Tuesday 3 July 2007

The Forbidden Taboo of The Middle East

This has been a post I've been putting off a long time.
But it had to come one day.

The reason for my hesitancy in writing this are simple. It's a contentious subject. But sometimes contentious points need to be aired. Reading a post today by James Higham made me realise, sometimes things need to be said.

Here it is;
Israel is one of the conerstones of the Middle East problem.
I know both Lord Nazh and Jeremy Jacobs will disagree with me here, but we still see the whole situation through Pro Western eyes. And Israel, is a Western state, settled by Europeans. If the Hungarians count as Europeans, then Ashkenazi Jews must surely do so, for they lived in Europe almost as long. Ashkenazi Jews account for 80% of Israel's Jewish population.

Of course the Islamic world looks at Israel and finds our values hypocritical. It looks at our condemnation of white supremacy in South Africa and Rhodesia, and then sees similar concepts tolerated because those perpetrating it were the victims of white supremacists.

In 1917- When the overwhelming majority of the Holy Lands people were Arab Muslims- TE Lawrence led the arabs to revolt against their Turkish Masters in return for an Arab homeland. Including the Holy Land.
But The British government reneged.

The Zionists were promised this land, land they could say their ancestors lived in once.
Like all England was once Welsh land.

But then again, displacing non-European peoples to give land to Europeans was acceptable then.
Because that's it was.

Later in 1947, the UN was asked to arbitrate. It divided the Holy Land as shown below.

Orange shows the UN proposed Israel.
Yellow shows the UN proposed Palestine.

This is much more than the Palestinians have been allotted since, even under these 'generous' peace efforts. We think they're being over the top asking for sovereignty over the West Bank.

This is what the UN in 1947 thought was fair.

So who do we call the aggressors?
And does 1933-1945 mean that we must make ourselves hated by 800 million Muslims because we show ourselves unfair?

Two wrongs don't make a right.
But we judge Israel as if they do.


Anonymous said...

You're a brave man to post this, Crushed. I find the whole situation so fraught that I hardly know what to think any more. I come from a generation brought up to believe that Israel had been so wronged in the past that of course it deserved its territory. It was only later that I came to understand more. But surly part of the problem is that for all the ranting and raving no one actually holds their hand out to the Palestinians either?

Anonymous said...

You think these kind of maps and such matter the slightest to people who despise us wherever we are and wherever we live? I regard their evil "God" as a murderous influence for hatred and death - They are like the NAZIs in 1939 - you think you can palm them off with bits of sand in the middle east ??

I believe in freedom -their looney Gods like Mohammed and Jesus and such are all made up!! Yep!! All non existent!! Like Father Christmas and Mermaids.

** sucks cock, sips absinthe squeezes tit as turns on video.. **

Anonymous said...

Israel has always been a political hot bed. As Aeschylus said, "In war, truth is the first casualty." We don't know what has really transpires behind closed doors, in dark alleys or in hidden caves across the world to cause any war. We only know after the fact what "may" have happened to cause the schism.

It's hard to undo so many years of wrongdoing because the veins of blood run deep throughout many generations. In order to stop the hate, we have to see our fellow man as we would like to be seen and not judge what we think we know of him.

We have to start a dialogue, get to know them, walk in their shoes and try to understand them. Hate begets hate until it grows exponentially and turns the Soul black.

It may be virtually impossible to stop the avalanche of hate, but if we approach it gently, with an open mind and heart, we may begin to see the other side. Then maybe, just maybe, we will be able to cure man's inhumanity to man.

Anonymous said...

If the Arabs dropped their weapons their would be peace.

If the Israeli's dropped their weapons, there wouldn't be an Israel.

Couldn't really follow your logic in this one CBI as you leave out all 1947-2007 bits and all the bits pre 1900.

Anonymous said...

I fear my comment was a little too serious for this light hearted discussion -sorry - I do take these things excessively seriously...

Anonymous said...


I agree with the vast majority of what you post but can't even come close here.

Your point seems to be that the Palestinians have been harshly treated as a result of European guilt caused by the Holocaust.

Is that right?

First, it is clear that Christians, Jews and Muslims all have historic claims to these lands. Currently 99% of the Holy Lands are Muslim. It seems pretty reasonable to me to carve out a measly 1% (Israel) and give it to the Jews (who were, after all, there long before the Muslims arrived).

Second, Palestine has been offered a dual-state solution many times by the Israelis. They have always refused.

Third, you make the point that 800 million Muslims hate us because of the way we have treated the Palestinians. Well, what about the way that the Arabs have treated the Palestinians. Despite their situation, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt have washed their hands of them, still confining them to refugee camps 40 years later.

Fourth, do you really believe that global terrorism would end the minute that Israel is forced to hand back all its post-1967 land?

Fifth, Muslims living in Israel have more freedom than their cousins in Arab countries. Israel is a liberal democracy like us. Arab nations are totalitarian regimes (both secular and theocratic). Israel is therefore a natural ally.

Sorry the post is long but i have strong views on this subject!

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes- Problem is, yes, the Jewish people have been teribly wronged over the cennturies.
But that doesn't actually validate their claim to the Holy Land, an indisputably Muslim country since 640 AD.

Mutley- I think that high on the list of reasons why they despise is, is this particular intractable problem and our stance on it.

Alexys- It is a hotbed, true. But we ignore what has happened. An essentially European people have evicted the occupiers of a country, using a religous conception of territorial possession- God will give us back the soil we had 2,000 years ago- as a justification.

Lord N- Well the pre 1900 bit, as far as I'm aware is this.

Temple destroyed 70AD. The Diaspora.
Defeat of Emperor Heraclius by Muslim Armies. Middle East including Holy Land goes over to Islam. At this point, few practising Jews in the Holy Land. Most are Monophysite Christians who go over to Islam.

Rule by Baghdad Caliphate and others till 1100.
Rule by Christian crusaders in whole or in part for best part of two hundred years- the bulk of the inhabitants being Muslim, the ruling classes, mainly French.

1291 AD Fall of Acre and end of crusader states. Return to Islamic rule.
In Islamic legend, Baiburs the reconquerer is a comparable hero to Richard Coeur de lion.

Then Mameluke then ottoman rule.

All the history of an Arab Muslim country, attacked by Europeans for religous reasons- to gain Jerusalem for the faith.

So that's the history before 1900.
Possibly similar to concepts after 1900???

And we should judge 1947-2001 in that perspective.

I take your point though, about what would happen if Israel disarmed. Problem is, that's all that maintains Israel. Might, not right.

1. Jerusalem is a HOLY city to three faiths. It has been an Arab city though since 640.
2. A dual state? And who gets the lion's share?
Steal a whole country, give a quarter back. That's generous.
3. True. 80% of Jordans people are refugees are descendants of refugees, though. But one of the reasons why extremists can peddle a message of the west hating Muslims, is this situation.
4. No, not in the least. But it might make a difference.
5. That's like saying South Africa was a liberal democracy and that black people there lived better than in Uganda.
Of course Israel is a natural ally. They're a European country in disguise.
Not a very good disguise though- They play in the European Championships and sing in Eurovision!!

Anonymous said...

....amd they'll beat England at Wembley in September!

Crushed - you've conveniently excluded Transjordan on your map! However, even the hawks in Israel have long given up the idea of a Greater Israel. Other Jewish/Israel sites have a good account of the last 150 years of history. Peace will come when the Arabs accept Israel.


Why no discussion about the white man in America, Australia and New Zealand?

Why no comment about the Chinese adoption of Mongolia and Tibet, Northern Cyprus?

Why no mention of the Spanish take-over of South America or the founding of Kuwait on Iraqi soil?

and finally why do so many non-Jews concern themselves with the west Bank. A land about the size of Sussex?

On Jerusalem. There's always been a Jewish presence there. I have no qualms in making the Old City of Jerusalem an open city like the Vatican but don't tell me it's that important to the Muslims. They pray to Mecca and Medina.

Now Alan Johnston has been released so he can report again on Israel being the stumbling block to peace(while the Arabs rain down missiles on a daily basis)perhaps Crushed you can turn your attention to the Free Gilad Shalit campaign.

Over and out..

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to add Turkey before mentioning Northern Cyprus.

Anonymous said...

Hi Crushed,
I understand your angle.
Facts be known, the State of Israel was granted to the Jewish people and made official. No one really cared about this minuscule piece of earth UNTIL the Jewish people cared and nourished it into something beautiful, officially.
There has ALWAYS been a Jewish presence in the land. While the most visible representation are returning Jews from many countries,there many sabras from semitic origin.

Another fact is, as LN pointed out, Israel is living in a very small portion of acreage in this region which is Biblical inheritance, and the Arab population has been the aggressor out of pure hatred, not the Jews.

Look at the world map again, check the size of Israel, then look at the surrounding Arab land, come on, the Arabs have no lack of land to live on...

If the Arabs dropped their weapons their would be peace.

If the Israeli's dropped their weapons, there wouldn't be an Israel.

Anonymous said...

Well, Crushed, you were right in your predictions :) I have to say I'm closer to your take than are many of your commenters, and like Welshcakes I admire your courage in broaching this topic.

Pommygranate's point about historical claims is interesting: if you accept that any of these claims are valid, then they all are, but how far back do you go? It's an open question how much I have in common with Henry V's soldiers, yet both have been described as English.

So how much did those Jewish people returning in 1947 have in common with the people of Semitic origin that Jack mentioned? Is their claim more important than that of the non-Jewish indigenous population, or that of those who arrived in the interim? I'm genuinely not sure about the answers, but (therefore?) I think the questions are well worth asking.

Jeremy, each of the disputed areas you raise is well worthy of discussion, but, if you'll forgive me, it does seem a little like a diversionary tactic to raise them here: blogging is a format that does not easily lend itself to a very wide-ranging discussion in one comment thread.

Jack, by whom was the State of Israel granted, and made official? An absolute authority? I am rather uneasy at the implications of your assertion that there was nothing worth having there previously... I also don't entirely buy your logic over relative land sizes: by that reckoning, no-one should have opposed the British Empire...

Anonymous said...

Jeremy- Not sure how a map of country mainly populated by Palestinian refugees and their descendants helps either way.

Your questions.
1. You are right Arabs occupied Palestine far longer than White people occupied NZ. Why didn't the Maoris get it back in 1947? Good point. White New Zealanders should be worried, they're even less protected by this ancient right thing than the Palestinians!

2. Because we generally these as illegal occupations. I'm saying this goes further.

3. Again, good point. America should have gone back to its orginal owners in 1947. 1492 IS much later than 640. I agree.

4. A mans homeland is his homeland.

5. Yes they do pray to Jerusalem. At one time, some groups used at as their prayer direction.
It is the city where Abraham was consecrated by Melchizedek of Salem into the priesthood of God (Genesis, so accepted by all monotheistic faiths) Thus it was where Abraham founded the worship of Allah.
Mohammed simply claimed to have re-established the true faith of Abraham.

Sadly Jeremy, the existence of Israel itself is a stumbling block to peace.
It was a failed experiment by European Jews to establish a land of their own, free of the anti-semitic prejudice of the West- A utopia in a land a book long ago told them had once ben theirs.
Like history books tell us that the Welsh lived in all Britain before the English came.

But it was a dream, a hangover from Colonial dreams, where europeans made their visions real in someone else's sun.

The Holy Land is as much Arab Muslim land as Damascus, as Baghdad, as Tehran, as Kabul.
And Israel? The Last Crusade.
hich is why the rest of the west subconsciously taps into the vision.

Jack- 'If the Arabs dropped their weapons their would be peace.

If the Israeli's dropped their weapons, there wouldn't be an Israel.'

This is the problem. It's not the fault of the people of Israel is it? How do their leaders deal with this?
Same boat as South african whites.
I'm sure it hurt them too- In fact, I know it did, I've talked to several.
But that doesn't mean Apartheid should not have been fought.

Ian- Not much I can add to that. It's hard to break that perspective though.
Most people think the Jews were always there, they forget that most of them emigrated there as colonists.

Once again, this is a hard topic to face up to.
But right now, with the hatred of 800 million muslims getting stronger, maybe we have to.

Anonymous said...

wow, like opening pandoras box.
I must say it was brave of you to air out your opinion, everyones entitled to one - you dont have to agree but you sure gotto respect it.

Well done...

Anonymous said...

CBI - I agree with you broadly too and I am jewish (techinically anyway).

The issue is in current years the Isralei's have done so well out of the war, territorially speaking, that they don't want a solution.

the current offer of peace is based on a state that is not sustainable, it is not even connected; bisected by israeli settlements at various points.

If the US were to pressure Isreal into making a proper land for peace deal we would get somewhere. But current politicians are not going to follow this path.

Their refusal to do this has helped to bolster Hezbollah and Hamas (as of course as an equally realpolitical stance by Saudi and Iran etc).

Peace requires all sides to want it and that clearly is not hte case at the moment.

Blair has been sent to continue the status quo of low level war.

Anonymous said...

So your precedence for inheritence of said land is the fact that in the 600's Mohammed took it from the Jews?

Basically your saying that the Arabs (built on 1300+ years of owning the land, own it); Jews have lived there for thousands of years (documented but I didn't look it up), they lived there in part during the entire occupation of the Muslims.

Again though, what is your precedent? Might? In that case, Israel should not only include what they got but also Sinai, the West Banks AND Gaza, since they have fought and won those areas (they gave them back).

Also, you make a fair to middling case for the Arabs to own Israel. Remember Palestine is not an historic place and the Palestineans are not a historic people. They are Arabs denied by Arabs.

Again, why no beef with Jordan taking 90% of 'Mandate Palestine' before Israel was even created?

Anonymous said...

Not to sound anti-sematic but I have long felt that the way the Palestinians have been treated by the Isrealis is just not right! I mean their children throw rocks at the soldiers and they retaliate by shooting them! I feel a LOT of our problems with the Arab world stems from this small part of the world. My answer should anyone ask is to give the whole region back the Palestinians and move the country of Isreal to Florida. Hell, they own it anyways! Since they think they function as an independent country(yeh right) we would be close enough to bail them out like we ALWAYS do! They could seceed from the Union and we could offer Peurto Rico the option of becoming our 50th state! Everyone is happy! Except of course the Jews but then it has been my experience that they are never truly happy. I grew up Catholic and once worked in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area which is all a bunch of old retired New York Jews. The one thing I learned was the difference between Jews and Catholics is Jews are born with guilt and Catholics aquire it! Ok so there is my incorrect political statement of the day!

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I guess i wasn't through pissing off enough people so I just wanted to add that all of the problems or a LOT of them could solved by religion going away! The Jews hate the Muslims who hate the Christians who hate...you get my drift? Like John Lennon Imagine no religion! Now we can get down to what is really get down to what is worth fighting for... oil and money!I mean isn't that why we invaded Iraq? So we can maintain a stronghold in that part of the world.Ok now I think that does it for me then!

Anonymous said...

You said, "We think [the Palestinians are] being over the top asking for sovereignty over the West Bank.

This is what the UN in 1947 thought was fair.

So who do we call the aggressors?

A: The Arabs. It was the Arabs who responded to the proposed UN partition with an attack designed to destroy Israel before it could come into existence.

Anonymous said...

Crashdummie- Good description of the issue. It is one of the few topics trhat is difficult to get sensible discussion on.

Cityunslicker- Fair analysis. Your pint seems to be borne out by Israeli politics. There seems little real mandate for compromise.

Lord N- Are the Americans not a historial people either?
Do you think that the Arabs who lived in Palestine in 1917 had no right to the land they lived in?

Poody- Florida is probably about as sensible as the current location of Israel.
A lot of the problems come from the Zionist idea that this land is theirs in perpetuity.

Curmudgeon- Possibly. But who is occupying whose land?

Anonymous said...

Crushed "Israel a failed experiment"

Have you gone mad?

Anonymous said...

Rather interesting article here on Transjordan.


Anonymous said...

I see your point, Jeremy, but a Jewish National Home being declared by Balfour in 1917 over the area does not make it a Jewish National Home, when it is fact inhabited at the time by Arabs.

Anonymous said...

Good of you to take up the torch on this subject, a hot potato that I avoid as much as possible. I'll add that I thoroughly agree with your arguments and am impressed of your eloquent defence of them.

There are many things I could add but I'll admit to both being too lazy to argue and too much of a coward.

Keep up the good posting.


Anonymous said...

Well, how to cut it short?
I did not regret the time spending to entirely read this post and the following comments. Not wearing a hat, lifting one, though. Chapeau!

Anonymous said...

I think this makes a point, don't blink or you'll miss the Israeli Kingdom. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wolfie- I was a little worried of being eaten alive by angry Zionists.
Your map made interesting comparisons- and a nice point at the end- my little map here getting a brief airing.

Sean- Glad you felt it time well spent.
We are often given a very skewed vision of the Middle East.