David Harris and all like him absent, by omission and perhaps by commission, the hand of Hashem on events and history.
With Hashem seen as “in the loop”, one sees the hand (if you will) of Shemayim in all aspects of life, including the shaping and forming of history. With Hashem in the picture, the Jews see the Burning Bush and are not concerned with the George Bushs’, the Superpower, the EU, the UN, the UAE and Iran’s tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
With Hashem in the picture, one sees and recognizes events and history as being shaped for the good of His special, favored Nation.
But with a mindset of Hashem out of the picture, we are left with Western rationalizations and false analyses of Islam which bear no relationship to the foundations of Islamic hate for Jews and for Western civilization. MB
It’s Not About Israel, David A. Harris
A number of voices in the international community have recently identified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the root cause of many of the Middle East’s problems. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan have been among the most prominent of these voices.
In his article “A battle for global values,” (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007), Tony Blair reiterates what he has expressed in previous public statements: “How can we bring peace to the Middle East unless we resolve the question of Israel and Palestine?” Achieving peace, he continues, “would not only silence reactionary Islam’s most effective rallying call but fatally undermine its basic ideology.”
Kofi Annan, addressing the UN Security Council on December 12, said, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just one regional conflict amongst many. No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge even for people far away.”
TRUE, GENUINE peace between Israel and the Palestinians would remove one of the long-standing conflicts in the Middle East. Moreover, to state the painfully obvious, peace would serve the best interests of those involved.
But to suggest, as Prime Minister Blair in particular does, that such a settlement is a necessary precondition for peace in the Middle East and would take the wind out of radical Islam’s sails is unsupported by the facts.
Let’s assume for a moment that Israel did not exist. Would that have changed the basic story line of the bulk of recent events in the Middle East?
Would Iraq and Iran have chosen not to pursue an eight-year war that cost more than a million fatalities? Would Iraq have decided not to invade Kuwait in 1990? Would it have rethought its use of chemical weapons against both its own Kurdish population and Iran?
Would Syria have refrained from slaughtering over 10,000 of its own citizens in Hama in 1982? Would it have relinquished its hold on Lebanon, as demanded by multiple Security Council resolutions?
Would Saudi Arabia have stopped exporting its Wahhabi model of Islam, with its narrow, doctrinaire view of the world and rejection of non-Muslims as so-called infidels, across the globe? Would al-Qaida not have attacked the US in 2001, when, it should be remembered, the Israeli-Palestinian issue was never even mentioned among Osama bin Laden’s main “grievances”?
Would the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan magically disappear absent the Israel factor? Would Iran today abandon its hegemonic ambitions in the region? Would the Shi’ite-Sunni split, with its profound political and strategic ramifications, evaporate into thin air? Would the Sudanese government stop its collusion with the Arab Janjaweed militias to end the massive murder and displacement in Darfur?
Would the desperate poverty and widespread illiteracy that dampen hope and create a fertile recruiting ground for radical Islamic movements suddenly be alleviated? Would Saudi women instantaneously have the right to drive, would non-Muslims finally enjoy equal rights in all those Arab countries where Islam is the official religion, and would the Baha’i no longer experience persecution at the hands of the Iranian government?
In reality, the destabilizing factors in the Middle East run far deeper than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Strikingly, while most Western political leaders mince their words, the courageous Arab authors of the annual Arab Human Development Report have not. They have spoken of three overarching explanatory factors for the region’s unsatisfactory condition: the knowledge deficit, the gender deficit and the freedom deficit.
While there is no certainty of a successful outcome unless these three areas are addressed in a sustained manner, the Middle East, which ought to be one of the world’s most dynamic regions, is likely to continue suffering from instability, violence and fundamentalism, irrespective of what happens on the Israeli-Palestinian front.
The sad truth is that it is precisely political oppression, intellectual suffocation and gender discrimination that explain, more than other factors, the chronic difficulties of the Middle East. To be sure, there exist no overnight or over-the-counter remedies for these maladies that would allow the region to unleash its vast potential, but they are at the heart of the problem. It would be illusory to think otherwise.
The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee.