Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ray Harris on Palestine-Israel

Ray Harris has a new article on the Arab-Israeli conflict on Integralworld. I strongly recommend it. As Ray realizes, wading into those waters is quite dangerous. But he does about a balanced a job as I think is possible.

As in the Lind & Bergen article I linked-commented on, Harris shows that the route of the issue is pride--not economics, poverty, etc. as left leaning analysis tends to. Not that those don't fuel the fires, they do and often horrifically so, but the fire itself comes from humiliation.

Every one of the religions has a dark side. Christianity's because of the murder of Jesus is a glorification of suffering/spiritual masochism. Islam's because it was written during a war is the fear of loss. The idea of returning to the sources, as in the Reformation, vis a vis the Quran brings one back to the context of warfare. For Islam to enter an orange phase, this context will have to be deeply negated. Of course the West isn't helping by actually creating wars all over the place, but there you go.

In other words, what happens when Muslims are no longer the most powerful? Is it because they abandoned the true faith and must take up jihad and they will be victorious--the mythic fundamentalist response. How will it, how can it admit that mythic Islam, tribal-mythic classical Islam, has been negated by industrialized technology, modern politics & economics and values like human rights (especially for women).

How Islamic countries can achieve modernity (rule of law, rights) true to its own system will require their own Jeffersons, Lockes, etc. It will not come, as the Western tradition did, via individualism. There are precendents that will need to be creatively re-imagined: consultation, Muhammad as Constitution writer, etc. But like all transformational leaps, it will be in large part mysterious.

There is a real "struggle" for what grace means today in Islam---particularly for the Sunnis.

To summarize Ray, he thinks the most integral response, which follows the Prime Directive is support for the state of Israel. He actually favors a one-state solution for both groups, but thinks that is unattainable with the current mutual suspicions, hatreds, and cycles of violence.

But a two state solution is going to fail because Palestine is crumbling and may split up into even more countries.

While Ray does not apologize for Israeli atrocities (and mentions them) as well as Israeli discrimination of Arab Israelis and non-marriage between Israeli and non-Israeli Arabs, he notes that Israel's economy is the source of most Arabs jobs. Low end and "menial" though they may be. Discrimination there may be, but it is better than the Arab world itself. It's not good, it's just the Arab world is that sad right now.

My only question is what Ray thinks are the long term implications of this policy? Can Israel sustain over generations this policy of occupation and (yes I agree with Carter here) ethnic apartheid? How can Israel maintain itself in an increasingly global platform on this basis? It is the same question I have for Europe. Will the enforcements just continue to get worse and worse a la Children of Men? As the Israeli demographics continue to shrink and open-source guerilla warfare (Hezbollah) has been shown to not per se win against Israel but not lose and score psych-ops victories, how can Israel maintain this stance? Will not hardline Likud elements push for an all out conflict?


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