Arabs and Jews/Commentary:
JERUSALEM, D.C. (David's Capital), Yom Sheini (Second Day - "Monday"), 1 Adar I, 5760 (Christian Date: February 7, 2000) (Muslim Date: 1 Thul-Quada, 1420), Root & Branch: Why Arabs want to destroy Israel receives only superficial commentary by students of the Arab-Israel conflict.
Most say the Arabs want to destroy Israel because it is a Jewish state. Notice, however, that the state's ruling elites are only nominally Jewish. This includes not only Ehud Barak, Israel's Prime Minister, but Aaron Barak, the President of Israel's Supreme Court, the most powerful court in the world, and the only one that scorns the legal and moral heritage of its own people.
Others say that the Arabs want to erase Israel from the map of the Middle East because it is democracy that threatens, by its example, the autocratic power structure of the Arab-Islamic world. And yet, despite the veneer of democracy -- periodic multiparty elections -- anyone who has studied the great political philosophers from Aristotle to John Stuart Mill would see that, such is the concentration of power in Israel's government, on the one hand, and such is the impotence of its legislature on the other, that Israel should be classified as an oligarchy.
(Since the government owns or controls almost 90 percent of the country's assets, Israel may rightly be called a corporate state).
Still other commentators say that the Arabs want to annihilate Israel because Islam is a militant and expansionist religion. Although there is truth to this point of view, the question remains: What is there about Israel that the Arabs most detest or fear if it is not, strictly speaking, a Jewish as well as democratic state? Could it be the state's SECULAR character, its having ever been dominated by secularists?
Consider what two Arab commentators say.
One writes: "The propagandists of secularism, who leave out of account the religious factor in the Palestine problem, ignore the fact that this is the only bone of contention in the world which has persisted for thirty centuries".
Another Arab spokesman declares: "Apart from the political conflict, there is a basic philosophical and spiritual incompatibility between the two contending nationalisms. Even if all political disputes were to be resolved, the two movements, Zionism and Arab Nationalism, would remain, spiritually and ideologically, worlds apart -- living in separate 'universes of discourse' which are incapable of communication or meaningful dialog".
Notice that neither of these Arab spokesmen regard territory or geographical boundaries as a decisive issue in the Arab-Israel conflict. Which means that Israel's "territory for peace" policy is doomed to fail, indeed, that the so-called peace process cannot but lead to Israel's territorial dismemberment.
Territorial nationalism, however, was the paramount principle of secular Zionism. That being the case, the "peace process" signifies -- as indeed it has -- the end of secular Zionism!
What is crucial here, however, is not the noun "Zionism", but the adjective "secular". From the Arab point of view -- which, after all, is of decisive significance -- it is Israeli secularism that constitutes the greatest threat to Arab-Islamic civilization, as may be read in the pages of Muslim scholars such Harvard-educated Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr.
To be sure, Arabs murdered Torah-true ("religious") Jews even before the establishment of the secular state of Israel. But anti-Zionism was the principal motive of such murders, and the Zionist movement was dominated by secularists -- one may even say atheists.
In short, Arab hostility toward Israel is primarily motivated by the fact that Israel is ruled by IRRELIGIOUS Jews -- and it makes no fundamental difference whether these Jews belong to the political Left or the political Right.
In other words, THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF THE ARAB-ISRAEL CONFLICT IS JEWISH REJECTION OF, OR INDIFFERENCE TO, THE G-D OF ISRAEL.
This conclusion accords with basic Jewish sources as well as with Jewish history. When Jews turn away from G-d, G-d turns away from Jews. Stated another way, when Israel fail to exalt G-d's name, G-d will use various instruments, be it the United Nations or the Arabs, to condemn and humiliate Israel.
The underlying and hidden cause of the Arab-Israel conflict, therefore, is nothing less than Israel's failure -- and this applies to many religious Jews -- to act as the G-d-bearing nation, the nation chosen to exemplify in word and deed ethical monotheism.
This underlying cause is obscured by the very brilliance of well-intended critics of the "peace process." Which is why they have had no discernible impact on the obviously irrational and suicidal course of Israel's government. The same critics would accomplish infinitely more if they would but recognize that the irrational and suicidal nature of the "peace process" is a consequence of the godless character of Israel's government.
They would then see that Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini ("Yasir Arafat") is merely an instrument of divine providence. He is simply facilitating the demise of a secular state, a precondition of Israel's spiritual redemption.
Shalom from Jerusalem,
Prof. Paul Eidelberg [Constitution@Foundation1.org]
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