Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For some Arabs: hatred is their self esteem

I have reasoned this: Arafat, in 2000, when offered 90% of all his demands by Ehud Barak at Camp David, rejected Barak's offer b/c Arafat's ultimate goal was to drive Israeli Jews into the Mediterranean.

Brigette Gabriel, Why Do Arabs Hate Israel?
I was raised in Lebanon where I was taught that the Jews are evil, Israel is the devil, and the only time we will have peace in the Middle East is when we kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea...

Shelby Steele suggests another motive for Arafat: to have accepted Barak's offer would have resulted in Arabs being forced "to forego hatred as consolation and meaning". Steele also mentions Arabs being forced to forgo victim status as explanation for lack of modernity.

I would reshape this last assertion, and here's why: Islam and tribalism, in many areas of life, actively oppose modernity. Therefore, I would say foregoing victim status would force Arab Muslims to forgo a beloved explanation for why Islam is not currently dominating the world, i.e. would force Arab Muslims into a reckoning about the supposed infallibility of the Koran and the Hadith, as well as into a reckoning about the continued viability of many tribal principles and values which are centuries old and are revered.

Arafat had two choices:
1] peace, and the inevitable religious and tribal reckonings which would follow; or
2] instigation of war.

Arafat feared the reckonings, and chose instigation of war. It's as simple as that. If, as consequence of war, Israeli Jews were eventually driven into the Mediterranean? Bonus! Thank goodness Arafat, the smiling lying evil murderous corrupt animal-sex pervert, is dead.

Shelby Steele:

Palestinians—and for that matter much of the Middle East—are driven to militancy and war not by legitimate complaints against Israel or the West but by an internalized sense of inferiority. If the Palestinians got everything they want—a sovereign nation and even, let's say, a nuclear weapon—they would wake the next morning still hounded by a sense of inferiority. For better or for worse, modernity is now the measure of man.

And the quickest cover for inferiority is hatred. The problem is not me; it is them. And in my victimization I enjoy a moral and human grandiosity—no matter how smart and modern my enemy is, I have the innocence that defines victims. I may be poor but my hands are clean. Even my backwardness and poverty only reflect a moral superiority, while my enemy's wealth proves his inhumanity.

In other words, my hatred is my self-esteem. This must have much to do with why Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's famous Camp David offer of 2000 in which Israel offered more than 90% of what the Palestinians had demanded. To have accepted that offer would have been to forgo hatred as consolation and meaning. Thus it would have plunged the Palestinians—and by implication the broader Muslim world—into a confrontation with their inferiority relative to modernity. Arafat knew that without the Jews to hate an all-defining cohesion would leave the Muslim world. So he said no to peace.

And this recalcitrance in the Muslim world, this attraction to the consolations of hatred, is one of the world's great problems today—whether in the suburbs of Paris and London, or in Kabul and Karachi, or in Queens, N.Y., and Gaza. The fervor for hatred as deliverance may not define the Muslim world, but it has become a drug that consoles elements of that world in the larger competition with the West. This is the problem we in the West have no easy solution to, and we scapegoat Israel—admonish it to behave better—so as not to feel helpless. We see our own vulnerability there.

Steele has more essay at the link, and it is smart stuff.

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