Israel a împlinit 60 de ani de existenţă în această săptămînă. Efraim Karsh, istoric şi profesor la King’s College, Londra, a publicat în revista Commentary un articol despre formarea statului Israel. În introducere, profesorul Karsh reiterează atitudinea lumii arabe şi a unor segmente importante de opinie publică occidentală faţă de statul evreu si rezumă principalele …
1948, Israel şi palestinienii
Israel a împlinit 60 de ani de existenţă în această săptămînă. Efraim Karsh, istoric şi profesor la King’s College, Londra, a publicat în revista Commentary un articol despre formarea statului Israel. În introducere, profesorul Karsh reiterează atitudinea lumii arabe şi a unor segmente importante de opinie publică occidentală faţă de statul evreu si rezumă principalele acuze aduse actului de fondare de acum şase decenii.
Sixty years after its establishment by an internationally recognized act of self-determination, Israel remains the only state in the world that is subjected to a constant outpouring of the most outlandish conspiracy theories and blood libels; whose policies and actions are obsessively condemned by the international community; and whose right to exist is constantly debated and challenged not only by its Arab enemies but by segments of advanced opinion in the West.
During the past decade or so, the actual elimination of the Jewish state has become a cause célèbre among many of these educated Westerners. The “one-state solution,” as it is called, is a euphemistic formula proposing the replacement of Israel by a state, theoretically comprising the whole of historic Palestine, in which Jews will be reduced to the status of a permanent minority. Only this, it is said, can expiate the “original sin” of Israel’s founding, an act built (in the words of one critic) “on the ruins of Arab Palestine” and achieved through the deliberate and aggressive dispossession of its native population.
Profesorul Karsh analizează şi demontează o serie de mituri încetăţenite referitoare la perioada interbelică a stabilirii imigranţilor evrei în Palestina şi la exodul populaţiei arabe din statul Israel de abia format — sînt prezentate în special relaţiile dintre evrei şi palestinieni şi felul în care imigranţii evrei s-au stabilit în Palestina, demontînd mitul conform căruia arabii localnici ar fi fost deposedaţi abuziv de proprietăţile lor (vezi şi acest comentariu). În ce priveşte exodul masiv al localnicilor arabi din nou înfiinţatul stat Israel, acesta nu a rezultat în urma unei politici sioniste deliberate de a purifica etnic Israelul, ci a fost activ încurajat de lideri locali arabi şi de statele arabe din zonă, determinate să împiedice existenţa unui stat evreu în Orientul Mijlociu.
Documentarea istorică este impecabilă.
The recent declassification of millions of documents from the period of the British Mandate (1920-1948) and Israel’s early days, documents untapped by earlier generations of writers and ignored or distorted by the “new historians,” paint a much more definitive picture of the historical record. They reveal that the claim of dispossession is not only completely unfounded but the inverse of the truth. What follows is based on fresh research into these documents, which contain many facts and data hitherto unreported.
Eu unul trebuie să recunosc că trec printr-o lungă perioadă de documentare legată de subiectul în discuţie, şi astfel nu-mi permit să adopt o poziţie sau alta. Nu mă motivează altceva decât curiozitatea pură, dar primesc cu scepticism articolele care sub titulatura de „the true story” tranşează definitiv probleme foarte complexe, în care aproape fiecare parte implicată are câte un interes personal.
Nu zic că nu-i aşa, ci doar că fiecare din părţi va avea întotdeauna propriul „true story”.
Tiberiu, scepticismul este sanatos. In orice caz, articolul profesorului Karsh merita citit si nu strica sa consulti si referintele la documentatia de care s-a folosit (chiar la inceput e furnizat un link catre versiunea articolului cu toate anotarile aferente).
Pe de alta parte, adevarul referitor la un lucru anume (in acest caz istoria formarii statului Israel) este unul singur, oricit de complex ar fi el adevarul, sau ‘lucrul’ la care se refera. De asemenea, adevarul nu este la mijloc. Asta-i o fictiune izvorita din comoditate mentala. E acolo unde e si de multe ori acolo unde nu te astepti sa il gasesti.
Revenind la Israel. Personal, sint pro-Israel si nu ascund acest lucru. Am citit tot felul de materiale din partea criticilor, denigratorilor si sustinatorilor Israelului. Pina la urma, o imagine adevarata nu se poate forma decit prin asamblarea datelor istorice. Cauta-le pe acestea, mai periaza-le de interpretari si obtii o harta a realitatii din trecut. O privesti, o analizezi, o completezi si incepi sa intelegi motivatiile si ideile care au impulsionat evenimentele.
Evident că adevărul nu trebuie să fie la mijloc, susţin cu tărie lucrul ăsta. Aşa cum nici extremismul (adică alegerea unei soluţii radicale într-o problemă) nu e rău prin sine însuşi. Citesc tot articolul recomandat, în măsura posibilităţilor şi documentaţia pt. că chiar mă preocupă ambele părţi ale discuţiei. Dar experienţa din multe alte dezbateri îmi spune că în 99% din cazuri cei care susţin cu tărie cauza uneia dintre tabere împing argumentele până la limita minciunii (fie ea prin omisiune) şi nu au niciunii perfectă dreptate.
La fel e şi cu Holocaustul. E clar că a fost un Holocaust, la fel de clar cum e că numărul victimelor nu e acela din estimările cele mai generoase.
Mi se pare în regulă să fii pro-Israel, şi mai mult, lăudabil să recunoşti lucrul ăsta în loc să te ascunzi ca atâţia alţii.
Emil, arabii urasc statul Isreal, asta este limpede. Mai mult acum, la implinirea a 60 de ani, cand vad ce au putut evreii sa construiasaca pe un petec de pamant, pe nisip si piatra. Cred ca asta ii deranjeaza extrem de mult, intr/adevar. Invidia trebuie sa fie mare si e, oarecum, de inteles! Cei care spun ca acest lucru a fost posibil gratie banilor pe care evreii i/au primit din SUA sunt cu totul in afara subiectului. Existenta statului Israel este o minune, fara exagere. A fost construit aproape din nimic, de oameni de toate felurile, veniti din toate colturile Europei, de conditii sociale diferite, si permanent inconjurati de dusmani.
Admir si respect statul Israel!
Tiberiu, dezbaterile pe tema numarului exact de victime ale Shoah sunt ceva incredibil. De parca ar conta daca au fost 6 milioane, 5 milioane, 4 milioane, 3 milioane, 2 milioane sau „doar” 1 milion de evrei facuti scrum, adica exact ceea ce amatorii de astfel de aiureli nu sunt in stare sa priceapa. Desigur, nici nu pot sa explice unde au disparut evreii europeni. Nici n-ar avea cum.
O intrebare: cine sunt oamenii pro-Israel care ascund aceasta atitudine? Eu nu i-am intalnit. Mai mult, nu am auzit de ei.
Bugsy > Dar cum poti sa crezi asa ceva? „miracolul” israelian are o explicatie logica! Trebuie numai sa deschidem Protocoalele Inteleptilor Sionului sau sa citim Mein Kampf => the world-wide Jewish Conspiracy: pro-Israel, anti-arabi, anti-Islam. ????
La fel de scurt exemplu: campus-watch.org
CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.
Par să se descrie destul de independenţi, nu? Ăsta e un exemplu elocvent pe care l-am descoperit (şi care de altfel mă preocupă, deoarece din toamnă mă va monitoriza şi pe mine, din câte înţeleg) într-un timp destul de scurt. Dar în orice dezbatere aprinsă se găsesc destui „imparţiali” care întâmplător au site-uri şi reviste foarte părtinitoare, din motive de simpatii sau de interese din spatele lor.
Nu e o discuţie legată de Israel aici. Aş putea să-ţi dau destule exemple şi din lumea sportului, pentru că acolo am monitorizat atent într-o vreme ce se întâmpla prin peisajul editorialiştilor autohtoni.
Daca nu esti un mic dictator tiermondist, nu vei avea nici o problema cu Campus Watch. De altfel, mi se pare ca intelegi gresit rostul lor. A spune ca albul e alb si negrul e negru nu te face partinitor. Trebuie sa facem totusi diferenta intre partinitor si obiectiv.
Din cate cunosc eu, Campus Watch a aparut ca urmare a cazurilor din ce in ce mai numeroase de universitari nord-americani care se comporta precum niste dictatori, neavand vreun pic de toleranta fata de opiniile contrare. De regula, acesti oameni au o viziune asupra lumii in care imperialismul american/ occidental, apartheidul israelian si crimele omului alb se imbina in mod absolut miraculos. Marile constiinte Chomsky-iste, oricand gata de a apara „luptatorii pentru libertate” din Hezbollah , Hamas, Al-Qaida etc. de „imperialismul Vestului”.
Mie mi se pare că vânătoarea de vrăjitoare nu e o soluţie. Cred că nu negi că, indiferent de poziţia pe care o adopţi, sunt şi destui de aceeaşi parte a baricadei dispuşi să recurgă la metode mizerabile de luptă, cum ar fi „hate list”-uri şi alte asemenea.
În orice caz, eu unul sunt pro libertate de exprimare. Vreau să-şi poată spune părerea şi cei care mă contrazic şi campus watch nu pare să înţeleagă asta. Dar să nu schimbăm subiectul, vor să pară dezinteresaţi când de fapt nu sunt.
Fie vorba intre noi, subiectul l-am schimbat din momentul in care am renuntat la a mai discuta Israel – 1948 si am sarit la Campus Watch. Trecand insa peste acest detaliu, continui sa cred ca interpretezi gresit problema. Sa o luam de la inceput.
Situatie ipotetica: tu esti profesor, eu student. Vii la curs si incepi sa demonstrezi ca in Orientul Mijlociu cauza tuturor relelor este statul Israel, un stat pe care il numesti terorist si pe care il acuzi de rasism, apartheid si genocid. Incepi sa plangi de mila unui anumit „luptator pentru libertate”, ucis de „masina de razboi sionista”. Eu ma declar indignat de aceasta mistificare ordinara si imi exprim sentimentele. Tu ma dai afara de la curs si ii atati si pe altii impotriva mea. In situatia asta intra in actiune Campus Watch. Vrajitoare de vanatoare? Nu-mi pare.
Reiterez afirmatia facuta anterior: separarea apele nu te transforma in actor partinitor. Acest lucru este valabil doar daca subscrii la o teza SF conform careia „adevarul se afla intotdeauna la mijloc”. Daca insa adevarul nu se afla la mijloc – cum se intampla -, atunci care e problema in a spune ca lucrurile stau asa si nu altfel?
Deci… dacă ai citit primul meu comentariu, ai înţeles că nu susţin teoria conform căreia adevărul e la mijloc. Adevărul în general nu e la mijloc.
Dar adevărul nu e neapărat ce înţelegi tu prin adevăr. Înţeleg că tu vrei să impui o opinie „evidentă” cu forţa în rândul profesorilor, ceea ce nu mi se pare tocmai OK. E o abordare similară cu cea a creştinilor fanatici, care vor religie în şcoli pentru că oricum „ăsta e adevărul”. Şi am şi pentru ei acelaşi dispreţ pe care-l am pentru toată lumea care vrea să elimine toate opiniile cu care nu e de acord.
„[Israelul] [a] fost construit aproape din nimic, de oameni de toate felurile, veniti din toate colturile Europei”
Nu numai din Europa. Zeci de mii de evrei s-au refugiat in Palestina/Israel din Orientul Mijlociu si Africa de Nord, fugind de groaza de pogromuri ca cel din Baghdad in 1941, la apogeul hitlerismului, si, mai devreme, de o viata mizera de ghetto si atacuri Islamice in Maroc, Algeria, Libia, Egipt si Siria. Istoria nu e completa fara suferinta lor si speranta pe care au gasit-o in Palestina.
„Ăsta e un exemplu elocvent pe care l-am descoperit (şi care de altfel mă preocupă, deoarece din toamnă mă va monitoriza şi pe mine, din câte înţeleg)”
De unde intelegeti ca veti fi „monitorizat” de Campus Watch? E cea mai buna gluma pe care am auzit-o saptamina asta. Ma tem ca va luati singur in seama, cum se zice mai nou in Romania.
Cu tot respectul, Campus Watch si David Horowitz au in vizor vinat mult mai mare decit un oarecare din Romania care neaga Holocaustul (scuze, care e sceptic in privinta numarului de evrei pieriti in Holocaust).
In plus, sunteti prost informat: Campus Watch a pornit exact ca un proiect de eliberare a instructiei in universitatile americane de tutela dogmei stingist/marxiste, absolut prevalenta la toate nivele universitatii, de la politica de admisii de studenti si angajari de profesori, la programe („curricula”) conforme cu dogmatica de stinga si bazate nu pe transmiterea de cunostinte ci pe indoctrinare politica. Stiu ce vorbesc pentru ca am trait in mediul universitar de aici multi ani.
Sa-l acuzi pe David Horowitz de a vrea sa puna botnita celor de alte opinii in academia e de tot risul, ca si ideea de „vinatoare de vrajitoare.” Habar n-aveti de sistemul fortelor de putere ideologice in America academica/elitara, formatoare de opinii. E predominant, sufocant, oprimant, stupid socialist/comunist/neo-marxista. Cei de alte opinii nu sunt angajati sau sunt indepartati.
Cit ce priveste chestia filozofica cum ca adevarul nu e la mijloc dar de fapt e relativ la subiect si circumstanta, hai s-o lasam balta, ca nu tine. Caldura mare in Romania deja, in mai??
Panseluta, ai dreptate, mii de evrei au plecat spre Eretz Isreal venind din Orientul Mijlociu. Au fost unul langa altul askhenazi din Estul Europei si sefarzi din Spania sau Maroc, au sapat santuri si au pietruit drumuri rabini alturi de tarani simpli, profesori universitari din Germnaia si mici meseriasi din Moldova. Nu vreau sa par patetic, dar ca sa intelegi ce inseamna Israel pentru evrei trebuie sa vezi Israelul si, in special, sa vorbesti cu oamenii. Sunt mandrii de ce au facut dar sunt si permanent nemultumiti de ce au, cautand sa imbunatateasca viata si locul in care traiesc. Prejudecta si paradox, acestea sunt coordonatele care definesc, cred eu, evreii la ora actuala. Prejudecata, pentru ca marea majoritate a oamneilor au prejudecati si idei preconcepute despre evrei, paradox, pentru ca daca ai vointa si dorinta de a cunoaste cat mai multe despre evreii si Israel, iti dai seama ca paradoxul este omniprezent in istoria lor. LONG LIVE ISRAEL!
Ma alatur tie din toata inima: La multi ani Israel!
P.S. Nu ma deranjeaza patetismul cind e sincer, nu demagogic.
Te rog sa revii aici, la patrupezi, oricind poti.
Panseluta, multumesc pentru invitatie.
Panseluţa, utilizaţi un ton foarte „potrivit” pentru o discuţie, mai ales în condiţiile în care eu nici măcar nu am o părere formată. Părerea mea e că aveţi ce învăţa din punctul ăsta de vedere de la Emil şi Imperialistu.
Până atunci, îmi pare bine că am dat peste articolul pe care l-aţi recomandat voi, e interesant, dar e important şi că e scris de un tip „born and raised in Israel” care „graduated in Arabic and Modern Middle East History from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and obtained an MA and Ph. D in International Relations from Tel Aviv University” şi mai mult „was a research analyst for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), where he attained the rank of Major”.
Văd că unii dintre voi mă luaţi deja ca pe un duşman. Nu e bine…
Am citit fiecare comentariu, cu mare atentie. Problema este ca respectivele comentarii se bat cap in cap: adevarul nu e la mijloc, dar sigur nu e la *aia*. De ce? Pentru ca *aia* sustin ca numai X are dreptate. Am i missing something here? ????
Acum, in ceea ce il priveste pe Efraim Karsh, trebuie sa tinem cont de niste lucruri. Intr-adevar, este bine sa vedem cine este cel care sustine X. De acord, dar nu trebuie sa o dam in extreme: „daca X apartine Y, atunci e clar ca ceea ce sustine el – Z – e dubios”. Lucrurile trebuie nuantate, de data asta. Trebuie sa ne ferim de relativismul asta postmodern care ne sufoca, doar IDF-ul nu este echivalentul israelian al Hamas.
Nu vreau sa impun nici o opinie. Eu vreau ca cei care impun opinii sa lase rolul de stalinisti si sa isi readuca aminte ca vocatia lor nu este aceea de a face pe comisarii politici. In cazul in care respectivii traiesc cu impresia ca universitatile sunt campul lor de lupta cu Occidentul, Israelul si lumea civilizata, nu vad nici un motiv pentru a ma face ca nu vad ce se intampla. Daca vor sa *lupte*, sa o faca pe front – talibanii recruteaza din intreaga lume, nu vad de ce nu si-ar aduce contributia in sange – dar sa o lase mai usor cu propaganda.
Panseluta ti-a descris foarte bine peisajul universitar american, absolut infiorator: „predominant, sufocant, oprimant, stupid socialist/comunist/neo-marxista”. Cu alte cuvinte, profund ideologizat si agresiv. Situatia nu este diferita nici in Vestul Europei, dar in America a atins deja nebunia.
In general, mediul universitar occidental a incetat sa mai produca valoare si s-a transformat in fabrici de productie ideologica profund anti-occidentala. Vestul educa socialisti, marxisti, neomarxisti, comunisti de toate culorile si se vede. Intelectualitatea abunda in denigratori ai propriilor valori si in avocati ai „oropsitilor planetei” care sunt pe rand: nord-coreeni, nord-vietnamezi, chinezi comunisti, „palestinieni”, musulmani etc. Cozi de topor auto-intitulate „constiinte”. Ce ai face tu in situatia asta? I-ai lasa sa isi continue opera?
Oameni buni, take it easy. Nimeni nu e dusmanul nimanui.
Iata un alt evreu, chiar rabbi, care a scris un articol bine documentat despre sistemul de proprietate al pamintului din Palestina. Prezinta in detaliu legile otomane de proprietate si neajunsurile generate de acestea. Cuprinde o serie de informatii foarte importante pentru intelegerea mai in amanunt a disputei asupra pamintului.
Ottoman Land Registration Law as a Contributing Factor in the Israeli-Arab Conflict
Un omagiu liric adus Israelului de un Baha’i iranian, via jihadwatch.org:
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Home Archive Our Archive Happy Sixtieth Birthday Israel
Happy Sixtieth Birthday Israel
Friday, 09 May 2008
Israel, your people, as well as people of good will, are celebrating your sixtieth birthday. We, the children of Cyrus the Great, also would like to offer our heartfelt best wishes to you on this occasion. Yet, this, in fact, is your rebirth. Your birth occurred some 4,000 years ago.
Regrettably, your journey from your early beginning to the present has been fraught with great suffering. It is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of your people that they persisted in their valiant struggle to re-gather again in the land of their birth.
A noble and just Persian king, Cyrus the Great, rescued your people from captivity in a foreign land and empowered them to return home and build their sacred temple. By his action of freeing an entire people from captivity and restoring their rightful dignity, Cyrus the Great, the author of the first code of Human Rights, cemented a bond of friendship between the Jews and the Persians. It was the Just King’s way of setting the world on a course of freedom, equality, and justice for all people, irrespective of any and all considerations.
Yet, your people, Israel, were unable to settle down for long in their own homeland, to worship their God as they wished, and to live in peace. They were assaulted once again by the forces of destruction that sent them scurrying for the relative safety of other lands.
Your rebirth, Israel, is in reality a culmination of thousands of years of gestation during which the Jewish people, dispersed through much of the world, endured immense degrees and varieties of suffering. The Nazi murderers and their collaborators capped the crimes committed against your people by brutally slaughtering six million innocent men, women and children.
Now, Israel, you are a sovereign state but hardly safe. You are surrounded by nations and peoples who are bent on your destruction. It is tragic that your neighbors and you have not been able to find an equitable way of living side-by-side with mutual respect and in peace.
Many of us Iranians co-suffer with this tragic state of affairs that harms you as well as your neighbors. We earnestly hope that ways can be found for a peaceful resolution of this destructive impasse.
We appreciate the fact that you, Israel, have welcomed the Iranian Jews who could no longer tolerate the rule of the oppressive venomous mullahs. These mullahs are indeed traitors to the lofty long-standing tradition and values championed by Cyrus the Great and revered by Persians throughout the ages.
We applaud you for affording millions of Israeli Arabs opportunities denied to them in many other lands.
Your fair treatment of the Baha’is, Israel, is a further testimony to your ability and willingness to live in harmony with any and all people. In Iran, the birthplace of the Baha’i faith, Baha’is are ruthlessly subjected to a form of gradual genocide by the savage mullahs. Some Baha’is are executed for their faith, Baha’i children are denied university studies, Baha’i holy places destroyed and even their cemeteries are bulldozed, just to cite a few examples. You, Israel, by contrast, have provided the Baha’is freedom to care for their holy places which were established in the Holy Land during the 19th century, long before your rebirth.
Your perennial prayer, “Next Year in Jerusalem” has finally been answered. We also pray that you succeed in taking the steps necessary for making the New Jerusalem a place of hope and lasting safety for your people as well as people of all religions and those with no religion at all.
Happy Sixtieth Birthday, Israel.
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mea culpa. Mi-am cam iesit din pepeni; incerc si eu sa invat sa-mi potrvesc tonul de la maestrii emil si Imperialistu’ (desi au si ei momentele lor de „pina aici!”)
Spuneati ca studiati problemele si nu v-ati stabilit intr-un sens sau altul, dar, cel putin in privinta lui Campus Watch, se pare ca v-ati format deja o parere care mi s-a parut asa de indepartata de realitate, asa de nedreapta ca n-am putut decit sa reactionez. Nimic mai departe in programul lor de ceea ce ii acuzati ca fac. Adica, mai simplu spus, lucrurile sunt exact pe dos decit le percepeti dumneavoastra. Campus Watch lupta impotriva uniformitatii de opinie si conformismului ideologic in invatamint, care a devenit un simulacru de educatie, un fel de „informare politica” a la regimul Ceausescu totala.
Daca raspunsul meu va poate convinge sa va mai uitati o data la misiunea si activitatile celor de la Campus Watch, ma declar multumita.
Va mai indemn sa cititi articolele publicate de FIRE=Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, care lupta pentru scopuri similare celor de la Campus Watch.
Cititi, in special, povestea orwelliana a Universitatii din Delaware:
Panseluta, impresionant mesajul. De amintit, apropo de relatia Iran / Israel, ca pana la revolutia lui Kohmeini si inlaturarea sahului, Israelul si Iranul erau considerate ca doua state pilon intr/un Orient al dictaturilor militariste si tribale. Al treilea pilon de stabilitate era, si este in continuare, Turcia. Nu putini sunt cei care apreciaza ca un Orient Mijlociu in pace poate fi garantat doar de existenta unor regimuri democratice in aceste trei state pilon Israel, Turcia si Iran. Deocamdata, in Iran……. .
Revenind la Bahai, iata un link pentru locul unde se afla templul sfant al Bahai, in Haifa, Israel. Gradinile Bahai de aici sunt impresionante!
Un link mai precis:
Si pe mine m-a impresionat. Nu-mi plac grandilocventa si retorica siropoasa (Caragiale te vindeca pe viata de gustul asta), dar omul e sincer in recunostinta lui pentru un bine istoric indubitabil (aviz istoricilor relativisti).
In plus, am o prietena Bahai care a scapat din Iran pe cind era fetita, dupa „revolutie”, cu mama ei si un fratior, mergind pe jos sute de kilometri sau dusi in circa de mama.
Apropos de razboiaele arabe inpotriva Israelului, o marturie a unuia care stie despre ce vorbeste:
„Leadership may be the greatest weakness of Arab training systems. [A] sergeant first class in the U.S. Army has as much authority as a colonel in an Arab army. . . . A veteran of the Pentagon turf wars will feel like a kindergartner when he encounters the rivalries that exist in the Arab military headquarters.”
The author, a retired U.S. Army colonel, draws upon many years of firsthand observation of Arabs in training to reach conclusions about the ways in which they go into combat. His findings derive from personal experience with Arab military establishments in the capacity of U.S. military attache and security assistance officer, observer officer with the British-officered Trucial Oman Scouts (the security force in the emirates prior to the establishment of the UAE), as well as some thirty years of study of the Middle East.~ Ed.
ARABIC-SPEAKING ARMIES have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s. Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers. Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds. The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre. And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors — economic, ideological, technical — but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.
Including culture in strategic assessments has a poor legacy, for it has often been spun from an ugly brew of ignorance, wishful thinking, and mythology. Thus, the U.S. Army in the 1930s evaluated the Japanese national character as lacking originality and drew the unwarranted conclusion that that country would be permanently disadvantaged in technology. Hitler dismissed the United States as a mongrel society and consequently underestimated the impact of America’s entry into the war. American strategists assumed that the pain threshold of the North Vietnamese approximated our own and that the air bombardment of the North would bring it to its knees. Three days of aerial attacks were thought to be all the Serbs could withstand; in fact, seventy-eight days were needed.
As these examples suggest, when culture is considered in calculating the relative strengths and weaknesses of opposing forces, it tends to lead to wild distortions, especially when it is a matter of understanding why states unprepared for war enter into combat flushed with confidence. The temptation is to impute cultural attributes to the enemy state that negate its superior numbers or weaponry. Or the opposite: to view the potential enemy through the prism of one’s own cultural norms.
It is particularly dangerous to make facile assumptions about abilities in warfare based on past performance, for societies evolve and so does the military subculture with it. The dismal French performance in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war led the German high command to an overly optimistic assessment prior to World War I. Then tenacity and courage of French soldiers in World War I lead everyone from Winston Churchill to the German high command vastly to overestimate the French army’s fighting abilities. Israeli generals underestimated the Egyptian army of 1973 based on Egypt’s hapless performance in the 1967 war.
Culture is difficult to pin down. It is not synonymous with an individual’s race nor ethnic identity. The history of warfare makes a mockery of attempts to assign rigid cultural attributes to individuals — as the military histories of the Ottoman and Roman empires illustrate. In both cases it was training, discipline, esprit, and élan which made the difference, not the individual soldiers’ origin. The highly disciplined and effective Roman legions, for example, recruited from throughout the Roman Empire, and the elite Ottoman Janissaries (slave soldiers) were Christians forcibly recruited as boys from the Balkans.
The role of culture
These problems notwithstanding, culture does need to be taken into account. Indeed, awareness of prior mistakes should make it possible to assess the role of cultural factors in warfare. John Keegan, the eminent historian of warfare, argues that culture is a prime determinant of the nature of warfare. In contrast to the usual manner of European warfare, which he terms “face to face,” Keegan depicts the early Arab armies in the Islamic era as masters of evasion, delay, and indirection. Examining Arab warfare in this century leads to the conclusion that the Arabs remain more successful in insurgent, or political, warfare — what T. E. Lawrence termed “winning wars without battles.” Even the much-lauded Egyptian crossing of the Suez in 1973 at its core entailed a masterful deception plan. It may well be that these seemingly permanent attributes result from a culture that engenders subtlety, indirection, and dissimulation in personal relationships.
Along these lines, Kenneth Pollock concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991.” These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level. The barrage of criticism leveled at Samuel Huntington’s notion of a “clash of civilizations” in no way lessens the vital point he made — that however much the grouping of peoples by religion and culture rather than political or economic divisions offends academics who propound a world defined by class, race, and gender, it is a reality, one not diminished by modern communications.
But how does one integrate the study of culture into military training? At present, it has hardly any role. Paul M. Belbutowski, a scholar and former member of the U.S. Delta Force, succinctly stated a deficiency in our own military education system: “Culture, comprised of all that is vague and intangible, is not generally integrated into strategic planning except at the most superficial level.” And yet it is precisely “all that is vague and intangible” that defines low-intensity conflicts. The Vietnamese communists did not fight the war the United States had trained for, nor did the Chechens and Afghans fight the war the Russians prepared for. This entails far more than simply retooling weaponry and retraining soldiers. It requires an understanding of the cultural mythology, history, attitude toward time, etc.; and it demands a more substantial investment in time and money than a bureaucratic organization is likely to authorize.
Mindful of walking through a minefield of past errors and present cultural sensibilities, I offer some assessments of the role of culture in the military training of Arabic-speaking officers. I confine myself principally to training for two reasons:
• First, I observed much training but only one combat campaign (the Jordanian Army against the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970).
• Secondly, armies fight as they train. Troops are conditioned by peacetime habits, policies, and procedures; they do not undergo a sudden metamorphosis that transforms civilians in uniform into warriors. General George Patton was fond of relating the story about Julius Caesar, who “in the winter time. . . so trained his legions in all that became soldiers and so habituated them to the proper performance of their duties, that when in the spring he committed them to battle against the Gauls, it was not necessary to give them orders, for they knew what to do and how to do it.”
Information as power
In every society information is a means of making a living or wielding power, but Arabs husband information and hold it especially tightly. U.S. trainers have often been surprised over the years by the fact that information provided to key personnel does not get much further than them. Having learned to perform some complicated procedure, an Arab technician knows that he is invaluable so long as he is the only one in a unit to have that knowledge; once he dispenses it to others he no longer is the only font of knowledge and his power dissipates. This explains the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature.
On one occasion, an American mobile training team working with armor in Egypt at long last received the operators’ manuals that had laboriously been translated into Arabic. The American trainers took the newly minted manuals straight to the tank park and distributed them to the tank crews. Right behind them, the company commander, a graduate of the armor school at Fort Knox and specialized courses at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds ordnance school, promptly collected the manuals from those crews. Questioned why he did this, the commander said that there was no point in giving them to the drivers because enlisted men could not read. In point of fact, he did not want enlisted men to have an independent source of knowledge. Being the only person who could explain the fire control instrumentation or bore sight artillery weapons brought prestige and attention.
In military terms this means that very little cross-training is accomplished and that, for instance in a tank crew, the gunners, loaders and drivers might be proficient in their jobs but are not prepared to fill in should one become a casualty. Not understanding one another’s jobs also inhibits a smoothly functioning crew. At a higher level it means that there is no depth in technical proficiency.
Training tends to be unimaginative, cut and dried, and not challenging. Because the Arab educational system is predicated on rote memorization, officers have a phenomenal ability to commit vast amounts of knowledge to memory. The learning system tends to consist of on-high lectures, with students taking voluminous notes and being examined on what they were told. (It also has interesting implications for a foreign instructor, whose credibility, for example, is diminished if he must resort to a book.) The emphasis on memorization has a price, and that is in diminished ability to reason or engage in analysis based upon general principles. Thinking outside the box is not encouraged; doing so in public can damage a career. Instructors are not challenged and neither, in the end, are students.
Head-to-head competition among individuals is generally avoided, at least openly, for it means that someone wins and someone else loses, with the loser humiliated. This taboo has particular import when a class contains mixed ranks. Education is in good part sought as a matter of personal prestige, so Arabs in U.S. military schools take pains to ensure that the ranking member, according to military position or social class, scores the highest marks in the class. Often this leads to “sharing answers” in class — often in a rather overt manner or in junior officers concealing scores higher than those of their superiors.
American military instructors dealing with Middle Eastern students learn to ensure that, before directing any question to a student in a classroom situation, particularly if he is an officer, the student does possess the correct answer. If this is not assured, the officer may feel he has been deliberately set up for public humiliation. In the often-paranoid environment of Arab political culture, he may then become an enemy of the instructor, and his classmates will become apprehensive about their also being singled out for humiliation — and learning becomes impossible.
Officers vs. soldiers
Arab junior officers are well trained on the technical aspects of their weapons and tactical know-how, but not in leadership, a subject given little attention. For example, as General Sa`d ash-Shazli, the Egyptian chief of staff, noted in his assessment of the army he inherited prior to the 1973 war, they were not trained to seize the initiative or volunteer original concepts or new ideas. Indeed, leadership may be the greatest weakness of Arab training systems. This problem results from two main factors: a highly accentuated class system bordering on a caste system, and lack of a non-commissioned-officer development program.
Most Arab armies treat enlisted soldiers like sub-humans. When the winds in Egypt one day carried biting sand particles from the desert during a demonstration for visiting U.S. dignitaries, I watched as a contingent of soldiers marched in and formed a single rank to shield the Americans; Egyptian soldiers, in other words, are used on occasion as nothing more than a windbreak. The idea of taking care of one’s men is found only among the most elite units in the Egyptian military. On a typical weekend, officers in units stationed outside Cairo will get in their cars and drive off to their homes, leaving the enlisted men to fend for themselves by trekking across the desert to a highway and flag down busses or trucks to get to the Cairo rail system. Garrison cantonments have no amenities for soldiers. The same situation, in various degrees, exists elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking countries — less so in Jordan, even more so in Iraq and Syria. The young draftees who make up the vast bulk of the Egyptian army hate military service for good reason and will do almost anything, including self-mutilation, to avoid it. In Syria the wealthy buy exemptions or, failing that, are assigned to noncombatant organizations. As a young Syrian told me, his musical skills came from his assignment to a Syrian army band where he learned to play an instrument. In general, the militaries of the Fertile Crescent enforce discipline by fear; in countries where a tribal system still is in force, such as Saudi Arabia, the innate egalitarianism of the society mitigates against fear as the prime mover, so a general lack of discipline pervades.
The social and professional gap between officers and enlisted men is present in all armies, but in the United States and other Western forces, the non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps bridges it. Indeed, a professional NCO corps has been critical for the American military to work at its best; as the primary trainers in a professional army, NCOs are critical to training programs and to the enlisted men’s sense of unit esprit. Most of the Arab world either has no NCO corps or it is non-functional, severely handicapping the military’s effectiveness. With some exceptions, NCOs are considered in the same low category as enlisted men and so do not serve as a bridge between enlisted men and officers. Officers instruct but the wide social gap between enlisted man and officer tends to make the learning process perfunctory, formalized, and ineffective. The show-and-tell aspects of training are frequently missing because officers refuse to get their hands dirty and prefer to ignore the more practical aspects of their subject matter, believing this below their social station. A dramatic example of this occurred during the Gulf War when a severe windstorm blew down the tents of Iraqi officer prisoners of war. For three days they stayed in the wind and rain rather than be observed by enlisted prisoners in a nearby camp working with their hands.
The military price for this is very great. Without the cohesion supplied by NCOs, units tend to disintegrate in the stress of combat. This is primarily a function of the fact that the enlisted soldiers simply do not have trust in their officers. Once officers depart the training areas, training begins to fall apart as soldiers begin drifting off. An Egyptian officer once explained to me that the Egyptian army’s catastrophic defeat in 1967 resulted from of a lack of cohesion within units. The situation, he said, had only marginally improved in 1973. Iraqi prisoners in 1991 showed a remarkable fear of and enmity toward their officers.
CONTINUED . . .
(This article appears in two parts. Click here to go to part two.)
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Partea a doua a articolului:
(This article appears in two parts. Click here to go to part one.)
Decision-making and responsibility
Decisions are highly centralized, made at a very high level and rarely delegated. Rarely does an officer make a critical decision on his own; instead, he prefers the safe course of being identified as industrious, intelligent, loyal — and compliant. Bringing attention to oneself as an innovator or someone prone to making unilateral decisions is a recipe for trouble. As in civilian life, conforming is the overwhelming societal norm; the nail that stands up gets hammered down. Decisions are made and delivered from on high, with very little lateral communication. Orders and information flow from top to bottom; they are not to be reinterpreted, amended, or modified in any way.
U.S. trainers often experience frustration obtaining a decision from a counterpart, not realizing that the Arab officer lacks the authority to make the decision — a frustration amplified by the Arab’s understandable reluctance to admit that he lacks that authority. This author has several times seen decisions that could have been made at the battalion level concerning such matters as class meeting times and locations referred for approval to the ministry of defense. All of which has led American trainers to develop a rule of thumb: a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army has as much authority as a colonel in an Arab army.
Methods of instruction and subject matter are dictated by higher authorities. Unit commanders have very little to say about these affairs. The politicized nature of the Arab militaries means that political factors weigh heavily and frequently override military considerations. Officers with initiative and a predilection for unilateral action pose a threat to the regime. This can be seen not just at the level of national strategy but in every aspect of military operations and training. If Arab militaries became less politicized and more professional in preparation for the 1973 war with Israel, once the fighting ended, old habits returned. Now, an increasingly bureaucratized military establishment weighs in as well. A veteran of the Pentagon turf wars will feel like a kindergartner when he encounters the rivalries that exist in the Arab military headquarters.
Taking responsibility for a policy, operation, status, or training program rarely occurs. U.S. trainers can find it very frustrating when they repeatedly encounter Arab officers placing blame for unsuccessful operations or programs on the U.S. equipment or some other outside source. A high rate of non-operational U.S. equipment is blamed on a “lack of spare parts” — pointing a finger at an unresponsive U.S. supply system despite the fact that American trainers can document ample supplies arriving in country and disappearing in a moribund supply system. (It should be added, and is important to do so, that this criticism was never caustic or personal and was often so indirect and politely delivered that it wasn’t until after a meeting that oblique references were understood.) This imperative works even at the most exalted levels. During the Kuwait war, Iraqi forces took over the town of Khafji in northeast Saudi Arabia after the Saudis had evacuated the place. General Khalid bin Sultan, the Saudi ground forces commander, requested a letter from General Norman Schwarzkopf, stating it was the U.S. general who ordered an evacuation from the Saudi town. And in his account of the Khafji battle, General Bin Sultan predictably blames the Americans for the Iraqi occupation of the town. In reality the problem was that the light Saudi forces in the area left the battlefield. The Saudis were in fact outgunned and outnumbered by the Iraqi unit approaching Khafji but Saudi pride required that foreigners be blamed.
As for equipment, a vast cultural gap exists between the U.S. and Arab maintenance and logistics systems. The Arab difficulties with U.S. equipment is not, as sometimes simplistically believed, a matter of “Arabs don’t do maintenance,” but a vast cultural gap. The American concept of a weapons system does not convey easily. A weapons system brings with it specific maintenance and logistics procedures, policies, and even a philosophy, all of them based on U.S. culture, with its expectations of a certain educational level, sense of small unit responsibility, tool allocation, and doctrine. The U.S. equipment and its maintenance are predicated on a concept of repair at the lowest level and therefore require delegation of authority. Tools that would be allocated to a U.S. battalion (a unit of some 600-800 personnel) would most likely be found at a much higher level — probably two or three echelons higher — in an Arab army. The expertise, initiative and, most importantly, the trust indicated by delegation of responsibility to a lower level are rare. Without the needed tools, spare parts, or expertise available to keep equipment running, and loathe to report bad news to his superiors, the unit commander looks for scapegoats.
All this explains why I many times heard in Egypt that U.S. weaponry is “too delicate.” I have observed many in-country U.S. survey teams: invariably, hosts make the case for acquiring the most modern of military hardware and do everything to avoid issues of maintenance, logistics, and training. They obfuscate and mislead to such an extent that U.S. teams, no matter how earnest their sense of mission, find it nearly impossible to help. More generally, Arab reluctance to be candid about training deficiencies makes it extremely difficult for foreign advisors properly to support instruction or assess training needs.
Combined arms operations
A lack of cooperation is most apparent in the failure of all Arab armies to succeed at combined arms operations. A regular Jordanian army infantry company, for example is man-for-man as good as a comparable Israeli company; at battalion level, however, the coordination required for combined arms operations, with artillery, air, and logistics support, is simply absent. Indeed, the higher the echelon, the greater the disparity. This results from infrequent combined arms training; when it does take place, it is intended to impress visitors (which it does — the dog-and-pony show is usually done with uncommon gusto and theatrical talent) rather than provide real training.
Three underlying factors further impede coordination necessary for combined operations.
• First, the well-known lack of trust among Arabs in anyone outside their own families adversely affects offensive operations. In a culture in which almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business and social relationships, is based on a family structure, this basic mistrust of others is particularly costly in the stress of battle. Offensive action, at base, consists of fire and maneuver. The maneuver element must be confident that supporting units or arms are providing covering fire. If there is a lack of trust in that support, getting troops moving forward against dug-in defenders is possible only by officers getting out front and leading, something that has not been a characteristic of Arab leadership. (Exceptions to this pattern are limited to elite units, which throughout the Arab world have the same duty — to protect the regime rather than the country.)
• Second, the complex mosaic system of peoples creates additional problems for training, as rulers in the Middle East make use of the sectarian and tribal loyalties to maintain power. The `Alawi minority controls Syria, east bankers control Jordan, Sunnis control Iraq, and Nejdis control Saudi Arabia. This has direct implications for the military, where sectarian considerations affect assignments and promotions. Some minorities (such the Circassians in Jordan or the Druze in Syria) tie their well-being to the ruling elite and perform critical protection roles; others (such as the Shi`a of Iraq) are excluded from the officer corps. In any case, the careful assignment of officers based on sectarian considerations works against assignments based on merit. The same lack of trust operates at the inter-state level, where Arab armies exhibit very little trust of each other, and with good reason. The blatant lie Gamal Abdel Nasser told King Husayn in June 1967 to get him into the war against Israel — that the Egyptian air force was over Tel Aviv (when the vast majority of planes had been destroyed) — was a classic example of deceit. Sadat’s disingenuous approach to the Syrians to entice them to enter the war in October 1973 was another (he told them that the Egyptians were planning total war, a deception that included using a second set of operational plans intended only for Syrian eyes). With this sort of history, it is no wonder that there is very little cross or joint training among Arab armies and very few command exercises. During the 1967 war, for example, not a single Jordanian liaison officer was stationed in Egypt, nor were the Jordanians forthcoming with the Egyptian command.
• Third, Middle Eastern rulers routinely rely on balance-of-power techniques to maintain their authority. They use competing organizations, duplicate agencies, and coercive structures dependent upon the ruler’s whim. This makes building any form of personal power base difficult, if not impossible, and keeps the leadership apprehensive and off-balance, never secure in its careers or social position. The same applies within the military; a powerful chairman of the joint chiefs is inconceivable. Joint commands are paper constructs that have little actual function. Leaders look at joint commands, joint exercises, combined arms, and integrated staffs very cautiously for all Arab armies are double-edged swords. One edge points toward the external enemy and the other toward the capital. Land forces are at once a regime-maintenance force and threat to the same regime. This situation is most clearly seen in Saudi Arabia, where the land forces and aviation are under the minister of defense, Prince Sultan, while the National Guard is under Prince Abdullah, the deputy prime minister and crown prince. In Egypt, the Central Security Forces balance the army. In Iraq and Syria, the Republican Guard does the balancing.
No Arab ruler will allow combined operations or training to become routine, for these create familiarity, soften rivalries, erase suspicions, and eliminate the fragmented, competing organizations that enable rulers to play off rivals against one another. Politicians actually create obstacles to maintain fragmentation. For example, obtaining aircraft from the air force for army airborne training, whether it is a joint exercise or a simple administrative request for support of training, must generally be coordinated by the heads of services at the ministry of defense; if a large number of aircraft are involved, this probably requires presidential approval. Military coups may have gone out of style for now, but the fear of them remains strong. Any large-scale exercise of land forces is always a matter of concern to the government and is closely observed, particularly if live ammunition is being used. In Saudi Arabia a complex system of clearances required from area military commanders and provincial governors, all of whom have differing command channels to secure road convoy permission, obtaining ammunition, and conducting exercises, means that in order for a coup to work it would require a massive amount of loyal conspirators. The system has proven to be coup-proof, and there is no reason to believe it will not work well into the future.
Security and paranoia
Arab regimes classify virtually everything vaguely military. Information the U.S. military routinely publishes (about promotions, transfers, names of unit commanders, and unit designations) is top secret in Arabic-speaking countries. To be sure, this does make it more difficult for the enemy to construct an accurate order of battle, but it also feeds the divisive and compartmentalized nature of the military forces. The obsession with security can reach ludicrous lengths. Prior to the 1973 war, Sadat was surprised to find that within two weeks of the date he had ordered the armed forces be ready for war, his minister of war, General Muhammad Sadiq, had failed to inform his immediate staff of the order. Should a war, Sadat wondered, be kept secret from the very people expected to fight it?
One can expect to have an Arab counterpart or key contact changed without warning and with no explanation as to his sudden absence. This might well be simply a transfer a few doors away, but the vagueness of it all leaves foreigners imagining dire scenarios — that could be true. And it is best not to inquire too much; advisors or trainers who seem overly inquisitive may find their access to host military information or facilities limited. The presumed close U.S.-Israel relationship, thought to be operative at all levels, aggravates and complicates this penchant for secrecy. Arabs believe that the most mundane details about them are somehow transmitted to the Mossad via a secret hotline. This explains why an U.S. advisor with Arab forces is likely to be asked early and often about his opinion on the “Palestine problem,” then subjected to monologues on the assumed Jewish domination of the United States.
Indifference to safety
There is a general laxness with respect to safety measures and a seeming carelessness and indifference to training accidents, many of which could have been prevented by minimal safety precautions. To the (perhaps overly) safety-conscious Americans, Arab societies appear indifferent to casualties and to the importance of training safety. There are a number of explanations for this. Some would point to the inherent fatalism within Islam, and certainly anyone who has spent considerable time in Arab taxis would lend credence to that theory; but perhaps the reason has less to do with religion than with political culture. As any military veteran knows, the ethos of a unit is set at the top; or, as the old saying has it, units do those things well that the boss cares about. When the top political leadership displays a complete lack of concern for the welfare of its soldiers, such attitudes percolate down through the ranks. Exhibit A was the betrayal of Syrian troops fighting Israel in the Golan in 1967: having withdrawn its elite units, the Syrian government knowingly broadcast the falsehood that Israeli troops had captured the town of Kuneitra, which would have put them behind the largely conscript Syrian army still in position. The leadership took this step to pressure the great powers to impose a truce, though it led to a panic by the Syrian troops and the loss of the Golan Heights.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the cultural gulf separating American and Arab military cultures. In every significant area, American military advisors find students who enthusiastically take in their lessons and then resolutely fail to apply them. The culture they return to — the culture of their own armies in their own countries — defeats the intentions with which they took leave of their American instructors. Arab officers are not concerned about the welfare and safety of their men. The Arab military mind does not encourage initiative on the part of junior officers, or any officers for that matter. Responsibility is avoided and deflected, not sought and assumed. Political paranoia and operational hermeticism, rather than openness and team effort, are the rules of advancement (and survival) in the Arab military establishments. These are not issues of genetics, of course, but matters of historical and political culture.
When they had an influence on certain Arab military establishments, the Soviets strongly reinforced their clients’ own cultural traits. Like that of the Arabs, the Soviets’ military culture was driven by political fears bordering on paranoia. The steps taken to control the sources (real or imagined) of these fears, such as a rigidly centralized command structure, were readily understood by Arab political and military elites. The Arabs, too, felt an affinity for the Soviet officer class’s contempt for ordinary soldiers and its distrust of a well-developed, well-appreciated, well-rewarded NCO corps.
Arab political culture is based on a high degree of social stratification, very much like that of the defunct Soviet Union and very much unlike the upwardly mobile, meritocratic, democratic United States. Arab officers do not see any value in sharing information among themselves, let alone with their men. In this they follow the example of their political leaders, who not only withhold information from their own allies, but routinely deceive them. Training in Arab armies reflects this: rather than prepare as much as possible for the multitude of improvised responsibilities that are thrown up in the chaos of battle, Arab soldiers, and their officers, are bound in the narrow functions assigned them by their hierarchy. That this renders them less effective on the battlefield, let alone that it places their lives at greater risk, is scarcely of concern, whereas, of course, these two issues are dominant in the American military culture and are reflected in American military training.
Change is unlikely to come until it occurs in the larger Arab political culture, although the experience of other societies (including our own) suggests that the military can have a democratizing influence on the larger political culture, as officers bring the lessons of their training first into their professional environment, then into the larger society. It obviously makes a big difference, however, when the surrounding political culture is not only avowedly democratic (as was the Soviet Union’s), but functionally so.
Until Arab politics begin to change at fundamental levels, Arab armies, whatever the courage or proficiency of individual officers and men, are unlikely to acquire the range of qualities which modern fighting forces require for success on the battlefield. For these qualities depend on inculcating respect, trust, and openness among the members of the armed forces at all levels, and this is the marching music of modern warfare that Arab armies, no matter how much they emulate the corresponding steps, do not want to hear.
(This article appears in two parts. Click here to return to part one.)
First printed in „Middle East Quarterly” Dec. 1999, Vol. 6, No. 2.
Republished by permission.The author notes that the opinions expressed in this article are strictly his own.
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American Diplomacy *Norvell „Tex” de Atkine served eight years in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt (in addition to extensive combat service in Vietnam). A West Pointer, he holds a graduate degree in Arab studies from the American University of Beirut. Currently he teaches at the JFK Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. See also his “The Political-Military Officer: Soldier Scholar or Cocktail Commando?” in American Diplomacy Vol. IV, No. 1 (Winter 1999)
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Unul din cele mai interesante pasaje mi se pare acesta:
„In contrast to the usual manner of European warfare, which he [Keegan] terms “face to face,” Keegan depicts the early Arab armies in the Islamic era as masters of evasion, delay, and indirection. Examining Arab warfare in this century leads to the conclusion that the Arabs remain more successful in insurgent, or political, warfare — what T. E. Lawrence termed “winning wars without battles.” Even the much-lauded Egyptian crossing of the Suez in 1973 at its core entailed a masterful deception plan. It may well be that these seemingly permanent attributes result from a culture that engenders subtlety, indirection, and dissimulation in personal relationships.”
Panseluta, trimite-mi te rog linkul la articolul pe care l-ai reprodus. O sa il includ in ‘biblioteca’.
Scrie-mi daca linkul merge.
Gresit. la loc comanda:
Văd că s-au postat ceva comentarii…
„Am citit fiecare comentariu, cu mare atentie. Problema este ca respectivele comentarii se bat cap in cap: adevarul nu e la mijloc, dar sigur nu e la *aia*. De ce? Pentru ca *aia* sustin ca numai X are dreptate. Am i missing something here?”
Nu-i mare lucru să convenim că există un adevăr obiectiv. Totuşi… nu-mi place gândirea de genul „adevărul e cel pe care-l ştim noi, şi trebuie să-l impunem tuturor”. Atâta tot! Subiectul e unul controversat, e clar că sunt opinii cu greutate în comunitatea intelectuală de ambele părţi, şi asta înseamnă că ambele puncte de vedere trebuie prezentate (de fapt, sunt chiar curios cum propui tu să se stabilească ce e adevărat şi ce nu în privinţa unor chestiuni atât de complicate. O să-mi spui că nu sunt complicate deloc, că totul e foarte clar… dar nu ăsta e răspunsul pe care-l caut. E doar o altă manifestare a dorinţei de uniformitate, pe care o critici la alţii.). Pentru că nu vorbim de matematică ci de ceva mult mai trivial şi nu trebuie expuse adevăruri, ci opinii. Dacă se face o propagandă de genul celei pe care tu o descrii, e normal să existe organizaţii care să monitorizeze ce se întâmplă prin campusuri (mai ales când nu ripostează prin metode barbare, incluzând aici cererea interzicerii unor speaker-i în campus – cred că ştii de cazul recent de la Columbia, şi altele asemenea). Dar să nu uităm că noi vorbeam de cu totul altceva, cel puţin în primă fază.
„Spuneati ca studiati problemele si nu v-ati stabilit intr-un sens sau altul, dar, cel putin in privinta lui Campus Watch, se pare ca v-ati format deja o parere care mi s-a parut asa de indepartata de realitate, asa de nedreapta ca n-am putut decit sa reactionez.”
Am o singură părere clară despre Campus Watch: încearcă să treacă drept organizaţie dezinteresată când de fapt nu sunt. Şi i-am amintit doar pentru a exemplifica existenţa speciei, ce fusese pusă la îndoială de un antevorbitor. Nu e rău să ai interese! Aici nu e vorba de „bine” sau „rău”, ci doar de ipocrizie… eu, cel puţin, la asta m-am referit. Cât despre mission statement, mă rog… ştiu destui cu mission statement „să convertim întreaga lume la adevărata credinţă”. Una e ce declari că-ţi propui să faci, şi alta e ce faci.
Vă salut pe toţi cu prietenie, şi vă asigur că nu sunt aici ca să mă cert cu voi. ????
tot nu merge.
Google „de Atkine/Why Arabs Lose Wars” si te vei gasi la situl Universitatii din Carolina de Nord, daca nu la mai multe.
Scrie-mi daca ai reusit.
Ma bucur ca vrei sa-l incluzi in biblioteca noastra. Mi se pare esential in intelegerea conflictelor contemporane. Mai mult chiar, inteligenta militara e desconsiderata in ziua de azi, desi e o parte fundamentala a civilizatiei.
Poate-mi aratati unde si cum Campus Watch incearca sa treaca drept ‘organizatie dezinteresata” (cuvintele dumneavoastra).
„Dezinteresata”? Nimic mai departe de Campus Watch. Ei sunt profund, declarat, pe fata, fara scuze, fara frica, fara ambiguitatati si eufemisme „interesati” de misiunea lor, absolut polemica si militanta.
Simt că mă repet… Ei se auto-descriu aici http://www.campus-watch.org/about.php, „omiţând” să spună că sunt o organizaţie profund pro-israeliană, nu independentă. Sunt înfiinţaţi de Daniel Pipes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Pipes) şi Martin Kramer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Kramer), şi aşa mai departe.
NU E O PROBLEMĂ, chiar nu mă deranjează interesele din spatele CW.
Imperialistu’ întrebase „O intrebare: cine sunt oamenii pro-Israel care ascund aceasta atitudine? Eu nu i-am intalnit. Mai mult, nu am auzit de ei.”
CAMPUS WATCH sunt, şi mi se pare destul de evident.
Tiberiu, ce vrei sa spui prin ‘independent’?
Obiectiv, echidistant, impartial? Pentru ca in mod clar sint o organizatie independenta de Israel sau orice agentie guvernamentala de oriunde.
Probabil ca te referi la unul din cele trei atribute pe care le-am enumerat, sau ceva in acest sens. Chiar si in aceasta situatie, banuiesc ca aplici aceste calitati vizavi de Israel (pro fata de anti; obiectiv, etc., insemnind o pozitie nepartizana in relatie cu Israelul). Repet, asta e interpretarea mea a gindirii tale. Te rog sa ma corectezi. Dar mergind pe acest fir, iata cum se autodefineste Campus Watch.
„CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.”
Interesant, Israel nu este mentionat. Bun, inseamna ca atitudinea ‘profund pro-israeliana’ devine atunci evidenta in activitatea CW. In acest caz, te rog sa cauti pe siteul lor si sa gasesti care sint instantele specifice de „critiques [of] Middle East studies in North America” care tin de statul Israel. In timp ce evaluezi toate criticile formulate de CW, te rog sa evaluezi si ce procentaj reprezinta criticile avind drept subiect statul Israel din numarul total de luari de pozitie. E un lucru important. Sint dispus sa iti propun urmatorul raport. Daca din toate obiectiile aduse de CW la adresa programelor universitare americane care au drept tema de studiu Orientul Mijlociu, 40% sint legate de statul Israel, iti dau dreptate si imi insusesc opinia ta ca CW are o agenda ‘profund pro-Israel’ nedeclarata. Voi fi de acord cu tine ca avem de a face cu ipocrizie. In caz contrar, te rog sa iti revizuiesti opinia.
Sa stii ca nu am facut o statistica a criticilor formulate de CW. Deci, s-ar putea sa ai dreptate. Insa deoarece ai facut o afirmatie foarte transanta, te rog sa o demonstrezi, cu atit mai mult cu cit demonstratia e la indemina.
Campus Watch – The New McCarthyism?
As vrea sa intrerup putin disputa pe tema CW cu un exemplu care sa justifice de ce este utila activitatea CW.
Iata articolul :
The BBC’s Birthday Present to Israel
Jeremy Bowen’s documentary is full of omissions and historical revisionism.
The events leading up to the creation of the modern-day State of Israel exactly 60 years ago have been examined and re-examined by qualified historians. So why was Jeremy Bowen given the responsibility of producing the BBC’s one-hour documentary „The Birth of Israel” broadcast on May 4, 2008? (Available to view online only in the UK. This program, may, however, be broadcast internationally at a future date.)
Middle East editor Bowen has consistently demonstrated a slanted view of Israel and the regional conflict and his documentary continues in this vein.
A taste of things to come arrives in the first few seconds of the broadcast, which features images of Islam’s Dome of the Rock and a Christian crucifix against a Jerusalem backdrop. Despite the deep religious connection of Judaism to both Jerusalem and the land of Israel, this image is, incredibly, omitted. And herein lies the major flaw of the entire program – the legitimate roots of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel going back three millenia are either downplayed, delegitmized or ignored altogether.
Whitewashing Jewish rights to a state:
While Bowen talks about Palestinian farmers working the land for centuries, scant attention is paid to the continuous Jewish presence dating back to antiquity, instead implying that the waves of Jewish immigrants arriving in the pre-state years were an alien implant.
Nowhere does Bowen explain that a Palestinian sovereign state had never existed and that prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. In fact, Bowen ignores some 100,000 Arabs who emigrated from neighboring countries during the British Mandate period alone and are today considered Palestinians.
Bowen simplistically sums up Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration: „One nation promising the land of another to a third,” conveniently omitting that the land of another was not the reality and that the third nation [the Jewish people] had legitimate and just claims to that land.
As if to hammer home his point, Bowen also says that the Holocaust created a new moral argument for a Jewish state. Is Bowen implying that there was no moral case before the Nazi genocide? While the Holocaust undoubtedly proved the urgent need for a Jewish state, it in no way should minimize legitimate Jewish claims to a state of their own prior to the destruction of European Jewry.
Despite this, one interviewee states: „Why should the Palestinians who had not heard of it pay the price of the Holocaust? … Why displace the Palestinian people to pay a price for a crime which they had not committed?” While Bowen briefly mentions the Mufti of Jerusalem’s wartime sojourn in Nazi Germany with Hitler, he fails to mention the Palestinian leader’s support for Hitler and his participation in the killing of Jews in wartime Europe.
Bowen employs the typical BBC stance of moral equivalency in describing the current conflict: „Israel uses airstrikes and ground incursions. Palestinians rocket Israeli border towns. Both sides blame each other.” Thus, Palestinian terrorism is equated with Israeli efforts to defend her citizens.
Palestinian and Arab victimhood:
Bowen, however, moves away from this equivalency, instead taking every opportunity to portray an Arab David as the victim of the Israeli Goliath. Yet, despite a history of aggression against the Jews – including riots in the 1920s and 1936 and the infamous 1929 Hebron Massacre – the Arabs are painted as victims of Jewish power and malevolence.
Bowen ignores the fact that Israel was attacked by five Arab armies immediately after declaring its independence. Instead he is at pains to stress the numerical and organizational superiority of Israel’s army in order to perpetuate his concept of Arab victimhood. While historians have accepted that the Arabs were ill-prepared to win a war, this should not gloss over the fact that it was those same Arab forces who launched an aggressive war that they eventually lost. Bowen should also not have played down the very real sacrifice and hardships endured by the fledgling Israeli state which lost some 1% of its population during her War of Independence.
Impartial on Partition:
Referring to the partition of Mandatory Palestine, Bowen claims: „The Jews got the best of it – more than half the country, even though they owned around 10% of the land and there were twice as many Arabs.”
Bowen selectively quotes historical facts to yet again portray the Arabs as victims. In fact, the boundaries were based solely on demographics and approximately 60% of the Jewish state was to be the desert in the Negev while the Arabs occupied most of the agricultural land.
In addition, according to British statistics, more than 70% of the land in what would become Israel was not owned by Arab farmers, it belonged to the mandatory government. Those lands reverted to Israeli control after the departure of the British. Nearly 9% of the land was owned by Jews and about 3% by Arabs who became citizens of Israel. That means only about 18% belonged to Arabs who left the country before and after the Arab invasion of Israel.
Massacre of the truth:
Jewish attacks on Arabs are played up by Bowen and given much detail, with claims of „massacres” against Palestinians featuring prominently in the program, while Arab attacks on Jews are seen in far more abstract terms.
Bowen gives much airtime to the story of Deir Yassin, but fails to discuss the context behind the incident or the politicization and conflicting accounts of what really happened. For it was certainly not the intention of Israeli forces to carry out a „massacre” of non-combatants in what was actually a fierce battle, as residents of Deir Yassin and foreign forces opened fire on the Israelis.
Bowen goes on to quote an Israeli Haganah intelligence officer at the time who makes claims of terrible atrocities carried out by the Irgun and Lehi forces in Deir Yassin. However, that very same source has been called into question by Israeli historian Dr. Uri Milstein who believes that this was produced for political reasons to discredit the Irgun and Lehi and prevent their absorption into regular Jewish forces.
Interestingly, Bowen relies on the „eyewitness” account of Hazzem Nusseibeh a Palestinian journalist at the time, who in a previous BBC documentary actually admitted that he had been told to exaggerate claims of Jewish atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab armies to come to the aid of the Palestinian Arabs (it had the opposite effect, causing Arabs to flee their homes). Nusseibeh, however, does not repeat this assertion in Bowen’s documentary, which relies on a secondary source instead.
Bowen also plays loose with the historical interpretation of Plan D, citing the charge that this Israeli military operation was intended to „ethnically cleanse” the Arab population. While acknowledging that there is a debate amongst some historians on the issue, he prejudices this by claiming that the „Jews went on the offensive”.
This, despite the mainstream historical view, backed up by prominent historian of this period Benny Morris who maintains that there was no Zionist „plan” or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of „ethnic cleansing”. Plan Dalet of March 10, 1948, was the master plan of the Haganah – the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defense Forces – to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state.
Bowen also takes the liberty of claiming that „Jewish leaders had discussed moving Arabs out for years”, without offering any historical sources or background context. In any event, no Israeli government has ever adopted or carried out this policy.
Bowen concludes by focusing on the charge that Israel is continuing policies of „expansionism”. This, despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and continuing efforts to achieve peace and Israel’s stated policy of bringing about a Palestinian state.
This is but a selection of issues concerning Jeremy Bowen’s documentary. We are sorry that those of you outside the UK are currently unable to view this program on the BBC’s website. Please, however, send your considered comments to the BBC Complaints website, particularly if you have seen this program already.
Daca nu e mare lucru sa recunoastem ca exista un adevar obiectiv, atunci zau daca pricep de ce ne mai contrazicem atata pe tema lui, mai ales ca „opinii cu greutate” nu au cum sa existe de ambele parti: pamantul este sau nu evreiesc, iar restul sunt povesti. Istoria spune ca el este evreiesc, in ciuda nemultumirii evidente a arabilor musulmani, mult prea frustrati de decaderea lor din ultimele secole.
In ceea ce te priveste Tiberiu, optiunile tale sunt doua si in functie de asta iti construiesti viziunea asupra lumii. Daca exista un adevar obiectiv, atunci e clar ca nu putem avea toti dreptate si pluralitatea opiniilor nu valoreaza doi bani atunci cand vine vorba de ce este corect. Putem sa ne exprimam, dar asta nu spun absolut nimic despre baza reala a parerii exprimate.
Daca nu exista un adevar obiectiv si totul este subiectiv, asa cum ne zic „iluminatii” din zilele noastre, atunci e clar ca avem „opinii cu greutate” de ambele parti si e greu sa spunem cine are dreptate.
Din ce inteleg eu, CW a facut aceasta alegere si a ales varianta 1: adevarul nu este subiectiv si trebuie aparat de relativistii de doua parale care nu contenesc sa il agreseze de dragul ideologiei mai mult sau mai putin penibile la care subscriu. Daca tu consideri ca trebuie sa isi puna pe frontispiciu „NOI SUNTEM PRO-ISRAEL”, eu nu simt nevoia asta pentru ca m-am lamurit de mult ca adevarul se afla de partea Israelului, si nu a „palestinienilor” inventati peste noapte de teroristul Arafat si prietenii sai sovieto-arabi.
Hehe, cand eram mic vazusem un film cu Kevin Spacey, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, daca nu ma insel. Catre sfarsitul filmului, personajul pe care il interpreteaza Spaceytranteste o chestie care pe mine m-a impresionat in acel moment: „truth, like art, is in the eye of the beholder”. Mare prostie. Curios insa, fraza imediat urmatoare imi place si acum: „You believe what you choose and I’ll believe what I know.”
Nu o să fac demersul pe care mi-l recomanzi dintr-un singur motiv: nu am timpul necesar. Dar nu ştiu de ce am trage concluzia că opiniile lor sunt părtinitoare în cazul în care cel puţin un procent din ele s-ar referi la Israel.
Antenele şi Jurnalul Naţional respectă interesele PC, fără să se refere în 40% din ştiri la PC. Te mai referi şi la chestii legate de unde ar trebui să se tragă concluzii indirecte, şi în plus mai bagi şi „diverse”, tocmai ca să-ţi maschezi cât mai bine rolul.
Dar nu înţeleg de ce ne-ar mira asta, că e un pattern destul de bine împământenit în multe locuri din lume. De parcă n-avem şi noi un altermedia care nu-şi propune decât să facă lumină în chestiuni politice, un indymedia cu scopuri similare, etc. Încă din denumiri („alter”, „indy”, îţi dai seama că alţii sunt cei care mint iar ei, sursele alternative şi independente de informare, încearcă să spună care e treaba de fapt).
The Independent Media Center is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth. We work out of a love and inspiration for people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media’s distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.
AlterMedia International : In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. (George Orwell)
Dacă privim lucrurile aşa, numai „dezinteresaţi” avem în jur. Şi că întrebai ce înseamnă să fii îndependent, pot să-ţi dau exemplul personal. În momentul de faţă, eu sunt independent din punct de vedere al acestui conflict. Nu am niciun interes personal, nu pornesc cu dorinţa de a căuta argumente care să-mi susţină o teză (ci parcurg drumul invers, încercând să descopăr teza care merită susţinută), şi aşa mai departe. Îmi voi pierde independenţa în momentul în care voi fi plătit de cineva să scriu într-un mod coerent cu scopurile altora.
Ori nu ştiu eu să explic bine, ori nu vrei să înţelegi. Există un adevăr obiectiv şi despre religie, în sensul că maxim o religie e cea „adevărată”. Dar credincioşii de toate mamele pornesc cruciade (la propriu sau la figurat) din convingerea că adevărul e ăla pe care-l „ştiu” ei. Aşa cum îmi spui că adevărul trebuie promovat în campusuri ai putea să-mi spui că şi creştinismul, religia adevărată, merită monopolul.
Sigur, când vorbim de istorie şi mai ales de istorie recentă, lucrurile sunt ceva mai simple, în sensul că avem surse de informare pe care le putem consulta, în ciuda slalomului pe care trebuie să-l facem printre manipulări şi dezinformări. Tocmai aici are Chomsky dreptate (în treaba cu „manufacturing consent”, în ciuda opiniilor sale colectiviste care mi se par reprobabile). Chiar dacă un punct de vedere coincide (într-o măsură mare) cu adevărul, în momentul în care el coincide şi cu ce-şi doreşte „establishment”-ul (şi nu mă refer doar la mediul politic) va fi promovat inclusiv prin „versiuni oficiale” forţate.
Oricum, mi se pare suspect să spui că „adevărul e de partea Israelului”. Pentru că lucrurile n-au cum să fie atât de albe sau negre. Ce înseamnă adevărul? Marea controversă e de fapt o sumă de mici controverse. Adevăr sau minciună poate exista în fiecare dintre ele, chiar dacă puse cap la cap adevărul va fi predominant în una din părţi. Şi să nu mai spunem că în această tentativă de a decide al cui e adevărul intervine şi aspectul moral. A spune că cineva e îndreptăţit la ceva pe criterii morale nu mai are treabă cu adevărul, ci cu preferinţele personale ale cui o afirmă.
Concluzia? Există adevăr… nu-l poţi cunoaşte perfect dacă nu cumva eşti Dumnezeu. E logic să-l cunoşti în măsura în care-ţi stă în putinţă şi să încerci să-l faci cunoscut şi altora. Dar până la urmă la asta se reduce totul, la un conflict de interese, nu la lupta dintre adevăr şi minciună.
Domnule Florea, dupa cum bine observase Panseluta, avem toti limitele noastre, iar eu ma indrept usor-usor catre ele. Din cateva motive, strans legate unul de celalalt, incepand cu lipsa de sens a discutiei si culminand cu timpul meu care este irosit in acest moment, absolut fara nici un rost din partea-mi, din moment ce ajungem la citate din Noam Chomsky, individ absolut respingator si foarte probabil nesanatos din punct vedere mental.
Vedeti dvs. , domnule Florea, in galeria personala a idiotilor utili, Noam Chosmky este cel mai idiot dintre toti. Lingvist anarhist cu pretentii de analist politic, aparator al Hezbollah si Hamas de mana „sionistilor”, nenea asta s-a intalnit nu demult si a dat mana cu Hassan Nasrallah, asa ca permiti-mi sa nu il consider demn de a fi luat macar in seama. In ceea ce priveste teoriile sale, la ce altceva va asteptati din partea unui anarhist? Sigur ca viseaza conspiratii peste conspiratii, din moment ce statul este o entitate absolut diabolica, mai ales cel occidental. Daca dvs. subscrieti teoriilor sale despre „versiuni oficiale” / orice altceva, este problema dumneavoastra, eu sunt imun la chomsky-sme.
N-ar strica sa renuntati la comparatiile fortate si fara sens. Aici nu discutam conceptia mea despre religii, ci asa-numita „problema israeliana”, iar a compara-o pe aceasta din urma cu disputele religioase este cel putin nepotrivit. Iar daca tot am ajuns la acest capitol, cu respect va aduc la cunostinta ca duo-ul Altermedia – Indymedia nu poate fi comparat cu CW, Altermedia si Indymedia nefiind altceva decat produsul unor lunatici, aflati pe pozitii – teoretic – ireconciliabile, dar atat de asemanatoare atunci cand vine vorba de cei doi Diavoli: SUA si Israelul.
In sfarsit, ati fi surprins de cat de albe sau negre pot fi lucrurile, dar pentru a avea o astfel de perceptie, numita „maniheism” de relativistii de doi bani nasiti de sinucigasul Occident, trebuie sa renuntati – printre multe altele – la chomsky-sme. Adevarul e mult mai la indemana decat pare.
OK, propun şi eu să încheiem discuţia asta… până una-alta, site-ul vostru rămâne interesant şi îl voi urmări în continuare. Mulţumesc pentru clarificări.
Mark Steyn la aniversarea Israelului, via National Review Online:
May 10, 2008 8:30 AM
Be Careful What You Wish For
Israel’s doom would be bad news for Europe.
By Mark Steyn
Almost everywhere I went last week — TV, radio, speeches — I was asked about the 60th anniversary of the Israeli state. I don’t recall being asked about Israel quite so much on its 50th anniversary, which as a general rule is a much bigger deal than the 60th. But these days friends and enemies alike smell weakness at the heart of the Zionist Entity. Assuming President Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic fancies don’t come to pass, Israel will surely make it to its 70th birthday. But a lot of folks don’t fancy its prospects for its 80th and beyond. See the Atlantic Monthly cover story: “Is Israel Finished?” Also the cover story in Canada’s leading news magazine, Maclean’s, which dispenses with the question mark: “Why Israel Can’t Survive.”
Why? By most measures, the Jewish state is a great success story. The modern Middle East is the misbegotten progeny of the British and French colonial map-makers of 1922. All the nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years — Iraq to the Thirties, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel to the Forties. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it. Would I rather there were more countries like Israel, or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Iraq may yet prove a second) and its Arab citizens enjoy more rights than they would living under any of the kleptocrat kings and psychotic dictators who otherwise infest the region. On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita just shy of $30,000 — and within striking distance of the European Union average. If you object that that’s because it’s uniquely blessed by Uncle Sam, well, for the past 30 years the second largest recipient of U.S. aid has been Egypt: Their GDP per capita is $5,000, and America has nothing to show for its investment other than one-time pilot Mohammed Atta coming at you through the office window.
Jewish success against the odds is nothing new. “Aaron Lazarus the Jew,” wrote Anthony Hope in his all but unknown prequel to The Prisoner Of Zenda, “had made a great business of it, and had spent his savings in buying up the better part of the street; but” — and for Jews there’s always a ‘but’ — “since Jews then might hold no property…”
Ah, right. Like the Jewish merchants in old Europe who were tolerated as leaseholders but could never be full property owners, the Israelis are regarded as operating a uniquely conditional sovereignty. Jimmy Carter, just returned from his squalid suck-up junket to Hamas, is merely the latest Western sophisticate to pronounce triumphantly that he has secured the usual (off-the-record, highly qualified, never to be translated into Arabic, and instantly denied) commitment from the Jews’ enemies acknowledging Israel’s “right to exist.” Well, whoop-de-doo. Would you enter negotiations on such a basis?
Since Israel marked its half-century, the “right to exist” is now routinely denied not just in Gaza and Ramallah and the region’s presidential palaces but on every European and Canadian college campus. During the Lebanese incursion of 2006, Matthew Parris wrote in the Times of London: “The past 40 years have been a catastrophe, gradual and incremental, for world Jewry. Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast. My opinion – held not passionately but with little personal doubt — is that there is no point in arguing about whether the state of Israel should have been established where and when it was” — which lets you know how he would argue it if minded to. Richard Cohen in The Washington Post was more straightforward: “Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.” Cohen and Parris, two famously moderate voices in the leading newspapers of two of the least anti-Israeli capital cities in the West, have nevertheless internalized the same logic as Ahmadinejad: Israel should not be where it is. Whether it’s a “stain of shame” or just a “mistake” is the merest detail.
Aaron Lazarus and every other “European Jew” of his time would have had a mirthless chuckle over Cohen’s designation. The Jews lived in Europe for centuries, but without ever being accepted as “European”: To enjoy their belated acceptance as Europeans, they had to move to the Middle East. Reviled on the Continent as sinister rootless cosmopolitans with no conventional national allegiance, they built a conventional nation state, and now they’re reviled for that, too. The “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt.
The Western intellectuals who promote “Israeli Apartheid Week” at this time each year are laying the groundwork for the next stage of Zionist delegitimization. The talk of a “two-state solution” will fade. In the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, Jews are barely a majority. Gaza has one of the highest birth rates on the planet: The median age is 15.8 years. Its population is not just literally exploding, at Israeli checkpoints, but also doing so in the less incendiary but demographically decisive sense.
Arabs will soon be demanding one democratic state — Jews and Muslims — from Jordan to the sea. And even those who understand that this will mean the death of Israel will find themselves so confounded by the multicultural pieties of their own lands they’ll be unable to argue against it. Contemporary Europeans are not exactly known for their moral courage: The reports one hears of schools quietly dropping the Holocaust from their classrooms because it offends their growing numbers of Muslim students suggest that even the pretense of “evenhandedness” in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” will be long gone a decade hence.
The joke, of course, is that Israel, despite its demographic challenge, still enjoys a birth rate twice that of the European average. All the reasons for Israel’s doom apply to Europe with bells on. And, unlike much of the rest of the west, Israel has the advantage of living on the front line of the existential challenge. “I have a premonition that will not leave me,” wrote Eric Hoffer, America’s great longshoreman philosopher, after the ’67 war. “As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.”
Indeed. So happy 60th birthday. And here’s to many more.
© 2008 Mark Steyn
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Articolul de mai sus nu e dintre cele mai bune ale lui Steyn (nimic nou fata de ce-am mai spus cu alte ocazii, ca presiunea demografica), dar are citeva puncte interesante:
1. Fata de aniversarea de 50 de ani a infiintarii Israelului, scepticismul fata de supravietuirea statului si chiar ideea ca Israelul nu are cum sa supravietuiasca, sau ca nu trebuie sa supravietuiasca, a devenit intrat adinc in discursul public din Vest. Adica s-a normalizat ideea fatalista–fara mare tractiune acum 10 ani–ca Israelul va disparea–sau va trebui sa dispara–in viitor, si poate ca e mai bine asa: lumea va fi mai linistita fara Israel, si, oricum, Israelul isi merita soarta: cum de s-au gindit evreii refugiati sa-si creeze un stat al lor in coasta statelor arabe (multe dintre ele creeate artificial in urma prabusirii Imperiului otoman)?! Ce hubris! Ce aroganta sa crezi ca te poti intoarce in leaganul civilizatiei tale, dupa mii de ani de pribegie, si sa renasti din cenusa, aproape literal.
Ce naivitate sa crezi ca-ti poti decide destinul de natie fara aprobarea supraveghetorilor universali si a ginditorilor de la ziarele si universitatile de elita din Vest!
2. Influenta neasteptata a lui Ahmadinejad asupra Vestului in legatura cu soarta Israelului.
Tipul predica, mai deschis decit orice alta entitate musulmana recenta, anihilarea Israelui, si ONU si lumea „civilizata” incepe sa-l asculte. La ONU Kofi Anan patroneaza o conferinta in care pe harta Palestinei nu apare Israelul. Un sef de stat care aspira la arma nucleara ca instrument de anihilare a Israelului e o „voce” careia i sa da drept de discurs legitim la ONU.
Si, fara s-o recunoasca deschis (ca nu poti, ca intelectual stimabil, sa te raliezi–fara sa iesi sifonat–unui tip care pare sa aiba o slabiciune pentru apocalipsa imediata, si o dragoste netarmurita pentru un Imam disparut in nu’sh ce secol dar locuind, inca, intr-o fintina), intelectualitatea Vestului devine si ea radical sceptica fata de practicalitatea existentei Israelului sau chiar legitimitatea lui ontologica. Ca nu poti fi intelectual adevarat, cu buletin de identitate, daca nu te raliezi celor care doresc distrugerea civilizatiei care ti-a dat posibilitatea de a fi om liber, pe care o urasti exact din motivul asta.
v-ati intins la discutii nu gluma. o sa trebuiasca sa imi iau liber ca sa citesc toate comentariile de aici.
La Multi Ani Israel ????
Iata si un interviu din 1999 cu Edward Said, intelectualul eminent al islamismului in Vest. Interviu despre Israel si palestinieni. Evident, Said se opune unui stat palestinian separat de Israel. Dar mai interesanta mi s-a parut opozitia lui fata de acordul de la Oslo, care deschidea calea unui stat palestinian independent. Zice Said:
„Not one of the three people who were closeted in Oslo knew English, not one of them had a legal background. They would call people up in the middle of the night and say, What does the word „self-rule” mean, what does the word „autonomy” mean? They didn’t even have maps, didn’t even have a map of Palestine. Most of these people had never been there. The people negotiating Bethlehem, for example, had never seen Bethlehem. And on and on and on.”
Una din doua. Ori Said minte de ingheata apele (posibil; Arafat a fost orice, dar nu un timpit; cum adica, a trimis o echipa de incompetenti sa negocieze viitorul palestinian?) ori Said admite indirect ca palestinienii sint o natie de retardati, ale caror genii diplomatice habar nu au ce inseamna autonomie si autodeterminare. De fapt, e a treia varianta. Tot Said o prezinta:
„I said from the beginning that given the fact that Arafat had stood with Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War — which was a crime against his people (Kuwait and Saudi Arabia kicked 3,000 or 4,000 Palestinians out of the Gulf in revenge for Arafat’s act) — he entered the secret talks at Oslo basically to save himself.”
Aici e corect. Prin Said, in 1999, Fratia Musulmana ii transmitea lui Arafat sa isi bage mintile in cap referitor la procesul de solutie bi-statala in care se angajase. Israel nu are voie sa existe si orice compromis e inacceptabil. Arafat a inteles bine semnalele si in 2000 a refuzat oferta unui stat independent palestinian. A acceptat sa se intilneasca cu Clinton si Netanyahu, a debitat toate platitudinile obligatorii pentru presa si in cele din urma a zis NU unui stat palestinian suveran, recunoscut de Israel si de toata comunitatea internationala.
Edward Said confronts his future, his past, and his critics’ accusations – 1999
Tin-te tare. Asta e abia inceputul, din pacate. Pe soarta Israelului se joaca „totul”.
Extrem de interesant ce postezi, nu atit in privinta lui Said, cit a lui Arafat, care era clar ca-si pierduse autoritatea in ultimii ani; de cite ori aparea in public parea depasit de evenimente, obnubilat, o fantoma a „revolutionarului” de pe vremuri.
Acum e clar ca tipul era depasit de evenimente si devenise, in senectutea instalata devreme, un pion pe tabla de sah a unor ambitii noi, ca cele ale Fratiei Musulmane. Era obisnuit sa trateze cu socialistii si comunistii, si sa le faca jocurile murdare, pentru milioane de dolari in conturi off-shore si drept de azil pentru „famelie”, nu pentru palestinienii in numele carora lupta.
din click in link am dat peste asta(infricosator):
canalul CAIRwatch de pe youtube, puteti sa vedeti celelalte clipuri.
ce ma socat este ca, totusi, asta e in America, unde antisemitismul este mult mai putin prezent ca in Europa. Nu degeaba, cind incercam acuma citeva luni sa vb cu un prieten din Belgia, despre cum statul belgian restrictioneaza libertatea de exprimare pentru a face pe plac musulmanilor el a inceut sa vorbeasca despre evrei. Cind aduceam vorba de islam, se ajungea in 10 secunde la crestinism.
emil: inca nu am citit comentariile la articolul asta, dar din cit m-am uitat cred ca o sa inteleg, in sfirsit, ce si cum este cu Israelul. SI cum zice si Panseluta, cred ca asta este doar inceputul. Despre Isral, Palestina, musulmani se va vorbi din ce in ce mai mult, pe masura ce situatia se agraveaza.
Continui putin, ca e tirziu la mine.
Nu ma pot impiedica sa nu ma gindesc ca islamistii moderni, occidentalizati, de tipul lui Tariq Ramadan, iesiti din Fratia Musulmana, desi isi fac rugaciunile pioase si obligatorii pentru „Palestina”, se gindesc la un pret mult mai mare decit Israelul: stabilirea Islamului mondial.
Retorica Hamas-Hezbollah trebuie sa-i para unui Ramadan grobiana, impulsiva, lipsita de subtilitate, de taranoi fara carte. Ce conteaza e Jihadul „soft”, de lunga bataie, penetrarea institutiilor Vestului pentru subminarea lui, asa cum recomanda si Gramsci.
Ca atare, Ramadan e instalat acum la o catedra a Universitatii din Leiden, Olanda.
poate fi si ca un apropo la ce spui tu Panseluţa, dar am vrut sa va arat articolul asta. Este scris de Oriana Fallaci de care auzisem dar pe care am descoperit-o cu adevarat acuma nu mai mult de o saptamana. Un om minunat de o vitalitate si o frumusete a spiritului care te lasa fara cuvinte:
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Columnist Oriana Fallaci: On Jew-Hatred in Europe
Columnist Oriana Fallaci: On Jew-Hatred in Europe
[Originally published in Italian in the Panorama magazine , April 17, 2002 ]
I find it shameful that in Italy there should be a procession of individuals
dressed as suicide bombers who spew vile abuse at Israel,
hold up photographs of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they have drawn
the swastika, incite people to hate the Jews. And who, in order to see Jews
once again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the ovens of
Dachau and Mauthausen and Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen et cetera, would sell
their own mother to a harem.
I find it shameful that the Catholic Church should permit a bishop, one with
lodgings in the Vatican no less, a saintly man who was found in Jerusalem
with an arsenal of arms and explosives hidden in the secret compartments of
his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and plant himself in
front of a microphone to thank in the name of God the suicide bombers who
massacre the Jews in pizzerias and supermarkets. To call them „martyrs who
go to their deaths as to a party.”
I find it shameful that in France, the France of Liberty-Equality-
Fraternity, they burn synagogues, terrorize Jews, profane their cemeteries.
I find it shameful that the youth of Holland and Germany and Denmark flaunt
the kaffiah just as Mussolini’s avant garde used to flaunt the club and the
I find it shameful that in nearly all the universities of Europe Palestinian
students sponsor and nurture anti-Semitism. That in Sweden they asked that
the Nobel Peace Prize given to Shimon Peres in 1994 be taken back and
conferred on the dove with the olive branch in his mouth, that is on Arafat.
I find it shameful that the distinguished members of the Committee, a
Committee that (it would appear) rewards political color rather than merit,
should take this request into consideration and even respond to it. In hell
the Nobel Prize honors he who does not receive it.
I find it shameful (we’re back in Italy) that state-run television stations
contribute to the resurgent anti-Semitism, crying only over Palestinian
deaths while playing down Israeli deaths, glossing over them in unwilling
tones. I find it shameful that in their debates they host with much
deference the scoundrels with turban or kaffiah who yesterday sang hymns to
the slaughter at New York and today sing hymns to the slaughters at
Jerusalem, at Haifa, at Netanya, at Tel Aviv.
I find it shameful that the press does the same, that it is indignant
because Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that
it is not indignant because inside that same church two hundred Palestinian
terrorists well armed with machine guns and munitions and explosives (among
them are various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aqsa) are not unwelcome guests of
the monks (who then accept bottles of mineral water and jars of honey from
the soldiers of those tanks).
I find it shameful that, in giving the number of Israelis killed since the
beginning of the Second Intifada (four hundred twelve), a noted daily
newspaper found it appropriate to underline in capital letters that more
people are killed in their traffic accidents. (Six hundred a year).
I find it shameful that the Roman Observer, the newspaper of the Pope- -a
Pope who not long ago left in the Wailing Wall a letter of apology for the
Jews–accuses of extermination a people who were exterminated in the
millions by Christians. By Europeans.
I find it shameful that this newspaper denies to the survivors of that
people (survivors who still have numbers tattooed on their arms) the right
to react, to defend themselves, to not be exterminated again.
I find it shameful that in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they
would all be unemployed), the priests of our parishes or Social Centers or
whatever they are flirt with the assassins of those in Jerusalem who cannot
go to eat a pizza or buy some eggs without being blown up.
I find it shameful that they are on the side of the very ones who
inaugurated terrorism, killing us on airplanes, in airports, at the
Olympics, and who today entertain themselves by killing western journalists.
By shooting them, abducting them, cutting their throats, decapitating them.
(There’s someone in Italy who, since the appearance of Anger and Pride,
would like to do the same to me. Citing verses of the Koran he exhorts his
„brothers” in the mosques and the Islamic Community to chastise me in the
name of Allah. To kill me. Or rather to die with me. Since he’s someone who
speaks English well, I’ll respond to him in English: „Fuck you.”)
I find it shameful that almost all of the left, the left that twenty years
ago permitted one of its union processionals to deposit a
coffin (as a Mafioso warning) in front of the synagogue of Rome, forgets the
contribution made by the Jews to the fight against
fascism. Made by Carlo and Nello Rossini, for example, by Leone Ginzburg, by
Umberto Terracini, by Leo Valiani, by Emilio Sereni, by women like my friend
Anna Maria Enriques Agnoletti who was shot at Florence on June 12, 1944, by
seventy-five of the three-hundred- thirty-five people killed at the Fosse
Ardeatine, by the infinite others killed under torture or in combat or
before firing squads. (The companions, the teachers, of my infancy and my
I find it shameful that in part through the fault of the left–or rather,
primarily through the fault of the left (think of the left that
inaugurates its congresses applauding the representative of the PLO, leader
in Italy of the Palestinians who want the destruction of
Israel)-Jews in Italian cities are once again afraid. And in French cities
and Dutch cities and Danish cities and German cities, it is
I find it shameful that Jews tremble at the passage of the scoundrels
dressed like suicide bombers just as they trembled during Krystallnacht, the
night in which Hitler gave free rein to the Hunt of the Jews.
I find it shameful that in obedience to the stupid, vile, dishonest, and for
them extremely advantageous fashion of Political Correctness the usual
opportunists–or better the usual parasites–exploit the word Peace. That in
the name of the word Peace, by now more debauched than the words Love and
Humanity, they absolve one side alone of its hate and bestiality. That in
the name of a pacifism (read conformism) delegated to the singing crickets
and buffoons who used to lick Pol Pot’s feet they incite people who are
confused or ingenuous or intimidated. Trick them, corrupt them, carry them
back a half century to the time of the yellow star on the coat. These
charlatans who care about the Palestinians as much as I care about the
charlatans. That is not at all.
I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as
their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This
nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the
Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into
History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who
when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence,
to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it,
publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him
even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always
goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and
yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he
sends, has always sent, others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who
believe in him. This pompous incompetent who playing the part of Head of
State caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton’s
mediation. No-no-I-want-Jerusalem-all-to-myself. This eternal liar who has a
flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel’s right to exist,
and who as I say in my book contradicts himself every five minutes. He
always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is, so
that you can never trust him. Never! With him you will always wind up
systematically betrayed. This eternal terrorist who knows only how to be a
terrorist (while keeping himself safe) and who during the Seventies, that is
when I interviewed him, even trained the terrorists of Baader-Meinhof. With
them, children ten years of age. Poor children. (Now he trains them to
become suicide bombers. A hundred baby suicide bombers are in the works: a
hundred!). This weathercock who keeps his wife at Paris, served and revered
like a queen, and keeps his people down in the shit. He takes them out of
the shit only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the
eighteen-year-old girls who in order to earn equality with men have to strap
on explosives and disintegrate with their victims. And yet many Italians
love him, yes. Just like they loved Mussolini. And many other Europeans do
I find it shameful and see in all this the rise of a new fascism, a new
Nazism. A fascism, a nazism, that much more grim and revolting because it is
conducted and nourished by those who hypocritically pose as do-gooders,
progressives, communists, pacifists, Catholics or rather Christians, and who
have the gall to label a warmonger anyone like me who screams the truth.
I see it, yes, and I say the following. I have never been tender with the
tragic and Shakespearean figure Sharon. („I know you’ve come to add another
scalp to your necklace,” he murmured almost with sadness when I went to
interview him in 1982.) I have often had disagreements with the Israelis,
ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal.
Maybe more than they deserved.
But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a
young girl during the time when I fought with them, and when the Anna Marias
were shot. I defend their right to exist, to defend themselves, to not let
themselves be exterminated a second time. And disgusted by the anti-Semitism
of many Italians, of many Europeans, I am ashamed of this shame that
dishonors my Country and Europe. At best, it is not a community of States,
but a pit of Pontius Pilates. And even if all the inhabitants of this planet
were to think otherwise, I would continue to think so.
Multam, costin. Extraordinara femeie. Batalia ei neincetata pentru expunerea ticalosiilor si josniciei contemporane imi aduce aminte de Monica Lovinescu. Postarea ta ilustreaza bine proza ei incandescenta, aproape cu neputinta de parcurs fara sa te opresti din cind in cind, chiar dupa un paragraf, ca sa-ti tragi sufletul. Se petrece un fel de scurtcircuit al creierului cind iti spui: Cum a fost/e posibil asa ceva??
Totul intr-o trup fragil si mai curind diminutiv, ca al Monicai.
Are o engleza aparte, Oriana. Nu e evident in acest articol, dar in The Force of Reason, de exemplu, aveam constant impresia ca citesc intr-o limba latina. Nu stiu italiana, insa topica si stilul imi erau foarte familiare din romana. Un fel de exprimare cu totul si cu totul ne-anglo-saxon, cu toate ca strict tehnic, engleza ei era corecta. Daca nu ma insel, si-a facut singura traducerea engleza la Force of Reason.
Da, asa a fost. Mare maestra ca a insistat pe autencitatea vocii ei in defavoarea conformismului la ritmica si protoacoalele retorice ale englezei. Sireata vulpe, neinfricata leoiaca.
Oriana si-a scris cartile in italiana si apoi si le-a tradus in engleza. Cred ca asa se poate sesiza mai usor marea pasiune pe care a pus-o in ultimele lucrari.
Ce poate fi mai frumos? Traiesti in „Lumea Tuturor” si te bucuri de propria viata! oricum si viata ta face parte din „Lumea Tuturor”. Nimic nu poate fi mai simplu, omul este valoarea tuturor actiunilor lui. Popoarele lumii isi construiesc istoria prin actiunile liderilor lor si din cand in cand pe revolta maselor. Ura, patima, invidia… sunt stindarde sub care oamenii „lupta”. Am uitat sa traim, am desfiintat valorile esentiale ale vietii: IUBIREA, RESPECTUL, INTRAJUTORAREA! Cand le vom cauta, le vom gasi! ele exista! n-au murit… Timpul lor va veni! din pacate… Dupa ce timpul filosofiilor va fi trecut si omenirea se va afla in toiul ucigator al conflictelor, conflagratiilor,razboaielor( indiferent cum se vor savarsi ele), atunci le vom regasi… de ce doar dupa ce plangem la capataiul copilului, iubitului, mamei, tatalui, fratelui, prietenului, necunoscutului…reflectam asupra vietii?
Fa bine,Doamne, intru buna voia Ta, Sionului, sa se zideasca zidurile Ierusalimului.