[BLANK_AUDIO] Welcome to lesson five in our course on the emergence of the modern Middle East. Today, we will be talking about the beginnings of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Let us begin with a brief discussion on context and discourse. Of course the context through which we see the Arab-Israeli conflict influence the way we understand the conflict. And there are various contexts through which we can look at the developments that have taken place in the last century or so. First of all, the European context, the European origins. That is, the European, Jewish predicament that gave rise to the idea of the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. The historic homeland of the Jewish people as they saw it. Then there is of course the Middle Eastern context, that is the relationship between the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East generally speaking. And how we define the conflict, is the conflict a Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Or is the conflict an Arab-Israeli conflict? The definition of the conflict naturally influences the images we have of it. If it is a Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Israelis seem to be in the more advantageous position, and the Palestinians, the weaker party. But if it is an Arab-Isreali conflict, then the Arabs would appear to be the stronger party, and the Israelis on the weaker side. [SOUND] So first, let us discuss the European context. Zionism. That is, the national movement of the Jewish people, was born out of a very deep profound Jewish disappointment with the results of modernity in Europe. Instead of emancipation. Modernity gave rise to modern anti semitics exposing the Jews to humiliations of everyday life the shame and the anguish simply of being Jewish. It was against this background that Theodor Herzl gave rise to the idea of the creation of a Jewish state. A state for the Jews as he called them. So who was Theodor Herzl? Theodor Herzl was a Hungarian born Jewish journalist who worked in Vienna for an Austrian newspaper. And he lived a relatively short life, from 1860 to 1904. Herzl was obsessed with what was called in German, Die Judenfrage, the Jewish question. That question of the fate of the Jews in Europe, the question of Jewish self-respect, the question of Jewish dignity, and the problem of the non-acceptance of the Jews in an emancipated Europe. This sense of indignity and shame and suppression of the Jews was a powerful propelling force in the creation of the new national movement of the Jewish people. This misery of the Jews as the creative force that drove the Jews to look for a national solution to their problem. Herzl as a journalist covered the Dreyfus case in 1895 in Paris, that is the case of this Jewish officer in the French Army who was unjustly accused of espionage, simply because of his Jewish background. The case exposed the force of European antisemitism. And in France of all places. That is the surprise and the shock that anti semitism could be so powerful in what had become the most liberal and democratic of European states. Thus the idea of the creation of a state for the Jewish people. In early 1896 Herzl published a pamphlet called Der Judenstaat. The state of the Jews, often mistranslated as the Jewish state. What Herzl really meant was a secular state for the Jewish people and not a Jewish state in what some may see as a theological concept. This was about secular Jewish nationalism. Herzl, as a journalist, was acutely aware of the great power of the modern media and therefore he sought to make the Zionist cause a public issue. To bring the idea of Jewish statehood into the public domain, into the discourse of the European public. Herzl sought to obtain Palestine for the Jews by diplomacy. And the international law, that is, an international charter that would award Palestine to the Jews. This was a rather unrealistic idea and Herzl also came up with the possibility the the Jews would purchase Palestine from the Ottomans. Not more realistic than the previous idea. Herzl was rather naive and had no idea how the Ottoman Empire really operated. And what the place of the Jews was in the Muslim political order, that is, of a minority with some kind of autonomous religious rights, but hardly a sovereign state. But Herzl did manage to meet with the Ottoman sultan and to negotiate with him in 1901. These demands were turned down, and not unexpectedly. But just the fact that Herzl negotiated with the Ottoman sultan was an achievement in its own right. The idea that the Jewish problem should be solved by statehood, was gaining international exposure and momentum. Some established western Jews were very apprehensive about this idea. That perhaps the idea of creating a Jewish state in Palestine would arouse the anti-Semites to demand that the Jews leave Europe. But for the Jewish masses in Eastern Europe, suffering from persecution and dire poverty, Herzl's ideas were very appealing. European Jews, by the turn of the century, were already at a rather advanced stage of secularization. They were therefore receptive to non traditional ideas, of which there were a few. One of them was simply to leave Europe, and to emigrate to the new world. The other was to engage in a Socialist revolution. And the Jews were very deeply involved in Socialist politics in Europe. And the third possibility was the Zionist idea. That is, the idea of solving the Jewish problem in Europe by the creation of a state for the Jewish people in their historical homeland, in Palestine. Israel, in the eyes of the Jews.