The Testimony of an Israeli Arab Christian Diplomat on The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

George Deek, born in Jaffa to an Orthodox Christian family, has worked for several years in the Israeli diplomatic service. Watch him discuss the roots of the ongoing violence, its causes, and possible solutions.

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Bill, Thanks for posting this interview. George Deek struck me as thoughtful, and he provided a clear description of some of the history and  explanation of likely motives on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I did sense some distortion in his assessment in favor of the country he represents, which, after all, is to be expected of a diplomat.

One idea that pleased me was his description of the differing motives for engaging in argument: "argument for the sake of power," or "argument for the sake of truth." Once I heard this distinction given in the interview, I realized how prevalent is the tendency to argue to prevail, to win.

It led me to consider what are the hallmarks of this kind of interaction. "Repetition" immediately came to mind; the discussion doesn't progress because one or the other participant is not attempting to move toward the truth but simply to prevail in his stated position. "Ignoring" the points that the other person has made would be another kind of tactic for one engaged in argument for the sake of power. There are probably many more tactics that are used to gain power: "misrepresenting" the other's statements; all kinds of logical fallacies; "omitting" necessary information; and who could forget outright lies!

The spiritual implications and repercussions of each mode of argument also interested me. To honor truth is to honor  Christ, the truth, and his work, which is to bear witness to the truth. Whereas to seek power is to worship the Adversary who has worldly power to give (Lk. 4:6) to his worshippers. So if one chooses to sacrifice truth in order to win an argument, then one might gain power, ie, receive his "father's" reward (Jn. 8:44) but he has cut his relation to Christ, and to his own humanity. Early Friends advised, "Buy the truth and never sell it." No worldly power is worth the forfeiting of truth; truth is our foundation for living as humans. 

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? (Mt. 5:13)

Thanks, Patricia, for highlighting the truth versus power distinction and all that it entails.

I remember hearing Deek mention this matter, but I failed to give it the attention it deserves.  Wow, as you discussed the two alternative strategies, I could see the implications even for  our dialogue here on QQ!

I am sure that Deek falls short of being a detached, impartial observer of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  We could hardly expect that of him.  Nevertheless, he offers some incisive insights into the situation, especially at this critical time.  And he weaves the story of his own family into the larger narrative in a fascinating way.

For us as outsiders, the struggle in the Middle East is somewhat of an abstraction, and we find it easy to relate to it on a rather distant "ideological" plane.  But for Deek, it is anything but abstract and distant from his own life.  It is not simply the Israeli/Palestinian story; it is his personal story too!

Thanks for posting this in depth interview which gives another different view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and offers a very different way of responding to a crisis as told by George Deek of his grandparents.

Good analysis. Balanced and empathetic. Very intriguing and hopeful

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