THE ORIGIN OF THE PALESTINE ISRAEL CONFLICT
PUBLISHED BY: JEWS FOR JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
THE ORIGIN OF THE PALESTINE ISRAEL CONFLICT
As the periodic bloodshed continues in the Middle East, the search for an equitable solution must come to grips with the root cause of the conlict. The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians are irrational “terrorists” who have no point of view worth listening to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance: their homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force, during the creation of the state of Israel. And all subsequent crimes – on both sides – inevitably follow from this original injustice.
This paper outlines the history of Palestine to show how this process occurred and what a moral solution to the region’s problems should consist of. If you care about the people of the Middle East, Jewish and Arab, you owe it to yourself to read this account of the other side of the historical record.
The standard Zionist position is that they showed up in Palestine to reclaim their ancestral homeland in the late 19th century. Jews bought land and started building up the Jewish community there. They were met with increasingly violent opposition from the Palestinian Arabs, presumably stemming from the Arab’s inherent anti-Semitism. The Zionists were then forced to defend themselves and, in one form or another, this same situation continues up to today. The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true, as the documentary evidence in this booklet shall show. What really happened was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible. Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation which continues to the present).
The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists’ intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project never could have been realized without the military backing of the British. The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (over 1200 years).
In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world-view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn’t matter. The Arab’s opposition to Zionism wasn’t based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable fear of the dispossession of their people.
One further point: being Jewish ourselves, the position we present here is critical of Zionism but is in no way anti-Semitic. We do not believe that the Jews acted worse than any other group might have acted in their situation. The Zionists (who were a distinct minority of the Jewish people until after WWII) had an understandable desire to establish a place where Jews could be masters of their fate, given the bleak history of Jewish oppression. Especially as the danger to European Jewry crystallized in the late 1930s and after, the actions of the Zionists were propelled by real desperation.
But so were the actions of the Arabs. The mythic “land without people for a people without land” was already home to 700,000 Palestinians in 1919. This is the root of the problem, as we shall see.
EARLY HISTORY OF THE REGION
Before the Hebrews irst migrated there around 1800 B.C, the land of Canaan was occupied by Canaanites.
“Between 3000 and 1100 B.C, Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan... Those who remained in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century A.D.] were a potpourri: farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes.” Marcia Kunstel and Joseph Albright, “Their Promised Land.”
To cont click:
The Muslim Students’ Association of McGill University (MSA)
SHATTERING THE MYTH:
The Truth about Palestine
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AN ‘IMPARTIAL’ ANALYSIS OF A VERY ‘PARTIALLY’ PRESENTED ISSUE
It is often claimed that the nature of the conflict in Palestine is a very “complex issue”, that the Arabs and Palestinians are engaging in a “gross oversimplification” in order to win world sympathy, furthermore it is claimed that the Arabs are assisted in this nefarious plan by the ‘anti-Israeli’ press. It is claimed that Israel is a ‘peaceful state’ which is occasionally forced to employ force in order to ‘defend’ itself from ruthless terrorists. The west is believed to be ‘hypocritical’ if it dares to criticize Israel, because it would itself react in a similar manner if faced with such threats to its ‘security’. Israel is portrayed as the ‘only side which wants peace’ and as a righteous party caught in a difficult position. However, it is claimed, it becomes difficult for it to do anything when the other side is never willing to discuss issues in a ‘reasonable’ manner. And then (you guessed it!) there is the ever present specter of ‘anti-Semitism’ (a word that is supposed to stop everyone in their tracks and immediately condemn the party it is applied to, even if the condemned is a full blooded Semite, or a two year old or whatever…). Many are of the opinion that there are two sides to every story and that the only way to reach a conclusion is to grant that ‘both sides have a valid point.’ It is interesting how, a little more than half a century after Nazi Germany was defeated, people are again claiming that such accommodation be shown to another state which follows a similarly racist policy. Unfortunately, people do not seem to learn well from history. The information presented in the following panels examines the claims that are often advanced in favor of the Zionist State of Israel. It exposes this propaganda for the mythology that it is by contrasting it with the facts and the statements of several prominent figures in the conflict, many of them Zionists. This is done in the hope that the best (or perhaps ‘impartial’) evidence often comes from the horse’s mouth…
CREATION OF ISRAEL AND THE STATUS OF ITS CLAIMS TO LEGITIMACY
1. Do the Jewish people have a historic claim to the land of Palestine/Israel which has greater legitimacy than other claims?
Before the Hebrews first migrated there around 1800 BC, the land of Canaan was occupied by Canaanites. “Between 3000 and 1100 BC, Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan... Those would remain in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century AD] were a potpourri: farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes.” Marcia Kunstel and Joseph Albright, Their Promised Land
Furthermore, the Present-day Palestinians’ ancestral heritage: “But all these [different peoples who had come into Canaan] were additions, sprigs grafted onto the parent tree ... And that parent tree was Canaanite ... [the Arab invaders of the 7th century AD] made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabised that we cannot tell where Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin.” Ilene Beatty, Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan.
Neither was the rule on this area any more than one of many periods. The Jewish kingdoms were only one of many periods in ancient Palestine: “The extended kingdoms of David and Solomon, on which the Zionists base their territorial demands, endured for only about 73 years... Then it fell apart ... [Even] if we allow independence to the entire life of the ancient Jewish kingdoms, from David’s conquest of Canaan in 1000 BC to the wiping out of Juda in 586 BC, we arrive at [only] a 414-year Jewish rule.” Ilene Beatty, Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan.
Does this really imply that they have an absolute claim to this land?
“Thus, if post-1967 claims matter, why not pre-1947? If post-Balfour claims, why not pre-Ottoman? If pre-Massada, why not pre-Moses? If post-Abraham, why not pre-Semite? Continuing in this vein, we would eventually end up in some Stone Age, and then who would inherit the earth?” Alfred M. Lilienthal, “The Zionist Connection”, Pg.9.
What about the Balfour declaration which promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine?
The Balfour declaration was made 1917. It was a decision made by a European power about non-European territory. It promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine on the condition that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”
As to how well the British kept this promise, Lord Balfour himself writes in 1919:
“The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the independent nation of Palestine (yes it was recognized even then!) than in that of the independent nation of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, though the American [King-Crane] Commission has been going through the form of asking what they are. The four great powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”
And what of the attitude of the great democracies?
Well, who better than Winston Churchill to clarify their position.
Churchill said: “I do not agree that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time…I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”
Or perhaps Truman would present a more enlightened view: “I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.” (President Harry Truman, quoted in “Anti-Zionism”)
So what did the Zionists intend to do with the native population?
In 1895, Theodor Herzl noted in his diaries: “We shall have to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” Theodor Herzl, Complete Diaries, VoII., Pg.88, ed.Raphael Patai,trans. Harry Zohn, New York: Herzl press and T.Yoseloff, 1960.
So what about the idea of ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’?
Moshe Dayan says, “There is not one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.” Ha-Aretz, April 4,1969.
But what about the claim that the Zionist legally owned much of the land before Israel was established?
“in 1948, at the moment Israel declared itself a state, it owned a little more than 6% of the land of Palestine…” Edward Said, “The Question of Palestine.”
And what about the claim that Palestine was a wasteland before the Jews started immigrating?
Well, firstly, even if this was true it wouldn’t be good reason to take away the rights of an indigenous population, for even people in wastelands have a right to their wasteland, secondly and more interestingly, the claim is clearly false, as is shown by the following
“Britain’s high commissioner for Palestine, John Chancellor, recommended total suspension of Jewish immigration and land purchase to protect Arab agriculture. He said ‘all cultivable land was occupied; that no cultivable land now in possession of the indigenous population could be sold to the Jews without creating a class of landless Arab cultivators’… The Colonial Office rejected the recommendation.” John Quigley, “Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice.” 2. Is the Zionist leadership aware of the true status of their claims?
Maybe some words of wisdom from one of Israel’s founding fathers would shed some light on the issue.
“In 1936-39, the Palestinian Arabs attempted a nationalist revolt…David Ben-Gurion, eminently a realist, recognized its nature. In internal discussion he noted that ‘in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,’ but he urged, ‘let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.’ The truth was that ‘politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside’… The revolt was crushed by the British, with considerable brutality.” Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle.”
Or perhaps one would prefer the fair-minded evaluation of one of Israel’s most prominent military men.
“I don’t understand the comparison between us and South Africa. What we have in common is that we both take measures to ensure that we are not overpowered. Those who say that Blacks in South Africa are persecuted are lying. The Blacks there want to overpower the white minority, just like the Arabs here want to overpower us. And we, just like the South African minority, must act to make sure we are not overpowered. I went to see a diamond mine there and saw what superb conditions Black workers are enjoying. So what if there is a separate lift for Blacks and Whites? That’s the way they want it ...” (Rafael Eitan, former chief of staff and Knesset member. Quoted in Apartheid: Israeli Style, David Paul.
Or perhaps another ‘great soldier’ who gave the command for conquering the Golan in 1967, Moshe Dayan can show us how the Zionist state engages in ‘peaceful diplomacy’… to those who actually want to think rather than regurgitate propaganda, please think if the word “TERRORIST” could ever be applied to anyone with greater justification…
“In Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharatt’s personal diaries, there is an excerpt from May of 1995 in which he quotes Moshe Dayan as follows: ‘[Israel] must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Toward this end it may, no – it must – invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation and revenge ... above all, let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.” Quoted in Livia Rokack, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism.
Did the Egyptians actually start the 1967 war, as Israel originally claimed? Or was it another myth manufactured by the Zionist leadership? Read on…
“The former Commander of the Air Force, General Ezer Weizmann, regarded as a hawk, stated that there was ‘no threat of destruction’ but that the attack on Egypt, Jordan and Syria was nevertheless justified so that Israel could ‘exist according to the scale, spirit and equality she now embodies.’ ... Menachem Begin had the following remarks to make: ‘In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.’” Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle.
And as for the ‘wide’ spectrum of opinion which allows for many ‘moderate Zionists’
“The very point of Labor’s Zionist program is to have as much land as possible and as few Arabs as possible!” – Yitzhak Navon (“moderate” ex-Israeli president and a leading labor party politician. Cited on p. 179 of Nur Masalha’s A Land without a People who cites Bernard Avishai’s The Tragedy of Zionism, 1985, p. 340.
So what were the Zionists actually doing and what were their main methods of operation?
“Before [the Palestinians’] very eyes, we are possessing the land and the villages where they, and their ancestors, have lived ... We are the generation of colonizers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel, we cannot plant a tree and build a home.” Israeli leader, Moshe Dayan, quoted in Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel.
“In 1948, we deliberately, and not just in the heat of the war, expelled Arabs. Also in 67 after the Six-Day War, we expelled many Arabs.” Tzvi Shiloah, a senior veteran of the Mapai Party and former deputy mayor of the town of Hertzeliyah. (Modelet, no.12, October 1989)
But many believe that the main reason behind the urgency felt by the Zionists was due to the holocaust. Isn’t the state of Israel a justified demand because of the Jewish experience during the Second World War? In the words of Ben Gurion, the answer is a clear NO!
“I have already gone exhaustively into the reason for our being here, reasons that I as a pioneer of 1906 can affirm have nothing to do with the Nazis! We are here because this land is ours. And we have again made it ours in this time with the work we have put into it. Nazism and our history of martyrdom abroad do not concern our presence in Israel directly.” David Ben-Gurion, Memoirs.
Now, given all that is given above, one may be curious to know why the Zionist leadership, being aware of its history, is now so unwilling to even accept the existence of Palestine, well, the following may shed some light…
“My friend, take care. When you recognize the concept of ‘Palestine,’ you demolish your right to live in Ein Hahoresh. If this is Palestine and not the Land of Israel, then you are conquerors and not tillers of the land. You are invaders. If this is Palestine, then it belongs to a people who lived here before you came. Only if it is the Land of Israel do you have a right to live in Ein Hahoresh and in Deganiyah B. If it is not your country, your fatherland, the countries of your ancestors and your sons, then what are you doing here? You came to another people’s homeland, as they claim, you expelled them and you have taken their land.” Menachem Begin, quoted in Noam Chomsky’s Peace in the Middle East.
Moreover, it seems that the Zionist leadership has not always been so adamant about the ‘irrational’ and ‘unreasonable’ attitude of the Arabs. In fact, in a similar situation, they would behave in the very same way.
“Why should the Arabs make peace?
If I were an Arab leader, I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we came here and stole their country. Why should they accept that?” David Ben-Gurion, quoted in The Jewish Paradox, by Nahum Goldmann, former president of the World Jewish Congress.
And what about the opinions of Israeli intellectuals?
“Jews came and took, by means of uprooting and expulsion, a land that was Arab. We wanted to be a colonialist occupier, and yet to come across as moral at the same time.…” Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe, Israeli Historian at Haifa University.
“It was our nationalism ... which drew the country into an occupation and settlement of the West Bank ... None of the leaders of the Labor movement believed that the Palestinians deserved the same rights [as Jews] because none of them believed in universal rights. Pretending, like [Arthur] Hertzberg and other do, that the Occupation and the colonial situation created in the last thirty years was merely the product of the Arab refusal to recognize Israel, is no more than looking for an alibi and falsifying history...” Israeli Professor of political science, Ze’ev Sternhell, in “Tikkun,” May/June 1998.
“Till then everyone in Israel spoke about Arabs who had just run away in 1948 existed no real historical research on it. There were two conflicting propaganda versions, one Arab and another Jewish. As one who received his education in Israel, I thought I knew that Arabs had ‘run away.’ But I knew nothing else. The Jewish generations of 1948, however, knew the truth and deliberately misrepresented it. They knew there were plenty of mass deportations, massacres and rapes .... The soldiers and the officials knew, but they suppressed what they knew and were deliberately disseminated.” Israeli Historian Benny Morris in an interview with Rami Tal published in Israeli Daily Yediot Ahronot, December 1994.
But suppose that the Israeli claim that it only occupied territories after it was attacked is true, would that justify its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza?
NOT REALLY! EVEN IF THE ISRAELI CLAIM IS TRUE, THE OCCUPATION IS STILL ILLEGIMATE!
“Under the U.N. Charter, there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defense. The response of other states to Israel’s occupation shows a virtually unanimous opinion that even if Israel’s action was defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was not ... The [U.N.] General Assembly characterized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as a denial of self-determination and hence a ‘serious and increasing threat to international peace and security.” John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice.
“The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to change the existing order as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the people it finds there. It may not bring its own people to populate the territory. This prohibition is found in the Convention’s Article 49, which states, ‘The Occupying Power shall not depart or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice.
Finally, why won’t the problem simply ‘go away’?
“The plans, which have roots in traditional goals of the Zionist movement from its origins (across the ideological spectrum), were articulated in internal discussion by Israeli government Arabists in 1948 while outright ethnic cleansing was underway: their expectation was that the refugees “would be crushed” and “die,” while “most of them would turn into human dust and the waste of society, and join the most impoverished classes in the Arab countries.” Noam Chomsky, “Al-Aqsa Intifada.” 3. Anti-Zionism IS NOT Anti-Semitism
Is there an absolutely necessary connection between Zionism and Judaism? Is it correct to hold that one who criticizes the former also criticizes the latter?
THE SIMPLE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION GIVEN ABOVE IS NO! THIS IS SUPPORTED BY THE FACT THAT MANY PROMINENT JEWISH LEADERS HAVE SPOKEN AGAINST ZIONISM.
“In an article published in the Washington Post of October 3, 1978, Rabbi Hirsch (of Jerusalem) is reported to have declared: ‘The 12th principle of our faith, I believe, is that the Messiah will gather the Jewish exiled who re-dispersed throughout the nations of the world. Zionism is diametrically opposed to Judaism. Zionism wishes to define the Jewish people as a nationalistic entity. The Zionists say, in effect, ‘Look here, God. We do not like exile. Take us back, and if you don’t, we’ll just roll up our sleeves and take ourselves back.’ The Rabbi continues, ‘This, of course, is heresy. The Jewish people are charged by Divine Oath not to force themselves back to the Holy Land against the wishes of those residing there.” Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest.
MOREOVER, IT WOULD BE WRONG TO IDENTIFY ISRAEL WITH THE JEWISH PEOPLE, AS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT BY BEN GURION SHOWS
“[Ben-Gurion stated], ‘If I knew that it was possible to save all the children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second – because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.’ In the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, Ben-Gurion commented that ‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger.’” Israeli historian, Tom Segev, The Seventh Million.
Why does the Zionist leadership insist on equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism?
“Nothing has accounted more for the success of Zionism and Israelism in the Western world than the skillful attack on the soft underbelly of world opinion – ‘Mr. Decent Man’s’ total repugnance toward anti-Semitism. The charge of this bias, instantaneously bringing forth the specter of Nazi Germany, so totally pulverizes the average Christian that by contrast calling him a Communist is a pleasant epithet. It was the Christian revulsion toward anti-Semitism in the wake of Hitlerian genocide, not the superiority of Zionist over Arab rights, that first created and then firmly entrenched the Israeli state, even permitting the occupation of conquered territories in the face of the U.N. charter and international morality. So strong has become the general aversion to anti-Semitism that even the full-blooded Semite, the Arab, absurd as it may be, has difficulty defending himself against this charge.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace? Pp. 403-4.
Parlimentarian Ian Gilmour, writing in the British magazine The Spectator, noted the inevitable link between Zionism and anti-Semitism:
“Since the basis of Zionism is that Jewish assimilation in other countries is in the long run impossible and that anti-Semitism and persecution are bound to break out sooner or later, Zionism has almost a vested interest in racial discrimination. The Israelis mount “rescue operations” to save allegedly threatened Jews in other countries… In Arab countries, Jewish difficulties and emigration to Israel were the result not of anti-Semitism, but of Zionist activities and the existence of the State of Israel. Zionism aggravated the disease that it professed to cure.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace ? p. 411.
In fact, there is also some reason to believe that the Zionists encourage anti-Semitism…
“The separatist philosophy of the Zionist dogma, staunchly supported by Organized Jewry after the holocaust, has been picked up alike by “retrogressive” conservatives and by liberal friends who would otherwise look askance at the mere mention of apartheid. And this overwhelming sentiment manifested itself, almost as if in answer to the blunt warning of Goldmann that a “current decline of overt ‘anti-Semitism’ might constitute a new danger to Jewish survival… The disappearance of ‘anti-Semitism’ in its classical meaning, while beneficial to the political and material situation of Jewish communities, has had a very negative effect on our internal life.” Counsel Leo Pfeffer of the American Jewish Congress voiced a similar statement: “Such discrimination may well be a blessing. It is possible that some anti-Semitism is necessary in order to insure Jewish survival. In Britain, too, an article in Blackfriars Magazine pointed to the danger of the extinction of the Jewish community because of the absence of anti-Semitism.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace?, p. 412.
The rabbinate had long employed anti-Semitism as a means of keeping the flock within the fold, and since the creation of Israel, support in the Diaspora has been continuously and easily enlisted by depicting the new Jewish state as a kind of insurance policy in case of a renaissance of anti-Semitism. Consequently, Zionist leadership has cared little about how much anti-Semitism their own activities might generate.
The late British Parliamentarian Richard H.S. Crossman, an ardent Anglo-Saxon proponent of Zionism, cited Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s contention that “anti-Semitism is a bacillus which every Gentile carries with him wherever he goes and however often he denies it.” At this first meeting Dr. Chaim Weizmann allegedly bluntly asked Crossman whether he was anti-Semitic, to which the Labourite frankly answered, “Of course.” Their friendship was sealed, and Crossman’s energetic crusade, partly expiation for that initial prejudice, followed.
Bigotry has only been so much grist for Zionist mills. Crossman expressed it thus: “Who achieved the majority vote for partition at Lake Success? Not the terrorists of Irgun nor the soldiers of the Haganah, but the aged leader of international Jewry [Weizmann], who could still sham and magic the Gentile world into recognizing its debt to her people.” It is this continued process of shaming the Christian world into accepting the guilt for the genocide of six million Jews that first brought Israel into being, and since then has been the means of rallying continued support for Israel’s cause in the U.S. and in the Western world. Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace ? p. 411. Is this attitude rational?
“The emotional reaction, engendered by Nazi genocide, has given rise to an eleventh commandment, ‘Thou shalt not be anti-Semitic,’ and to a corollary twelfth commandment, ‘Thou must be anti-anti-Semitic.’ No Christian wishes to run afoul of these supplements to the interdictions handed down by Moses from Mount Sinai. In their zeal to carry out the new commandments, the anti-anti-Semites, guided by Organized Jewry, have rejected the basic distinction between those who are against Zionism-Israelism because they deplore its political precepts and abhor the consequences wrought by its measure, and those who are against Jews because they simply dislike Jews. Christian anti-Zionists and even Jewish anti-Zionists are alike denounced as anti-Semites – discussion, muted doubts, and debate on Middle East policy are crushed.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace? p. 404.
“However, the presence of this sociological phenomenon should not give inviolability to the ruthless suppression of even the most constructive criticism of the State of Israel and of the multifold Zionist organizations. Anti-Zionism can no more be equated with anti-Semitism, the racist ideology directed against Jews as Jews, than Zionism can be equated with Judaism.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace?, p. 404.
“The ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) earlier emphasis on stamping out genuine prejudice and bigotry gave way long ago to acts of defamation, spying, and publishing spurious literary productions, motivated by support of Israel and effected by eliminating critics of Zionist tactics.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace,?, p. 405
“Dr. Willard Oxtoby, writing in Presbyterian Life, had this to say on the effect of the anti-Semitism labeling:
Hopefully, anti-Semitism may soon become a sin of the past, but for the time being, it is still an emotionally potent word and nobody wants to be caught being anti-Semitic. . . . Like the news media, and for the same reasons, the Christian critic of Zionism is paralyzed. He cannot condemn Israeli armed conquest because he must pussyfoot in the delicate area of religious prejudice. As a result, Zionism is a subject on which in the United States there is more effective suppression of freedom of speech than any other.” Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace ? Pg.407.
4. The Unethical and Criminal Nature of the Israeli State
“The main difference between Bosnia and Palestine is that ethnic cleansing in the former took place in the form of dramatic massacres and slaughters which caught the world’s attention, whereas in Palestine, what is taking place is a drop-by-drop tactic in which one or two houses are demolished daily, a few acres are taken here and there every day, a few people forced to leave.” Edward Said, Washington Report, 09/1998 (page cut)
“The old cry of the late Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz that ‘the occupation corrupts’ is today correct in the full sense of the word, Israel can no longer live with the illusion that it is maintaining a democratic way of life while at the same time a separate normative system exists for the settlers that tramples human rights in the territories to the point where those who kill are treated forgivingly.” Ha’aretz Editorial, 24 September, 1998. Israel’s Unique methods of punishment
“The demolition and sealing of houses are among the most severe methods of punishment used by the authorities against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. To our knowledge, this harsh form of punishment is unique to Israel and is not employed by any other nation. Demolition and sealing of houses in the territories contravene international law that prohibits collective punishment and arbitrary injuries to property.” (B’Tselem, an Israeli Human Rights Organization. http://www2.iol.co.il/btselem/)
“To solidify their gains after the 1967 war, according to U.N. figures, the Israelis destroyed during the period between June 11, 1967 and November 15, 1969 so ... 7,554 Palestinian Arab homes in the territories seized during that war; this figure excluded thirty-five villages in the occupied Golan Heights that were razed to the ground. In the two years between September 1969 and 1971 the figure was estimated to have reached 16,312.” – from The Zionist Connection, by Alfred Lilienthal, p. 160.
Expelling people from their homes and forcing them to become refugees is a familiar Israeli strategy
"Israeli forces occupied [the Golan Heights] during the 1967 war. With its occupation of the Golan Heights, Israel expelled over 120,000 inhabitants - mostly Syrians but also several thousand Palestinian refugees. At the same time, Israel destroyed two cities, 133 villages and 61 farms. After this devastation, only 6,396 inhabitants remained in the six villages left standing. On December 14, 1981, the Israeli Knesset unilaterally annexed the Golan Heights in clear contravention of international law. The UN Security Council subsequently declared the annexation illegal and, to date, not a single state has recognized it. Israel has so far built more than 40 settlements, housing over 15,000 settlers in the Golan Heights." -- New Yorkers for a Just Middle East Peace (NYJMEP) from a letter dating 08/13/1998 sent to Perry Odak, Chief Executive Officer of Ben and Jerry's, protesting a reported agreement between the popular ice cream company and Eden Springs water company, based on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The so-called ‘HUMANE’ behavior of settlers who return from the ‘Diaspora’
“It has been able ‘to double the number of settlers in 10 years, to enlarge the settlements, to continue its discriminatory policy of cutting back water quotas for three million Palestinians, to prevent Palestinian development in most of the area of the West Bank, and to seal an entire nation into restricted areas, imprisoned in a network of bypass roads meant for Jews only.” (Chomsky, “Intifada”)
The ‘humane’ massacres committed by the Zionist army against ‘terrorists’
The Deir Yassin Massacre of Palestine by Jewish Soldiers: “For the entire day of April 9, 1948, Irgun and LEHI soldiers carried out the slaughter in a cold and premeditated fashion... The attackers ‘lined men, women and children up against the walls and shot them,’... The ruthlessness of the attack on Deir Yassin shocked Jewish and world opinion alike, drove fear and panic into the Arab population, and led to the flight of unarmed civilians from their homes all over the country.” Israeli author, Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel.
Was Deir Yassin the only act of this kind? “By 1948, the Jew was able not only to ‘defend himself’ but to commit massive atrocities as well. Indeed, according to the former director of the Israeli army archives, ‘in almost every Arab village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres and rapes’ ... Uri Milstein, the authoritative Israeli military historian of the 1948 war, goes one step further, maintaining that ‘every skirmish ended in a massacre of Arabs.” Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
The ‘benevolent’ and ‘humane’ treatment of prisoners by the Israeli Security Services
“The [UN] Committee against torture ... reached an unequivocal conclusion ... ‘The methods of interrogation [used in Israeli prisons] ... are in the Committee’s view in breach of article 16 and also constitute torture as defined in article 1 of the convention ... As a State Party to the Convention Against Torture, Israel is precluded from raising before this Committee exceptional circumstances’ ... the prohibition on torture is, therefore, absolute, and no ‘exceptional’ circumstances may justify derogating from it.” 1998 report from B’tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, “Routine Torture: Interrogation Methods of the General Security Service.”
“There is no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested.” (General Richard Catling, British Army Assistant Inspector after interrogating several female survivors. The Palestinian Catastrophe, Michael Palumbo, 1987.
U.N. Human Rights Commission “declares that Israel’s grave breaches of the Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in the time of war of 12 August, 1949 are war crimes and an affront against humanity.”
Even the Christians (Arab) of the occupied territories are not safe…
The Christian population of (the ever expanding) Jerusalem was 30,000 in 1948; today it is 2000, due to the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from that and other areas around Israel. Paul Findley’s Deliberate Deceptions, 1996.
5. The RACIST Nature of ZIONISM
The racist policies of the Nazi regime and its racist attitude about the “Jewish Problem” is well known. The Jews faced horrible persecution the hands of the Nazi’s. So, did this stop the Zionists from adopting the same policies with regard to others? Unfortunately, the answer is NO!
“In A.D. 1948, the Jews knew from personal experience what they were doing and it was their supreme tragedy that the lessons learned by them from their encounter with Nazi German Gentiles should have been not to eschew but to imitate some of the evil deeds that the Nazis had committed against the Jews. On the Day of Judgement the gravest crime standing to the German National Socialist account might not be that they had exterminated a majority of Western Jews, but that they had caused the surviving remnant of Jewry to stumble.” Arnold Toynbee quoted in Alfred L. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace? Pg.730.
An interesting example of Israel’s racism can be seen in its repeated denial of even the existence of the Palestinian people!
“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people . . . It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.” (Golda Meir statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969) see p. 51 of Triangle.
Naturally this attitude serves to simplify issues considerably, talk about ‘conceding that the other side has a point”!
“How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Meir, quoted in Ch. 13 of The Zionist Connection: What Price Peace?, Alfred Lilienthal.
What about the attitude of other Israeli leaders?
“I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism.” – Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first Foreign Minister and later a Prime Minister (p. 51 Simha Flapan, “The Birth of Israel,” 1987).
“We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel.... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours . . . When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” Israeli Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan Gad Becker, Yediot Aharonot 13 April, 1983 and The New York Times, 14 April, 1983. Fateful Triangle, p. 130.
“In our country there is room only for the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: Get out! If they don’t agree, if they resist, we shall drive them out by force.” Professor Ben-Zion Dinur, Israel’s first Minister of Education, 1954, from History of the Haganah.
“Take the American Declaration of Independence. It contains no mention of territorial limits. We are not obliged to fix the limits of the State.” Moshe Dayan, Jerusalem Post, 10 August, 1967.
“... we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave -–and we will see where this process leads? In five years, we may have 200,000 less people – and that is a matter of enormous importance.” Moshe Dayan encouraging transfer of Gaza strip refugees to Jordan. from Noam Chomsky’s Deterring Democracy, 1992, p. 434, quoted in Masalha’s A Land Without a People, 1997, p. 92.
“While campaigning for the prime ministership, Binyamin Netanyahu criticized his opponents for missing an opportunity during the Tiannamen Square massacre. The minister, he said, he would have seized the chance then, while the world was ... out the transfer of the Palestinians.” -- p. 137, Washington Report 09/1998.
“I don’t sign orders to destroy the houses of Jews, only of Arabs.” Haim Miller, deputy mayor of Jerusalem and acting mayor in Olmert’s absence, quoted in Yediot Aharonot, Feb. 7, 1998.
“The phenomenon that has prevailed among us for years is that of insensitivity to acts of wrong ... [Consequently], public opinion, the army, the police’s ... conclusion was that Arab blood can be freely shed. And then came the amnesty for those [convicted of the massacre at] Kufr Qasim, and some conclusions could be drawn again, and I could go on like this ... It must make the State appear in the eyes of the world as a savage state that does not recognize the principles of justice as they have been established and accepted by contemporary society.” Israel’s prime minister, Moshe Sharett, in 1961, quoted in Livia Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism.
“In 1989, Israel High Court decision that any political party advocating full equality between Arab and Jew can be barred from fielding candidates in an election ... [means] that the Israeli state is the state of the Jews ... not their [the Arabs] state.” Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Palestine-Israel Conflict.
However, a few bold voices have dared to speak out against the status quo…
“... it is the duty of the [Israeli] leadership to explain to the public a number of truths. One truth is that there is no Zionism, no settlement, and no Jewish state without evacuating the Arabs, and without expropriating lands and their fencing off.” Yesha’ayahu Ben-Porat, Yedi’ot Aharonot, 14 July, 1972, responding to public controversy regarding the Israeli evictions of Palestinians in Rafah, Gaza.
In the mainstream British press, we can at least read that “if Palestinians were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to economic sanctions led by the United States [which is not accurate, unfortunately]. Its development and settlement of the West Bank would be seen as a system of apartheid, in which the indigenous population was allowed to live in a tiny fraction of its own country, in self-administered ‘bantustans’, with ‘whites’ monopolizing the supply of water and electricity. And just as the black population was allowed into South Africa’s white areas in disgracefully under-resourced townships, so Israel’s treatment of Israeli Arabs – flagrantly discriminating against them in housing and education spending – would be recognized as scandalous too.” Observer, Guardian, Oct. 15.
Why doesn’t Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East,” have a constitution?: “The abstention from formulating a constitution was no accident. The massive expropriation of lands and other properties from those Arabs who fled the country as a result of the War of Independence and of those who remained but were declared absent, as well as the confiscation of large tracts of land from Arab villagers who did not flee, and the laws passed to legalize these acts – all this would have necessarily been declared unconstitutional, null and void, by the Supreme Court, being expressly discriminatory against one part of the citizenry, whereas a democratic constitution obliges the state to treat all of its citizens equally.” Israeli author, Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation?
“They [Israel] have typically concealed the continually expansionist nature of ... Western sponsors and pursued a ‘step by step’ process toward these goals. ... Arab rhetoric to frighten Jews and convince them that the Arab world is genocidal ..., that no peace is possible with them, Israeli leaders have been quite aware of ... Arab world to deliver on this militant rhetoric.” Rosemary and Herman Rueth, The Wrath of Jonah.
Note: See also “Collection of Ha’aretz articles on Israeli discrimination against Arabs” at: