Sunday, November 05, 2006

Arabrein: The Flashback Solution to the Arab Question

Avigdor Lieberman has the "solution" to the Arab "problem": expulsion! Wait, maybe "forced migration" is a nicer way of putting that. He takes Cyprus, of all places, as a model for cultural non-co-existence. Interestingly enough, no one (including the Ha'aretz article, above, and an AP article I saw on notes the parallel to the displacement of Palestinians at the establishment of Israel.

The whole article above is worth reading to see just how deep a hole Lieberman digs, but I want to call out a point about so-called "clashes of civilizations."

"The reason for the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict is not territory, not occupation, not settlers or settlements, rather friction between the two peoples and the two religions.
Why is it always right-wing religious nationalists (and mushy-headed liberals like Huntington, Harris, and Friedman) proclaiming that all political conflict is about religion? Many liberals, for their part, are prepared to ignore everything that comes out of the mouths of religious leaders except their proclamations that all politics -- particularly all political conflict -- is reducible to religion. They allow religious nationalists one true position presumably because those claims feed (neo-)liberal atheists' bizarre (and utterly unscientific and unmaterialist) prejudice that religion is the root of all evil, the only social force standing between modern humanity and utopia.

It boggles my mind, both strategically and ideologically/philosophically, that anyone concerned with social progress would so willingly play into the hands of the religious right-wing by assisting them in reducing all conflict to religion and all religion to fundamentalism.
"Everywhere, the world over, no matter if it's the former Yugoslavia or the Caucasus region in Russia, or Northern Ireland, wherever there are two peoples and two religions, there is friction."
He doesn't mention the US. I wonder why? And anyone who says the conflict in the north of Ireland, for example, is fundamentally about religion is only demonstrating their ignorance of the conflict and its history. Otherwise, see above.
According to Lieberman, Israel had no alternative but to move toward "exchanges of populations and territory, in order to create the most homogenously Jewish state."
"Homogenous" is here clearly a euphemism for "ethnically pure." Astonishingly, Lieberman goes on to turn the persecutor into the persecuted, conveniently eliding the history of his own state and its current conflict with the Palestinians by playing the Nazi card:
Referring to the Nazi-era term Judenrein, describing an area from which all Jews have been removed, Lieberman said:

"I don't understand why the Palestinians deserve a state which is 'Judenrein' - after all, we obligated ourselves to create a Palestinian state 'clean' of all Jews, to evacuate all settlements and all the Jews from there to create a homogenous state - while we turn into a bi-national country in which more than 20 percent of those within the state of Israel are minorities."
Lieberman disingenuously misstates the issue with settlements and outposts, which is not about ethnic purity but about establishment of government structures in occupied territories, and particularly about the commitment of the Israeli government to annexation. For him then to turn around and use this intellectually dishonest position as the basis of an argument for an ethnically pure -- excuse me, "homogenous" -- Jewish state is not only reprehensible, but also the worst kind of political opportunism.

In other news, Dick Cheney today suggested exchanging American Jews to Israel in the interest of creating a more homogenous United States. "I don't understand why we are obligated to create for them a homogenous Jewish state, but we have to have a multi-national country in which more than 33% of those within the United States are minorities," he said in a statement, adding, "Wouldn't they be happier with their own kind, anyway?"

Can you imagine?

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