Sunday, July 16, 2006


There is an immense amount of confusion on all sides over who's an Israeli and who's a Jew. The "Zionist entity" and the "Jewish people" both can be used to refer to that general grouping many hate and some seek to defend. There's also, of course, confusion over which people are Arabs and which are Muslims. These two terms are often used interchangeably in the American media. Whenever this happens, someone inevitably points out that many Arabs are Christian and many Muslims non-Arab. So what's one to make of this, from a NYT piece on the conflict?

"Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah urged Arabs and Muslims worldwide to support his guerrillas, saying Sunday that his group is fighting Israel on their behalf and that the battle has just begun."

Did the Times get it wrong, or is Nasrallah just casting a wide net?


Petey said...

"Did the Times get it wrong, or is Nasrallah just casting a wide net?"

In the weird case where your question isn't rhetorical...

Nasrallah obviously has an interest in claiming to be acting on behalf of the largest possible audience.

This is one of the oldest political tactics in existence. It's the same reason Bin Laden claimed to be acting on the behalf of all Muslims.

Especially in Nasrallah's case, where Lebanon has a large non-Muslim population, and where Nasrallah's faction represents a minority of Lebanese, claiming to acting on behalf of all Arabs and Muslims is a political no-brainer.

One strategic peril Israel faces is that if they appear to be hitting back at all of Lebanon, rather than at Hezbollah, they risk increasing Nasrallah's popularity and power in Lebanon by throwing fish into the wide net he is casting.

Petey said...

If you're curious about Nasrallah's intended audience, this Mark Lynch post is instructive.