February 19, 2012

'Jews and Arabs are too similar'

By Samson Blinded

"The alien who lives among you will rise over you higher and higher, and you
will sink lower and lower" Deuteronomy 28:43.

Sam Huntington could not be more wrong with his Clash of Civilizations thesis.
Civilizations, in fact, clash rarely, and their confrontations are limited to
border conflicts. Even the famed Islamic jihad in Europe and the subsequent
Reconquista targeted a narrow strip of Southern Europe. On the contrary,
intra-civilization wars are ubiquitous. The more culturally close are the
opponents, the bloodier is their conflict. The two world wars, which were fought
between culturally similar European countries, took an unprecedented number of
lives. Civil wars are generally the bloodiest.

Contrary to Fukuyama’s dream of a post-human liberal world without wars,
globalization works the other way around: people become more culturally
homogeneous, interact more—and clash more often. Globalization caused Japan to
take offense at American trade restrictions in the 1930s, globalization made the
Pacific front technically possible, and globalization accounts for some Afghani
terrorists planning the 9/11 attacks halfway across the globe. Global projection
of power is a function of globalization, which allows any two groups to fight,
no matter the distance. Still more importantly, globalization pushes foreign
images into our homes. Indonesian Muslims learn about evil Zionists they would
otherwise never have encountered in their lives. This virtual contact amounts to
intrusion and gives impetus first to xenophobia, then hatred, then war.

       If anything, we would see more conflicts rather than less, as was indeed the
case in the twentieth century. The conflicts would become more and more
irrational. In antiquity, resources were scarce but people still used them on
economically irrational wars of honor. In our time of economic surplus,
economically motivated wars have almost entirely given way to ideological ones.
Irrationality makes modern wars unpredictable, common, and cruel. This kind of
ideological war is only possible in a culturally homogeneous world: one can kill
chimps, buffalo, or natives to gain unrestricted access to local resources and
plunder them profitably, but no one would fight Polynesian aborigines for
ideological reasons. One only enforces his ideological views on people who are
at least remotely similar.

       This shows how misguided are those who appeal to the similarity of common Jews
and Arabs. Leftists send children to mixed camps to interact with Arabs and see
them as the people similar to themselves. The organizers presume to eliminate
hatred and mutual suspicion in that way. How wrong. There is a Ukrainian saying,
“My Jew is no Jew.” Goebbels of cursed memory made a similar remark in his
diary—that probably every German had come to him and pleaded for his Jewish
friend who was unlike other Jews. On a personal level, people of hostile groups
get along perfectly because they have no personal squabbles. Their problem
arises only on a group level. There is no reason for a Jew who wants falafel to
hate the Arab provider of it; there is every reason for Jews to hate Arabs who
want to take our land. A nation is not sum of its people, but an entirely
different body with its own goals, hatreds, and allegiances. It is
counterintuitive, but such relationships are typical of synergistic systems:
consider how an airplane is unlike the heap of its parts—the airplane flies,
its parts don’t. The moral theory recognizes synergistic differences: killing
is a crime for an individual, but heroic for a nation.

       Cultural homogenization of Jews and Arabs works against coexistence. Just as
Jewish assimilation in Europe sparked a major wave of anti-Semitism in the late
nineteenth century, so Arab assimilation, especially if forced by the Israeli
establishment, is bound to inflame hatreds. Many Jews don’t care about Arabs
living in closed communities such as Tulkarem or Umm al Fahm, but resist them
moving into Haifa and Yaffo. Not surprisingly, Sephardi Jews, the most
culturally close to Arabs, hate them the most.

       Educated in Israeli schools and universities, the Arabs might seem similar to
Jews, but the similarity is actually anti-parallel: both groups have similar
goals and approaches, and are thus bound to clash. Jews learned of a noble
nationalist struggle for their homeland, and so did the Arabs—incidentally,
we’re talking about the same piece of land. Jews are educated in the spirit of
dwelling safely “in our own land,” but so are the Arabs—they don’t want
to live prosperously in a Jewish state, just as good Jews don’t want a
prosperous life in Switzerland, but choose Israel instead. Both groups want to
make this land “their own” and will accept nothing less.

       Cultural homogenization causes intermingling, which in turn inflames hatreds,
which push moderates from the scene. Since Oslo, Israeli Arabs don’t fear and
have no reason to be moderate. They can safely support the most zealous leaders.
Moderation is not rewarded, nor is it there any ostensible scheme for rewarding
Israeli Arab citizens of some political views over those with diverging
opinions. Arab society quickly radicalizes to the point of no return. The
radicals might not be many, but few are required; riots, civil wars, and
revolutions are started by insignificant minorities.

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