Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prof. Rose Is Wrong - Again

Professor Jacqueline Rose is at it again.

She has an op-ed in The Guardian defending that literary trash of a 'play', "Seven Jewish Children" - which I noted previously - and she attacks Harold Johnston.

However, in trying to prove how faithful the play's text is to classical Zionist sources, she writes:

Repeatedly, Jacobson selects lines from the play as if they self-evidently supported his case. But how can a line like this one – "Tell her it's the land God gave us" – be antisemitic, when David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, stated more than once, "The Bible is our Mandate"? Or, to take another example: "Tell her we're the iron fist now," when it was early Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky who coined the concept of the "iron wall" to convey the idea that the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission.

Ben-Gurion can fend for himself but Jabotinsky is in need of me and so I left this comment there on The Iron Wall:

My good friend Prof. Rose, who I had occasion to aid in her essay in The Nation on Jabotinsky's novel, "The Five", has made an error in writing this:

"Or, to take another example: "Tell her we're the iron fist now," when it was early Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky who coined the concept of the "iron wall" to convey the idea that the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission."

As she should know, and I am sure she does, Jabotinsky's 'iron wall' concept, presented in a 1923 essay in two parts, was not to force Arabs into submission but first, to protect Jews from Arab terror which already had struck at Jewish civilians in 1920 in Jerusalem and in 1921 in Jaffa, causing dead and wounded, among them, the author Haim Brener. Secondly, it was to convince the Arabs that they could not cause the Jews to submit and therefore, for the benefit of all, and in the name of justice, they should agree to the idea of a Jewish state.

Here are some extracts:

"...Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”...

...we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say “no” and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy."

Ms. Rose has twisted Jabotinsky's meaning and so, we are left with the conclusion
that she has also misportrayed the play's intention.

That is too bad, for us, for Ms. Rose and for the people who will be watching antisemitism defended by academics.


Go here, click on the "Listen" button (for the next 4 days) and go to minute 36 to listen to the debate between Rose and Geoffrey Alderman.


Peter Drubetskoy said...

LOL, no shame, Yisrael! Jabotinsky, unlike you, did not equivocate and called a spade a spade: "native population", "alien settlers", "Zionist colonization". He had made no pretenses that Zionism had any claim to justice (except, maybe, in a most twisted way and only to select group of people) and that as an unjust project must be carried out by sheer force.
There is no "twisting of meaning" by Prof. Rose here, since as Jabotinsky and practically all early Zionists understood that neither Arabs nor anybody else for that matter would agree to a colonization project like Zionism, they had to be forced into submission or expelled (and there are plenty of Zionist quotes talking of transfer as well). This is the direct implication of the Jabotinsky's quote you bring.
However, in those days such views did not seem quite as outrageous as they do today, so, the founding fathers had no real scruples expressing them. Nowadays, in order to have support of the world's public opinion, Zionists like you engage in smokescreen tactics and present the history and original Zionist intentions in false benign light. You, of course, are free to repeat "black is white" ad infinitum, it may convince a couple of dummies here and there.

YMedad said...

Ah, so I have no right to be more moderate than Jabotinsky? His time was another time, his language was another language, his situation was another situation. One looks for basic principles not exact replication. If you really don't know, don't spout off. It's embarrassing. Dummy.

For example, the word "settlements" didn't exist then (except for poor people who lived in settlement houses) and the word "colonies" was in vogue. Now, to say "colonialism" has an automatic negative connotation.

Peter Drubetskoy said...

It's not about you being "more moderate", its about you twisting history. You were arguing with Prof. Rose not over your positions but over what she claimed to be Jabotinsky's position. You claimed she misrepresented it, I claimed otherwise.
You are right that the language and connotations of the time were different - I myself said so in my comment - but to pretend that Jabotisky, Ben Gurion and others did not understand that they were coming into a place populated with natives who'd be hostile to colonialist Zionist project (in today's meaning of the word) is bullshit. They knew very well that Arabs had no reason to agree to Zionism and said so on many occasions.

YMedad said...

I twist history by providing the actual writings which you then claim reveal the truth?

You're twisted.

Peter Drubetskoy said...

You said Jabotinsky did not mean submission of the Arabs but just protection from the Arab terror. The quote you brought and many others such as below, demonstrate that your interpretation is false and in the words of Jabotinsky that you yourself quoted, an attempt at "hypocrisy":

".... Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an IRON WALL which they will be powerless to break down. ....a voluntary agreement is just not possible. As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers."

"If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find a benefactor who will maintain the garrison on your behalf. ... Zionism is a colonizing adventure and, therefore, it stands or falls on the question of armed forces."

"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was no misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement."

In other words, Jabotinsky says exactly what Prof. Rose claims: " the new Jewish nation should be invincible in order to force the Arabs into submission". Anybody with enough grey matter between the ears can see that. Jabotinsky is indeed admirable in his clarity, honesty and intellect (though despicable in his morals.)

g said...

And also this...

"And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers. Only then will extremist groups with their slogan 'No, never' lose their influence, and only then their influence be transferred to more moderate groups. And only then will the moderates offer suggestions for compromise. Then only will they begin bargaining with us on practical matters, such as guarantees against PUSHING THEM OUT, and equality of civil, and national rights."

I think he admits to more than just intent to force Arabs into submission. Do you see it, Mr. Medad?

YMedad said...

"As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people" - that is the most important section.

YMedad said...

Actually, probably this is:

"Contrary to the excellent rule of getting to the point immediately, I must begin this article with a personal introduction. The author of these lines is considered to be an enemy of the Arabs, a proponent of their expulsion, etc. This is not true. My emotional relationship to the Arabs is the same as it is to all other peoples – polite indifference. My political relationship is characterized by two principles. First: the expulsion of the Arabs from Palestine is absolutely impossible in any form. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. Second: I am proud to have been a member of that group which formulated the Helsingfors Program. We formulated it, not only for Jews, but for all peoples, and its basis is the equality of all nations. I am prepared to swear, for us and our descendants, that we will never destroy this equality and we will never attempt to expel or oppress the Arabs. Our credo, as the reader can see, is completely peaceful. But it is absolutely another matter if it will be possible to achieve our peaceful aims through peaceful means. This depends, not on our relationship with the Arabs, but exclusively on the Arabs’ relationship to Zionism".

Peter Drubetskoy said...

This is rich, Yisrael. In one place to say that "a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers" and in another that "it is absolutely another matter if it will be possible to achieve our peaceful aims through peaceful means". So, in the first quote Jabotinsky understands that no "living people" will agree to a project like Zionism unless confronted with force, whiole in the second he entertains some idea of peaceful solution. This is a contradiction and I may have to take back my words admiring his honesty. It is precisely like saying: "No human being will agree to be robbed. However, if I as the robber come with a gun and the human being understands that there is no point in resisting, then he will give up. Of course, I hate to come with a gun, because I am such enlightened robber and hate to threaten and use violence, but I have to. It would be a different matter if the human being in question simply acquiesced to being robbed - then no gun would be necessary. But then, again, no living human being would..."
I also love this: "I am prepared to swear, for us and our descendants, that we will never destroy this equality and we will never attempt to expel or oppress the Arabs." This should have a small disclaimer next to it which says "unless the Arabs resist our project (which they sure will, as a living people)".
Put lipstick on a pig as much as you want, it is still a pig.

YMedad said...

Sorry but you're oinking too loud. You can try as hard as you want but Jabo's basic premise was defensive. And, of course, you presume that since the Arabs were here it's their land instead of thinking 'it's Jewish land and they are here as foreign occupiers who built illegal Arab settlements under cover of an Ottoman regime that twisted the law on their behalf and then tried to halt Jews from immigrating to and reclaiming their national homeland'.

Peter Drubetskoy said...

"Jabo's basic premise was defensive"

"Jabo" was not an idiot and understood that there is no such thing as "defensive premise" without offense. Do you think he believed it was possible to create the state with only defensive actions? Of course not. Best defense is offense and offensive actions must be taken during a struggle. So, semantics aside, the idea stays the same: to force creation of the Jewish state on the native population (I will ignore your remarks about illegitimacy of Arabs in Palestine.)
He was a smart man and a true intellectual. His problem was that he believed that rights of Jews precede and supersede the rights of other people, in this case the Arabs. He either failed to realize it was a racist position in direct contradiction to his stated belief in "the equality of all nations" or brushed the realization aside. In the end, the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict boils down to the same question: do you believe all men are equal and should enjoy the same rights? If you answer "yes", Israel's actions are untenable. If you answer "yes, but..." it is the same as answering "no" and anything Israel does will be justifiable.

g said...

No reply Mr. Medad?
I think you should leave another comment on the iron wall to correct yourself this time.

YMedad said...

I love the way people 'demand' answers their way.

Okay, let's see - "do you believe all men are equal and should enjoy the same rights?"


However, since the law of physics states that "No two objects can occupy the space at the same time" and there are few superposition exceptions, we have to ask: "can two different peoples, with different histories, religions, cultures and identities, claim the same territory as their sovereign national homeland?" and the answer has to be: "no".

Is there a compromise solution? Maybe. Has it been tried? Yes. Which side never really accepted any true compromise and which side attempted to deny the other side any rights? That side cannot exist as a separate national entity in the same territory as the other group but only as a 'community', a 'minority' that either accepts the identity of the majority and therefore merits all protection or it seeks to overthrow the existing order and opens itself to charges of disloyalty or worse, subversion.

Since all the basic documents, agreements and decisions relating to the Mandate over Palestine never refer to "Arabs" at all but rather the "non-Jewish population", it is obvious that whereas the Arab national aspirations had many states to develop in, the Arab populace of the territory of the future Jewish national home was to be citizens of a Jewish state.

That was Jabotinsky's premise. In the Jewish Herald in February 1939 Jabotinsky noted: "The brutal fact remains that between the minimum demands of the most moderate Arab and the minimum demands of the most moderate of the small Zionists there exists no bridge." After another 15 years since writing the Iron Wall, even Jabotinsky realized that the Arab appetite to deny Jews a state anywhere could not be restrained.

It really is simple, not racist.

YMedad said...

July 21, 1937, House of Commons, 10 PM, Debate on Partition


§ Mr. Churchill

I misunderstood the hon. Member, but, at any rate, he is well acquainted with the Arab problems and speaks with a strong feeling for their point of view. I do not consider that we are altogether in a free and easy position in this House in regard to this question. Pledges have been given on both sides. The pledge which all the world regarded with considerable attention, and which was mentioned by the Secretary of State in his speech, is undoubtedly the Balfour Declaration of policy put forward by the War Cabinet in the crisis of the Great War. It is a delusion to suppose that this was a mere act of crusading enthusiasm or quixotic philanthropy. On the contrary, it was a measure taken, as the right hon. Gentleman who led us in the crisis of the War knows, in the dire need of the War with the object of promoting the general victory of the Allies, for which we expected and received valuable and important assistance. We cannot brush that aside and start afresh as though it had never been given, and deal with this matter as if we had no obligations or responsibility. Therefore, I am bound to say that upon this issue, having studied the question as far as I can and having some personal connection and responsibility for it, I should have preferred the Government to have persevered in the old policy of persuading one side to concede and the other to forbear, and to carry forward that policy, hard and heavy though it may be, with all its inconveniences.

However, we are now presented with this magnificently written State document, the result of months of inquiry by men of very high character and ability, and we are bound to treat the Report of such a Commission with proper respect and consideration. All the same I must say that I could not vote for the Government Motion that we should approve now the principle of partition. I cannot do so because it seems to me it would be premature for the Government to ask the 2331 House to commit itself finally to this main principle. The principle cannot be judged fairly apart from the details by which it is expressed. Take the military aspect alone. The gravest anxieties arise about that. There are two sovereign States, one a rich and small State more crowded than Germany, with double the population to the kilometre of France, and then in the mountains in the surrounding regions, stretching up to Bagdad with the Assyrians and the desert tribes to the south, the whole of this great Arab area confronting this new Jewish State, and in between the two the British holding a number of extremely important positions with responsibilities at present altogether undefined.

It seems to me that this is a matter on which we must know more before we can approve. How can we decide at this moment that we will stand between these two sovereign States and keep the peace between them without knowing at all to what we are committing ourselves? The Secretary of State says that these details have not been worked out; they are coming at the next stage. What is the next stage? It is one for further exploration and inquiry and discussion with the League of Nations; the next stage is discussing with the various parties through the committees which will be set up. We have not got before us at this moment any of the vital data upon which we should be able to commit ourselves finally to the principle of partition. It may happen that the League of Nations may not approve of the Government's proposals, and it may happen that they may break down in detail. It may happen that the two parties, under the pressure of these proposals, may come to a better solution than is open to them at the moment. Therefore, I feel great difficulty at this stage and at this moment in committing myself to the principle of partition, and if it were the only alternative I should have no choice but to vote against it.

On the other hand, we have to be fair to the Commission and to the Government who are carrying this matter forward. The Report and proposals of the Commission should be tested to the full, and the Government have in their connection with the League of Nations a claim for certain advice and authority. At the present time, obviously, it would 2332 be harsh for Parliament, even if it had the power to prevent this matter going forward and being considered at the League of Nations. I have been looking about and walking about during the course of the afternoon to find some way by which, without hampering the forward movement and the treatment of this policy, those who do not feel inclined to commit themselves to the principle of partition may nevertheless agree with the next necessary step. It is of the greatest importance that we should be united on this problem. It is a problem where all the world is looking to see whether Great Britain behaves in an honourable manner, in a courageous manner and in a sagacious manner. I hope those who have been associated in this policy and have played some part in it will at any rate endeavour to walk together up to the point where it is perfectly clear that division arises.

There is also the question of the value of time. I do want to see some time before the House of Commons passes a definite vote of approval of the principle of partition. There are, I believe, signs on both sides that people are thinking that perhaps rather than this they might make some mutual concessions. They have heard of the judgment of Solomon, and how wise that was, in which a baby was held up in order to see which was the true mother. But if sufficient time had not been given for the true mother to proclaim herself by her feelings, I very much doubt whether that parable would have commended itself so much to subsequent generations.

I am not talking on the merits of this case; I am merely discussing procedure. It seems to me that we should treat this discussion not as a Second Reading Debate, but as a First Reading Debate and for leave to long in the Bill and make all the necessary preparations, and that we should not prejudice the further stages. Therefore, with your permission, and supposing that it fits in with the procedure, I should propose to move, as an Amendment to the Amendment of the official Opposition, to insert after the word "proposals" the following: "contained in Command Paper No. 5513 relating to Palestine should be brought before the League of Nations with a view to enabling His Majesty's Government, after adequate inquiry, to present to Parliament a definite scheme in accordance with the policy as set out in that Paper." 2333 That seems to me to enable the whole of this matter to go forward, and at the same time it enables us to reserve our right to examine the work when it is a completed work, to examine the proposals when they are before us not merely in general adumbration, but in precise and careful detail. It keeps the position open and, on the other hand, it arms the Government with all the powers they need at this moment, and it enables us all to adjourn the most serious aspects of this question until such moment as everyone, with full knowledge of a definite and concrete scheme, will be able to judge for himself.

Peter Drubetskoy said...

Yisrael, I think I once told you already, for you to pretend that you rely on the Balfour declaration as the justification for creating of Israel is both disingenuous and self-defeating. Disingenuous because you believe that Jews should have a state in EY based on the Bible regardless of any world power. So, you hide behind the Balfour declaration, but if tomorrow by miracle it was discovered that this declaration is a fraud and never existed (just an imaginary hypothetical situation), you would not think for a second of packing your stuff and going. You wouldn't say: "Well, I guess they never really promised us a homeland in Palestine, so, I have no justification to be here", would you?
It is self-defeating since most people in the world today would not "view with favour" a colonial power giving away land that was never its own to begin with (or "its own" only on the narrow meaning of possession by virtue of power, not justice). So, saying to the world "the land is ours since the Brits gave it to us" is not going to buy you a lot of sympathy. Zionists like you never left the colonial mindset that was already dying in the first half of the twentieth century. The world moved on since then.
Regarding sides accepting compromise etc, there are two things. One, when you expel a person from his home and then as a compromise offer him to live in the closet and he doesn't accept this, you cannot frame his position as stubbornness and "rejectivism". Second, this is a very one-sided view of history, as is your wont. Palestinians have been ready to compromise for 22% of the original Palestine as between the Jordan and the sea (and I guess about half of their partition allocation) with limited return of the refugees, more or less. To unbiased observers, that's a hell of a compromise. To portray the Palestinian position as static and never changing is wrong and a-historical. It changed over the years as most Palestinians came to accept that Israel is not going away any time soon. For example, see this passage in Kimmerling's and Migdal's "The Palestinian People" (emphasis mine):
"[...] By the early 1970s, these debates moved many within PLO away from the Charter's insistence on expulsion from Palestine of post-1917 Jews and their descendants to advocacy of a secular, democratic state including Jews and a majority of Arabs. Under Hawatma's prodding, this position evolved even further; by the 1980s, the Popular Democratic Front had persuaded most of the national movement to accept the principles of (a) more flexibility regarding what had formerly been considered the absolute right of the Palestinian repatriation in their original homes and (b) an Arab Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, rather - at least at first - than the democratic state in all of Palestine.
The idea of creating a Palestinian state in the occupied territories had developed slowly [...] The PLO has consistently emphasized three demands - the right of return, the right of self-determination, and the right to be an independent state. The 1947 partition was seen by PLO leaders as abrogating the right to self-determination. The decision to found a Palestinian state in any "liberated" part of the country(i.e., the West Bank and Gaza) was finally taken at the eleventh PNC meeting (Cairo, June 9, 1974) and marked a major tactical turning point. Many Palestinians saw it as a withdrawals in principle from the idea of liberating the entire country and a movement towards the option of a "mini-state [...]"

So, if anything, the Iron Wall worked! However, Israel did not know when to stop (as a gambler who makes money and doesn't know when to stop before he starts losing). With all the dragging of the peace process and expansion of the settlements, the people are now turning back not to 1967 - as a lot believe the two state solution is dead - but to 1948. Israel has been digging its grave as a state with Jewish majority and people are talking about creating a single, democratic, bi-national state between the Jordan and the Sea (of course, some delusional people also talk about the Jordanian option and/or the Egyptian option; good luck with that - better put your money on the coming of the Messiah.)

YMedad said...

Peter writes:

"for you to pretend that you rely on the Balfour declaration as the justification for creating of Israel is both disingenuous and self-defeating."

And I will repeat:

the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference and the League of Nations Mandate simply recognized, acknowledged and agreed with the historic reality - that the Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jews. It isn't a matter of justification. And I brought Churchill's words to show that some of the basic arguments will debate today were well known then, 75 years ago and more.

Peter Drubetskoy said...

"the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference and the League of Nations Mandate simply recognized, acknowledged and agreed with the historic reality - that the Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jews."

And why these would have any real legitimacy, coming from the handful of colonial states? The natives of the land did not accept those just as you would not accept those if you were them. Unfortunately, it is beyond your mental abilities to put yourself in somebody else's shoes.