Dr. Khaled Batarfi
“It is hard to convince someone who knows he is right.” True, especially when the other is not so conversant with the complexities of history, geography and politics. Add bias, anger and Zionist media and you get a typical pro-Israel audience.
What many American readers lack is the big picture. That’s why they are genuinely surprised when told of the bad news from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most really believed that they were going in as celebrated liberators, just like World War II documentaries showed they did in Europe. For them, the world is simple, people are good or evil, places are the same, and experiences are replicable. During the Cold War, the world was simpler to comprehend. Movies helped and news sound bites made it an easy task — who needs the headache? Education by entertainment is an established industry. Well! Welcome to the real world. Welcome to the Middle East.
Now, how could an Arab writer change a lifetime perception of who is “The Beautiful, The Bad and The Ugly” in this part of the world?
Here is the picture that was fed to generations of Americans. Israel is the historical homeland for Jews. They went back to an “empty” land (some how it stayed empty for 4,000 years!) to live in “peace” with Arabs who were supposed to gladly give away their homes and farms to the nice European Jews.
Instead they fought and denied them a legitimate right to establish a “Jewish government” on a “Jewish land”. Later, the Arabs tried to destroy Israel so the civilized world led by America had to support the small, democratic and peaceful Israel against the barbaric, primitive, anti-West Arabs.
The mostly Third World members of the UN, influenced by communists, tried to cast Israel as an aggressor and rogue nation. America had to use over 80 vetoes to rescue poor Israel from harsh Security Council resolutions. Later it had to support Israel’s position not to implement other ones like Resolution 242 requiring the Jewish state to give back the land it occupied in the 1967 War to its Arab neighbors.
Not even peace agreements signed in the White House and Camp David should be binding. Unlike “standard” members, like Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Israel should not be put under any pressure to comply with UN resolutions. After all, Israel is the Land of the Chosen People. Even in equality, there are people who are more equal than others.
True, King Abdullah’s Peace Initiative sponsored by the Arab League in 2002 clearly promised the establishment of normal relations with Israel if it returns to pre-1967 borders. Arabs cannot be trusted. They simply hate us because we are freer, richer and infidels. Didn’t we see them dancing in the streets on 9/11? Let Israel wipe them off the map. The world would be a happier and safer place without terrorists. Now, please don’t confuse the issues by citing their long list of complaints against US policies and steadfast support of Israel. And of course no need to mention that Arabs are also Christians and Jews, “with us and against us.”
In the last episode of such “simple” history, the chain of events was too tall and complicated for many. Instead an even simpler version, that fits the established perception, was fed to the “simple” audience. It all started with “terrorist” organizations (never mind they were only labeled so by Israel and its allies) capturing three Israeli soldiers — one in Gaza, two in Lebanon.
All preceding Israeli actions, like their incursions into Palestinian and Lebanese territories to kill, destroy and abduct from farmers to government ministers were omitted as too much unnecessary details. So was the fact that over ten thousand Arab abductees are rotting in Israeli prisons for 27 years, including women and children, most without trial. Who cares, they are Arabs, for God sake!
Historical facts are omitted too. Who cares if Hamas was cultivated by Israel to stand up to Fatah, or that Hezbollah was established to fight the Israeli 1982 invasion of Lebanon and its occupation for over 20 years? Who cares if both organizations are legitimate political parties with representations in their respective governments and Parliaments and never were involved in any terrorist activities against any but the occupiers of their lands? Who cares if Hamas is democratically elected to govern the Palestinian territories and if the disarmament of Hezbollah is an internal Lebanese matter?
Who is interested in the tiny historical fact that Qana was shelled exactly ten years ago by Israelis resulting in similar massacre? All these details can be distracting from the main focus, would certainly confuse the audience and — God forbid — may cast a slur on the moral standing of Israel.
You know what? Maybe the Arabs should stop trying to make their point by arguments alone. Maybe, the US Founding Fathers’ armed way is the only way. Maybe Hamas and Hezbollah’s way is the way.