Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Middle East Maps Portray ‘Actual Conditions’ of the Region

June 21, 2013 8:01 am 0 comments

A Middle East map designed by Mark Langfan that depicts major Palestinian rocket-launching sites. Photo: Courtesy Mark Langfan.

JNS.org – Israeli Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau caused a media stir last month when, at a cabinet meeting, he quoted from former Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban’s statement that Israel’s 1967 borders are reminiscent of “Auschwitz” because of their indefensibility. But New York attorney Mark Langfan has been saying—rather, portraying—that same point for years.

Langfan for more than two decades has been designing his own Middle East maps—which depict what he calls “actual conditions” in the region, including topography, natural resources, geopolitics, and trade and transportation routes—and schlepping (as he puts it) them to Capitol Hill, where members of Congress from day one told him their constituents believe Israel is an apartheid state.

“The maps provided a tool to enable [legislators] to say to these people, basically, Israel should exist,” Langfan says in an interview with JNS.org.

Mark Langfan presents on his Middle East maps. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Langfan says his maps work off the assumption that the 1967 “Auschwitz borders” mentioned by Landau “are indefensible and will cause another Holocaust.” Furthermore, the maps seek to counter the assumption of Israel’s enemies that all of the problems in the Middle East “are because of the Jews.”

“According to that theory, if Israel is gone, all the regional problems are solved,” Langfan says. “Well, that’s not exactly what would be likely to happen.”

The motivation behind Langfan’s self-funded maps project, he says, is “trying to leverage the maps as a valuable tool to help Israel.”

“The issues of the Middle East are complex and multifaceted,” Langfan says. “The maps serve as a tool to help explain the realities and put them into perspective—an important means of presenting issues to Congress and American and Israeli Jews.”

Langfan presents his maps in 8-10 minute explanatory talks during which the understanding of topography “becomes an important, simple base for additional information,” he says.

“These are not interpretive renditions of reality,” he says. “These maps show the actual conditions on the ground, presented for the sake of understanding. The intent is to be able to lecture to informed, varied audiences, from high school kids to generals and everyone in between.”

One of Langfan’s maps details major Palestinian rocket-launching sites, showing the close proximity of those battlements to Israeli population centers.

Mark Langfan's map depicting what he calls the "Black Gold Triangle"—the oil-rich strip along the east and west coasts of the Persian Gulf. Photo: Courtesy Mark Langfan.

When you realize both Hezbollah and Hamas can fire rockets—like firing from Brooklyn to Manhattan—it really brings home the reality of the distance, really, the lack of distance [between rocket-launching sites and Israel],” Langfan says.

Another Langfan map, designed around the issue of energy control, “simplifies understanding of the politics of energy,” he says.

“The [Middle East] has 370 million Muslims and 11 million Christians in Greece,” Langfan explains. “The only barrier between them is Israel. Without Israel, the Muslims will seek to conquer Greece and Cyprus. If Israel were not there, would oil and gas revenues be shared with the Christians of Cyprus? The discovery of natural gas and oil reserves makes the existence of a strong Israel all the more important.”

Gaining control over what Langfan calls the “Black Gold Triangle—the oil-rich strip along the east and west coasts of the Persian Gulf—is what Langfan says the “world chess game is all about.”

“Each component is a piece of puzzle,” he says. “Oil is key. OPEC represents 78 percent of the world’s oil—this area has 56 percent of that supply.”

Mark Langfan with one of his Middle East maps. Photo: Courtesy Mark Langfan.

Langfan points out that Shi’ite Muslims hold virtually all of the Middle East oil reserves, even in Sunni-governed Saudi Arabia. He believes that Iran’s encouragement of the continuation of turmoil in Syria “is not over Syria,” but rather over the oil triangle.

“For Iran, it’s a question of controlling territory—a smothering campaign,” Langfan says. “Amman (the capital of Jordan) and Jerusalem are hardly involved.”

In almost any conversation about the Middle East, the question of Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons capacity arises. Langfan says the Iranians “are not fools” and   “have placed their nuclear facilities in as protected a place as possible.” A strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “means crossing 4,500 meter-high-mountains,” he says, explaining that attacking Iran is a tougher proposition than attacking Iraq, where all of the nuclear facilities are to the east of the mountains.

Regarding Israel, Langfan says, “The strategic value of that little piece of land is extraordinary.” He is opposed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and says the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) “has a problem” on that issue.

“[AIPAC] has supported the two-state solution, but its position has morphed into one that recognizes Israel as a strategic asset of the United States,” Langfan says, calling that position a “contradiction” because the two stances are “mutually exclusive.”

“No matter what Israeli general or politician you speak to, they all say ‘We will take painful risks for the peace process,'” Langfan says. “They never mention Israel as a strategic asset. If you have a strategic asset, do you expose your strategic asset to pain and risks for peace?”

“Israel is not a dependent little entity that needs to beg for its existence,” he adds. “Rather, the Jewish state is a vital component in maintaining the integrity of western civilization.”

Ultimately, Langfan dismisses the approach of those who believe “we have to beg for Israel and beg the politicians” to support of the Jewish state.

“My approach is radically different,” he says. “If you think there are problems in the Middle East now, think what would happen if there were no Israel.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →