A Jihad Watch reader asked me: “If the Israel/Palestinian conflict were exactly the same as it is, only the roles of the two warring parties were exactly reversed, would you then switch allegiances to the Palestinian side?”
If there were 22 Jewish states, and only one tiny Arab state, and if in those 22 Jewish states every other group was denied anything like equality (see the various groups of Christians all over the Muslim Arab world, or for that matter see the various groups of non-Arab Muslims — such as Kurds, Berbers, and black Africans in Darfur), and if those 22 Jewish states also possessed fantastic oil reserves and the one tiny Arab state possessed nothing but the intelligence of its populace, and if those 22 Jewish states were the size of the 22 members of the Arab League, with 14,000,000 square miles of territory, and the one tiny Arab state had less than 1/1,000th of that, or about 10,0000 square miles, and if those 22 Jewish states were possessed of an ideology that required them to move heaven and earth in order to eradicate that one tiny Arab state — oh, and did I forget to mention all the other “not-quite Jewish states” that would be the correct analogue to the non-Arab Muslim states that the Arabs (and Islam) have convinced that they, too, have a stake in opposing Israel and wishing to see it destroyed? (See those frenzied mobs in Iran, or Pakistan.)
And if, furthermore, I knew that if those 22 Jewish states were intent on rewriting, or destroying, or utterly effacing, the history of those Arabs in their one tiny “Arab” state, because the rewriting of other peoples’ history was what, for 1350 years, those Jews had been doing, and if there were a figure in Judaism akin to Muhammad, who was held up as the Model of Conduct, uswa hasana, as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, and if that Perfect Man in Judaism was not like any figure known to me in Judaism, or in Christianity, but was remarkably like Muhammad, as described in the Sira as teased out of the words and deeds attributed to him in the Hadith, and if, furthermore, I knew that if those 22 Jewish states, with their 14,000,000 square miles, and their fantastic unmerited oil wealth, and their unbelievable fixation on destroying a sliver of territory that was less than 1/1,000th of the territory they controlled, ever managed to destroy that tiny Arab state in the area bounded to the east by the River Jordan and on the west by the Mediterranean, a place so small one could not find it on the map, were ever to succeed, that would not satisfy them, but make them ever more eager to recover other lands that had once been in their possession, and indeed to work, with a sense of triumph, for the final acceptance, all over the world, of Judaism as the dominant faith, and with Jews assuming the role that Muslims look forward to assuming themselves, then yes, I would of course be on the side of that tiny Arab state.
Oh, I forgot to mention that to make your little hypothetical complete, one would also have to posit that the Jews had long ago conquered that little area, and many of the Arabs had fled to Europe, or elsewhere in the “Jewish lands,” and in both places had had to endure different kinds of difficulties, and suffering, and recently, in Europe, had endured what the Jews endured under the Nazis. And those Arabs, who had in the last century come to realize that in order to deal with the entrenched prejudice, complicated in its origins, against them, that it made sense for them to return to that little sliver, which under Jewish rule had fallen, by all accounts, into ruin and desolation, and they had done so, buying up land at exorbitant prices, and managing to have their right to establish the Arab National Home on this little territory recognized by the civilized world, even if those Jews, in their vast territories and many (22 by now) states, were determined never to let those Arabs have their tiny country — why, yes, if all of that, and all the rest that I haven’t bothered to give here were offered, with Arabs in place of Jews, and vice-versa, I would have not the slightest difficulty being on the side of the Arabs in that case.
The reality, of course, is that Israel is the tiny besieged state, whose people are threatened by a permanent Jihad. Israel is the tiny state where, against all odds, the fantastic achievement of Israel came to be, the resurrection of the ancient Jewish commonwealth. The great Italian journalist Indro Montanelli once wrote, toward the end of his long life (he died at the age of 90) that the greatest thing to have happened during the twentieth century, through which he had lived and during which he had experienced and observed and studied so much, was the establishment of the State of Israel. And then, he added, “and possibly the only good thing to come out of the twentieth century.”
Moral idiots will not share this view. I invite you to think clearly about how I have taken your invited hypothetical, and worked it out, and ask yourself if you wish to remain a moral idiot, or care to embrace what is just, what is right. Many people born into Islam, by the way, once they have jettisoned Islam, have had no trouble recognizing what Israel faces. See Ibn Warraq, see Wafa Sultan, see Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom were subject to environments where anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments were their daily fare.
As they have managed to retain their intellectual and moral clarity, and to develop mentally in the freedom of the West, they have come to certain conclusions about Islam. And they have also reached certain conclusions about much-maligned Israel, the conclusions that I too have come to, and you, I’m afraid, have not.