Since we’re the good guys we’ve done nothing so bad as to deserve all the headaches we have to put up with from Islamic terrorists and the bad guys in the Middle East. When the bad guys wearing the dark skins and having the wrong religion say that the root cause of all the strife in the Middle East – at least till the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – is “the Palestinian question” and the occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, we can be sure that that is just as fatuous as an armed bank robber appealing for sympathy by telling the judge that he needed the money to pay for his gun and getaway car.
(Leave aside for now that other little matter of Western creation and support for our favourite dictators across both Arab and Persian peoples both before and after the Second World War — built on the justifications that they happened firstly to be living awkwardly in the middle of our trade routes and secondly on top of our oil. We know that Arabs are genetically ill-disposed to democracy anyway, which we can prove by the fact that whenever they do get free elections they vote for parties who are renowned for lack of corruption, providing health and community services for their people, but worst of all, for their refusal to act as proxy police and occupation forces for their pro-western conquerors.)
Anyone old enough, and either political or religious enough, to recall June 1967 and the “biblical” victory of “tiny” Israel over its “giant” and “war-mongering” Arab neighbours and all the accompanying news media hype of a re-enactment of the David and Goliath story, may have been a little mystified by the declassification of documents this year from the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.
Authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins notwithstanding, religious beliefs in physical delights after death do not produce terrorists. If they did then we would have seen these attacks long before the last couple of decades. Surely they would have been with us as long as the Moslem religion itself. The fact that such terrorism is recent is sufficient evidence that the arguments of Harris and Dawkins are flawed.
One of the worst things we’ve done to ourselves and the rest of the world since WW2 is to continue to dehumanize Hitler. Anyone producing a film that shows he loved his dog and was actually like many other Germans, even like many other humans generally — a human like you and me, has been denounced for somehow sympathizing with evil. On the contrary, we need to understand that it is we ourselves, people like us, not alien monsters, who do evil. Unless we can face this fact we are fated to keep bumbling along with the best of intentions through the deepest pits of of ignorance dropping bombs here and invading others there wondering why the whole world seems to hate us so much.
Another thing about Hitler, he made his reasons for war and treatment of communists, handicapped, homosexuals, Romani, Slavs and Jews plain for all to understand in his Mein Kampf and public speeches. Maybe Islamic terrorists also want the world to understand them, and maybe they too make their motivations no less plain for all — at least to the extent that Western media and political leaders allow their writings and speeches to be heard by their publics. You mean we only have to listen to what they are saying to know why they do the things they do? But if we listened to others instead of threatening them we would risk coming to understand the world and ourselves by degrees. Think of the implications. Scary.
One of our favourite Sunday school stories is the tale of David and Goliath. It is more than a childhood story since it has taken on a cultural power that still resonates in national psyches and state propaganda.
After the Second World War the West did sense they owed something to the Jews — they had after all turned their backs on them in their time of need when they knew the dangers they were facing under Hitler and before the war. So quite nobly they appeased their consciences by surrendering Arab land. Some alternative suggestions had been made that they give up some portion of their own land (like Australia’s Kimberley region), or even a bit of Germany, but a search through history books quickly established that such sensible policies are quite unprecedented and thus could not be taken seriously.
So the policy of making the Arabs pay for the sins of their masters seemed especially vindicated when in 1967 Israel won a “miraculous” victory over her neighbours. And not only won a war, but won a war that was desperately fought for their very survival. Their giant neighbours had been secretly planning a surprise attack that would have wiped the little Jewish state out of existence. God himself had granted them a victory as historic as had been David’s defeat of Goliath. So crowed the media and many Israeli leaders.
There were subsequent admissions by Israeli military and government leaders confessing that this had all been a big porkie at the time, and that Israel had never been threatened at all. But rarely in the West did these admissions ever make it to the news. The story of a David and Goliath war for survival was nothing but propaganda designed to win Western support for a war that was really about imperialist expansion.
Fundamentalist Zionists had since the nineteenth century been dreaming of a Greater Israel — a new West (or rather East) to be won by the fearlessly God-fearing. Some even dream (still) of a God-given right to land from the Euphrates to the Nile. The 1967 war was just one early step towards realizing that dream. See Imperial Israel and the Palestinians by Nur Masalha.
So here was what emerged in June this year:
Little-noticed details in declassified documents from the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, indicate that top officials in the Johnson administration — including Johnson’s most pro-Israeli Cabinet members — did not believe war between Israel and its neighbors was necessary or inevitable, at least until the final hour. In these documents, Israel emerges as a vastly superior military power, its opponents far weaker than the menacing threat Israel portrayed, and war itself something that Nasser, for all his saber-rattling, tried to avoid until the moment his air force went up in smoke. In particular, the diplomatic role of Nasser’s vice president, who was poised to travel to Washington in an effort to resolve the crisis, has received little attention from historians.
Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli army chief of staff during the war: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”
General Mattityahu Peled, a member of Israel’s general staff in 1967: “the thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in June 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence is only a bluff born and developed after the war.”
Menachem Begin, a member of the Israeli cabinet: “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
As Robert Fisk has observed, the Arabs experienced their “9/11” in mid September 1982 at Sabra and Shatila at the hands of Christian terrorists under the protection of the Israeli military and Sharon. Wicked how non-Christian dark skinned races profess indignation over being regularly occupied, bombed, imprisoned and slaughtered either directly by knife wielding hands or by proxy through sanctions as we sacrifice without thanks to bring them our values.
But especially unconscionable how those non-Christian non-Jewish dark skinned gentiles continue to oppose the will of our God who commands that they should rejoice in the conquest of their land and their own dispossession by the hands of his people with our dollar and military support.
If they were not so blinded by their false religion they would acknowledge that their miraculous defeat by liddle teeny David back in ’67 was really a call for their repentance and salvation.