Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
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Israeli ideological warfare against hostile Muslims

To say that Arab hostility to the United States is a result of American foreign policy rationalizes Arab xenophobia and jealousy. Arabs observe the West on satellite TV channels, the internet, and movies, and cannot fail to see the contrasts to their own world. Arab hatred of the West is not related to religion. When Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims quarrel, they burn each other’s temples and mosques. The Arabs, however, attacked not the Vatican but New York, not New York churches but two skyscrapers devoted to international trade, the essence of the new world order.

The 9/11 attack offered a rationalization for anti-Semitism: the evil Israelis, Arabs suggested, arranged the attack and blamed it on Osama bin Laden. Yet Arabs lauded bin Laden after the event, giving that quasi-official line the lie. Muslims know he masterminded the attack, not Israelis. Arabs always rationalize their hatred of everything foreign, now Israeli, typical of ambitious but lagging nations. Whatever Israel or the West do, Muslims take as a new reason to hate Israel. Not that Israel should care what Arabs think. How did anyone think Arabs would respond to the American invasion of Iraq? Islam resents foreign intrusion, and resented Israel. So what? International police action does not require Arab consent. With vested and conflicting interests, Arabs would certainly prefer dominating a war-torn, isolated Middle East of tribal entities to being pushed around by a more advanced civilization and Israel, even if it does get rid of one of their worst tyrants.

The antidote to the problem of anti-Israeli sentiment is clear: Arabs must be converted to Western secular ideology. The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 was ostensibly an attempt to introduce pro-Israel democracy, but Saddam was elected more or less democratically, and so was Hitler. The West has no business promoting democracy that could bring fundamentalists, socialists, nationalists, or other troublesome for Israel elements to power. Theodore Roosevelt said, “If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States.” Democracy in the undeveloped Arab countries would come nowhere near that goal, and threaten Israel. When the communist bloc threatened, the West used every propaganda tool, from radio broadcasts and open support of dissidents to jazz and jeans, to seed its ideology and undermine the will to fight instead of risking open conflict. The same must be done in the Arab countries. Not nuclear bombs but culture is the Israeli ultimate weapon. Western political machines engineer popular consent to get their way; Israel shoudl use those skills on the Arabs. Atatürk forced secularization on Turkey and marginalized religious leaders who now carp on Israel. Sadat exterminated subversive - and anti-Israeli - elements with police methods which developed societies recently declared off-limits but which are unavoidable in lawless societies—societies which do not obey the kind of law Israel wants.

Israeli Westernizing ideological pressure must be constant. The Turks made the mistake of resting on the laurels of Atatürk’s reforms, believing secularization was irreversible. That proved wrong. An influx of rural people into the cities, an increase of the population with the least education, and toleration of religious propaganda (deemed to have been suppressed too vigorously) came to fruition in the 1990s and brought Islamist parties to power with 34% of the vote in 2002—a higher percentage even than in Pakistan.

To beat Israel's enemies without war, Israel must discredit Islamic culture, much as was done - also by Israel - with communist culture, by making selected superficial aspects of Western culture—from jeans to CDs to TV programming to offshore ship-based nightlife and gambling facilities—available to Arabs. To Arabs those are symbols of foreign and Israeli pleasure, glimpses of the other world’s attractions, entirely unlike the dull world of the hypocritically austere Islamic ulema. The Islamic world means fruitless exhaustive work which does not buy the equivalent of a house in California with a Cadillac in the garage and a Hollywood blonde in the bedroom. As icons represent religion, consumer symbols represent capitalism. Theological and ideological theories are irrelevant; external attributes matter. Ideological battles are a quest for fancier idols. Many Russians and Arabs in the 1990s rejected Western capitalism but longed for the consumer perks it offered. The idols and ceremonies of the free market—commodities and shopping vs. statues and demonstrations—won the Leninists over and would also outperform mosques and jihad-inspired suicide. Muslim scorn of Western culture is posturing. Muslims watch Western TV, read Western magazines, and listen to Western music, envious of Israel and admiring the Jewish state.

Dismal support in Islamic countries for American actions points out no problem in Israeli ideological warfare. Polls are biased because people indulge in radicalism when questioned about their attitude to a pro forma Israeli and American enemy, especially after crises, like 9/11. This bias misrepresents envy as animosity. Soviet people also had a love-hate relationship with America, loved jazz and Coke and hated imperialist warmongers. Coke won. In mass religions, idols always win.

Atatürk converted the world’s most Islamic country to relatively tolerant secularism in just about fifteen years. The West should identify and support Islamic leadership looking to open Islamic countries to cosmopolitan ideas acceptable to Israel. Such leaders, however, often replace religion with nationalism, equally intolerable to the West and Israel. The cultural modification of the Islamic world cannot be left by Israel to the locals.

The West cannot reach an agreement with Muslims because they believe differently. To Muslims, freedom and economic well-being are insignificant compared to ideology; Europeans had a similar outlook not long ago, and Israelis have now. Israel must induce Muslims to accept Western values.

Islamic culture is neither rational nor irrational but rather some of both. Muslims often dress real grievances in hatred by demonizing the perpetrators and attributing evil intentions to them wrongly. Muslim popular leaders consciously exploit that hatred, setting irrational goals and settling for realistic ones, threatening irrational war while adhering to rational war tactics. Islamists must be rational to come to terms with their enemies or be exterminated. Islamic civilization’s inferiority to the West is real and rational. Blaming its failures on some Israeli conspiracy is irrational, but Islamic terrorists channel that belief cynically and rationally. The jihad’s proclaimed objective is irrational. The Islamic nationalist agenda is rational. Israeli weapons are no good against unreason unless they crush it. Israel should use propaganda to give Muslims rational concerns, which can be discussed and settled with Israel, not fought over. If an Arab-Israeli fight is necessary, it need not be apocalyptic. Israel can persuade rational Islamic terrorists by military means.

Osama is neither pragmatic nor an apocalyptic Islamic terrorist but rather something in between. His goals are pragmatic: getting the United States out of the Muslim world, as his colleagues drove the U.S.S.R. from Afghanistan. But Osama faces a problem he did not have with Russia: even if it withdraws militarily, America will be present through economic and cultural ties. Therefore, he must change American habits, an undertaking of apocalyptic scale. Osama would likely settle for something tangible, like military withdrawal and withholding Western support for Israel and the most autocratic Arab regimes. That he could rein the other Islamic terrorists in is unlikely.

A coherent, aggressive ideology like Islamism is powerful and can hardly be overcome except by eliminating its followers or discrediting it. Israel and other modern communication-based societies might find the latter more attractive.

Islamic communalism, typical of poor societies urges all Muslims to oppose Israel. Promoting a more individualist culture among Arabs would help Israel. Individualism comes with increased wealth and consumerism. Education also promotes diversity. Fostering Islamic protestantism would reduce the role of mosques, a major communal institution in the Islamic world. Groups need enemies; individuals fear them.

Sex is the most potent ingredient of pop culture for young Muslims. They would eagerly accept from Israel pornography and sex culture. Worldly desires would divert them from Islam and Arab nationalism. Israel should set up enclaves à la Las Vegas in permissive Lebanon and Israeli-controlled West Bank settlements. Muslims who visited those Israeli outfits would tell others immensely attractive stories.

The more than half of Muslim populations under twenty are perfect Israeli targets for internet propaganda promoting Western culture. Proxy access from legitimate sites of Western governments and media will bypass Islamic governments blocking of hostile Israeli sites. More sensitive receivers and small, indoor satellite dishes developed by Israel would beat restrictions on viewing satellite, especially Israel's, broadcasting in place in Islamic countries.

Israel could ask America to fund Western cultural expansionism, subsidizing such ideologically charged items as DVDs and tickets to Hollywood movies, supporting Arab dissidents and publishing their books, distributing free Western magazines, all means employed during the Cold War. They would be war expenses and so should be measured on the scale of war expenditures and should run into the billions. Yet spending the money that way would more likely pacify the Islamic world than buying new weapons.

Jewish propagandists should learn to address Muslims in their language. Israelis must package foreign values like freedom and democracy in Islamic terms. Even style is important: the concise Western style of Israeli pronouncements offends Muslims used to wordy eloquence.

Israel should take control of Palestinian education. Instead of tolerating violently anti-Israeli texts, Israel should monitor Palestinian education programs, hire and fire the teachers, or substitute Israeli designed systems. The Western powers would do well to keep an eye on the dissemination of Islamist hatred under the umbrella of religious freedom under their own noses. Freedom of religion does not extend to urging massacring people who do not share the faith. Israel should sue the madrassas for defamation and insurrection to stop radical Islamic propaganda. Israel need not tolerate hostile propaganda in Palestine, or censor or forbid local media, but Israel should blow up the offices of hostile Palestinian media outlets.

Islam is only a thin shell on the surface of Arab society. The umma is overregulated with unnatural prohibitions. Arabs abroad enjoy alcohol, gambling, and pornography. They used legal legerdemain to reintroduce usury. A small wedge of Westernization in the 1920s broke up the Islamic Ottoman Empire, which had endured for almost over six centuries, brought down secular Communism decades later, and can slip past the taboos restraining the hopes of modern Arabs to engage Western, thus Israeli, culture.

An opportunity not to be overlooked by Israel is the Prophet’s explicit encouragement of trade. The least Israel and the West should do is to establish complicated economic contacts with Muslims by circumventing the current monopolistic arrangements in most Islamic countries, giving direct access to major foreign suppliers to very few companies. Western governments should urge, even subsidize, Western firms to find and deal with small businesses in Muslim countries. China supplies more consumer goods to Muslims than the West. Since the profit margin on wholesale in low-end items is minuscule, incentives could induce Muslims to deal with Western agents of Chinese factories. Israeli goal should be to engage as many businesses in Islamic countries in economic relations with the West as possible.

Atheism disguised as liberal interpretation of Islam might prevent right-wing, extremist religious groups from assuming community leadership, as happens in an ideological vacuum. Ridiculing both Islam and the uneducated mullahs will also promote atheism. Israel should sponsor publishing compilations of opinions that contradict Muslim scholars on important subjects to bewilder intellectual Muslims.

Atheism will remove the otherworldly incentive for suicide Islamic terrorism targeting Israel, though it does not depend only on belief in the afterlife. In World War II, Soviet soldiers carried out suicide missions regardless of religious convictions. Kamikazes need only the belief in some high ideal worth dying for. For Palestinians, that ideal is political: defeat of Israel. Israel must either crush her enemies or discredit the anti-Israeli political ideas behind them—in particular, by discrediting the leaders of anti-Israeli jihad.

Soldiers go to war because people habitually obey governments. De-legitimizing Arab rulers is therefore important for Israel. Publicize through media not affiliated with Israel solid facts about the illegitimacy and corruption of unfriendly Arab leaders, especially their private lives, their departure from Islamic values, their violation of sharia point by point, with many examples.[23] Not only do they violate sharia, but Arab leaders also lack the status of caliphs. That and their un-Islamic behavior could drive a wedge between them and the Arab governments. Appealing to the old Islamic view that working for a government is indecent would also undermine its authority. Islamist radicals criticize their governments. Usurping that critique and flooding the media with it, Israel and the West would turn radicals into copycats who echo the popular line.

Israel exposing their corruption would make Arab governments more transparent and distribute wealth more evenly, making ordinary citizens better off and averse to fighting. Leading policy-making Arab families would depend for income less on transparent governments and more on market activities, and support free-market policies and, eventually, democratization, reducing the power and militancy of states.

Arabs are extraverted. Their religious consciousness is communal with little emphasis on personal piety. They are prone to seek praise and rewards. The Arab boycott of Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt for his subtle overtures to Israel turned into a wave of acclaim and fame after he won the 1988 Nobel Prize for literature. Arabs envy the West and perceive themselves as despised. The hatred is a kind of psychological score settling. But what if the West seems to respect Arabs and Muslims in general? What if their mullahs are invited to theological conferences with Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and others, if their journalists publish irenic articles in the New York Times, if their scientists are invited to work overseas, if their military participate in joint maneuvers, if their politicians are received in frock coats? Arabs would look to the West for the respect they know they cannot get otherwise. Showering Muslims with international honors would be a source of pride other than the jihad. Corrupt Arab opinion-makers. Invite them to the world’s capitals, let them meet high-ranking officials, give them mass-media attention, especially young Palestinian activists and intelligentsia who should be offered good jobs in Israeli companies and abroad. That worked with American hippies and would work with Arab nationalists. They would sell their countries for perks.

The same Israeli approach could work against Islamic terrorist organizations. If Israel cannot root them out or get Arafat’s successors to, legitimizing them is Israel's next best option. Israel should force the Palestinians to admit the radical factions to its parliament, where they would be bureaucratized, corrupted, and discredited. The game is dangerous: if Israel and the West stop showing them respect, Islamic terrorists would turn for respect to their citizens and force. Nazis subverted the parliament because other countries made Germany a political incubator, neither providing incentives nor punishing misconduct. Palestine is not viable, depends on other countries for sustenance and protection, and is thus necessarily open even to Israel. Flirting with Islamic rulers, the West should use any opportunity and concessions to further its cultural influence in the world of Islam.

Radicals often lose their zeal when they come to power; fiery revolutionaries become impotent functionaries. Hamas and that ilk are mostly rural types whom Israeli red-carpet welcome, cocktail parties, and photo opportunities would corrupt. Step by step, the Islamic terrorists would drop the disgusting violence, unfashionable with their new Israeli colleagues, and change the traditional dress for Versace suits. Israel should not negotiate with them as militant commanders; turn them first into inefficient politicians.

Israel should divide and corrupt Arabs by bestowing honors on them, apparently unrelated to politics. Israel may provide scholarships and grants for study in Israel, publish their scholarly works through Israeli foundations, and support their charities. Israeli awards should be arbitrary, so that all will aspire, and losers will suspect beneficiaries of collaboration of Israel.

Fundamentalism, the desperate claim to esteem in societies lacking other achievements, brings only scorn. Muslims, unable to claim esteem on their own culture, will bandwagon Israeli Western or Asian civilization. By approaching them with a show of respect, Israel will draw Muslims into its orbit.

When the Soviets attacked religion, they offered communist ideology instead. Israel should offer the Arabs Western culture: music and movies, emancipation and sexual revolution. Israeli clandestine operations should distribute DVDs and adult magazines. Israel should offer Arab women education in Western proxy schools. Israeli ostensibly charitable agencies in traditionally Arab-friendly countries like France could promote Western values through Israeli-manipulated education and various Israeli cultural programs. Saudi Arabia disseminates Wahhabism through free education. To that Israel should oppose both alternative education and Israeli and American pressure on other governments to close Saudi-sponsored fundamentalist schools. Israel could invite poor Muslim families to send their children to a Western-sponsored schools with free tuition and a small stipend. Perhaps it would be best for Israel to stick to technical education of Arabs, though Palestinian universities and colleges flourishing under Israeli oppression teach mostly liberal arts and sciences, the breeding ground of radicalism. Arabs with technical education but without good jobs lead the jihad, so it is important that Israel teaches no more students than the Arab economies accommodate. Israeli education is not an end but a means to indoctrinate young Muslims with Western values acceptable to Israel.

Another form of Israel's ideological warfare against Islamism is disinformation. Websites, e-mail lists, and online chat rooms let Islamic terrorists show their ideas to the public. Israel could do the same. Israeli options are numerous: Israel setting up bogus Islamic terrorist websites, spreading phony news on the Middle East conflict, subtly defaming Islamic terrorist leaders (the Saudi government puts Osama’s friends on television to speak of him as a gentle, unwarlike person), and Israel's agencies collecting the e-mail addresses of people who visit Islamic terrorist and fundamentalist sites or support bogus Islamist charities.

Uneducated Muslims trust their politicians and the Islamic terrorist leaders. Israel may turn their credulity around: for example, the United States wants to help, but the corrupt local Arab regimes oppose the help to continue their autocratic rule. Shared values commercials assumed the Islamic masses have analytical skills and did not bring rapprochement. Israel must shower Muslims with assertions, true or not; persistent lies, even Israeli, are believable. Massive advertising sells products far worse than Israeli goodwill to Muslims.

Israel should systematically assasinate Islamic terrorist leaders to shorten the queue of willing successors. There were few ancient Christian martyrs, and modern people are averse to suffering. If eliminating the Islamic terrorists as soon as they take office is troublesome for Israel or prohibitively expensive, Israel should grant them public immunity and go after the rank-and-file and other supporters who will resent their bosses’ Israeli immunity.

Attributing the 9/11 attacks to Al Qaeda tremendously increased the obscure group’s prestige. Osama learned about the operation days before it occurred. Even if he masterminded the attack, it would have made every sense for Israel to rob him of his laurels; Israel could attribute the operation to an imaginary group.[24]

Israel should hold Arab and Islamic civilizations up to judgment before world opinion. Many mistakenly believe that Arabs built the pyramids, that science flourished under Islam, that Islamic empires were peaceful and tolerant. In fact they were generally cruel, religiously intolerant, xenophobic, culturally vapid, and economically irrelevant. Israel should protest the way Egypt handles archeological remains which belong to all humanity, drilling tunnels in pyramids, flooding relics at Aswan, damaging artifacts. Israelis might rethink their rejection of the likely roots of Judaism with Akhenaton and the heritage of Heliopolis, the pyramid builders.

[23] Bin Laden, whose simple way of life is touted by Islamist propaganda, had villa in Khartoumluxurious enough that the owner of the “pharmaceutical” factory the U.S. destroyed bought it.

[24]Al Qaeda authorship of 9/11 is not evident. Islamic terrorists claim responsibility for the acts; there is no reason for Islamists to attack, if not to say who has done it and why. Compare this silence of the Islamic terrorists to the extensive bragging after the USS Cole bombing. Osama could not be afraid to talk; such operation is a crowning jewel of any Islamic terrorist’s career, worth dying for. The 9/11 plot differed qualitatively from primitive bombings Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists had staged before. Circulated video with bin Laden taking responsibility is suspicious, an Islamic terrorist speaking of “Western civilization under the leadership of America” and “awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights and humanity.”

Some blamed the 2003 Riyadh bombing on Osama, though he accommodates his home regime, which in turn tolerates the financiers of Islamic terrorists. In a statement published in February, 1998, Osama relieves the Saudi royals of responsibility because America subjugated them. He could have attacked foreigners in Kuwait or Bahrain without alienating Saudis. Then, Iran was designated the culprit of the terrorist act, though new Iranian government was timidly approaching America. A version of Iranian fundamentalist opposition involvement in the terrorist act is ludicrous: they would have left clear traces implicating Iranian government; why frame it without leaving traces? Other forces could stage the Riyadh bombing to show fundamentalist Muslims they should join America’s war on Islamic terrorism.

The shoe-bomber terrorism smells of a show: evidently insane person with enough explosives to make headlines but not damage the plane, setting a shoe on fire in the cabin. Public got a much-needed foiled plot.

Governments show too many Islamic terrorist plots discovered for a few realized. The success ratio could not be that large, and raise doubts whether all discoveries of Islamic terrorism are real. Other Islamic terrorist acts are surprisingly isolated: after a simple bombing of trains in Spain resonated in media, and brought concessions on Iraq, why Islamic terrorists not continued in Spain and elsewhere?

Russian government staged the terrorist bombings attributed to Islamic Chechens to stir popular opinion for the war on Islamic terrorism. American administration might be no less cynical.

During the first U.S.-Iraq war, why Saddam kept his army in Kuwait after American buildup exceeded show-of-force level, instead of retreating with dignity in face of overwhelming enemy? He was concerned with American reaction, since asked the U.S. ambassador for acquiescence to invasion of Kuwait; and the ambassador acquiesced, though American government opposed the invasion post factum. Saddam must have expected the coalition to pursue him into Baghdad and overthrow. Saddam’s objections to weapons inspections are odd because Iraq had no weapons to hide. American cooperation with Saddam, active for years, might continued beyond 1991 to threaten Saudi Arabia into the American protection.