“The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat,” my article in the current issue of Commentary, has provoked criticism mainly with regard to two points: my accepting the existence of a Palestinian people and my belief that it can be defeated. My arguments:
(1) There is no such thing as a Palestinian people: Indeed, as readers note, no such people existed through the centuries. Palestine (Arabic: “Filastin”) as a political unit only came into use as a Zionist triumph when imposed by the British occupiers following the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Palestinians (Arabic: “Filastiniyun”) also came into use only in the twentieth century. Jerusalem never served as capital of a sovereign Muslim state. All true.
But, starting in 1920, with the imposition of a geographical unit later to be called the British Mandate for Palestine, the Arabic-speaking Muslims of that territory understood they had to adopt the Palestinian identity. In 1948, when Jews abandoned the term Palestine in favor of Israel, the word Palestinian became exclusively Arab. With the foundation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, this identity acquired political expression. The Palestinian Authority in 1994 gave it official status. At this point, it is futile, even silly, to deny the existence of a distinct Palestinian Arab people.
Palestinians in Gaza in February 2014 protesting against U.S Secretary of State John Kerry.
That said, the Palestinian Arab identity that emerged so quickly from political necessity may not last forever; as I noted back in 1989, “the primacy of Palestinian nationalism could eventually come to an end, perhaps as quickly as it got started.”
(2) Muslim peoples never give up, always keep going in warfare, and so cannot be defeated: I addressed this in passing in the Commentary article: “Muslims have repeatedly given in to infidels through history when faced with a determined superior force, from Spain to the Balkans to Lebanon.”
To which, the reply comes that in these and other cases, Muslims did not entirely give up: Islamists dream of Al-Andalus, Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan has neo-Ottoman ambitions in the Balkans, and Lebanese Muslims successfully terminated the Christian-dominated state.
Alhambra to return to Muslim rule?
Again, all true. But the notion of retaking Spain is limited to the realm of fantasy, Erdoğan has no intention militarily to retake the Balkans, and Lebanon’s Muslims exploited the designs on their country of a neighbor (Syria) to bring down the Maronites.
Comparing Muslims with Christians makes this point more clearly: If the above examples show an undying Muslim spirit, the same applies to Christian too (and, by extension, to everyone, e.g., the Chinese).
This listing points to the fact that irredentist ideas sometime survive a very long time and can come roaring back to life. That, however, does not change the fact that wars end when one side gives up, something that applies to Muslims as well as non-Muslims. (January 10, 2017)
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A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.