Tuesday, April 12, 2005

It's All Our Fault

Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post packs another winner with her Column One: Middle East mythology. It's inspired by the offensive 2004 Arab Human Development Report released by the UN that foolishly blames the lack of economic progress and political freedom in the Arab world squarely on the shoulders of Israel due to her creation in 1948 and the US support for its continued existence. Oh yeah -- and the US military presence in Iraq. Course it has nothing to do with how the Arabs live their lives or the choices they make. Blame Israel -- it must be their fault. Yet we all know it's more complicated than that.

...leads both Israel and the US to ignore the direct dependence of the Palestinian conflict with Israel on outside support by Arab League member states led by Egypt. Egypt, like the rest of the Arab world has never accepted Israel's inherent right to exist as a Jewish state in the Levant. Yet over the years, the rhetorical focus shifted from overt calls for Israel's destruction through war to overt calls for Israel's destruction through the establishment of a Palestinian state and unlimited immigration of millions of foreign born Arabs to Israel. These calls are obfuscated to a degree by a public fixation on the perceived weakness and actual misery of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – both of which are blamed on Israel.

Yet the reality on the ground is vastly different from the picture painted by UN reports whose basic presumptions, though wrong, form the foundations of US and Israeli policy in the region. The squalor in which Palestinians reside is wholly premeditated. As far back as 1949, the Arab League decided that no member state would grant citizenship to the Arabs who left the Land of Israel as a result of the Arab invasion of the nascent Jewish state. And so these miserable people and their children and grandchildren have been incarcerated in the squalor of UN internment camps for nearly 60 years.

Now comes the really great sentence by Glick -- bold is my emphasis:

When in the early 1980s then prime minister Menachem Begin tried to dismantle the camps in Gaza and Judea and Samaria and provide permanent and decent housing for their residents, the "refugees" were warned, on pain of death, by the pan-Arab and PLO leadership to reject Israel's offers.

But back to the report -- if I were an Arab, I would be completely offended by it. Does the UN really expect us to believe that Arabs are incapable of taking responsibility for their own lives? Do they really think of Arabs only as victims? We all know how untrue that is. I'm sure the UN probably thinks anti-Semitism is Israel's fault as well. Glick sums it up perfectly with the following paragraph:

Arab strength is based on Arab control of the world's largest oil reserves; irredentist Arab immigrant communities throughout the Western world and specifically in Europe that demand their host governments' adopt stridently anti-Israel foreign policies or face violence and instability at home and in global oil markets; and Arab Islamic terrorism and militarism which is financed and engendered in the oil-rich, authoritarian Arab world.

Is it any wonder that anti-Semitism is on the rise or that the UN would put out such a ridiculous report?

I highly recommend the whole article.


At 10:18 PM, Blogger Dirk Fung said...

Hi, I'd like to invite you to visit my site (which is equally but differently interesting!) By the way, it's really my fault.


Enjoy! If you don't laugh, I owe you a quarter!*


*Dirk reserves the right not to honor this stipulation.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger Esther said...

You're a riot, Dirk. I did laugh. I'll check you out asap but probably tomorrow -- when I'm more awake.

At 4:09 AM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"to reject Israel's offers"

Now I understand what people mean when they say: "to be afraid of losing refuge status".

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

What concerns me is that many Europeans probably agree with that report. Heck, they probably helped write it.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Did you read the report, or just Glick's take on it? The report does put some blame on Israel and the United States, but it is hardly accurate to say that "all" the blame is assigned to us. As I read it, the report puts most of the blame on corruption within Arab governments, and cites at length the need for judicial and political reforms within these societies. Also, if you look at the prior two reports, there are plenty of other targets of blame, including the supression of women's rights. To write the entire thing off as just another Israel and America-bashing screed may be satisfying, but it would be far from accurate.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Thanks for writing that take on it, Jonathan. I was mostly going for the attention-grabber headline, which isn't fair. That and I hate the UN's hypocrisy so any chance to point it out...well... you get the idea. Glick mostly used the report as a jumping off point to make arguments that I pointed out (like felis commented on) as well as others I didn't.

tans sient.... that's probably also what's going through my head on this. And I appreciated the explanation by Glick stating why Europe is probably giving in to anti-Semitism. I found it interesting.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

Powerline had a decent take on it. I have had little time the last couple of weeks (like so many others). But, if I get a chance later I will try to find it.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

I think the point is that the onus for Arab malaise ascribed to America and Israel is unjustified and not realistic, whether it's one page or the whole report. The general point is that the Arab world has long blamed Israel and the United States to help prop up its totalitarian regimes and to galvanize the downtrodden Arabs against chimerical external enemies. The overarching point is that these Arab regimes have been successful in enlisting ineffectual, yet influential, world bodies (not to mention world media) like the U.N. to shill for them.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Rory said...

What seems to set the Arabs apart, in this regard, is that it's often the intellectuals who, rather than criticize their governments for trying to deflect attention from their corrupt and despotic regimes, are often just as guilty of trying to lay the blame everywhere else. In almost any other country, one would expect it to be this educated class who'd be leading the call for reform.


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