Thursday, December 27, 2012
The narrative that is increasingly employed by both Islam and its Liberal-Left allies is one that defines the war between Israel and the Palestinians solely in terms of cliché and cant. In a theologically inspired act of genius the yolk of original sin is transferred to Israel and her supporters. A religious war and a war between opposing civilizations is portrayed as a colonial war waged by Israel against Palestinians who are defined as the indigenous people of a narrow geographic area designated by Israel’s borders only. According to this narrative, Israel was partitioned by the UN against the will of the majority of the people living there. Evidence to the contrary is considered unimportant to the web of deceit with which the lie is constructed.
This is how a new mythology is built. The new tradition continues, as long as ‘we’ conflate Palestinians and Arabs into some monolithic entity we disenfranchise the Palestinians. Jews are relentlessly stripped of any identity save the one that damns them. Jews are not a legitimate entity and as long as we conflate Israelis with Jews we ‘Zionists’ are able to maintain the ‘fantasy’ that ‘The Jews’ need a country to call their own. Palestinians may be Jewish but cannot be defined as such because any oppression Jews suffer is the result of natural human conflict (which of course, by construction is their fault) as opposed to being religiously inspired Arab / Muslim racism which would then justify self-determination. And the Jew, by his or her existence, is damned. Arabs, as a racial entity, may immigrate to Palestine and by marrying they become indigenous; no religious group has a right to self-determination, therefore no Jew may immigrate to Israel, thus safeguarding ‘Palestinian’ (i.e. non-Jewish) identity and majority rule. To hermetically seal the whole, Palestinian ethnic cleansing of Jews becomes a local matter of no relevance to history other than being (an understandable) act of revenge for their current suffering.
Religion has no place in national identity. But the pièce de résistance is the fundamentalist Islamic argument that the Koran and the Hadith (the body of traditional sayings and legends associated with Mohammed and his followers) are sacrosanct and therefore unalterable. Simply stated this means that irrespective of the extensive incitement that both bodies of work encourage there may be no discussion or debate about their egregious cultural legitimacy, nor their centrality to Arab or Palestinian society.
What is debilitating is that this tolerance of bigotry is no more than western sanctioned fascism. The Nazis ascended to power because few were willing to fight them. Today, the extreme left and their allies have learned the lessons of the Nazi ascent to power and employ similar tactics against anyone with whom they disagree. In universities and in public life Jews are being marginalized if they fail to express self-hatred or if they refuse to disenfranchise themselves as Jews.
Israel has failed to actively promote a discourse that will defend its own actions. It has left the Diaspora defenseless against a juggernaut of hate.
In Britain, holding passionate beliefs has created a legally valid excuse for violent confrontation against Jews and their supporters in the universities and Israeli companies across the UK. And it has encouraged a climate of fear and as a by-product become an economically profitable exercise for universities who attract extremists to their campuses. It is far too common an antisemitic tactic that Jews and their Christian supporters are accused of being part of a sinister cabal actively working to undermine the majority. This is brutally hammered home in order to discourage them from exercising a democratic right to express their legitimate political or ethical concerns. In this way Britain’s University Student Union was uniquely able to justify its rejection of the currently accepted worldwide definition of antisemitism.
When physical intimidation is not presently possible, at every opportunity these same people will create an avalanche of threats and hate-filled talk-backs via the social media. The irony is that these same people are the most active in abusing human rights and actively encouraging genocide and ethnic cleansing. From around the world ‘anti-Israel’ activists do so, in the name of Palestine. They experience no shame in employing tactics that in another era would have labelled them as Nazis. For the extremist, the ends always justify the means.
Boycott campaigns are today primarily dependent on the dissemination of lies and the intimidation of anyone or any organization with whom they disagree.
Perhaps most hateful is that many Israelis are central to this campaign, having been radicalized in Israeli universities that gave them and continues to give them carte blanche to express themselves however they wish to do so. One hundred flowers may bloom but not in the poisoned atmosphere of lies and half-truths presented as fact; complexity simplified to the point of inanity and puerile vindictiveness. Paradoxically these same anti-Israel activists often teach the next generation of activists and Israeli scholars.
There is a difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism but for a campaign to be effectively deployed against the latter they conflate it with the former in order to encourage the widest possible buy-in to their agenda. Because of the breadth of their membership that agenda is as likely to be extermination of the Jews as it is, the end of Israel. Because of this, and the inability of the secular alliance to either detach themselves from or criticize the Islamic agenda, it is not possible to separate the anti-Zionist from the anti-Semite.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
ISRAEL’S EXTREMISTS EXPLOIT IT'S PARLIAMENT TO UNDERMINE IT.
64 years on from Israel’s war of Independence the only place in the Middle East where Christians have prospered and continue to grow as a percentage of the local population is in Israel. The Jewish State has its despicable racists like all countries, like all nations and like all ethnicities. It would be racist to assume that Israelis are somehow possessed of greater nobility than other people and therefore not psychically damaged by continuous conflict with their neighbours. 64 years on from 1948 the Arab nation believes itself to be pure and the rules for a just society to exclude them. 64 years on from Israel’s release from religious oppression Islamic forces still contend that Jews have no rights other than those magnanimously bestowed on them by means of benevolent Muslim domination. 64 years on, in a December 2012 broadcast on Egyptian TV - Muslim leader Ahmad Al Baghdadi Al Hassani referred to Christians as polytheists, stressing that they must choose "Islam or death," while their women and daughters could legitimately be regarded as wives of Muslims (and therefore the property of Islamic men).
Hanin Zoabi is a controversialist and member of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset). She is a member of the Balad list in the Knesset which received 3 mandates in the 2009 elections. Balad describes itself as a democratic progressive national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel. It declares its support for Two States but also backs the full return of all Arab refugees (and their descendants) to Israel as well as promoting a policy of Arab Apartheid. Hanin Zoabi sailed with Islamic activists on the Mavi Marmara. It was one of a flotilla of ships organised by the terrorist group, the IHH, which has active connections to the ruling government party in Turkey (it is banned in Germany) and which lost nine activists when they attacked Israeli soldiers in 2010. The launching of the flotilla from a sovereign Turkish port and subsequent deaths led to an almost complete rupture in relations between Israel and Turkey, one that may not be repaired for many years.
On the 19th December 2012 the Central Election Committee declared Zoabi ineligible to stand for election for the 19th Knesset in January 2013. That decision was automatically referred to the Supreme Court.
I support the view that she should be banned from the Knesset. In a war that will define the identity of the nation, Arab MKs observed a moment of silence for Gaza 'martyrs' but labelled those Israeli’s that defended the State as ‘war criminals’. We are losing the propaganda war because the State appeases those that willingly collaborate with our enemies (such as MK Zoabi).
An Israeli may be of any faith or ethnicity; in precisely the same way, a Britain or an American or an African may hold their faith or ethnic identity dear to them while being part of one nation. Palestine is an Arab nation and excludes ‘the Jews’ as they always have, from this identity. To deny the identity of the nation in which they live and from which they receive protection and succour is to reject the State. By rejecting Israeli national identity Israel’s Arab rejectionist MK’s are not necessarily representative of all their constituents, but they could be, if their narrative is accepted.
They are therefore a divisive and seditious element within the State.
Modern Israel is 64 years old, no more than an infant nurturing a nascent national identity. The purpose of Balad and other political parties is to undermine the raison d'être of the State. By their narrative, their demand for separate development (apartheid) and their steadfast rejection of any national accommodation they are slowly but inexorably tearing the nation asunder.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said there was not sufficient proof to merit a ban on Balad. Specifically he asserted that there was insufficient evidence against MK Hanin Zoabi to warrant her disqualification from the upcoming national elections (according to Ynet news of 18th December 2012).
"While the significant evidence that has been amassed in her case approaches the limit of what is acceptable, there isn't enough proof to disqualify her," Weinstein wrote.
In an Op-ed in Ma’ariv on the 13th of December 2012 Ben-Dror Yemini referred to the external assault against Israeli legitimacy being based on “incitement, an industry of lies and hypocrisy”. What is unwarranted is the extent to which the same egregious misbehaviour is promoted by both foreign agencies and local bigots, in Israel. We do not condemn Muslims for the genocidal actions of their co-religionists around the globe so it is outrageous that uniquely, Jews are threatened by Israel’s actions. Israel’s activities directly impact every supporter’s safety and security. It is not right nor is it fair but it does demand of Israel a special responsibility to frame the debate in a way that assists her friends. And that can only happen if Israel can fight its own corner at home. If it cannot then there is no hope for fighting the delegitimization campaign abroad.
Balad and another Arab political party, Ta’al, reject the idea of Israel as they reject the idea of a Jewish State. They explicitly define loyalty to a Jewish state as unacceptable.
In the UK there are Americans who refuse to speak out loud in public in case they are physically attacked. Being the world’s lone superpower does not guarantee popularity. But with Exceptionalism is implied a unique responsibility. Israel’s failure is that while it celebrates its Exceptional status, it is unwilling to accept this mantle of responsibility towards the Diaspora. Israel’s ambassador in Copenhagen, Arthur Avnon, has recommended to Israelis traveling in Denmark to maintain a low profile for fear of anti-Semitism. Yediot Achranot reported:
“We advise Israelis who go to synagogue to hide their kippot until entering the building, and not to walk around with open Jewish signs in the street, no matter where they are,” …. he went on to say, “the synagogue looks like a fortress, the Jewish school is surrounded by a barbed wire fence and it is guarded like a military camp, and at anti-Israel demonstration people call out, ‘itbah il-yahud’ (slaughter the Jews) …”
I do not seek to disqualify the minority for expressing its opinions. But what is an acceptable level of intellectual violence? A line must be drawn between legitimate political criticism and incitement. Freedom of expression is no more than artifice if its purpose is to deny that freedom to another.
Delegitimization is an invalid and racist construct that finds it unnecessary to differentiate between opposition to Jewish self-determination and ‘The Jews’ wherever they / we may live.
Israel has a right to guide the nation towards a vision for the state and its people. That vision is based on Jewish and Israeli ideals of tolerance and respect. Many within the Arab community do not and cannot, nor will they ever accept this vision. This is not a debate about punishing citizens who do not share our views. In a democracy, respect for human rights has to be total or it is no more than a well fitted mask for fascism. A destructive dynamic is being established where our enemies decry our limitation on their civil rights while they are telling everyone we have no right to exist, except as a minority within the society that they will define and that rejects and has always rejected our civil rights.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
All political systems are imperfect. If we accept that our ideal for Society is to strive for perfection within our society then we can find a workable vision by which we may judge ourselves and just as important, judge others.
If we can agree where we are, we can also agree where we want to be.
So what is government? It is the process (system) though which people are systematically and consistently managed for the good of the greater identifying group. According to Wikipedia, it consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators. But above all else our system is democratic. It means that power is vested in the people. Abraham Lincoln in the speech he delivered midway through the American Civil War stated in The Gettysburg Address (in November 1863) that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” So born out of blood and suffering government exists as a direct consequence of the will of the people and for the benefit of the people.
Not for a deity or a militant prophet and not for a class of, or group of people, but for all the people.
That we exercise this right to determine our future by nominating our elected representatives to serve our purpose (not theirs but ours) is fundamental to our system of government. The form of government that we have chosen is intended to preserve our inalienable right to freedom although by nominating others to protect our interests we voluntarily limit our own freedom in favour of collective security. Our liberty is safeguarded by formal acceptance of equality of rights and privileges. The way we safeguard our rights and privileges is by participating in a system that involves multiparty elections, freedom of speech and equality of opportunity.
What it does not mean is that we all share the same values or that we all receive the same benefits from our work or even that we have absolute equality; only, for better or for worse, that we have the same opportunities in society and that as such, we respect all members of society with equal vigour.
In the 19th and for much of the 20th Century we lived in a world that was still profoundly ignorant and largely uneducated. During this period of the modern era class, wealth and historical privilege contributed towards disillusionment, revolution and violent change. The 20th Century delivered globally to mankind western ideals of universal education, access to health care for all and equality of opportunity. For many, the latter and the former were unacceptable infringements of their religious vision. And the agony of the Second World War has largely failed to deliver on the promises that beckoned to the rest of us.
The distance between the upper classes of society and the rest has grown wider. Multiculturalism promised equal but separate development and we raised no objections to this apartheid by any other name because it invariably attached an Islamic or non-white label to it. The working classes became the middle classes and their expectations, subject to constant media bombardment, failed to satisfy our ever increasing awareness of what we can achieve and therefore, on what we are missing. Instead of managing our expectations Society fed them and periodically dashed them against the rocks of economic mismanagement. Democracy and Western Government should present the rest of the world with an ideal to which they too can aspire. Instead, we today present the world with a damaging image of dysfunction, corruption and abuse. Society’s excesses provide a Manichean model that demonstrates our freedom of action and in our guilt-free gluttony our insensitivity to the pain that we have caused to others in the pursuit of our individuality. Ultimately it is damaging to society because the casualties we created will potentially overwhelm us.
In the 1930’s Liberals believed that euthanasia, forced sterilisation and other, more ‘robust’ methods of population control (‘engineering’) were necessary for the health of society. In fact, because Liberal values represented no more than the educated classes self-justification for maintaining privilege they represented the intellectual justification for Stalinism and Nazism; no more and no less than this. And so what we have today is a class of unashamed liberal and left wing elites that take pride in the guile that permits them to casually celebrate bigotry. The latest political obligation is blind acceptance of anti-Zionist propaganda which, usually and joyously embraces antisemitism while ruthlessly ignoring everything else.
Extremism has always been the logical bi-product of a stubborn refusal to recognise the essential equality of everyone.
The free and equal practice of political self-determination is both cultural and economic. And it is where society has failed. Because in guaranteeing the rights of the individual it has forsaken the obligations of the individual to the group. And minority rights cannot be superior to majority rights even when we justify this practice in asserting that positive discrimination contributes towards undoing the damage of the past. Instead, it enshrines discrimination in common law and creates a culture of rightful prejudice. What is politically correct becomes no more than sanctioned discrimination and it encourages a culture of graduated transgression which blurs the line between misdemeanour and felony and creates a climate of ethical irrelevance.
Hitler rose to power with just over 30 per cent of the popular vote. Terror was given a public platform and rewarded for its bravado. It hid behind the law and exploited society’s weaknesses. We refused to fight for the values that we believed to be worth fighting for. The multicultural ideal can only work if it is predicated on tolerance as an absolute of the society that practices it, therefore, within the ideal there is an inherent contradiction wherever conflicting values exist. Because of this elemental flaw, if we respect the law, the values of the dominant culture must take precedence over any minority values with which they conflict.
Instead, in giving our blessing to a new paradigm for Society we have sacrificed our equality for a lie that rewrites history and leaves us unprotected.
Our whole system of law is based on justice being not simply ‘done’ but as crucially, being seen to be done. Today this is not the case.
Next: HOW ISRAEL’S EXTREMISTS EXPLOIT IT'S PARLIAMENT TO UNDERMINE IT.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi’s) out of this world strategy for dealing with the Palestinian bid for recognition at the UN General Assembly (GA) requires further examination.
On the one hand the Israeli electoral system creates stability for the leadership of the governing party. If they enjoy the confidence of their paid up membership they can say and do what they want and the only requirement to maintaining power is exercising a sufficiently imaginative negotiation to achieve a coalition agreement. The downside to successful completion is lack of respect for the electorate. Success encourages dictatorial behaviour by the leadership; tact and vision do not come as part of the package. Because this system is so successful it is arguably the best advertisement the world has against the proportional representation system.
To discuss the logic behind Bibi we must first look at Israel as a nation. It is a country that was created around a deeply felt animosity towards religious observance. Israel in 1948 could easily have slipped into the Soviet camp. It did not, but has instead retained a schizophrenic attitude that has progressed in recent decades from antipathy towards religion into what we would label today, embarrassed tolerance. A recent survey revealed 55% of Israeli Jews in favour of keeping religious laws. The issue is that for a majority of Jews in Israel, Judaism is cultural and this will remain so until the state separates religion from formal state sponsorship. Shimon Peres had a religious wife but he refused to publicly exploit this for the ‘good of the party’ – something that is done worldwide in all political systems. Bibi has no such ethical qualms. He has appeased an ultra-orthodox political leadership that is at best ambivalent towards contact with the secular community; a fractured community that is structurally tribal and excludes any one with whom they marginally disagree. This is not the way to build a state.
Nor has the Left ever displayed behaviour that was not congruent with this collaborationist model of behaviour. To quote Alan Johnson “A Principled Bid in the Upcoming Israeli Election” (World Affairs Journal 29 November 2012) “…Labour’s leader (Shelly)Yacomovitch makes warm noises toward the settlers and invites the electorate to vote their wallets. She offers no vision for Israel’s future relations with the Palestinians..”
In order to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict we have to contextualise it. If we view the conflict within the larger picture of Judaism and Islam then what emerges is a war that must be fought on an entirely different canvas.
But the West is frightened to confront anything that is based on religious differences. When Samuel P. Huntington published “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” – he was hailed as a prophet, someone whose ideas would change the world. And then the politicians got hold of his book and wholly condemned it. The world’s leaders were eager to deny its central thesis which was: Conflict today is not primarily about access to food or water or land but it is about ideas. The main proponent of hegemonic religious activism is Islam and its theology is diametrically opposed to modern Western thought on almost all issues of morality.
The only way that peace will come to the region is to address Arab/Muslim actions over the centuries and the prevalent attitude of hatred, discrimination and theologically inspired ethnic conflict. But Israeli politicians, like their Western counterparts, are incapable of addressing the subject, although more so because of their recent militantly secular history. Israel is at the fault line of this clash of civilizations. Because of Israel’s modern history it hovers between indifference and antagonism towards framing the conflict thus.
Israel’s enemies deny any kind of Jewish contact with the Land, they reject any historical or current affiliation and in every international forum they argue against the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish or any other kind of nation. And it is this prejudice that Israel has never addressed either at home or internationally.
Which brings me to the next point: Raphael Lemkin coined the word as well as the concept of ‘Genocide’. Irvin-Erickson wrote (“The Romantic Signature of Raphael Lemkin”) “Lemkin defined nations as “families of minds”…. Lemkin intended the word ‘genocide’ to signify the cultural destruction of peoples, which could occur without a perpetrator employing violence at all. In his 1944 Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, Lemkin wrote that genocide was “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” A colonial practice, genocide had two phases: “One, the destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.”
When we consider pan-Arab Muslim colonialism as an ideological imperative then Palestine is but a pawn in an ongoing battle and one that we ignore at our peril. The Arab world and its non-Arab Muslim allies commit cultural genocide as theologically justified behaviour. It furthers their expansionist religious ideology and rewards the select faithful with unlimited economic power that barely trickles down through the cultural or political elite. It is the classic Marxist definition of exploitation.
And yet the Global Left caters to their prejudices as if no religiously inspired agenda exists.
Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) received his degree (doctorate) from a Soviet era University. His degree thesis was denial of the Shoah. People change. Communist officials became SS officers and after the war they were recruited to both Eastern and Western intelligence agencies in spite of the copious amounts of blood they had on their hands. People change. But you must first provide them with a reason to change and Israel has never given Abu Mazen the reason for him to change from the political bigot he is. As chairman of the Palestinian Authority he rejects the existence of the State of Israel and the two-state solution. A post he placed on his official Facebook page on October 13 2012 stated his intention to apply to the UN General Assembly for recognition of Palestine as a non-member state.
He wrote: “The recognition (of the UN) will not liberate the land on the day after, but it will prove our claim that our land is occupied and it is not disputed land.” One Israeli newspaper explained it thus: “Abu Mazen states explicitly in the post that he is not only referring to the Judea and Samaria territories that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War, and over which peace negotiations are being conducted, but “this applies to all the lands that Israel occupied before June 1967,” meaning the State of Israel within the Green Line”.
We have to understand that cherished (even bloodthirsty) ideas are not easily forsaken.
The Koran with its mantra of finality, the attendant pan-Arab lust for power at all costs, these are both seductive and comforting. Their anti-Western song can soothe the soul. Immanuel Kant described the enlightenment as the freedom to use ones own intelligence. Leftist philosopher Michel Foucault in the “Sovereign Enterprise of Unreason” celebrated the Iranian revolution of 1979 because it would contribute to the destruction of enlightenment principles. If observation of the natural world led to conclusions that were correct for that time then reason became an end in itself and not necessarily connected to morality or ethics. And hence the seductive pull of rejecting Western thought and returning to more ‘authentic’ but spiritually profitable times.
The Koran is the problem not because it is inherently genocidal but because it may be interpreted any way that achieves the aim of the translator.
At least one of my Jewish ancestors faced excommunication because they made changes to the order of service / accepted meaning of text. The bible is more or less immutable, unchangeable. Millions of words have been written AROUND the text in order to explain it, interpret it, and re-interpret it in light of changes in the modern world. A whole industry of exegesis exists and has done so from the very beginning of faith. Christian and Jew tread carefully around the text and yes, both have their fundamentalists who believe the world to be no older than 4,000 years (Jews) or 2,000 years (Christians).
But Islam is the only faith that allows every bigot and mass murdering psychopath to interpret the word of God in THEIR image. The challenge for western Muslims is to undergo a Reformation that fixes for all time the text of the Koran in a way that is neither offensive to Jews or Christians nor for that matter, threatening to anyone else of faith. The challenge is to prevent an open interpretation of the Koran that justifies continuous warfare against the infidel and mass murder as a viable option of religious faith.
And how does this connect with Bibi Netanyahu and the Palestinians? Because all of us have difficult challenges in fighting the intolerance of our own fundamentalists.
On October 25th 2012 in a popular Israeli newspaper (Yediot Ahrononot) influential Rabbi Shlomo Aviner stated that “a woman cannot serve as a Knesset member. It is immodest.” Taken to its logical conclusion all women must be banned from public life –anywhere in fact that is not in the home. Aviner is considered to be one of Israel’s spiritual leaders. So when he referred to breaches of the rules of modesty that were liable to occur if women were found to be in a public place, people listened. In Israel, a war is being waged for the soul of the people. There are two mutually exclusive national religious trends – the first integrationist and the second isolationist. Israel also has its extremists.
And what did Bibi do – nothing. It is typical that he would steer clear of any statement that offended his potential political supporters, even when they are misogynistic religiously inspired Neanderthals.
This is Israel’s problem. Palestine will only negotiate when it has something to lose and time is not on its side. Israel can only negotiate when it displays the clarity of vision to find its own path to peace with its enemy.
Mohamed Morsi, President of Egypt, was recently seen on Egyptian television saying a clear ‘Amen’ to a Muslim prayer that instructs the Muslim faithful to commit genocide against the world’s Jews. There can be no excuses for this. Only a fool will believe that what starts with one nation ends with one nation. This is the leader of the world’s most populace Arab nation inciting his people to mass murder.
Nor can we pretend that Hamas are interested in Peace with Israel or that the separate Palestinian Authority (the putative State of Palestine) is anything other than a supercessionist, racist and antisemitic conspiracy in progress. The latest ‘big lie’ is that the Jewish people are colonizers in their own land; the other ‘big lie’ is that Islam is a religion of peace. Unless Bibi is willing to confront those twin ‘big lies’ that also now underline western attitudes to Israel there is little hope for an Israeli future. I apologise to whoever said this but to quote them “There is an iron law in history. Appeasing xenophobic movements or totalitarian regimes invariably lead to disaster, encouraging escalating demands to levels which either culminate with surrender or make armed conflict inevitable” and “President Reagan, besmirched by liberals as a warmonger, assumed a hard line position against Soviet expansionism which led to the collapse of the Evil Empire”.
So we need a carrot and stick approach to politics. And Bibi possesses the intelligence but not the courage to challenge the bigots at home or the bigots abroad. It is only by challenging the current narrative, both at home and abroad that we will be able to work out a liveable solution for all peoples in the area.
Did Israel over-react to the UN Vote? Of course it did and no it didn’t. The Israeli government lost an opportunity to be the first to vote in favour of the resolution – in fact it should have sponsored the resolution. It could then draw out the obvious glaring discrepancies between the Islamic/Arab/UN position on Israel and their treatment of other nations to explain why trust is absent from any discourse on a permanent settlement of the conflict. Ongoing Islamic and Arab hostility, the hypocrisy that Israel faces internationally, ‘the big lies’ – all should be brought up at every international forum. Israel was obliged by common sense to seize the moment. With every possible diplomatic opportunity Israel fails to take the initiative.
Part of this, as I have previously shown, is due to a total breakdown in appreciating the religious inspiration for the conflict. In part it is due to secular Israeli antipathy towards engaging in a debate about religious issues.
The reality is that Israel is wholly engaged in supporting both the PA and the theocratic fascist and racist Hamas regime. Israel will pay the PA’s debts because if it does not the PA will collapse and the security forces in the PA will go unpaid. Hamas and other groups will pour into the vacuum that is left behind and Israel will have another Gaza on the West Bank. Israel has already ceded de facto recognition of Gaza’s regime because it is in its interest to do so. A low profile is kept for ideological and electoral reasons.
So it is all about talking to the electorate and educating our friends about the multiple threats as we perceive them to be. And for what ever inexplicable reason that few can fathom either inside or outside of Israel, the Israeli political establishment is incapable of drawing on this narrative.
And construction? It is part of the failure to address Arab bigotry that instead, the government is punishing Abu Mazens' supporters not Abu Mazen. It is far easier to alienate Israel’s ‘friends,’ to energise and invigorate its enemies than to come up with a visionary approach that challenges Israel’s enemies.
Monday, December 3, 2012
With the UN rewarding Mahmoud Abbas for his intransigence it is timely that I issue part 2 of “Myths Lies and Damn Lies - Myth Busters” (see November 7th 2012). On this subject I was recently privileged to engage in an online debate with a member of the extreme left. The experience was worth the pain. I shall pass on my conclusions (and hopefully my insights) in the near future.
Myth busters (Part 2):
6) Israel started it all with its aggressive settlement policies that forced out the indigenous Arab population
Israel was part of the feudal Middle East where large landowners owned most of the land and most peasants had no rights of ownership. Israel settled most of its territory prior to 1948 on land that was dollar for dollar the most expensive and least productive agricultural property in the world. Fantastic profits were made by landowners who sold the land to Jewish farmers and that included the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (Muslim leader of Mandate era Palestine) the Nazi Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini. It is difficult to justify calling all of the Palestinian Arabs ‘indigenous’ because Arabs were primarily conquerors and indigenous to Arabia. Many of those that fled in 1948 were themselves immigrants from Arab nations seeking a better economic future in Jewish areas of Palestine who were then betrayed by their Arab leaders. They were actively prevented from returning to their homes in neighbouring countries.
7) Israel was the aggressor in 1948
Wrong. Israel accepted the UN proposal for a much diminished Jewish State within indefensible borders. It accepted an internationalised Jerusalem under UN control. The Arab States rejected an independent Palestinian Arab state living peacefully beside Israel out of a malevolent desire for conquest. Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria (the 6 original members of the Arab League) rejected Jewish independence and said they would destroy the nascent Jewish state. Britain retained refugee camps in Cyprus for the anticipated but limited number of Palestinian Jewish survivors. Transjordan offered Israel limited autonomy within its greater Arab empire but effectively ruled out any negotiation with Israel on independence. Egypt and Transjordan intervened to prevent the emergence of an independent Palestine. Similarly Syria aspired to conquer as much of Israel as possible for its own Greater Syrian empire.
The Arab League Army was corruptly mismanaged. In contrast to the Arab League Army, the Arab Legion was the Arab worlds’ most effective fighting force. Created by Britain in 1920, the Arab Legion was financed, armed and administered by Britain and commanded by British officers. Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb, (aka Glubb Pasha) was the Legion's commander. The Arab Legion actively participated in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Jewish Jerusalem; they were also responsible for the massacre of 129 people at Kfar Etzion, just outside of Jerusalem, on May 13, 1948 the day before the formal declaration of Independence. The murdered included a Palestinian Muslim family living in peace and co-existence amongst their Palestinian Jewish brothers and sisters.
In the case of a massacre carried out by British forces Britain suffered only momentary diplomatic embarrassment but it was also a message of what Britain was offering its Arab friends in support of their genocidal cause and against Jewish self-determination.
8) Jerusalem belonged to the Arab people prior to Israel’s conquest
To extract from an earlier article “JfJfP and the failure of Hasbara”: In May 1948, Jerusalem had enjoyed a Jewish majority since around 1828, 120 years prior to Israel’s War of Independence. The British officered Arab Legion captured the Old City and the remainder of East Jerusalem. It proceeded, one must assume with British Foreign Office agreement, to ethnically cleanse the city of its Jewish residents and then to obliterate the physical evidence of a Jewish presence. Only the Western Wall was left intact. But no Jew would be permitted access to its holiest site for 19 years, until its recapture by Israel in 1967.
9) There would be no Israel without the Shoah
See my previous post “Colonialism, Palestine and Israel” The second last paragraph states “Israel would have come into existence as a modern nation state with or without the Shoah. The means of its tumultuous birth was an issue for diplomatic recognition only. It does not detract from the need for and therefore the inevitability of Jewish independence that Israel achieved on May 15, 1948” as an expression of its self-determination in Palestine.
10) Israel should take back all the refugees.
A refugee is usually someone who has lived in a country their whole life before being expelled, or, whose existence in their country of birth suddenly becomes precarious. If a refugee is accepted as a permanent resident the next stage is to permit them to become citizens of their new home country, thus resolving their refugee status. Their children become citizens of the country in which they were born or the country to which they are resettled. In 1948, the definition of a Palestinian Refugee was created and it is unique in history and continues to be so to the current day. According to the definition set by the UN it is anyone living in Palestine between 1st June 1946 and 15th May 1948. Any immigrant was defined as a refugee and was liable to support from the UN agency set up uniquely for Palestinians.
This is bizarre because it meant that Iraqis refused permission to return to Iraq and Egyptians in Egyptian refugee camps likewise refused permission to return to their Egyptian homes became refugees. All of their descendants also became Palestinian refugees.
Depending on the degree of radicalism of the Palestinian political movement the definition of Jewish Palestinian can be anyone born in Palestine prior to 1881 (George Habash’s group) or any Jew who can prove their family originated in Israel prior to the Balfour Declaration of 1917. There may be some who accept the UN definition of 1948 (which included Jews) but this is a mute point as all Jewish Palestinian refugees became Israeli citizens. The last Ma’abarah (refugee camp) formally closed in 1958 but I was living in Netanya in 1976 when the last group of Jewish refugees living in a shanty town on the outskirts of my own wretched neighbourhood were forcibly moved into proper housing.
The total number of Arab refugees in 1948 was declared to be somewhere between 300,000-400,000 and 950,000 but even the Quakers admitted that the 250,000 refugees they had on their books in 1948 included a significant number of people who were technically not classifiable as refugees, even under the UN definition. The unbelievable thing about the UN Palestinian definition is that it is virtually eternal – refugee status is passed from generation to generation. It has been said that this refugee definition was adopted to punish ‘the Jews’ for the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte in September 1948.