Archive | December, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”

16 Dec

Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, “David and Goliath,” explores the possibility that people who are faced with a major disadvantage can use it to propel them to heights they otherwise would not have achieved.

That is precisely what happened in 1948 when the fledging, upstart State of Israel accepted a U.N. vote to partition the land. The Arabs rejected it and sent five armies on what the Arab League Secretary called “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.” Yet with no planes and only three tanks, the rag-tag Israeli militia miraculously staved off annihilation.

The Jewish people — after nearly two millennia of exile from their historic homeland — went on to achieve the unimaginable by ingathering the exiles, reviving an ancient language, and making the desert bloom. This was all done in the face of economic embargo, diplomatic isolation, relentless war and terror attacks. And the world rallied behind this amazing Israeli underdog story.

So how did the Palestinians manage to turn the tables and usurp the underdog label?

In 1967, something catastrophic happened from the standpoint of PR. Israel — again on the verge of annihilation by the three-front aggression of Egypt, Syria and Jordan — won the Six Day War. The images of triumphant tanks, planes and paratroopers adorned with a blue Star of David were flashed around the world. Suddenly, Israel had the best army in the Middle East. And with time and effort, the Palestinians — held in refugee camps as political pawns while their Arab host countries refused to resettle them — became cast as the innocent, weak and downtrodden character in this story.

For a good sociological perspective, read Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath.”

For the unvarnished truth about the Mideast conflict, read this “David and Goliath.”