“Greater Israel” Conspiracy Theory: Is It Just Greater Paranoia?
Man sees suspicious events around him constantly, he enjoys drama and mystery. This usually results in conspiracies and plots; these can sometimes be true, but often they are products of imagination and paranoia. One of the major conspiracy theories is about the Middle East and the claims about a “Greater Israel”. Marvin Zonis and Craig Joseph state in “Conspiracy Thinking in the Middle East” that Middle Easterners have more tendencies to believe in conspiracy theories than other people. Also, Daniel Pipes explains the conspiracy theory about Israel and its validity in his article “Greater Israel”. Although many people consider the greater Israel conspiracy theory to be accurate, after analyzing the motives, origins and proofs of the theory in the light of logic, the theory isn’t even close to be valid.
To fully comprehend the greater Israel conspiracy theory, one must know two things; first, the accurate definition of a conspiracy theory and second, the content of the greater Israel hypothesis. There are many variables of the definition of a conspiracy theory; in its broadest sense, it is “a belief that an unpleasant event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people” (“Conspiracy Theory”).
Zonis and Joseph define it as “a pattern of explanatory reasoning about events and situations of personal, social, and historical significance in which a “conspiracy” is the dominant or operative actor”(443).
America has a fascination with conspiracy theories. The JFK assassination, the 9/11 attacks, and the Apollo moon landing hoax are just a few of the theories that Americans have attached themselves to. There isn’t enough evidence to prove the conspiracies are real, but that doesn’t sway the belief that there is truth behind them. Real conspiracies, on the other hand, have evidence of proven facts ...
Daniel Pipes in “The Conspiracy Theory” explains a conspiracy theory by referring to its reverse order in conventional thinking; the theory is set and then the data is arranged so that it would prove the theory. These definitions clearly affirm the “paranoia” and “imagination” parts of conspiratorial thinking; therefore, before evaluating the greater Israel paradigm, one must first accept that conspiracies are fundamentally based on suspicion and imagination.
The “Greater Israel” plot is a very significant and well-known theory which has been believed for decades. Many people think that Israel has a plan to expand its borders from the Euphrates to the Nile. Pipes in “Greater Israel” states that even before the Israeli state was established, Arabs were afraid of Zionists and their alleged desire to rule most of Middle East (49).
The claims define these borders as including Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and parts of Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sinai and Iraq. Different believers have different views; some believe there are parts of Turkey as well. The claimants argue that the fundamentals of this theory are the beliefs of early Zionists, the 10-agora coins in Israel, the Israeli flag, and a secret map hidden in the Israeli parliament’s building.
Many people strongly disagree with the argument that the plot regarding Israel is valid; nevertheless, it has very dedicated believers. The firmest believer of them all is probably the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Arafat spent a lot of time trying to prove others that Israeli leaders have a plan to expand their borders. He gave many interviews; he explained how the coin, the flag and the map proved the existence of a plot. Pipes tells his readers that Arafat always carried a 10-agora coin in his pocket to show it and convince others (50).
Arafat is not the only one Pipes states, “leading politicians from the major Muslim states of the Middle East (with the important exception of Turkey) volubly express themselves on the subject of Greater Israel” (58).
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and even Bangladesh have people claiming various thoughts on the Greater Israel hypothesis. Some may think a theory which has so many believers can be true; however, the evidence proving its accuracy is lacking in this conspiracy theory.
The Term Paper on Describe and Evaluate the Effectiveness of Sociological Theories in Explaining the Role of the Public Services in Contemporary Society.
Describe and evaluate the effectiveness of sociological theories in explaining the role of the public services in contemporary society. Since the beginning of time (Giddens, 2009), human kind has constantly striven to reflect and improve their past behaviour and conducts, with aspiration that their knowledge will help create a better society. Charles Wright Mills an American Sociologist refers to ...
To understand the claimants’ arguments in this theory, first of all, the motives and origins should be evaluated; and once they are examined, conspiratorial thinking in the Middle East can easily be comprehended. There are several motives why people believe in such plots. Zonis and Jones explain secrecy in Middle East by the distinction of “zahir”, the outer, and “batin”, the inner. They state that Middle Eastern people believe there are secret inner truths lying in the batin that cannot be seen in the zahir; and the conspiracy theorist thinks he can “alone understand[s] the truth and can see things as they really are, while those around him are deceived by mere appearance” (455).
The motives derive from a concrete understanding and belief of religion, also a religious society and family structure; nevertheless, they solely explain the psychology of Muslims and the reason why their considerations include secrecy. These claims do explain why Middle Eastern habitants have tendency to believe in conspiracy theories, but this does not mean their allegations are true.
The origins of a Greater Israel grounds on history and religion; which both can be manipulated. Pipes explains there are some significant origins of this plot (54).
The strongest argument among them is the existence of two passages in the Jewish Bible stating Israeli dominance in the Middle East. Religion is a fragile and thoroughly personal issue which will not be discussed here. Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that if a Bible was written, it was written hundreds of years ago when there were no borders. Pipes refutes this claim by explaining that the passages in the Bible were manipulated and misunderstood; and even if the passages meant an Isreali dominance in the Middle East, the Israeli government does not stand its policy on the Jewish Bible. Another origin is the existence of ambitious claims made by Israeli leaders; however, Pipes explains that these speeches are quoted by hostile journalists (55).
History is such a hard thing to study. The older the story gets, the tougher it is to retrieve facts and details about it. Records are prone to be destroyed and lost as time goes by. But the most demanding task of all is to determine the elements of an event that happened even before anyone could make a record of. Or even a time when no possible witness exists to tell the story to the future. The ...
It can clearly be seen that motives and origins of this conspiracy theory do not prove anything; but still, believers of a greater Israel claim they have concrete evidence to verify its accuracy. Fortunately, there are some measurements in order to understand whether the proof conspiracy theorists introduce are correct or not. One of these measurements is explained in Michael Shermer’s “How Thinking Goes Wrong: Twenty-five Fallacies That Lead Us to Believe Weird Things”; in which he enlightens many fallacies that directs people to believe conspiracy theories. Believers of the Greater Israel plot claim their first “evidence” is an Israeli 10-agora coin, which Arafat alleges there is a map on it that demonstrates Zionist desires of the Isreali borders. Pipes explains that this coin was outlined after a historic coin issued in 37 BC and that the designer of the coin was stunned once he heard the claims regarding the coin he conceived (50).
One of Shermer’s fallacies, “The Observer Changes The Observed” fits the coin theory of Arafat. Although the designer had no intention of reflecting Israeli domination in the Middle East while outlining the coin, Arafat tends to believe it and represents the coin as an evidence towards his claims by changing the observed, the coin. Arafat’s other evidence, the flag, which he states the two blue lines refers to the Nile and the Euphrates rivers, is consistent with Shermer’s “Theory Influences Observations” fallacy. Because Arafat wants to believe in a secret plan, he tends to see so. The map which Arafat claims to be hidden in the Israeli parliament is compatible with another statement by Shermer, which informs that rumors do not mean a claim is true. There is also the fact that Yasir Arafat is a powerful and trusted leader; therefore, people consider his words to be true. Shermer clarifies this situation in his “Overreliance on Authorities” fallacy, where he states that people tend to believe people who are specialized in the area they mention.
The allegations and evidence by Arafat and his followers can also be examined by the guidance of Daniel Pipes’ “The Conspiracy Theory”, in which he enlightens the reader about the characteristics of a conspiracy theory. The coin, flag and map all fit the explanation “No real research”; where Pipes elucidates a plot to not include an accurate investigation (254).
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and communicating data. Since its inception it has broadened to find applications in many other areas, including ...
It is clear that Arafat did not discuss the issue of the coin with its designer, did not investigate the flag’s creation process and did not actually search the parliament building to find the map. This is also connected to “Esoteric information”, which Pipes explains that if the less is known about an information, the more it will be persuasive (254).
Although there was no intention of implying a secret plan in the coin or the flag, Arafat tends to believe they were designed to refer to a Greater Israel movement; which fits the statement “Any evidence acceptable” (254).
It is obvious that the Greater Israel theory is only a conspiracy theory shaped by Middle Easterners.
To conclude, it must be understood that if one wants to see hidden and secret plans, plots or conspiracies around him; then he will. Michael Shermer in “Baloney Detection Kit” puts forward many measurements to understand whether a claim is accurate or not. According to his article, the sources should be reliable; which are not regarding Arafat’s claims. The claims haven’t been verified by other sources, the claimants’ personal reasons support the claim, and no claims have been made to disprove the allegations. There are many other examples in Shermer’s text that questions a conspiracy’s validity, and when those questions are asked, it can clearly be seen that the greater Israel conspiracy theory is only a product of paranoia. Middle Easterners may have tendency in conspiratorial thinking; nevertheless, this is not an excuse for blaming others. Before an allegation is made, concrete evidence should be introduced. Besides, it should not be forgotten that until it is proved otherwise, everyone is innocent.
“Conspiracy Theory”. Cambridge Dictionary Online. Web. 28 Mar. 2010.
Shermer, Michael. “How Thinking Goes Wrong: Twenty-five Fallacies That Lead Us to Believe Weird Things” Atheist Nexus (2009).
Web. 05 Mar. 2010.
Shermer, Michael. “Baloney Detection Kit” Scientific American (2001).
Web. 05 Mar. 2010
Pipes, Daniel. “The Conspiracy Theory”. Web. 05 Mar. 2010.
Pipes, Daniel. “Greater Israel”. Web. 05 Mar. 2010.
Zonis, Marvin and Craig M. Joseph. “Conspiracy Thinking In The Middle East”. Political Psychology, 15.3 (1994): 443-459. JSTOR. Web. 05 Mar. 2010.
Tillie Olson’s semi-autobiographic story “I Stand Here Ironing” focuses on a mother’s reminiscing of the decisions she’s made regarding her first child, Emily, and the resulting impact those decisions had on her daughter. The mother, also the narrator, paints a picture of guilt, resentment, and remorse toward her choices while raising Emily. Throughout the story, there’s several instances that ...