Ariel Center for
Policy Research



NATIV    Volume Twelve    Number 6 (71)    November 1999    Ariel Center for Policy Research




Professor Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations"
and its Bearing on Israel's Security

Christopher Barder

This is not an analysis of the virtues or vices of Professor Huntington’s work but is rather using it as a tool. The concept of “civilization” is shown to be a very useful one for assessing the true position of Israel in relation to her security needs vis a vis her Arab neighbors.  If it is not at all easy for the constituent elements which make up a civilization to change and these penetrate deeply into matters of religion and inter-personal relationships, then the prospects for reform of any far reaching nature in the essentials of Islam must need to be explored.

What the arguments and insights of Professor Huntington alert his audience to is the possibility of assessing the nature of civilizations beyond the solely theoretical and conceptual.  In so doing the means for looking closely at the way Islam affects its adherents’ attitudes become more vital and perhaps available.  Understanding of “Islamic civilization” becomes a truly essential task in the light of its unchanging teaching and values and also historical record.  These in turn suggest the degree of viability and sense behind the “Oslo peace processes”.  If, in analysis of the outlook and beliefs of the Islamic civilization to which Israel’s neighbors claim they belong, in speeches, books, cartoons and the media, there cannot be found any serious revision of overt and covert hostility to Israel, then the Huntington clashes of civilizations ideas for furthering understanding of international relations and strategic realities serve Israeli analysts well (and not only those in Israel):  the so-called peace process has no chance of bringing peace but instead must be viewed as a means of further weakening Israel’s capacity to resist destruction at the hands of Muslim Arab enemies.

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