Not what it says on the tin….

A couple of weeks ago on Twitter, I initiated a conversation with a tweeter who stated that articles written by him on violent extremism, left and right, had earned him plenty of hate mail here in Australia. Over time, Wahid al-Jamal told me that violence and extremism of any colour were anathema to him and that Daesh was an evil, corrupt and violent organisation which did not represent Islam. Intrigued, particularly because he identified as being a Lebanese Muslim, I began thinking about the nexus between that statement and the case of Arab terror in Israel. Specifically, I explored the nexus between ongoing violent Arab terror in Israel and academia.

I do not talk about “Palestinian” terror, because the term Palestine as it used in the ME conflict is an Arab-paid, Russian-inspired marketing subterfuge to corrupt and mislead once-honest UN organisations, and to garner the support of generally well-meaning, altruistic, democratic Europeans who cannot, or do not know/care how to confirm facts for themselves.

Marketed as victims in an on-going ‘resistance’ against a foreign colonial oppressor, the current Arab-Israeli conflict now essentially involving Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah (HFH) on Israel’s eastern, western and northern borders respectively, has cornered the international market with a narrative that is as false as it is absurd.

But, more importantly, in the Israeli context, it has turned on its head paradigms of right, of justice, and of decency and subverted well-intentioned international law striving to avoid conflict that saw two horrendous world wars in twenty years, into the very tool used by the Arab League and its European enablers, to discriminate against a Jewish State that has arguably given more to the world in numerous fields of endeavour in 50 years than Islam has contributed in the past 800 years. What three wars failed to achieve, a Judenrein ME, the Arab Muslims hope to achieve through lawfare.

In the narrative I mentioned above, the central theme is the delegitimisation of the State of Israel on the grounds of illegal occupation driven by greedy colonising European Jews with no claim to a Muslim-majority Levant.

It also includes the claims that “Palestinians” are indigenous to the Levant, that Jesus was a “Palestinian”; that the polity “Palestine” has existed since before the Roman conquests and that the very “Palestinians” themselves are descended from the extinct Canaanites who disappeared as a group some 3000 years ago.

The vast majority of “Palestinians” today are, by definition, Muslims.That they should claim that they are descended from a tribe which vanished some two thousand years before the birth of Mohammad is unususal. That they should claim “Palestine” as a polity is downright odd because if it was a polity, then at the very least it would reasonably be a Roman or Jewish polity…… Or that the Romans then converted to Islam before Mohammad was born. Or that todays Jews are apostatic Muslims who lived in Abrahamic times knowing full well that they were always “Palestinian”.

Or something.

In recent polls in December 2015, 63% of Arabs in Judea and Samaria said they believed in violent jihad as the path to creating a “Palestinian” state. Israel’s own Israeli Arabs, on the other hand showed a majority vote to remain in Israel and not transfer to the Palestinian Authority if a two-state solution came to pass…..

Historically, these “Palestinians” are descendants of migrants from Transjordan, Southern Syria and Egypt. Mainly farmers and small traders, many, too, came from modern-day Iraq following news of better living and farming standards in Jewish Judea and the Galilee following the land purchases of the early Zionists and the draining of the marshes.

As for those Muslims (read Islamists) who believe in a crusade (jihad) against whoever is flavour of the month, I refer to the article “Foreign Terrorist Fighters: Terrorists or freedom fighters?” by Hamed El Said from Manchester University citing Scott Atran’s 23 April 2015 speech on Daesh to the UNSC: “None of the ISIS fighters we interviewed in Iraq had more than primary school education, some had wives and young children. When asked ‘what is Islam?’ they answered ‘my life.’ They knew nothing of the Quran or Hadith, or of the early caliphs Omar and Othman, but had learned of Islam from Al Qaeda and ISIS propaganda, teaching that Muslims like them were targeted for elimination unless they first eliminated the impure.

What this implies in the Israeli context is that while a relatively few Muslims in the 67 year Arab-Israeli conflict were undoubtedly motivated by idealism and empathy for perceived injustices, the vast majority of the Levantine Arabs, the footsoldiers who sustained Arafat’s war lacked even “…basic knowledge of Islam and [had] more varied and diversified motivations’ (Said 2015).

As an aside, I was amused when Said’s article went on to talk about the issue of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs…) in Arab conflicts in Syria and the problematicity of what to do with those people when they returned back to homes in Europe and elsewhere. I quote: “There are also FTFs who are joining other war-zone areas in different parts of the world. The total number of FTFs that are currently involved in fighting for one group or another around the world, according to the same UN Report mentioned earlier, exceeds 30,000 individuals. As a Canadian researcher noticed: “There are also dozens of other Canadians who have fought in Sri Lanka, Somalia, Israel, (emphasis added) and Afghanistan…” Said is referring here to Foreign Terrorist Fighters fighting in the IDF……

Invoking Mark Sageman, and quoting Malet, Said continues: “Whenever and wherever there were injustices, whether real or perceived, certain individuals motivated by empathy, compassion, idealism, and the desire to help others take action to correct what they perceive as injustices. This was the case in Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, Cuba’s Castro…and Israel (emphasis mine) in its wars against the Arabs (Sageman, 2008). Israel calls the equivalent of its own FTFs “Lone Soldiers.” Today, the Israeli Army itself “reports 4,600 foreign Lone Soldiers currently serving” in its ranks, “over one-third of whom are American (it is unclear how many hold dual citizenship)” (Malet, 2014).

If you are one of the three readers of my blog, you will know that the Israeli Hayal Boded is so called because she has no family in Israel during her army service. To equate Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Israeli Lone Soldiers in an anthology devoted to countering violent terrorism as Said does, says much about the integrity of this academic. Either that, or his is a propaganda puff piece for those who provide his research grant. This because I do not accept that someone writing in the field of countering extremist violence is not astute enough or diligent enough to research his terms.

On the one hand, I know that professors, even in Manchester, are only human. On the other, however, I know too that in conflating the horrors of Nazi German ideology, the pain and injustice of apartheid South Africa and the wild ideological excesses of Cuban socialism with the birth of modern Israel Said compounds his earlier error of fact and is, at this stage, no longer making an error. Rather, it appears to be an insidious attempt to fly under the radar of informed and knowledgeable academia and to influence those who simply do not have time to check facts. And for those of the populace who rely solely on electronic media for their “fast-facts’ world view, writing like Said’s only distances, not engenders, meaningful cooperation with what essentially appears to be a Muslim think-tank.

In allowing himself the luxury of partisan socioreligious perspectives in linking Israel as a de facto violent extremist entity, Hamed El-Said dissembled behind the mantle of academic ‘respectability’ and used it as a Trojan horse to permeate an anthology devoted to countering extremist violence.

It was not what the writing said on the tin……….

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