Answering Back to Israel's Campus Critics

Mr. Cravatts, Ph.D., former publications director at the Kennedy School and director of public relations at the School of Public Health, is the director of Boston University’s program in book and magazine publishing at the Center for Professional Education.

As evidence of what Professor Edward Alexander has called "the explosive power of boredom" in rousing the liberal professoriate to its ideological feet, Harvard's prolific Professor of Anthropology and of African and African American Studies, J. Lorand Matory, was yet again fulminating in the June 5th issue of the Harvard Crimson about the “chilling” of free speech on campus and seeking, as he has been for some time now, "a civil dialogue in which people with a broad range of perspectives feel safe and are encouraged to express their reasoned and evidence-based ideas."

And what were those "reasoned" ideas that had caused professor Matory to feel "unsafe" on Harvard's insulated campus? Criticism of Zionism and Israel, of course, an issue about which Professor Matory and others have many notorious opinions, but which are being suppressed, in his ominous view, through "imbalances in access to money, media, and society’s administrative apparatuses [which] constitute the censorship of dissent." Professor Matory's implication is that on this one issue—criticism of Israel—the sacrosanct notion of "academic free speech" is being threatened by Israel’s defenders who wish to stifle all speech critical of the Jewish state.

That reference in Matory’s opening line to “access to money, media, and society’s administrative apparatuses” as a tool to obviate criticism of Israel is itself particularly odious, as it echoes precisely the classic form of anti-Semitism which positions Jews as the holders of great power, wealth, and influence, and those able to sway public opinion to protect Jewish interests—which in current times has meant Israel’s interests. And like others who are confounded by what they see as an unjustified continuing support of Israel by the United States, Matory makes the same mistaken assumption that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer made in their notorious recent book, The Israel Lobby: that there is a sinister, powerful cabal working in the shadows to deflect criticism of Israel and silence its foes, and that the truth about Israel’s moral and political flaws are therefore never widely known.

Instead, though it is apparently difficult for Matory or the “Israel lobby” foes to believe so, Israel’s case in the “marketplace of ideas” is strong because history, reason, and evidence-based ideas are on its side, despite the fervency with which its detractors try to tear it down. So the problem of not being listened to that Matory and others so regularly bemoan is not due to the wily machinations of speech-stifling pro-Zionists, but possibly to the vacuity and extremism of the critics’ own views. Professor Matory, for instance, points to the fact that the New York Times and Boston Globe have never published his opinions as evidence of a conspiracy to silence him, when it is far more likely that he goes unpublished in mainstream media precisely because his ideas are egregiously wrong-headed and not worthy of widespread dissemination.

Professor Matory also mentioned how another high-profile, outspoken academic, Norman Finkelstein, had a speaking invitation from Harvard withdrawn because of his unrelenting criticism of Israel, using this as more proof that critics of Israel are regularly silenced on campus. But Finkelstein has loudly pronounced his extreme views on the Middle East, not to mention his loathing of what he has called the Holocaust “industry,” something he has called an “outright extortion racket,” and in fact blames Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.  Writing in Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, his off-handed, sardonic response to Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz’s own book, Chutzpah, Finkelstein accuses Jewish leadership, a group he defines as a “repellent gang of plutocrats, hoodlums, and hucksters,” of creating a “combination of economic and political power,” from which “has sprung, unsurprisingly, a mindset of Jewish superiority.” What is more, he continues, “from this lethal brew of formidable power, chauvinistic arrogance, feigned (or imagined) victimhood, and Holocaust-immunity to criticism has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today.” 

Finkelstein’s best known work, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections On The Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, cruelly minimizes the magnitude of the Holocaust while simultaneously making the perverse accusation that it is used by Zionists to extract sympathy from the world community and to justify the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinians by Israelis. Despite its popularity with anti-Semites, Islamists, and neo-Nazis worldwide, one critic, Brown University genocide expert Omer Bartov, an authority on genocide, described the book in a New York Times review as "a novel variation on the anti-Semitic forgery, 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' . . . brimming with indifference to historical facts, inner contradictions, strident politics . . . indecent . . . juvenile, self-righteous, arrogant and stupid." Historian David Greenberg was similarly critical of the level of scholarship in The Holocaust Industry, calling it "a hate-filled screed" filled with "pseudo-scholarship, extreme anti-Israel ideology and—there is no way around it—anti-Semitism."

Finkelstein, who was recently denied tenure at DePaul, has now also adopted the position that this professional set-back is the direct result for being bold enough to speak up against Zionism and Israel, and he has been punished into silence accordingly, even while he regularly visits college campuses nationwide, usually at the invitation of the Muslim Students Association, where, as he is demonizing Israel and America, he coddles homicidal Palestinians and defends the terror of Hezbollah with such admissions as: "I did make a point of publicly honoring the heroic resistance of Hezbollah to foreign occupation . . . Their historic contributions are . . . undeniable." 

The real question is: not why was Finkelstein’s invitation to speak at Harvard withdrawn and who was responsible, but why would such an incendiary figure be invited in the first place?

The truth of the matter is that “not every idea is worth the university’s attention,” as Bruce S. Thornton, professor and chair of the Humanities Department of California State University, Fresno, recently observed. “Today, no one wants to give time to someone arguing for a geocentric cosmos, a flat earth, or space-alien construction of the pyramids. Nor should we grant a hearing to those endorsing more contemporary, but equally dubious, ideas that obviously violate the canons of rational thought and knowledge. Holocaust denial, for example, is not an acceptable idea on a university campus, since believing that the Holocaust didn’t take place violates the accepted standards used to establish historical truth. . . Such ideas are today’s equivalents of the flat-earth point of view. The town square can tolerate their presence; the university should not.”

So, too, should universities be free to make moral judgments about the suitability of their invited speakers, as Harvard did, eventually, in the case of poet Tom Paulin, who Matory also mentions in recounting of instances when Israel–haters were denied a Harvard platform. When Harvard's English Department in 2002 invited Paulin to speak as a prestigious Morris Gray Lecturer, it did so, according to the schair, Lawrence Buell, “to affirm a belief in the importance of free speech as a principle and practice in the academy.” That of course is a noble and purposeful role for universities, save for the fact that Paulin, poet and lecturer at Oxford University, had been quoted articulating the odious sentiment that "Brooklyn-born” Jewish settlers should be "shot dead." "I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them," he told Egypt's al-Ahram Weekly. "I can understand how suicide bombers feel . . . I think attacks on civilians in fact boost morale.”

What Professors Finkelstein, Walt, Mearsheimer, and Matory have all apparently failed to realize is that they have not been silenced at all in their unrelenting rants against Israel; in fact, the very opposite is true: they have achieved world-wide notoriety and, in some quarters, wide acclaim for their views. More importantly, in their zeal to preempt the insulating force of this notion of "academic freedom," they have sought to deprive their ideological opponents of the same rights and protection; that is, while they want to be able to utter any calumny against the Jewish state and suffer no recriminations for their speech, they view any speech from those challenging their views to be oppressive, stifling, unreasonable, and, in the popular term used by those who frequently utter second-rate ideas, "chilling."

But the issue is far more obvious than the professors care to realize, and much less insidious. Those who speak back to ideologues such as Matory, Finkelstein, Walt, and Mearsheimer do so not to suppress criticism of Israel, but to contribute to the debate about it; academic freedom grants the professors the right to spew forth any ideologies they wish, but it does not mean that they can do so without being challenged over the content of their thoughts.

"Free speech does not absolve anyone from professional incompetence," says Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; and those who question divestment petitions, or critique the anti-Israel and anti-American "scholarship" parading on campuses as Middle Eastern Studies, or answer back when a work purports to reveal a sinister Jewish cabal controlling U.S. foreign policy, or criticize those who condone or apologize for terrorism, or correct such notions as Professor Matory's that Israel is "quashing the rights of millions of Palestinians refugees to lands, houses, and goods stolen as a condition of Israel's founding in the late 1940s" are not stifling debate about Israel. They are using their own academic freedom to rebut what they see as distortions, half-truths, propaganda, mistakes about history, or outright lies.

There is nothing unseemly about countering speech—even hateful speech—with more speech. In fact, that is the very heart of the university's mission. Professor Matory claims that he is seeking a greater civility on campus through reasoned academic discourse, but his real intention seems to be to create that civility by having only his side of the discussion be heard—without the uncomfortable necessity of hearing other, dissenting views. Like many of his fellow academics, he proclaims widely the virtues of open expression, but only for those who utter those thoughts with which he agrees. But true intellectual diversity—the ideal that is often bandied about but rarely achieved—must be dedicated to the protection of unfettered speech, representing opposing viewpoints, where the best ideas become clear through the utterance of weaker ones.

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Stephen Kislock - 7/4/2008

Israel was founded by Terrorist! The very tactics Israel deplores today, were what the Founders of Israel employed, to Usurp the Land of others!

The bombing of the King David Hotel, what was that? Terrorism, plain and simple.

I guess the History of the Middle-East, will be written by the power with the most Nuclear Weapons and/or US Security Council Vetoes!

N. Friedman - 6/29/2008

In other words, Omar, you have been shown to have made things up, once again.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/29/2008

So many words just to say:
"Yes I, N. Friedman, DO support denying the Palestinian people his right to Self Determination ."!

"Once again I never seize to wonder at Zionist shameless hypocrisy which on the one hand pretends to stand for "human rights" and defends
"democracy" etc while deliberately flouting them when it has an interest in that ; which is the real essence of opportunism cum racism."
Once again: "So much for Zionist and Friedman’s legality and morality despite his best efforts to reveal as little as possible of it."

N. Friedman - 6/28/2008


I shall not waste time with you if you intend to misquote me. I shall, so that my opinion is read correctly by those interested in the truth - which, as is patently obvious given your repetition of knowingly unsupported and, frankly, false and, not infrequently, bigotted propaganda from Antisemitic websites, excludes you - repeat my position:

And, the general rule is that the ruler determines who can immigrate and who can obtain refuge and once people are let in, those who attack them are racists.

That is the reality, as it exists in the world. Ought the Arab population to have been asked about refugees being allowed into the land that became Israel? In a perfect world, that would be appropriate but, then again, were it a perfect world, there would be no refugees.

In the Arab regions, so that we are talking reality, populations were regularly moved around without the permission of the ruled. That was true for Muslims, Jews and Christians. In fact, large numbers of Muslim, mostly from the Balkins, and Christian, for example, from Armenia in response to massacres committed against them, refugees arrived in very large numbers in what is now Israel during the 19th Century. Jews came in response to massacres as well. No one asked the local population and, frankly, it is difficult to know what that population would have said, had it have been asked.

Leap forward only a very few years to the time of the Palestine Mandate - which made Jewish refuge in the land something permitted under International law -, that was only a very short time (i.e. less than a decade) after the Ottoman Empire had expelled large numbers of Jews from what is now Israel and it was only a short time (a few decades) after the Ottoman Empire had settled large numbers of refugees in Acre. Again, none of this was done with the consent of those living on the land at the time.

Had the local population been asked about Jewish migration to the country, it is unclear what the outcome would have been. First, the notion of asking the population its views was contrary to the habit and customs and religion of Muslim Arabs or, for one reason or another, anyone else in that part of the world. So, frankly, your position is historically rhetorical, as it adopts a position which Arabs would almost certainly have rejected as being alien.

Second, there was, in fact, a substantial group of modernizing Arab Muslims who were, in fact, very favorable to Zionism, on the theory that Zionists would help awaken the Muslim Arab regions so that they would move beyond the dark ages they had entered (and, frankly, remain to this day). To what extent such people represented a substantial group of the population is unknown. What is known is that such people were mostly murdered, intimidated or otherwise silenced by the most thuggish elements of Arab society - the elements from whom people like you take their cues.

Which is to say, the group that won out among Arabs in what is now Israel were the most bigoted, backwards and militant elements. In simple terms, society's worst bigots and hate mongers won out - as the historical record clearly shows.

So, we shall never know what might have been, had the Arab population in what is now Israel cared to cast its opinion publicly. And, the outcome of such a vote would have depended in what sort of condominium the Arab side might have found acceptable. But, as noted, there was no basis for holding a vote in a region which knew nothing at all of the habit of being asked their consent - something with no historical precedent.

As for your comments about racists, etc., it is not supported by the historical record. It is, frankly, something that liars assert.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/28/2008

The last sentence but one in my post above should read:
"Once again I never seize to wonder at Zionist shameless hypocrisy which on the one hand pretends to stand for "human rights" and defends
"democracy" etc while deliberately flouting them when it has an interest in that ; which is the real essence of opportunism cum racism."

omar ibrahim baker - 6/28/2008

Mr Friedman
Despite your reiteration of well known, though uncalled for, facts re European policy to emigration I note with pleasure that you fail to respond to the essential points of my post, namely:

"1-The opinion of the people does not, and should NOT, be considered.
(Your "No one says that the views of Arabs should be totally ignored."
although uncharacteristically
"generous" for your ilk is truly pathetic in that, with a typically racist attitude, you do herein agree to and support the denial of the Palestinian people his inalienable right to SELF DETERMINATION in his homeland.)

3- When it comes to the "chosen people" international law could, actually should, be neglected and flouted.
(Unless, of course, you believe that the Zionist model of nation-state building,dislocate/dispossess/disfranchise and supplant, is of universal applicability.
Or, conversely, you believe that it was/is a privilege, and/or special dispensation, unique to the Jews; being the “chosen people”..
In which case I hope you will come out with it publicly.)

4- If you purchase or otherwise come to “own” 6% of a land, country, you are entitled to dominate and rule all of that country and dislocate, dispossess, disfranchise its indigenous people and supplant them with racially screened and selected aliens ."

Once again I never seize to wonder at Zionist shameless hypocrisy which on the hand pretends to stand for "human rights" and defends "democracy" etc while deliberately flouting them when it has an interest in that ; which is the real essence of racism.

Once again: "So much for Zionist and Friedman’s legality and morality despite his best efforts to reveal as little as possible of it."

N. Friedman - 6/28/2008


You have not addressed what I wrote.

First, I did not say that European governments are non-representative of the wishes of their populations. What I said is that in this instance - and, more generally, on the issue of immigration -, they are not, meaning that such governments are not following the wishes of their respective peoples. Here is one newspaper report on the topic:

AN “overwhelming majority” of Europeans believe immigration from Islamic countries is a threat to their traditional way of life, a survey revealed last night.

The poll, carried out across 21 countries, found “widespread anti-immigration sentiment”, but warned Europe’s Muslim population will treble in the next 17 years.

It reported “a severe deficit of trust is found between the Western and Muslim communities”, with most people wanting less interaction with the Muslim world.

Note that, unlike you, I do my homework before I post something.

Now, in Europe, the fact is that all of the major parties supported immigration and did so without regard to the views of their constituent populations, which would never have favored mass immigration that could alter the culture. In that, Europeans are just like Arabs!!!

Why did European governments ignore the will of their peoples? Because the birth rate is falling dramatically in Europe thus creating a need for workers to do grunt level work and, in addition, because the administration of the EU made a pact of sorts with the Arab League to take in large numbers of Muslims as part of creating grand European/Arab counterweight to the United States. Such politicians never considered the possibility that Muslims might prefer to retain their own culture, perhaps because Europeans tend arrogantly to believe - just as Arabs tend arrogantly to believe - that their own cultures are so superior to the cultures of other peoples that anyone exposed to European culture would prefer it.

No one says that the views of Arabs should be totally ignored. At the same time, it also follows that Arabs are not in the right when they flout entirely the views of others - which is what they do, as if they have the right to reject the will of International law. And, the judgment of the world, as embodied in International law and later in United Nations resolutions was for the creation of a state where Jews could find refuge.

Now, on that issue, the view of the local population is, as it is in all situations involving the placement of population, irrelevant, just as it is in Europe and everywhere else on Earth.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/28/2008

Since the two articles earlier quoted failed to support him with their "unfortunate" use of the term "seek" Mr Friedman is now breaking new legal and moral grounds; namely:
-That a people's opinion is NOT important when "emigration" to his homeland is an issue.
Witness his rhetorically asked negative opinion:
" in what country is the local population asked before people are allowed to migrate? NONE"

This is significant, and true enough of Friedman's overall attitude to other people's rights, in that herein he not only denies the right of a people to decide whether to allow or disallow such migration AND in that he, concurrently, admits that that Jewish "emigration" to Palestine was undertaken AGAINST the will and opposition of the Palestinian people.
(Although considering the numbers and intentions involved it was never
“emigration" but a premeditated colonialist conquest.)

- He denies that European governments, which allow in some Moslem emigration, do represent their peoples; while implying that British mandate did represent the Palestinian people.Witness his reference to "the ruler of the land"

As a matter of history and fact the British mandate actually opposed allowing , and consistently denied, the Palestinian people his right to SELF DETERMINARTION.

-He, the lawyer, pretends ignorance, or non chalance, of the injunction of international law which forbids any occupation power from undertaking or allowing any action which would lead to a "demographic” change in the country it occupies. Which law GB, aided and abetted by world Jewry, flouted both legally and morally in Palestine.

And to cap it all, lawyer Friedman reverts to the often used, and oftener rebutted, fallacy that :
"the land was purchased from
people .."
while deliberately omitting the fact that both the "land purchased" and the land ceded to Jews by the British mandate never exceeded 6 % of the total area of Palestine.

Here in we have several outstanding legal and moral new grounds breaking injunctions by lawyer Friedman:

1-The opinion of the people does not, and should NOT, be considered.
2-Democratically elected European governments DO NOT represent their respective peoples.
3- When it comes to the "chosen people" international law could, actually should, be neglected and flouted.
4- If you purchase or otherwise come to “own” 6% of a land, country, you are entitled to dominate and rule all of that country and dislocate, dispossess, disfranchise its indigenous people and supplant them with racially screened and selected aliens .
So much for Zionist and Friedman’s legality and morality despite his best efforts to reveal as little as possible of it.

N. Friedman - 6/28/2008


Refuge was available because the ruler of the land, not to mention International law, said that Jews could seek refugee in the land. That is all that was required, morally or legally. Moreover, the land was purchased from people happy to make a buck. Such included, in many instances, Palestinian Arabs - including a very great many who pretended to oppose such sales.

If you want to have a discussion, make a real point instead of a point that is irrelevant. Pray tell, in what country is the local population asked before people are allowed to migrate? NONE. And, once people have migrated to a country, that is the end of the story. Only Arabs say otherwise. The civilized world disagrees.

By way of example of another immigration opposed by the native population: In Europe, many - probably, the vast, vast majority of - people find Muslim immigration to be wrongheaded and objectionable. In fact, Europeans were never asked for their consent nor will they ever be asked. And, having migrated, such people, whether or not welcomed or wanted, are not being attacked. Such is the case notwithstanding the fact that the leaders of the immigrants make no secret of their intention to take over Europe and change the culture - to Islamize it. On your theory, Muslims ought to be forced to leave Europe as the majority would no doubt prefer.

No doubt you will disagree because you do not believe that there are rules that apply universally - only rules that might benefit your argument. In fact, though, there are universal rules. And, the general rule is that the ruler determines who can immigrate and who can obtain refuge and once people are let in, those who attack them are racists.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/27/2008

With Friedman &Co one must often revert to the a, b and c or the 1+1=2 of thinggs. According to M. WEbster dictionary:

"Main Entry: seek
Pronunciation: \ˈsēk\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): sought \ˈsȯt\; seek·ing
Etymology: Middle English seken, from Old English sēcan; akin to Old High German suohhen to seek, Latin sagus prophetic, Greek hēgeisthai to lead
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1: to resort to : go to
2 a: to go in search of : look for b: to try to discover
3: to ask for : request <seeks advice>
4: to try to acquire or gain : aim at <seek fame>
5: to make an attempt : try —used with to and an infinitive <governments…seek to keep the bulk of their people contented — D. M. Potter>
intransitive verb
1: to make a search or inquiry"


"to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

Does NOT mean nor entail

FORCING one way into another country AGAINST the express will of its indigenous people.
If lawyer Freidman believes it does he would be breaking new legal grounds.

N. Friedman - 6/26/2008


Talking about calling the kettle black, what a hypocrite Omar is. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been rejecting by every single Arab country. Yet, he has the audacity to argue, on behalf of Palestinian Arabs who themselves reject that Declaration (for the same reason that Arab countries reject it in favor of The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam), that Jews violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when they exercised a right explicitly enshrined in that Declaration. Specifically - so that Omar will stop spouting propaganda garbage:

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Interestingly, The Cairo Declaration has a slightly different take on the right to seek asylum. It views the matter, unlike the Universal Declaration, as a temporary thing. According to The Cairo Declaration:

Article 12

Every man shall have the right, within the framework of Shari’ah, to free movement and to select his place of residence whether inside or outside his country and, if persecuted, is entitled to seek asylum in another country. The country of refuge shall ensure his protection until he reaches safety, unless asylum is motivated by an act which Shari’ah regards as a crime.

Further, as I noted previously but Omar, as usual, refuses to address - because, he is plain wrong about this so that addressing the point would show that he operates by propaganda but no facts -, the colonial power was Great Britain. Jews fought the colonial power and drove them out of the country.

Jews - at least those who did not already live in the region - were migrants, exercising the most basic of basic human rights, viz., the right to migrate to a place where refuge can be obtained - a right expressly set forth, as shown above, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The remainder of the Jewish population of Israel - in fact, the majority of the country's Jewish population - were either long resident in the country or were refugees from Arab countries.

As I said, Omar is way off base, as usual.

As for your comments about Zionists being racists, prove it!!! Frankly, it is a bald faced LIE.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/26/2008

According to Professor Elliot:

"So Butler and Baker unjustly state or insinuate that there is an "indigenous palestinian people."

Which means that the continuous habitation, construction in and development and cultivation of a certain land by a certain people for, a minimum, of 13-14 centuries does NOT make that people INDIGENOUS to that land.

However would the Professor be kind enough to tell us whether that is a universal rule or a specific rule to the "chosen people"!
Fanaticism does make the normally sane say the most bizarre things and totally clouds their minds to a point further than and beyond absurdity!
Truly bizarre!

omar ibrahim baker - 6/26/2008

That the USA was also born through the dislocation, dispossession and disfranchisement of America's indigenous population , a convenient excuse/pretext for the acts of plunder and marauding committed by Israel , does NOT change the intrinsic reality and identity of Israel nor alleviates the crime and aggression committed thereby.
(Although seemingly this is one handy argument used by the pro Israel lobby to flatter, or shame, Americans into supporting Israel.)

Both countries were born out of COLONIALIST CONQUESTS.

However one paramount difference must be noted: Israel’s colonialist conquest was substantially undertaken and achieved in the early to mid years of the TWENTIETH Century; a period in human annals that witnessed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the adoption of the right to Self Determination as an inalienable right to all peoples and of world wide DECOLONIZATION.
Hence while the world was decolonizing Israel/Zionism was colonizing and marching against the overriding universal trend which augured a substantial move forward for humankind.

As such the establishment of Israel in Palestine by a "people" screened and selected according to a brazen racial/racist criterion was not only an act of aggression against the indigenous Palestinian people but was, equally and concurrently, a RETROGRESSIVE move for all of human kind.

Elliott Aron Green - 6/26/2008

a sign of Matory's delirium is his apparent inability to see the trillions of dollars in the hands of wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, etc. Meanwhile he calls Jews "plutocrats." This is not to mention Muslim non-Arabs, like the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men in the world.

as to Butler, he seems unaware that in 1914, before the Ottoman Empire went into WW One, the Jewish population of the areas later made into "Palestine" was about 75,000, that is, about 14 or 15% of the population. During the war, the Ottoman state expelled about a third of the Jews from the country, which reduced the Jews to a proportion closer to 10% after the war. It is important to bear in mind that there was NO territory or territorial division of the Ottoman or the earlier Mamluk empire that was called "palestine" or "Filastin." After several territorial-administrative reorganizations over the centuries, by 1914, most of the south of the country was part of the independent Sanjaq of Jerusalem. The governor of this politically sensitive [because of Western interest] sanjaq [district] reported directly to the Ottoman central govt in Constantinople. Other parts of the country belonged to the vilayets of Damascus and Beirut. Up to some point after the Crimean War, the Jerusalem sanjaq was part of the vilayet of Damascus [al-Sham].

Butler thinks that the King-Crane Commission is the last word. In fact, Charles R Crane was a fanatic Judeophobe who met and praised Hitler and used his employee, the Arab propagandist George Antonius, to try to arrange a Muslim-Christian worldwide common front against the Jews whom he characterized as "Communists." Whereas Crane's conclusions were based on his Judeophobia, William Yale, an advisor to the Commission, was more sympathetic to Zionism.

Lastly, Jews are the indigenous people of Israel, whereas the Arab population in the country is the result of Arab-Muslim conquest/invasion. The Jews were still a sizable part of the population until the Crusaders came and massacred most Jews in the country, albeit the Jews were oppressed before the Crusades as dhimmis by the Arab-Muslim state [and some migrated out of the Islamic domain to Christendom for that reason]. So Butler and Baker unjustly state or insinuate that there is an "indigenous palestinian people."

Of course, if Butler does not believe that people should inhabit the land belonging to an "indigenous people," then he should leave the United States, if that is where he lives.

N. Friedman - 6/25/2008


Delete the sentence that reads: "Which is to say, the policy of the rules was not colonial but self-promoting."


Which is to say, the policy of the Jews was not colonial but self-promoting.

N. Friedman - 6/25/2008


The US came into existence by means of colonization of the East Coast of what is now the US. When the native Americans got in the way, they were pushed out of the way. Does the US need to justify its existence? NO.

The Arab nations - every one of them except Arabia - are ultimately the result of colonization. There, in fact, was a pre-meditated plan both to conquer and to colonize and to kill or displace (e.g. enslave) anyone and everyone in the way. In some cases, even people not in the way were displaced. The Arab policy to conquer and colonize has a name, which is "Fatah." There, in fact, there was a plan to change the entire culture of those places conquered. Do the Arab nations need a justification to exist? NO

Does Israel require a justification? NO. Its justification is no different from that of any other state, with the exception that, in fact, the country has the express authorization to exist, issued by the UNITED NATIONS. That means, in simple language, that the attempt to delegitimize Israel is, itself, illegitimate - a disgrace that wastes the world's limited resources because Arabs refuse to accommodate to the world that exists. Be that as it may, recent polling among Israeli Arabs find that they think, by a wide majority, that Israel is the best country to live in on Earth. So, Israeli Arabs seem to disagree with you.

Israel, in fact, had no pre-meditated plan toward non-Jewish part of the population. That, in a sense, was and remains a problem. The only pre-meditation that existed was to form a state as a refuge for Jews - something which the United Nations accepted but something which the Arab states, in violation of the UN Charter, attempted to destroy.

As for the colonization assertion, you can argue that the British were colonialists. However, Jews were migrants, not colonialists. Jews, in fact, worked against the colonialists. Which is to say, the policy of the rules was not colonial but self-promoting.

Fortunately, Jews had the guts and fortitude to stand up to the British and to defend themselves from local Arab terrorists and then Arab invaders who, as facts show, actually cared not one wit for Palestinian Arabs, having noticed their stupid leaders flee at the first sign of trouble.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/24/2008

Re: Smoke (#124179)
by N. Friedman on June 24, 2008 at 9:22 AM
Mr. Butler,

"1. Countries require no moral justification for existing."
If and only IF the country developed naturally AND NOT, as in the case of Israel, it came into being as the result of a colonialist conquest, in the 20 th century, that entailed the premeditated dislocation, dispossession and disfranchisement of the indigenous it forced its way into his homeland.
Then denied that indigenous people the right to return to his homeland and repossess his legitimate properties.
"Morality" according to Friedman &Co justifies marauding and plunder if the beneficiary there from are part of the "chosen people"!
That is Zionist "morality", a word voided and debased when used in conjunction with the mode of birth and sustenance of Israel.

N. Friedman - 6/24/2008

Mr. Butler,

1. Countries require no moral justification for existing. Were justification necessary, how could a country like Germany or France, with their track record of barbarity, be allowed to exist?

2. We do not live in 1919 or 1922 when King/Crane was released. So, whatever pertinence it had then, the fact is that subsequent events altered the circumstances so that, by 1936, the need for a territorial split was seen as necessary. See the Peel Commission.

3. The events of 1919 - 1949 are long ago. Why are you concerned about such events when, in that same period, so many other, far worse things occurred? Does it bother you equally that Lebanon was carved out of what Syrians believe to be Syria and done so, in considerable part, to protect the Christian population?

james joseph butler - 6/24/2008

Mr. Cravatts is like most supporters of Israel, he prefers talking about everything other than the pertinent facts. If the genesis of this discussion is the impact of the establishment of Israel, can we please stick to the topic.

Of course the reason why Cravatts and company prefer to discuss noxious anti-semitism, American political correctness circa 21st century, 2nd century B.C. Judea and Samaria, and those trendy European "intellectuals" is because very little of it has anything to do with the creation of Israel.
Google the King/Crane Commission. The pro-Israel posters on HNN concede that the Jewish population of Palestine post WWI was approximately 10% of the total. Now explain to me how that 10% of the population is justified in owning 83% of land now. It's no different from saying, "Well we Virginians can use the land better than those shiftless, godless, Indians." And, oh yeah, "God really likes us." Puerile nonsense.

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