Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

If the Jews left Israel what would happen in the middle east?

Asked by JLeslie (48211 points ) July 6th, 2014

I’m sure we have asked and discussed similar questions, but it has been a while and it is on my mind, because a friend on Facebook has raised the topic of the Palestinians and Israelis.

Let’s say the Jews leave and get open entry to the US. They destroy, or at least damage, most of the Israeli infrastructure. Now the Palestinians can come in and have the land, or any other group in the area. Do the other Arab countries allow the Palestinains to just take over the land? What if Israel left most of the infrastructure intact? Would that make a difference to what group would try to lay claim? Would they destroy holy Jewish and Christian sights, or protect them? Would the Middle East have peace? Would the Middle East let go of their hate towards the west. I realize not the whole Middle East hates the west, I only mean would the terrorists and governments who do finally let go of their hate? Would Arabs and Persians live peacefully again and prosper?

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19 Answers

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was quite antisemitic; however, he was one of a group of Brits who were to decide on a National home for Jewish people. In 1917 Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people“and how much British held land in the Middle East was to go to the Jewish people. At first they assigned a much larger amount but Arabs were opposed to Jews having any property with oil.

Oil became extremely important and less land was reserved for the Jews than originally planned.

“It was only after the Jews re-inhabited their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria, that the myth of an Arab Palestinian nation was created and marketed worldwide. Jews come from Judea, not Palestinians.

There is no language known as Palestinian, or any Palestinian culture distinct from that of all the Arabs in the area. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. “Palestinians” are Arabs indistinguishable from Arabs throughout the Middle East. The great majority of Arabs in greater Palestine and Israel share the same culture, language and religion.”

To get on topic here I can only paraphrase but T.E. Lawrence who is known for romanticizing Arab culture based on history said: Any part of a desert where Jews settle becomes an olive orchard and the land becomes an oasis. Any part of a desert where Arabs dwell becomes a garbage dump.

And this was from a guy who loved them.

I paraphrase only because I don’t have the original text book on hand any more. I am a historian by education. But that was very much what he believed.

If Israeli’s were ever forced to leave Israel, which I doubt will happen, and all the many universities and research, technical and agricultural projects disappeared, it would look like it did before the Jewish people settled it. Pretty much a slum in the desert.

The now called Palestinians were nomadic tribes – there was no Palestine – that was a rude name given to the area by the conquering Romans. The nomadic tribes had representation in Jordan and were considered Jordanians. After Israel was recognized, they were kept out of Jordan and it’s neighboring countries.

“The rebirth of Israel was accompanied by economic prosperity for the region. Arabs migrated to this area to find employment and enjoy the higher standard of living.

In documents not more than hundred years, the area is described as a scarcely populated region. Jews by far were the majority in Jerusalem over the small Arab minority. Until the Oslo agreement the major source of income for Arab residents was employment in the Israeli sector. To this day, many Arabs try to migrate into Israel with various deceptions to become a citizen of Israel.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

Kudos on the scholarly analysis above. The analysis misses the point however, that regardless of how sparsely populated the region, for 2000 years since the conquest of Judea, those nomadic tribes, primitive as they were, held sway over the land. One of the ironies of the Roman suppression of the revolt in Judea was that the resulting diaspora left the Jews ubiquitous throughout the Roman Empire, and subsequently the world, but I digress.

It is disingenuous to pretend that the “rebirth” of Israel is about the establishment of a nation in a barren land devoid of human habitation. There were plenty of Arab olive orchards and date farms ruthlessly bulldozed and their owners brutally evicted. The problem faced by the Zionists was that the “rebirth” came about in era when colonialism was rapidly on its way out of fashion. Unlike the United States where the native inhabitants were for all practical purposes exterminated, the exiled Palestinian “tribes” have seen their populations balloon exponentially. In fact, it is this single demographic fact that renders the future for a stable democratic Israel beyond problematic.

My comments here are not meant to be disparaging of Israel. But objectively speaking, it’s difficult to conceive of a worse location for long term prospects than the so called “promised land’. The very reason that nomadic tribes roamed a barren landscape, was that the land itself is a place of scarcity. The description of Israel as an oasis in a region of poverty and desolation is great p r and might well be a remarkable achievement, made possible by the wealth of the diaspora and a unique talent for “wagging the American dog”. But the “miracle” is only possible through the essential suppression of the multiplying descendants of the former residents. The contrast of all that prosperity surrounded by enforced Palestinian squalor leads to the uncomfortable reality that Israel at best must exist as a garrison state. When you add the current instabilities of the surrounding states and the resulting unraveling of the region, the long term viability of the “miracle” in the desert would appear miraculous indeed.

gondwanalon's avatar

The Palestinians would likely see everything that the Israeli people work hard for crumble to dust. Since Israel doesn’t have a lot of natural resources, I suspect that other Arab countries would not be in a hurry to fight the Palestinian Arabs over the land.

ragingloli's avatar

@non_omnis_moriar
Is that what is called reverse antisemtism?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

The radical insane people left would start killing off each other.

flutherother's avatar

^^ Paraphrasing T E Lawrence hardly constitutes a ‘scholarly analysis’ and what is called Palestine wasn’t inhabited solely by nomadic Arab tribes. There were many towns and villages in which Arabs and Jews lived in relative harmony prior to 1948. It wasn’t the existence of Jews in the Middle East that disrupted the peace but the creation of the State of Israel which has become an expression of Western military power in the region rather than an expression of what is best in Jewish life and thought.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

@non_omnis_moriar “Is that what is called reverse antisemitism?”

No way.

I’m a Medieval historian by degree (education) but I became interested in what was going on in the Middle East during the late 60’s. It was quite fascinating.

Arab leaders of that time were very clear about their Jordanian connection and that the use of the term “Palestinians” would enable them to establish a new Palestinian identity that never existed before. They had a seat on the Jordanian Parliament until Israel was identified as a country.

A lot of what I learned came from Arabic interviews on the radio oddly enough.

Their arguments have changed a lot. They were most open on German radio, but while I once found one of those German interview on the web about ten years ago, I can’t find it anymore. Search engines have changed enormously.

I got the statement I used above : that there was “never a Palestinian identity,” from a German interview of Arabs talking about how they had to now identify themselves as Palestinian and make people believe there was more of a specific cultural history in the region, in order to succeed. Odd stuff but true.

While Jewish people crossed over into Europe and settled there, all of them did not leave the region. There were many local Jewish towns and Jews and Arabs lived side by side as they had for god knows how long. Jewish people were not part of the larger nomadic people that found themselves in the middle and were recognized under various tribal names by Jordan.
They blamed Israel for their plight, not the Arab countries that locked them out and prevented them from continuing a nomadic life. And while Israel accepted them, they did not want to recognize Israel. The terrorist attacks on Israeli’s during that time were horrendous.

I dislike this right wing leadership of Israel. I would like to see a two state solution but not that Jerusalem be given over to the “Palestinians.” Muslims have Mecca, and if I were to visit Mecca I would be killed – period. Jerusalem is open to everybody – Muslims, Christians, secular people like me – best it remains in current hands.

The Israeli people have created and intellectual haven of Israel. It would be horrendous to lose. They have built more colleges and universities than any other country the world per capita. Their list of inventions, the Americans think came from here, would blow your mind.

I love Golda Meir. She’s one my heroines – I lean left. Like her and the first Israeli’s, I’m a democratic socialist.

snowberry's avatar

If Israel were to disappear it would greatly advance the radical Muslim agenda. Who wants that, except the radical Muslims?

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone. I really enjoyed reading your answers.

@non_omnis_moriar I’ve always said that many in Europe and the UN created Israel to be able to get rid of their own Jews. It’s no surprise that people who are antisemitic were in favor of the creation of Israel. I wasn’t really aware of how oil played into it all, so I really appreciate that new bit of information.

One question that popped in my mind was if antisemitic was used in the early 1900’s did it already mean antiJewish, or did it mean anti everyone in the middle east region. Semetic technically, originally described the Arabs and Jews and I would guess the Persians too, I’m not sure.

@stanleybmanly I have often said I wish the Jews had been given Wyoming (state picked at random). The Israelis and Palestinians are pawns in a geopolitical mess I think. People say the US will always support Israel. Well, sure we will, we use Israel to have geographic position in the middle east. The Arabs use the Palestinians to fight the Israelis. Why haven’t the surrounding Arab countries helped the Palestinians more? I don’t mean with fire power, I mean economically. From what I understand Palestinians that go to other countries as refugees often are not given full status in those countries, I might misunderstand what really happens. So, they continue to feel like they are Palestinians without a homeland,mwithout a real place to live.

@gondwanalon Do you think the Palestinians would even stay there? Do you think the region just wants to get rid of the Jews and once gone the Arabs won’t give a damn about that land, not even many Palestinians? The Jews hopefully would blow up all their frastructure on their way out if they left.

@snowberry Why would it greatly advance their agenda? If the Jews left Israel and went to live safely in another place I can’t see how it really helps the Arabs so much.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

?One question that popped in my mind was if antisemitic was used in the early 1900’s did it already mean antiJewish, or did it mean anti everyone in the middle east region. Semetic technically, originally described the Arabs and Jews and I would guess the Persians too, I’m not sure.”

First, Persians are not Arabs, they’re Aryan people. If I’m spelling that right.

Antisemitism is about Jews. European hatred of Jews is all about “Christ-killing” and refusal to be part of the Catholic Church during it’s dominance in Europe. The hatred was spread to Protestants thru’ Martin Luther’s publications.

It’s tradition to hate Jews.

JLeslie's avatar

@non_omnis_moriar Oh, I know the tradition, I’m Jewish. I also know Persians are not Arabs, that is why I separated them out. Semitic I know can be inclusive of Jews and Arabs, although we don’t use semitic anymore much. I dont here people us that word. I just didn’t know if antisemitic previously was used for both, or always was a term just used for hating Jewish people.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Semitic is language family. If that helps. Hebrew is semitic language.

I found this and while it not really what we’re talking about, it might be interest to you folks. One thing I like about fluther is that if I post a link to a news story, people do take the time to read it. Not so on other sites and most chat sites are really against the Jewish people in general so it’s difficult to discuss:

“I’m so sick of the anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic crap posing as articles in the media that twist what’s really being said by leaders.

Here’s a breath of relief, sanity and reality:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/10/1313152/-The-world-gets-it-right-on-Israel-and-Hamas

stanleybmanly's avatar

Antisemitism is pretty much restricted to Jews for the simple reason that they were the only Semitic people who were everywhere. When the legions of Titus sacked then leveled Judea to a wasteland, the Jews wound up infused and dispersed into every region (and occupation) in the Empire. Roman punishment was ALWAYS severe, and the very name Judea was wiped from the maps. It was an object lesson that most of the Empire had long since learned, and that the Jews probably missed due to their insular isolation. To say that Palestine is a made up word might have some credence except that it is a word that was “made up” and has been recognized for close to 2000 years! Palestine was on Roman maps before there were Rabbis!

@JLeslie It would be a big mistake to believe that public opinion in the United States will continue to favor Israel indefinitely. If ever the Palestinians develop the facility approaching that of Israel at the propaganda game, the balance might shift rather quickly. Israel is at a decided disadvantage PR wise throughout the balance of the world, but if you’re going to have a champion, it’s good to have the biggest guy on the block, even if his reasoning is obtuse. The Palestinians do indeed serve the interests of the despots of the region by focusing the hatred of the homeless on Israel as opposed to themselves. And here I would like to state that the strife in the present day Middle East is nothing compared to the disruption that would occur were present day Israel and the Jews inhabiting it to suddenly pick up and relocate to Greenland. As it is, time is clearly not on the side of plucky Israel, and the manifest difficulties involved with maintaining the state in its current location intensify with the arrival of every Palestinian newborn. If the United States itself can somehow manage to come to its senses and avoid its own apparent trip down the toilet, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it finds itself as the destination for the besieged population. But the window for deliverance might not remain open indefinitely. It will be a tragedy, as well as a regional nightmare when the weight of reality overwhelms Israel, but sometimes Pluck just isn’t enough.

non_omnis_moriar's avatar

Palestine, as I’ve said before, is pejorative Roman word. Romans did not force their religion on conquered areas. But their disliked Theocracies with harsh religious laws. They considered the ancient Jews as a barbaric culture. The word Palestine evolved from the word Philistine.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly I started thinking about this topic again because a Muslim Facebook friend of mine who is Malaysian-American and very smart, interesting, and overal a liberal and open person in all senses of the words, has been posting articles and her own comments about how awful the Israelis are being of late. That they are the oppressors and recently there was a news report of a small mob harming an individual Arab women in Israel, similar to gay bashing in America both verbal and physical. Her point of view really bothers me. She talked about the American media always portraying the Palestinians as horrible people, and I actually do agree American media tends to be extremely pro Israel and biased. However, her take is extremely bothersome to me. She fails to see that Israeli authorities are disciplining Israelis who harrassed a Palestinain woman on a bus, and that the police and government publically speak out against any such violence. She is very upset Palestinians have died in some recent bombings, but fails to recignize the the Palestinians terrorists hide among family, women and children, it would be like a mafia man with a hit on him putting his only child in front of him to shield himself from the bullets. The Israelis almsot always warn of incoming bombs so thebPakestinain people can flee the area. She refuses to see Palestinians as the aggressors. I agree Israel sometimes is overly aggressive in response, but really, the world should know the Jews are always going to push back hard for the rest of time, “never again.”

What I always wonder is if any of the Palestinian in that region people want a two state solution? My impression in is they are all or none, but maybe I am wrong. My Palestinain acquaintances are American and I never asked them that specific question.

What I do know is I care more about my people than the land. I guess maybe I only have so much fight in me, and then I am in flight mode.

I would be curious to see the land we know call Israel 29 years from now if the Jews left tomorrow. Would the land prosper? Could we say I told you so when it doesn’t? Could they say I told you so when it does?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie Were the Jews to leave tomorrow any hope for prosperity would leave with them. Of course the Palestinians want a 2 state solution. But the thing that is crystal clear is that there cannot be 2 states side by side that even approach the standard of living of present day Israel. Israel is only possible because of the huge influx of money invested in a highly literate well educated population. It has also been a bastion of socialism from sheer necessity since its inception. But this is at heart, the real dilemma, and as for nearly every intractable problem vexing societies in conflict, it all boils down to poverty. The real reason there is no peaceful settling of the “Palestinian” issue is that the meager resources which barely sustained the population of the region 70 years ago are never going to be stretched to accommodate the eightfold increase in people whose parents are tribal subsistence farmers of nomadic heritage.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly If the land that is now Israel doesn’t have enough resources to support a larger population then even without the Palestinians the Jews are in trouble. We just finally got back to pre holocaust numbers worldwide, it took over 70 years. Don’t tell me we have to be happy with that as a final count ongoing. Seriously, maybe the Jews should look for another option. Obviously, most of the people who have their life and home there are not going to want to just pick up and move, but some will.

I have my own mixed feelings about a Jewish homeland. Being American, I like the idea of a secular country with freedom of religion. Being Jewish I like the idea of a place that will always take me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The Jews are here to stay because of the world wide diaspora. The truth is that it was the Roman devastation of their homeland that forced the people and their traditions to be universal. The holocaust was a catastrophe precisely because Jews were concentrated in European countries overrun by the armies of a lunatic.

This brings up another point. Probably the greatest irony in the history of the world is the fact that the Jews, of all the people on earth, THE JEWS now find their collective foot on the throat of a persecuted people denied their homeland. It’s a story even Kafka wouldn’t believe.

JLeslie's avatar

As far as I know the Jews go back further in time on that land. We were first. Not that I think being first makes it ours, I am just responding to what you said.

The disporia probably weakens the Jews to some extent. I guess you can look at it a couple of ways. Places where we had very few numbers the Jews often intermarried and often intermarriage can mean some children are less identified as Jews.

Almost half the Jews in the world are in America. Almost half are in Israel, and a sprinkling in other countries. In America there is a lot of intermarriage. In both Israel and America many Jews identify as secular or atheists, some say that will weaken and diminish our numbers over time. In America Jews overall feel safe, so they might feel less need to feel bonded to the group.

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