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Professor Yakov Rabkin concludes his article on the Roots of Zionism.
The Zionist project in the Holy Land has passed the centenary mark. This initially socialist-oriented secular settlement has undergone sacralisation, becoming a focal point for right-wing Christian nationalists in many countries of Europe and beyond. Unlike Jews and Muslims in the Holy Land, who actually live with the conflict and know its practical consequences, Christian Zionists relate to the conflict from afar. For them the Holy Land remains a purely spiritual entity. This is why Christian Zionism, together with some adepts of National Judaism, may be the only truly religious obstacle to peace in Israel-Palestine, or, to be more precise, a mighty political obstacle rooted in religious discourse. While Jews constitute an indispensable instrument in the realization of the Restoration, their role remains subordinated to the theological desiderata of the Second Coming of Christ.
If there was a religion that inspired political Zionism, it was Protestantism, rather than Judaism. Jews were introduced to Zionism centuries after the idea was born in Protestant circles in Europe, and the current number of Christian Zionists is estimated at four to five times the total number of Jews in the world. These Christian and European contributions to the emergence of Zionism and the Zionist state must be taken into account in any analysis of the State of Israel and its position in the Middle East.
Christian Protestant Zionism, a precursor to Herzlian Zionism, is a crucial linchpin of unconditional support for Israel. For the evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell, the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 has been the most crucial event in history since the ascension of Jesus to heaven, and “proof that the second coming of Jesus Christ is nigh…. Without a State of Israel in the Holy Land, there cannot be the second coming of Jesus Christ, nor can there be a Last Judgement, nor the End of the World” (Tremblay 2003: 118). This theological position ensures that the identification of the Zionist state with Christian Evangelicals in the United States is complete. In a televised address to the annual meeting of Christians United for Israel in July 2011, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “When you support Israel, you don’t have to choose between your interests and your values; you get both. … Our enemies think that we are you, and that you are us. And you know something? They are (96 | MEDITERRANEAN REVIEW | Vol. 5, No. 1 [June 2012]) absolutely right. (Mozgovaya 2011)”
About Yakov M. Rabkin
Professor Rabkin has taught Jewish and Russian history, and the history of science at the University of Montreal since 1973. He is the author of Science between the Superpowers, a study of Soviet-American relations in science and technology (Priority Press, 1988), co-editor of The Interaction of Scientific and Jewish Cultures in Modern Times (The Edwin Mellen Press, 1995) and editor of Diffusion of New Technologies in Post-Communist Europe (Kluwer, 1997). His book A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism (Fernwood/Zedbooks) has been translated into twelve languages. It was nominated for Canada’s Governor-General Award and for the Hecht Prize for studies in Zionism in Israel. The Asahi Shimbun in Japan listed it among three Best Non-Fiction Books of the Year in 2010. His most recent book is What is Israel? published in Tokyo (Heibonsha) in June 2012. His list of professional publications consists of over two hundred titles. It includes studies of science in Russian and Soviet cultures, studies of non-western research cultures, of relations between science, cultures and traditions as well as contemporary Jewish history and relations between Zionism and religion. He received over twenty research awards, scholarships and fellowships.
His comments on the Middle East and international relations frequently appear on major TV and radio networks, including BBC, NHK, Radio-Canada and Radio-France as well as in printed media, including International Herald Tribune, Baltimore Sun, El Milenio, Newsweek, La Presse, and Jerusalem Post. He has been an expert witness for the Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade of the Parliament of Canada and has consulted for various international organizations, including the World Bank and NATO. He has also served as expert witness at legal proceedings in Britain, Canada and Israel.
The failure of Hamas to recognise the right of Israel to exist as a Zionist state is touted by supporters of Israel to be the real reason that peace has not been found with regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Yet few if any realise that the Likud Party charter, the party of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commits Israel to the continued expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank as a matter of principle. How is it that Netanyahu can be considered to be genuine in his attempts to negotiate with the Palestinians when the charter of his own political party denies the concept of the RIGHT of Palestinians to a state of their own with safe and secure borders? Anyone reading the charter of the Likud party will find no evidence of a desire for Likud to recognise the existence of a Palestinian state as a RIGHT of the Palestinian people just as much as anyone reading the Hamas charter will see that Hamas has not time for a Zionist state.
Hamas’ lack of recognition of the right to exist of Israel as a Zionist state is deemed evidence of Palestinian indifference towards peace negotiations but the Likud’ party can reject such a right for the Palestinians while pretending to be honestly seeking peace. This double standard is clear for everyone to see for themselves. Why is it that Israel does not need to recognise Palestinians rights while Palestinians must recognise Israeli rights. And this ridiculous state of affairs persists even though the Palestinians have already officially recognised Israel’s right to exist with safe and secure borders some twenty years ago. Israel has staunchly refused to reciprocate this acknowledgement, clearly showing its true expansionist intentions to anyone who truly seeks to understand the conflict.
The following post was published on Porter Speakmans blog at http://porterspeakmanjr.com/2011/11/02/504/ on November 8th 2011
Netanyahu’s “Peace” According to the Likud Party Charter
The recent Palestinian UN bid and this weeks Palestinian acceptance to UNESCO has once again put the “Peace Process” front and center. Listening to Netanyahu and the U.S. Administration, getting the Israelis and Palestinians “back to the negotiating table” is the utmost priority for a lasting peace deal.
Although Netanyahu plays the part, the details of his party platform need to be taken into account as a “peace partner” to show the reality behind the circus.
Likud Party Charter states:
a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”
b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”
c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
d. “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”
So while Netanyahu wants no pre-conditions from the Palestinians going into “negotiations” his party charter and ideology says otherwise.
Truths, facts and facts on the ground
Much of the international support that Israel receives is based on several lies it tells and re-tells as “facts”.
Joseph Massad Last Modified: 27 Oct 2011 11:03
In 1991, negotiations started officially and unofficially between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (and the Palestinians associated with it) and the Israeli government. At the time, Israel had occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip for the previous 24 years.
Today, 20 years later, Israel and President Obama insist that the only way to bring about peace, and presumably end the Occupation, is to continue with negotiations. It is unclear if what Obama and Israel are claiming is that Israel needs 24 years of negotiations in order to end its 24-year occupation of Palestinian land, so that by the time the occupation ends, it will have lasted for 48 years.
This of course is the optimistic reading of the Israeli and US positions; the reality of the negotiations and what they aim to achieve, however, is far more insidious.
The negotiations have been based on specific goals to end certain aspects of the Israeli relationship to the Palestinians, namely some of the parts introduced since the 1967 war and the occupation, and the beginning of exclusive Jewish colonial settlement of these territories.But what always remains outside the purview of negotiations is the very core of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, which the Palestinians are told cannot be part of any negotiations.
These off-limits core issues include what has happened since 1947-1948, including the expulsion of 760,000 Palestinians, the destruction of their cities and towns, the confiscation and destruction of their property, the introduction of discriminatory laws that legalise Jewish racial, colonial and religious privilege and deny Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights and reject the right of the expelled refugees to return.
Yet, this core, which the Israelis summarise as Israel’s right to be, and to be recognised as, a “Jewish” state, is what is always invoked by the Israelis themselves as central to beginning and ending the negotiations successfully and which the Palestinians, the Israelis insist, refuse to discuss.
But the core issues of the question of the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis have always been based on the agonistic historical, geographic and political claims of the Palestinian people and the Zionist movement.
While the Palestinians have always based their claims on verifiable facts and truths that the international community agreed upon and recognised, Israel has always based its claims on facts on the ground that it created by force and which parts of the international community would only recognise as “legitimate”, retroactively.
How is one then to sift through these competing notions of truths and facts on the one hand, and facts on the ground, on the other?
The core issues of the US and Israeli agenda were best articulated in the speeches delivered by Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations (UN) last month in response to the PLO’s bid for statehood at the UN. It is there where both Netanyahu and Obama invoked what they called “truths” and “facts” to assert Israeli facts on the ground. As I will show, their strategy is engineered to convert Israeli facts on the ground from antonyms of truths and facts to synonyms with them.
The first ‘fact’
Let me begin with what Zionists and the US have defined as the first “fact”, which is by definition not open to any doubt or question. Obama insists: “These facts cannot be denied. The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland.”
Netanyahu echoes Obama by listing this first “fact” as the first “truth,” or rather by making sure that “the light of truth will shine” at the UN through his words: “It was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland … was … branded … shamefully, as racism.” He added later “and we will know that [the Palestinians are] ready for compromise and for peace … when they stop denying our historical connection to our ancient homeland.”
Now, this insistence that the first fact, nay the first truth, that Palestine is the historic homeland of modern European Jews who resided in Europe and not of the Palestinian people who lived in it for millennia, turns out to be neither factual nor truthful, though it indeed remains the primary and first claim made by Zionism and anti-Semitism.
The claim relies on anti-Semitic notions propagated initially by the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century and later by secular anti-Semitism, both of which insisted that modern European Jews were blood and genetic descendants of the ancient Hebrews respectively, which is precisely how eighteenth century European philology’s reference to Jews as “Semites” would soon be transformed in the hand of political and racial anti-Semitism by the late nineteenth century from a “linguistic” category into a “racial” and biological one.
It is based on these anti-Semitic claims – that millenarian Protestants, secular anti-Semites, and Zionists called for the “restoration” of European Jews to the alleged homeland of their alleged ancestors.
The uncontroversial academic and historical facts that European Jews are descendants of European converts to Judaism from the centuries before Christianity was adopted as the religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century are unquestionable axioms in academic scholarship, including by Zionist historians.
No respected historian of European Jewry has ever argued that European Jews, or for that matter Moroccan, or Iraqi, or Yemeni Jews, were descendants of the ancient Hebrews. All respected scholars recognise them as descendants of converts to Judaism.
But even if the wildest genetic fantasies of anti-Semites and Zionists of Jews as a “race” were “proven”, would this make ancient Palestine, where the ancient Hebrews cohabited with other ancient peoples, the historic land of modern European Jews?
And even if one were to commit oneself to the science-fiction of Christian biblical archaeology which accompanied European colonialism in the nineteenth century and on which Israeli archaeology continues to be based, would that mean that modern Jews, now posited as direct genetic and biological descendants of the ancient Hebrews could claim the land where the ancient Hebrews lived with the Canaanites among other myriad groups as their own exclusive national domain and take it from its inhabitants who lived in it for millennia?
Could anyone today, except genocidal racists, link Germanic populations to an Aryan origin that started in northern India and based on that link, argue that northern India is the ancient homeland of all German-speaking people to which they must return and evict the current inhabitants of the land as nothing but recent interlopers in the land of the White Aryans?
These fantastical scenarios are precisely what Obama and Netanyahu tell us are undeniable facts and truths.
Indeed they both insist on them being the first fact, the very first indubitable principle of Zionism, which they want to impose on the international community and on the Palestinians!
The second “fact”
Obama’s second fact is asserted with a rhetorical flourish: “Let’s be honest: Israel is surrounded by neighbours that have waged repeated wars against it … These facts cannot be denied.”
But these also are not facts at all. Not even Israeli historians of Israel’s wars agree with them. But Israeli politicians and ideologues of course do. In his UN speech, Netanyahu himself echoes Obama’s words by telling us that Israel is threatened by its neighbours, that it is “surrounded by people sworn to its destruction and armed to the teeth by Iran” and enjoins presumably the American part of his audience at least not to “forget that the people who live in Brooklyn and New Jersey are considerably nicer than some of Israel’s neighbours.”
These racist overtones aside, the academic and historic record shows us however that it was Zionist forces who have waged war against the Palestinians in the wake of the 1947 Partition Plan starting on November 30, 1947.
By May 14, 1948, when Israel declared itself a state, it had expelled 400,000 Palestinians from their homes and was capturing their lands and territories, which were assigned to the Arab state. When three (not five!) Arab armies invaded Zionist-held Palestine on May 15, 1948, they were intervening to stop the expulsion of the Palestinian people and to protect their lands from being taken over by Zionist forces. At the end of the war, they failed miserably at their task. Israel was able to expel another 360,000 Palestinians and to capture half the territories of the Arab state adding them to the Jewish state.
- In 1956, Israel invaded Egypt along with Britain and France. This was in addition to intermittent but continuous cross border raids into the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egyptian-held Gaza over the decades to come.
- In 1967, Israel invaded Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and occupied their territories and all of the remaining lands of Palestine.
- In 1973, Egypt and Syria invaded their own territories (Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights), which Israel had earlier occupied, in an attempt to reclaim them but failed. They did not invade Israel itself.
- In 1978, in 1982, and in 2006, Israel invaded Lebanon killing tens of thousands of people.
- In 2008-2009, Israel invaded Gaza.
These are the undeniable facts that the international community and historians and the actual documentary record proves. As such, Israel was never invaded by its neighbours, except in 1948 – which was an attempt to stop Israel’s invasion of Palestinian territory and the expulsion of Palestinians.
That Israel won the majority of these wars cannot change the facts that it initiated them and that it has been the aggressor on its neighbours since even before its establishment in 1947. Indeed, Israel would launch raids on Iraq in 1981 and on Tunisia in 1985, neither of which was an immediate neighbour and without the slightest military provocation from either.
That Israel and the Zionist movement have been the aggressor in the region for the past century are the undeniable facts.
That Obama wants to assert that Israelis were victims of their neighbours is nothing short of imposing a fact on the ground by sheer American rhetorical and political power unrelated to real events. Obama’s invocation of honesty here turns out to be nothing short of a call for outright dishonesty.
But this “fact” for Obama derives from the “first fact”, namely, if European Jews have the right to colonise Palestine, expel the Palestinians, confiscate their lands, occupy them and discriminate against them by virtue of the first fact of their bogus historic claim, then any Palestinian or Arab resistance to the Zionists’ murderous campaigns is nothing short of aggression on Jews.
Obama proceeds to tell us other “facts”, including that “Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them.”
While a handful of Israelis have been killed over the years by rocket fire, tens of thousands of Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians, have been killed by Israeli rocket fire during times of war and peace. Perhaps the most recent example can shed some light on this.
During Israel’s invasion of Gaza, Israeli rockets killed over 1,400 Palestinians while Hamas rockets against Israel did not kill a single Israeli, though several Israelis were shell-shocked and required psychological counselling. As for the murder of thousands of Arab children since 1948 and through the invasion of Gaza, Israel has killed at a rate of thousands of Arab children to one Jewish child in retaliatory attacks on Israel.
So, while Obama is indeed not lying that rockets have been fired on Israel and that historically Israeli Jewish children have been killed by attacks, he takes it out of the context of the much larger destruction and killings Israel engaged in against its neighbours since it was established, which is after all based on the first fact!
Obama’s half-facts, like his alleged full facts, end up being again engineered to impose Israeli facts on the ground. For these claims are being made to assert Israel’s need for “security”, which is of paramount importance, and which is the reason both Obama and Netanyahu claim that the negotiations have failed.
Let me quote several of Obama’s references to Israel’s security in his UN speech: “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable”; “Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security”; “any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.”
So, basically Israel gets to invade the Palestinians and all its sovereign neighbours, some repeatedly, over the last six decades, and it continues to occupy their territories and invade their airspace and oppress the occupied populations and colonise their lands. However, for negotiations to be successful, Israel wants to ensure that its security be safeguarded from any resistance to Israeli attacks, colonisation, and occupation by those it continues to attack, colonise, and occupy. And this it can demand based on the first fact.
Obama, it should be noted, never mentioned the security concerns of Israel’s neighbours who have been the target of Israel’s attacks for over six decades. He did however mention the security of Palestinian children once alongside his several mentions of Israeli children despite the one-to-several-thousands victimisation ratio between them: “The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live in peace and security, with dignity and opportunity.”
Netanyahu picks up where Obama left off: “Our major international airport is a few kilometres away from the West Bank. Without peace, will our planes become targets for anti-aircraft missiles placed in the adjacent Palestinian state?”
What is most interesting about this statement is the fact that Israel’s airport has never been attacked by rockets, which is not to say that Israel has not attacked the airports of its neighbours. That, it has done with aplomb. In 1968, Israel bombed the Beirut international airport destroying 13 civilian airliners on the tarmac. It would attack Beirut airport again in 2006 – bombing runways.
As for plane hijackings, Israel was a pioneer in the Middle East, when its first hijacking took place in 1954. The Israeli air force would often seize flying civilian airliners in international skies and divert them to Israel, subject the passengers to inspection, interrogation as well as incarceration.
Indeed, Israel remains the only Middle East country that blew up a civilian airliner when it shot down a Libyan civilian plane in 1973, killing 108 passengers on board.
Negotiations and more negotiations
This takes us back to what Obama believes, the negotiations are and should be about, namely: “It is Israelis and Palestinians – not us – who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: On borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem.”
The negotiations which started in 1991 in Madrid and continued in earnest after the 1993 Oslo agreement, however, were based on UN resolutions that stipulate that Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories (Resolutions 242 and 338), which would settle the borders question if it were not for Israel’s refusal to abide by the resolutions.
Moreover, the main issue that has terminated the negotiations and which both sides do not agree on has been Israeli Jewish colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
As luck would have it, the international community and international law both condemn Israeli colonial settlement in the 1967 territories, which are categorically considered illegal and have been declared as such myriad times by UN resolutions and policy statements.
It is curious that Obama never mentioned the colonial settlements in his speech, even though he had attempted a number of times in the last two years without success to intervene with the Israeli government to stop, or at least slow down, building them.
As for the issues of borders, the 1947 Partition Plan had already specified the borders of the two states, and Resolution 242, on which the negotiations are based, specified where Israel should be withdrawing to after the 1967 war, Israeli casuistry in that matter notwithstanding.
The Palestinian negotiating position echoes that of international law and UN resolutions while the Israeli position violates them. This also relates to the matter of the refugees which has also been settled by UN resolutions and international law while Israel remains adamant in its refusal to implement these resolutions by refusing to repatriate, compensate and return the property of the 760,000 Palestinians it expelled. Neither will it agree to compensate and return the property of the quarter of a million Palestinians (internal refugees and their descendants) who are Israeli citizens whom it expelled from one part of the country to another part of it.
But the so-called historical truths and the first “fact” that Netanyahu marshals to assert facts on the ground are endless.
He adds: “In my office in Jerusalem, there’s a … an ancient seal. It’s a signet ring of a Jewish official from the time of the Bible. The seal was found right next to the Western Wall, and it dates back 2,700 years, to the time of King Hezekiah. Now, there’s a name of the Jewish official inscribed on the ring in Hebrew. His name was Netanyahu. That’s my last name …”
“… My first name, Benjamin, dates back a thousand years earlier to Benjamin – Binyamin – the son of Jacob, who was also known as Israel. Jacob and his 12 sons roamed these same hills of Judea and Samaria 4,000 years ago, and there’s been a continuous Jewish presence in the land ever since.”
Netanyahu (a name which Benjamin Netanyahu changed when he lived in the United States to Ben Nitay allegedly because it was easier for Americans to pronounce) is itself an invented Zionist name, which, like all other Zionist names, began to bestow on European Jews an ancient Hebrew lineage.
Indeed Netanyahu’s father Benzion Mileikowsky was the son of Polish Jews converted to Zionism, who named their son Benzion based on their ideological commitments and changed their name to “Netanyahu” after they immigrated to colonise Palestine in 1920.
The names of Benzion’s father and mother (and Benjamin Netanyahu’s grandparents) were Nathan Mileikowsky and Sarah Lurie, common European Jewish pre-Zionist names.
For Benjamin Mileikowsky (Netanyahu), a descendant of Polish Jewish colonists, to claim ancient Jerusalem as his ancestral origin, would be seen as a curious ideological and mythical fabrication during a dinner conversation, but to assert it as a fact-based political and territorial claim to the land of the Palestinians at the United Nations, makes a mockery of international law, which is the basis of UN resolutions that condemn Israel’s occupation and colonisation of the city.
While Israel today maintains at least 30 laws that grant Jews racial, religious and colonising privileges over Palestinian citizens of Israel – including the 2002 temporary law banning marriage between Israelis and Palestinians of the Occupied Territories – and more so against the Palestinian non-citizens living under Israeli occupation; Netanyahu claims, against these documented facts, that “The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than one million Arab citizens of Israel.”
He adds a curious statement with regard to illegal Jewish colonial settlers in the Occupied Palestinian territories stating that “I wish I could say the same thing about a future Palestinian state, for as Palestinian officials made clear the other day – in fact, I think they made it right here in New York – they said the Palestinian state won’t allow any Jews in it. They’ll be Jew-free – Judenrein. That’s ethnic cleansing. There are laws today in Ramallah that make the selling of land to Jews punishable by death. That’s racism. And you know which laws this evokes.”
While no Palestinian official since the negotiations started has ever dared to state unequivocally that Jewish colonial settlers must be returned to Israel in line with international law, this unverifiable claim by Netanyahu, even if proven true, would not be racist or discriminatory, but rather anti-colonial, refusing to allow Israeli Jews to colonise Palestinian lands against international law by virtue of some Jewish privilege that invokes the “first fact”.
It is Israeli laws that restrict access to Israel’s lands to its non-Jewish Palestinian citizens, even though 90 per cent of that land was confiscated from the Palestinian people. It is also Israeli cities that remain Araberrein; indeed, as many observers have noted, Tel Aviv is the only Western city that does not have any Arab or Muslim inhabitants.
If any racist laws are being evoked here, they are evoked by Israel’s own racist laws and practices, not by Palestinian anti-colonial resistance.
But this statement clarifies where Netanyahu stands on the question of Jewish colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is not Jewish colonisation of the land of the Palestinians that is racist as the UN defined it in 1975, but rather the application of international law by preventing Jews from colonising the land of the Palestinians that is racist.
For Zionism and Obama, any attempt to reject the Zionist “first fact” is immediate proof of anti-Semitism. This is yet another example of how facts on the ground are transformed by Israel and its US backers into “truths” and “facts”.
Indeed, Netanyahu (or is it Mileikowsky, or Nitay?) asserts: “I came here to speak the truth. The truth is … that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, but especially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through UN resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.”
For Netanyahu and the Israelis, however, peace can only be achieved if the Palestinians recognise the rights of Jews to occupy their land, to colonise their lands, and to discriminate against them.
To do so, the Israelis offer a simple formula, which Obama has also endorsed and insists on, namely that the Palestinians must recognise Israel’s right to be a Jewish state.
Netanyahu does not mince words when he asserts that: “this year in the Knesset and in the US Congress, I laid out my vision for peace in which a demilitarised Palestinian state recognises the Jewish state. Yes, the Jewish state. After all, this is the body that recognised the Jewish state 64 years ago. Now, don’t you think it’s about time that Palestinians did the same? … Israel has no intention whatsoever to change the democratic character of our state. We just don’t want the Palestinians to try to change the Jewish character of our state. We want … them to give up the fantasy of flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.”
Challenging the UN and international law, which has called on Israel to allow the Palestinians it expelled to come back to their homes, is identified as a “flood” that will undermine Israel’s raison d’être as a state that extends racial and colonial privileges to Jews, which indeed it would be.
Where Netanyahu is wrong is when he asserts that when the UN General Assembly called for the establishment of a Jewish State in 1947, it, by default, recognised the Jewish State’s right to expel the Palestinian people, colonise their lands, and confiscate their property for the exclusive use of Jews and to discriminate against them by law.
Not only did the UN Partition Plan grant no such rights to the Jewish state, it explicitly stated that the establishment of such a Jewish state means that this state cannot expel its non-Jewish population, and that “no discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the ground of race, religion, language or sex” (Chapter 2, Article 2) and that “no expropriation of land owned by an Arab in the Jewish State … shall be allowed except for public purposes. In all cases of expropriation full compensation as fixed by the Supreme Court shall be said previous to dispossession.” (Chapter 2, Article 8).
The fabrications and lies about UN recognition are being asserted by Netanyahu to the very international body that issued the Partition Plan, and are addressed to their face, as truths, when all they are is nothing less than facts on the ground established by Israel, condemned by the UN, and defended by the United States.
While the negotiations that the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis have engaged in have prevented the Palestinians from raising the 1947/1948 crimes of the Israeli state (and those committed in the decades to come) because they would render the “first fact” dubitable indeed, Netanyahu and Obama raise these crimes as a sacrosanct principle of the Jewishness of the state, indeed of the very “first fact” that they affirmed.
Indeed Netanyahu does the same with Israeli crimes post 1967, including the colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Finally, Netanyahu concludes with a call to expel the 1.6 million Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. He instructs PA President Abbas to: “Recognise the Jewish state, and make peace with us. In such a genuine peace, Israel is prepared to make painful compromises. We believe that the Palestinians should be neither the citizens of Israel nor its subjects. They should live in a free state of their own. But they should be ready, like us, for compromise.”
Netanyahu offers his call for a new expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel as a compromise that the Palestinians should accept. In doing so, his logic is impeccable. If Palestinians recognise the “first fact”, namely, Israel’s right to be a Jewish state based on fabricated historical claims, and that it should guarantee Jewish racial and colonial privilege, then it follows that they must accept another expulsion of Palestinians from that state to ensure that Jewish privilege continues to operate.
It is this formula of peace that the Israelis offer the Palestinians and which the Palestinians, even the collaborating PA, cannot accept.
When Obama asserts that “peace depends upon compromise among peoples who must live together long after our speeches are over, and our votes have been counted,” he is being at best coy, for the peace that Israel seeks, as Netanyahu’s call for the expulsion of Palestinian citizens, rendering Israel finally Araberrein, clarify, will result in Palestinians and Israelis not living together at all.
The Pale of Palestinian settlement
The peace that Israel is proposing for Palestinians in fact evokes another memory, of how another country dealt with Jewish settlement, namely the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great and the creation of the Pale of Settlement in the late eighteenth century for Jews to be confined to, which they were for the most part till the early part of the twentieth century.
The Pale, like the Palestinian Bantustans, was the only territory where Russian Jews were allowed to live by the anti-Jewish czars, though Russian Christians also lived in it to ensure that there was no territorial contiguity for Jews. The Palestinian Bantustans would serve a similar function.
While Israel will become Araberrein, the Palestinian Bantustans carved out of West Bank and East Jerusalem territories would be criss-crossed by Jews-only roads and Jewish-only colonial settlements and cities, and by the Israeli army, which, as Netanyahu himself has proposed, will be stationed indefinitely in the Jordan Valley.
The Pale of Palestinian Settlement will be then called a “Palestinian State” which the Israelis and the Americans will immediately recognise as “sovereign”, though it would not even have the formal accoutrements of sovereignty. It is thus that the Palestinian State, whose existence would neither be a fact nor the truth, will be recognised as a fact on the ground, indeed the very last fact that Israel and the US will be asserting.
For the Palestinians to survive the more than a century-long Zionist assault on their society and country, their only option is to resist this Israeli- and American- imposed “peace”, and all the so-called facts they impose on them, from the very first “fact” to the very last one.
Joseph Massad is Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History at Columbia University. His most recent books are The Persistence of the Palestinian Question and Desiring Arabs.
At every opportunity the supporters of Israel tell us that the real reason for the continued conflict in the Holy Land is the commitment of Islamists to the destruction of Israel and their continued hate speech towards all Jewish people. This narrative spin deflects all attention from the real historical roots of the conflict; a tactic mostly preferred by those who would rather that the past not be remembered and that the victims of that history are not allowed into our remembrance.
What gets sifted out of our media reports is that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, belongs to a political party that rejects the right of Palestinians to a state and declares that Israel should take over all of Israel-Palestine and Jordan. The charter of the Likud party exists despite the fact that the Palestinians recognised the right of Israel to exist with safe and secure borders way back in 1993. Added to this is the racist indoctrination of Israeli children with regards to their Arab neighbours. the following article was written by Omar Barghouti and published on August 8th 2011.
Israeli textbooks portray Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees, and primitive farmers’
by Omar Barghouti on August 8, 2011
This insightful research by respected Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan will confirm what Palestinian researchers have always known: Israel’s prevailing culture of racism, fundamentalism, support for war crimes, and apartheid against Palestinians is mainly a product of an educational system that indoctrinates Jewish-Israeli students with militant colonial values and extreme racism that turn them into “monsters” once in uniform.
Guardian: Academic claims Israeli school textbooks contain bias “Nurit Peled-Elhanan of Hebrew University says textbooks depict Palestinians as ‘terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers“
“Peled-Elhanan, a professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has studied the content of Israeli school books for the past five years, and her account, Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education, is to be published in the UK this month. She describes what she found as racism– but, more than that, a racism that prepares young Israelis for their compulsory military service.
“People don’t really know what their children are reading in textbooks,” she said. “One question that bothers many people is how do you explain the cruel behaviour of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians, an indifference to human suffering, the inflicting of suffering. People ask how can these nice Jewish boys and girls become monsters once they put on a uniform. I think the major reason for that is education. So I wanted to see how school books represent Palestinians.”
In “hundreds and hundreds” of books, she claims she did not find one photograph that depicted an Arab as a “normal person”. The most important finding in the books she studied – all authorised by the ministry of education – concerned the historical narrative of events in 1948, the year in which Israel fought a war to establish itself as an independent state, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the ensuing conflict.
The killing of Palestinians is depicted as something that was necessary for the survival of the nascent Jewish state, she claims.”
Those who see this as an aberration of Zionism seem to lack sufficient understanding of what Zionism really is and the central role it plays as a patently racist ideology in justifying ethnic cleansing and racist domination over Palestinians.
One should not wonder then why, at the height of the Israeli massacre in Gaza 2008-09, a Tel Aviv University poll (reported in the Jerusalem Post, Jan. ’09) of Jewish-Israeli opinion showed a shocking 94% support for the assault, despite full knowledge of the enormous suffering this Israeli aggression had inflicted upon the 1.5 million Palestinians incarcerated in the Gaza “prison camp” and of the massive destruction of their civilian infrastructure.
As in every other colonial system, only sustained and effective pressure from within as well as from without can put an end to this downward spiral of criminality, impunity and unspoken racism. More BDS is needed to end Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Other than the obvious benefits to indigenous Palestinians, suffering more than six decades of this three-tiered system of Israeli oppression, an end to this system of oppression may well transform most Israelis from colonial “monsters” into normal humans.
(ed note: Nurit Peled-Elhanan is author of Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education. International publisher I.B.TAURIS description: “She analyses the presentation of images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbooks, and reveals how the books might be seen to marginalize Palestinians, legitimize Israeli military action and reinforce Jewish-Israeli territorial identity. This book provides a fresh scholarly contribution to the Israeli-Palestinian debate, and will be relevant to the fields of Middle East Studies and Politics more widely.”)
Will Christian Zionists stand up and denounce the ideology of a Right wing Christian Supporter of Israel?
Statements by right wing conservative Christians, and right wingers in general, denouncing and distancing themselves from the actions of the man allegedly responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Norway, are coming thick and fast. Yet none of these groups will denounce or distance themselves from the main thrust of the ideology of this terrorist.
Right wing terrorists are always portrayed as lone lunatics in our media in order to convey the idea that it was nothing in their ideology that made them dangerous. This is done so that no-one in our mainstream media will feel any sense of shame or embarrassment due to them holding a view that is basically the same as those “lunatics”. We are encouraged to believe that only left wing, progressive, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, or Islamic ideology creates terrorists. Ring wing terrorism comes from the insanity of the individual, not the insanity of their ideology. Only Islam and socialism can seduce otherwise normal people into becoming terrorists.
With this in mind I decided to post the following article from the Mondoweiss website which appeared on July 24th 2011.
Breivik manifesto outlines virulent right-wing ideology that fuelled Norway massacre
by Alex Kane on July 24, 2011
A detailed manifesto reportedly written by the alleged perpetrator behind the Norway massacre was posted on the web yesterday by an American blogger. Titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” it sheds significant light on the virulent and extreme right-wing, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant ideology which appears to have fuelled Anders Behring Breivik’s murder of over 90 people on Friday.
Anders Behring Breivik saw himself as a holy warrior and crusader engaged in a war against a “Marxist-Islamist alliance” that he feared would take over Europe if not stopped. He hoped by his actions to inspire “thousands” to follow in his path. He described himself as a “martyr” and “resistance fighter.”
He described members of Norway’s Labour Party as “traitors” because of their alleged support of “multiculturalism and Islamisation.” Behring advocated “terror” attacks on mosques, especially during Muslim religious holidays.
This is according to a 1,500 page manuscript Breivik himself wrote. Norway’s public broadcaster NRK reported on the manuscript and that Breivik had admitted to writing and disseminating it (Google translation of NRK report).
In addition, the manuscript provides a more detailed look at how Breivik’s strong support for extremist Israeli policies fits into his worldview. Professed throughout the manifesto is a motif of unwavering support for Israel–a key component of Breivik and his ilk’s ideology–in addition to support for the mass deportations of Arabs and Muslims from Israel/Palestine. Here are some examples taken from an English translation of the manuscript written by Breivik:
Let’s end the stupid support for the Palestinians that the Eurabians have encouraged, and start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel…(page 338)
I believe Europe should strive for:
A cultural conservative approach where monoculturalism, moral, the nuclear family, a free market, support for Israel and our Christian cousins of the east, law and order and Christendom itself must be central aspects (unlike now). Islam must be re-classified as a political ideology and the Quran and the Hadith banned as the genocidal political tools they are…(page 661)
As part of a “draft” for a so-called “European Declaration of Independence,” Breivik also writes:
A public statement in support of Israel against Muslim aggression should be issued, and the money that has previously been awarded to Palestinians should be allocated partly to Israel’s defence, partly to establish a Global Infidel Defence Fund with the stated goal of disseminating information about Muslim persecution of non-Muslims worldwide
Max Blumenthal succinctly explains here why Israel occupies such a central role in the Islamaphobic far-right’s imagination:
While in many ways Breivik shares core similarities with other right-wing anti-government terrorists, he is the product of a movement that is relatively new, increasingly dangerous, and poorly understood. I described the movement in detail in my “Axis of Islam phobia” piece, noting its simultaneous projection of anti-Semitic themes on Muslim immigrants and the appeal of Israel as a Fort Apache on the front lines of the war on terror, holding the line against the Eastern barbarian hordes. Breivik’s writings embody this seemingly novel fusion, particularly in his obsession with “Cultural Marxism,” an increasingly popular far-right concept that positions the (mostly Jewish) Frankfurt School as the originators of multiculturalism, combined with his call to “influence other cultural conservatives to come to our…pro-Israel line.”
Breivik and other members of Europe’s new extreme right are fixated on the fear of the “demographic Jihad,” or being out-populated by overly fertile Muslim immigrants. They see themselves as Crusader warriors fighting a racial/religious holy war to preserve Western Civilization. Thus they turn for inspiration to Israel, the only ethnocracy in the world, a country that substantially bases its policies towards the Palestinians on what its leaders call “demographic considerations.” This is why Israeli flags invariably fly above black-masked English Defense League mobs, and why Geert Wilders, the most prominent Islamaphobic politician in the world, routinely travels to Israel to demand the forced transfer of Palestinians.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency also picks up the story in an article today, “Norway killer espoused new right-wing, pro-Israel philosophy”:
The confessed perpetrator in the terror attack in Norway espoused a new right-wing philosophy allied with Israel against Islam – a trend in European populist and far-right movements that has Israel worried…
European right-populist parties increasingly have been waving the flag of friendship with Israel. Last month, after it emerged that German-Swedish far-right politician Patrick Brinkmann had met in Berlin with Israeli Likud lawmaker Ayoub Kara, deputy minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that Kara be prevented from making further trips abroad.
According to Ynet, Lieberman accused Kara of meeting with neo-Nazis and causing damage to Israel’s image. Brinkman said he had reached out to Israeli rightists hoping to build a coalition against Islam
There are supporters of Israel who refuse to acknowledge the central role right-wing Zionism plays in the current attempt to gin up anti-Muslim sentiment. But the actions and words of Breivik, and those from whom he drew inspiration, make clear that it is imperative to acknowledge, understand and combat what Blumenthal aptly calls the “axis of Islamophobia.”
Zionist Double Speak
According to Benjamin Netanyahu, everyone knows that the pre-Six Day War borders between Israel and the West Bank are militarily indefensible for Israel. How one comes to such a conclusion is beyond me. If the pre-67 borders are indefensible then how is it that Israel managed to exist with those borders from 1949 to 1967 without being destroyed? How is it that Israel was even able to not only defend itself in the Six Day War when those borders were in place, but managed to defeat the Arab armies and actually increase its territory?
Apparently if Israel goes back to the borders it had with the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli military, the best equipped and trained defense force in the region by a mile, will suddenly not be able to defend the citizens of Israel from attack. Its 200 nuclear missiles will disarm themselves and the billions of dollars of military hardware paid for by the U.S. will become inoperable. If Israel goes back to the 67 borders then the international community, including the U.S., will not be able to stop the Arab nations from attacking the Zionist state. Despite the fact that both Hamas and Fatah (as well as all 21 Arab nations) have agreed to a full peace treaty and recognition of Israel if they go back to the pre-67 borders, the Zionist belief that all Arabs will attack Israel must be accepted by everyone.How is it that maintaining the occupations will deter Arab violence, when the Israelis maintain that they have been the victims of Arab violence and hatred while the occupation has been in place? How would ending the occupation act to inflame the Arabs even more? Is Netanyahu crazy?
Netanyahu must decide whether Israel means to permanently occupy the West Bank or not. His complaint that going back to the 67 borders will cut off the settlements from Israel is totally offensive. Did Israel not realize that from day one of the occupation? The words of Ariel Sharon in 1973 should clearly reveal Zionist duplicity on this matter:
“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement in between Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody will be able to tear it apart.”
The illegal settlements created by Israel since 1967 were made to end any chance of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu’s words only add further confirmation (as if any were needed) of the reality of Zionist lies and duplicity. The statements by Netanyahu that Israel is ready to make generous concessions to the Palestinians is as offensive as it is false. Netanyahu needs to be reminded that allowing Palestinian rights to equality and self determination are not generous gifts from Israel, but is what Israel is mandated to do by international law and the very word of God.
The real reason that Israel does not want to go back to the pre-67 borders is simply that it will have to give back part of what it has stolen. I have never come across a thief to this day that was happy to give back what they had taken so much trouble to steal. All thieves need to arm themselves against their enemies, their acts only create enemies and their “friends” (often just more thieves) desert them when trouble comes.
Zionist greed for Palestine knows no sense or reason. The 1947 partition plan was a “great deal” for them at the time. They were given 55% of the land when they consisted of only 30% of the population and over 80% of them had arrived in the last 25 years. But this was not enough for them. David Ben Gurion stated in his diaries:
“The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.”
After the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinian Arabs from their homes in 1948, Israel was granted another 23% of Palestine even though this land had been obtained during the course of a war and hence was illegally acquired. Israel should have never been given this territory. Once again the Zionists were given preferential treatment. But this was still not enough for them. The Zionist goal that Ben Gurion hinted at was the creation of a Zionist state that encompasses all of historic Palestine, has a population of Arabs that can never be more than 20% of the population (not the 45%to 50% that existed in 1947 and needed to be ethnically cleansed by the Zionists at that time) and was legally owned by Jewish people in a way that could never be achieved by non-Arabs in Israel no matter how long they have lived there.
Netanyahu’s claim that the Jewish people will not get a second chance, portray his utter rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel is no-one’s saviour. It is and never has been the key to the Jewish people’s survival. Fortunately for the Jewish people God will not reject them, but He will not indulge them in their colonialist program for ever. God’s desire for justice and equality for the Arabs of Palestine will be the undoing of the Zionist state unless they repent.
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