What were some of your primary takeaways after reading Matti Friedman’s “There Is No ‘Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’”? - Pathfinder

What were some of your primary takeaways after reading Matti Friedman’s “There Is No ‘Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’”?

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    • #1446
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster
    • #2594
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      The article thoroughly explains how complex and multifaceted the conflict is. Something I learned this past month with Passages in the Faith and Foreign Policy fellowship, is that the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” is just as complex as the Syrian civil war, and sometimes even more so. When I wrote my thesis before graduation, I made sure to include language that says “all sides” when referring to the conflict, and it is so refreshing to hear the same thing from others. It is also interesting to learn that peace in the region, ultimately, has nothing to do with the state of Israel and its existence. Friedman explains the tensions in the region, which usually does not start or end with Israel, but instead, they are used as a scapegoat. I think that when I discuss the conflict, I often forget that peace in the Middle East does not depend on, nor will it come through, the state of Israel.

    • #2660
      BANZA MUKALAY
      Participant

      I think most people on planet regardless their faith and knowledge, if they zoom in it’s hard to understand the conflict between Israel and Palestinian the reality is they are in conflict. My self before, I thought that it was a conflict of 2 Nations only but after to learn this course now I know that is butter to zoom out because outside, the conflict involves so many Nations. The conflict is Jewish and Muslims which means all Arabic countries nevertheless Christianity “Europe“ is involve as well as western all are playing a role in the conflict. Is true that this conflict involves multiple interconnected players. It’s a big distraction when you look this conflict as Israelis and Palestinian conflict you will loose your focus and you will not know what is going on but let’s stand up and look in different ways zooming out this will help us to know the reality.

      • #2959
        Oliver Cooper
        Participant

        Hi Banza, indeed you are quite correct. The conflict when looked at from the media’s perspective will seem like a war between two separate states. However, Friedman was very much helpful in providing a detailed information on what the problem really is. Hel[ping us realize that this is far beyond what most of us see/hear through various media agencies, as this is a conflict backed by many interconnected factors.

      • #3404
        Kacie Marks
        Participant

        Hi Banza, I enjoyed reading your post. I agree that the conflict is best understood when you zoom out and view it in context. The near east is a region full of tension and complicated relationships. The Israel-Palestine conflict is more than a conflict of territory between two peoples, it is largely a conflict between contrasting ideologies and religions with global involvement. A black and white answer is not sufficient for such a complex and multifaceted problem. I am grateful to continue learning and being a part of the conversation!

    • #2849
      Arielle Del Turco
      Participant

      Matti Friedman’s column is inspired and clarifying. Just by casually viewing or reading the news (which may have been my primary source of information about the “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” until recent months), you would absolutely believe, as Friedman suggests, that the conflict is only between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people and that as the more powerful party, Israel has more responsibility to end the conflict. Yet, this is easily debunked. The fact that most of the wars Israel fought were actually against Arab states, not Palestinians, is very telling. The picture is bigger than the narrative we’re often sold. Because Israelis have a “zoomed-out” perspective they see security risks caused by a possible Palestinian state (and subsequent power vacuum) that could be caused by Russia, Iran, ISIS, and Hezbollah. This informs Israel’s actions, and we can’t effectively grapple with the situation if we don’t recognize that. My key takeaway from Friedman’s column is that regional context matters, and you can’t understand the full truth about the “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (for lack of a better term) without it.

      • #3139
        Hannah Paul
        Participant

        Hi Arielle!

        You are spot on when you said that we can’t truly grapple with the situation Israel is in without having a zoomed out perspective. The narrative misses the massive security risks Israel has to contemplate when thinking about a possible Palestinian state. I also agree that in order to have a much thorough understanding of the conflict, it must include the regional matters. That is, if we care about the truth and not just the narrative the media pushes.

        Thanks for sharing your takeaways!

    • #2957
      Oliver Cooper
      Participant

      Matti Friedman’s article provided a clearer and bigger picture of what the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict really is. By hearing what Matti Friedman had to say about the conflict, I have gotten to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is not just a conflict between two nations, but rather this is a conflict between two religious groups (Jews and Muslim), and is being supported by other factors. As such, the conflict is one that’s so complex that it seems quite impossible to have it easily resolve by just the two nations. This has been one of the most important reasons of which all efforts by other superior European Countries and the US has been fruitless, and there has been little or no improvement of the conflict. I also understood that the conflict must have been in existence before Israel even became a nation in 1948. This article has indeed opened my mind to view the conflict in its entirety.

      • #3140
        Hannah Paul
        Participant

        Hi Oliver!

        I completely agree with you that Friedman did a great job at widening our lenses on the issue and articulating the complex conflict in a way that was easier to understand. You pointed out that due to the complexity of the conflict, all efforts made to resolve it have one way or another been fruitless. Thus, proving Friedman’s point that the “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict is way more complex and intricate than one might think when thinking with a zoomed-in mindset.

        Thank you for sharing your takeaways!

    • #2976

      Just as I thought when I read the article, the conflict seemed to have existed only between two sovereign nations which is right. Later did I realize that there were external parties like the US and Europe either escalating or mitigating the crisis. In my view, the root cause of the conflict seems irrelevant, but it’s fair enough to pout out that it was wrong by every party involved to have ignored its seriousness initially. I also catched the point that denotes much of the intensity of the crisis to lie between Jews and Muslims. Just to digress a little, a small axe can cut down a cotton tree with skill. Nothing in life must be overlooked especially when it exists between two or more people.

    • #3138
      Hannah Paul
      Participant

      One of the key takeaways I had after reading Matti Freidman’s article was the ability to view the conflict through a zoomed out perspective. He went on to talk about the issues with a zoomed in perspective and how it creates more confusion and doesn’t get to the root of the issue. I found it interesting, but not surprising, that Israel’s enemies prefer it that way because it causes the rest of the world to not understand Israel’s choices. Having a zoomed out perspective allows us to see other issues Israel faces and how many of them do not involve Palestine at all. The conflict surrounding Israel is vast, complex, and hard to grasp without a zoomed out perspective. My other major takeaway is the predicament that Israel is in with making peace with the Palestinian people. To allow Palestine to become their own nation, they are opening the door for a power vacuum which would be filled with the same type of regime that rules in Iran. To say this conflict is both confusing and complex is an understatement, but taking the time to learn the truth about it is a small step in the right direction.

    • #3353
      Lillian Gillespie
      Participant

      Matti Friedman’s article shouldn’t have been mind-blowing. I knew that historically Israel wasn’t just threatened by Hamas or Arab Palestinians but didn’t think deeply about the fact that peace in the region is dependent on the cooperation of so many more interest groups than just the people that live in the territory. Friedman points out Israel’s geographic proximity to Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. He raises questions of power vacuums that could develop if Israel were to concede civilian settlements to the Palestinians. According to Friedman, Westerners interested in the conflict need to consider that if Israel disappeared, “the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.” Israel distracts from the other sectarian, ideological, and territorial conflicts within the Arab world. By “zooming out” as Friedman encourages his readers to do, neutral and anti-Israel Westerners don’t have to automatically agree that Israel’s government is more moral/just/insert adjective. But one realizes how useless solutions such as “if only Israel did X, Y, or Z” are to long term, sustainable peace. A Christian approach should look to end suffering for people, all made in God’s image. But we need to be pragmatic. If solutions don’t address the instability of the entire region and the existential threats Israel faces from Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, etc. and cast Israel as the more powerful aggressor, they ignore context.

    • #2596
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      Grace,
      I totally agree with the fact that solutions cannot be clear-cut. I think that is a huge problem with people today. Any time I talk in-depth about the conflict with a lot of people who haven’t studied it like I have, they often say “well what is your solution?” as if that is a simple thing that I can just provide right here and now. The solution is going to be hard for whole groups of people; there is no way that I have an answer for the whole conflict by myself. If I did, why would it still be ongoing? Thank you for your post!

    • #2598
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      Katherine,
      You’re right! Israel is heavily outnumbered in the regional conflict, but also in the broad spectrum of voices online and on college campuses. Anything that Israel does, including Operation Breaking Dawn, which is taking place now, is always seen as a bad thing or something that they should apologize for. Both Israel and Palestinians (in this context, Hamas) are at fault for a number of things, but nobody acknowledges the wrongdoings on the side of Palestine. Granted, there most definitely are things that Israel does wrong, usually the things people point out are just a way of Israel defending itself. Thanks for your opinions!

    • #2850
      Arielle Del Turco
      Participant

      Hi Katherine,

      I agree with you that Friedman’s article helped me understand the perspective of those who put all of the onus to make peace onto Israel because they see Israel as the stronger party in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a conflict in which they see only two parties. However, Friedman offered a very helpful way to inform those who have this critique by pointing out all the other parties–and threats to Israel–that are actually involved.

    • #2691
      Evan Crain
      Participant

      I also couldn’t get past the paywall. But, despite the click-bait editorial title, the concepts as you summarized are beneficial. I particularly appreciated understanding the ethnic vs religious challenge (Arab nationalism vs Islamism), the roots of Palestine and who are the Palestinians, the consequences of the fall of the Ottoman empire on Islam, the security dynamics of the conflict, the Jews vs Muslim dynamic, and so many other “zoomed out” dimensions of the conflict!

    • #2801

      I love how you connected this piece to your studies in psychology, i.e. the importance of studying history before coming to a conclusion. Most people I come across have an opinion on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, but majority of the time, I find that they reached their conclusion on which side to support without taking the time to understand the history underlying the conflict. They quickly jump to conclusions based on what the media tells them or based on tidbits of information they read or hear about in society. This undermines the complexity of the conflict and creates a society with extreme views that are not founded on academic research and truth.

    • #2851
      Arielle Del Turco
      Participant

      Hi Ilona,

      I appreciate your point about peace in the Near East not preceding the existence of the modern state of Israel. I think that’s critical to recognize. Without that knowledge, it could be easy to believe the root of the problems in the Near East lies with Israel, but digging into even a little bit of the history easily disproves this.

    • #3019
      Cara Brown
      Participant

      Ilona,
      I appreciated you making the point about Israel’s absence and the assumption by many that its absence would bring peace, or if not peace, that the region would be better without it. Lamentably, I think many would prefer justice over peace, even if the future would be proven to be worse without Israel. Yet what does justice look like here? The land is steeped in decades long distrust and discord and, as you note, a simple “return to the land” solution (as if there is a simple option) would not solve the problem as some are truly seeking Israel’s destruction. Israel’s absence, for current residents or for Palestinians, would ultimately be neither just nor peaceful.

    • #2958
      Oliver Cooper
      Participant

      Hi Analeeza, thanks for this beautiful write-up. As stated clearly this conflict is much bigger than it seems to be, and one who is not actually an Israeli or has never been to Israel will find it a bit confusing in understanding the bigger picture, because each party of this conflict will have a different tale to tell. However, Friedman has provided a brighter image of the entire Israeli-Palestinian through his article.

      Cheers,
      Oliver Cooper

    • #3120
      Loncey Elie
      Participant

      Hi Analeeza,
      I love your analysis of Friedman’s article. It was well-written and perfectly explained what Friedman wanted to demonstrate to all readers. The power of your words came into effect when you stated that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is much more than the tension between Israel and Palestine. There is more to it and we need to be cognizant of the bigger picture. When I first read the title ‘There is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” I initially thought Friedman was disregarding that it ever happened, but in reality, he accepts that it occurred, but wants us to realize there is much more to the situation and if we can take into account all of the different perspectives, then we can match the pieces of the puzzles together. I also loved the analogy you provided about your sisters. Overall, this response was well-written and well-explained.

    • #2985
      Sarah Victor
      Participant

      Yes I think it’s important to realize that every part of the world has it’s own endemic conflicts and while we need to take both a bird’s eye perspective of the interconnections to the global picture, keeping our ears to the ground allows us to understand and grasp more intimately the cultural factors that are at play as well. Change involves a process and without keeping this in mind we would be overlaying onto the situation a reality different from the one truly at play.

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