Westerners do not Understand Islamdom

Islamdom is chronically misunderstood by outsiders, particularly Westerners and even by Muslims themselves. However, Westerners have particular cultural baggage in its long and well-documented history of misunderstanding Islamdom. Today, this prejudice mostly amounts to assuming that people in Islamdom think identically to people in the West.

The issue of the annual Jerusalem Flag parade is a good example. The Flag parade has been organized peacefully every year on Jerusalem Day since 1968 in commemoration of the 1967 reunification of Jerusalem. The route including through the Old City of Jerusalem has been the same since 1968 and the only exception was last year. 

What caused the May 2021 Gaza War? This requires some explanation. The US government asked Israel to reroute the Flag parade and the Israeli government complied. Hamas saw this as a tremendous victory and therefore launched seven missiles against Jerusalem which led to the cancellation of the Flag parade altogether and the commencement of the 2021 Gaza War. If the US had not asked the Israeli government to reroute the Flag parade and the Israeli government had not complied, then Hamas surely would not have felt emboldened to launch missiles against Jerusalem and the war with all its tragic deaths would not have occurred at all.

Yet, the problem is that certain Eurocentric decision-makers in Jerusalem and Washington who do not understand the Middle Eastern cultural mentality, have not learned the lessons from the tragic appeasement that preceded the 2021 war. The Gaza War was directly caused by the rerouting of the Flag parade. Yet now the State Department and certain decision-makers in Jerusalem want to repeat the mistake rather than learning from it. Why was Israel attacked in May 2021? Because it exhibited “weakness” in the eyes of Hamas. It does not really matter whether this behavior was actually “weak” because what matters is that it was perceived as such by Hamas which therefore decided to launch seven missiles against Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel.

Yet the problem here is not really Hamas but those Eurocentric decision-makers who refuse to learn from recent tragic history. The well-intentioned State Department is of course entirely unaware of its complicity in the events that led to the war. The US was so anxious to avoid war that it actually contributed to causing the war. The problem now is that some people simply have not learned the lesson but rather insist on assuming that Middle Easterners think like Westerners. Equally troubling is those Israeli leaders (past and present) who have not learned the lesson of the mistaken rerouting of the Flag parade. It is absolutely imperative to not give in to the threats of Jihadist terrorist enemies of open society. The Flag parade must take its traditional route precisely to prove the point that we will not give in to terrorist threats of those trying to curtail our democratic liberties.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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