Category: New York Times

Blood and Magic

I haven’t written very much in recent times, having recently returned from America and additionally I’ve been rather preoccupied by an impending move, possibly to a war zone. More of this later, perhaps. By way of divertissement, what if we all sat down with a nice cup of tea and gave thought to the problems in Israel, from a totally different standpoint. So, here’s a novel perspective. Forget two states. It hasn’t gained any traction up till now and it won’t work because, bottom line, the militants want to reclaim the whole lot as part of ummah and the Israelis are having none of it.


A rather radical solution was recently presented as an op-ed in theNew York Times which you’ll have to read otherwise none of the rest makes much sense.

How about just one centrally governed state?


Here’s my modest take on it.

From one who holds a chair in political science, Professor Lustick’s rhetoric relies on weak argument and logical fallacy. From the start it would seem that he has abandoned any pretence of academic rigour since he’s trying to convince us that he might be right through nothing more tangible than a ‘good idea’ and a few half-baked and irrelevant analogies.

Just for the record, any elementary student of philosophy will have picked up on at least one or two of the following.


1. Appeal to fear + Slippery slope – “The stage will be set for ruthless oppression, mass mobilization, riots, brutality, terror, Jewish and Arab emigration and rising tides of international condemnation of Israel. And faced with growing outrage, America will no longer be able to offer unconditional support for Israel”.  Unconditional support? It’s like Obamacare, everyone has to have it but nobody can really afford it.
2. Relying on irrelevant authority – “secular Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank could ally with Tel Aviv’s post-Zionists, non-Jewish Russian-speaking immigrants, foreign workers and global-village Israeli entrepreneurs. Anti-nationalist ultra-Orthodox Jews might find common cause with Muslim traditionalists.”
Well, of course they could. How shortsighted of us not to notice.
3. False dilemma – he’s trying to say that it’s either one state, or the abyss (the appeal to fear). In fact, just as in the NYT, there’s a multitude of opinions and options, not the “do what I say or die” approach Ian Lustick took.



4. Appeal to ignorance – he doesn’t bother to prove he’s right, he just hopes you can’t see past flaky logic. Why can people who comment not quite grasp the idea that this is a religious conflict and any political solution is basically doomed to long-term failure?

It’s unfortunate that a new, homegrown kind of terrorism has also begun to surface. The murder of an IDF officer outside his home, bludgeoned to death by people not, it would seem, bankrolled by Hamas or other organised group; instead perpetrated by self-proclaimed activists who act with no authority but their own – a behaviour which can only have been learned in the classroom or in the mosque. How Professor Lustick expects reason to prevail under such circumstances defies comprehension. I did agree with one short phrase which will make quite a passable sound-bite when Ian Lustick is fawned upon by a sycophantic and largely ignorant media. He said “peacemaking and democratic state building require blood and magic”. Quite so. But, in what proportion?