Monday, July 24, 2006

The War in the Levant

In my opinion, this is becoming PR disaster for Israel.

The Lebanese do not look like raving maniacs, and I don't think Israel has had a war before where the opposing country comes over so well. Lebanon is not like other Arab countries. The Lebanese do not look like women-oppressing Saudis, or enraged barbaric Palestinians, or a raving Shi'te mob. They look like us: they look like people in Miami living under shelling. Hell, many of them are Christian, perhaps 40%.

Some IM correspondents have asked me about my opinion. Here it is.

I support Israel. I think both the West and the Islamic World owe Jews an immense apology for the way (worse in the West) both civilizations treated Jews. I think anti-Semitism in the Arab world is disgusting. And I think, as a gay man, Israel is the only country in the Middle East (outside Turkey) I could live in. And if it comes down to it, I am on the Israeli side.

But, I will not count an Arab life (Chistian or Muslim) as less than a Jewish or "American" life.

I have indeed noticed that there is a helluva lot of PR going around me. [We have 350+ dead on both sides after 12 days. Damned, more people have died from driving accidents in Israel in this period. More people died in the first 30 seconds of the Somme in 1916.]

This is a skirmish in the wider scheme of things. I think people suggesting the thesis that were are beginning WWIII have jumped the shark. I could be wrong, but...(See if I am wrong).

  • As of 7/24/2006 WWIII is not on the the radar. Israel has had an effect on Hezbollah, and will exercise a suppressive effect via land forces in the next 4 days. It has perhaps fivemore days to do this.

  • Condeleeza Rice's presence from Sunday in the he middle east will mean a smaller war and growing pressure because the western media are refusing to reduce the Lebanese people to the animality. [I could be very wrong here.] Many of us have, as well as Jewish, Lebanese friends and colleagues.

  • Both sides seem to have miscalculated to a massive extent. Hezbollah did not expect Israel to fight back (as it has a right to do); but Israel did not realize the impact it is making in the US with continual raids on a modern city.

    [And, since we are all racist, the world has just ignored Darfur, AND the coming Somali-Ethiopian War, AND the Tsunami in Java.]

    Steve Muhlberger said...


    Just because it's not as bad as one of the worst things that ever happened, it's not a skirmish.

    Clemens said...

    Yes, as pr goes, it is a disaster. But for the Israelis it's about their verey lives. For us, we can give them all kinds of advice. At the end of the day, we won't pay much of a price.

    I'm not disagreeing with you - but I have always been struck that when Yanks and Brits talk about the Middle East, we are talking theory. Israelis (and Lebanese and Palestinians for that matter) are talking about their lives.

    The importance of our opinions begins to fade.