Israeli activists will arrive tomorrow at Tel Aviv Airport to welcome international activists
As citizens of Israel, we feel great respect and appreciation for our international who come to visit the West Bank and express solidarity with the Palestinian residents, living under occupation and apartheid. Certainly, we will there to greet them at the airport terminal, maintaining a presence there between the hours of 12.00 noon till 8.00 pm. We will greet them with open arms, in a feeling of deep appreciation and a personal friendship with some of them. We will hold ‘Welcome’ signs, balloons, flowers, chocolates, and copies of the drawings of Palestinian children from Bethlehem. We welcome them in the harsh reality where Palestinians are excluded from meeting their invited guests and escorting them from the airport – not to mention, of course, being excluded from themselves flying from this airport. Continue reading →
If you are as puzzled as I am how a true Christian could possibly be taken in by Zionism, a short paper on the phenomenon is available from Sadaka.
“The destiny of the Jewish people is to return to the land of Israel and reclaim their inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. This inheritance extends from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. Within their land, Jerusalem is recognised to be their exclusive, undivided and eternal capital, and therefore it cannot be shared or divided.
At the heart of Jerusalem will be the rebuilt Jewish temple, to which all the nations will come to worship God. Just prior to the return of Jesus, there will be seven years of calamities and war known as the tribulation, which will culminate in a great battle called Armageddon, during which the godless forces opposed to both God and Israel will be defeated.
Jesus will then return as the Jewish Messiah and king to reign in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and the Jewish people will enjoy a privileged status and role in the world.” Continue reading →
At a time when Americans and America are facing the worst economic and financial crises ever in its history, the US Congress decided to move venue to Israel to address the urgent needs of Israelis and Israel. Such a move on the part of Congress is a clear contempt for Americans and America.
House Majority, the Israeli Czar, leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Democratic Whip Stan Hoyer (D-MD) decided to take upward of 81 Congressmen on trip to Israel, to visit mind you, not American constituent but Israeli constituent as guests of the American Israeli Education Foundation (charitable organization) where they are wined, dinned and “laid” complement of your tax dollars at work.
Adding insults to injury is the recent House Concurrent Resolution 323 jointly sponsored by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-F) of Florida and non other than my own congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) that calls for the funding and support of Holocaust survivors “to live in dignity, comfort and security for their remaining years”.
The questions why Congressman Frank Wolf and Congresswomen did not include former and aging US Veterans to have the same benefits and the same rights and care. Whatever happened to the hundreds of billions of compensations that went to the Holocaust survivors, should the State of Israel and the lawyers who collected the billions to take care of these Holocaust survivors.
Of course Stan Hoyer and Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner did not think that Americas and America deserve a visit and tour by our shameless Congress where they can witness first hands the results of indifference and reckless, if not criminal policy they voted for with total disregards of the interests of American tax payers and voters.
One would think that John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi would organize a buss tour for all members of Congress this August to travel around the country to see the economic devastations the American people have to endure.
I am sure a bus tour of the entire Congress to the “rust belt” where millions of unemployed and millions of homes are foreclosed, in cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Toledo, even in Upstate New York and in the North East.
The Midwest is not fairing any better with tens of thousands of factories closing down forever and with millions unemployed in cities such as Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Terre Haut and Fort Wayne, St. Lewis and East St. Lewis, Joplin, and Ames, Iowa not forgetting cities and states like North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska among others.
Perhaps it also would have done members of Congress to continue on their journey to the Southwest and see the impact of unemployment and foreclosures have states such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. Continuing on to devastated states like Nevada.
Of course no one should forget states like Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, swing up north to Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and with a visit to small towns in West Virginian and Virginia.
Too bad Congress and its leadership did not feel Americans; their constituents are worth the visit to see first hand what 40 years of misguided and reckless policies economic policies have on the nation. A policy that pitted Wall Street, the US Federal Reserve, and US banks against the public and citizens of this country. Milton Freedman economic and his “Shock Doctrine” as a way to make effective economic and social change was always present in Reagan and Bush economic policies.
While Wall Street and the Federal Reserve conspired against American citizens, the World Bank and the IMF was taking its “Shock Doctrine” on a world tour of Africa, Asia, Latin and Central America, Middle East, and South East Asia bringing economies to ruin destroying manufacturing and even agriculture let alone the social and familial support infrastructures.
Members of Congress who decided to go and enjoy the good life as guests of Israel and its powerful lobby seems to forget some basic statistics.
4,000 foreclosed homes in Henry County with similar numbers of foreclosed homes in Atlanta, Georgia. 5,263 families are homeless in Washington DC (Metropolitan Washington Council of Government August 14th, 2010) with more than 12, 000 homeless in Washington DC alone.
Simple Google research shows there were 4 millions foreclosed homes nation wide with another 2 millions in line for foreclosures (NYT June 11, 2011).
MSNBC in its (9/16/2010) on line report reported there are 50.7 million Americans without health care, an old time high for the nation and the world. Another on line report (Alternet.org) in its June 5, 2011 reports showed there are 47.8 million American living in poverty.
Of course we also need to remember the 9.1 % unemployment rate, which means there are 13.9 million Americans out of job and out of work, affecting some 35 million people (counting members of families). On line reports shows in addition to the 13.9 millions out of job, there are 2.8 million Americans were looking for a job, but not “attached” to the labor force. Keeping in mind, Americas’ share of industry also showed dangerous loss, with manufacturing as part of the share of the economy went down from 53% in 1965 to 39% in 1988 and just 9% in 2004 with more than 5 millions losing their jobs in manufacturing and more than 50,000 manufacturers closing their doors forever.
No wonder Gallop Poll (22 July, 2010) shows Congress with the lowest rating and “dead last” at 11% approval rating among 16 institutions. The American public also lost lots of hope and faith in Wall Street with only 35% of the American public think they can trust Wall Street with their money (NBC/Wall Street Journal) and of course for good reason. As someone whose family lost 80% of the value of its 401K during the market meltdown following the Sub-Prime Mortgage scandal.
Of course both Bush and Obama administration and both Republican and Democratic Congress was more concerned with propping banks, those thieves and crooks with close to trillion dollars with the understanding and false hope that this money will trickle down to consumers to save jobs, save businesses from going under and helping stem the avalanche of foreclosures. None of these false wishes came true. Instead Wall Street used the interest free money to pay billions as bonuses to the same executives who caused the market crash and used the money to lend it the government for a fee earning billions of dollars from our own tax dollars while we as citizens and consumers kept holding the bag.
Perhaps its time for the American people to take matter into their own hands and take to the streets in the millions in a civil and peaceful demonstration and uprising similar to that of Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Spain and similar to the uprising we saw in cities such as Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, among others.
No need to resort to anarchy and engage in destructions of properties, both public and private properties making sure that all criminal elements, hoodlums, thieves and anarchists are in check and not as we have seen in England last week and in Philadelphia a day ago.
The American people need to show our government and our congress and our banks and financial institutions we mean business and that we will not allow the unholy alliance between the Administration, Congress, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, AIPAC and the lobbyist they are no longer in charge and that we will not longer allow them to destroy the American Dream and to undermine what supposed to be the leading democracy in the world.
The very hard working American people, who scarified tens of million wars to defend the nation and country, deserve a better accountable and transparent governments and that this idea of run away destructive “capitalism” is in check. If Communism and “Marxist Socialism” destroyed the former Soviet Union from within, then for sure and unchecked “American Capitalism” will take America in the same route to self destruction.
The American people are called on to stand up for the nation and country and to make its voice heard from San Francisco to New York that we as Americans we are fed up with the way Congress is conducting the affairs of the nation always putting Israel First. Time for a new Congress, an American not an Israeli Congress, a congress that speaks for the people, for the voters, not for the lobbyist and financial contributors, to AIPAC and to Wall Street.
We want the American people to demand members of Congress before they accept to go to Israel to check its needs to take a bus tour of America and see how the Congress not only destroyed the American Dream but also created Nightmares all over America.
Only tens of millions of Americans out on the streets of every city and town, in a show of strength and unity and a show of civility can force the Administration, Congress and Wall Street to take our demands for a better, much more human America were social justice and fairness rule.
Sami Jamil Jadallah
Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner). His articles are also featured on PalestineNote and Veterans Today.
Having disposed of the Murdoch menace – for the moment anyway – it’s time for the British public to turn the spotlight on the other villains our craven politicians pay homage to.
Public enemy Number One is the pro-Israel lobby. An organization called the Conservative Friends of Israel states it has “twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting Conservatism. With close to 2000 activists as members – alongside 80% of Conservative MPs – CFI is active at every level of the Party”.
And the rot goes all the way to the top, with Conservative prime minister David Cameron endorsing it enthusiastically: “I am proud not just to be a Conservative, but a Conservative Friend of Israel; and I am proud of the key role CFI plays within our Party.”
Back in 2006 The Jewish Chronicle ran a report on the backers bankrolling Cameron’s bid for the party leadership. It was sent to the Committee on Standards in Public Life as an example of how the pro-Israel lobby infiltrates government and undermines the very principles the standards watchdog was established to uphold. But Zionist tentacles reach further than you think. The Committee ignored it.
At the time Cameron, a self-proclaimed Zionist, pledged: “If I become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on her…”
The Liberal Democrats allow a similar lobby group to flourish within their ranks. Its stated aim is to “maximise support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament”. Labour also has a virulent Israel supporters club that broadcasts Tel Aviv’s propaganda and, when in power, appoints Israel lobby stooges to key ministerial and other positions.
Britain, as everyone knows, has carved an unfortunate niche for itself as America’s poodle. But not enough people ask the key question: whose poodle is America? American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has the private parts of US Congress in such a vice-like grip that the Zionist regime’s interests come first in Washington. For example, the US House of Representatives felt obliged to endorse, by 390 votes to 5, Israel’s assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008/9, a massacre that killed over 1,400 (mostly Palestinian civilians including a large number of women and children), wounded and maimed thousands more, left tens of thousands homeless and horrified the rest of the world.
It is amazing how many people with dual passports stalk the corridors of power in Washington. And we all saw the orchestrated adulation with which the Israeli primier was received the other week.
The knock-on effect in the UK is inecitable. We too are so embroiled in the Zionists’ perpetual strife with the Islamic world that we’ve been sucked into the same cesspit. Britain is now one of the most hated nations on earth thanks to our cosy association with US-Israeli ambitions in the Middle East.
Meet the ‘Israel-firsters’
Israel was founded on terror, land theft, ethnic cleansing and extreme brutality. Why would the British Establishment wish to snuggle up to it? Why did Liam Fox, now Defence Secretary, famously say: “We must remember that in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together or we will all fall divided.”
As if that wasn’t absurd enough William Hague, now foreign secretary, came out with this in 2008: “The unbroken thread of Conservative Party support for Israel that has run for nearly a century from the Balfour Declaration to the present day will continue. Although it will no doubt often be tested in the years ahead, it will remain constant, unbroken, and undiminished by the passage of time.”
Undimished by the passage of crime, too. Tzipi Livni was Israeli foreign minister at the time of Operation Cast Lead and largely responsible for the unimaginable terror and destruction unleashed on Gaza’s civilians. Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead and, lacking all remorse, she later declared: “I would today take the same decisions.” Obviously she is on several wanted lists. When a warrant for her arrest was issued in London she went whining to our then foreign secretary David Miliband, who apologized. When the Conservative coalition came in and Hague took over the Foreign Office who can forget how Hague rushed to prove his loyalty by promising that our universal jurisdiction laws would be changed to protect Israel’s suspected war criminals? It was “an appalling situation where a politician like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest on coming to the UK” he said.
David Cameron, for his part, told Conservative Friends of Israel: “The ties between this party and Israel are unbreakable. And in me, you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible.”
And he recently told a Jewish audience: “I want to be clear, we will always support Israel… when Iran flouts its international obligations Britain is and will remain at the forefront of the international community in ratcheting up the pressure with tough sanctions. We will not stand by and allow Iran to cast a nuclear shadow over Israel or the wider region.”
Considering it is Israel which casts the nuclear shadow, menaces the region and flouts international laws and conventions, that remark was beyond ridiculous. Cameron, like Fox, seems determined to make Israel’s enemies Britain’s enemies when we have no quarrel with any of them.
Who gave him permission to spout such dangerous drivel in our name?
Hague too loves ratcheting up the violence. While still deeply embroiled in an unwinnable Afghan campaign he started bombing the hell out of Libya months ago – with no end in sight – and is now sending more British aircraft into “theatre” to intensify the carnage, seemingly oblivious to the fact that back home in Britain we are struggling to make ends meet with a monumental economic and financial deficit around our necks.
Who’s he doing all this bloodshed for? Certainly not for us.
Lacking military experience these Israel-firsters, liked Blair and others before them, show an unhealthy lust for death and destruction. They are what I believe our American cousins call ‘chicken-hawks’ – talking tough but taking care never to risk their own worthless skins.
Lawlessness rules, OK?
Another ardent admirer of the Zionist regime is James Arbuthnot, the Parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel. He told Parliament: “Everyone in this House should have an interest in Israel, because it is a country that embodies the values that we should stand for. Israel [has] become a bastion of the rule of law…”
Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu heads their Likud party, which is the embodiment of greed, racist ambition, lawlessness and callous disregard for other people’s rights. In any other country it would be banned and its leaders locked up. Yet Netanyahu is welcomed like a hero in the US and given 29 standing ovations by Congress.
Likud intends to make the seizure of Jerusalem permanent and establish Israel’s capital there. It will “act with vigor” to ensure Jewish sovereignty in East Jerusalem (which still officially belongs to the Palestinians as does the Old City). The illegal settlements are “the realization of Zionist values and a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel”. They will be strengthened and expanded. As for the Palestinians, they can run their lives in a framework of self-rule “but not as an independent and sovereign state”.
Are these the values Arbuthnot is suggesting we adopt?
Kadima, the party of Livni, Olmert and Barak, is little better and has also pledged to preserve the larger settlement blocs and steal Jerusalem.
As for Arbuthnot’s claim that Israel is a bastion of the rule of law, a UN fact-finding mission, dealing with the assault on the Mavi Marmara last year, declared that “no case can be made for the legality of the interception”.
But here’s Arbuthnot again, arguing the case for Israel… “Given that the flotilla was designed to be provocative and to end in violence, we should not blame Israel for the violence against which it failed to guard itself; the blame lies with those who went on to the flotilla expressly seeking martyrdom.”
The Mission considered that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza amounted to collective punishment and thus was illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The interception of the Mavi Marmara on the high seas was “clearly unlawful” and could not be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations (the right of self-defence).
If the blockade is illegal, why is it allowed to continue? Because subservient Israel-firsters in London, Washington and other capitals won’t act. Lawlessness rules, OK?
Arbuthnot, by the way, is also chairman of Britain’s Defence Select Committee. Worrying, isn’t it?
Conflict of interests
The British government’s policy of shielding and cosseting Israel’s extremists makes all of us complicit in that regime’s crimes. How does this perverse devotion to a foreign power square with the Seven Principles of Public Life, especially the one about Integrity, which the government is supposed to uphold? The Principle of Integrity lays down that holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
Do MPs and ministers not understand this simple imperative? If the Israel lobby has no influence, as some have claimed, how do our leaders explain away the 80 percent of Conservative MPs who are Friends of Israel? How do they explain the appointment of a Foreign Secretary who has been a Friend of Israel since boyhood and a minister in charge of Middle East affairs who is a former officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel?
There are rules about conflict of interests. Why aren’t they followed? Do we ever hear an MP or minister, when taking part in a Middle East debate, say “Mr Speaker, I wish the House to know that I am a staunch member of Friends of Israel and Jewish money paid for my election campaign”?
In his infatuation with Israel Mr Hague even stoops to provide cover for its mega-crimes. At the height of the murderous Gaza blitz, Hague announced to Parliament: “The immediate trigger for this crisis… was the barrage of hundreds of rocket attacks against Israel on the expiry of the ceasefire or truce.”
The truce with Hamas didn’t “expire”. It was violated after five months by Israeli forces in order to provoke Hamas and provide an excuse for the long-planned assault. Israel had also failed to deliver its side of the ceasefire bargain, which was to lift the blockade.
Our Middle East minister, Alistair Burt, is another comedian. He recently announced that Britain would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London, he said, could “not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders”.
Hadn’t he heard? Palestine’s borders are the pre-1967 armistice lines as defined in UN resolutions and recognised by the international community. Where does Burt suppose Israel’s borders are? Is Israel where Israel is supposed to be, within internationally defined borders? No, it isn’t. Israel keeps its borders fluid, all the time grabbing a bit more land here and confiscating a bit more there. Yet London recognises Israel.
Burt, Hague, Cameron, Fox, Arbuthnot… there are many more like them. How can we be sure where their allegiance lies? Whom do they really work for?
I’ll leave the last word on Israel’s evil machinations to Sir Gerald Kaufman, the straight-talking Jewish MP. He said in a Commons debate in January 2008: “Is it not a fact that only international action can bring to an end the humanitarian disaster caused by collective punishment imposed by the gang of amoral thugs who comprise the Israeli Government and violate not only international law but the historic Jewish conscience?”
Sir Gerald’s family suffered horribly during the Holocaust and his sick grandmother was shot dead in her bed by a German soldier. “They’re not simply war criminals, they’re fools”, he said of the Israelis when Operation Cast Lead was launched. “My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”
Cameron’s judgement, already wobbly, has finally been shot to pieces by his cosiness with Murdoch’s ‘mafia’, and he should be clearing his desk. Add to that his dangerous obsession with racist Israel which drags us into unnecessary wars against countries that pose no threat, and sacrifices our lads in uniform in an unjust cause, and it’s clear that he must go.
Our elected MPs belong to us, the British voters. Not to some gang of foreign thugs. We must mobilise to make sure they clearly understand this. And we must work to take back our parliament.
Stuart Littlewood is an industrial marketing specialist turned writer-photographer. In 2005 he was invited to write and shoot pictures for a book about the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. ‘Radio Free Palestine’ was published in 2007. For details please see www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.
The Author is a regular contributor to RamallahOnline.com. Find more Articles by Stuart Littlewood on RamallahOnline.
President Obama hopes to head off a train wreck in September at the U.N. General Assembly. That’s when member nations plan to press for an independent Palestine. The Israel lobby is furious.
Critics doubt that the General Assembly has the authority to recognize Palestine. Yet protection of member sovereignty has been a goal of the U.N. since its founding. Thus the priority that Israel placed on U.N. recognition after President Harry Truman acknowledged Israel on May 14, 1948, eleven minutes after the Zionist enclave declared itself a state.
Truman refused to recognize this enclave as “the Jewish state.” Despite Barack Obama’s reference to the Jewish state in a recent speech on the Middle East, during the final days before granting recognition and thereby “legitimacy,” Truman was consumed with the fear that Zionist aspirations would lead to a racist or a theocratic state.
Those concerns led Zionist leader Chaim Weizzman to lobby Truman with a seven-page letter reassuring him that Jewish settlers envisioned a thoroughly secular state similar to the U.S. and Great Britain. Truman underscored that understanding when he recognized not the “Jewish state” (a description he crossed out) but the “State of Israel.”
Today’s train wreck should have been foreseen when Weizzman lied to Truman about Zionist intentions. As with every U.S. president since, Truman was deceived.
The Joint Chiefs cautioned Truman about the “fanatical concepts” of a Jewish-Zionist elite that sought recognition as a legitimate state. Even then, U.S. military leaders warned that this extremist enclave sought “military and economic hegemony over the entire Middle East.” Truman, a Christian-Zionist, chose to believe otherwise.
Albert Einstein was also worried. He and other concerned Jews described the Zionist political party that produced Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon and now Benjamin Netanyahu as a “terrorist party” with “the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party.”
The Train Wreck
Truman’s worst fears have since been realized except that the effects were far worse than either he or the Joint Chiefs envisioned. To persuade other nations to endure this enclave of fanatics, the U.S. assured nearby Arab neighbors that Israel would seek no more land.
We now know that the Zionists saw nation-state recognition as only an initial foothold in the region from which to expand their territory and wield geopolitical influence—behind a U.S.-enabled facade of legitimacy.
Secretary of State George Marshall assured Truman that if he recognized these extremists as a legitimate state, Marshall would vote against him. This former WWII general anticipated the dynamics that have since devastated U.S. national security as we Americans were induced to expend our blood and treasure in support of Zionist goals.
The U.S. now appears culpable due to our alliance with a nuclear-armed theocratic enclave of extremists with an apartheid domestic policy and an expansionist foreign policy.
The U.S. diplomatic community also warned Truman against recognition, as did the intelligence community and the policy planning staff at the State Department. Clark Clifford, chairman of Truman’s 1948 presidential campaign, told Truman that if he withheld recognition, campaign funding expected from the Israel lobby would be withheld.
Ally or Agent Provocateur?
Fast-forward to 1967 and we find this same transnational network pre-staging a conflict designed to appear defensive. Since mythologized as the heroic “Six-Day War,” that agent provocateur operation set in motion geopolitical reactions still playing out today.
How far ahead of time was this provocation planned? An Israel Air Force general conceded that attack simulations began in the early 1950s. United Artists president Arthur Krim and his wife, Mathilde, began a strategic friendship with Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. By acquiring property near the LBJ Ranch, Mathilde, a former Irgun operative, could carry on an affair with Johnson while her husband chaired the finance committee for the Democrats.
On the night that the Six-Day Land Grab began, Mathilde was enjoying a sleepover in the Johnson White House. But for that Zionist aggression, would Israel have been able to live peacefully with its neighbors? Israel and its supporters staged an elaborate charade to recast this provocation as defensive. That ruse included the cover-up of an Israeli assault on the U.S.S. Liberty that killed 34 Americans and left 175 wounded.
Then as now, the fabled “Israelites” were portrayed as victims of a hostile world. Then as now, anyone chronicling the consistency of this duplicity risks portrayal as an “anti-Semite.”
This trans-generational deceit continues to undermine U.S. national security at every turn. Zionist treachery began long before George Marshall and the Pentagon cautioned Truman against what these fanatics would now deny the Palestinians: legitimacy.
By the consistency of our support over more than six decades, the U.S. now appears guilty by association. If the U.N. vote becomes a diplomatic train wreck, we have only ourselves to blame.
The headline is not meant to imply that I think he will. As things are he can’t because of the stranglehold on American policy for Israel/Palestine of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress, the mainstream media and many institutions of state including the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. My purpose is only to offer an answer to this question: What could happen if President Obama was able to put America’s own real interests first?
The answer has to begin with the statement (echoed by Mearsheimer and Walt and a growing number of respected and influential others) that unconditional support for the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong is not in America’s own best interests because it’s a prime cause of Arab and other Muslim hurt and humiliation, which is being transformed into a rising tide of anti-Americanism. To that can be added a related truth. America doesn’t have to have 1.5 billion Muslims (nearly one quarter of humankind) as enemies. Most Muslims do not hate America or Americans. What they do hate is the double-standard of American (and all Western) foreign policy, in particular its refusal to call and hold Israel to account for its crimes.
To put anti-Americanism into its true Arab perspective, I offered this thought in the Introduction to The False Messiah, Volume One of the American edition of my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews (www.claritypress.com).
If it had been possible for an American President to wave a magic wand and have Israel back behind more or less its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war, with a Palestinian state in existence on the Arab land from which Israel had withdrawn as required by UN Security Council Resolution 242, and with Jerusalem an open, undivided city the capital of two states, the U.S. would have had, overnight, with one wave of that magic wand, the respect, friendship and support of not less than 95 per cent of all Arabs and very probably that of almost all Muslims everywhere. And if the President had also pressed the Arab regimes to be serious about democratizing their countries, the U.S. would have become the champion of the Arab masses, truly admired by them as it was when President Woodrow Wilson was in the White House.
In passing I’ll add that since I first wrote those words, I have addressed Arab and other Muslim audiences up and down the UK, in America and Canada and as far afield as India. On each and every platform I asked audiences if I was naïve for believing that an American president who did whatever was necessary to secure justice for the Palestinians would be rewarded with the respect, friendship and support of almost all Arabs and other Muslims. The answer was always the same. My figure of 95 per cent was almost certainly an under-estimate.
But since that response was conveyed to me things have got much worse. With his abject surrender to Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby, Obama has not only drawn public attention to America’s complicity in Israel’s defiance of international law, he is out-doing President George “Dubya” Bush in the business of targeted assassinations with drones over Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. The death toll of innocents killed is rising rapidly. Islam’s men of violence in that part of our world could not have a more effective recruiting sergeant.
What’s happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan (not to mention Iraq) underlines the fact that a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict on terms acceptable to the vast majority of Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere would not be enough to extinguish the fire of anti-Americanism, but it would make containing it a much more manageable proposition.
There are, in fact, firemen waiting to assist Obama (or his successor) to put it out completely. They are the leaders of Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. America’s own real interests would be best served by Obama himself (or his successor) seriously engaging with them, taking full account of their concerns and fears.
There is no evidence (only Zionist assertion) that Iran’s divided ruling mullahs have any intention of developing nuclear weapons, but it would not be surprising if elements in Iran – the Revolutionary Guard? – are making a case for nuclear weaponization for the purpose of deterrence.
What Iran’s leaders and also those of Hizbollah, Hamas and the Taliban want most of all is an end to American exceptionalism, for which read imperialism, and all the arrogance, bullying and interference, as well as the killing, maiming and destruction, that comes with it.
On Israel-Palestine real positions (as opposed to Zionist assertions about them) are clear. Hamas is explicitly on the record with the statement that while it will not formally recognise Israel’s right to exist, it is pragmatically prepared to accept Israel’s actual existence inside its 1967 (pre-war) borders and to live in peace with it. And though they don’t say so openly, Iran and Hizbollah have a common pragmatic position. They will accept, reluctantly no doubt, whatever the Palestinians accept.
An American president who was free to put the best interests of his own nation and people first would now give priority to talking constructively to “the enemy”. With the assistance of the leaders of Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas, Obama (possibly at the risk of assassination) could create a whole new Middle East, one in which justice for the Palestinians and peace and security for all could flourish. (I’m sure that most of us would welcome a return to the days when we could check into an airport without being treated as a possible or probable terrorist).
It is, of course, true that there are powerful vested interests in the U.S. (Jewish and non-Jewish) which actually believe that unconditional support for Israel right or wrong is in America’s best interests. Because they are not completely stupid, they know this policy is not cost free. The presumption has to be that they also believe the cost in terms of American blood and treasure is a price worth paying. Hopefully the time is coming when enough Americans will say to them: “Stop this madness! You’re wrong. It’s not a price worth paying.”
For the neo-cons and their associates who marshal and deliver support for Israel right or wrong, and who by so doing subvert what passes for democracy in America, I have a New Year message. Learn the lesson of America’s costly and catastrophic adventure in Vietnam. It doesn’t matter how powerful you are militarily, you cannot destroy ideas with bullets and bombs, especially ideas rooted in the need for self-determination, justice and human and political rights.
I have no expectation that Zionism can learn this lesson. I believe it, Zionism, to be congenitally incapable of doing so. But one day most if not all Americans will learn it – won’t they…?
It was in Vietnam as a very young correspondent for ITN (Independent Television News), when I was observing the U.S. spending six million dollars a minute on a war it could not win and should not have waged, that I first started to ask myself questions about why things are as they are in the world. Some years later the notion that America could not have won the war in Vietnam was challenged by Senator Barry Goldwater in private conversation with me. In 1964 this five-term senator from Arizona was the Republican Party’s nominee for president. He didn’t make it to the White House in part because President Johnson branded him as an extremist who might plunge America into a nuclear war. When I was on assignment for the BBC’s Panorama programme, Goldwater said to me in his Senate office: “We could have won the war in Vietnam. We should have nuked the North. What’s the point in spending so much money on developing nuclear weapons if you’re not prepared to use them?” (With Iran and North Korea on their minds, I imagine that some of today’s neo-con nuts agree with that. And I note that after he failed to secure a second term, perhaps because he offended the Zionist lobby too much by wanting to be serious about peacemaking in the Middle East, former President Bush the First said that his dream was of a “winnable nuclear war”).
Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…
A FRIEND of mine in Warsaw told me about a Polish journalist who visited Israel for the first time. On his return he reported with great excitement: “You know what I’ve discovered? In Israel, too, there are Jews!”
For this Pole, Jews are people who wear a long black kaftan and a big black hat. In almost every souvenir shop in Poland, little figures like this are exhibited along with other classics like the nobleman, the artisan and the peasant.
This distinction between Israelis and Jews would not have surprised any of us 50 years ago. Before the foundation of the State of Israel, none of us spoke about a “Jewish state”. In our demonstrations we chanted: “Free Immigration! Hebrew State!” In almost all media quotations from those days, there appear the two words “Hebrew state”, almost never “Jewish state”.
IN SCHOOL we acquired an ardent love for the country, the language and the Bible (which we considered the classic book of Hebrew literature.) We learned to regard with disdain – if not worse – Jewish life in the Diaspora. (All this, of course, before the Holocaust.) In 1933 I lived for half a year in Nahalal, the legendary communal village. Seeing it for the first time, I marveled at the communal hall building, the milk processing plant and the large agricultural school for girls (in which Moshe Dayan was the only male pupil). Out of curiosity I asked about the synagogue and was shown a ramshackle wooden hut. “That’s for the old ones,” one of the local boys told me pityingly. One cannot understand what happened since then without knowing that in those days almost everyone believed that the Jewish religion was about to disappear, together with the Yiddish-speaking old people who still stuck to it. Poor geezers. If somebody had predicted that the Jewish religion would dominate the future state, people would have laughed.
ZIONISM WAS, among other things, a rebellion against the Jewish religion. It was born in sin – the sin of secular nationalism, which had swept through Europe after the French revolution.
Zionism rebelled against the Halakha (religious law) which forbade Jews to “ascend” to the holy country en masse. According to the religious myth, God exiled the Jews from the country in retribution for their sins, and only God had the right to bring them back. Because of this, practically all the important rabbis – both the Hassidim and their opponents – cursed the founders of Zionism. (Needless to say, these curses – some of them very juicy ones – do not appear in Israeli schoolbooks.)
Before all the international inquiries preceding the establishment of the state, delegations of Orthodox Jews appeared in order to oppose the Zionist delegations.
But David Ben-Gurion, who refused to wear a kippah even at funerals (where most atheists do wear kippahs as a gesture towards the beliefs of others) thought that it was worthwhile to get the Orthodox to join his government coalition. Therefore he promised them to free a few hundred Yeshiva (religious seminary) students from military duty and to pay for their studies and upkeep, so that they would not be obliged to work for a living.
The consequences were unexpected. That little gesture has grown to monstrous proportions. Today one could man several army divisions with those shirkers from army duty. They now constitute 13% of the entire yearly crop of those liable to the draft. Moreover, 65% of all Orthodox male citizens do not work at all and live on the public purse.
The situation is absurd: the state is paying for the upkeep of a large and growing population of Torah-shielded parasites, who undermine the state. The state pays hundreds of thousands of young religious people in order to keep them from – God forbid – working. It pays them generous subsidies so they can produce more and more children (from 5 to 15 per family) most of whom will also neither work nor serve in the army. One can calculate exactly when the economy will collapse, together with the welfare-state and the “citizens’ army” based on conscription.
The whole phenomenon is an authentic Israeli invention. All over the world, Orthodox Jews do work like everyone else. During one of our visits to New York, we wanted to buy a camera. Rachel – who is a professional photographer – was told about the biggest photo shop in town. When we went there, we couldn’t believe our eyes: all the staff of the huge place were Orthodox Jews – all male, of course – clad in their traditional garb. That was the first time we had ever seen Orthodox men working.
This experience had an amusing side. We were both wearing an emblem with the flags of Israel and Palestine. When Rachel went to the cashier to pay, he looked sideways at Rachel’s pin, and without looking at her face asked: “What flag is that?”
“The flag of Israel,” Rachel responded.
“No, the other one!” the man insisted.
“The flag of Palestine’” she answered.
The man turned and spat on the floor, exclaiming loudly “Tfoo, tfoo! Tfoo!”
THE ORTHODOX camp in Israel is a hole which swallows anything that comes too near. For example: the Oriental Jews who came from Islamic countries. (They are frequently called “Sephardi” – “Spaniards” – though only a fraction of them are actually descended from the Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492.)
The Sephardi religious tradition has always been far more tolerant that the Ashkenazi one. It includes the teachings of geniuses like Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), the personal physician of the great Saladin. Maimonides forbade religious students to make a living from their studies and ordered them to go out and work. The Sephardis have their own traditions, garments and symbols.
But lo and behold, upon coming to Israel, they subordinated themselves to the Ashkenazis and adopted their blind fanaticism, together with the kaftan and the hats that originated in cold Eastern Europe, where they were worn by the non-Jewish upper classes in bygone centuries. Their Sephardi party, Shas, is slavishly subservient to the Ashkenazi Orthodox. Their ”spiritual” leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, grovels before the East European anti-Hassidic Rabbis (called “Lithuanians”).
Last week, a miracle occurred. A Sephardic Rabbi, Haim Amsalem, rebelled against Rabbi Ovadia and his party, demanding a return to the Sephardic traditions of tolerance. He was promptly excommunicated.
IN THE early days of the state, the Orthodox Ashkenazis, though extreme in their religious beliefs, were moderate in national affairs. Not only did they not celebrate the Independence Day of the Zionist state or salute the flag of the Zionist heretics, but they also obstructed the nationalist adventures of David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres. Later they opposed the annexation of the occupied territories – not because of any excessive love for peace or the Palestinians, but because of the Halakhic ruling that forbids the provocation of the Goyim, because it could cause harm to the Jews.
When the Orthodox set up settlements, they did not do so with any ideological fervor, but solely because of the need to find housing for their ever-growing numbers of offspring. The government gave them cheap land only beyond the Green Line. Nowadays, the largest settlements are Orthodox – Beitar Illit, Immanuel and Modi’in Illit – the last of which is located on land stolen from the Arab village of Bil’in.
WHEREAS THE large religious camp opposed the new Zionist movement, a religious splinter group supported it. In the religious camp they were a small minority. Between the two sides, ardent hatred was the rule.
Thanks to the massive support of the Zionist leadership, the “national-religious” camp grew in Israel at a dizzying pace. Ben Gurion set up a special branch of the educational system for them, which grew more extremist by the year, as did the national-religious youth movement, Bnei Akiva. Members of one generation of the national-religious community became the teachers of the next, which guaranteed an inbuilt process of radicalization. With the beginning of the occupation, they created Gush Emunim (“the Bloc of the Faithful’), the ideological core of the settlement movement. Nowadays this camp is directed by Rabbis whose teachings emit a strong odor of Fascism.
This would not be so terrible if the two opposing religious factions neutralized each other, as was indeed the case 50 years ago. But since then, the opposite has happened. The national-religious have become more and more extreme on the religious level, and the Orthodox more and more extreme on the nationalist level. The two factions are very close to each other today and together constitute an Orthodox-national-religious bloc.
The youngsters of the national-religious faction despise the lukewarm religiosity of their fathers and admire the robust religiosity of the Orthodox. The youngsters of the Orthodox faction are seduced by the nationalist melody, unlike their fathers, for whom Israel was just like any goyim-state to be milked.
The union of the two factions is based on the essence of the Jewish religion, as fostered in Israel. It does not resemble the Judaism which existed in the Diaspora – neither the Orthodox nor the Reform model. It must be said: the Jewish religion in Israel is a mutation of Judaism, a tribal, racist, extreme nationalist and anti-democratic creed.
There are now three religious educational systems – the national-religious, the “independent” one of the Orthodox, and “el-Hama’ayan (“to the source”) of Shas. All three are financed by the state at least 100%, if not much more. The differences between them are small, compared to their similarities. All teach their pupils the history of the Jewish people only (based, of course, on the religious myths), nothing about the history of the world, of other peoples, not to mention other religions. The Koran and the New Testament are the kernel of evil and not to be touched.
The typical alumni of these systems know that the Jews are the chosen (and vastly superior) people, that all Goyim are vicious anti-Semites, that God promised us this country and that no one else has a right to one square inch of its land. The natural conclusion is that the “foreigners” (meaning the Arabs, who have been living here for 13 centuries at least) must be expelled – unless this would endanger the Jews.
From this point of view, there is no longer any difference between the Orthodox and the national-religious, between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Seeing the “youth of the hills”, who terrorize Arabs in the occupied territories, on screen, one cannot distinguish among them anymore – not by their dress, not by their body language, not by their slogans.
The source of all this evil is, of course, the original sin of the State of Israel: the non-separation between state and religion, based on the non-separation between nation and religion. Nothing but a complete separation between the two will save Israel from total domination by the religious mutation.
Tell how it really is in Gaza, especially if you’re an Archbishop
To their eternal shame, Western churchmen seem to care little about the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land or the fate of the holy places where Christianity was born.
There are, of course, honourable exceptions. One such is the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, whose church has provided the Gazans with a mobile dental unit.
He is not best pleased that the Israelis make it difficult to obtain fuel and medical supplies for it, and he didn’t mince his words when recently reporting to the Church’s governing body how things really are in Gaza.
The truth of the matter seemed to annoy a certain Mr Simon McIlwaine, who complained that the Archbishop’s words put the state of Israel in an unduly harsh light and he was compelled to “provide some badly needed context”. Whereupon Mr McIlwaine launched into the familiar anti-Gaza, anti-Hamas rant we’re used to hearing from the pro-Israel lobby. http://www.anglicanfriendsofisrael.com/content/view/106/33/
“The Archbishop raises a central issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict – anti-Semitism…”
The central issue is 62 years of criminal oppression. The charges include land theft, illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, disregard for human rights, and war crimes such as those documented in the Goldstone Report. The action required is set out in international law, numerous UN resolutions and every code of human decency.
“Hamas is an explicitly anti-Semitic organization that at the very least seeks to exercise a veto over the Jewish right to self-determination.”
Israel is deeply anti-Arab and continues to dispossess and remove Arabs not only from Israel proper but also from areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem that Israel has earmarked for permanent occupation.
Palestinians have been denied the right to self-determination for decades and Israel even refuses to recognise their perfectly satisfactory democratic process.
“Hamas’ anti-Semitic ideology pre-existed the blockade…”
Israel’s illegal occupation pre-dates the founding of Hamas.
“Hamas’ attacks against Israel are not merely motivated by a desire to end the blockade, but to deprive the Jewish people of their ability to enjoy a national life of their own.”
The irony of that remark is apparently lost on Mr McIlwaine.
“Clearly, anti-Semitism plays a significant role in fomenting violence against Israel in the Middle East.”
Playing the anti-Semitism card yet again. Israel is the violator. Hamas chief Khaled Mesh’al has explained that armed resistance against Israel is the result of Israeli occupation, injustice and oppression, not religious differences.
“The Archbishop describes the devastation in the Gaza Strip without acknowledging the role Hamas played in bringing the destruction about.”
Israel broke the ceasefire with a raid killing at least 6 Palestinians in order to provoke the sort of retaliation that could then be used as an excuse to launch Operation Cast Lead, the 3-week onslaught Israel had been preparing for months.
“History has shown that isolating tyrannical regimes such as Hamas results in civilian suffering.”
Israel was making Palestinians’ lives a misery long before Hamas appeared on the scene. What right has Israel or anyone else to isolate a democratically elected government and its people anyway?
Hamas is an Islamic party legitimately ruling a mainly Islamic country. It is the people’s choice. How can it be any more “tyrannical” than the Jewish State with its exclusivity laws and lethal attitude towards non-Jews?
“…Responsibility for the disruption of daily life in the Gaza Strip lies with Hamas. By way of comparison, daily life in the West Bank, which has not been the source of rocket attacks, is improving.”
As long as Israel occupies Gaza’s airspace, coastal waters and air-waves, controls all access points (except now the Egyptian border, although it still interferes there), maintains a sea blockade and attacks and even murders volunteers bringing humanitarian supplies, it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone else is responsible for disrupting daily life.
In 2007 when Israel tightened the siege on Gaza the prime minister’s adviser, Dov Weisglass, said “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”. According to documents just released under a Freedom of Information petition by Gisha, an Israeli law centre, Israel operated “a policy of deliberate reduction” of basic goods in the Gaza Strip. Gisha’s director accuses Israel of “paralyzing normal life in Gaza”, and adds: “I am sorry to say that major elements of this policy are still in place.” http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1904&intSiteSN=113.
The documents confirm that the siege was not for security reasons but aimed at keeping Gazans at near-starvation level. Since around half the population are growing children this act of collective punishment has meant that hundreds of thousands are undernourished.
Mr McIlwaine is right that no rockets have been fired from the West Bank. Why, then, are the shredded remains of that territory still under cruel occupation and tight restriction?
“Hamas has murdered its political opponents, threatened its critics and stolen humanitarian aid shipped in from outside.”
Another classic piece of irony for us to savour… Assassinations and extra-judicial executions are an Israeli speciality. So is thieving. They even steal British passports for their murder squads.
We never hear what happens to humanitarian aid seized in international waters by Israeli thugs who abduct passengers and crew and rob them of their possessions. Remember how Israel kept stealing Gaza’s tax revenues? Did they ever give the money back?
Simon McIlwaine is co-director of Anglican Friends of Israel, an organization whose aims include:
Securing defensible borders for the State of Israel. (What borders… its ever-expanding illegal borders enclosing stolen lands or its internationally-recognised 1967 borders?)
Calling Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
Protecting the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East (though not, it seems, against the crushing oppression of Israeli extremists).
The puzzle is why any Anglican would befriend a regime with so much blood on its hands and attack a bishop who speaks up for its wretched victims. St Augustine must be spinning in his grave.
At least Dr Morgan went to Gaza to see for himself. Did Mr McIlwaine?
Regarding Gaza, Dr Morgan observed: “Two-thirds of these people live in abject poverty, in refugee camps, after the confiscation of their homes and land by the Israeli Government. The situation is worse now than when I visited in 2001…” He described how people lived in zinc shacks, without electricity or water and with open sewers running down the streets, and how Gaza City itself was like a bombsite.
“Only 32% of the industrial fuel needed in one week in August 2010 for Gaza’s power plant was allowed into Gaza. The result was that the power plant shut down completely for two days after exhausting its reserves of fuel, triggering power cuts of 16 hours per day – affecting water supply, sewage treatment and removal, and the functioning of health services. 30% of households in Gaza have access to running water for only 4 to 8 hours per week; 40% receive water once every four days, and the other 30% obtain it once every two days. Half of the normal level of need of cooking gas entered Gaza in August; no diesel or petrol has been delivered for weeks – hence diesel and petrol being taken through the tunnels at the risk of attack by the Israelis. Imports are limited, raw materials severely restricted, no building materials are allowed into Gaza, exports from Gaza are banned entirely.
“The blockade in Gaza has destroyed public service infrastructure and hospitals have power cuts for twelve hours a day, emergency medical treatment for residents of Gaza is denied, and 40 million litres of sewage is being discharged every day into the sea because of lack of fuel to pump or treat human waste. Family members in Gaza have been separated from relatives living in the West Bank and elsewhere.”
All of which is confirmed by other sources.
Dr Morgan continued: “The United Nations, the Security Council and the European Union want crossings to Gaza to be permanently open to allow access for humanitarian and commercial aid and all of this was agreed between Israel and the Palestinian authorities in 2005.
He also referred to the Kairos document issued by Palestinian Church leaders a year ago and the report ‘Justice and Peace for Palestine’ discussed recently by the Methodist Church. “Both of those reports say that the key hindrance to security and a lasting peace for all in the region is the occupation of Palestinian territory by the State of Israel…”
For 43 long years. Who is foolish enough to believe there can be peace under the jackboot of occupation?
“Settlements by Israeli settlers are illegal under international law, and over one third have been built on Palestinian privately owned land. The wall that has been built covering a distance of 702 kilometres…not only separates Israelis from Palestinians but Palestinians from family members and friends. In rural areas, it effectively cuts them off from their olive trees and fruit and vegetable plantations. In July 2004, the International Court of Justice declared the separation barrier illegal, and called on Israel to cease construction to dismantle constructed areas and provide reparation to those materially damaged by the construction.”
“Settlers” is too nice a word for my taste. It suggests peaceful pioneers wishing to integrate. Israeli “settlers” are anything but. They are squatters, half a million in over 100 illegal colonies – ugly blots on an otherwise lovely landscape. They include gangs of armed delinquents who terrorise local villagers, vandalise their crops, pollute their land and harass their children.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly forbids an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
Next time, the Archbishop might question why the Separation Wall, if meant for security, wasn’t built within Israel’s internationally recognised borders. Its actual route bites deep into Palestinian territory and is designed to annex choice agricultural land and the Palestinians’ precious water supplies. Palestinians are now severely rationed and have to pay Israel inflated prices for a dribble of their own water while Israelis splash around in their swimming pools and wash their cars.
The Archbishop finished by saying: “Now we, as a Church, perhaps cannot do very much except that we ought to acquaint ourselves with what is going on, and fight against injustice, and demand that the rule of law be upheld wherever it is being flouted for whatever reason. We have a duty to speak out.”
On an earlier occasion in 2009, after Israel’s blitz on Gaza, Dr Morgan was saying:
“Having visited Gaza twice over the past few years I have seen the appalling conditions in which the people there live… with no proper homes, sanitation or means of escape. Their lives are now unbearable as they come under daily fire and are too scared to even leave their homes. We have heard that it has now become too dangerous for our clinic, which was being used as a frontline hospital dealing with casualties, to continue its work.
“It is tragic that there is so much violence in an area known as the Holy Land… It is time for the fighting to stop – enough children have died and enough homes have been destroyed and it is immoral for the world to stand by and do nothing.”
How very refreshing. Those other bishops who loaf around the House of Lords and never open their mouths when so much needs to be said and done, please note.
Stuart Littlewood is an industrial marketing specialist turned writer-photographer. In 2005 he was invited to write and shoot pictures for a book about the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. ‘Radio Free Palestine’ was published in 2007. For details please see www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.
He seems desperate to divert attention from the mounting resentment around the world towards Israel. But his threadbare argument collapses straightaway because no distinction is made between criminal Israelis and Jews generally. The one remains carefully hidden behind the other.
And the anti-Semitism label tends to get pinned on anyone and everyone in European society, “from its most élite politicians to its largely Muslim ghettoes”, who speaks against or as much as frowns at the racist regime.
The after-dinner audience he was addressing no doubt lapped it up, but unfortunately for Mr Murdoch people are better informed nowadays. I doubt if the wider audience buys it.
What they find unacceptable is Israel’s lawlessness and unrestrained killing. The much-hyped religious dimension is only relevant insofar as the perpetrators hide behind religion’s skirts and misinterpret religious texts to whitewash their crimes.
What also undermines Mr Murdoch’s case is the fact that not all Jews support the state of Israel or approve the dispossession and removal of its indigenous (Arab) population. An increasing number, to their credit, actively campaign against it.
And not all of Israel’s supporters are Jewish. They include battalions of Christian Zionists.
It is not surprising that the “Jewish state” has come under strong criticism. Any state, with or without tribal or religious underpinnings, would be roundly condemned if it misbehaved in the same way.
As for the speech, Mr Murdoch kicks off by telling the ADL:
“You have championed equal treatment for all races and creeds.”
If only that were true. As their website and mission statement show, the ADL are preoccupied with supporting Israel. They are not interested in combating Israeli hate groups or defending the security of (let’s say) the Palestinians.
“My own perspective is simple: We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews… Now the war has entered a new phase. This is the soft war that seeks to isolate Israel by de-legitimizing it… In this war, the aim is to make Israel a pariah.”
Israel has already made itself a pariah by its hateful attitude, disregard for international law and defiance of UN resolutions. A question mark hangs over its own legitimacy while it attempts to isolate and de-legitimize the democratically elected government of neighbouring Palestine, whose remaining lands it covets and illegally occupies or blockades.
“Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”
Disagreeing with Israel is anti-Semitic? We laughed at the Germans for having no sense of humour. Must we now laugh at the Israelis?
Israel’s unwillingness to accept criticism is part of its undoing. Rejecting out of hand the Goldstone Report in relation to war crimes against the Gazans only magnifies the regime’s arrogance. Are deniers of Goldstone any better than deniers of the Holocaust?
“For me, this ongoing war is a fairly obvious fact of life. Every day, the citizens of the Jewish homeland defend themselves against armies of terrorists whose maps spell out the goal they have in mind: a Middle East without Israel.”
Armies of terrorists? Every day? Really?
The principle of homeland defence, of course, applies equally to Arabs. The high-tech terror they face is real and bristles with state-of-the-art weaponry. It is a hundred times worse than any terror faced by Israeli citizens. Check the death and destruction statistics.
In case Mr Murdoch hadn’t noticed, Israel itself is widely regarded as a terror state frequently resorting, as it does, to assassinations and extra-judicial executions, abductions and torture, massacres and starvation sieges, air-strikes, armed incursions, the use of prohibited weapons on civilians and massive violations of human rights? It must be galling for the regime’s well-wishers to see how perfectly Israel fits the terrorist definition used by the US to blacklist and squelch countries that get in its way.
Talking of maps, I hear the Israelis have already deleted Palestine (and Palestinian place-names) from theirs. And it’s well known that they demolished and obliterated hundreds of Palestinian villages after putting the inhabitants to flight.
“Israel becomes increasingly ostracized, while Iran – a nation that has made no secret of wishing Israel’s destruction – pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and without apparent fear of rebuke.”
No fear of rebuke for Israel either. It is the only state in the region not to have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Given its 200 (or is it 400?) nuclear warheads and its freaky leadership, Israel poses a serious threat to its neighbours and far beyond. Moreover, it hasn’t signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and hasn’t ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty or the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Can Mr Murdoch, by any chance, show proof of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme? And since Israel has spoken of nuking Iran, what is the point of claiming Iran wishes Israel’s destruction?
“Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel.”
Now you’re making sense, Mr Murdoch…
“My view is the opposite. Far from making peace more possible, we are making hostilities
Now you’re not. Hostilities have been going on for years.
The latest panic in Western capitals over the “undetectable” printer cartridge bombs is a powerful warning that countries aligning themselves with the US-Israel axis are asking for trouble. Ordinary westerners are tired of being put in harm’s way by America’s coziness with Israel and by Britain’s sniffing around both of them like a bitch in heat.
Disengagement is what most people around here have long wanted.
“Far from making things better for the Palestinian people, sour relations between the United States and Israel guarantees that ordinary Palestinians will continue to suffer.”
Does this mean Israel would turn the screws on the helpless just for spite?
“The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure.”
Peace will only come when EVERYONE feels secure. It is not a one-way street.
As Mr Murdoch surely knows, Hamas have said they will accept Israel within its internationally-recognised 1967 borders, which is the same position adopted by the United Nations. This, the most obvious avenue to peace, is studiously ignored by Israel.
“Right now we have war. There are many people waging this war. Some blow up cafes. Some fire rockets into civilian areas… Some are fighting the soft war, through international boycotts and resolutions condemning Israel.”
And some wage war on women and children and even target unarmed fishermen.
Some also commit acts of piracy and murder on the high seas against volunteers bringing humanitarian aid.
That’s war. And it’s dirty war, waged by Israel. But boycotting Israeli goods and tourism is not war. It’s exercising one’s freedom of choice. It’s registering one’s disgust. Israel’s tourism minister was this week doing the same thing, urging that “Turkey must be totally boycotted as a tourism destination”.
Face the truth, ask forgiveness
If Mr Murdoch, with all his persuasive powers, cannot put up a convincing defence of Israel, no-body can. He shows here that anyone attempting it is on a hiding to nothing.
The root of the problem is the fundamental evil of the Zionist Project and the fanatics in the US, Britain and elsewhere who backed it and still fan the flames.
I commend to Mr Murdoch the Jerusalem Declaration of 2006 by the Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, who daily have to operate amidst the disruption and devastation inflicted by Israel on Palestinian life. They reject Christian Zionist doctrines as “a false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation”, and they reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders with the governments of Israel and the United States that impose pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
Christian Zionism supports these policies and “advances racial exclusivity and perpetual war”. The Declaration calls on everyone to “liberate themselves from ideologies of militarism and occupation”.
Perhaps Mr Murdoch is not yet ready for that kind of liberation. For the timebeing he talks up a “war against the Jews” when it is merely the flashpoint where propaganda lies finally collide with the sickening truth about Israel. It’s a slow motion train-crash that’s been waiting to happen.
So I haven’t given up on Mr Murdoch just yet. However you regard him he’s a remarkable man. Who knows – in the end he may decide there is no honour in Israel’s rogue schemes and it would be more sensible for the regime to stop the lies, face the truth, atone for its crimes, hand back what has been stolen, conform to international law, charter rules and normal codes of conduct, and respect neighbours’ rights.
That’s the way forward.
And it should not forget to ask forgiveness from God, from the US taxpayer and from those in the wider Jewish community who have winced with shame. Seeking a pardon from the Holy Land’s Arab communities – Muslim and Christian – for treating them so abominably for 60-odd years would be a hard road to take but is the only way to achieve reconciliation and ultimately find contentment.
Stuart Littlewood is an industrial marketing specialist turned writer-photographer. In 2005 he was invited to write and shoot pictures for a book about the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. ‘Radio Free Palestine’ was published in 2007. For details please see www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.
A great deal has been written over the years addressing the Palestine–Israel conflict, and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. However, few works on the subject really present the personal aspect: What is it like to be a refugee? What propels a decent human being to take up arms, to become a freedom fighter or a “terrorist?”
This book tells the remarkable story of one such refugee, following his journey from childhood in the Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, becoming a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), through to eventual emigration, a new life as an engineer in the United States, and a ‘return’ trip to historic Palestine.
Jamal Kanj joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss his book Children of Catastrophe: Editor Elias Harb
ELIAS HARB: In your book you convey the personal aspect of the life of the refugees. Can you tell us what inspired you to write Children of Catastrophe?
JAMAL K. KANJ: The Americans and the West in general are not well aware of the Palestinian experience. On the surface and at an emotional level, they are generally more sympathetic towards Israel, but this is mainly due to their lack of understanding or total disconnect with the human side of the Palestinian story.
Also one must recognize that the peculiar relationship between Israel and the West is deeply rooted in a long history of abhorrent Western anti Semitism culminating in the Holocaust. Hence, it was a mix of sympathy, guilt, and religious institutions in America and Europe which played an important role in shaping the lopsided view towards the Palestine Israel conflict.
Having lived in the US for thirty years after leaving the camp, I discovered that most people tend to switch off when trying to make an intellectual or historical argument explaining the Palestinian position. At the same time, I observed that the majority can better connect and listen when the intellectual or the historical argument is framed within the personal experience. During those 30 years, almost everyone whom I came to know at a social level consciously or subconsciously became more sympathetic with the Palestinians.
To sum it up, the main impetuous for writing this book remains my strong conviction that we, as Palestinians have a powerful story to share with the rest of the world, especially in the West. Throughout the pages of this book, I hope to connect with all those whom I have not, or may not have the honor meeting personally, to share with them the personal aspects of the Palestinian side of the story.
EH:Can you briefly tell us of the British role facilitating the Zionist colonization of Palestine ?
JKK: While the World Zionist Organization (WZO) was founded in Europe in the late 1800s, their plan to colonize Palestine did not start to take shape until the 1920s and 1930s. One major reason, up until 1917 and in addition to Palestine , the Zionist movement contemplated other options for this “Promised land” such as Uganda , Cyprus , Sinai and parts of Argentina .
They basically were willing to take any “real estate” property a colonial power was willing to sell them. But in November 1917, and to sway the purported “influential” Jewish opinion in the US on the war (at the time, WZO had very close relation with the German Kaiser and maintained its headquarter in Germany ) the British Foreign Ministry issued a letter to a Jewish banker, Baron Walter Rothschild, promising the banker with a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
In 1920, and as the new occupying power, Britain appointed Herbert Samuel, a professed British Zionist as the high Commissioner for Palestine. Under his reign, Jewish immigration to Palestine increased exponentially and unlike the old Jewish residents, the new wave of European immigrants chose exclusive Jewish communities, segregated from the Native Palestinians and even from the old Jewish neighborhoods. With a lush of funds provided by the international Jewish National Fund (JNF), the new immigrants attempted to purchase land at any cost. Much like the extraneous prices they are willing to offer today for properties in East Jerusalem and Hebron.
As then and now, the Zionist organizations failed to acquire much, if any Palestinian owned properties. It is worth noting here, the JNF owned less than 7 per cent of Palestine when the UN voted to partition the land between its Natives and the new Jewish immigrants. Most of the properties the Zionists eventually purchased were from absentee landlords, mainly large feudal Lebanese land owners in the northern part of historical Palestine.
The aggressive land ownership program, combined with new exclusive communities, created a political and cultural chasm between the Native and the new settlers. At that point, it got even more complicated as this new European community closely allied itself with the despised colonial power. In response, the Palestinians waged in 1936 one of the longest civil disobedient strikes in the history of Palestine, lasting for more than six months protesting the mandate power and its policies of transforming the demographics from the local Native population with the new European colonists. After failing to quash the civil protest, Britain promoted, enabled, and armed Jewish military groups to help repress the local population. These same Zionist military groups metamorphosed into the Jewish Haganah, the nuclei of the future Israeli army, and became officially part of a joint contingent of British/Jewish military force suppressing the Native Palestinians.
To give you a good idea on the level of Palestinian resistance against the British colonial power and its Zionist instrument, before its departure from Palestine, England had more military forces in Palestine than they had in the entire Indian continent.
EH:How were the Zionists successful in driving Palestinian from their homeland?
JKK: In short, well organized systematic terror campaign by the Zionist paramilitary groups. The terror campaign resulted in the expulsion of 805,067 Palestinians and the destruction of 531 indigenous villages, representing roughly 85 per cent of the native population and the seizure of 92 per cent of the land.
But as I pointed in the book, equally important to the Zionist campaign of terror, was the fact that more than 50 per cent (413,790) of the refugees mentioned earlier were forced out of their homes by the Zionists’ terror while Palestine was still ostensibly a British protectorate. As an example, the infamous Massacre of Deir Yassin took place on April 9 1948, over a month before the departure of the British army form Palestine. When according to UN investigation reports the Jewish Irgun organization, under direct orders from Menachem Begin, slaughtered a large number of the Palestinian civilians in the village. To justify murdering women and children, Begin explained that “The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state of Israel without the victory at Deir Yassin.” Alas, Begin became a future Israeli prime minister and won the Noble “peace” prize!
But the overall Zionist campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine was led by Ben Gurion, (first Israeli Prime Minister) who consciously or unconsciously assigned to their military operations jargons tantamount with ethnic cleansing, from names such as matateh (broom), tihur (cleansing), biur (a Passover expression meaning “to cleanse the leaven”) and niku (a Hebrew word for cleaning up).
This was a plan which Joseph Weitz, the head of the National Jewish Fund, described earlier in his diary on 20 December 1940 that “Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq , Syria , and even Transjordan .”
EH: What happened to old Palestinian towns and villages?
JKK: Since 1948, the Jewish National Fund (which owns 85 per cent of land in Israel ) has led an international scheme to cover up the destroyed Palestinian villages with a specious environmental forestation campaign promoting the planting of trees in Israel. The JNF boasts that it “… has planted over 240 million trees in the land of Israel ”. The JNF does not, however, disclose to its unsuspected donors that at least eighty-six of these forests and parks are built over the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages. As an example, the well-known Israeli Canada Park was built on the ruins of the ethnically cleansed villages of Emmuas, Yalu and Bayt Nuba; the trees in Biriya Forest grow over the foundation of the village of Amuka ; the town of Reihaniyeh is buried under Ramat Menashe Park and the remains of Ajur are fertilizing the greenery in Park Britain.
Wherever the JNF did not reforest what were once peaceful villages and as part of Israel ’s conjured history, Israel bestowed Hebrew pseudonyms replacing the Native names of Palestinian towns. Thus, Tel Rabi became Tel Aviv, Lubya turned into Lavi, Al Zeeb transpired into Gesher Haziv, Saffuriyya into Tzippori and Beit Jala metamorphosed into Gilo.
EH: Following the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) did Israel leave the Palestinian Refugees alone?
JKK: The Zionists consider the mere existence of Palestinians whether under occupation or in refugee camps represent a negation to their ideology which denies the Palestinian people as a collective national identity. As mentioned in the book, the camp or camps became to symbolize Palestine away from home, it became little Palestine . I expounded extensively on this parallel which was very well understood by the Zionist ideologues. Hence, Israel maintained a terror campaign against camps and repression under occupation to force Palestinians into capitulation and self defeat. Israelis always tried to make the point: we won and you lost, just accept it.
However, Israelis fail to understand people’s connection to the land, for other than their religious patrimony, the people of Israel never in modern history have they had to experience that kind of relationship. I suspect that throughout their history of oppression in Christian Europe, Jews had accepted defeat and lived psychologically as a defeated community all the way through the Holocaust. While I am not a psychologist, I suspect by tormenting Palestinians under occupation and in refugee camps, Zionists are attempting to mirror their own experience of psychological defeat on the people of Palestine.
To their chagrin however, the refugees’ identity became an expression of nationhood and defiance, rather than privation and compliance. As Israeli writer Danny Rubinstein described the Palestinians in his book: Every people in the world lives in a place. For Palestinians, the place lives in them.
EH: Can you describe what is it like to be a refugee?
JKK: Aside from Israeli terror, and on the economic level, I am not sure I understood at the time, what it was like not to be a refugee.
However on the political level, it was very clear, and like all young children who were born in the camp, I realized at very young age that I was a victim of human injustice. I was reminded every day that I was born in Lebanon, a foreign country with no citizenship rights. And I don’t necessarily blame Lebanon for this, for the blame should fall on the entity that took my parent’s home and made me a stateless person. My parents’ only fault was that they belonged to a different religion. Unlike Israel, Lebanon gave us a place to call temporary home.
I do however fault Lebanon for depriving the Palestinian refugees from their political and economic rights. Palestinian refugees, who lived or were born in Lebanon , could not own a property and were not allowed to work in over 70 trades. The law was amended recently reducing the number of prohibited trades.
As I elaborated extensively in the book, at the emotional, we lived relatively a normal life in the camp. The strong family structure made up for life’s hardships and shortcomings. With as little as we had in the camp, I have no memory of lacking any of life’s intuitive pleasures. Philosophically speaking, it is not possible to lack what you have never experienced. In other words, you do not miss what you never had. In short, life as a refugee was normalized by what we had and not by what was lacking.
EH: Why did you believe your parents avoid conversations at home about the Nakba (Catastrophe)?
JKK: For Palestinian refugees in general and mine in particular, losing home was an experience beyond description. Deep inside they must have felt guilty, shamed and blamed themselves for leaving and not dying on their land; but more importantly they believed that they were hoodwinked by the Zionists and for believing in the sense of international justice.To them, talking about the Nakba was like adding salt to injury. I was not sure if they were trying to suppress their memory hoping to lessen their anguish, or simply avoid it.
At the same time, they were much happier talking about Palestine , the land and life before becoming refugees. They seemed more at peace and complete when reminiscing the little details about what it was like “back at home.” A person would have to be in their shoes to be able to comprehend or appreciate their life long trauma.
EH: In Children of Catastrophe you write that Palestinian refugees in Lebanon represent a special and unique case. Why are refugees in Lebanon different than Palestinian Refugees in other Arab countries?
JKK: As I indicated above and elaborated at length in the book, while all Palestinian refugees suffered the same terrible problem of adjusting from statehood to statelessness, unlike other Palestinian refugees, the refugees in Lebanon represented a special and unique case. From the outset, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon were treated as foreigners with no social, labor, or political rights. Unlike refugees in the West Bank and Jordan who were granted citizenship, and Syria where refugees were accorded full residency privileges, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon were prohibited from working in more than 70 trades and professions (the law was amended recently reducing the number of prohibited trades.) The Lebanese government instituted also special regulations restricting the movement of refugees within the state and limiting their ability to build or to own property in the country.
The confessional Lebanese democracy between various religious sects (18) certainly contributed to this complexity. For the presence of the Palestinian refugees was considered by some Lebanese as an upsetting factor in the balance of power in this small country. This is an important area, which is addressed at length in the book.
EH: In the summer of 2007, your camp, Nahr el Bared was completely destroyed following a raging battle between the Lebanese army and a little known group Fatah al Islam. Were there other reasons to destroy the camp and what happened to the camp residents?
JKK: Destroying the more than 6000 homes could have been easily avoided, but as I surmised in the book, the destruction of the camp must have been an end by itself.
The camps with a very high population density, over 40,000 inhabitants living in an area less than one square mile. Fatah al Islam numbered less than 300 fighters (a spokesman of the organization claimed in the Lebanese press the number at 98 fighters). Their defending positions were located at the north end of the camp. However, from the onset of the fighting, the Lebanese army bombarded the camp proper indiscriminately and did not limit the shelling to Fatah al Islam fighting positions.
According to Amnesty International and other Human Rights organization, the Lebanese army deliberately set some homes on fire and several houses were destroyed in the weeks after the end of fighting.
I have concluded in the book that there were at least three reasons for the destruction of the camp: Middle East peace process; 2nd Lebanese sectarianism and 3rd Economic reason. Not to mention the possible Israeli hand via its spy network within the Lebanese army. In 2009, Lebanon arrested an army Major, who played an important role in directing the battle of Nahr el Bared for working on behalf of Israel.
Now more than three years later, the camp residents are still homeless and awaiting the Lebanese government and the international community promises to rebuild the camp and return them to their homes.
EH: There was a tearful meeting of yours cousins (Amsha’s daughters) who you never met, when you were checked in at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Can you tell explain why you have never met them?
JKK: I must say that meeting was a climax in mine and I am certain in their life too. Like many Palestinian families, my grandfather was forever separated from his only sister (Amsha) in that May Day in 1948. They both died later, she in her country that became no more, and he in a refugee camp in other lands. Amsha left behind three daughters who remained in what became Israel.Despite a UN resolution calling on Israel to allow for the return of refugees back to their homes. Israel did not comply with the UN resolution, thus leaving many families forever separated from their loved ones and from their homes.
Our reunion was not planned, but it was destiny for us to meet after 50 years since they were split forever from my father. In late 1996 I was checked in at the emergency room at the Hadassah hospital, and when my cousins (Amsha’s daughters) found out, they were next to my bed in no time. It was our first ever meeting. A section in the book details how even under a semi comatose condition, I recognized them before they had a chance to introduce themselves to me.
Sadly, they lived less than 200 miles from the camp, but when I met them at the emergency room, my travel was via the US over 10,000 miles away. Yet, I may have been the lucky one, for others have never had a chance to be reunited with their loved ones gain.
EH: Do you think there will be light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinian refugees in general, and in Lebanon on in particular?
JKK: Meeting with the refugees, I can attest to the Israeli writer whom I quoted earlier, that Palestine lives inside every one of them. However at this period in time, I am not very optimistic with a light at the end of the tunnel. Israel far right hard liners have hijacked Israeli politics, not that their left was much better off. It is clear, the more the Palestinian leadership is willing to compromise, the more Israel moved to the far right, which has manifested today by the call to recognize Israel as a Jewish democracy (theocracy).
The light at the tunnel will come when the international community can live up to its commitments for a just peace that takes into heart the right of return for the Palestinian refugees and allow the Palestinians to exercise their God given right in a country they can call their home.
EH: Thank you Jamal for your interview with Intifada Palestine, and congratulations on your new book Children of Catastrophe.
HILDREN OF CATASTROPHE
Journey From A Palestinian Refugee Camp to America
Author Jamal Kanj talks about life in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. In his recent book “Children of Catastrophe: Journey from a Palestinian refugee camp to America,” provides an account of life from Palestine to refugee camps in Lebanon and the events leading for the creation of the state of Israel.