Monday, February 26, 2007

I've added a link to "Track co.mments"

I hope this will make it easier to follow up on the discussions that emerge in the comments section of many posts.

I've never used this service before, so I'll be happy to hear from you if it is indeed useful...


Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's not our existence - it's the way our existence is perceived by the other side

To answer Abe's question:

you also wrote: "'s not our existence - it's the way our existence is perceived by the other side..."

i don't understand the difference

When I say "how our existence is percieved", I am talking about how Arabs interpret our actions. The problem is usually not the actions themselves, but the perceived intent of those actions.

This is perfectly human. Imagine your own reaction towards a person who has killed in self defence. Now imagine your attitude towards a psychopathic murderer. Both have done the same, but from a different motive. Our attitude is based on how we interpret the *intentions* behind the actions. What would you do if someone you know to be a psychopathic murderer was to get close to anything dear to you?

Arab attitude towards us is shaped by their perception of our intentions and our motives.

Arabs hate us because they believe our purpose is to kill them all and destroy Islam. They see us as heartless murderers - not as regular humans fighting for their existence. A huge number of Arabs seriously believe that we are as bad as the Nazis - or even worse. Every action of ours is automatically interpreted as part of a vicious plot.

We think Arabs hate us because they are evil. But in fact, they hate us because they see themselves as the good guys, and us as the evil ones.

The Al-Aqsa events: a very predictable misunderstanding

I'm not surprized by the Al-Aqsa events. Not by the stupidity displayed by the Israeli government, not by the Arab hysteria, and not by the dismissal of these riots by most Israelis as "a bunch of fanatics spreading ridiculous antisemitic propaganda".

Many Israeli governmental institutions see themselves as the responsible protectors of civilization and Jewish heritage.

In the eyes of the Arab world, we Israelis are perceived as vicious murderers, who are plotting to destroy Islam. Therefore, anything we do that is even slightly related to Muslim holy sites will immediately cause an hysteria about our intentions. It is only natural for this to cause panic and riots.

In the eyes of the Israeli right wing, Arabs are perceived as terrorists who are plotting to destroy Israel. The Israeli left wing may not agree that ALL Arabs are like this, but they do agree that SOME Arabs are like this. Any Arab violence is immediately attributed to the intention to destroy Israel. Any claims voiced by the worried Arabs that "Israel is plotting to destroy Al-Aqsa" sound so ridiculous to Israelis, that they are immediately discounted as senseless propaganda.

And so, once again, a stupid and inconsiderate action of some office in the Israeli government is perceived by Arabs as warmongering, thereby causing Arab panic and violence, which is in turn interpreted by the Israeli public as proof that Arabs are terrorists.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The right-wing paradox

The Isreali right wing thinks Arabs hate Israel and want to destroy us. The left wing would rather ignore this.

What the right wing doesn't understand, though, is that we should not only defend ourselves from those who hate us: we must also fight the hatered itself.

הטעות של מדינת ישראל היא שאנחנו נלחמים רק בשונאינו - במקום להילחם גם בשינאה עצמה

The paradox is that by fighting those who hate us, we increase the hatered.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

93.6 RAM FM - Joint Israeli Palestinian Radio

I heard about this in the news on the radio today, and then found an article in Ha'aretz (english:, hebrew:

The Hebrew article is a bit more informative than the English one, and explains the neutral wording that the station's news department is planning on using. So, for example, instead of saying "A Suicide Terrorist" or "Martyr", they plan to say "A Palestinian blew himself up".

I'm looking forward to this station going live tomorrow morning. I just hope reception in my area will be adequate.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Short Guide to the Israeli Emotional State of Mind

The Isreali/Palestinian conflict is emotional. To understand what's going on, you must understand the feelings.

To help you do that, I have listed some basic Israeli emotional patterns.

These are not opinions - these are feelings. I know many of them are wrong (correction: I personally identify with some, and think others are misplaced), but there's no point in arguing with them. You can't change feelings with logical arguments.

So here they are, 11 typical Israeli feelings:

  1. Israel is our home.
  2. We are good guys. We want peace. We are modern, moral and responsible. (Although our leaders are irresponsible and corrupt).
  3. Any attack on Israelis is an attack against me personally. Heck, I could have been there!
  4. All Arabs hate us. They want to destroy Israel and kill us. (Left/center view: change "All Arabs" to "Some Arabs", and possibly "kill us" to "drive us out of here").
  5. Arabs lie about current events and rewrite history in order to suit their hatered of us. (Left/center view: change "Arabs" to "Some Arabs")
  6. We are still alive only because we defend ourselves. We have every right to defend ourselves. It's a pity if that causes suferring on the other side, but our safety comes first. (Left wing view: add "we should be more careful about our moral values when defending ourselves").
  7. We must not show any signs of weakness. If we show signs of weakness, this will encourage Arabs to attack us even harder. (This feeling is somewhat less prevalant in the left wing - although the Qassams that followed the Gaza withdrawal are making this feeling more common)
  8. The Palestinians are suferring because "they brought it upon themselves with the exploding busses and the other terror attacks". (Right wing: add "Besides, there are so many Arab countries around - why do they have to stay here where they are suferring?")
  9. [Right Wing view] Arabs cannot be trusted. For example: we gave them Gaza back, and we're getting Qassams in return.
  10. [Left wing view] I'm confused. I thought some Arabs can be trusted, but maybe the Right Wing people are right about point #9? Or maybe it's just that these trustworthy Arabs are not powerful enough to change things.
  11. [Right wing / religious view] Our heritage and holy sites must be protected.

Israeli actions are directly caused by this emotional pattern. As a matter of fact - our interpretation of reality is based on these emotions. For example, how do you think most Israelis interpreted the Arab riots in Al-Aqsa today? (Hint: see point #5).

The problem with these emotional responses is that they block our thinking, and make us keep making mistakes that fuel the conflict (e.g., the recent Al-Aqsa events).

By the way - the emotional responses of the extreme Israeli Left Wing are completely different - but they also do not help resolve the conflict. The emotional response of the extreme Israeli Left starts with a different point #2 - but I'll explain in another post.

Is it possible for these patterns to change? I'm sure it is - because it happened to me. I used to follow these exact patterns, but I went through a process that changed my emotional responses.

But how can I help other Israelis go through this process too?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Plea for Peace From a Bereaved Palestinian Father

A must-read article:

The article was written by Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian who lives in Anata, near Jerusalem. Bassam's 10 year old daughter, Abir, was shot and killed several weeks ago by an Israeli soldier.

Having read Bassam's article, I find that words cannot express my awe and admiration for this brave man.

Israelis and Palestinians alike should learn from him.