Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Infinite Divergence

Since deciding that I will be going to Middle East next year, I thought it might be a good idea to try to understand the origins of that whole Middle East conflict thing. Talk to family in Israel? Forget it, they are necessarily one-sided. Talk to my Arab and Muslim friends? Not a chance, again they are one-sided and most them do not know about my Israeli connection.

Instead, I read. My dad gave me this book.

From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters

Fair warning, it is pro-Israel which is good but it is also vehemently anti-Arab, which is bad. I still recommend it but only for ramping up on the history of the region. IMHO, the author did a stellar presentation of the historical influences on the region during various eras.

I learned a few things from this book. I did not know that since time immemorial there have been Jews and Arabs on all the land that has become Arab nations (even Saudi Arabia, which presently will not allow Jews into the country) and Israel. This sort of bilaterly diffuses the discussion of who is entitled to what land because they were there first.

Along the same lines I was fascinated to find out just how many "ruling entities" have been in what is now Israel through out history. Sure the Arabs were there. And so were the Spanish, the Italian, the Turkish, the Persians, the Mongols and of course, the British. Its seems everyone has tried to lay claim to that little, albeit religiously important, piece of land.

To counteract the anti-Arab sentiment of the preceeding book, I borrowed another from an Arab friend.

The Case For Palestine by John Quigley

This one is distinctly pro-Palestinian. While they say some nasty things about Jews and Israel, they stick mainly to legal aspects of why there should be Palestinian state. I can see their side too, legally speaking they are entitled to what was dictated in that division of that land into (trans) Jordan and Israel.

Neither book changed my opinion of the situation, which I will keep to myself (for the time being) but both gave some amazing historical context.

If you are going to look into this topic I recommend getting two books; one pro-Israel and another pro-Palestinian, then decide for yourself. These may not be the best books, in terms of being objective, but I think if an author is going to write about the conflict in the Middle East, they definitely are going to have an initial bias.

I did chat up Muslim Co-worker Girl about what we should do about Hamas, she brings an interesting perspective, I'll post that soon.


Blogger purpletwinkie said...

The book sounds really interesting. Thanks :)

5:13 PM

Blogger Jason said...

sounds very interesting, you're quite the intellectual, Jim :)

Looking forward to reading about your chat with Muslim Co-worker Girl.

11:07 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You be welcome Scott!

7:27 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Thanks for the compliment Jason. I think its more that I felt stupid about the one topic that dominates the region I'll be visiting :)

7:31 AM

Blogger The Persian said...

A lot of people are unaware that Israel has only existed as a nation since 1948 (some will use the word "rebirth" which is somewhat convenient in my opinion) and that also, going backward Jews and Palestinians share the same bloodline, essentially coming from the same exact original stock.

The actions taken by The United States (and others) post WWII in attempts to rectify the devastating and horrific acts of Nazi Germany against the Jewish people is certainly one important factor to consider no matter which (if any) side is taken. It was just wrong on so many levels, and as a result we are paying big time for it, and well so are they (The people of Israel, who are forced to exist in a military state with an ever present sense of fear).

I have great compassion for both the Jews and the Palestinians. I am not taking either side, there are just certain undenyable truths which are often shuffled under the rug.

1:07 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You are right Jim, there are many who listen only to the propoganda machines of both sides without doing any investigating into the history.

Its also very sad to think that both sides continue to live in a war zone. Having seen up-close pics of conditions in Gaza, I cant imagine living there.

I also cant imagine the crap my cousin sees everyday on her beat between Gaza and Jerusalem. Not to mention that my younger cousin has been ejected from his home repeatedly in an eternal redivision of the West Bank.

7:13 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home