May 29, 2009

The Mother of All Myths

Dennis Ross, Special Advisor on Iran for the Secretary of State, has a book coming out next month that "inconveniently takes issue with the Obama Administration

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 29, 2009 11:36 AM
Comments
Michael,
I was born and raised in the Middle East and I am up-to-date on the "people
Posted by: GK at May 29, 2009 4:16 pm
GK, when anyone makes a statement such as "I am up-to-date on the "people
Posted by: Ron Snyder at May 29, 2009 5:17 pm
Does the average citizen in Iran really care about Israel if they're not constantly reminded of it? How likely is it that the issue would mostly disappear in twenty years if the citizens weren't constantly reminded about how horrible the Jews are? I believe that the apparent point of the article stands - Israel's the official reason given for much of what is wrong with the Middle East, but even if the borders of Jordan extended clear to the sea shore, an excuse would be found. What that exact excuse might be I can't tell you (Sunni control of Mecca might be one for the Shiites in Tehran; threats of American hegemony - much as Chavez in Venezuela constantly rails against - might be another; nosy Westerners who don't understand how the glorious civilization of the Middle East really works might work to stave off Westerners who keep pestering about reforms). But another reason would be found.
Posted by: junior at May 29, 2009 5:39 pm
Scapegoating is so easy, and interesting for what it can reveal by way of projection. When Israel pulled out of Gaza, I remember thinking, another excuse gone; what will replace it?
Posted by: Paul S. at May 29, 2009 8:41 pm
It isn't as big a distance from legitimate grievance to an irrational festering hate as most people think. All it takes is pervasive positive reinforcement on a cultural level, and there you have it. That's why I think Dennis Ross is both right and wrong. He's right that there isn't much REAL linkage between Israel and all the other problems the Arab/Muslim world faces. But I think he's wrong in that Arabs/Muslims don't see it that way. I think they do believe there is a linkage. And that's why there can realistically never be a solution to this problem. All that "righteous" hatred isn't going to just go away. It takes generation to deal with such issues. And Arabs/Muslims haven't even started trying to tackle the problem yet. I don't know what would happen if there was a sudden diplomatic breakthrough that resulted in the "peace process" becoming a formal peace treaty, but I bet there be blood in the streets.
Posted by: programmmer_craig at May 30, 2009 10:25 pm
I think this may be a situation where neither side is actually right. There is NO WAY that a Palestine issue would solve all Middle-East issues. HOWEVER, solving the issue there will take a bit of wind out of the sails of those who use it as a rallying cry. Israel will still have enemies, as far as any history indicates, Israel has always had enemies in the surrounding area.
The Palestinian issue is a touchstone. Any Muslim group that wants to raise emotions, will haul out the poor pali people and BAM! they have support. Psy-Ops 101.
Reality is perception. Hezbollah has to work hard to maintain the perception of protecting Lebanon. If they didn't have the Palestinian people to point at, they wouldn't have much ground to get traction on. (ie. they can't say "See, Israel will do that to US, if we weren't stopping them!").
However, there is no single solution, no Red Pill or Blue Pill.
Posted by: dclydew at June 1, 2009 10:33 am
GK
1. Saddam shoved hundreds of thousands of people into mass graves and the Syrian government killed close to 40,000 civilians in Hama in the 1980s. Are people as mad at them as they are at US/Israel? In other words, is it more acceptable for Arabs to kill other Arabs than for non-Arabs to kill Arabs?
2. The Palestinians are treated like second class citizens throughout the middle east. Except for Jordan, they are refused asylum and citizenship. Kuwait and several other gulf states expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers during Gulf War 1. Is it considered okay for Arabs to mistreat Palestinians but not okay for Israelis to do so?
3. Since there seems to be so little regard for the Palestinians among other Arab people, does all this outrage really revolve around Palestinian welfare or is it really about the loss of honor that resulted from being defeated by Israel?
Posted by: Boojum at June 1, 2009 11:06 am
"Former President Carter, like most Westerners, has a Western-centric view of the world. It could hardly be otherwise."
The -centric view may be acceptable if we are talking about those brainwashed by their own government's or a compliant media.
It should not be an acceptable rationale for the strategy of so-called regional experts.
Posted by: Davod at June 2, 2009 1:23 am
"it is the cowardly pawns of the Zionist entity that will have forced this 'agreement' on the Palestinian people. What of all those expelled in genocide from their homes in 1948? What of the racist regime that still occupies the rest of Palestine? We cannot and will not agree to such an injustice!"
a paraphrasing of something i heard in a coffee shop the other day
Posted by: A-Squared at June 3, 2009 5:53 pm
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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