Posts Tagged ‘Ilan Pappe’

Richard Daly and Nasir Khan on Israel and Palestine Issue

March 12, 2013
.

Editor’s remarks: Dr Richard Daly is an anthropologist who is active in writing and publishing. He wrote me a letter in which he raised some serious questions about my approach to Israel and Palestine. In response I wrote to him a letter in which I explained my views on the matter but without getting into any detailed discussion of our differing views. As mutually agreed,  I am publishing our exchanges on my websites and some other internet sites. In doing so we hope that our respective views will be useful to clarify the issues for readers, political actors and peace activists. Any private and personal information we exchanged has been deleted.

Nasir Khan, Editor

————————————————–
Richard Daly to Nasir Khan:

March 5, 2013,

Hello,

[Text deleted.]

I am  fully with you on Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, but I think you are wildly wrong on your commentary re Palestine and Israel. Too Islam-oriented. The focus cannot be on religion or physical violence. Too incendiary and full of hatred. It has to focus on Israel’s refusal to stop expansion and engage in peace.

I think we have to be pulling the world toward some kind of rational tolerance and peace in the region, and fanning flames of hatred –which does not have a shortage of the same–is counterproductive.

We have to stress not the bestiality of Israel, because all of us know how to be beasts when we are pushed into frenzies of intolerance, but to stress their leaders’ constant violation of the world’s desire for peace in the region, their violation of everything human by their armed occupation and expansion of Palestinian land.

I do not think the zionists have anything positive to contribute, but I do not think it reasonable or just, at this stage in the game, to drive Israelis into the sea. Israel has arrived. It cannot be pushed out, but nor should it be allowed to push out the long-term inhabitants on the basis of some Old Testament belief in ethnic primogeniture.

They must be led by world public opinion either to leave the country and make their mischief somewhere else, or work together with Palestinians to build a successful and peaceful country, an operation that could be a success if the whole world both criticizes and assists the process. How about calling for dismantling Israeli and Iranian nuclear installations, and, by the way, those of the big shots too.

Of course it cannot be done without a weakened and discredited late capitalism. Western capital is in crisis but that is another question. Pushing for a serious peace is a way of weakening capital and its aims even further, and giving some influence to the world’s peoples instead of to their so called leaders.

Your approach is shrill and incendiary and might one day contribute to massive communal violence rather than pressuring Israel and its backers  to make concessions for their own good, as well as for some degree of harmony is the powder keg that the region is. By all means, show the high walls, the roadblocks, the stunted Palestinian lives, the new towns on Palestinian farms, but many of your images — brutal acts to individuals — go beyond that and verge on hate literature, from my perspective.

I am sorry but I had to write this and I do not have time to become a blogger.

Richard
—————————–
Nasir Khan to Richard Daly:

March 10, 2013

Hello Richard,

[Text deleted.]

You have set forth some of your ideas on the Israel-Palestine issue including some critical remarks towards my approach to Israel and Palestine. Even though I have some reservations about what you say, but nonetheless I fully appreciate your sombre thoughts that show your good-will and your concern for peace and a peaceful settlement of the conflict. In fact, I also desire the same and have yearned for such goals for almost half-a-century. When it comes to analysing the specifics of Israeli policies, which I will rather call Zionist policies and goals, then our views seem to diverge on some points because they are based on our different experiences, involvements, perceptions and presuppositions.

Contrary to what you assume about my position, I also stand for peace and toleration in the region and for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Meanwhile, the old Zionist lie perfectly tailored to misleading the world while they carried out their systematic  expansion for the last 6 decades has been to play the victim-card: Israeli Jews are under threat of being wiped out! This deception has duped many people everywhere, especially those whose ears are used to listening to the customary sermons of Judaeo-Christian common roots of the Western civilisation. Therefore, it was interesting to see you also repeating the favourite Zionist catch-phrase ‘to drive Israelis into the sea’!

Zionism has not been a religious organisation with a philanthropist outlook or mission. Its aims were and continue to be political: to expand, exploit and dominate. Not only within the Middle East but also far beyond. The strategy to extend the Zionist power and control is a story of success: the rulers of the United States and its Congress dance to the tunes of Zionist masters and lately Canada has joined their political chorus. Britain and France were their traditional supporters and they follow what Tel Aviv tells them to do. Earlier on, the way they managed to prevail over the British government to get the Balfour Declaration (1917) shows their strength and their methods. During the British Mandate (in other words, British colonial rule) over Palestine in the inter-war period, the British facilitated the task of the Zionists within Palestine.

The Jewish emigration to Palestine increased during and after the Second World War. The people of Palestine were ignored while their land was being taken by Jewish organisations who soon used terrorist methods to take control of the land. The British rulers, the patrons of Zionist cause, were not spared either. Now the next step was to get the British out of the way to take Palestine. Under Zionist terror, the British fled leaving behind a story of betrayal, apathy and deception.

But the old colonial master had opened the door for the European Zionists to create a new colonial-settler state of ‘Israel’. Now was the time to get UN to declare the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 by partitioning Palestine. More than 78% of Palestine to Israel, only 22% the rest to the ‘native’ population of Palestine! That was the partition by the imperialist powers towards which the USSR also acquiesced. The Zionists had their day. The Arabs of Palestine had been betrayed and left to organised Zionist terrorists who wasted no time to expel a large population from their land by terror and violence. The Nakba had started and since then it has chartered the course of the ethnic cleansing in the occupied Palestine.

Obviously, I am quite aware that to offer an adequate reply to some of your critical comments I should present my views in much greater detail. But unfortunately I am unable to do so at this time. Instead, I will briefly reply to some of your direct questions.

Are my comments and outlook on Palestine and Israel ‘Islam-oriented’? I hope not, as far as I can see. To my mind it has been a political problem where the Zionists have taken over the land of the people of Palestine, Muslims and Christians, and expelled them from their land. They are the Palestinians who have been pushed out of their land, not the Israelis ‘into the sea’!

Since 1967 the further colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem has been going on unabated. The world has been watching and not able to do anything to stop Israel. Why? The Zionist power in the US and the rest of the Western world is the key to understanding this.

.
Numerous UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied land produced no result. The Israeli response has been one of total defiance and rejection of international law and international conventions with regard to their illegal settlements in the occupied territories and their treatment of the captive Palestinians. USA, Canada, etc. support Israel in all crimes against the people of Palestine. This is still going on. Now the question is how to respond to all this?

Well, we can play lip-service to the problem and say that peace will eventually prevail if we show only patience. I suggest, better still we keep our eyes closed and ears shut so that we don’t see or hear what is going on in the occupied Palestine. In that way, the angel of peace may appear on the horizon and pronounce the message of peace and justice and everything will turn fine! In fact, this is the attitude of the people who are neutral spectators of the tragedy within the occupied territories of Palestine. How the Palestinians are killed, beaten and terrorised by Israel has no meaning for such noble neutral onlookers. I was somewhat surprised that a well-read academic like you also comes with a prognosis that ‘focus should not be on religion and physical violence’.

But it is fair to ask why I support the Palestinians while so many other people including numerous political analysts, historian and journalists do not concentrate on their plight. Why I have sided and still do with the oppressed people of Palestine is not due to their religions, Islam and Christianity, but rather it is because of my awareness as a humanist to the great calamity that had fallen these people. We know that right-wing Jewish settlers who have been placed in various illegal settlements by the Israeli government in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are religious extremists and fanatics. It is the Zionists who use Jewish religion for their political agenda and misleading propaganda. This is something which I have tried to make clear. But I have never tried to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of religion, Islam and Christianity, versus Judaism. That will be too crude a position for a humanist like me to take! Neither, have I ever put forward Islam to define and defend the Palestinian cause. In my ideological and socio-political orientations, I have been a socialist, a non-compromising secularist and a humanist. As a matter of my humanist convictions, I do not play with religions or become a plaything of religions or religious people. Therefore to impute any religious label to my political work or views may be due to some misperception; this is quite easy because my Indo-Islamic cultural identity seems obvious.

Equally, it is vital to underscore that Israel has not been using physical violence and torture against the Palestinians for fun, but as a tool for its expansionist and colonising project. Such methods are brutal, barbarous and inhuman, and these are used routinely against other human beings. Should I ignore and not say what is happening in this regard? On the contrary, it is my duty as a human being to expose such cruel and inhuman violence against the people of Palestine. Obviously, the ‘Friends of Israel’ will rather have a lid on such information from leaking or displayed in the media. I am not against any religion or the followers of any religion or any mystic faith. But I am not a defender of Zionism, which as I mentioned earlier, is a political and not a religious movement. However, I am not the only one of the kind to think so, either.

.

On my blogs and other alternative websites that care to side with the oppressed and victimised people, I try to highlight the human rights issues in many countries including Palestine and Israel. Because it is by exposing the violence and terror of the Zionists of Israel can we show to the world what the Zionists are doing. If we don’t that, we are giving our tacit approval to such atrocities by our silence and indifference. This is more so in the case of politically-conscious people, the people who know what is happening but remain indifferent. In this regard, my position is unambiguous and my views are clearly goal-oriented: Israel should stop all such criminal activities against the people and the occupied land of Palestine.

It is well known what the Zionists in and outside Israel, AIPAC, and the Israeli Lobby in America, Canada, Britain, France and other European countries stand for. The US Government and the US Congress as the staunch backers of Israel and the Friends of Israel throughout the western hemisphere support the policies of Israel vis-a-vis the occupied people of Palestine. They give their full backing to Israel for its continued oppression and the colonisation of the rest of the West Bank and the gradual annexation of East Jerusalem by obliterating its Arab complexion. Thus new facts on the ground that Israel has been creating would decide the shape of things to come. Who can doubt that? This is a realistic assessment of the situation which the people of Palestine do not and cannot accept. We who sympathise with them continue to voice our support for their national rights and their protection from a brutal occupier. This oppression and violence is still going on and people are being killed, imprisoned, brutally beaten and humiliated.

The shrivelled tracts of land in the West Bank that were still owned by the Palestinians have been and are still being taken over by Israel for Jewish settlements, while confiscations and demolitions of the Palestinian homes take place in East Jerusalem and other places. It happens all the time, almost on daily basis. Western spectators and mass media have their own affiliations, sympathies and much apathy towards the plight of the Palestinian people. Contrary to what you say that my approach is ‘shrill and incendiary’ that may contribute to massive communal violence, I see the violence against the Palestinians a crime against humanity and war crimes. I am one of those who oppose the violence and brutalities of the occupying power. My task here is to inform others and highlight the issues so that Israel changes its expansionist and terrorist course and stops killing and destroying the Palestinians. As a historian, a blogger and a peace activist that’s all I can do in solidarity with a people who are more like the Red Indians of America of the previous centuries who were pushed by the European colonists out of their homes and hearths and have since those times being portrayed as incorrigible wild tribal people who were mostly put to death and their remaining descendants pushed to some barren reservations to live in social isolation, powerlessness and penury in the land which they once had owned as a free and independent people. The situation of Palestinians is not much different for that of the old generations of the Red Indians or First Nations of Canada.

In other words, my approach to the conflict is not much different from that of other peace activists who are working for peace and justice. Among such people I will also mention the names of some prominent Jewish writers and peace activists like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Richard Falk, Gilad Atzmon, Miko Peled, Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, etc. My views and work in this area are in line with these upholders of  the Palestinians’ rights and they are meant to contribute to ending the conflict and putting an end to the enslavement, oppression and degradation of a people.

I still believe only one democratic and secular state solution in historic Palestine is the best solution to the conflict. In no way, a well-informed person will see my approach as amounting to ‘hate literature’ or inflammatory. As you know, the Jewish writers, historians and peace activists I mentioned are not the enemies of Israel. Indeed, they are aware of the harm Zionism has done to the cause of the Jewish people and the long-term dangers which Israel is creating for itself and other people of the region. These views are appropriate to end an oppressive control over the life and destiny of the people of Palestine. With such views, I completely agree. But if you or anyone else will also call what they write including my articles and comments as ‘hate literature’ and ‘incendiary’ then that is something which I find deeply regrettable.

In the end, I thank you for your frank views and criticism. That also shows your perspective in a complicated conflict, which is a positive thing for exploring the possibilities from various angles. In addition, I much appreciate honestly-held views of a friend and well-wisher like you.

Cordially yours

Nasir

————————————–
Richard Daly To Nasir Khan:

March 10, 2013

Nasir,

[Text deleted.]

As for the Palestine question, there is nothing in what you write that I disagree with. In fact the hegemonic presence of Zionism in Toronto is regularly brought to our attention by an activist friend who works with Jews for Justice in Palestine. She is up to her eyes in the lies, threats and obfuscations of Zionism every day, and is a firm anti imperialist but constantly meets hysteria from the Canadian media, state and almost all other Jewish organizations.

The only difference you and I may have is how to frame the huge injustice and huge oppression such that this hegemony will be increasingly isolated by masses of bloggers and face bookers etc. Just exposing crimes without trying to affect a positive response to the situation, It seems to me –just pointing out the vicious acts of Israeli/Zionist officials and soldiers and settlers has to be done is ways that encourage organized resistance and not just gut-hatred based on tribal alliances,that can lead to more violent retaliations (which is what Zionism needs in order to justify its very military existence and its expansion). They provoke and we respond with angry retaliations, and the cycle goes on, and the leaders of the world, the monopolists continue to conduct business as usual.

Thanks for the long and serious reply. I did not feel it was an argument that I wanted, at this point to take to the Facebook crowd, which is an audience I find generally very superficial and highly manipulated by market forces and a difficult forum for serious issues.

Richard
——————————–

Ilan Pappe: A Big Thank You

September 10, 2009

By Ilan Pappe, ZNet, Sept 9, 2009
Source: The Electronic Intifada

Ilan Pappe’s ZSpace Page

(Sept 3) — Today was a unique day in the history of media coverage and discussion in Israel. All the electronic agencies, radio and television alike, discussed the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians and more importantly, the possible price tag attached to it. It lasted only for 12 hours and tomorrow the obedient Israeli media will return to parrot the governmental new message to the masses that the “conflict” has ended and is about to be solved. On the one hand, you already have happy-go-lucky Palestinians in the West Bank (see the latest reports by Thomas Friedman in The New York Times and Ari Shavit in Haaretz). And on the other, alas, those who opted out from the blissful new reality: the oppressed Palestinians who still live under Hamas’ dictatorship in the Gaza Strip.

Continues >>

Ilan Pappe: Disarm Israel

July 31, 2009

A Utopia or a Vision for Peace

By Ilan Pappe | ZNet, July 28, 2009

Ilan Pappe’s ZSpace Page

[Contribution to the Reimagining Society Project hosted by ZCommunications]

Whenever the possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state is mentioned by Israeli politicians, they take for granted that their interlocutors understand that the future state would have to be demilitarized and disarmed, if an Israeli consent for its existence is to be gained. Recently, this precondition was mentioned by the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to President Barrack Obama’s two states vision, presented to the world at large in his Cairo Speech this June. Netanyahu made this precondition first and foremost for domestic consumption: whoever has referred in the past to the creation of an independent state alongside Israel, and whoever does so today in Israel envisages a fully armed Israel next to a totally disarmed Palestine. But there was another reason why Netanyahu stressed the demilitarization of Palestine as a sine qua non: he knew perfectly well that there was no danger that even the most moderate Palestinian leader would accept such a caveat from the strongest military power in the Middle East.

Continued >>

The necessity of cultural boycott

June 27, 2009

By Ilan Pappe | ZNet, June 25, 2009
Source: Pulse Media

If there is anything new in the never-ending sad story of Palestine it is the clear shift in public opinion in the UK. I remember coming to these isles in 1980 when supporting the Palestinian cause was confined to the left and in it to a very particular section and ideological stream. The post-Holocaust trauma and guilt complex, military and economic interests and the charade of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East all played a role in providing immunity for the State of Israel. Very few were moved, so it seems, by a state that had dispossessed half of Palestine’s native population, demolished half of their villages and towns, discriminated against the minority among them who lived within its borders through an apartheid system and divided into enclaves two million and a half of them in a harsh and oppressive military occupation.

Full article>>

Gaza Massacre Foretold in 2005: What May Come After the Evacuation of Jewish Settlers from the Gaza Strip

February 9, 2009

A Warning from Israel

by Uri Davis and Ilan Pappe and Tamar Yaron

Global Research, February 8, 2009

Counterpunch – 2005-07-15

http://www.globalresearch.ca/site_images/emailfriend.gifEmail this article to a friend

http://www.globalresearch.ca/site_images/printfriendly.gifPrint this article

We feel that it is urgent and necessary to raise the alarm regarding what may come during and after evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip occupied by Israel in 1967, in the event that the evacuation is implemented.

We held back on getting this statement published and circulated, seeking additional feedback from our peers. The publication in Ha’aretz (22 June 2005) quoting statements by General (Reserves) Eival Giladi, the head of the Coordination and Strategy team of the Prime Minister’s Office, motivated us not to delay publication and circulation any further. Confirming our worst fears, General (Res.) Eival Giladi went on record in print and on television to the effect that “Israel will act in a very resolute manner in order to prevent terror attacks and [militant] fire while the disengagement is being implemented” and that “If pinpoint response proves insufficient, we may have to use weaponry that causes major collateral damage, including helicopters and planes, with mounting danger to surrounding people.”

We believe that one primary, unstated motive for the determination of the government of the State of Israel to get the Jewish settlers of the Qatif (Katif) settlement block out of the Gaza Strip may be to keep them out of harm’s way when the Israeli government and military possibly trigger an intensified mass attack on the approximately one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom about half are 1948 Palestine refugees.

The scenario could be similar to what has already happened in the past – a tactic that Ariel Sharon has used many times in his military career – i.e., utilizing provocation in order to launch massive attacks.

Following this pattern, we believe that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz are considering to utilize provocation for vicious attacks in the near future on the approximately one and a half million Palestinian inhabitants of the Gaza Strip: a possible combination of intensified state terror and mass killing. The Israeli army is not likely to risk the kind of casualties to its soldiers that would be involved in employing ground troops on a large scale in the Gaza Strip. With General Dan Halutz as Chief of Staff they don’t need to. It was General Dan Halutz, in his capacity as Commander of the Israeli Air Force, who authorized the bombing of a civilian Gaza City quarter with a bomb weighing one ton, and then went on record as saying that he sleeps well and that the only thing he feels when dropping a bomb is a slight bump of the aircraft.

The initiators of this alarm have been active for many decades in the defence of human rights inside the State of Israel and beyond. We do not have the academic evidence to support our feeling, but given past behavior, ideological leanings and current media spin initiated by the Israeli government and military, we believe that the designs of the State of Israel are clear, and we submit that our educated intuition with matters pertaining to the defence of human rights has been more often correct than otherwise.

We urge all those who share the concern above to add their names to ours and urgently give this alarm as wide a circulation as possible.

Circulating and publishing this text may constitute a significant factor in deterring the Israeli government, thus protecting the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip from this very possible catastrophe and contributing to prevent yet more war crimes from occurring.

Please sign, circulate, and publish this alarm without delay!

Please send notification of your signature to Tamar Yaron tiyaron@hazorea.org.il

WE WOULD ALSO APPRECIATE RECEIVING NOTIFICATION IF THE ALARM WAS PUBLISHED IN ANY MEDIA AND/OR IF IT WAS SENT TO A GROUP DISTRIBUTION LIST.

Uri Davis, Sakhnin, uridavis@actcom.co.il ,
Ilan Pappe, Tiv’on,
pappe@poli.haifa.ac.il , and
Tamar Yaron, Kibbutz Hazorea,
tiyaron@hazorea.org.il

Pilger: Silence when Israel burns Gaza and the Gazans

January 12, 2009

John Pilger | New Statesman, January 8, 2009

By refusing to condemn Israeli atrocities, intellectuals in the West are complicit in its crimes, argues JOHN PILGER.

“WHEN the truth is replaced by silence,” the Soviet dissident Yevgeny Yevtushenko said, “the silence is a lie.”

It may appear that the silence on Gaza is broken. The small cocoons of murdered children, wrapped in green, together with boxes containing their dismembered parents, and the cries of grief and rage of everyone in that death camp by the sea can be witnessed on Al-Jazeera and YouTube, even glimpsed on the BBC.

But Russia’s incorrigible poet was not referring to the ephemera we call news. He was asking why those who knew the why never spoke it and so denied it.

Among the Anglo-US intelligentsia, this is especially striking. It is they who hold the keys to the great storehouses of knowledge – the historiographies and archives that lead us to the why.

They know that the horror now raining on Gaza has little to do with Hamas or, absurdly, “Israel’s right to exist.”

They know the opposite to be true – that Palestine’s right to exist was cancelled 61 years ago and that the expulsion and, if necessary, extinction of the indigenous people was planned and executed by the founders of Israel.

They know, for example, that the infamous “Plan D” of 1947-8 resulted in the murderous depopulation of 369 Palestinian towns and villages by the Haganah (Israeli army) and that massacre upon massacre of Palestinian civilians in such places as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun, Jish, Ramle and Lydda are referred to in official records as “ethnic cleansing.”

Arriving at a scene of this carnage, David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was asked by a general, Yigal Allon: “What shall we do with the Arabs?” Ben Gurion, reported the Israeli historian Benny Morris, “made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said: ‘Expel them’.”

The order to expel an entire population “without attention to age” was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, a future prime minister promoted by the world’s most efficient propaganda as a peacemaker.

The terrible irony of this was addressed only in passing, such as when the Mapam party co-leader Meir Ya’ari noted “how easily” Israel’s leaders spoke of how it was “possible and permissible to take women, children and old men and to fill the road with them because such is the imperative of strategy. And this we say … who remember who used this means against our people during the (second world) war … I am appalled.”

Every subsequent “war” that Israel has waged has had the same objective – the expulsion of the native people and the theft of more and more land. The lie of David and Goliath, of perennial victim, reached its apogee in 1967 when the propaganda became a righteous fury that claimed the Arab states had struck first against Israel.

Since then, mostly Jewish truth-tellers such as Avi Shlaim, Noam Chomsky, Tanya Reinhart, Neve Gordon, Tom Segev, Uri Avnery, Ilan Pappé and Norman Finkelstein have undermined this and other myths and revealed a state shorn of the humane traditions of Judaism, whose unrelenting militarism is the sum of an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology called zionism.

“It seems,” wrote the Israeli historian Pappé on January 2, “that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as discrete events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system … Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology – in its most consensual and simplistic variety – allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanise the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them.

“The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern (of genocide).”

In Gaza, the enforced starvation and denial of humanitarian aid, the piracy of life-giving resources such as fuel and water, the denial of medicines, the systematic destruction of infrastructure and killing and maiming of the civilian population, 50 per cent of whom are children, fall within the international standard of the Genocide Convention.

“Is it an irresponsible overstatement,” asked Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and international law authority at Princeton University, “to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalised nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

In describing a “holocaust-in-the making,” Falk was alluding to the nazis’ establishment of Jewish ghettos in Poland.

For one month in 1943, the captive Polish Jews, led by Mordechaj Anielewicz, fought off the German army and the SS, but their resistance was finally crushed and the nazis exacted their final revenge. Falk is also a Jew.

Today’s holocaust-in-the-making, which began with Ben Gurion’s Plan D, is in its final stages. The difference today is that it is a joint US-Israeli project.

The F-16 jet fighters, the 250lb “smart” GBU-39 bombs supplied on the eve of the attack on Gaza having been approved by a congress dominated by the Democratic Party, plus the annual $2.4 billion in war-making “aid,” give Washington de facto control.

‘The unreported news is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can.’

It beggars belief that president-elect Obama was not informed. Outspoken about Russia’s war in Georgia and the terrorism in Mumbai, Obama has maintained a silence on Palestine that marks his approval, which is to be expected given his obsequiousness to the Tel Aviv regime and its lobbyists during the presidential campaign and his appointment of zionists as his secretary of state and principal Middle East advisers. When Aretha Franklin sings Think, her wonderful 1960s anthem to freedom, at Obama’s inauguration on January 20, I trust that someone with the brave heart of Muntader al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower, will shout: “Gaza!”

The asymmetry of conquest and terror is clear. Plan D is now Operation Cast Lead, which is the unfinished Operation Justified Vengeance.

This was launched by prime minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 when, with George W Bush’s approval, he used F-16s against Palestinian towns and villages for the first time.

In that same year, the authoritative Jane’s Foreign Report disclosed that the Blair government had given Israel the “green light” to attack the West Bank after it was shown Israel’s secret designs for a bloodbath. It was typical of new Labour’s enduring complicity in Palestine’s agony.

However, the Israeli plan, reported Jane’s, needed the “trigger” of a suicide bombing which would cause “numerous deaths and injuries (because) the ‘revenge’ factor is crucial.” This would “motivate Israeli soldiers to demolish the Palestinians.”

What alarmed Sharon and the author of the plan, General Shaul Mofaz, then Israeli chief of staff, was a secret agreement between Yasser Arafat and Hamas to ban suicide attacks.

On November 23 2001, Israeli agents assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud and got their “trigger.” The suicide attacks resumed in response to his killing.

Something uncannily similar happened on November 4 last year when Israeli special forces attacked Gaza, killing six people.

Once again, they got their propaganda “trigger,” a ceasefire sustained by the Hamas government, which had imprisoned its violators, was shattered as a result of the Israeli attacks and home-made rockets were fired into what used to be called Palestine before its Arab occupants were “cleansed.”

On December 23, Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire, but Israel’s charade was such that its all-out assault on Gaza had been planned six months earlier, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Behind this sordid game is the Dagan Plan, named after General Meir Dagan, who served with Sharon during his bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

Now head of the Israeli intelligence organisation Mossad, Dagan is the author of a “solution” that has brought about the imprisonment of Palestinians behind a ghetto wall snaking across the West Bank and in Gaza, now effectively a concentration camp.

The establishment of a quisling government in Ramallah under Mahmoud Abbas is Dagan’s achievement, together with a hasbara (propaganda) campaign relayed through mostly supine, if intimidated Western media, notably in the US, which says that Hamas is a terrorist organisation devoted to Israel’s destruction and is to “blame” for the massacres and siege of its own people over two generations, since long before its creation.

“We have never had it so good,” said the Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Gideon Meir in 2006. “The hasbara effort is a well-oiled machine.”

In fact, Hamas’s real threat is its example as the Arab world’s only democratically elected government, drawing its popularity from its resistance to the Palestinians’ oppressor and tormentor.

This was demonstrated when Hamas foiled a CIA coup in 2007, an event ordained in the Western media as “Hamas’s seizure of power.”

Likewise, Hamas is never described as a government, let alone democratic.

Neither is its proposal of a 10-year truce reported as a historic recognition of the “reality” of Israel and support for a two-state solution with just one condition – that the Israelis obey international law and end their illegal occupation beyond the 1967 borders.

As every annual vote in the UN general assembly demonstrates, most states agree. On January 4, the president of the general assembly, Miguel d’Escoto, described the Israeli attack on Gaza as a “monstrosity.”

When the monstrosity is done and the people of Gaza are even more stricken, the Dagan Plan foresees what Sharon called a “1948-style solution” – the destruction of all Palestinian leadership and authority, followed by mass expulsions into smaller and smaller “cantonments” and, perhaps, finally into Jordan.

This demolition of institutional and educational life in Gaza is designed to produce, wrote British-based Palestinian exile Karma Nabulsi, “a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed … Look to the Iraq of today: that is what (Sharon) had in store for us and he has nearly achieved it.”

Dr Dahlia Wasfi is a US writer on Iraq and Palestine. She has a Jewish mother and an Iraqi Muslim father. “Holocaust denial is anti-semitic,” she wrote on December 31.

“But I’m not talking about the World War II, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (the president of Iran) or Ashkenazi Jews. What I’m referring to is the holocaust we are all witnessing and responsible for in Gaza today and in Palestine over the past 60 years … Since Arabs are semites, US-Israeli policy doesn’t get more anti-semitic than this.”

She quoted Rachel Corrie, the young US citizen who went to Palestine to defend Palestinians and was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer.

“I am in the midst of a genocide,” wrote Corrie, “which I am also indirectly supporting and for which my government is largely responsible.”

Reading the words of both, I am struck by the use of “responsibility.”

Breaking the lie of silence is not an esoteric abstraction but an urgent responsibility that falls to those with the privilege of a platform.

With the BBC cowed, so too is much of journalism, merely allowing vigorous debate within unmovable, invisible boundaries, ever fearful of the smear of anti-semitism.

The unreported news, meanwhile, is that the death toll in Gaza is the equivalent of 18,000 dead in Britain. Imagine, if you can.

Then there are the academics, the deans and teachers and researchers. Why are they silent as they watch a university bombed and hear the Association of University Teachers in Gaza plead for help?

Are British universities now, as Terry Eagleton believes, no more than “intellectual Tescos, churning out a commodity known as graduates rather than greengroceries?”

Then there are the writers. In the dark year of 1939, the Third American Writers’ Congress was held at Carnegie Hall in New York and the likes of Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein sent messages and spoke up to ensure that the lie of silence was broken. By one account, 2,500 jammed the auditorium.

Today, this mighty voice of realism and morality is said to be obsolete. The literary review pages affect an ironic hauteur of irrelevance. False symbolism is all.

As for the readers, their moral and political imagination is to be pacified, not primed. The anti-Muslim Martin Amis expressed this well in Visiting Mrs Nabokov: “The dominance of the self is not a flaw, it is an evolutionary characteristic; it is just how things are.”

If that is how things are, we are diminished as a civilised people. For what happens in Gaza is the defining moment of our time, which either grants war criminals impunity and immunity through our silence, while we contort our own intellect and morality, or it gives us the power to speak out.

For the moment, I prefer my own memory of Gaza – of the people’s courage and resistance and their “luminous humanity,” as Nabulsi put it.

On my last trip there, I was rewarded with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering in unlikely places. It was dusk and children had done this. No-one had told them to do it. They made flagpoles out of sticks tied together and a few of them climbed onto a wall and held the flag between them, some silently, others crying out. They do this every day when they know foreigners are leaving, in the belief that the world will not forget them.

Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza

January 5, 2009

By Ilan Pappe | ZNet, January 4, 2008
Source:
The Electronic Intifada
Ilan Pappe’s ZSpace Page

(2 January 2009) — My visit back home to the Galilee coincided with the genocidal Israeli attack on Gaza. The state, through its media and with the help of its academia, broadcasted one unanimous voice — even louder than the one heard during the criminal attack against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza.

It is based first and foremost on sheer lies transmitted with a newspeak reminiscent of darker days in 1930s Europe. Every half an hour a news bulletin on the radio and television describes the victims of Gaza as terrorists and Israel’s massive killings of them as an act of self-defense. Israel presents itself to its own people as the righteous victim that defends itself against a great evil. The academic world is recruited to explain how demonic and monstrous is the Palestinian struggle, if it is led by Hamas. These are the same scholars who demonized the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in an earlier era and delegitimized his Fatah movement during the second Palestinian intifada.

But the lies and distorted representations are not the worst part of it. It is the direct attack on the last vestiges of humanity and dignity of the Palestinian people that is most enraging. The Palestinians in Israel have shown their solidarity with the people of Gaza and are now branded as a fifth column in the Jewish state; their right to remain in their homeland cast as doubtful given their lack of support for the Israeli aggression. Those among them who agree — wrongly, in my opinion — to appear in the local media are interrogated, and not interviewed, as if they were inmates in the Shin Bet’s prison. Their appearance is prefaced and followed by humiliating racist remarks and they are met with accusations of being a fifth column, an irrational and fanatical people. And yet this is not the basest practice. There are a few Palestinian children from the occupied territories treated for cancer in Israeli hospitals. God knows what price their families have paid for them to be admitted there. The Israel Radio daily goes to the hospital to demand the poor parents tell the Israeli audience how right Israel is in its attack and how evil is Hamas in its defense.

There are no boundaries to the hypocrisy that a righteous fury produces. The discourse of the generals and the politicians is moving erratically between self-compliments of the humanity the army displays in its “surgical” operations on the one hand, and the need to destroy Gaza for once and for all, in a humane way of course, on the other.

This righteous fury is a constant phenomenon in the Israeli, and before that Zionist, dispossession of Palestine. Every act whether it was ethnic cleansing, occupation, massacre or destruction was always portrayed as morally just and as a pure act of self-defense reluctantly perpetrated by Israel in its war against the worst kind of human beings. In his excellent volume The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel, Gabi Piterberg explores the ideological origins and historical progression of this righteous fury. Today in Israel, from Left to Right, from Likud to Kadima, from the academia to the media, one can hear this righteous fury of a state that is more busy than any other state in the world in destroying and dispossessing an indigenous population.

It is crucial to explore the ideological origins of this attitude and derive the necessary political conclusions form its prevalence. This righteous fury shields the society and politicians in Israel from any external rebuke or criticism. But far worse, it is translated always into destructive policies against the Palestinians. With no internal mechanism of criticism and no external pressure, every Palestinian becomes a potential target of this fury. Given the firepower of the Jewish state it can inevitably only end in more massive killings, massacres and ethnic cleansing.

The self-righteousness is a powerful act of self-denial and justification. It explains why the Israeli Jewish society would not be moved by words of wisdom, logical persuasion or diplomatic dialogue. And if one does not want to endorse violence as the means of opposing it, there is only one way forward: challenging head-on this righteousness as an evil ideology meant to cover human atrocities. Another name for this ideology is Zionism and an international rebuke for Zionism, not just for particular Israeli policies, is the only way of countering this self-righteousness. We have to try and explain not only to the world, but also to the Israelis themselves, that Zionism is an ideology that endorses ethnic cleansing, occupation and now massive massacres. What is needed now is not just a condemnation of the present massacre but also delegitimization of the ideology that produced that policy and justifies it morally and politically. Let us hope that significant voices in the world will tell the Jewish state that this ideology and the overall conduct of the state are intolerable and unacceptable and as long as they persist, Israel will be boycotted and subject to sanctions.

But I am not naive. I know that even the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinians would not be enough to produce such a shift in the Western public opinion; it is even more unlikely that the crimes committed in Gaza would move the European governments to change their policy towards Palestine.

And yet, we cannot allow 2009 to be just another year, less significant than 2008, the commemorative year of the Nakba, that did not fulfill the great hopes we all had for its potential to dramatically transform the Western world’s attitude to Palestine and the Palestinians.

It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as discrete events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system. In this new year, we have to try to realign the public opinion to the history of Palestine and to the evils of the Zionist ideology as the best means of both explaining genocidal operations such as the current one in Gaza and as a way of pre-empting worse things to come.

Academically, this has already been done. Our main challenge is to find an efficient to explain the connection between the Zionist ideology and the past policies of destruction, to the present crisis. It may be easier to do it while, under the most terrible circumstances, the world’s attention is directed to Palestine once more. It would be even more difficult at times when the situation seems to be “calmer” and less dramatic. In such “relaxed” moments, the short attention span of the Western media would marginalize once more the Palestinian tragedy and neglect it either because of horrific genocides in Africa or the economic crisis and ecological doomsday scenarios in the rest of the world. While the Western media is not likely to be interested in any historical stockpiling, it is only through a historical evaluation that the magnitude of the crimes committed against the Palestinian people throughout the past 60 years can be exposed. Therefore, it is the role of an activist academia and an alternative media to insist on this historical context. These agents should not scoff from educating the public opinion and hopefully even influence the more conscientious politicians to view events in a wider historical perspective.

Similarly, we may be able to find the popular, as distinct from the high brow academic, way of explaining clearly that Israel’s policy — in the last 60 years — stems from a racist hegemonic ideology called Zionism, shielded by endless layers of righteous fury. Despite the predictable accusation of anti-Semitism and what have you, it is time to associate in the public mind the Zionist ideology with the by now familiar historical landmarks of the land: the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the oppression of the Palestinians in Israel during the days of the military rule, the brutal occupation of the West Bank and now the massacre of Gaza. Very much as the Apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology — in its most consensual and simplistic variety — allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanize the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them. The means altered from period to period, from location to location, as did the narrative covering up these atrocities. But there is a clear pattern that cannot only be discussed in the academic ivory towers, but has to be part of the political discourse on the contemporary reality in Palestine today.

Some of us, namely those committed to justice and peace in Palestine, unwittingly evade this debate by focusing, and this is understandable, on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) — the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Struggling against the criminal policies there is an urgent mission. But this should not convey the message that the powers that be in the West adopted gladly by a cue from Israel, that Palestine is only in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and that the Palestinians are only the people living in those territories. We should expand the representation of Palestine geographically and demographically by telling the historical narrative of the events in 1948 and ever since and demand equal human and civil rights to all the people who live, or used to live, in what today is Israel and the OPT.

By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions. Challenging by nonviolent means a self-righteous ideological state that allows itself, aided by a mute world, to dispossess and destroy the indigenous people of Palestine, is a just and moral cause. It is also an effective way of galvanizing the public opinion not only against the present genocidal policies in Gaza, but hopefully one that would prevent future atrocities. But more importantly than anything else it will puncture the balloon of self-righteous fury that suffocates the Palestinians every times it inflates. It will help end the Western immunity to Israel’s impunity. Without that immunity, one hopes more and more people in Israel will begin to see the real nature of the crimes committed in their name and their fury would be directed against those who trapped them and the Palestinians in this unnecessary cycle of bloodshed and violence.

Ilan Pappe is chair in the Department of History at the University of Exeter.

Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

July 27, 2008


By Paul Craig Roberts | Information Clearing House, July 25, 2008

“On October 21,1948 the Government of Israel took a decision that was to have a lasting and divisive effect on the rights and status of those Arabs who lived within its borders: the official establishment of military government in the areas where most of the inhabitants were Arabs.”
Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History


I had given up on finding an American with a moral conscience and the courage to go with it and was on the verge of retiring my keyboard when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.

Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation: “I am a Zionist.” Like most Americans, Rev. Are had been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped to spread the propaganda among his congregation.

Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits the Christian Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and author Marc Ellis, co-editor of the book, Beyond Occupation.

Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the ground had made him complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping to save others from his mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice, published in Canada in 1994.

Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book. Keep in mind that 1994 was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer’s recent book, which exposed the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to control the explanation Americans receive about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Rev. Are begins with an account of Israel’s opening attack on the Palestinians, an event which took place before most Americans alive today were born. He quotes the distinguished British historian, Arnold J. Toynbee: “The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though nor comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.”

Golda Meir, considered by Israelis as a great leader and by others as one of history’s great killers, disputed the facts: “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

Golda Meir’s apology for Israel’s great crimes is so counter-factual that it blows the mind. Palestinian refugee camps still exist outside Palestine filled with Palestinians and their descendants whose towns, villages, homes and lands were seized by the Israelis in 1948. Rev. Are provides the reader with Na’im Ateek’s description of what happened to him, an 11-year old, when the Jews came to take Beisan on May 12, 1948. Entire Palestinian communities simply disappeared.

In 1949 the United Nations counted 711,000 Palestinian refugees.

In 2005 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimated 4.25 million Palestinians and their descendants were refugees from their homeland.

The Israeli policy of evicting non-Jews has continued for six decades. On June 19, 2008, the Laity Committee in the Holy Land reported in Window Into Palestine that the Israeli Ministry of Interior is taking away the residency rights of Jerusalem Christians who have been reclassified as “visitors in their own city.”

Continued . . .