Cultural and Political Factors In The Arab-Israeli Conflict.

I wrote this in 1995.  Things have hardly changed.


It is ironic that there is such a close parallel between the Jewish and Palestinian Diaspora.  It is an indisputable fact that most Jews who have made a life for themselves elsewhere would not even consider the possibility of emigrating to Israel unless of course their lives depended on it as a last refuge in the event of another Holocaust.[i]  I strongly believe that this is the opinion of the majority of the world’s Jewry who perceive Israel to be not so much a spiritual home, but as a place to ‘chill-out’ if the going gets tough.  This would explain the large percentage of Jews in London, New York, and not least Los Angeles with its almost identical climate to Tel Aviv and the home of a generous proportion of expatriate Israeli citizens. For all their adoration of the American way of life, they have created a mini Israel within their tight community comparable to Chinatown with its own clubs, its restaurants, its falafel stands and café society.  Each and every one of them will tell you of their intention to return one day to  ‘the  Land,’ so what’s stopping them?  Three outstanding factors are all too apparent and point to the fundamental malaise in Israel itself.  Firstly, there is a general feeling of frustration about lack of money and decent employment within the Israeli infrastructure. Secondly, there is always anxiety and impatience at having to carry out army reserve duty every month. Finally, and possibly the most important but rarely admitted consideration is the pragmatic and very real fear that their sons might end up dead at 19 years old on the front-line of an elite fighting unit.  According to Israeli press at the time, even the recent waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union would have preferred to have gone to America.  Recent statistics show the total Israeli population of around 4.2 million Jews which leaves about 5.8 million in America and another 3 million in the rest of the world.[ii]  It has been suggested that as a result of intermarriage and assimilation, most of the Jewish community in the Diaspora is likely to diminish to such an extent that  in the very near future (Beloff, suggests the end of the century), ‘most Jews recognisable as such will be living in Israel and two millennia of history will have been reversed’.[iii]  It seems reasonable to suppose that  Palestinians would also prefer to remain in the adopted countries where they have made their homes.  Harold Glidden, an orientalist and former senior official to the  United State departments’ Bureau of Intelligence and research presented a lecture to the American Psychiatric Association in February of 1972 in which he implies that a community which had lost territory regarded as its homeland  would resign itself to its new situation (like the Jews of the Diaspora) and not persistently demand  restoration of the status quo.[iv]  He regards Arab behaviour as unique, deriving from cultural and psychological traits whose values were inherited from tribal desert society and which were later consolidated in Islam.  He maintains that whereas Judeo-Christian culture is guilt orientated i.e. feelings of judgement from within, Arab society is characterised as a ‘shame society’ where great importance is attached to judgement by others. Glidden states that this is not a new concept and has been discussed by a number of  writers some of them Arab.  Links between individuals and their groups are stronger than in Western society and give rise to a greater sense of collective shame.  Furthermore, the power struggle between tribes for prestige, and the shaming of others is used as a weapon to undermine  their influence.  This shame can only be eliminated by revenge.  Glidden states that the fundamental values of shame and revenge are the basis of Arab society. Glidden cites statistical evidence in modern Arab society.  The constant struggle for superiority and domination which characterises inter-Arab politics prohibits a united Arab front  against Israel.  Shame leads to denial of the conflict and so the blame is externalised as Israeli imperialism.  A good example of inter-Arab conflict is Syria’s insistent claim that Lebanon belongs to them,[v] and with regard to Palestine, President Assad, is even reported as telling Yasser  Arafat:


You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria.  You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria.  Therefore it is we the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people.[vi]


The essence of the Arab-Israeli struggle is not so much the restoration of territory as the need to eliminate collective shame.  In the West, we assume that Israel’s victories would be convincing evidence of the need for lasting peace.  Glidden argues that this is a mistake because Arab logic is not objective and defeat only generates desire for revenge which can endure indefinitely, besides which,  peace, isn’t particularly regarded as being a positive ideal because in a tribal society conflict in the form of internecine feudalism, is the normal state of affairs. This is compounded in recent reports about torture and oppression that life is worse for the Palestinians under the new Palestinian Authority than it ever was under the Israelis.[vii]  True peace is seen only as a religious ideal within Islam.  This view that it is not in the Arab’s nature to make peace is supported by, Glubb, the former commander of the Arab legion. Yehoshafat Harkabi, former chief of  Israeli army intelligence and professor of International relations and Middle Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem believes that Glidden’s theory is based on cultural determinism and does not take into account political factors which have a greater significance than  cultural traits which could not operate without a political background.[viii]  Harkabi sees Glidden’s remarks as pessimistic for suggesting that there can be no Arab co-existence with Israel for having caused shame.  Israel’s  very existence is a reminder of that shame and intensifies it.


Harkabi puts forward several alternative viewpoints.  The prevailing  Arab view holds that Israel was created as a result of crime and aggression towards the Arabs inherent in its Zionist nature and therefore Israel is to blame because its very existence perpetuates the conflict.  Israel’s continued existence perpetuates the injustice against the Palestinians and carries the threat of expansion.  The Palestinians ergo the people of Palestine cannot accept Israel as a Zionist state ergo a Jewish state and the conflict can only be resolved by abolishing and replacing it with a Palestinian ergo an Arab state.  A Jewish minority would be granted citizenship in return for renouncing Zionism and maintain religious autonomy but under no circumstances a national one.  This is seen as a fair solution with the Arabs renouncing their intention to exterminate the Jews in return for the Jews giving up their rights to the country.  This solution according to Harkabi, eliminates the political entity. If on the other hand, Israel is to blame because it’s intransigence continues to perpetuate the conflict, then nothing short of a political act by Israel to withdraw from its borders and find a just solution to the Palestinian problem would be acceptable.  Harkabi believes that this is close to the present situation.  In a case of  divided blame but with Israel the guiltier of the two parties, which is the prevalent view of  International political circles, then  Israel being the stronger  should take the initiative to bring about change.  Israel’s sympathetic demands for maintaining strategic strongholds is due to the fact that not all Arab elements are moderate in their views and the existence of extremists force Israel to ‘vindicate more stringent conditions for settlement, even with moderate Arab elements’.  By the same token, even ‘conditions advocated by moderate Israelis are unacceptable to the Arabs’.  Harkabi believes that the intractability of the dispute arises from the gap between the positions of the two opponents and is influenced by their circumstances with  the Arabs shouldering the heaviest blame as their ideology insists on the eradication of Israel because its very establishment constitutes ‘the greatest injustice perpetrated in human history which must be set right’.  As a consequence,  Harkabi says, ‘Israel has become the pivot of Arab nationalism’. He accepts that the desire for revenge exists but believes it could wane if thought to be hopeless.   He identifies 4 Arab positions.[ix]  The ‘Peace school’ who would like to conclude an agreement. The ‘Tactical School’ which advocates acceptance of resolution 242 as a public relations gesture but reason that they ‘do not run the risk of having to recognise Israel and conclude peace with her, since Israel cannot permit herself to accept the resolution and will obstruct its implementation’.  The ‘Strategic School’ who contend that it is ‘in the Arab interest to implement  resolution 242  but don’t consider that a peace settlement will terminate the conflict’.  They maintain that ‘historical conflict’ will continue forever as the chasm between Israel and the Arabs is so wide and so basic that ‘nothing can conjure it out of existence’ and that ‘. . . in the long run coexistence is impossible and inevitably conflict will re-erupt’;  nevertheless, acceptance of resolution 242 will improve the Arab posture. This according to Harkabi is most likely to be the Arab central line supported by the Egyptian establishment, but in his opinion, Harkabi thinks the most realistic of the positions is what he calls the ‘Rejecting Any Settlement School’ whereby any arrangement even partly acknowledging the rights of Israel ‘ abrogates the principle that the Palestinians are the sole “people of Palestine”.  Their right is indivisible’.  They favour keeping the conflict ablaze and because of their superior numbers and their oil resources they believe they will ultimately prevail.


As far as Israeli positions are concerned, they vary in the extreme from ultra-nationalist right wing hard-liners like Tsomet, Moledet or Tehiya who are not prepared to negotiate in any way on issues of territory or a Palestinian state; and peace activists like the Shalom Achshav movement which  acts almost like a 5th column sabotaging the security of the country.  Totally off-the-wall, reminding us that truth is stranger than fiction and adding legitimacy to the it-could-only-happen-in-Israel brigades fantasies,  are the  ultra-orthodox Agudat Yisrael Chassidic party that are, unbelievable as it may seem, anti-Zionist and enemies of their own state.  They claim that the state of Israel cannot come into being until the Messiah comes which leaves the incredible situation of  ‘a political party having 5 members in a parliament of a country it doesn’t recognise’.[x]


[i] Max Beloff, The Diaspora and the Peace Process in Efraim Karsh (ed.) Peace in the Middle East: The Challenge for Israel. pp32-33. Ilford. Frank Cass. 1994.

[ii] The Economist 29/1/’94  statistics quoted in Beloff.  Ibid.

[iii] Beloff. Ibid.

[iv] Yehoshafat Harkabi, Lessons from Five Explanations first published in Maariv (Hebrew daily newspaper) 26/9/’73 in Palestinians in Israel. Jerusalem. Keter 1974. translated into English by Haya Gallai.

[v] Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World. p96. London. Bantam Press 1993.

[vi] Hafez al-Assad quoted in Kamal Jumblatt, I Speak for Lebanon. p78. London. Zed. 1982. quoted in Netanyahu. Ibid.

[vii] Isabel Kershner, The PLO Twilight Zone in The Jerusalem Report 23/5/’95.

David Hirst, Yasser Arafat’s Tools of Repression in The Guardian 6/7/’96

[viii] Harkabi. op cit. p235

[ix] Harkabi, Objects in the Way of Settlement (May ’73) in Palestinians in Israel. op cit. p204

[x] Barry Chamish, The Fall of Israel.  Edinburgh. Cannongate. 1992.  For a detailed analysis of the Israeli viewpoint, see Conor Cruise O’Brien, The Seige. p464. London. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 1986


Palestinian Refugees


UNRWA are claiming approx. 5 million refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza, Judea & Samaria.

In 1948, figures show there were approximately 200,000 refugees who voluntary fled leaving behind many more Arabs who became the Israeli Arabs of today.

Let’s be generous.  Let’s say they were half a million.

Let’s say anyone who was over the age of 20 at the time is probably deceased.

Let’s say these were families of 2 adults with an average 3 children of varying age.

Reductio ad absurdum:

250,000 with 5 to a family = 50,000 families.

2 deceased parents from each family leaves 30,000. Some very old some fairly old.

At most 30,000 refugees. Almost all of whom lived in rented property. Not a single one indigenous to the area. All economic migrants from surrounding Arab lands mainly Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

They have nowhere to go.

All the rest were born and kept in refugee camps and refused citizenship for political purposes.

The Palestinian Authority’s countless stubborn refusals to accept any Peace deal and choose to  exploit the myth of a people that didn’t exist until a fictitious ‘Palestinian People’ who demand political self-determination was conceived by the Soviet Union in 1964 when they created the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ‘PLO’. The term ‘Palestinian People’ was first used when the 1964 PLO Charter was drafted in Moscow.

The remaining refugees should have been given full citizenship with corresponding rights were it not for the deceptive stratagem of keeping the fallacious myth of return alive.

All the European countries currently awash with Arab refugees have measures to ensure these unfortunate people can eventually gain citizenship. Not so with regard to rich Arab nations who show no willingness to extend a helping hand of any kind.

International aid contributions should have been used to build an independent economy the same as any new fledgling nation. The Palestinian Authority was after all a kind of experimental measure to encourage self-determination.

Instead the corrupt Fatah and Hamas became multi-millionaires thanks to foreign aid contributions and used the remainder for campaigns of killing and terror. The leaders boast luxury lifestyles, homes abroad and private jets while the people for whom they claim responsibility suffer and starve only to paint a fictitious picture and keep their philanthropic goose, golden. They do not want this to stop.

The Trump administration just rocked the boat, shook the tree and busted the myth. This act is a catalyst, a genuine act of kindness to the suffering people. A life buoy to grab hold of for freedom and independence. There is now a new hope of opportunity to relinquish their refugee status and gain citizenship. The parasites are screaming and already, Germany has pledged to make up the shortfall. The Far Right will love this.

No doubt Germany will be quickly followed by France and the UK. They will only create confusion & uncertainty, a last ditch kiss of life to the ailing myth which will bring about more resentment, violence and terror. They need to put an end to the prolonged misery and let the myth die.

‘Palestinian’ refugee camps and the demonisation of Israel. – Debunking the insidious myth of an indigenous Palestinian people.


There are 19 camps in Judea and Samaria and 8 More camps on the Gaza strip.

There are 12 camps in Syria, 12 in Lebanon and 10  in Jordan

You must be wondering why?

Simple really. The so–called Palestinians are a pariah people. None of the Arab states want them. Syria & Lebanon will not grant them citizenship. Many in Jordan do have semi-citizenship as they are actually Jordanian but still live in the camps. Out of the 9 million+ Jordanians, one third are Palestinian. 10 years ago they made up almost half the population.

Since 1988 the Jordanian government has systematically been withdrawing citizenship from the Palestinians rendering them stateless & leaving them no choice but to dwell in refugee camps or move to the so-called West Bank. This serves to purposely exacerbate the problem & puts Israel in a bad light.

The camps administered by Fatah and Hamas in the so-called West Bank & Gaza are nothing but a political tool and a cruel economic scam. Many of the camp’s residents were born in the camps. They are not refugees at all. They are purposely deprived of citizenship in order for the Palestinian Authority to milk as much as they can get out of UNRWA – the United Nation charity organisation set up specifically to raise money solely for the benefit of Palestinian Arabs.

Estimates differ as to how many actual refugees were displaced in 1948. The latest research varies but puts the figures somewhere around 250-350,000 most of whom must no longer be alive. It is likely that the true number of Palestinian refugees alive today is no more than 20,000.

It is worth noting that at the time of Israel’s Independence there were close to 1000,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries.

The British wanted to keep Palestine because it was a gateway to the Middle East. They planned to permanently keep their High Commissioner to control the administration of the country. They encouraged the Arabs to attack the Jews.

Mandatory Palestine comprised about the same area that Israel does today but included all of the so-called Palestinian territories


Jerusalem was a neglected desolate city before the Jews returned.

58 synagogues were desecrated or demolished in the Old City by Jordan in 1948, resulting in the de-Judaisation of Jerusalem.  38,000 Jewish graves in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives were systematically destroyed, and Jews were not allowed to be buried there.

This photo shows Jordanian soldiers herding Jews out of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Not a single Jew was left


The Arabs who remained in 1948 were absorbed by Israel and now account for around 20% of the population. They have full and equal rights, religious liberty, a voice in the Government through their own political Party, a vibrant lifestyle and occupational and academic success. They are the envy of the Arab world enjoying an unprecedented freedom unheard of in any other Arab country.

The myth of a ‘Right of Return’ is delusional as they were never an indigenous people merely economic migrants largely from Jordan, Syria and Egypt who settled there to take advantage of new opportunities created by Israelis who’d been working and enriching the land for many years prior to 1948.  “over 500,000 Arabs in the 12 years between 1932 and 1944, came into Palestine”

The Palestinian Authorities countless stubborn refusals to accept any Peace deal and choose to  exploit the myth of a people that didn’t exist until a fictitious ‘Palestinian People’ who demand political self-determination was conceived by the Soviet Union in 1964 when they created the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ‘PLO’. The term ‘Palestinian People’ was first used when the 1964 PLO Charter was drafted in Moscow.


This carefully manufactured Palestinian cause, this insistent claim to a country not their own, stretching ‘from the river to the sea’, is a risible, impractical and ill-conceived fantasy.

The fundamental values of shame & revenge are the basis of Arab society. Israel is to blame as its very existence perpetuates the conflict.

Palestinian shame caused by the reality of the Israeli state can only be reconciled by it’s complete annihilation & replacement by a Palestinian state ‘from the river to the sea’. Any agreement can only be temporary. War will eventually break out. Arab mentality is the villain here.

The Palestinian pawns are suppressed brainwashed frightened and held back by their monstrous leadership’s security forces, Imams, poverty, sense of belonging and their perceived relationships sapping their courage keeping them weak & subservient and preferring apathy to action. All the International aid payments go on recruiting & paying terrorist murderers & lining the PA and Hamas leadership’s own multi-millionaire pockets.

Perhaps with time and with new strong benevolent altruistic leadership, a far cry from the seemingly everlasting corrupt regimes of Fatah & Hamas, a miracle could happen, but change won’t happen any time soon the way things stand.

But there is hope.  Abbas can’t live forever and Trump together with Saudi Arabia has a plan that is rumoured to offer land in the Sinai purchased from Egypt that would extend Gaza to accommodate all of the refugees and enable work opportunities for all thanks to Tourism and a new Gazan free port.  As a bonus a new capital might be offered in Abu Dis situated 1 kilometre from the old city of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians would be foolish to reject it.


Cultural Theory & the Politics of Misrepresentation using & creating Myth

It’s many years since I read Barthes but I thought it might be interesting to show how @JVL @UKLabour etc. use and manipulate Social and Mainstream Media to create antisemitic myths. Barthes identifies 7 principles or rhetorical figures:

Inoculation – admitting the accidental evil to conceal its principal evil. To immunize the contents by means of a token inoculation of acknowledged evil; to protect it against subversion.

Example – There are pockets of antisemitism in the Labour Party

The Privation of History. ‘Myth deprives the object of which it speaks of all History in it, history evaporates.’

Example – Denial of the State of Israel before 1948. Denial of the Holocaust or diminishing the figures.

Example – ‘A sanctified Stalin’ ie. The representation of Corbyn as a saint when the reality is an embittered anti-Semitic Bolshevik iconoclast loser who hates the West, hates his own country, admires tyrants, dictators, despots and oppressors.

Identification. ‘the Other is a scandal which threatens his essence.’ ‘. .How can one assimilate the Negro, the Russian? ‘. . The Other becomes a pure object, a spectacle, a clown.’

Example – Jews as Ugly Caricatures, Rich, Successful, Controllers, also Victims.

Tautology. ‘Tautology is this verbal device which consists in defining like by like (‘Drama is drama’) ‘. . ‘because that’s how it is’, or even better: ‘just because, that’s all’-a magical act ashamed of itself..”.. Tautology testifies to a profound distrust of language’

Example – Conspiracies. Memes, Tropes, The Rothschilds, Blood Libels, Protocols etc.

Neither-Norism. ‘. .this mythological figure which consists in stating two opposites and balancing the one by the other so as to reject them both.’

Example – Jews as Controllers : Jews as Victims.

The Quantification of quality. ‘. . .By reducing any quality to quantity, myth economises intelligence: it understands reality more cheaply.’

Example – Proportionate Response. More casualties on one side etc. Denying holocaust – diminishing numbers

The Statement of Fact. ‘Myths tend towards proverbs. .’ ‘. .universalism, the refusal of any explanation, an unalterable hierarchy of the world.’

Example – It’s not possible for a Jew be Antisemitic.

Example – I’m a Jew because I say I am. I identify, hence As a Jew. . . My Great Grandfather’s sister’s third cousin’s friend’s friend’s uncle was Jewish.

Example – Changing the definition of Antisemitism.