It’s been dubbed the “most important video about Israel ever made” — and it’s being widely circulated on the Internet amid the recent Gaza conflict.
Featuring nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager, who is known for his strong conservative views, the pro-Israel YouTube video aims to explain the Middle East conflict in under six minutes.
“The Middle East conflict is framed as one of the most complex problems in the world,” the video claims. “But, in reality, it’s very simple.”
“It may be the hardest to solve, but it is the easiest to explain,” Prager says. “In a nutshell, it’s this: one side wants the other side dead.”
“In a nutshell, it’s this: one side wants the other side dead.”
According to Prager, the “simple” problem is difficult to solve because most Palestinians and Arabs “do not recognize the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist.”
To support his thesis, Prager briefly overviews several decades of history, contending Israel has always sought peace with its neighbors. The conservative talk show host concludes the video leaving viewers with one final thought.
“If tomorrow, Israel laid down its arms and announced, ‘We will fight no more,’ what would happen? And if the Arab countries around Israel laid down their arms and announced, ‘We will fight no more,’ what would happen?” Prager asks. “In the first case, there would be an immediate destruction of the state of Israel and mass murder of its Jewish population. In the second case, there would be peace the next day.”
The video, officially titled “The Middle East Problem,” has amassed more than 3 million views since it was uploaded in late April. According to YouTube statistics, most of the views have poured in over the past couple weeks.
Yet, not everyone is buying Prager’s argument.
An op-ed published in Israel’s left-leaning newspaper Haaretz said the video “got it all wrong.”
“One 5-minute video that has been circulating on Facebook purports to explain the overall Arab-Israeli conflict simply and concretely. Those who’ve posted it praise its concrete and ‘unemotional’ tone. It is indeed simple and unsensational. The problem is, the explanation put forth is anything but supported by the evidence,” asserted the op-ed, authored by Mira Sucharov.
Sucharov, an associate professor of political science at Canada’s Carleton University, argues that the “they hate us” theory “serves to trivialize the actual concerns and claims of the other side.” Further, she added that Prager’s video “ignores the mutual letters of recognition exchanged between Israel and the PLO in 1993.”
“It is easy to say that the other’s acts of protest — sometimes violent, other times in the form of boycott and divestment or general civil disobedience — stem from hatred,” Sucharov wrote. “It is much harder to sit and listen to the fears of the other and to examine one’s own actions to see how they shape those perceptions.”
A request for comment on the video was not immediately returned Monday evening by the Palestinian American Council or Americans United for Palestinian Human rights.