Arab Rulers Have Spent Decades Undermining Palestinian National Aspirations

“The Palestinians,” Gamal Abdel Nasser told a Western reporter in the years before the Six-Day War, “are useful to the Arab states as they are. We will always see that they do not become too powerful. Can you imagine yet another nation on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean!” As Roie Yellinek and Assaf Malach demonstrate, this attitude is typical of Arab leaders, who—despite many protestations to the contrary—have over the decades consistently worked against the creation of a Palestinian state. The rulers of Syria and Jordan in this regard proved little different than Nasser:

In the decade-and-a-half following [Syrian] independence in 1946, the unambiguous [official] line advocated the unification of Greater Syria comprising the territory of present-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel, under Damascus’s reign. (Transjordan’s King Abdullah also strove for the creation of this entity under his own rule). Even the pan-Arab Baath party, which seized power in a military coup in 1963 and which espoused the vision of a unified “Arab nation” from “the [Persian] Gulf to the [Atlantic] Ocean,” continued to view Palestine as an integral part of “southern Syria.” This view was especially strong during the 30-year reign (1970-2000) of Hafez al-Assad, who claimed, [quite accurately], that “a state by the name of Palestine has never existed.”

Despite Jordan’s 1988 renunciation of claims to the West Bank, the Hashemite monarchy has neither shown any desire for the establishment of a Palestinian state, which it fears might subvert its rule, nor shied away from making peace and closely collaborating with Israel with the kingdom’s possible return to the West Bank occasionally mooted by both sides.

This half-hearted approach toward Palestinian nationalism notwithstanding, decades of staunch anti-Zionist propaganda have entrenched the “Palestine question” in the collective regional psyche to the extent of making it exceedingly difficult for the Arab states to conclude functional peace treaties with Israel without a pro forma Palestinian-Israeli agreement. Yet while this state of affairs gives the Palestinians some veto power over inter-Arab politics, it is unlikely to derail the intensifying, multifaceted, and increasingly overt Arab-Israeli collaboration even in the event of severe deterioration in Israeli-Palestinian relations, as the 2020 normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco show.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Arab World, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Hafez al-Assad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian statehood

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University