Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dances with Wolves and Palestine



What does the 1990 movie "Dances With Wolves" have to do with Gaza and Israel?

The movie recalls the Old West frontier in the 1860's. A white man, John Dunbar, becomes involved with, then integrated into, a tribe of Sioux Indians. Both Dunbar and the tribe are apprehensive about the coming of more white men. Dunbar talks with the chief of the tribe, Ten Bears, about it. Ten Bears pulls out an old Spanish conquistador helmet passed down the generations and speaks of the Spanish, of Mexicans, of Texans each in their turn. "They are all the same, they take without asking", he says.

So it is with the Crusaders and with Zionism, people from outside of Palestine who arrived to take without asking. Most Americans know absolutely nothing about the history of Palestine. The Jews of 2000 years ago were not expelled, though Rome did expel them from the city of Jerusalem, Jews were free to remain in Judea and did so. Though Islam swept through the area in the 7th and 8th centuries, displacing one religion with another, Arab Palestinians are as likely to be related genetically to the ancient residents, if not more so than anyone from outside the area. They are true natives of the land whose religion could well have changed voluntarily. The conquests of Islam were not accompanied by a demand on the indigenous people to become Muslim, though willing converts were many, unsurprising given the obvious success of the followers of Mohammed.

So in precisely the same way Anglo-Americans arrived to take the Old West without asking, so did European Jews arrive to take Palestine without asking. In precisely the same way American Indians resisted the taking, so also does HAMAS resist the taking. HAMAS is no more a terrorist group than were the tribesmen under Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse or Red Cloud. They stand defiantly with primitive technology, their wits and will to oppose injustice. They no more want to see the deaths of their people than did the Indians want to see the deaths of their families, but in both cases there is no choice but to expose those families to danger.

All of the current reports from Palestine/Israel, and all U.S. news reporting from the area that I have seen over my lifetime of 6 decades, fail to make any reference to the root of the conflict - the arrival of Europeans intent on taking Palestinian land for their own. This failure to place the situation in context is deliberate because it allows turning morality upside-down in favor of the aggressor. It assumes without question that Israel is righteous and an outpost of civilization, the virtuous holding the fort against chaos, a view that would have been familiar to any Anglo-American in 1860 looking west.

In fact, the moral situation is the reverse. A people wronged in Europe arrived to claim a land from the natives who had nothing to do with the wrong suffered by the immigrants. The Jewish Holocaust had nothing to do with Palestine and in no way justifies the taking of Palestine exclusively for Jews. The Palestinians are innocent people in exactly the same moral position as the Native-Americans during the entire period of the Anglo conquest of what is now the United States. The Palestinians have exactly the same moral right to defend themselves against aggression as the Native-Americans. HAMAS rockets are as legitimate as was the bow and arrow as a means of resistance in 1860.

Zionists took without asking and continue at this very moment doing so by way of the settlements. In war or in "peace", Israel is the aggressor and the Jewish State stands on a foundation of the ruins of well over 400 Palestinian villages and towns in exactly the same way that the United States sits on the long disappeared ruins of Native-American dwellings.

The United States in supporting Israel is being faithful not to the principles upon which it bases its laws, nor to morality, but to the practice of might makes right that it exhibited for the centuries in which it relentlessly destroyed a civilization in North America.

Any American claiming remorse at the treatment given the American Indian, shows a blindness and hypocrisy beyond measure when showing support for Israel. The tongue of any American who says Israel, a country whose land is stolen in its entirety (and one that has yet to define its borders) has exclusive right to the land, should sting with the statement. There is only one solution to the problem - a state that respects both Jews and non-Jews equally.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tzvia Thier speaks, we all need to listen

A lifelong Zionist and Israeli, her eyes opened by her children, moves to the U.S. and, all alone, leaflets passing Americans hoping to inform them about Israel and why they should stop supporting it. This is powerful.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Allan Brownfeld: battles over Zionism inside Jewish organizations

Here is another outstanding 15 minute video from the National Summit to Re-assess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship held in Washington D.C. early this year. Allan Brownfeld consistently writes outstanding articles for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

After describing how Zionism was a minority view in Judaism until after WW2, Brownfeld goes on to describe the hypocrisy of America supporting a state for a single religious group. He also tells of the prohibition by the Hillel (campus Jewish group) of any speakers who are anti-Zionist. He finishes be describing his optimism about the future in this way:

"Among young people there is a great belief in freedom of speech, in freedom of debate, and a desire that moral values treating each individual with human dignity be applied everywhere, in Palestine, in Israel as well as in our own country. So I think Zionism within the Jewish community is in retreat."


Thursday, March 13, 2014

unprecedented Israel forum in DC

I have mentioned the indefatigable Alison Weir several times on this blog. She was once a small town newspaper reporter who (like me) became curious about the relationship between the United States and Israel after contemplating the fact that Israel always seems to come out a winner while defying official U.S. foreign policy, while criticism of that country is never heard on Capitol Hill. Alison has long been involved with the Council for the National Interest and she has her own website If Americans Knew that graphically details the lopsided reporting about Israel in the United States.

Along with many other intrepid explorers of the "special relationship" she has just participated in the unprecedented National Summit to Reassess the U.S. - Israel Special Relationship, a day long event held in Washington DC at the National Press Club. It featured outstanding authors who have published books looking into every detail of the history of Israel with regard to the United States.

The entire event was broadcast and recorded by CSPAN and the panels are all available to be seen. I've just viewed the panel "History: How did the special relationship come to be?" with lead-off presenter Stephen Walt (shown below) co-author with John Mearsheimer of "The Israel Lobby", the book that broke the ice regarding the lobby, with the unremarkable idea that the interests of United States and Israel are not identical.

Please watch. I promise you will be impressed and educated.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Knesset members throw a fit over the facts

Some members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, were so outraged when hearing the president of the European Parliament ask them about Palestinians being allowed only 1/3 the water that Israelis use, that they shouted at him and stormed out.

Yet he was talking about facts. The question is: do the MK (Ministers of the Knesset) actually know the reality of life under occupation, of which water deprivation is but one part?

Here is what the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz (an excellent paper, I might add) has to say about the topic under the title, "Just How Much Do Palestinians Rely on Israel for Water?".


"Israelis - including those in the settlements - use three times as much water a day in their households as West Bank Palestinians do. That is just one aspect of the large discrepancy between Israelis and Palestinians in access, development and use of water resources -- a discrepancy that has only increased since the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Some 113,000 Palestinians in the West Bank, in some 70 villages and communities, are still not connected to the water network and are dependent on water transported in tanker trucks, which raises the price significantly. In many of these communities, which are extremely poor, the families are forced to spend up to 40 percent of their income on this basic commodity. In these communities in Area C (under exclusive Israeli control) the average water consumption per day is about 20 liters per capita. Often a pipe of Israel’s Mekorot water company that reaches the settlements runs nearby, but the Palestinians are not allowed to connect to it.
In most areas of the West Bank the water supply in the summer is sporadic, with municipalities required to stagger the water supply between neighborhoods. In various cities, especially in the southern West Bank, there is no running water in houses for weeks and even months at a time. Consequently, according to estimates of international aid organizations, almost a million Palestinians do not reach the minimal average daily usage of 60 liters, set by the World Health Organization. On average Palestinians use 73 liters of water a day -- just a third the amount consumed by Israelis.
The Oslo Accords determined that the water system in the Gaza Strip would be independent and self-contained, separate from the rest of Israel and the territories. That system relies only on the aquifer within Gaza’s borders without taking into account population growth. That is why the Gaza Strip suffers from accumulated overpumping of water and a drop in the level of the groundwater. Some 90 percent of the water used in Gaza is not fit for drinking because of salinity and the infiltration of sewage.
The Oslo Accords left full control of the water sources in the West Bank in Israel’s hands. The agreement was intended to allow the Palestinians to expand their water system by drilling independent wells. According to it, the Palestinian Authority is permitted to produce 118 million cubic meters of water a year from the water sources in the West Bank -- based on a calculation of Palestinian water usage from 20 years ago. Israel is allowed to use 483 million cubic meters a year.
But since 1995, instead of the Palestinians increasing the amount of water they produce, the figure actually dropped by 20 million cubic meters a year, to just 86.9 million, according to the Palestinian Water Authority. The reasons for this include: drought, dried up springs, Israel’s refusal to allow the rehabilitation of agricultural wells, and the fact that new drilling does not compensate for the old wells used when the area was under Jordanian control."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sharon is dead, here's an obit

Ariel Sharon has died after a years-long period of being in a coma.

I have noticed that in speaking of him, world leaders have taken care to limit the praise to such things as "loved his country" and "a leader of his people" while avoiding placing him outside of Israel in the company of any recognized world leaders such as those who are speaking of him. They don't want his company, not surprisingly, since his record is one of destruction and suffering for many. History indicts him and only the sway of powerful money brings even the faint praise he has received.

The best obituary comes from Max Blumenthal, author of the fact-filled book, Goliath. Please read it for the truth about Ariel Sharon.

Friday, December 6, 2013

a real memorial for the holocaust

Today, Friday the 6 of December, 2013, the Wall Street Journal features a front page story by Naftali Bendavid on the passing of the last of the holocaust survivors and how this puts the memory of the event at risk, a truly outlandish claim that called for a response, which I reproduce here...

Mr. Bendavid:

I have read your article on the last of the holocaust survivors dying of old age.

There is absolutely no danger the holocaust will be forgotten – there are dozens of holocaust memorials in the United States and in my state of Illinois it is a legal requirement that public school students be taught about the holocaust before they reach high school. Mention of the holocaust is frequent in the U.S. media.

A long term and current tragedy made possible by the holocaust is rarely, if ever, mentioned and that is the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and their more than 65 year abuse by the state of Israel, the foundation of which was made possible by leveraging the horror of the holocaust to deflect criticism of Jews who, as Israelis, deny equality to Arabs in Palestine.

The Knesset approved plan to evict tens of thousands of Bedouin (Israeli citizens!) from the Negev, forcing them into concentration towns while opening their lands up to Jews-only settlement is something I believe would horrify the great majority of those who were lost in the holocaust. I haven’t read about this in the WSJ. Nor have I read about the Nakba, the horrible expulsion of Arabs in 1947-48 that literally laid the groundwork for The Jewish State.

The promised land for Jews, as for any other ethnic group, is the United States, where we attempt to practice liberty and justice for all. In Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu continually raises the specter of a “second holocaust” to excuse whatever he chooses to do in the name of the defense of Jews. For Israel, no non-Jews need apply for citizenship, a direct refutation of all the United States claims to hold dear.

I don’t know about you, but the Jews I know have no fears whatsoever of intolerance in the U.S. and, as is evident to all, there is no profession or occupation or way of life in America that is denied to Jews. Quite the contrary, it is the very success of Jews in the United States that provides the wealth and democratic participation that provides the clout of the Israel Lobby in Congress, protecting Israel from every UN sanction, including the incredible veto by the U.S. of its own policy against Israeli settlements in the UN last year.

To be faithful to those who perished in the holocaust, the correct course of action is to bring to public attention the fact that there are Jews behaving badly in the Middle East, rapidly approaching in Israel the kind of state that made the holocaust possible. Read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” for evidence. When Israel is held responsible for its ethnic-cleansing project, the project of Zionism from the start, only then will the holocaust be honored as it should be.

When innocent people are victims, as was the case in the holocaust, it in no way entitles those who claim them for relations, the Israelis, to victimize innocents anew. There is no more shameful evidence that the lesson of the holocaust has not been learned than the behavior of the State of Israel as I write. Benjamin Netanyahu’s tongue should burn as he leads yet another party through Yad Vachem.

Regards,
Clif Brown