The conflict in the Middle East is perhaps the most intractable human conflict in the world today. It is a threat not only to peace in that region but to the stability of the entire world. And unfortunately, there is still no resolution in sight.
There have been many attempts to force a resolution. The United States, the United Nations, the European Union, all have aggressively promoted plans for peace that have led nowhere. In fact, each successive push for peace by these external powers has only resulted in more violence.
It is the view of Peace with Realism that these disasters have occurred in large part because of the repeated failure to understand certain fundamental aspects of the conflict. There are many complex reasons for this. We in the West often do not appreciate cultural differences and so view the Middle East through the prism of our own experience. We also often lack the sense of history that people may have who live in societies that are older than ours. Since September 11, 2001, many Americans became interested in the Middle East and began studying its history and religions. Nevertheless, a number of distortions of history and current events still circulate through the media, given life by a growing sophistication in the art of public relations.
For example, in spite of the systematic murder of hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians, it is Israel who is most often accused of committing massacres - even though Israel puts the lives of its own soldiers at risk in order to minimize civilian casualties. And in spite of the racist invective that flows through Arab media and culture every single day, it is Israel who is accused of racism. This strange reversal of values has played a key role in many futile and self-defeating efforts to impose an end to the hostilities.
From officially controlled news media in the Arab world to textbooks and programs for schoolchildren, Jews are demonized and dehumanized in Arab society. The spillover into violence is not surprising; it is inevitable. And yet these issues are almost never addressed through mainstream channels of information.
No country can be asked to give away its security. Israel's efforts to defend itself are often cast as oppression, but were it not for Arab terrorism, which has existed since before the founding of the state, there would be no need for Israel to take measures against it. Any proposed plan for peace must recognize the aspirations of the Palestinian Arab population without compromising Israel's security. Because they have not done so, past proposals have failed.
Why is this happening? How did this reversal of values become so prominent? The answers are not simple, and other articles on this site will explore them. But we can begin by saying that Israel has not done a good job of presenting its own case. While Israel has concentrated on the battle itself, the Arabs have embraced public relations as a calculated strategy. The result has been the near-isolation of Israel in world opinion. Largely through their public relations, the Arabs have succeeded in projecting onto Israel responsibility for the very types of crimes and offenses of which the Arabs themselves are guilty. Today those who try to defend Israel against these distortions and lies find themselves at a disadvantage in news interviews and on college campuses.
The Arabs have made numerous attempts to destroy Israel, through war and terrorism, long before 1967, when Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after a war the Arabs instigated. While the old Arab language of "throwing the Jews into the sea" has become dated if not exactly inoperative, these efforts to destroy Israel continue. Only instead of calling them what they are, the Palestinians now speak of a "resistance" against "occupation." But as their own words and deeds clearly show, the current war is not about ending Israeli "occupation." It is about ending Israel.
Nevertheless, through adopting new language to mask an old goal, the Palestinians have acquired widespread support. They have learned the art of public relations, and how it can be used to hide the truth. While it would be desirable to end Israel's presence in the territories peacefully, that is not what this war is about. In fact, as the evidence shows, if the Palestinians truly wanted a state of their own they could have achieved it by now. They have not, because that is not their true intention. But they have convinced most of the world otherwise, through a clever manipulation of the truth that we call the Palestinian Disinformation Campaign.
We at Peace with Realism are concerned about the prevalence of this misinformation and the distortions that have succeeded in replacing reality. Peace cannot come from a lie. And so the mission of Peace with Realism is to make a contribution toward stating the truth and correcting the misconceptions that have taken root in the minds of many people and that, if left unchecked, will surely prevent the realization of any chance for peace. This does not imply approving or excusing everything Israel does - these pages also criticize Israel and its policies when it matters. But a very effective and highly organized publicity campaign, unlike anything on the Israeli side, has slanted much of the news and public perception against Israel, and it is this web site's mission to address this situation and offer some balance to it.
Our main concern is peace. Our enemy is not the Arab people, but lies and distorted ways of thinking that pose obstacles to peace. We uphold the humanity of everyone. Since its inception Israel has wanted to live in peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. We still maintain this hope. We will not respond to dehumanization by dehumanizing in return. We know that Arabs and Jews in the Middle East share not only the land and a common history but also a destiny. As President Kennedy said,
"We can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
Commencement Address at American University, June 10, 1963
This guiding vision is the basis of our Peace; exposing the lies is the basis of our Realism.
Peace with Realism