Sunday, June 6, 2010

Third comment by Undercurrent on the Jews and Islamists

Undercurrent has left a new comment on your post "Second comment by Undercurrent on the Jews":

Lawrence asks whether I'm 'outraged that they inspect these ships and remove weapons and supplies that might be used against them.'

Two points:

Firstly, Lawrence can't have seen the list of items Israel doesn't want imported into Gaza. It includes coriander and wheelchairs.

Secondly, Israel wasn't giving the option of inspecting the shipments and allowing them to continue. It wasn't allowing any ships to dock in Gaza regardless of what they were carrying.

Am I outraged? No. Israel's actions have been going on for so long that it's latest misdemeanor doesn't bring with it the kind of reaction that might be termed 'outrage'. But this brings with it another valid point.

One of the principle arguments put forward for opposing Islamicists is that they seek to destroy western culture. Whether that's actually true or not is not that relevant. What's important is that Israel has abandoned the rudiments of that culture in it's fight aginst its enemies. Israel is a democratic nation, yet it behaves as though its a fascist dictatorship.

Now is that because its enemies are implacable and that approach is the only option? Or is Israel opposed by so many because of its behaviour? Perhaps a mix of the two?

Lawrence also asserts that 'The Left naively continues to embrace the idea that what is going on in the Middle East is "Class Warfare"'.

Interesting. What Lawrence and the right fails to note is that economic conditions can help to push people towards Islamicists. The decision to become a fanatic is not one that is resolved exclusively through religious ideology; rather it is one that, in the eyes of the fanatic, is justified, in the end, by that ideology. But provide improved economic conditions and the decision won't be reached.

This is where Iran is key because of all the middle eastern states, it's the one that has produced the largest middle class. Conversely, it has seemingly sustained a fanatical religious elite that has managed to dominate the political system. In this respect, a test of the left's outlook is what happens in Iran. Will it cast off the religious elite? Or will economic prosperity sustain it?


Even if I agreed that some of the items on Israel's list shouldn't be there, I don't see what that would prove.  Israel has paid dearly for caving in to international opinion in the past and allowing land they conquered to go back to their enemies; which the enemies subsequently used for their next attack.  It strikes me as mere prudence that they would strive to prevent that happening in the future -- by either denying such land to their enemies or preventing a military buildup by the people that live there.

You say it is irrelevant that the Islamists might be intending to destroy Western culture (feeling a little anarchistic, are we?)  You say it is more important that Israel is using means you don't approve of to avoid being attacked again (my paraphrase.  I hope you don't mind).  I don't know if you were ever in the Military, but the tougher things get, the less you worry about the niceties of culture.  Besides there are land routes to Palestine and aid can be sent over those routes.  Why agree with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas that Israel ought to allow regular shipments from Lebanon without restriction?  I would lose confidence in their survival instincts if they did that. 

Again without evidence you say that I fail to note that economic conditions can push people towards Islamicists.  I assume you mean Islamism aka Radical Islam.  This theory was floated some time ago but has been largely abandoned.  The better educated second sons who are sent to Europe to be educated seem to provide the best recruits for Islamism.  All of those who engaged in the 9/11 attack were in that category.  The inner circle of Al Qaeda, at least at one time, was well educated -- and none that I'm aware of embraced its ideals for economic reasons..  And those equipped with bombs and sent off to blow themselves up aren't told to do so because they don't have it so well economically. 

I couldn't follow your last paragraph.  By "the Left" do you mean the "Left" in Iran or in the West? 

1 comment:

Mike Geary said...

Lawrence, you're a Presbyterian, as I recall. Your allegiance to Israel isn't religious or cultural -- what then? Your're a very well read, intelligent man -- whence comes this obsession with Islam? Baffles the hell out of me. It seems to be some deep psychological need for an enemy to me, but then, I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, I'm just a guy confused by your gung-ho desire to mow down Muslims. Israel is a nation among many nations. It's nothing special. We (people of Europe and of European extraction) tend to romanticize Israel in a ersatz kind of atonement for 2000 years on our shitting on Jews, but we've treated other peoples just as horridly -- it's the sordid history of humanity. Israelis get no "Get Out Of Jail" cards from me.