The Land of Sand and Scripture

Given current events, I thought it might be prudent to bang out a brief write-up on the Israel/Palestine issue. This will not be any kind of #officialneoreactionaryposition, but rather, a few personal thoughts on the matter that deep down I hope are wrong.

The whole Israeli-Palestinian dynamic is perhaps best encapsulated by a plot element from the Harry Potter books: “Either must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives”. There was perhaps once a chance for peace between the two sides. It is gone now. There is too much history and too much hatred on both sides for any meaningful reconciliation to occur (barring, of course, some kind of black swan event). The only way this ends now is with a river of blood. Peace will come only with genocide.

I think that deep down, both sides are aware of this. I think this knowledge is partly what drives the Palestinian group Hamas to keep fighting, but to the Israelis, this must serve as nothing less than creeping horror. Israel was established partly because of the belief that the Jews deserved reparations after having been the subject of a terrible genocide. Part of its legitimacy rests on being a safe haven from ethnic cleansing. It would be quite an irony indeed to admit that the peace and stability of the country is dependent on wiping out an entire ethnicity of people who have been living there for thousands of years.

Additionally, much of the social cachet the Jews have in modern times — especially their position as a protected class — is due to their status as “Holocaust victims”. How much of that social cachet goes away if the Jews are deemed guilty of perpetuating genocide themselves? Pretty much all of it. I suspect half the reason that there are so many Jews that are opposed to Israel is because they are keenly aware of these consequences.

It used to be that western media would never say anything remotely bad about the Israelis and would blame the Palestinians for everything that occurred. This is still mostly the case, but the pendulum is starting to swing slightly in this regard. I suspect that this shift will continue as time goes on, due to the general left-leaning tendencies of most media folk. The ease with which one can stumble across pictures online of dead Palestinian children will probably be a contributing factor here as well.

The Israelis are thus left with an interesting conundrum. Allow themselves to be subjected to rocket attacks (and possibly worse), or ensure peace by compromising their implicit principles?

(Let us also note for a moment that their de facto principles are not at all undermined in this case. We should not be surprised if a militant ethno-nationalist state takes military action against people of a different ethnicity.)

Middle Eastern Jews have a long history of war and conflict (at least, according to the Old Testament). In a way, it is almost fitting that they should return to their roots and face the same trials today. Still, when given the choice between war and peace, all sensible people choose peace (barring skinny high-schoolers who read Nietzsche and fancy themselves the incarnation of the ubermensch). In the end, the Israelis are going to prefer peace to conflict, but the road to peace is littered with bodies. Is it better that more should die so that peace may be achieved, or that more should live but endure a life of conflict and suffering? There is not an easy answer here, and I do not envy the Israelis for having to face this crossroads.

Finally, there is an underlying phenomenon here that I feel must be pointed out for the sake of intellectual honesty. Neoreaction holds that massively asymmetrical power differentials are the key to ensuring peace and stability. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stands as a massive counter-example to this line of thinking. Israel has one of the most powerful and technologically advanced militaries on the planet, and that still isn’t enough to dissuade a bunch of malnourished, poverty-stricken Arabs with cheap (and often home-made) weapons from fighting back. Power dynamics do not operate in a vacuum, it would seem. This is a point of study that bears further Neoreactionary analysis.




5 thoughts on “The Land of Sand and Scripture

  1. nickbsteves 07/21/2014 / 1:49 PM

    I don’t think the Palestinian/Israeli conflict represents a counter-example to the Neoreactionary doctrine of power assymetries being approximately proportional to stability. The US Dept. of State (the UN, the “International Community”, call it what you will) keeps Israel on a tight leash, with much of the world ready to go full Rhodesian Sanctions on Israel’s arse, if Israel acts with (what would have once been considered quite ordinary) prejudice in its own interests. A free and uninterfered with Israel would have reduced opposition to pliancy or glass in the desert decades ago. A free and uninterfered with Israel does not exist. “Foggy Bottom” keeps its elbow on the scale to prevent the apparent power assymetry from ever becoming real and active.

    • Legionnaire 07/21/2014 / 9:56 PM

      Though I question the degree to which the international community would sanction Israel if push came to shove, I have to admit this is a really, really good point that I failed to take into consideration. Very true.

  2. disenchantedscholar 07/23/2014 / 10:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Philosophies of a Disenchanted Scholar and commented:
    I wonder if the likes of Mindweapon have an opinion on what magical fuel the impoverished Palestinians are using to overpower the Israeli military might? it vaguely reminds me of something he wrote

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