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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Melanie Phillips (I like these kinds of after action reports): The legacy of the Six-Day War

...There were two other notable contributions to the seminar. Martin Kramer considered the common argument that the 1967 war and subsequent ‘occupation’ led to the emergence of Islamist extremism and al Qaeda. The facts, he said, did not fit this thesis. For a start, the one country in the Middle East where Islamism had seized power since 1967 was Iran, which had played no part in that war. 1979, the year the ayatollahs came to power, was the landmark year for the emergence of Islamism; and the historical grievance behind that Iranian revolution was the return of the Shah. Israel was irrelevant. This meant that the key to countering Islamist fundamentalism was not the Israel/Arab peace process, but ‘rolling back the Iranian revolution’ – in other words, regime change in Iran.

In the most poignant and indeed tragic analysis of all, Yossi Klein Halevi suggested that the Six-Day War had brought to light a continuing ambivalence in the attitude to power of the Jewish people themselves. The weeks before that war, when attacks upon Israel and the threat of war were mounting – the ‘waiting period’—reawakened the primal Jewish fear both of a second holocaust and that the Jews would once again be isolated as the world stood by and watched it happen. The principle established by the Six Day War would trigger pre-emptive action by Israel. The consequence of its victory, however, was that Jews felt able for the first time to confront the Holocaust and from that date it became central to the identity of Jews in the diaspora. The other side of the coin was that the same victory enabled the non-Jewish world to slough off its own responsibility for the Holocaust and in turn for the survival of the Jewish people. While Jews saw the Six Day War as a narrow escape from genocide, the non-Jewish world only saw the Jews victorious over another people...

[h/t: AndrewAdam (oops) Holland]

Daniel Pipes relates a wrinkle in the growing consensus among historians concerning the Soviet Union's pivotal roll in instigating the war -- in this case namely that the USSR hoped to knock out Israel's nascent nuclear aspirations: The Soviets' Six-Day War

...Enter Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, a wife-husband team, to challenge the accident theory and offer a plausible explanation for the causes of the war. As suggested by the title of their book, Foxbats over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War (Yale University Press), they argue that it originated in a scheme by the Soviet Politburo to eliminate Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona, and with it the country's aspiration to develop nuclear weapons...

Sounds a bit "pat," but who knows?

2 Comments

thanks seymouronia,

andrew holland

If you followed the saga of JeffB versus other commenters on Augean Stables then it is interesting to see what Melanie wrote:
De-classified documents have shown that Egypt, Jordan and Syria were planning to cut Israel in half; Jordan was planning to take out whole populations from Israeli towns and shoot them. Plans for the destruction of Israel had been laid to the smallest detail.

Now if only those declassified documents
were on the net.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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