A Useful Myth the U.S. Must Support

(Tablet) Lee Smith - The Palestinians are one of many peoples whose nationhood is "invented." In the Middle East alone, invented nations include Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, and even Turkey. Like the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza, these, too, were all once part of the Ottoman Empire. None existed before World War I, after which these jerry-built states united various, and often competing, sectarian, ethnic, and tribal identities. The problem is that current Palestinian nationalism is not strong enough. If it were, Yasser Arafat and, later, Mahmoud Abbas might have been more inclined to accept the peace deals offered by Israeli prime ministers and American presidents. The "Arab people," like the "Muslim world," is an invention - and neither of them should hold much appeal for U.S. policy-makers. Americans should take the lead promoting particular identities, even if some of them are formed more recently than others, like that of the Palestinians. The writer is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2011-12-23 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive