02 April 2007

The Infidel's Guide to the Middle East
Section II: Zionism Is More Than Just a Cool Word

Or, WHY ARABS HATE THE JEWS

The two biggest fads of the late 1800's were, in no particular order, bowler hats and anti-Semitism. Some people, specifically the Jews, had a slight problem with this. In 1896, journalist Theodor Herzl offered a solution in his book Der Judenstaat. Written in the long-dead language of German, Der Judenstaat gave a name to an idea that had been around for centuries: the idea that the Jews should occupy their own nation. In his boring book, Herzl suggested the Jews migrate to Palestine, their historic home. He named this movement “Zionism,” after Mount Zion, near Jerusalem. Before Herzl, the idea had been known simply as “Ism.”(1)

Peer pressure also played a large part in early Zionism. This was the era of nationalism, when all the cool, popular ethnic groups were forming their own countries. But the Jews, more than others, needed a homeland for themselves. They were tired of being scattered around the globe, hated by others; they yearned to be unified in a land of their own, where they could be hated together.

However, immigration occurred slowly and in small spurts; in the early part of the 20th century, the presence of Jews in Palestine was still minimal. Just when it looked like the Zionist movement would never take off, in an amazing stroke of luck, the Holocaust occurred. First, the Holocaust flooded Palestine with skin-and-bones immigrants, ready to till the farmland and lift heavy things to help build the community. Second, it raised a worldwide sympathy for the Zionist cause. The nations of the world couldn’t wait to throw their support behind the Zionists, even if only as a polite gesture to say “We won’t commit you into labor camps before suffocating you in gas chambers.”

By this point, Britain was exhausted. Due to the strain of fighting World War II, coupled with the stress of managing their over-extended empire, the United Kingdom was up to two packs a day. In May of 1948, they relinquished their rule over the Middle East in a famous UN speech entitled “Fuck It.” That same day the Jews declared their independence, the goal of Zionism was accomplished, and Israel was created.

Boy oh boy, the Arabs didn’t like that one bit.

Now that the Jews had their own nation, they could have their first war. All they had to do to survive as a nation was defeat the allied forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, the Arab Liberation Army, and the Holy War Army while maintaining enough domestic stability and security to nurture their newborn country, not yet a week old. The Arabs were armed with fiery passion, brotherly unity, and the love of Allah, while all the Jews had to defend themselves were millions and millions of dollars worth of donated modern weaponry. When the third and lasting ceasefire was signed in February of 1949, Israel had grown 43% in size, proving once again that the gun is mightier than the Jihad.(2)

The Arabs still didn’t like them.

For the next few years, things weren’t horribly violent. Then, in 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser headed a successful non-violent revolution right next door in Egypt, toppling the feudal monarchy for a democracy of the people. Two years later, he won the presidency, having been elected by Isis, Goddess of the Nile. Throughout his career, Nasser would become a distinguished man-of-the-people and an icon of Pan-Arabism, the movement for a unified Middle East. Through his diplomacy and acts of faith, he inspired the hearts of millions and secured their right to dream, earning him a legacy that would grow to the point of legend. He also had a funny mustache.

Nasser and his mustache organized an Arab alliance against Israel. He signed a mutual protection pact first with Syria, and then with Jordan, in case Israel attacked. Then, he politely expelled UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the Sinai Peninsula -- between Israel and Egypt -- so that he could station his own troops there, in case Israel attacked. Then Syria started shelling innocent Israeli farmers next to their border, in case Israel attacked. Finally, Israel had no choice but to attack.

No one knows how long the Six-Day War lasted, although it is known that it started on June 5, 1967, and lasted for six days. Using the element of surprise, Israel launched a simultaneous, three-pronged attack into Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, catching them with their dresses down. The Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights were all conquered within a week. Nasser shrugged, put his hands in his pockets, and whistled as he slowly walked away.

Well, that pretty much covers the entire Arab-Israeli Conflict.(3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11)

But before we end this section, you’re probably wondering just who the fuck Yassir Arafat is. Well, soon after the Six-Day War, a young man in a checkered headdress named Yassir Arafat was elected leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) because of his known guerilla terrorist tactics. The P.L.O. was created only a few years earlier in 1964 to defend the rights of the Palestinians and to hate the Jews in a more organized and efficient manner. Arafat was elected because of his known guerrilla terrorist tactics.

Once in power, Arafat immediately guerrilla’d the shit out of Israel from across the Jordan border (where the Palestinian refugees had gone after the war). King Hussein of Jordan soon got sick of the Palestinians, much like a parent gets sick of their child’s obnoxious friend, the one who spends every single afternoon in their house. Jordan, too, then exiled the Palestinians. The P.L.O. then moved to Southern Lebanon, where they fucked shit up there, too, and also played an important role in Lebanon’s upcoming civil war. But that is a topic for another blog.

Come back tomorrow when we will discuss the two major sects of Islam!


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(1) Herzl wrote another, less-famous book about the late 1800s, titled Der Bowlerhaat.
(2) Jihad is the struggle for or defense of Islam, as seen in the sentence: “Man, Arabs use the word Jihad a lot.”
(3) Excluding the 1967 War of Attrition.
(4) Oh, and except for the Suez Canal Crisis.
(5) Of course, there was Yom-Kippur War.
(6) The tension between Israel in Southern Lebanon during the late 70s was pretty important.
(7) … Oh yeah, the Lebanon war following that tension.
(8) How could I forget the Hezbollah conflicts of the 80s.
(9) Did I mention the First Intifada?
(10) I know I mentioned the Second Intifada.
(11) Wait a minute. Didn’t something happen with Israel last summer?

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