In a charged and often emotional conversation,and welcome Robert Nicholson, the president of the Philos Project, to discuss the pro-Israel perspective as the war in Gaza intensifies. Many Israeli voices have veered sharply to the right. However much we may disagree with these views, we have to understand them.
Robert, a Christian and self-described Zionist, expresses empathy for the Israeli perception of an existential threat next door. Hamas’ attacks have undermined, perhaps fatally, any hope that Israelis might have had that peaceful co-existence is possible not just with Palestinians but with Arabs more broadly. The three consider alternative scenarios, including a reoccupation of Gaza or a policy of complete and total separation.
In the United States, meanwhile, Arab Americans are reacting with despair at President Biden’s stalwart support of Israel. Shadi finds himself in the unenviable position of writing a book subtitled “The Case for American Dominance.” If this is what American dominance looks like, Shadi wonders, can he really support it? And how is he supposed to make the case to Arabs and Muslims that America is, on balance, a force for good?
In the full episode (for paying subscribers only), Shadi, Damir and Robert delve into tricky territory, debating whether “Islamic exceptionalism” makes it difficult for Muslims to ever really accept a U.S.-led order and to ever accept a world in which Israel is as powerful as it is. Were the religious passions that are now being unleashed across the Arab world inevitable—or could they have been tamed and contained by democracy?
Damir and Robert argue that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t really about Israel or Palestine but is a proxy for a deeper set of religious, cultural, and civilizational fault lines. In this sense, there may be no way out and no room for compromise. And Arabs and Muslims—as well as much of the Global South—may feel compelled to choose between two drastically different visions of world order: one led by the United States and the other led by America’s growing list of adversaries. There is, as they say, no alternative.
“The Death of the Two-State Solution,” by Damir Marusic (The American Interest).
“Eight Steps to Shrink the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” by Micah Goodman (The Atlantic).
“Support for Mass Protest on the Rise in Gaza and the West Bank,” by Catherine Cleveland (The Washington Institute for Near-East Policy).
Public Opinion Poll Number 89 (The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research).
Islamic Exceptionalism, by Shadi Hamid (Amazon).
‘I Have No Pain Left to Feel,’ by Shadi Hamid (Substack).
Our first episode after Hamas’ attacks in Israel, a classic Damir and Shadi conversation.
Our conversation withon Israel, Hamas, and why nonviolence failed.
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