Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jacob Dayan - UCLA Israel Studies podcast

An irregular podcast about Israel and its position in the geopolitics of the Middle-East is that of the UCLA Israel Studies Program (feed). Months can go past until a new update. The feed may even seem faded for a long time and then new episodes are posted again.

Recently a lecture by Jacob Dayan an Israeli Consul to the US was posted. The lecture had the recent war in Gaza looming over it and one of the most interesting parts of Dayan's talk was the way he explained the war. In his view the war was one between the moderates and the radicals in the region. He sort of made it look the moderate Arabs were all too happy Israel took on Hamas and by proxy Iran. It was a nice attempt at official reconstruction, but the whole point seems rather poor to me. I can't see how the moderate Arab can be happy with hundreds of Palestinians being slain in Gaza and I cannot see how Israel will be happy to fight the moderates' war for them.

However, Dayan's reasoning bears on a fact that is frequently forgotten in the geopolitics of the region. The rise of Iran and of the religious, militant fundamentalists is not welcome for many of the, if not moderate then at least more secular establishment of the region. This ranks from Abbas and Fatah, through King Abdallah of Jordan, the Mubarak regime in Egypt to the royal rulers of Saudi Arabia. Even if they are not happy with the Gaza war, which they undoubtedly aren't, should Israel succeed in dealing a blow to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran it is very welcome to them. In stead of using this reality to war, it should be applied in peace diplomacy. Rephrasing to towards an explanation to the war is a feeble ex post facto job.

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

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