladin's] liberation of Palestine" from the Crusaders. Jihad for Palestine was seen in prophetic-apocalyptic terms, as embodied in the following hadith periodically quoted at the time: "The day of resurrection does not come until Muslims fight against Jews, until the Jews hide behind trees and stones and until the trees and stones shout out: 'O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' "

It is, frankly, facile analysis that throw stones primarily at Israel, failing to understand the actual context in which the country came into being and exists and in which its people have always existed. Simple minded analysis, which assumes a secular rationale for those who have a religious rationale for their actions, harms the cause of peace. Consider: even the supposedly secular Yasser Arafat was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, that is why his PLO is described as being worthy of redemption in the HAMAS Covenant. See, Article 27, which reads:

The Palestinian Liberation Organization is the closest to the heart of the Islamic Resistance Movement. It contains the father and the brother, the next of kin and the friend. The Moslem does not estrange himself from his father, brother, next of kin or friend. Our homeland is one, our situation is one, our fate is one and the enemy is a joint enemy to all of us.

Because of the situations surrounding the formation of the Organization, of the ideological confusion prevailing in the Arab world as a result of the ideological invasion under whose influence the Arab world has fallen since the defeat of the Crusaders and which was, and still is, intensified through orientalists, missionaries and imperialists, the Organization adopted the idea of the secular state. And that it how we view it.

Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.

That is why, with all our appreciation for The Palestinian Liberation Organization - and what it can develop into - and without belittling its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea. The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser.

"Who will be adverse to the religion of Abraham, but he whose mind is infatuated? (The Cow - verse 130).

The day The Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies.

Until such a day, and we pray to Allah that it will be soon, the Islamic Resistance Movement's stand towards the PLO is that of the son towards his father, the brother towards his brother, and the relative to relative, suffers his pain and supports him in confronting the enemies, wishing him to be wise and well-guided.

"Stand by your brother, for he who is brotherless is like the fighter who goes to battle without arms. One's cousin is the wing one flies with - could the bird fly without wings?"


This point is discussed in some considerable detail in the noted book by Matthias Küntzel. I suggest you look into these matters carefully because, assuming you are not so innately biased against Israel but, instead, have an interest in understanding the actual historical forces at work, such a study will give you far more incite into the dispute than you appear to have.

Again, consider that a society which responds to a call for martyrdom - a fundamental religious concept - cannot be reconciled with a secular interpretation. To do so is to live in the world of make believe.


N. Friedman - 6/7/2008

Mr. Butler,

Saying something is so and it being so are very different things. In the case of South Africans like Tutu, they have considerable anger at the Israelis for not only maintaining friendly relations with the South African government during the apartheid policy period but, in fact, selling that government technology, etc. So, there is a tendency to hold Israel accountable for its past and to assume - without bothering to conduct a careful investigation - that the situation is remotely comparable, which it is not.

And, in fact, there is also the fact of South African freedom fighters paying dues to their supporters. As stated by the South African ambassador to Israel, Fumanekile Gqiba (Haaretz, circa August 4, 2004): But, he adds, it must be remembered that "we were once a liberation movement. We rubbed shoulders with the Palestinians. They were our comrades in the liberation movement. And that relationship is still there. It is our moral duty to continue with that." (Emphasis added).

He goes on to add - and this is a major reason why, in fact, the situation is so very different than was South Africa: "Ours was a political struggle, not a religious one. But central people were highly religious. Here the foundation is religious. Whenever religion is central to the struggle, it's difficult to control. There's hatred, hatred, hatred. It's very dangerous, because people want to prove that their God is superior."

My suggestion is that you take a very careful look at the HAMAS Covenent. It makes Mein Kampf appear rational.

In particular, I note - and, lest you conveniently forget, the HAMAS is the dominant party - Article Seven, which reads:

As a result of the fact that those Moslems who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one. It is well-equipped for that because of the clarity of its ideology, the nobility of its aim and the loftiness of its objectives.

On this basis, the Movement should be viewed and evaluated, and its role be recognised. He who denies its right, evades supporting it and turns a blind eye to facts, whether intentionally or unintentionally, would awaken to see that events have overtaken him and with no logic to justify his attitude. One should certainly learn from past examples.

The injustice of next-of-kin is harder to bear than the smite of the Indian sword.

"We have also sent down unto thee the book of the Koran with truth, confirming that scripture which was revealed before it; and preserving the same safe from corruption. Judge therefore between them according to that which Allah hath revealed; and follow not their desires, by swerving from the truth which hath come unto thee. Unto every of you have we given a law, and an open path; and if Allah had pleased, he had surely made you one people; but he hath thought it fit to give you different laws, that he might try you in that which he hath given you respectively. Therefore strive to excel each other in good works; unto Allah shall ye all return, and then will he declare unto you that concerning which ye have disagreed." (The Table, verse 48).

The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
(Emphasis added).

This is a call for genocide. And the reason is stated in the HAMAS Covenant, namely, that such is a religious duty in Islam. Moreover, the HAMAS Covenant states that Jews have been behind all wars since the time of the French revolution. In fact, the HAMAS Covenant explicitly endorses the fraudulent work, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

If you read the German scholar Matthias Küntzel's recent and rather well received book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, you will find that hatred of Jews goes to the very heart and soul of the Islamist movement. In fact, such was, in part, a result of the interaction of the Nazi movement with the early Islamist movement.

Further, according to the HAMAS Covenant, the dispute, as a whole, cannot be settled, other than by means of Jihad. This is because, according to the HAMAS Covenant (see, Article Eleven), Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (i.e. trust or endowment). If you investigate what a waqf is, you will find that it is a trust or endowment, usually over property, and usually for the benefit of Muslims. The point here is that the issue, on the Muslim side is not to create a Palestinian Arab state - something the HAMAS movement rejects. It is, instead, to place the land under Islamic rule and law.

Religious disputes, where one or both sides are driven primarily by religion, are almost impossible to settle. Most Israelis are, by comparison with, for example, Americans, more secular than not. That, frankly, cannot be said on the Palestinian Arab side. Otherwise, the call to Jihad and the proclaiming of martyrs - a fundamental religious motif in, among others, monotheistic religions and, most especially, in Islam - creates a very special situation that, to outsiders unfamiliar with religion, is difficult to fathom.

The HAMAS Covenant sets forth the slogan of the HAMAS (Article Eight): Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes. That says it all to anyone who knows anything about religion in history.

The point is that Israel does what it does primarily in self defense. And, that is a basic right, even if it requires the Israelis to treat Palestinian Arabs in the captured territories less than perfectly. But consider: Israeli Arabs are treated substantially better than Christians are treated in any Arab country. In fact, Israeli Arabs are treated better than Arabs are treated in European countries. I suggest you hunt for any European high court justices of Arab background. The same for high government officials and ambassadors.


james joseph butler - 6/6/2008

Ronnie Kasrils,the South African minister of intelligence and a Jew, and Desmond Tutu have both stated that the Israeli occupation is worse than apartheid in South Africa was. Israel has never passed a Bill of Right because it would mean equal rights for Muslims.


N. Friedman - 6/6/2008

Mr. Butler,

The comparison between Israel and South Africa is absurd. Not all cases involving differences in treatment of ethnic groups are apartheid. In some cases, the goal is not to subjugate the other party into a separate sphere and, in some cases, there is a rational reason for discrimination - as in the alternative being, as with Palestinian Arabs, preventing their stated goal of killing Jews. In this regard, see the Hamas Covenant which openly calls for genocide.


james joseph butler - 6/6/2008

Some people seem to think that the Obama who once sat side by side with Edward Said,at a Chicago Arab American fund raiser,lies within, waiting for his election to reemerge and speak sanity to America's absurd Middle Eastern policies. I think not. I'm afraid the man who once protested South African apartheid policy will aid and abet apartheid in Israel if elected. Domestic politics will prevail. I hope I'm wrong.


Michael Green - 6/6/2008

One of the reasons that Senator Obama worries about winning the pro-Israel vote is the kind of tripe in the above commentary that tries to make it sound like he does not support Israel. To Mr. Pipes, supporting Israel means agreeing with everything Israel does. That is not what another nation's foreign policy is about if it wishes to have a legitimate foreign policy--and I mean that in terms of any country's view of any other country; simply to attack Israel is no more legitimate.