The Parameters of the Discussion (Michael Lumish)



dhimmitudeMost Westerners - left, right, and center - think of the never-ending conflict between Israel and the "Palestinians" as one between a country with one of the most prestigious and effective armed forces in the world versus a small and hapless, but plucky, indigenous population.

What we need to do is change the parameters of the discussion.

So long as people put the discussion within the context of a large military power versus a small indigenous population, we can never possibly win the argument. So long as the Arabs within the Land of Israel are seen as "Davids" with slingshots and the Jews of the Middle East are perceived as a "Goliath" than western sympathies will always go to feisty little David.

Thankfully, unlike the Palestinian Narrative of Perpetual Victim-hood, we actually have history and demographic reality on our side in terms of the discussion from an ethical standpoint.



History: the Jew as Dhimmi

The first thing that pro-Israel / pro-Jewish advocates need to do is put the conflict within historical context. An old pro-Israel acquaintance of mine used to say "history did not begin in 1967." 

That is, in order to understand the Long Arab War Against the Jews, we need to place it within the long history of Jewish people living under Arab and Muslim imperial rule from the seventh-century until the demise of the Ottoman Empire with the conclusion of World War I.

From the time of Muhammad, until Islam ran head-first into modernity and the twentieth-century, the Jews of the Middle East were second and third-class non-citizens under the boot of Arab and Muslim imperial rule. However bad African-Americans had it in the United States under the vile rules of Jim Crow, it was never worse than Jewish people had it as dhimmis and what we call "dhimmitude" lasted one heck of a lot longer.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) could ride donkeys but horses were forbidden.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) were forbidden from building housing for themselves taller than Muslim housing.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had no rights of self-defense.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had no recourse to courts of law.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had to pay protection money to keep their families safe from violence.

And this is one of my favorites, in certain times and places under Arab-Muslim imperial rule Jews were not even allowed to go outside during rainstorms lest their Jewish filth run into the street and infect their pure Muslim neighbors.

The point, however, is that just as we would never discuss African-American history without reference to both Jim Crow and slavery, so we must not discuss the Long Arab War against the Jews without reference to thirteen-centuries of Arab and Muslim oppression against all non-Muslims in the Middle East, including Christians and Jews.

This is not merely a political tactic. It is a matter of framing the conversation within something that resembles an historical context. The historical context is vital because without it the conflict is incomprehensible outside of the prominent western notion of mindless Jewish malice toward Arabs, presumably as unjust payback for the Shoah.


Demographic Reality: the Scope of the Conflict

Westerners think that this is a fight between big, strong, mean Israel against the innocent, thumb-sucking "indigenous Palestinians" over land.

It isn't.

What the struggle actually is is an ongoing attempt by the Arab peoples to force Jews back into dhimmitude out of a Koranic religious imperative. 

This is a struggle not between Jews and "Palestinians" but between Jews and Arabs because of Arab-Muslim religious reasons. It is due to al-Sharia. If Israel were a 23rd Arab-Muslim country it would, indeed, be hailed the world over as a "light unto the nations."

The reason that the Arab peoples generally despise Israel has nothing to do with Jewish treatment of Arabs and Muslims within Israel. Arabs and Muslims within Israel are treated better than are Arabs and Muslims throughout the entire Middle East. The reason that Arabs and Muslims despise Israel is not due to Israeli behavior. They hate Israel because it is Jewish, a nation of infidels, who dare to hold land that was once part of the Umma.

And not just any infidels, but the very worst of the infidels, we children of orangutans and swine.

But the fact of the matter is that there are somewhere around 300 to 400 million Arabs within the Middle East. They outnumber the Jews by a factor of 60 to 70 to 1 and, for the most part, want those Jews either dead or gone.

This is not a war between a Jewish Goliath and a Palestinian David, as left-wing anti-Semitic anti-Zionists would have you believe.

This is a war against the Jews of the Middle East by the much larger and highly aggressive Arab and Muslim population in that part of the world. As far as Hamas and Hezbollah are concerned this is explicitly an Arab war of Jewish extermination.

But the demographics in the region are not with the Jews, not by a long-shot.

The Jews of the Middle East have been forced to create Fortress Israel, because the Arabs would not have it any other way. It is easy for the Arabs. Given the fact that they so outnumber the Jews it only takes a small percentage of their resources to put terrible pressure on the small Jewish population in the Middle East so that those Jews are forced to militarize.

And, needless to say, the local Arabs, the Palestinian-Arabs, are nothing but cannon fodder as far as their brothers and sisters throughout the rest of the region are concerned.

The Jews of Israel want peace more than anyone, because they are under constant threat and harassment in every single venue imaginable, from international sports to academia to the UN, the EU, and a continuing wave of little Arab kids with hand-axes.

Those of us who wish to stand up for the Jews of the Middle East, the Jews of Israel, need to frame the conversation in a manner that comports with history and the actual demographics of the fight.

We need to place our end of the conversation within an expanded context that includes centuries of Jewish history under Arab and Muslim imperial rule and that appreciates the actual geographic scope of the war against the Jews in the Middle East.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.



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