Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Asher Susser - UCLA Israel Studies Program

In the previous lecture at the UCLA Israel Studies Program (feed) Israeli diplomat Jacob Dayan reconstructed the recent war in Gaza as not one between Israel and the Palestinians, but rather between the moderates and the radicals in the region. A feeble presentation, since one cannot assume the Israelis are but moderates nor that the moderate Palestinians and other Arabs have applauded the Israeli attack.

A much more sophisticated way to apply this logic to the narrative of the Gaza War was attempted by Asher Susser in the next installment of the same podcast. Susser is much more specific who these radicals are, or what the Hamas establishment in Gaza represent: an outpost of Iran. And herei t makes a bit more sense to assume that other powers such as Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Fatah etc. were in some way served by a cutting down of the Gaza striking power. Not that they applauded the attack, but that they are not served at all by having all this Iranian influence in the region.

The extent to which this logic has truth to it, it has been applied in the most inefficient way, I venture to say. The wider public has more support for Hamas than ever even if the infrastructure by which Iran supports Gaza has been broken. If at all such violence was needed, a far more successful application of this logic should be available in diplomacy. If Susser is right that Iran and Turkey, much to the dismay of the Arabs, have gained power in the last decade in the region, then that opens an inroad for dialog and cooperation between Israel and moderate Arabs. And if the radicals among are needed to be dealt with, better have the Arabs sort that out among themselves, rather than Israel wreak the havoc.

Previously about UCLA Israel studies podcast:
Jacob Dayan,
Gabriela Shalev,
Galia Golan, Aaron David Miller,
Shimon Shamir.

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