Several weeks ago, quite a few of my friends were sharing a video regarding the situation in the Middle East produced by Dennis Prager. In case you haven’t seen it, you can find it here:
After seeing this video, I was disturbed. I argued that the video was far too simplistic in both the problem and solution to this issue and it failed to take into account many events that took place before the creation of the modern state of Israel, such as WWI and the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
Here, let me offer a bit of history.
During WWI, Britain and France wished to defeat the Central Powers, which included the Ottoman Empire. For those who don’t know, during WWI the Ottoman Empire (sometimes called the Turks) ruled the Middle East. As a way to accomplish their goal, Britain and France encouraged the local Arab populations to rise up in revolt against their Turkish rulers. The Europeans promised that if they did so, the Arabs would be able to rule themselves, which for some Arabs meant the recreation of an Arab Caliphate or the birth of a single, massive Arab state. Unfortunately for the Arabs, while the British and the French made these promises, they were secretly working on carving up the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence (along with the Russians to a lesser extent) in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. When the Soviets came to power in Russia, they released this information to the public, much to the embarrassment of the British and the French.
Then, in 1917, the British created the Balfour Declaration. This statement called for a Jewish homeland in the region known as Palestine. Note that to avoid upsetting the Arabs further, it mentions a “Jewish homeland”, not a “Jewish State”. Afterward, some Arabs tried to make good on the promises made to them during the war by creating a large Arab state, such as the Arab Kingdom of Syria, but it was suppressed, conquered, and broken up by the European powers.
In 1947, after the unbelievable persecution endured by the Jewish people in WWII, the U.N. released their partition plan for dividing the territory in Palestine between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine. And most people know the multitude of conflicts that have transpired since that time. Certainly one could and should spend much more time on the subject, but this basic information forms the framework.
Although I have mixed feeling about Glenn Beck, on his show yesterday he explored the history of the Middle East conflict. Unlike Mr. Prager, who claims the situation more or less stems from an irrational hatred of the Jewish people by the Arabs, Mr. Beck looked back at WWI and what events helped shape the Middle East we know today. I recommend giving it a read/listen.