Seven Pillars of Middle East (Un)Reality

I just came across one of the most absurd articles I’ve read in a while, by a certain Kenneth Levin, a clinical instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Princeton-trained historian, a commentator on Israeli politics and an author of a book I’m sure is full of more nonsense called “The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege”.

The article lists some so-called seven pillars of Middle East reality that he thinks stand in the way of peace with Israel.

Here are the seven points and what I think of each one:

Arab leaders have no interest in genuine peace with Israel
This can’t be more wrong; the Arab leaders wouldn’t want anything more than to have the whole Israel-Palestine problem solved, a peace established, the ability to move on and leave the whole thing behind them. In fact, a number of the Arab regimes, if not most of them, already have secret ties with Israel, and are just waiting for the chance to make them public and announce normalization. Plus more and more of these Arab regimes are coming to think that the only way to help solve the Palestinian problem is by building ties with Israel. All this might be against the will of their people, but the leaders and regimes would do anything to move on and put this problem behind them.

Israeli-Arab peace will come on the Arabs’ timetable
Israeli-Arab peace will come on both side’s timetables, just like any other peace agreement, and the proof is that the Arab leaders have proposed peace and normalization deals with Israel several times that ended up in the bin because Israel wasn’t willing to move from its side. If anyone, it’s Israel that’s setting its timetable, not the Arabs.

All minorities living within the Arab world are under siege
This is very very wrong, and a trip to any country in the Arab world where a religious minority exists can show that; Jews in countries like Tunisia and Morocco, Christians in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and the list continues; These people enjoy all their rights and freedoms, and live in peace alongside Muslims.

The Arab world is not about to make an exception for the Jews
Again, echoing the previous point, Jews have been living in many Arab countries for decades and centuries without any problems; the Israel-Palestine problem has nothing to do with Arabs or Muslims discriminating against Jews, it’s a problem over land between two people: Palestinians from all religions and Israelis from all religions.

Arab regimes also demonize non-Muslim and non-Arab peoples living beyond the Arab world
Apart from a very small minority of radical extremists this is not true, in fact the opposite holds with most people idealizing the west, admiring them and being very open to learning from them and getting in touch with them.

The concern of so-called “moderate” regimes with the threat posed by radical forces in the region has not altered these realities
Radicalism and extremism is a threat the whole world faces as a whole, not against what is called Islamic-extremism but extremism in general, including Christian and Jewish extremism and the kind of extremism that’s rising in countries like the USA. Unless we all face this threat together, things will only keep getting worse.

Those who urge an American return to Realpolitik in Middle East policy are promoting a delusion
I think there should be a real American return to playing a role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, period! The Middle East policy of the US in the past years, the Bush years, has been solely focused on launching wars in the region, and totally neglecting the Israeli-Palestinian problem, giving Israel the green light to do as it pleases.

In the end, I just wish people would take the time to at least do some research before penning such absurd articles and publishing them online only to make fools out of themselves.

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