Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tale of the Reversed Narrative


By Yisrael Medad

This is not a normal mystery tale. There is no Sherlock Holmes nor a Dr. Watson involved. Nevertheless, it has always been an enigma to me, and perhaps others, how figures of Israel’s Post-Zionist camp get away with their sleight-of-mind propaganda shenanigans.

Post-Zionism I consider the most deconstructionist (no pun intended) unarmed element to Israel’s security and future existence. The Hebrew University’s Baruch Kimmerling, a leading icon of this camp, published an example of its outlook this month at the trendy web site. Entitled “The two catastrophes”, he asserted, in a claim of fatuous equivalency, that both Israelis and Palestinians have memories “marked by inconceivable tragedy” that need be understood so that each can move beyond the past.

Kimmerling’s warped approach becomes even more devious for he goes on to claim that “the ethnic cleansing of Arabs must be seen within the context of the Holocaust”, a situation that need be balanced so as “to reach a certain ‘equilibrium of catastrophes’." In doing this, Kimmerling would appear to play loose with historical facts. His alternative, post-zionist narrative is less than authentic. It is, indeed, more than disingenuous for he, like his fellow travelers, is hiding the truth.

While he agrees in the article with the late Edward Said that even though in 1948, “the Jews carried out [brutal] ethnic cleansing”, this “cannot be compared with the systematic genocide of the Holocaust”. But he is less than generous with his sympathy because he considers the introduction of the Holocaust into the discourse “insufferable because the Palestinians are not an ‘involved party’ to the Holocaust.”

Going one step further, Biblical roots of Jews in the Holy Land, the Hebrew University professor points out, are but a 2,000 year old argument which is countered by one of just a mere 57 years ago. “This whole strange game of ‘who preceded whom’ is,” to Kimmerling’s thinking, “an absurdity.”

Here, then, is where the two narratives, one a complete reverse of the actual course of events, must unlink themselves.

First, ethnic cleansing, used here as a predated solecism, was pursued first by the Arabs of the Palestine Mandate. In March 1920, Arabs expelled Jews from Tel Hai and in 1921 tried to do oust the Jews from Petah Tikva, then a 40 year-old settlement. In August 1929, they succeeded, through a brutal three-week pogrom campaign, to cleanse Hebron, Shchem and Gaza of its Jewish population that extended back centuries. Other communities were razed. Later, in the 1948 war, Jews of Bet Ha’Arava, Kfar Darom, Neveh Yaakov, Atarot and the Old City of Jerusalem were “cleansed” out of their homes.

But more basically, throughout that pre-state period, Arabs opposed any right of domicile whatsoever of Jews anywhere in the Mandate territory, which, we need be reminded, extended from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. It was their constant demand to limit and restrict and, eventually, depopulate the country of Jews. That pernicious attitude continues today but is ignored by the proponents of a “post” era.

Second, too often overlooked is the crucial influence the Arabs of Palestine had on British colonial policy in the late 1930s that dovetailed with the eventual horrific consequences of Hitler’s intentions. The Arab violence, both urban and rural, in 1933 and then, beginning with Sheikh Aziz A-Din El-Qasam in 1935 and continuing throughout 1936-1939, was the main factor that caused the British regime to close the gates to Jewish immigrants from Europe.

Palestine Arabs, supported by the weapons and irregular forces of neighboring Arab countries, effectively allowed Hitler to catch as many as six million Jews in his Holocaust net rather than tens, or perhaps, hundreds of thousands escaping to the Land of Israel. It was, in the main, their terror that pressured the British into formulating the White Paper of 1939 that limited land purchases and prevented entry to Jews fleeing persecution. British archives, as Bernard Wasserstein revealed in his 1979 study “Britain and the Jews of Europe”, are full of the notes of colonial officials who thwarted attempts to get refugees out of the clutches of the Nazis, then were caught up in the death camps, due to Arab influence.

The Holocaust could not have been as accomplished as it was without the lending hand of the Arabs. They cannot escape their culpability and pseudo-academics who ignore this ugly chapter in the relations between Jews and Arabs during the Palestine Mandate period

Third, Kimmerling overlooks the very active participation of the leader of Palestine’s Arabs, Mufti Amin El-Husseini, and others in Holocaust efforts. These included propaganda broadcasts to the Arab world, mobilizing Muslim units to fight alongside Hitler’s Waffen SS, parachuting Arab agents into the Mandate to poison its water supply as well as residence in Berlin. He called on Hitler to “accord to Palestine…the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements…by the same method, that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.”

Kimmerling and others of his ilk promote the false idea that Israel was founded and built upon the ruins of an Arab society and culture, a tale of a reversed narrative.

(a slightly different, edited version of this piece appeared in the Jerusalem Post on December 30, 2004 at )

Friday, December 24, 2004

Outline of A Legal Strategy Against Disengagement

I am trying to develop a legal line for a possible appeal to either Israel's High Court of Justice (Bagatz) or even the International Court of Justice.I am well aware that many of the lawyers I have turned to either fear that Israel's justices are too far left in their personal opinions to be sympathetic with the arguments or that the international tribunal even less so.

Nevertheless, since I do think my arguments logical and truthful, and becausein a very fundamental sense the protest activity we are engaged in and what Pinchas Wallerstien is now promoting - a non-violent but direct action campaign -is based on these arguments, we are going to have to "go public" eventually in some forum, even if it be magistrates' courts as a result of being arrested in Gush Katif or on the way there.I will keep my points short and concise. As we are still waiting the publicationof Howard Grief's book, much more detail can be found here:

Please review this and let me know what you think. And if there are any lawyers out there who can write this up as a proper petition, you must get in touch with me.

Here's the outline:

1. The right of a Jew to live, reside and make a livelihood, a right grounded in religious, demographic and historical traditions, custom and realities a 3,000 years old, was recognized by international law in 1920 at the San Remo Conference and thencodified by the highest international body at the time, the Supreme Council of theLeague of Nations in its July 1922 decision granting Great Britain the Mandate for Palestine.

2. That decision can be broken down into these elements:

a. the territory was originally to be all of what was then considered Palestine, east as well as west of the Jordan River.
b. even though Trans-Jordan was suspended from the terms of the Jewish National Home, for sure all of the area west of the Jordan River, i.e., Judea, Samaria and Gaza, were included.
c. the purpose of this decision was to reestablish and reconstitute in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people. Not one word was mentioned about "Arabs".
d. to accomplish this sacred undertaking, political, economic and administrative conditions to secure this development needed to be taken (Article 2).
e. no territory of Palestine (at the least, J, S & G) was to be ceded, leased or in any way placed under the control of the government of any foreign power (Article 5).
d. the right of Jews to closely settle on the land was of paramount consideration (Article 6).

3. This decision was to be implemented by the Jewish Agency of the World Zionist Organization.

4. The 1952 Law of the Status of the JA/WZO designated the JA/WZO as the body to continue to operate for the development and the settlement of the country. A second law, in 1954, established a "pact" which granted the JA/WZO the right to represent World Jewry in the fields of immigration and settlement.

5. Ever since 1967, J, S & G have indeed been "settled" by the JA/WZO.

6. Thus we come to the crucial part of my argument which may be a bit new:
While the state of Israel can, theoretically, withdraw its forces from J, S & G, they cannot expell and transfer Jews out of their homes, farms and factories. This prohibition is based on international law and the laws of the state of Israel itself. A Jew has the principled right to live anywhere in J,S & G.
Therefore, any Jew currently living in Gush Katif or any of the northern Samarian communities who belongs to the WZO (being a member of NRP, Likud, Moledet, etc. is enough to qualify your standing in this case as they are members of ther WZO) should be able to petition the courts against the Disengagement Law and any subsequent actions taken based on that law.

The Pervasiveness of Bias

As the NYT's correspondent Greg Myre reports, Arabs of the Palestine Authority voted in "orderly municipal elections" and that "the turnout was large and the voting went smoothly, with no major glitches or security problems reported" ("Palestinian Voting Is Held Without Serious Incident", Dec. 24, 2004).

This reality, of course, highlights the falsity of the media-hype that was generated by PA spokespersons seeking to accuse Israel, aforehand, as interfering with the process of democratization upon which a peace depends. Israel, they succeeded in doing, is first guilty and when proven correct, no one remembers. This tactic is successful, too often, due to the bias that has crept into Western thinking as Senator Charles Schumer pointed out in his own letter published on the same day.

(One sentence in your Dec. 18 editorial "Timely Help for the Palestinians" betrays the subtle and inherent bias against Israel that pervades too much of Western thought. When supporting the removal of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, you write, "While those checkpoints have undoubtedly reduced the number of attacks by suicide bombers, they have made it virtually impossible for average Palestinians to move freely, whether going to the polls or simply trying to go to work."

Doesn't it make sense that Palestinians should be required to eliminate the suicide bombers
in their midst before Israel is forced to open checkpoints? What other nation would be asked
to put the ability of its adversaries to move freely over the need to protect the lives of its people?

Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator from New York

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Lost Raiders

Here's a Reuters story. Arabs die in a "raid". But who led the raid?
Was it the Pals. or the Israelis?
And which "raid" started first? Who "began" it?

December 19, 2004

2 Palestinians Die in RaidBy REUTERS

GAZA, Dec. 18 (Reuters) - Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian militants on Saturday,
the second day of a raid in Khan Yunis, a refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip,
medics and witnesses said.

Israel began the raid on Friday to curtail mortar attacks on Jewish settlements.

Anyone Seen Any Terrorists?

Well, the terminology gets a bit more complicated. We're in Iraq with this story. In addition to "militants" (who kill pupils with bombs), we also have "insurgents". But still no "terrorists".

Militants' Bomb Misfires, Hitting School Bus; Pupil Dies
Published: December 19, 2004

ERBIL, Iraq, Dec. 18 - One Iraqi eighth grader was killed and six others wounded Saturday morning in Mosul when insurgents trying to detonate a roadside bomb in the path of a routine American patrol misfired and hit a school bus full of children, the military said.

American troops identified and fired at insurgents nearby, killing one, military officials said, following the 7:45 a.m. attack in Mosul, in northern Iraq.

Insurgents also staged several attacks in north-central Iraq on Saturday, killing one Iraqi and wounding eight others at an election center near Samarra and wounding four American security contractors in Baiji.

Something Missing

In practically all the media reports on the collapsed tunnel in Rafiah over Friday and Saturday, the element left out was the most intriguing from a media point-of-view.

Israel diverted its military efforts to aid in the rescue of Arabs who had been trapped 23 hours in a collapsed underground weapons smuggling tunnel. Ambulances were allowed into the no-go area.

Israel's standards of morality recently have been questioned regarding the shooting of children, harassment at checkpoints and mutiliation of the dead. That Israel, whose citizens suffer daily bombardment and shootings from the weapons brought in from Egypt via these tunnels, would deign to expend its resources to rescue these terrorists once again illustrates its high level of commitment to all human life.

And, of course, the non-reporting of the story reflects negatively on the media.

Who is Escalating Whom?

notice the use of "escalate" by Israel and the Pals. in this UPI story:

Violence grows in post Arafat era
GAZA, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A Palestinian report released Saturday suggests the Israeli army escalated its military actions against Palestinians after Yasser Arafat's Nov. 11 death.

The PLO report said that between Nov. 11 and Friday the Israeli army has not stopped carrying out incursions, demolishing houses and committing assassination. The report also noted Israel did not stop the construction of the barrier, which Palestinians call a wall, in the West Bank in addition to confiscating Palestinian land and imposing curfews.

Palestinian militants during the same period escalated their mortar and missile attacks on Jewish settlements in Gaza and southern Israel, as well as firing at Israeli troops and Jewish settlers' vehicles.

Another example of balanced, ethical, reliable and non-discriminatory reporting.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Crying Over a Weeping Friedman

Thomas L. Friedman is weeping ("Holding Up Arab Reform", Dec. 16) because the publication of the third Arab Human Development Report is being delayed due to a U.S. demand that its prologue, critical of Israeli occupation and the American invasion of Iraq, be rewritten.

Friedman belittle's the prologue but he is being disengenuous. That introduction assigns the primary responsibility for all that needs reform in the Arab world at Israel's doorstep. It is biased, unfactual and academically unprofessional.

And if Friedman excuses it "to give political cover to the Arab authors", then he is need of reform himself.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

No Damage Caused?

Quoting from an AP report, the New York Times informed
its readers that an anti-tank missile was fired into a
civilian Jewish community in Gaza. While it caused no
damage or injuries, the missile had exploded near a
nursery school.

The report then noted that "Palestinian militants
frequently fire rockets and mortar shells at
settlements and army bases, but they rarely cause
casualties." ("Israel, Palestinians Reach Election
Plan", Dec. 8). This last phrase is obviously a
throwaway, as if to say 'well, nothing happened so why
get all upset and injuries or worse are rare, so who
really cares'.

Rarely caused casualties are not to be dismissed as
insignificant. The intent of the planning and effort
of these "militants" is to kill and maim innocent
civilians and, in this specific case, infants and
young kindergarten children. They are not 'militants'
but coldblooded killers, terrorists.

I hope that the NYT will pursue the issue of the questionable journalistic validity of continuing to use the term "militants"
and its use will soon come to a conclusion and that the word will not be employed to describe such actions and operations.

The wording of the AP report should not have been
adopted by the New York Times.