Tuesday, February 26, 2013

review of Pappé's book on ethnic cleansing

Here is my review of Ilan Pappé's  book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine"

Zionist views have been overwhelmingly influential in the United States. "The Story of Israel" that I place in quotation marks to indicate its mythological nature, has been presented repeatedly, but most famously in the novel and movie, "Exodus". It is the story of victims struggling to an empty land where they make the desert bloom and stand proudly with weapons in hand shouting "never again".

This appealing, heroic, justice-loving scenario is a fabrication. Ilan Pappé, an Israeli Jew, has, in this book, presented the facts upon which true justice must be based.

From its inception late in the 19th century, mainstream Zionism, considered early on as a kind of lunatic-fringe within Judaism, put forth the clearing of the indigenous people, the Arabs living in Palestine, as a necessity for the creation of a Jewish majority there. So it has happened.

Zionism struggled before WW2 because not enough Jews were interested in going to Palestine, but the holocaust put the movement over the top, not only providing the necessary influx but also creating a feeling of guilt among the nations of the world (not least Germany) that was leveraged into the creation of the State of Israel and its financing and militarization since (read The Holocaust Industry by Norman Finkelstein).

This book is a detailed accounting of the horrors that occurred - the forced evacuation of hundreds of villages, executions of villagers (over 31 events are considered massacres), blowing up houses or setting fire to them with the residents inside, military attacks on unarmed civilians - pure terror by the folks who loudly denounce terror.

The parallel to what happened in Kosovo is startling, particularly in view of the NATO bombing that took place to stop the activity in the former Yugoslavia compared to the lack of any effort to stop the cleansing of Palestine. In fact, the United States cannot do enough to help the process as it continues to this day.

Israel, like the United States, is a country founded on injustice. The process could take place hidden away in the vastness of the American west in the 19th century, but with Israel it has been quite obvious all along. Shockingly, the world has stood by, impotent in the face of the "special relationship" between the US and Israel fostered by the political power of Zionists in the United States. This history is a blot on both countries. The ethic-cleansing has proceeded only because of US protection and not a few American Jews hold dual citizenship, having taken up residence in the Israeli settlements specifically to take the land from the natives.

As the Senate confirmation hearing on Chuck Hagel demonstrated conclusively, Congress is the puppet of Zionism. Senators fell all over themselves questioning Hagel about his views on Israel while all other matters were secondary.

Americans should wake up to the reality of Israel, a county that is injustice institutionalized, a living example of everything the American civil rights movement was out to end. The founders of Israel state were full and mostly eager participants in the eviction of the Palestinians, the destruction of their homes and villages and the deliberate erasure of the evidence continued to this day by the planting of "forests" by the Jewish National Fund. All the facts are evident in the archives and in particular the diary of David ben Gurion, who happily viewed empty villages flushed of the Arab residents. This history is an outrage that any person, Jewish or not, should find revolting.

There is only one future for Israel - as a democracy for all people, not a place for one group (the Jews) to ride herd on others. This will come as surely as it did in South Africa. The BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement is a great way to make progress in this.

When one's nation does wrong, only a few citizens will have the courage to point it out. My deepest respect to Professor Pappé, who was hounded out of Israel and now teaches in Great Britain, for this outstanding documentary work. My deepest apologies to the Palestinian people who have endured decades of injustice and are readily labeled terrorists be those ignorant of the past and the people.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

making the comfortable uncomfortable

At the blog 972, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana have written a piece called Who's Afraid of BDS? that was prompted by a conversation they had in a Tel Aviv restaurant with a waitress on the subject of the occupation. It has to do with the ability to be deliberately uninvolved with the righting of injustice, the ability to look away and be comfortable when bad things are happening just a few miles away, the ability to put something out of mind and get along fine while someone else has terrible problems for which one is responsible.

We in America are guilty of this. I look upon this blog as an effort to make the comfortable uncomfortable. Please read Who's Afraid of BDS?

Monday, February 4, 2013

in one way the US and Israel are twins

"Israel has worked hand-in-glove with repressive regimes in every corner of the earth in ways that facilitate the suppression, murder, assassination, rape, torture, disappearance, kidnapping and imprisonment of those struggling for freedom and justice. Its arms and repression industries continue today through Israeli state institutions and via private corporations and a worldwide network of Zionist organizations. Repressive regimes find a willing and able ally in Israel."

It's a tragic fact that the United States could be substituted for Israel in the foregoing paragraph, taken from Israel's Worldwide Role in Repression, published last year by IJAN, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

Because there is big money in equipping and training military forces around the world and big money in supporting the huge U.S. military presence around the world, plenty of private companies are doing very well supplying weaponry and infrastructure for the use of force, the motivation for the use of that force being irrelevant. The United States did a huge military business with the hated Shah of Iran, which plays no small part in the anger of Iranians with this country.

The relatively recent arrival of drones has been a gold mine in particular for Israel. The fall of the USSR did not result in any scaling back of US arms production. In this working of worldwide strife for profit, the two countries are peas in a pod.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hagel needlessly grovels at his hearing

During the grilling of Chuck Hagel at the hearing to determine his fitness for the office of Secretary of Defense, he needlessly groveled before his questioners, afraid to stand up for the truth. To show that this is the case, look at the following item with which he was confronted.

It is an excerpt of a speech Ambassador Charles Freeman gave to the Palestine Center in 2011. There is nothing in this that is not true, yet it was thrown at Hagel as if it was an outrage. In fact, it is heresy to the Israel lobby, a group determined to defeat Hagel's appointment to office.

Similarly, the cruelties of Israelis to their Arab captives and neighbors, especially in the ongoing siege of Gaza and repeated attacks on the people of Lebanon, have cost the Jewish state much of the global sympathy that the Holocaust previously conferred on it. The racist tyranny of Jewish settlers over West Bank Arabs and the progressive emergence of a version of apartheid in Israel itself are deeply troubling to a growing number of people abroad who have traditionally identified with Israel. Many — perhaps most of the most disaffected — are Jews. They are in the process of dissociating themselves from Israel. They know that, to the extent that Judaism comes to be conflated with racist arrogance (as terrorism is now conflated with Islam), Israeli behavior threatens a rebirth of anti-Semitism in the West. Ironically, Israel — conceived as a refuge and guarantee against European anti-Semitism — has become the sole conceivable stimulus to its revival and globalization. Demonstrably, Israel has been bad for the Palestinians. It is turning out also to be bad for the Jews.