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.

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