Arab-Israeli Conflict (1 of 4)

(Originally published Feb. 27, 2009)

I’ve been teaching History of the Modern Middle East for many years and researching the issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. This month I taught a course on the Arab-Israeli conflict for CommUniversity. I am making audio recordings of this four-part series available here.

Part 1 is 42 minutes. Here are the main themes:

  • Contrary to widely-held opinion, the Arab-Israeli conflict is not age-old. Though both sides butress their claims with narratives from their holy books, the origins are modern. In fact, Jews were treated much better under Islamic rule than in Christian Europe.
  • The roots of the conflict lie in nationalisms. Both Arab nationalism and Zionism developed prior to World War I, but there was no particular conflict until World War I, which is where the troubles begin.
  • Zionism is unique in comparison to other nationalisms. Awareness of these unique factors is useful for understanding the State of Israel. Persistent anti-semitism was a prerequisite for the development of Zionism.

Please let me know what you think.

Dr. Art Pitz