“What kind of message do jihadists get from an American president who visits several Ummah capitals to reassure Muslims, but studiously avoids Israel? And why do Muslims need to be patronized by America about a threat that originates almost exclusively in global Muslim communities?”
The belief that some resolution of the Israel/Palestinian impasse is the key to assuaging Muslim hostility is a canard with a venerable pedigree. A recent manifestation of this school of thought was contained in a CENTOM survey of Arab “opinion” that was commissioned when General David Petraeus held that command. Never mind that CENTCOM has no geographic responsibility for the Levant or Israel, the Petraeus brief made the rounds in Washington anyway, reaching the White House through the vice-president.
The blame Israel hypothesis reasons from a limited set of particulars to an implausible general conclusion. The Palestine question is, in fact, a regional problem that is commonly used as a rationalization for all manner of global mischief. Were it not, Israel might be flying airliners into skyscrapers to make their case also.
And the erosion of support for Tel Aviv, the blame Israel idiom, in Europe and America may serve as a disincentive for settlement and a stimulus for more terror. What kind of message do jihadists get from an American president who visits several Ummah capitals to reassure Muslims, but studiously avoids Israel? And why do Muslims need to be patronized by America about a threat that originates almost exclusively in global Muslim communities?
The international Jew is a shopworn historical scapegoat; and too many Muslims have embraced that idiom with a passion. In those Islamic countries where PEW surveys are possible, attitudes towards Jews and Israel are overwhelmingly (90% +) hostile. And the targets are Jews not Zionists – as if jihadists would know the difference. Depredations in places like Bali, Mumbai, Beslan, and French schoolyards have little or nothing to do with Palestinian real estate.
How does a Moroccan shooting a school girl in France advance a two-state solution? Indeed, many semi-literate Islamic fanatics outside of the Levant, couldn’t find the West Bank or Gaza on a map. The source of global Muslim angst or social pathology isn’t Palestine. Anti-Jewish sentiment is more likely to be cultural envy or just traditional, now, viral bigotry; both are too common on the internet – and at Friday prayers in mosques, or Islamic centers, worldwide.
Israel is a beacon of art, science, and democracy on a primitive frontier. The Jewish state is to contemporary civilization as Austria was to the beginnings of modern Europe. Just as the defense of Vienna broke the Ottoman advance in 1689, a successful defense of Israel today is surely one of the keys to stopping the advance of contemporary Islamism.
The Alpha team is reluctant to assess the comparative merits of religion in western and Islamic cultures. Nonetheless, the differences are profound. For the West and Israel, religion is not an ideology of arbitrary control; but, faith that is value added. For too much of the Muslim world, and most Islamists, religion a heavy hand suppressing the arts, sciences, democratic politics – and progress.