Haim Harari: At the Eye of the Storm

You may be wondering why I don't spend more time covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in this blog. After all, the dispute between Palestine and Israel is the central issue in the Middle East, right?

No; I don't think that it is. And neither does Israeli physicist Haim Harari, whose article The View from the Eye of the Storm attracted some well-deserved attention in the blogosphere recently. I'm getting around to Harari a little bit late, but the article is just as relevant now - in the wake of the Iraqi elections - as it was last spring.

Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the central issue in the upheaval in the region. Yes, there is a 100 year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is. The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilian in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endangered Saudi Arabia and butchered his own people because of Israel. Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60's because of Israel. Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel. The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel. The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I could go on and on and on.

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel would have joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine would have existed for 100 years.

Harari goes on to say:
I should also say a word about the millions of decent, honest, good people who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in Moslem families. They are double victims of an outside world, which now develops Islamophobia and of their own environment, which breaks their heart by being totally dysfunctional. The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and of the incitement but they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.

He then develops the idea that today's terror/fascism structure rests on four "pillars": (1) the use of suicide-murderers by wealthy elites; (2) the use of propaganda to incite, and to conceal, the killing of innocents; (3) the channeling of money through three "concentric spheres" - (a) the innermost circle of the terrorists themselves, (b) the infrastructure of preachers, planners, and supporters who make a "very comfortable living" supporting the killers, and (c) the outer circle, which serves as the guardian, and consists of "religious" organizations, "news" media, and "educational" and "welfare" institutions, and provides the ideological environment needed to nurture the terrorist apparatus; and finally (4) the fourth pillar is the total anarchism, atavism, and nihilism of the terrorist movement:
The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law, including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naïve old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs. Never in history, not even in the Nazi period, was there such total disregard of all of the above as we observe now.

Go take a few minutes to read Harari's article. I'm planning to post more on it soon.