Israel, Jews, Muslims and Arab

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun 15 Dec 2002 - 23:41:49 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Interesting Parallel..."

    Hi Scott,

    Yes, there is no intrinsic reason why Arabs and Muslims and Jews cannot get along, as many hundreds of years of their history have shown. When I answered that Israel was the difference, I am referring to Israel as a political entity, not a religious one (though some Israelis would say there is no difference. But in Arab and Palestinian eyes there is a world of difference between the two.

    The issue is pretty much about land, though there is so much mutual anger now that I think it will take more than a 'mere' land settlement to really put this conflict behind us.

    More thoughts interspersed below...

    > >I don't think Turkey ever felt they had a dog in that fight, so
    > didn't have
    > >anything to 'get over.'
    > >
    > Yet they have an Islamic underpinning, even if secularized after
    > Ataturk's
    > reforms. Israel didn't seem to have much trouble getting along
    > with Islamic
    > though secularized Turkey and IIRC there was a point in time when
    > relations
    > between Israel and Iran weren't all that bad, at least before the Islamic
    > revolution and Khomeini rose to power after the fall of the Shah.

    Israel has had a decent trade relationship with several countries off and on: Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt.

    Turkey was never Arab and did not feel the sting of losing Arab land when Israel was founded. Indeed, the fact that the Arabs had revolted against the Ottoman Empire made it doubly easy for the Turks to establish relations with Israel. The secularization of Turkey under Ataturk drove the Muslims of Turkey into a quasi underground role; they had their hands full dealing with Ankara, Ataturk and Istanbul, and little to offer any Muslim brethren in Palestine. Let us also remember that many of the Palestinians in 1948 were Christian Palestinians and not Muslims. So the Islamic ties between Turkey and Palestine were weak.

    Iran did indeed have good trade relations with Israel: Israel received its oil from Iran for many years, not withstanding the Muslim culture in Iran. But Persians and Arabs have always had tension between them. Khomeini, IIRC reversed this and identified Iran with the Palestinians, partly, I would guess, as a part of his anti-American position. (See my post about US support for the Shah and SAVAK. (Of course, this was a great shame, for the US had done important socio-economic development assistance programming in Iran (Point Four), and had US policy people not chosen to get in bed with the Shah, we would probably have retained Iran as a genuine friend. The Shah had a pretty effective PR campaign aimed at the US, and the emerging suppression in Iran by the Shah came, I think, as a genuine surprise to us, when we finally got around to noticing it. Also: the Iranian people remembered our overthrow of the new and freely elected Prime Mossadegh in 1953 (Kermit Roosevelt, bags of money, literally, and the CIA)....

    > Israel can get along with Muslims and/or Arabs. I suppose Turks
    > and Iranians
    > being non-Arab may have carried a little weight in Israel's
    > better relations
    > with Turkey and pre-revolution Iran. Not all Arabs seem to want
    > to run Jews
    > into the sea it seems. King Husayn stands as shining example of
    > burying the
    > hatchet, even if he was well...a King, thus making Jordanian claims to
    > modern democracy tenuous at best. OTOH ibn Saud he wasn't.

    Yes, agreed. I see no religious reason to think that a resolution could not be fashioned.

    Incidentally, even people like bin Laden frame their demands of the US and the West in political and cultural terms.

    Of course, the fundamentalist crazies on all sides are trying to convince us that we are locked in mortal combat with other religions, but this seems like patent nonsense to me.

    Cheers, Lawry

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