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Mapping out the ‘actual conditions’ of the Middle East

Maxine Dovere/

Click photo to download. Caption: A Middle East map designed by Mark Langfan that depicts major Palestinian rocket-launching sites. Credit: Courtesy Mark Langfan.

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.

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.

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

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.”

Click photo to download. Caption: Mark Langfan presents on his Middle East maps. Credit: Maxine Dovere.

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.”

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

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.”

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.

Click photo to download. Caption: 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. Credit: Courtesy Mark Langfan.

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.”

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

you realize that 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.

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

[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
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Posted by on June 18, 2013. Filed under Israeli News,Jewish News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.