John R. Houk
© February 22, 2012
Here is an essay by Obadiah Shoher that questions the theme of a Clash of Civilizations causes animosity between cultures that are divergent in what is important. Shoher believes the bloodiest wars of recent history have been wars of inter-homogenous cultures. For example WWI was the battling primarily between the Brits, France, Russians and America versus Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Actually Shoher didn’t choose war and you can see why. The inter-cultural thing was between five European powers that included the Muslim Ottoman Turks. Shoher’s central theme can easily be re-worked though. After all the Ottomans were of a divergent culture that joined two European powers against the initial allies of Britain, France and Russia. The then weak Ottomans had a National Interest thing going in that if Russia prevailed on its front, the next target would be the Ottoman Empire because Russia was considered the religious spokesperson for the Orthodox Church and there were a significant amount of Greek Orthodox Christians residing in Western Turkey at the time of WWI. Not to mention it would be quite the feather in the cap of Russia if Istanbul was retaken and given its original name again; i.e. Constantinople. The Muslims would be kicked out of the Christian built Hagia Sophia that was desecrated and converted into a Mosque by conquering Ottoman Muslims in 1453.
Shoher’s primary example of a homogenous culture fighting amongst themselves is WWII. It was a war between Europeans that stretched the globe. Again it may be argued that Japan had an Asian culture that clashed with European culture; however if you examine Japanese history there are amazing similarities of phases that included something comparable to European medievalism and Japan was quicker to modernize their culture than other Asian cultures making Japanese Asian culture competitive with European expertise in industrialization and scientific advancement.
The fault I find with Shoher’s hypothesis that a Clash of Civilizations is a non sequitur to wars in his focus on the environment of people rather than that which people believe. The level of passion that people have for what they believe is where the clash occurs.
Here are some examples
The internecine religious wars of Europe were a clash between the beliefs of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
Eighteenth century revolutionary wars within the American Colonies clashing with Britain and within France were clashes of New World thinking and Old World European thinking. The former established the American experiment in personal Liberty from the whims of government and the later much bloodier revolution established the evolution of Secularism over Christianity in European governments.
WWII like so many wars originating on a European scale was a clash between nations desiring to protect their national sovereignty from Hitler’s Nazi ideology believing that Germanic/Nordic culture was the master race desiring a European empire.
The Cold War was a clash between the concept of American Liberty and Capitalism with Soviet godless Communism.
Nazi genocide of Jews sealed the deal of a Jewish State that had been promised from 1917 that coalesced in a war of Jewish survival clashing with Islamic Supremacism in 1948.
There is a good global argument that European exploitation in nations that desire the rule of law to be based on Sharia Law caused a sense of non-Muslims taking resources from areas that are steeped in Islamic Supremacism. Resource exploitation is bad enough; however in the mind of the Muslim such exploitation extends to insulting the superiority of Islam over non-Muslim beliefs. Initially this European exploitation reawakened a Pan-Arab unity movement to expel European control of Muslim Middle Eastern and Muslim Maghreb (North Africa) areas. The existence of Israel was viewed as part of that European exploitation because in the mind of theopolitical Islam, once Islam has dominated an area it is blasphemy to surrender land to the control of non-Muslims even if that land is a non-threatening sliver of land in comparison to the rest of Muslim world that views itself with an Arab legacy.
Early Pan-Arabism was actually secular minded with Sharia Law as the foundation for the rule of law. However, in the early days of Pan-Arabism shortly after WWI and the Ottomans lost control of Muslim people that considered themselves as Arabs, there began a movement to look back on the purity and example of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. This movement is what we describe as Radical Islam today because of the insistence to follow the dictates of the Quran, Hadith and Sira concerning lifestyle and relations with non-Muslims.
The irony for Pan-Arabism is that the constant invasions of independent Israel that resulted in constant losses, the secularist portion became divisive in an Arab unity movement. These constant invasions resulted in the mutual displacement of Arabs in independent Israel and Jews that had lived for centuries in the Muslim Middle East and the Muslim Maghreb. Arabs fled Israel believing the bloodlust of invading Arab armies assumed they would be returning after the Jews were wiped off the earth. Jews did not flee their Middle Eastern and Maghreb homes; rather they were expelled because of the humiliation of tiny Israel beating the snot out of the invading armies. These expelled Jews were forced to leave with the clothes on their back leaving possessions and property behind ala Nazi policy minus the Concentration Camps.
Shoher would have us believe that the conflict between Jewish Israel and the surrounding ocean of Muslims is a conflict based on homogeneity. I disagree. Modern Israel has a culture based on the evolution of the European rule of law which in turn is based on the influence of ancient Greece, ancient Rome and Judeo-Christianity. Israel is a secular State that is established as a safe haven for Jews that had their origins in the Land of Israel way before Mohammed was born.
My conclusion is there is a Clash of Civilizations between Western Culture (more so with American Culture) and Islamic Culture. It is inevitable the culture clash will lead to confrontation unless a transformation movement happens widely inside Islamic Culture or (God Forbid!) Western Culture so weakened by secularism begins to allow Islamic Cultural tenets to be infused into the West.
Obadiah Shoher believes that his concept that Israelis and the Arab-Muslim people are not so different because they are homogenous that a violent war will ultimately take place. He does not say this but the 21st century bloody war between Israel and Jew-hating Muslims could very well be a nuke war.
I DO CONCUR with Obadiah Shoher’s ultimate conclusion between Israel and the Arabs that call themselves Palestinians. The best way for peace within Israel is to transfer Arab Jew-hating Muslims out of all the land controlled by Israel. That would be Judea-Samaria dubbed the West Bank by once occupying Jordan and the retaking of the Gaza Strip to include those that launch rockets into Israeli cities.
I believe such a transfer exacerbate a final Clash of Civilizations. It is time to place a chink in the armor of Islamic Supremacism to end the Islamic terrorism that occurs on Western soil in the name of Allah and Mohammed’s example.
Jews and Arabs are too similar
February 14, 2012
“The alien who lives among you will rise over you higher and higher, and you will sink lower and lower” Deuteronomy 28:43.
Sam Huntington could not be more wrong with his Clash of Civilizations thesis. Civilizations, in fact, clash rarely, and their confrontations are limited to border conflicts. Even the famed Islamic jihad in Europe and the subsequent Reconquista targeted a narrow strip of Southern Europe. On the contrary, intra-civilization wars are ubiquitous. The more culturally close are the opponents, the bloodier is their conflict. The two world wars, which were fought between culturally similar European countries, took an unprecedented number of lives. Civil wars are generally the bloodiest.
Contrary to Fukuyama’s dream of a post-human liberal world without wars, globalization works the other way around: people become more culturally homogeneous, interact more—and clash more often. Globalization caused Japan to take offense at American trade restrictions in the 1930s, globalization made the Pacific front technically possible, and globalization accounts for some Afghani terrorists planning the 9/11 attacks halfway across the globe. Global projection of power is a function of globalization, which allows any two groups to fight, no matter the distance. Still more importantly, globalization pushes foreign images into our homes. Indonesian Muslims learn about evil Zionists they would otherwise never have encountered in their lives. This virtual contact amounts to intrusion and gives impetus first to xenophobia, then hatred, then war.
If anything, we would see more conflicts rather than less, as was indeed the case in the twentieth century. The conflicts would become more and more irrational. In antiquity, resources were scarce but people still used them on economically irrational wars of honor. In our time of economic surplus, economically motivated wars have almost entirely given way to ideological ones. Irrationality makes modern wars unpredictable, common, and cruel. This kind of ideological war is only possible in a culturally homogeneous world: one can kill chimps, buffalo, or natives to gain unrestricted access to local resources and plunder them profitably, but no one would fight Polynesian aborigines for ideological reasons. One only enforces his ideological views on people who are at least remotely similar.
This shows how misguided are those who appeal to the similarity of common Jews and Arabs. Leftists send children to mixed camps to interact with Arabs and see them as the people similar to themselves. The organizers presume to eliminate hatred and mutual suspicion in that way. How wrong. There is a Ukrainian saying, “My Jew is no Jew.” Goebbels of cursed memory made a similar remark in his diary—that probably every German had come to him and pleaded for his Jewish friend who was unlike other Jews. On a personal level, people of hostile groups get along perfectly because they have no personal squabbles. Their problem arises only on a group level. There is no reason for a Jew who wants falafel to hate the Arab provider of it; there is every reason for Jews to hate Arabs who want to take our land. A nation is not sum of its people, but an entirely different body with its own goals, hatreds, and allegiances. It is counterintuitive, but such relationships are typical of synergistic systems: consider how an airplane is unlike the heap of its parts—the airplane flies, its parts don’t. The moral theory recognizes synergistic differences: killing is a crime for an individual, but heroic for a nation.
Cultural homogenization of Jews and Arabs works against coexistence. Just as Jewish assimilation in Europe sparked a major wave of anti-Semitism in the late nineteenth century, so Arab assimilation, especially if forced by the Israeli establishment, is bound to inflame hatreds. Many Jews don’t care about Arabs living in closed communities such as Tulkarem or Umm al Fahm, but resist them moving into Haifa and Yaffo. Not surprisingly, Sephardi Jews, the most culturally close to Arabs, hate them the most.
Educated in Israeli schools and universities, the Arabs might seem similar to Jews, but the similarity is actually anti-parallel: both groups have similar goals and approaches, and are thus bound to clash. Jews learned of a noble nationalist struggle for their homeland, and so did the Arabs—incidentally, we’re talking about the same piece of land. Jews are educated in the spirit of dwelling safely “in our own land,” but so are the Arabs—they don’t want to live prosperously in a Jewish state, just as good Jews don’t want a prosperous life in Switzerland, but choose Israel instead. Both groups want to make this land “their own” and will accept nothing less.
Cultural homogenization causes intermingling, which in turn inflames hatreds, which push moderates from the scene. Since Oslo, Israeli Arabs don’t fear and have no reason to be moderate. They can safely support the most zealous leaders. Moderation is not rewarded, nor is it there any ostensible scheme for rewarding Israeli Arab citizens of some political views over those with diverging opinions. Arab society quickly radicalizes to the point of no return. The radicals might not be many, but few are required; riots, civil wars, and revolutions are started by insignificant minorities.
Transferring the Arabs is the only solution.
I Believe a Clash of Civilizations between the West and Islam is Inevitable
John R. Houk
© February 22, 2012
Jews and Arabs are too similar
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Why Samson Blinded? Biblical Samson, blinded by the Philistines, killed thousands of them in suicide attack. Israeli nuclear weapons are aptly called the Samson Option.
Obadiah Shoher is a pen name for veteran politician. Obadiah lived in the USSR, and sufficiently hated socialism to emigrate. It was quite a disappointment to find that Israeli socialism is in many respects worse. Obadiah contends that socialism, combined with quasi-liberal leftism – the infamous political correctness – spells Israeli destruction, as it has destroyed other societies before. Shoher despises Israeli ostriches who keep their heads in sand preferring not to see the uncomfortable questions: changing demography of … READ MORE ABOUT Samson Blinded