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The Arabs as seen over a century ago

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago
in response to reader comment: Go back 92 years

Submitted by Isa Almisry (United States), Mar 11, 2012 at 00:30

One can go back even further, and read the words of Ahad Ha-'Am in 1891:

We who live abroad are accustomed to believe that almost all Eretz Yisrael is now uninhabited desert and whoever wishes can buy land there as he pleases. But this is not true. It is very difficult to find in the land [ha'aretz] cultivated fields that are not used for planting. Only those sand fields or stone mountains that would require the investment of hard labor and great expense to make them good for planting remain uncultivated and that's because the Arabs do not like working too much in the present for a distant future. Therefore, it is very difficult to find good land for cattle. And not only peasants, but also rich landowners, are not selling good land so easily.

We who live abroad are accustomed to believing that the Arabs are all wild desert people who, like donkeys, neither see nor understand what is happening around them. But this is a grave mistake. The Arab, like all the Semites, is sharp minded and shrewd. All the townships of Syria and Eretz Yisrael are full of Arab merchants who know how to exploit the masses and keep track of everyone with whom they deal – the same as in Europe. The Arabs, especially the urban elite, see and understand what we are doing and what we wish to do on the land, but they keep quiet and pretend not to notice anything. For now, they do not consider our actions as presenting a future danger to them. … But, if the time comes that our people's life in Eretz Yisrael will develop to a point where we are taking their place, either slightly or significantly, the natives are not going to just step aside so easily.

We must surely learn, from both our past and present history, how careful we must be not to provoke the anger of the native people by doing them wrong, how we should be cautious in out dealings with a foreign people among whom we returned to live, to handle these people with love and respect and, needless to say, with justice and good judgment. And what do our brothers do? Exactly the opposite! They were slaves in their Diasporas, and suddenly they find themselves with unlimited freedom, wild freedom that only a country like Turkey [the Ottoman Empire] can offer. This sudden change has planted despotic tendencies in their hearts, as always happens to former slaves ['eved ki yimlokh – when a slave becomes king – Proverbs 30:22]. They deal with the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly, beat them shamefully for no sufficient reason, and even boast about their actions. There is no one to stop the flood and put an end to this despicable and dangerous tendency. Our brothers indeed were right when they said that the Arab only respects he who exhibits bravery and courage. But when these people feel that the law is on their rival's side and, even more so, if they are right to think their rival's actions are unjust and oppressive, then, even if they are silent and endlessly reserved, they keep their anger in their hearts. And these people will be revengeful like no other.

[But if things continue the way they are] "…the society that I envision, if my dream is not just a false notion, this society will have to begin to create itself in the midst of fuss, noisiness and panic, and will have to face the prospects of both internal and external war…we can't ignore the fact that ahead of us is a great war and this war is going to need significant preparation.


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Reader comments (39) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
< In 2062, tell me how Im doing > [6 words]Jay1Mar 12, 2012 21:24194308
2The dark age [67 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
YovenMar 10, 2012 14:29194229
1Dominant religion [116 words]UgriMar 12, 2012 04:10194229
15Cairo and Egypt almost fifty years ago [409 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
dhimmi no moreMar 8, 2012 10:23194157
Arabs' imperial past [58 words]BenMar 7, 2012 09:18194079
6Islam was indeed different 50 years ago [133 words]saraMar 6, 2012 19:43194036
9Re:Sara [384 words]Rohit PatnaikMar 7, 2012 02:50194036
2Going out to the kings of the earth [178 words]UgriMar 7, 2012 03:10194036
from exotic to unicultural [117 words]mythMar 7, 2012 07:23194036
2This was a miniscule liberal elite [84 words]AsokMar 7, 2012 12:19194036
1Response to Rohit [269 words]saraMar 7, 2012 18:22194036
I agree, Rohit, with some caveats [558 words]saraMar 8, 2012 17:23194036
11Sayyed Qutb and el-ikhwan [504 words]dhimmi no moreMar 10, 2012 07:29194036
1Historical details [265 words]saraMar 10, 2012 17:45194036
What lands? [55 words]Amin RiazMar 23, 2012 14:44194036
2Lands that were at any time considered Muslim lands [85 words]saraMar 26, 2012 19:00194036
5You also forgot [174 words]Peter HallMar 26, 2012 19:57194036
taqqiya [12 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jul 7, 2013 08:14194036
Go back 92 years [22 words]smg45acpMar 6, 2012 19:20194034
The Arabs as seen over a century ago [618 words]Isa AlmisryMar 11, 2012 00:30194034
Isa, your comment just doesn't make sense! [18 words]Peter HallMar 14, 2012 03:59194034
This Was My Comment. [303 words]Isa AlmisryMar 16, 2012 00:29194034
9I guess it took a while, but you have shown your true position [547 words]Peter HallMar 16, 2012 20:33194034
Colouring Racism [242 words]Amin RiazMar 23, 2012 15:03194034
8... Amin, the master of double standards. [483 words]Peter HallMar 24, 2012 05:30194034
1peter [91 words]cmtljnpkirptsvji1683Jul 7, 2013 08:48194034
2Your Views are rather narrow! [292 words]Peter HallJul 8, 2013 20:53194034
Fifty Years Ago [188 words]Peter HerzMar 6, 2012 18:55194029
The Arabs As Seen Fifty Years Ago [196 words]JudithMar 6, 2012 14:28194014
1I can only wonder who had funded such misinformation. [80 words]David FiresterMar 6, 2012 12:30194007
The Arab World [47 words]Karla PoeweMar 6, 2012 12:28194006
5What is the Opposite of Fantasy? [698 words]Ron ThompsonMar 6, 2012 12:24194005
2The coming dark age. [134 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Asif W.Mar 6, 2012 12:22194004
Ahab [44 words]AlbertE.Nov 4, 2014 15:12194004
1Islamic tolerance [35 words]trans-parereMar 6, 2012 11:59194000
The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago [213 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Matthew NicholasMar 6, 2012 09:33193983
Daniel Pipes Seen From 2062 [51 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
DaveMar 6, 2012 09:10193982
12012-onward will make the 60's seem like the 50's [24 words]Michael Hanni MorcosMar 7, 2012 00:21193982
1Camel [28 words]AlbertEl.Mar 10, 2012 17:17193982

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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