How to Get the World To Hate Israel





Mr. Cravatts, PhD, director of Boston University’s Program in Book and Magazine Publishing at the Center for Professional Education, writes frequently on terrorism, higher education, politics, culture, law, marketing, and housing, and is currently writing a book about the world-wide assault on Israel taking place on college campuses.

As part of evaluating the competitive landscape of the popularity of nations, in a process referred to in marketing circles as ‘place branding,’ Israel, to no one’s great surprise, comes up short in brand likeability, ranking last out of 35 nations included in an August 2006 survey conducted by nation branding expert Simon Anholt, even less attractive to respondents than Indonesia, Estonia, and Turkey.

How could this have happened to a country that is the Middle East’s only thriving democracy and enjoys a remarkably robust economy that has spawned some 1000 startup high tech companies, for example, second only to the U.S.? How, in short, would you go about making the world hate Israel?

This is how you would accomplish that objective if you were an enemy of Israel:

Even after 60 years of its existence, you question the fundamental right of Israel to even exist and  regularly, though falsely, condemn it for being created “illegally”—through the “theft” of Palestinian lands and property—and thus decide, because of its original sin, it has no “right to exist.” You accuse the government  of a “brutal,” illegal “occupation” of Palestinian lands, especially Gaza and the West Bank (but for many, all of Israel), of being a “colonial settler state,” a Zionist “regime” or “project,” a land-hungry nation, a usurper of property that was lived on and owned by a Palestinian “people” “from time immemorial.” 

You describe the very existence of the country as being the “greatest threat to world peace,” the core cause of all Muslim anger toward the West, the root of all of the Palestinians’ suffering and economic plight, and describe Israel as a nation that has even been referred to publicly as a “shitty little country” by the French ambassador to Britain.

You make ‘Palestinianism’ into a virtual cult whose members offer a world-wide reverence for the Palestinian cause and repeat without end that their nationalistic striving is inviolable, a basic human right,  Of all the 100 million refugees who were dispersed around the globe and were re-assimilated since World War II, you chose only the Palestinians to languish, as if in amber, in barbaric refugee camps where their lives are used as political fodder to denounce the existence of an Israel that supposedly has deprived them of a home. 

You have the United Nations set up an agency whose sole function it is to make sure that this one group of refugees in the whole world are coddled, advocated for, and  repeat, mantra-like, that a human “right of return” has been sanctified and assured by international law for the Palestinians, giving only this group of refugees a collective, as opposed to individual, right of return—and not only to those refugees who supposedly lived in and left what is now Israel, but all of their descendents, as well.

You use the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council of the United Nations  to further demonize and delegitimate Israel, making it a pariah in the world community and issuing an edict that equates Zionism with racism. In 2006-07, if you are the Human Rights Council, you pass one hundred percent of your condemnatory resolutions against Israel. 

If you are the autocratic, despotic states of the Arab world, you initiate a prolonged, unceasing propaganda war against Israel and Zionism, in which it is your intention to encourage your citizens, not to question why they live under tyranny and despair under their own corrupt, defective governments, but that their circumstances are bleak because of the success and very existence of Israel. You depict Jews as apes, pigs, and subhuman monsters, and regularly produce Nazi-like propaganda and cartoons in your state-owned media that accuses Jews and Israelis of blood libels, bloodthirstiness, militarism, a desire for world domination, imperialism, and complicity with the U.S. and the West to destroy Islam—all which make Jew-hatred inevitable. 

You inculcate Palestinian children, nearly from birth, with seething, blind, unrelenting, and obsessive hatred of Jews and the 'Zionist regime,' so that kindergartners graduate with blood-soaked hands while toting plastic AK 47s and dedicate their lives to jihad, and older children are recruited to hide explosives on their bodies to transform themselves into shahids -- a new generation of kindling for radical Islam's cult of death. 

When Israel launches a military strike against nests of terrorists or in response to ceaseless rocket barrages, you term their response “disproportionate,” another escalation in the “cycle of violence,” a violation of human rights, aggressive, militaristic, with Apache gunships “pounding” terrorist neighborhoods.

If you are the Palestinian media, and members of the world media who are either intentionally biased or willing to be duped by anti-Israel propaganda, you repeatedly report on supposed Israeli human rights violations, such as an alleged “massacre of the 21st century,” a horrible war crime and example of “genocide” committed by Israel against Palestinians in the village of Jenin.

You talk about the Israeli security barrier as an “apartheid wall,” and describe it as a massive, soaring, unbroken division through Palestinian neighborhoods and communities, overlooking the fact that the wall is towering and solid concrete only in those regions that have been repeatedly assaulted by terrorism, and that 90 percent of the hundreds of miles of barrier is comprised merely of wire fence. 

You use the “apartheid wall” image to create a broader misconception about the Palestinians living under a South African-style apartheid regime, disingenuously equating race restrictions that blacks lived under in Soweto with the open society of Israel in which Israeli Arabs have more rights than in any Arab state and are asked only not to murder Jews in their midst. 

On campuses where a coddled and insulated professoriate often express antipathy for the perceived ills of capitalism, the usurpation of “Palestine” by Israel, “land grabs” through occupation, and the denial of the civil and economic rights of the Palestinians, you contend that Israel’s very existence is not at all about self-determination (something you deem appropriate only for the Palestinians) and all about greed, globalism, colonialism, exploitation, and undeserved political and economic might. No longer able to fight apartheid in South Africa, you now try to transmogrify that racist social system onto Israel, holding rallies and encouraging the signing of petitions which call from divestiture from companies doing business in Israel. 

You fund Middle Eastern Studies centers on university campuses and use them as anti-Israel, anti-American “think tanks” where scholarship is tainted with ideology and singularly focused on the Palestinian cause. You fund the active and vocal Muslim Students Association on campuses across the country that hold “Israel Apartheid Week” and “Holocaust in the Holy Land” festivals at which propaganda, Jew-hatred, apologies for terrorism, and further demonizing of Israel takes place. 

In the Arab world, you play fast and loose with history in your attempt to create a historical narrative conforming to your own political agenda, erasing any link between Palestine and the Jews. Though Jerusalem is mentioned not once in the Koran and over 669 times in the Jewish Bible, you claim that Jerusalem is now the “third holiest site to Muslims,” that, as Yasser Arafat announced at Camp David in 2000, the Temple Mount was never a Jewish site, that Jews now “occupy” Muslim lands, and that the archeological and historical evidence that confirms an uninterrupted 3000-year  presence by Jews in the Holy Land is merely a “construct,” yet another lie promulgated by Israeli historians and archeologists as way of erasing and obscuring an Islamic past. 

If you are in the traditionally Arabist U.S. State Department, or in the “realist” school of diplomacy, or part of the European Union, and you have an insatiable need for oil, you overlook the tyrannies and unfaithfulness of our Middle Eastern “friends,” and ask nothing of them, but demand that Israel, the only democracy in a sea of despotism, continually prove its loyalty to us and embrace policies that could potentially threaten their own security. You write academic books questioning the strength of the "Israel Lobby," and wonder out loud if Jewish influence and wealth forces us to lose credibility and threaten our national security on behalf of Israel.

You do all of these things, as part of a concerted effort and also as random, independent efforts on the part of Israel’s enemies, and you do it for the 60 years of Israel’s existence, and then you are shocked, shocked, when Israel is shown to rank unfavorably in surveys which measure the public’s perception of nations and how they compare to one another in the world community. But you are pleased, because you know that if Israel cannot be annihilated with armaments and rockets, perhaps you can make it cease to exist simply by making the entire world loathe it for being what it is.


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Ben Tzur - 3/20/2009

No, Peter, I think we will leave the Nazi attitudes to you. Israel since its founding has been trying to find a way to live and let live with neighbors all too attracted to your way of thinking about things.


Peter David Warren - 1/16/2009

The best defense of theft I have heard yet. When are you passing a law to abolish all pursuit of thieves and to declare all those who resist theft as terrorists? As a suggestion, I think you should organize a Palestinian pest gassing program. The Nazis had some tips you can follow but with modern science you can probably upgrade it.


Lorena Lomas - 10/3/2008

Arabism = racism!

http://geocities.com/jihadipedia/Arabism.html


N. Friedman - 8/22/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

Thank you for another thoughtful post.

You write: "However, I have not heard yet a persuasive case made that Muslims treated their Christian subjects very harshly -- at least not for the first 300+ years after the Arab Conquest."

I think that the concept "harsh" requires further development. I am not saying it is necessarily the wrong word; only that considerable and real harshness toward non-Muslims is hidden by statements that the treatment was not harsh.

The Arab invaders adopted the system of government in place from the Byzantine Empire as it related to the treatment of Jews - which, to note, was not all that kind. That system was also expanded so as to pertain not only to Jews but to Christians, with Arab Muslims playing the role of overlord, collecting taxes and, thereby, living off of the efforts of Christians and Jews.

For Jews, there was certainly a modest improvement in that they were somewhat "equalized" with the Christian majority. I suppose that was a Pyrrhic victory for Jews but it was certainly a humiliating new role for Christians.

The system set up, as you correctly note, had a Muslim Arab minority governing a very large non-Arab, non-Muslim majority. There was, as you note, an incentive by the Arab Muslim governors to preserve their privileges by not over burdening those conquered.

At the same time, the political and social disabilities placed on the non-Muslim majority led to efforts to convert. The Islam of the time had ambiguous notions. On the one hand, conversion to Allah's religion was a religiously desirable. On the other hand, conversion to Islam raised economic issues for the Muslim overlords who lived, in part or whole, on the taxes - jizya - placed on the non-Muslim population.

Conversion occurred in considerable numbers - as the disabilities for non-Muslims naturally led people to want an improved, less harsh, situation. The early Arab empire resisted efforts, whether non-Muslims converted to Islam or not, to eliminate many of the privileges of the overlord Arabs - first among equals, so to speak. But, given the seeming equality preached by Muslims with regard to Muslims, there was a backlash against favoritism towards Arabs. This, over time, led to revolts which, in turn, fed the desirability of conversion.

As for life being harsh, it really depends on how you look at the matter. In this regard, the Arab Muslim policy, self-described, toward non-Muslims is one of "tolerance" - as in tolerated infidel living under a pact of concession. One was "tolerated" so long as a member of one's group did not violate the pact. Taxes were paid in connection with a humiliating ritual so that non-Muslims would be made to feel subdued.

I think Bernard Lewis has it correct that what the Muslims, including Arabs, offered to those conquered bettered what other conquerors tended to offer the conquered. And, it created a legalized system of laws governing that ongoing life. But, under that system, non-Muslims were made to know who was the boss. They could not give testimony against Muslims. They could not defend themselves when attacked by Muslims. They were forced to move to the side of the road when a Muslim passed. They could not build new religious buildings without paying a bribe. Religious services could not be carried out in a way that would attract any attention for Muslims (e.g. there could be no Church bells), at times non-Muslims were required to wear special dress.

At the same time, Lewis notes that treatment for non-Muslims - most particularly Christians - turned for the worse after the Mongol invasions. Which is to say, the noted restrictions tended, in many regions, to be enforced more consistently. But, it is also to be noted that there was never, at any time, true harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims. Even in the supposedly harmonious Andalusia, the majority of time, non-Muslims had a harsh life, although there was, during certain periods, an elite who had it better and, in some cases, reached the post of vizier, which, in turn, improved treatment toward those of the vizier's religion.

So, again, it all depends on how one understands the word "harsh."


R.R. Hamilton - 8/21/2008

Thank you for the compliment regarding this book. Ironically, I originally bought it 20-odd years ago at an airport, for some in-flight reading. It has become surprisingly helpful resource, especially since 9/11.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/21/2008

Dear Mr. Friedman,

I have delayed my reply because I was hoping for a response from Mr. Butler first.

I find it amusing that, much as I have for years tried to persuade Jews that pre-20th century Islamic-Jewish relations were not the halcyon days they had been taught, Jews try to persuade me that Islam was much harsher on pre-Crusades Christians than I have thought. I am glad to be supported in my view by recent books by Jewish historians. However, I have not heard yet a persuasive case made that Muslims treated their Christian subjects very harshly -- at least not for the first 300+ years after the Arab Conquest. I think it was Mr. Eckstein who raised the issue of the destruction of one of Christianity's holiest sites in 1009, but (1) it is my understanding that the Arab leader who order that was essentially a "Caliguia" figure, (2) this was nearly 400 years after the Conquest, and (3) successor Arab rulers ordered the shrine to be rebuilt within about 15 years.

Basically, it's important to keep in mind that, as Ariel Durant says, the Conquest produced an "Arab Empire" that was only 2% Arab. Any truly oppressive measures would have led to revolt by the 98%. It would be like the U.S. trying to forcibly Christianize Iraq today.

As far as the destruction of the Crusader states after the Mamluk victory over the Mongols at Ain Julat (sp?), that seemed to be more politically than religiously inspired. During the campaign between the Mamluks and the Mongols, the Christian dominions had remained neutral. The Mamluks were not confident in their victory however (with good reason, as it was expected the Mongols would return with a larger army). The Mamluks calculated that they could defeat either the Christians or the Mongols, but not a combination of both. So in the space provided by their victory at Ain Julat, the Mamluks took the opportunity to eliminate the last of the Crusader states.

It is natural that the Muslims should, after the end of the Crusader states, put pressure on the remaining Christians to convert. It should be noted though that enough remained that in 1860, after Ottoman-inspired Druze massacres of Christians in Lebanon, there was a sufficient Christian population that Napolean III could force the Ottomans to create a Christian-ruled dominion in Lebanon.


N. Friedman - 8/20/2008

Correction with respect to the paragraph that reads: "I do not think that the change came with the Crusades, which were a minor incident so far as the Muslim regions of the time were concerned. The main event, so to speak, were the invading Mongols. That posed an existential threat to Islam."

I inadvertently suggested that the conversion process remained in place until the Mongol invasions. I think the change came earlier. What did change was that there was less tolerance of non-Muslims once the invasions began. At the same time, that should not be read to suggest that there was any real tolerance, at least by our standards, before that time.


N. Friedman - 8/20/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

You have written an interesting post, most particularly about Michael Collins and General Glubb. Thank you.

As for your comment about non-Muslims in historic Palestine, I am not sure I quite agree. First, Islamic theology was never big on forced conversion but instead on creating conditions where there would be economic and social benefits to those who might convert. That is not to say that forced conversion did not occur but only that it has not played a central role.

Second, there were forced displacement of Christians and Jews after the Muslim Arab invasions. There were also famines, in some instances intentionally created by the Muslim Arabs.

Third, of those who remained or returned after the displacements, the early Islamic period saw Muslim overlords who preferred to collect and live off of the jizya tax being paid by non-Muslims, a lifestyle which would disappear if too many people converted.

Hence, conversion was made difficult and converts not, at least in the early years, given the same privileges as Arab Muslims. Later, in the Abbasid period, things changed for those who might prefer to convert.

I do not think that the change came with the Crusades, which were a minor incident so far as the Muslim regions of the time were concerned. The main event, so to speak, were the invading Mongols. That posed an existential threat to Islam.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/19/2008

Mr. Butler,

I am not old enough to remember when there were no Israelis, but I am old enough to remember when there were no Palestinians. The term "Palestinian" was created to make it seem like Israel wasn't really being confronted by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- some of which I believe are still officially at war with Israel. Let's agree to call them what they are, "Arabs".

Second, you seem to be under the impression that Palestine became Muslim in the 7th century. In fact, Palestine had a vibrant Greco-Roman civilization for 1,000 years -- since the conquest of it by Alexander in the 4th century B.C. In the 7th century the Christian residents there (and in nearby areas like Egypt) practiced a brand of Christianity regarded as heretical by the authorities in Constantinople. They were therefore willing to accept an Arabian army that promised them freedom of religion and protection from Byzantine armies. There was no large-scale conversions to Islam. It is my understanding that there was little pressure on the residents of Palestine to convert to Islam until the end of the Crusades (understandable) and that there was probably a Christian majority in Palestine until about 1350 A.D.

It should also be noted that there has not been an Arab state in Palestine for about 1,000 years. The Turks conquered it just before the Crusades. Then the Franks took it from the Turks, then the Turks took it from the Franks, then the British took it from the Turks, then the Jews took it from the British.

You say that this is a "land dispute". You suggest that if only the Jews had been "fair" with the Arabs -- "fair" meaning taking less land -- then the Arabs would've accepted the Jewish state. You say you admire Michael Collins because he recognized the permanency of the Protestant realm in Ulster but why don't you ask, Where is the Arab Michael Collins? On this subject let me quote from a source I think you will find unimpeachable, if only because he is the only commander of an Arab army ever to defeat the IDF: "Zionist policy throughout [the 1917-47 period] showed a remarkable contrast to that followed by the Arabs [notice, not "Palestinians"] in one respect. The Zionists always accepted whatever concessions they could get.... The Arabs repeatedly rejected compromise solutions and insisted on all or nothing." (Sir John "Glubb Pasha" Glubb, A Short History of the Arab Peoples, Dorset Press, 1969, p. 278.) Again, when will the Arabs find their Michael Collins? Actually, if they found him, they would do to him what they would do to you (since you, too, favor recognizing the Jewish state): string him up from a Gaza lamppost.

As far as the Jews being foreigners, I recall that we have just recognized Kosovo as a newly independent, Albanian controlled state. How many Albanians in Kosovo do you think have both grandparents who were born in Kosovo? Probably fewer than Israelis with Israel-born grandparents. And unlike the Kosovars, the Israelis couldn't call on the U.S. Air Force to bomb their way to statehood.

As far as the origins of the Balfour Declaration, you should remember that the victorious powers of WW I had concluded that multi-ethnic empires were the source of conflict. (The French leader, not as convinced, asked at Versailles, "Must every language have its own country?" To which the Americans replied, effectively, "Yes.") That this view was the correct one has been borne out recently in the breakup of the old USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

While you may think (and I won't argue the point) that the Jews exaggerate the extent and constancy of historical Jewish connection to Palestine, I'm sure you won't deny that there has always been a Jewish presence in Palestine, especially around Jerusalem -- which had a Jewish plurality and perhaps even a majority at least from the 1860s on. Returning to the end of WW I and the breakup of the great multi-ethnic empires, can it be said that the Latvians deserved a country but the Jews didn't? And if the Jews did deserve a country, where better than Palestine? And if the Arabs had been willing to negotiate, the the new Jewish state could've been confined to a "Gaza strip" around Tel Aviv and Haifa, with Jerusalem as an international city. The U.S. actually proposed the internationalization of Jerusalem, but this was voted down by Arab members of the U.N., who thought that Muslims should rule a great city in which they were a small minority. When Israel was founded, it was immediately attacked by the Arabs. The Arabs, having chosen to reject negotiation and instead to "roll the dice of war", cannot now be heard to complain of suffering the normal consequences -- including loss of land and freedoms -- of losing the war that they themselves started.

Finally, I think you make too much of the "influence of the Israel lobby". Ironically, it is a view shared by many pro-Israel Jews. As has been discussed in some detail on another thread, many Jews and other Americans are recently learning that Americans have a long history of pro-Zionism -- even predating the birth of the modern Zionist movement amongst the Jews themselves. I think this history supports the view that even if the "Israel lobby" -- indeed the entire Jewish population -- somehow disappeared in America, that American support for Zionism would not be diminished one iota. (Arab oil money might be able to buy the Clinton family and/or the Bush family, but it cannot buy all of us. And even after all that money the Arabs spend, they have to watch Bill Clinton say that he would "grab a rifle and jump in a ditch to defend Israel" and Bush become the most pro-Israeli President since Truman.)

Just some thoughts from a fellow Irishman (if County Antrim in Ulster counts).


Elliott Aron Green - 8/19/2008

butler, I place much blame for the enduring severity of the conflict on the UK. UK policy changed. Policy within the country was run by those like Allenby, Bols, Ernest Richmond, Storrs, etc. who encouraged Arab attacks on Jews and made Jewish immigration harder. Ragheb Bey Nashashibi complained that Richmond tried to prevent direct talks between Jews and Arabs.

Mr Friedman has pointed out to you the untenability of your position if you are American, Canadian, Australian or NZer. In all these countries the indigenous peoples were subdued and sometimes displaced. In Israel's case, the Jews were returning to a country with which they had always tried to keep up ties.

George Marshall's quoted beliefs about 1) the Middle East being more peaceful without Israel is ridiculous. Don't you pay any attention to what Arabs/Muslims do to each other in Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, [non-Arab] Pakistan??? Does that violence really occur because of Israel?? Let alone what they do to non-Muslims?? [cf Armenians, Christian Lebanese].

2) Israel/Zionism precipitating violence against Jews. This does not prove that the Zionists were wrong or immoral or colonialists. The Middle East was violent even before Islam, as was Europe. But Islam has intensified the violence, and made it more frequent. The Armenian massacres began in the 19th century, before Herzl founded the Zionist Organization. They were massacred in their homeland. Since Arabs took part at the highest levels of Ottoman government, then some Arabs too can be considered guilty in those massacres. Maybe the Armenians were massacred because they wanted independence, national rights, or merely autonomy. So maybe that's how Muslim states treat dhimmi peoples who get uppity. There are still Pakistanis who resent Indian independence. It should belong to Islam, some have said. The British took India away from us a few 100 years ago and should have given it all back to us.

The very word "palestinian" that you use is an anachronism. In the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, the Arabs stressed their pan-Arab loyalties. Arab expert witnesses testifying before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry stated that there was no palestine in history. It was all Syria, they claimed.

As to Amin el-Husseini, he did get his position as Mufti through the British. They knew that he had already istigated violence, the Nebi Musa pogrom of 1920 which a British officer Waters-Taylor had encouraged him to instigate. Yet Husseini became the chief leader accepted by the Arabs in the country. He was revered, though not by all of them. He headed the Arab Higher Committee as well as the Supreme Muslim Council, a body indeed created by the British, although the mufti post was traditional.

As to a constitution. The UK does not have a written constitution. In Israel, the Declaration of Independence speaks of equality for all and the Declaration is part of Israel's constitutional law. There are about a dozen Arab Knesset members, an Arab on the Supreme Court and other high Arab officials [including Oscar Rizk, the civil service commissioner] and high army officers, who are Druze plus Druze cabinet ministers and deputy ministers.

I'm surprised that someone of Irish background should be so trusting of the British as you seem to be.


N. Friedman - 8/19/2008

Mr. Butler,

People have been displaced all over the world, not atypically by immigrant. Think North and South America. Think the Arab invasions in the early years of Islam.

In the case of Jews, it may be arguable that what was inevitable that in order to right the wrong committed by the world to Jews, people would be displaced. Your argument, however, that suggests a plan to do so is contrary to fact. Such argument is politics, not history. The only document to ever emerge that is asserted to show a plan to permanently displace anyone (i.e. Plan Dalet) shows no such thing. You can read the document online and it states its purpose clearly. So, in my view, the premise of your thinking is entirely wrong.

As for my beliefs, I am not religious. I am not a believer in things unseen.

What you write about Haj al-Husseini is simply contrary to fact. He was an important figure who played a substantial role. He was also popular - and remains popular - among Palestinian Arabs. He was also a major war criminal, being indicted for his role in WWII. One might also add his role in the massacres (i.e. the Farhud) in Iraq and his role in assassinations, etc. of those in Palestine who preferred to resolve issues between Arabs and Jews. Which is to say, he was a major reason that the dispute took the ugly turn it took.

Also, Mr. Butler, Jews were entitled to some justice at the end of WWII and even before then. The Arabs of Palestine were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis. They were not innocents, as innumerable, carefully documented studies have shown. You ought to consider that point in your effort to moralize. And, you ought to answer what Jews ought to have done, given that the entire world was willing to watch their destruction, lifting not a finger and, as was the case of Palestinian Arabs, acting to advance the demise of Jews both in the Arab regions.


james joseph butler - 8/18/2008

Mr. Friedman,
Before I address the content of your post I have to comment on its tone. Who died and left you moral arbiter? Forgive my presumption but I imagine you believe in a God. If I'm correct, why not try letting him(That is so sexist, wouldn't you really prefer a woman? I sure would.) cast judgement on my shamelessness. It's so elementary school to toss labels left and right. Let's stick to the subject at hand without lowering the discourse to Yeshiva/Sunday school judgement. I stopped believing, in part, because of the chasm between God's ethos and his believers acts/words in this world. Pardon my detour. At least try a little wit.

I've never argued that the 7th century is irrelevant. Quite the opposite I think every century is essential, we're in complete in agreement, refreshing. However to state that my equally essential great to the 40th power grandmother has been as influential in my life as my 80 year old mother is absurd. I'm not saying you'd equate the two, however I think a sliding scale of relevance is appropriate.

I've never stated that I think Israel should disappear because, as best I can, I try and tether myself to realism. I recognize Israel's right to exist although I agree with George Marshall that the Middle East would've been a more peaceful place without it. I recognize that for many people being wed to a specific ethnicity, religion is what gives them meaning, growing up American has given me the luxury to make such statements. A great uncle of mine had to flee Ireland because of his involvement in the assasination of Michael Collins. I consider Collins to be a hero because he recognized that Northern Ireland was a fact that wasn't going away. He chose peace at a certain point after he had considered the alternatives. Courage plus wisdom is as much as any country can ask.

You state that Israel, "acknowledges the equality of its citizens". Then why hasn't this bastion of democracy passed a bill of rights ensuring that all its citzens are treated equally? With the non-Muslim population constituting 20%, why in its 60 years of existence has it had only one Palestinian cabinet minister? Why does it forbid intermarriage? There are 20,000 Jews in Iran, they too can vote and hold office, there status is little different from the Palestinians in Israel. It's second class.

The Palestinian haj, al-Husseini; enough already! The British created the office and chose him. He did not represent a genuine Nazi Palestinian alliance, that is ludicrious and you know it. The truth in your statement revolves around the Palestinian enmity to the ruling British and a desire to break free, any ally was welcome. I'm not denying Palestinian or Arab animus to Jews. I defer to you in regards to the extent of the animosity although I'm sure it didn't equal the violence directed at European Jews. I believe as George Marshall believed, that the creation of the state of Israel dating from it's roots in the first decade of the 1900's through today, precipitated most of the violence directed at Jews throughout the region.

The "fundamental human right to migrate to a place where refuge from oppression..is made available." Your words neglect the corollary: when the refugee flees oppression he must not inflict the same phenomenon upon his host. You look for a place without olive trees and well established communities. You don't displace the current occupants.

Migrate all day long,DON'T DISPLACE the people who already live there. If somebody tries to move into the shed in my backyard or my house; We got a problem. The Palestinians don't deserve to pay the price for the centuries of European anti-semitism that culminated in WW2. The Talmud is a book not a deed.



N. Friedman - 8/18/2008

Mr. Butler,

I would agree with the point that the 7th Century is a very long time ago. Then again, the 1940's is, while not as long ago, not yesterday. The point here is that Israel's origins are interesting, historically and politically speaking, but arguing against a country founded 60 years ago, as if it were yesterday, is no better than arguing that everything post 7th Century is irrelevant.

The great Marxist historian of the the Arab regions, Maxine Rodinson, thought that Israel's founders were "gangs" (I believe he said of "thugs") and accordingly opposed Israel's founding. However, after the Six Day War, he acknowledged that the Israelis had forged a nation, as deserving to exist as any other. You might ponder that point.

As for the treatment of non-Muslims, your interpretation is contrary to fact. Non-Muslims were always forced to accept a substantially inferior status under the law that far exceeded paying a special tax and being exempt from military service. The most pertinent portion of the Koranic proscription was (and is) that non-Muslims be brought low or feel subdued - whichever translation of the Koran 9:29 you prefer. There were a whole host of restrictions on Jews (and Christians), enforced in various degrees during the history of Islam.

In the case of Arabs who have Israelis citizenship, such people are not refused military service. Rather, they are not required to serve. Quite a number of Arabs, most especially Bedouins, do serve. Under the Shari'a law that governed, until fairly recent times, all Muslim states, non-Muslims were not allowed to serve.

The Israeli state itself acknowledges the equality of its citizens but it would be correct to note that there is discrimination, albeit largely the product of the Arab war to annihilate the Israelis. By contrast, Muslim discrimination is part of the Shari'a and, as a result, is deemed inerrant and eternal. Which is to say, there can be no equality - either in theory or practice -under Islamic law and non-Muslims are not equal in any Arab countries (other than Lebanon because the Maronites are, thus far, too numerous to subdue entirely).

Lastly, you ought to ponder, as I previously noted, the circumstances faced by Jews of the period in question. They were not offered equality by Arabs in any Arab country. Instead, there were massacres all over the Arab regions. Moreover, Arabs sided largely with the Nazis and the leader of the Arabs of Palestine served the Nazi cause as, evidently, a true believer in the genocide program.

At the end of WWII, Jews who survived tried to return to their homes, e.g., in Poland. They were massacred. Many Jews ended up in Displaced Persons camps for years while people fussed about what to do with them. In your Utopian viewpoint, you might consider that such Jews had every reason to take matters into their own hands, since the world not only betrayed them during WWII but after the war.

You might also consider that the migration of Jews to what is now Israel fits the exact pattern of International law and, moreover, human rights as it has been understood from the dawn of time. Which is to say, it is a fundamental human right to migrate to a place where refuge from oppression or persecution is made available. That, by any measure, is what Jews did, whatever the tragedy that resulted for Arabs and Jews. Which is to say, your hostility to the migration of Jews is bizarre and sounds hateful. It is pretty shameful.




james joseph butler - 8/18/2008

Eliot,
"Ignorant", Oy vey. Regarding the Arab conquest of the 7th century, you persist in denying the weight of the intervening 13 centuries. When the Duke of Normandy invaded England in 1066 he changed the course of British history as well as his title. The Normans defeated and eventually became one with the Anglo-Saxons. That's the way history generally works, everywhere; America being another example of incorporation of a far smaller native population after disease, persecution and war. That remains an ongoing project but at least the laws of our land grant Indians full rights.

As much as I continue to posit the Palestinian Israeli conflict as really all about stolen land I would be remiss if I didn't recognize that religion plays a huge role in regards to the monotheistic Holy Books that revolve around the Holy Land (which is anything but, but that's another story), as well as the sacred sites.

Without the New Testament gospels, some of which seem to blame Jews for Jesus' fate, (which of course is oxymoronic for Christians) how would anti-Jewish pogroms have evolved? Would they have occurred? Needless to say that's the tip of the iceberg. I'm sure humanity would've found something else to fight over. However I think it's safe to say that from Cheteaubriand to Truman many Christians have recognized a special Judaic connection to the Holy Land through their Holy Book without also recognizing the predominant Muslim culture which had prevailed for centuries in the Levant till their time.

Jizya was levied not just on Jews but on all not non-Muslims throughout Muslim ruled lands. The able bodied men who paid it were exempt from military service as well as the Zakat, which as you know is one of the Five Pillars of Muslim faith. It's easy to draw parallels between the 2nd class status of Muslims in Israel presently and the status of non-Muslims in the past and present in predominant Muslim ruled lands. My problem is the fiction that Israel is better than those lands with respect to the rights and treatment of non-Jews.

Your final paragraph seems to suggest that the US and the UK seemed to tacitly approve of genocide. I would suggest, as quaint as it might seem, the gravitas of catastrophe was not within their sphere, it should've been but hindsight...And just like somebody else on this site who stated that I was anti-Semitic you must be dreaming if you think you can find anything I've ever posted that would raise the most infintesimal shadow of doubt in regards to the scope and horror of the Holocaust. It's been a long time but I can still remember the kids in my 7th grade class laughing at me for reading a girl's diary. Fortunately a lot more 12 year olds are aware of Anne Frank today, I want them to recognize that inhumanity is a universal trait to be guarded against everywhere.


art eckstein - 8/18/2008

In any case, Omar either out of ignorance or intentionally confuses continuous opposition to the Jews and Jewish immigration by many Arab leaders (but not all, e.g., the Arab mayor of Haifa), which the book certainly chronicles, with TOTAL and unified opposition from the populace.

The proof of the opposite situation being the real one: TWICE as much land was sold to Jews by Arabs in the Mandate in the decade of the 1920s than in ALL the previous THREE decades combined. Every sale was a voluntary action by an Arab.

That is not, "total opposition," "relentless opposition," or indeed "opposition" at all.


N. Friedman - 8/18/2008

Thanks.


N. Friedman - 8/18/2008

Omar,

Consider that citing a title is not the same as referring to facts presented in a book. I noted specific facts which show that the author of the book you reference refers to efforts to obtain support for your cause. That, by definition, means that support was not total. In fact, that means that it was no where near being total.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/18/2008

NF, see the compilation of Marx and Engels' journalism in:

Paul W Blackstock and Bert F Hoselitz, eds., Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Russian Menace to Europe. . . (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1953)]

See especially Marx's articles from the New York Tribune.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/18/2008

butler, the Jews not the Arabs were the surviving indigenous people of the Land of Israel. The Arabs conquered the Land in the 7th century but always ruled it as an occupied territory, a way of rule that was taken over by subsequent Muslim rulers, Mamluks and Ottomans. What is jizya if not tribute paid by the conquered to the conquerors?? [also see Qur'an: 9:29]

The Jews [including in the Diaspora] were always connected to the Land of Israel, resettling in it when conditions permitted. Contributing money to help the poor Jews in the Land, who were bled dry by jizya. Making pilgrimages, welcoming emissaries from the Land who came to Diaspora communities. One such was Rabbi Hayim Karigal who came to North America from Hebron shortly before the American Revolution to raise funds from Jews. While in New England he made friends with Ezra Stiles, future president of Yale. Napoleon issued a call to Jews to return to their land, and the British who favored Zionism did not believe that the Jews were alien to the Land. On the French side,
Chateaubriand --who came here about 1806-- saw the oppressed, downtrodden Jews in Jerusalem as the "legitimate owners of Judea", despoiled of their land by the Arabs, whom he did not see as indigenous.

As for the UK and the death camps, both the British and US air forces were bombing German war plants near Auschwitz. So they had the capacity to bomb the crematoria and the railroad tracks that led to them. But they didn't do it. butler, you might check out the site of the David Wyman Institute for more info on this subject. I hope that you stop your ignorant denials in this regard.


N. Friedman - 8/18/2008

Elliott,

You might provide us some information about Marx and Islam. It might be enlightening for some of us.


N. Friedman - 8/18/2008

Mr. Butler,

Again, I was asking you to make sense of the specific quotes you presented by telling me how they fit into the history. Instead, you have given me a rant of the sins of the Israelis but without showing anything about the specific quotes. I gather that you have no idea the background of any of the quotes you have presented.

As for justice, the justice that was available in 1948 also included some justice for Jews. They too had rights. And, they were hardly well treated by the world, including by Arabs. Find some way in your Utopian vision for what Jews, who had no place to call home, ought to have done. Should they have remained in permanent Displaced Person camps? Should they have returned to be massacred, as many did, in Poland?


james joseph butler - 8/17/2008

Dear Eliot,
You are so right, I do invent quotes. I do that, perhaps in honor of Prof. Shenkman, to interject some life into what can be rather dry, depressing at times, he said, they said, searches for the elusive truth.

But just to review, Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary, love that old fashioned truth in labeling, you know like the Dept. of War, met with Theodor Herzel to discuss East Africa(the Uganda Offer, present day Kenya)as a potential Jewish homeland. I apologize for using Rhodesia but your skeptism helped to refresh my memory in regards,thanks Jewish Virtual Library, to this particular chapter in Zionist history. As you know the 6th Zionist Congress voted to send an "investigatory commission". But I imagine you knew all that as well as the eventual fate of the Uganda project. The fact that the Colonial Secretary offered a location on the Dark Continent rather than a more familiar locale to the European Jews looking to settle their Russian cousins and of course as a means of furthering the Empire's goals does not detract from the old world imperium exercise of power over indigenous people's fates. Which is exactly what the Empire would inflict on the Palestinians thanks to the Balfour Declaration.

The British government's Balfour Declaration was addressed to an individual, the 2nd Baron Rothschild, Walter Rothschild. The 1st Baron Rothschild, earned his title the old fashioned way. He provided the necessary funds to the Bank of England in 1825 during a liquidity crisis. Not to mention the fact that he had bankrolled the British army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was a feel good experience for the winners. And let's not forget the help with the Suez Canal.

So yeah Eliot, I don't think it's a stretch to say that the British felt a trifle indebted to the Rothschilds and by extension their favorite charity.

The "UK empire did not display gratitude to prior services to it, during the Holocaust." Eliot last I checked the UK wasn't exactly calling the shots during WW2. Apart from the bombing the camps, and the gravity of the situation was not entirely clear at the time, there was little else the Brits could've done.

Yes the British were anti-Jewish, regardless of the truly patriotic acts British Jews had performed for their country. In giving Jews a homeland in 1917 the British government could simultaneously do the right thing and help to solve the "Jewish problem" and what better way to do it then to give away a little meaningless piece of far away land. A similiar dynamic occurred in 1947 when European authorities were not exactly upset when it was decided that the Jews would now have a home of their own. There's a parallel to be seen in the appeasement of Hitler with the Sudentenland; give away an insignicant piece of land, make the problem go away we've more important problems to deal with, whether it was the ongoing war in 1917 or the the dire financial situation in 1946 the Empire needed to concentrate on more pressing matters than Arabs. The British colonial agents in Palestine were certainly happy to get out of the cross fire. And the Zionists put them squarely in the crosshairs.

My "unshakeble prejudices and stubborn ignorance", la di da.


art eckstein - 8/17/2008

Omar's disgusting racism is apparent in his statement above about inborn traits of the Jews (sarcastically called by him the chosen people).

I think if any one of his interlocutors here at HNN talked about inborn traits of the Palestinians (say, towards self-destructive ultraviolence) you'd hear Omar's cries of outrage from here to Mecca.

But in any case two of OMAR's inborn traits are evidently ignorance and inability to listen to actual facts.

Here are two actual facts:

1. There was no Jewish immigration forced into Palestine by the British. The British allowed it (but also restricted it, and increasingly so in the 1930s when hundreds of thousands could have been saved from the Nazis).

2. As for "relentless opposition" from the Palestinian Arabs, Omar confuses the Husseinis' relentless opposition with the Palestinian Arabs as a whole (many of whom hated the Husseinis because of THEIR evidently inborn trait of using extreme violence against opponents).

The fact is that Arabs in the Mandate sold TWICE as much land to Jews in the 1920s as in the ENTIRE previous thirty years. Every sale was a completely voluntary act by an Arab (in fact, they were selling the Jews cruddy land at inflated prices). This is not exactly "relentless opposition."


Elliott Aron Green - 8/17/2008

I was writing late at night. Here is a correction:

My article is called "Arabs and Nazis: Can It Be True?" First published in Midstream, October 1994.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/17/2008

An outstanding inborn trait of the chosen people is their unlimited ability to forget, or pretend to forget , all the good that was ever done to them; commonly known as ingratitude.
A quick review of this blog will demonsrtrate the absence of any inkling of gratitude to their major historical benefactor and actual creator, then Great Britain whose :
a-Balfour Declaration
b-Enabling, while ruling over Palestine, of forced Jewish emigration into it, despite the express will of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people and their relentless opposition to it
AND
c-Adamant denial of the Palestinian people his inalienable right to SELF DETERMINATION
actually led to the establishment in Palestine of the Zionist colony known as Israel.
The USA, who sustained and still does sustain Israel, should consider this trait and ponder its chances of Israel ever being grateful whenever conditions change; as ultimately they are bound to change!


N. Friedman - 8/17/2008

Omar,

I provided evidence from the book you cite that he did not think there was total support for your view. In fact, he notes the efforts towards trying to obtain such view, which is a different thing from saying such a view existed.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/17/2008

Omar, haven't you noticed that today, several Arab states have the highest per capita income in the world?? Why do you whine so much over Arab weakness?? Arab oil and Arab super riches have more influence in today's world than Israel does.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/17/2008

butler, arafat was born in Cairo, so you can set that off against the signers of Israel's Independence Declaration who were born in Poland and whose families were wiped out because Britain under Churchill refused to let them into the internationally designated Jewish National Home at the urging of Amin el-Husseini and the Arab Higher Committee, and because the UK would not bomb the death camps, despite the urging of Weizmann and other Jewish leaders.

So the Rothchilds created the British Empire, along wiht Disraeli, is that what you're insinuating?? In fact, the UK empire did not display gratitude for prior Jewish services to it, during the Holocaust. Further, your supposedly innnocent Arabs had oppressed the Jews in Arab/Muslim-rule lands for more than 1000 years. Further, Britain was violating its obligations under the Mandate from 1922 on, acutally following a policy started in 1918 by Allenby.

It's cute of you and symptomatic that you invent a quote from a British foreign secretary.

I am finding your unshakeable prejudices and stubborn ignorance to be unworthy of too much of my time.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/17/2008

I guess Mr Elliott best summarized the issue by stating:
“The 1939 White Paper was illegal since it violated the mandate for British government of the country “

(Re: Eyes on the Prize (#126490)
by Elliott Aron Green on August 16, 2008 at 7:11 PM) in which the key words are “the mandate for British government”

For to the Zionists it is indeed the will of the “international community” where international Jewry was, still is, present and highly influential and with GB the then prime IMPERIALIST power implementing that will that counts and where the WILL of the Palestinian people is TOTALLY ABSENT.

Whereas as far as we are concerned it is the WILL of the indigenous Palestinian people and the Arab nation that counts and that, in case of conflict, will supersede and over rule any other will up to nullifying it .

That is the crux of the matter: the support of the “international community” composed of the major imperialist forces at the time and
a-its constant and unremitting search , then and now , and desire to resolve the “Jewish question” , which is basically a Jewish/EUROPEAN Western issue, outside of its own borders
together with its ever present
b-search for a regional base that dictated and still does the main pro Zionist/Israel thrust of the West.
However events proved that:
c-The establishment of Israel in Palestine DID NOT resolve the Jewish Question
while
d-its establishment did NOT present the regional base for all of them despite Israel’s unflagging desire to assist them all since the USA insisted on the primacy, to the point of exclusivity, of the US imperialist/Israeli Zionist alliance.

All being the facts and factors which defined then and do define now the real identity and role of Israel, its innate aggressive and alien nature and the impossibility of its ever becoming an accepted regional partner as long as it exists as a Zionist, ie exclusively or predominantly, Jewish state.
Evolving events will ultimately prove that it was a short sighted, bad and losing gamble .
Richard Cohen, at the Washington Post, put it best:” it (the establishment of Israel in Palestine) was a grave mistake.” that will cost all, including but primarily the Jews inside and outside Palestine, a great deal to redress .





































































omar ibrahim baker - 8/17/2008

I guess Mr Elliott best summarized the issue by stating:
“The 1939 White Paper was illegal since it violated the mandate for British government of the country “

(Re: Eyes on the Prize (#126490)
by Elliott Aron Green on August 16, 2008 at 7:11 PM) in which the key words are “the mandate for British government”

To the Zionists it is indeed the will of the “international community” where international Jewry was, still is, present and highly influential and with GB the then prime IMPERIALIST power implementing that will that counts and where the WILL of the Palestinian people was TOTALLY ABSENT.

Whereas as far as we are concerned it is the WILL of the indigenous Palestinian people and the Arab nation that counts and that, in case of conflict, will supersede and over rule any other will up to nullifying it .

That is the crux of the matter: the support of the “international community” composed of the major imperialist forces at the time and
a-its constant and unremitting search , then and now , and desire to resolve the “Jewish question” , which is basically a Jewish/EUROPEAN Western issue, outside of its own borders
together with its ever present
b-search for a regional base that dictated and still does the main pro Zionist/Israel thrust of the West.
However events proved that:
c-The establishment of Israel in Palestine DID NOT resolve the Jewish Question
while
d-its establishment did NOT present the regional base for all of them despite Israel’s unflagging desire to assist them all since the USA insisted on the primacy, to the point of exclusivity, of the US imperialist/Israeli Zionist alliance.

All being the facts and factors which defined then and do define now the real identity and role of Israel, its innate aggressive and alien nature and the impossibility of its ever becoming an accepted regional partner as long as it exists as a Zionist, ie exclusively or predominantly, Jewish state.

Evolving events will ultimately prove that it was a short sighted, bad and losing gamble .
Richard Cohen, at the Washington Post, put it best:” it (the establishment of Israel in Palestine) was a grave mistake.” that will cost all, including but primarily the Jews inside and outside Palestine, a great deal to redress .





































































james joseph butler - 8/17/2008

Gee whiz I was starting to think you guys liked Omar more than me. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts Eliot and while you're at it you might want to do a little fact checking.

Palestine was divided into 16 districts in 1946,one of those 16 had a majority of land in public trust,that large district, Bersheeba was largely desert. Two other disticts had land ownership with Palestinian pluralities, the 13 remaining districts had majority Palestinian land ownership.

The idea that the British were anti-Jewish is false by all strategically significnant measures. The Balfor Declaration is ipso facto evidence unto itself. The British, as I suspect you know, had major IOUs out to the Rothschilds who'd functioned as the crown's banker for decades. Chaim Weitzmann had turned black walnuts into high explosives when things looked dire on the Western Front. Disraeli had been an invaluable part of the Empire. And the future hero of W and the neocons, he was a hero against the Axis, Churchill thought gassing Arabs was good fun. Jews and Anglos had lived side by side for generations more than deserving a voice on matters overseas.(British foreign secretary to Jewish leader, "Ok, anyplace on the planet, it's yours.""Damn! Why couldn't they pick Rhodesia.")

You're certainly correct in pointing out that that by 1939 the Brits on the ground in Palestine had very little(as Sen. Lugar said describing America's love thang with Israel;"affinity")love for those pesky Zionists. Small wonder, you're an ordinary civil servant of her majesty, in a parched place, simply trying to do the right thing, sorry Eliot you can talk 7th century all you want, 20th century, the Jews in Palestine were the new kids on the block, and those bumptious arrivestes were rockin' the boat. Civil servants do not like people who try and cut the que, think DMV Eliot, so it's only natural that those loyal royal servants on the ground start whinin' to HQ, "Yo, those annoyin' Jews is cussin us a mess. Enough Already!" So you know there's a little granular blowback, maybe more than a little.


"the mandate for British government of the country as a trust for the Jewish people." Thanks Eliot, because I just love that part. I had to read it at least four times to wrap my puny little brain around it. Also because this ethnic rearrangement, revanchist thing is so, you know, now. 44 out of the 45 signers of the Israeli "Declaration of Independence" were born outside of Palestine. I seem to recall that the good guys, you know, us, the USA, fought a Revolution against British government by decree. Who's missing something here Eliot? Or maybe you and Captain Kirk need to take me on a cruise so we can make things right between Mr. Paine and Mr.Bull. Who died and left Queen Elizabeth and Harry Truman Mrs. and Mr. God? The "internationally designated Jewish home" was a quiddity of traditional power politics where one side had centuries of experience in playing the games of politics and the other didn't even know when the game was being played.

And that tired Palestinian "Arab leader el-Husseini",schtick, another in a long line of "Arab leader"s who owed their positions to the machinations of the West, in this case the British. There were more Nazis in 1939 on Long Island in Bund summer camps than in Palestine.

Eliot the 7th century is alive and well just as the 2nd and 15th centuries are, we carry every century with us into the future. I however would place far more emphasis on the 20th century's injustices if I wanted to live in a better 21st century. Israel is a reality that the majority of Palestinians can live with. It's the lack of recognition and reparations of the sins that have committed against the Palestinians that will continue to haunt and hurt Israel until the people of Israel(and America) learn that Old Testament stories and the horror of the Holocaust did not grant them territorial and spiritual mulligans for eternity.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/17/2008




Mr.,. Friedman writes:
“Re: THE HYPER ABSURD STAGE (#126373)
by N. Friedman on August 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM
Omar,

I have now read a substantial portion of Kayyali's book. What he says, in the pages I have read, is that there was substantial opposition to Zionism and that those who were opposed to Zionism used newspapers, etc., in an effort to foment opposition by the masses.

Contrary to what you write, if there was total opposition, there would be no need to convince the public of the need not to sell to Jews, of the need to prevent Jewish immigration, of the need to oppose Zionism, etc., etc. Instead, what would be reported would be specific tactics used to advance that already existing total opposition.

So, I await the evidence you think exists. “

Re the evidence about Arab Palestinian resistance to Jewish emigration in AW Kayyali’s book I refer Mr Friedman to Chapter 2 entitled “Arab Palestinian resistance to Zionism pre WWI” and following chapters which CHRONICLES (My exact word used previously) inter alia Arab Palestinian utter and escalating rejection and opposition to Jewish emigration int Palestine.
The key word here is escalating which denotes the fact that that opposition and rejection increased in direct proportion to the unveiling of Zionist political objectives and was not a rejection of Jews per se as much as a rejection of Zionism and Zionists with sovereignty claims on Palestine.

As to “So, I await the evidence you think exists” the book in question gives the “REQUIRED” evidence for any open minded reader .

However to settle this issue for the open minded reader , that definitely does not include the herd, one has only read the WHOLE book which I will not try to summarize as some one, somewhere, demanded.(It is available at Amazon.)


Mr Friedman makes somewhere the ludicrous claim that I did NOT read the book which, although an implied impingement of my honesty, is not worth spending more time on for its utter inanity.
(By the way my reference is to the ARABIC original , First printing, Nov 1970 published by the Arab Institute For Studies and Publication NOT the English translation available at Amazon)




Elliott Aron Green - 8/16/2008

butler likes to simplify what is not simple. Actually, most or nearly most of the real estate in the country was state land before 1948. In other words, it did not belong to Arab private owners. Further, the British had illegally forbidden Jews to buy real estate in most of the country by the 1939 White Paper on "palestine." These land purchase regulations were promulgated in 1940 as part of a British, anti-Jewish racism, or call it merely "anti-Zionism" if you like. So the Jews were willing to buy real estate from Arab private owners, but the UK mandatory govt of the country forbid Jewish land purchase in most of the country. The UK also made it very difficult for Jews to find refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home when the Jews most needed a home. Meanwhile, the chief palestinian Arab leader, Amin el-Husseini [al-Husayni] was collaborating in the Holocaust as Art, I recall, explains in a post above.

The 1939 White Paper was illegal since it violated the mandate for British government of the country as a trust for the Jewish people. Whereas the League of Nations mandate mandated British encouragement and facilitation of "close Jewish settlement on the land," the White Paper obviously vitiated and violated this requirement.

Of course, if you want to go back in history, when the Arabs conquered the country in the 7th century, they seized much private Jewish land, as well as some Christian privately owned real estate. They slaughtered part of the pre-existing population and depopulated several coastal cities. See the Arab historian al-Baladhuri [or al-Baladhdhuri]. While the Land was under Arab-Muslim control, Jews were exploited, oppressed, humiliated, etc. as dhimmis. The Jews were probably even worse treated than the Christian dhimmis.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/16/2008

I agree with Michael L and Art about Husseini. See my article on "Arabs on Nazis" on various sites on the web.

However, I would point out there were Badawin west of the Jordan too, in the Galilee and Negev, mainly. I believe that Badawin are supposed to have been about 1/3 of the Arabs west of the Jordan.


art eckstein - 8/16/2008

Taking the Mandate as a whole, about one-third of the Arab population in the regon east of the Jordan river were "nomads" in the 1920s--i.e., in the region that became the Kingdom of Transjordan. That's about 1/10 of the total Arab population within the Mandate as a whole, including the area west of the Jordan. The vast majority were farmers or dwellers in small towns. Mr. Lafavour is wrong.

But Lafavour's mistake pales into insignificance when when looks at Omar's statement aboout the vile Nazi al-Husseini.

Husseini was a personal friend of Hitler, spent WWII in Berlin, worked closely with Himmler the head of the SS, visited concentration camps (including Auschwitz death-camp itself, according to Dieter Wisliceny, Eichmann's lieutenant), organized THREE SS divisions of Muslims that committed MASSIVE atrocities against civilians in the Balkans, and was one of only two non-Germans indicted as a major war-criminal at Nuremburg. (He escaped, and found a big welcome in the Arab world.)

Husseini's weekly radio propaganda for Hitler forms the basis of Omar's own ideology of "magic Jews" in control of the world. In Husseini's own memoirs, Husseini said he intended his Arab forces to kill every Jew in the Middle East; he made that deal with Hitler.

Husseini, Omar says, "spoke for all Palestinian Arabs."

OK--let's think about THAT statement, folks!



omar ibrahim baker - 8/16/2008

As an attempt at, further, brainwashing of a Western readership this post is only another one pretending erudition and knowledge by denying the all too evident for anyone with real, HONEST, knowledge.
Hajj Amin, may God have mercy on his soul, spoke for all Palestinian Arabs that you qualify as "nomads" which also goes to show the amount of your honest knowledge and your readiness to come out with it!


Michael LeFavour - 8/16/2008

Omar, the hyper absurd stage commenced when you posted here. But I want to thank you for entertaining us. Most of your ilk actually care about their self image, but you appear to be immune to the shame of being exposed as ignorant.

Your proposition is....."that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs, that is 80% of total population, were adamantly opposed to Jewish emigration into Palestine throughout the British mandate era which enabled it."

First, the figure of 80% is speculation. No polls or reliable evidence exists that I am aware of to support this claim. And how would you determine the thoughts of a largely nomadic population unaccustomed to borders? If it were true, or even if the figure was 100%, the question should be why. For one thing, anti Jewish violence was not widespread until the criminal, Haj Muhammed Amin al-Husseini, was given a pardon and a position of power. The damage this Islamic bigot created can not be understated. I place him in the same category as the likes of Pol Pot, Stalin, and Hitler. Though every bit as malevolent, he simply (thankfully) did not have their level of resources at his disposal to cause greater harm. Once given ill deserved legitimacy and title he abused his authority by having any Arab that opposed his Islamic supremacist views murdered, silenced, or bought, which eliminated an unknown amount of good will towards the Jews and created a climate of fear amongst the Arab clans that has persisted till today. Fresh from the killing fields of the Christian Armenian genocide, this cretin embodied everything that is abhorrent about the intolerance of religious bigotry run amok.

Second, when you say "Palestinian Arabs" I assume you mean the Arabs that found themselves inside of the border of the Jewish homeland as defined by the boundary of the Mandate for Palestine? This included what became Jordan. If it is not Arab racism and Muslim bigotry at the root of the conflict, what can explain the acceptance of the armed invaders, the colonialists, that set themselves up as dictatorial monarchs, that did not give a whit about what a majority thought or did on 75% of Palestine territory....the Hashemites?

Third, when you bring up figures that show a majority of a people support or oppose something how is that relevant to the era and political system of the region in question? Democracy is an ideal you are transposing onto the people of the region long after the fact to illict an emotional response. Landless Arabs outside of Israeli controlled lands were never given a chance to vote until Jews gave them one after 1967. Female Arabs outside of Israeli controlled lands were never given a chance to vote until Jews gave them one after 1967. In short, the majority of the people had no voice. Just like the majority of the people that were dislocated by the Arab genocide attempt on the Jewish community in 1948 were not owners of private property and had no voice. I am not supporting tyranny, I am only pointing out that nowhere else in the ME do the Arabs have a voice. To demand that the Jews give them one or to suggest that the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians were a free and democratic people prior to the arrival of the Jews is not painting an accurate portrait of the situation at the time decisions were made. If it is irrelevant what the majority of Arabs wanted or did not want in every other ME land and you insist we retroactively give rights to the Arabs they never had and do not have anywhere but in Israel even today I have an issue with your objectivity.

So who did speak for the Arabs? Faisal. And speaking about Zionism he wrote..."We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed I think that neither can be a real success without the other." Notice he did not say "Palestine"? That is because there was no "Palestinian nationalism" except for the indigenous people, the Jews. And in a correspondence with Dr Chaim Weisman Faisel wrote..."We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home." The proposals submitted in Paris were for a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan. Faisel agreed to it. The voice of the Arabs, a direct descendant of Muhammad, welcomed the Jews home, but Omar the Israel hater wants us to believe that Zionism opposed Arab nationalism.

Fourth, if you claim the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians had national aspirations show evidence of this pre-Mandate period in unambiguous terms. Show writings that a people calling themselves Palestinians had aspirations to nationhood separate from or autonomy within the Ottoman empire before the Mandate. If they have a just and legitimate national cause it will have defined itself independent of Jewish national aspirations long before the modern Zionist movement commenced. Anything else is naked Islamic bigotry and Arab racism. The two roots of the conflict.


james joseph butler - 8/15/2008

Let's play Monopoly. I own 93% of the property, you own those purple properties, Baltic and ?. I know your people were there for generations long ago,and thanks to that book, you all feel that the big rule maker in the sky gave Boardwalk to you for perpetuity. But real estate being the cold blooded business that it is, except where Congress decides, unless you've got the deed you don't got the land.

British/U.N. surveys state that Jews owned 7% of Palestine in 1946, they were 1/3 of the population, one imagines the discreptancy between land ownership and population was a reflection of the fact that roughly 3/4 of the Jewish population were literally off the boat from Europe. The U.N. none the less sees fit to grant 56% of Palestine to the Jews. I start screaming to the great Monopoly ajudicator in the sky, "What the hell kinda trade is that?" His reply, "It's what those nice Jews deserve, after all look at what those Nazis did to them." You protest,"I had nothing to do with with that!"
Please don't waste my time and yours with the British installed Palestinian Haj's trip to see Hitler. There were far more American Nazis than Palestinian.


Those uncivilized Palestinians could whine as much as they wanted to. After all by now we all know there are rules and then there's supra rules, you know, for friends. The untutored Arabs have been trying to catch up ever since. But just like the real estate games currently being played in Congress if you have connections rules are changed because you're special. The well connected Israel lobby,which had had to depend on middle man management skills since before the Middle Ages, was well equipped to use both its communication skills and its connections to tip the scales in its favor. The Palestinians hadn't left home and you know how that works when it comes to developing those modern world skills.

Mr. Friedman, you and your ilk's desire to see equity made manifest in the U.N. 1948 charter as well as in the behavior of Israel since would say that the American Indian got what he deserved. After all haven't the Euro-Americans made America the wonderful, productive country it is today?

The injustice is plain as day. I only hope it doesn't take the Palestinians as long as the Irish to achieve an equitable resolution. Every year that a just peace is postponed hurts all the parties..And I'm sure your familiar with G.Washington's warning about "a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils." But I guess you'd need "context" to understand Washington's point.



N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

To what end are we debating here? You are asking me to defend a book that I, but not you, have read, albeit carefully, when it first appeared in print, which is a daunting task given the amount of time that has lapsed, against a review that makes an offhand remark. I shall do my best to answer your question but, once again, recommend that you read the book and see what you think of it.

Oren is, by and large, writing a general history organized around three themes he believes to be important. The title of the book sets forth those themes. On the one hand, he includes copious detail regarding travelers to the Middle East, what they thought before and during and after their trips. He note, in considerable measure, their hypocrisy, criticizing imperfection (e.g. slavery in Muslim countries) without noticing slavery in the US. He notes the exotic notions that such people held - with evidence from newspapers and diaries, etc., etc. - about the Muslim regions. And, he notes events in US history which reinforced fantasies, including events during world's fairs in which there were shows that presented those regions to ordinary Americans. There is more detail and I could go on to the extent I can remember but the point is that there was a fantasy of the Muslim regions which both exaggerated magical qualities but which, at the same time, magnified its faults rather hypocritically. Such, he showed had influence of policy makers.

As for faith, he discusses Restorationism at considerable length, with sermons that preceded the founding of the US republic and religious and scholarly support for it (including from, rather interestingly, a Columbia professor named George Bush - a relative of the current president, it turns out) thereafter. He discusses the views of those involved, provides biographical details of some of those involved, discusses their sermons (if I recall correctly), etc. He describes in detail the impact such views had on politicians, with presidents and other politicians and prominent citizens being avid Restorationists. He also explains the doctrine so that a non-believer can understand its appeal and its relationship to American history. He also discusses in considerable detail missionary activities in the Muslim regions and what they became and why they took the path they took. And, he discusses how they influenced US policy in the region, most particularly with respect to WWI and the decision not to attack the Ottoman Empire which related, in considerable part, to the influence of missionary supporters on Wilson and the desire to safeguard the missionaries and their property.

Regarding power, he describes in considerable detail how the US dealt with the Muslim regions when our republic was founded, including internal debates about what to do about the ongoing piracy that began when the British withdrew its commitment to protect American ships at the start of the Revolutionary War. He describes meetings with Muslims to resolve the dispute - and the explanation by one Muslim ambassador that the Koran required such piracy (unless the US was willing to pay) and the reaction by, if I recall correctly, Adams to the money demand (which he [or whomever it was], if I recall correctly, saw as a form of hypocrisy), military action taken to stop the piracy, differences in the US, versus the European, approach to dealing with the pirates, etc., etc. In this regard, he notes that the European approach of paying off the pirates had not stopped piracy even in Europe but that piracy halted when the US dealt and, eventually, dealt decisively with them - which, by the way, resulted in a change in heart by Europeans who decided that the US had achieved a victory that halted piracy while the Europeans were still paying them ransom.

He describes in considerable detail relations with the Ottoman Empire (e.g. vis a vis Greece and, later, regarding Armenians). He describes, if I recall correctly, how and why it is that, during WWI, the US determined, contrary to what happens during most wars, not to make war against the Ottoman Empire. He describes in considerable detail the origins of US policy regarding the emerging countries in the regions including but not only regarding Israel and a whole host of other issues.

He, I think, shows pretty well how these various themes - power, faith and fantasy - have impacted on relations between the Muslim regions and the US. I think, quite obviously, that such views have played considerable impact today, with issues of fantasy - e.g. those Americans who speak of a religion of peace -, of faith - e.g. Christian Zionism and missionary activity, which both still impact on what the US does - and power - e.g. oil and power politics, etc. -.

Does his book provide a detailed investigation of every single given incident? No. Nor does it try to do so. But, he does provide substantial detail and that detail has, so far as I know, not previously been organized together so that one can consider possible patterns. On that score, he has written a brilliant book.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/15/2008

For Mr. Eckstein and Mr. Tzur, both of whom worry about the "50% intermarriage rate" for American Jews: I wouldn't worry too much about that. I've read that

"[T]he rate of Jewish "outbreeding"—procreating with non-Jews—is half a percent. That's the lowest rate of any population in the world today." http://www.slate.com/id/2177228/

Speaking from personal experience, I have known of four Jewish-Christian marriages. In two, the offspring are being raised as Christians (one as Baptists, one as Catholics); in the other two as Jews (both mothers were "mainline Protestants"). I hesitate to note here that in all four cases, the marriages involved Jewish grooms and Christian brides -- hesitate because I don't want to raise the awkward question about the problem Jewish men seem to have with Jewish women. But I must bring it up to make this point: If four Jewish men married Christian women, then that means there are four Jewish women who may marry Christian men. If the women follow Jewish law and raise their offspring as Jews, then it would seem that these eight interfaith marriages will result in six cases of Jewish children and only two of Christian. Thus, intermarriage may actually result in an increased (or at least not a decreased) number of American Jews.

(I should disclose that if in my own family things continue as they are, I myself may have a Jewish son-in-law. This was the reason I needed to be sure that Mr. Green and I would not be future in-laws.)

I suppose I should say here that, growing up as I did on farms or small towns, I didn't meet a Jew until I was in college. Actually, that's not right: I met one in the Army though he and I had but little intercourse. My best friend in college was Jewish though, and I used the chance to have many philosophical and religious discussions. He found me almost as exotic -- he said that growing up in Chicago he never had a conversation with someone from a fundamentalist Protestant upbringing. As I have moved up the socio-economic ladder, I have made more Jewish friends, but I will always remember my first.

He had an interesting family history. His mother’s family was from Poland; her father and uncle had stowed away on two different ships in the 1930s, resulting in her father landing in South Africa while her uncle landed in America. Though born and raised in South Africa, the mother would later use the connection with her uncle to immigrate to America. His father was a Holocaust survivor who, as a teenager, hid out in the forests of western Russia until war’s end and then made his way to the States.

I've run out of time for now, but perhaps I will write more about my college friend another time.


art eckstein - 8/15/2008

We are in total agreement on this complex issue, NF.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/15/2008

Dear Mr. Friedman,

While Prof. Oren's book is a welcome antidote which I hope will cure the poisonous views that many Jews have had of religious Christians, it is history with which I am intimately familiar. Thus, when you cite, for example, Niall Ferguson's observations that, "If you think America’s entanglement in the Middle East began with Roosevelt and Truman, Michael Oren’s deeply researched and brilliantly written history will be a revelation....", please understand that Prof. Oren's work cannot be a "revelation" to me. Reading a compilation, no matter how well-written, of the historical record of American Christian Zionism would be more of a "coals to Newcastle" moment than a "revelation" for me.

Perhaps you feel that the book has been summarized inaccurately -- notably Mr. Kagan's view that "as a study of the complex and contradictory motives of American behavior, his book is a bit thin" -- or its conclusions unjustly. If so, please share the facts that will undermine my contention that he is probably wrong to make predictions about future American actions using "the past as prelude".


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Mr. Butler,

I await an explanation of how the specific quotes you present prove anything about what you claim to have occurred. My basic understanding of the facts - in the shortest rendition - is that the parties involved could not get along, which called for partition. The Arab side rejected any partition and started an unnecessary war in violation of the UN Charter. Large numbers of people on both sides were displaced and could not return to their homes. Had the Arab side not started its unnecessary war and, instead, accepted partition, the dispute that developed as we know it might have been avoided.


james joseph butler - 8/15/2008

I apologize for including the gratuitious quote regarding children in there, it was meant to expose the inhumanity of people who think in terms of ethnicity and identity before humanity. I guess it's not really irrelevant but I'll try and keep this simple.
First of all both the first and last quotes of Ben-Gurion come from books written by Israeli Jews. The quotes do not need any more CONTEXT than the facts of Zionist/Israeli history. Which is to state the obvious Mr. Friedman; from 7% Jewish land ownership in 1946 Palestine to effectively controlling, one could obviously say 100% given the life or death squeeze Israel can exert when it chooses, to the 83% land ownership today in Israel behind wall or otherwise, Zionists have used, as Ben-Gurion predicted,a variety of means but chiefly violent to take land from Palestinians.
Of course you knew that at least as well as I but you'd prefer to play your,they are amusing I will admit but that's because I live in Maryland not Gaza, obscurantist, pseudo intellectual games.


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Thanks for the book recommendation.


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Art,

No doubt you are correct.

I do reiterate that there was certainly opposition. Selling land does not change that and those who sold land could, at the very same time they sold the land, hold views that would seem to contradict their actions. Receiving money in hand is always tempting.

On the other hand, opposition was not, as Omar would have it, "total" and his "evidence" does not show anything of the sort. Rather, he has again shown his addiction to propaganda.


art eckstein - 8/15/2008

NF,

During the 1920s when Omar says that Palestinians universally and strenuously opposed Jewish arrival in the Mandate, the amount of land SOLD to Jews by Palestinian Arabs was so large that the area of Jewish-owned land DOUBLED in the course of a single decade what had been sold to Jews by Arabs in the entire 30 years before 1917.

That is a FACT.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/15/2008

NF and Art et al.,
Here's a link to my review of a book on the "palestinian people" notion. Antonius is mentioned:
http://www.netanyahu.org/peopthatneve.html

I read Elie Kedourie's In the Anglo-Arab Labyrinth which deals much with Antonius and his version of Arab nationalism in The Arab Awakening. Needless to say, Kedourie refutes Antonius.

as to British policy on Jewish immigration, they limited it even in the 1920s, if I am not mistaken. Recall the famous Sertifikatim [certificates for immigration].

I mistakenly substituted "began" for "became" in a message above. I meant that what started as a policy of Judeophobic British officers on the ground in Israel eventually BECAME British policy tout court. By the way, Wasserstein, I think, makes the point that these officers were often motivated by reading the Protocols.

Another topic for research could be BBC policy towards the Holocaust during the war as it was occurring.


art eckstein - 8/15/2008

On the evolution of British policy, I recommend also the two detailed chapters in D. K. Fieldhouse, Western Imperialism in the Middle East, 1914-1958 (Oxford University Press, 2006). Fieldhouse is the dean of British scholars of British imperial policy in the 20th century.

A little bit better than Wikipedia, or Omar's paranoid rants, I'd say!

It is clear from our discussion that the British were never involved in some sort of conspiracy to force Jews upon the Arabs of the Mandate. Other than Sir Herbert Samuel early on, British High Commissioners were unsympathetic.

But facts won't both Omar (or Butler).


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Mr. Butler,

Somewhere in your writing there must be a point, although it is not clear where. All I can see is that you have found some supposed offhand comments or remarks or words said by a politician and drawn broad conclusions. How about, instead of making yourself sound foolish, you provide some context for these quotes that explain how they, in fact, demonstrate anything other than what you wrote before, namely, that you can find quotes on the Internet.


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Elliott,

You may want to read Elie Kedourie's accounts of the evolution of British policy and what motivated it. I would commend, in particular, his book Islam in the Modern World and Other Studies. On his view, the problem for the British is that they lost control of events in the 1930's due to confusing general ideological views common to the region with the specific political needs of the various countries there. As a result, they ended up handing control of events to the surrounding Arab states to help quell the uprising in the 1930's. This internationalized the conflict and diminished Britain, which chose not control its own territory without outside control - leaving the impression that it could not, in fact, control the territory without outside assistance. As for why outsiders were brought in, some of it was due to internal bureaucratic politics, some of it was hatred of Jews (in some of those involved) and some of it was plain mistakes.


N. Friedman - 8/15/2008

Elliott,

On this we agree.


james joseph butler - 8/15/2008

David Ben-Gurion's prescience in regards to first creating a Jewish state, granted by either the British or the U.N.and then moving beyond those borders to fulfill the Zionist ideal of Eretz Israel by whatever means necessary is seen in this letter to his son Amos written in 1937.
"I have no doubt that our army will be among the world's outstanding and so I am certain that we wonn't be constrained from settling in the rest of the country either by mutual agreement and understanding with our neighbors or by some other way. I still believe that after we become numerous and strong the Arabs will understand that it is best for them to strike an alliance with us and to benefit from our help providing they allow us by their good will to settle in all parts of Palestine."

A marvelous juxtapositon of noblesse oblige and real politik muscle. Kind of like the absurd rhetoric that America and Israel dish out daily.

His words regarding Jewish child refugees in 1938.
"If I knew it was possible to save all{Jewish} children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them to Eretz Yisrael I would choose the latter."
Those words remind of Madeline Albright's statement that half million Iraqi children's deaths were "worth it" if it meant ousting Hussein.

But getting back to Ben-Gurion and those annoyingly persistent Arabs, in 1944.
"Zionism is a transfer of the Jews. Regarding a transfer of the Arabs this is much easier than any other transfer. There are Arab states in the vicinity and it is clear that if the Arabs are removed this will improve their condition."
Beneficient soul that he is, Ben-Gurion's words remind one of many who post here and official American policy to the Palestinians; the Israelis will continue to take what little Palestinian land is left and the Palestinians must either reconcile themselves to this or leave.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2008

NF, thank you for enlightenment. The Nation mag. of course. Times do change. This Nation editorial is largely confirmed by recent research by Prof Meir Zamir of Ben Gurion Univ in British documents obtained by French espionage. The UK policy at the time was to even betray France and the US. See two articles by Zamir in HaAretz this year.

Art, the evolution of UK policy re the Land of Israel is an important issue. According to Prof Netanyahu British officials on the ground in Israel were acting independently, motivated in part by their reading of the Protocols, to encourage Arab attacks on Jews as far back as 1920, if not earlier. This eventually began London's policy for whatever reasons. I would add to this bibliog Bernard Wasserstein's book on the first ten years of the Mandate, sponsored by the British Historical Society or some such body. I have an article relevant to this issue on the Net. But it's late and I will post a link tomorrow.

As to Antonius' widow Katy and Gen Barker, a large store of Antonius' papers were captured in the house [near Shim`on haTsadiq] during the fighting in Jerusalem in which British forces forced the Haganah to retreat from that area. Some of Katy's papers were captured too. So the love affair has been published. Barker used to show up at her salon in the evening and somehow not leave till the morning. I myself inspected a minor part of the sizable body of Antonius Papers in the Israel National Archives for my own article.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2008

yes, I agree. But she and others make the point that the shari`ah laws on dhimmis were always there for the more fanatic to pick up at times when they felt the need to make jihad or take out on local dhimmis a Muslim defeat somewhere far away. Think of the murders of Christians in various places in the world, including of aid workers, after the Pope made his speech on Islam. That kind of collective guilt is an Islamic belief. So if the Christian pope criticizes Islam then all Christians are guilty of the offense, even if they are not Roman Catholics and thus under his authority.

It's funny how the "human rights" fakers like to criticize Israel for "collective punishment." But collective guilt and punishment are parts of Islamic law, not a matter of a deviant interpretation.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2008

RRH, there are several Elliott Greens around in this world. May our tribe incease. However, I don't know the others personally. As to our children, I live in Jerusalem so probably they don't know each other. Anyhow, good health to your children and mine.


N. Friedman - 8/14/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

I think that before you criticize Oren's book, you might consider reading it. Were you to do so, you would see that he see the very same pattern that Mr. Mead sees. Which is to say, you are arguing against the very point which Mr. Mead and you support.

Oren's book is not about support for Israel - although that is one topic addressed - but about the views which have tended to come to the fore with respect to the interaction between Americans and people from the Muslim regions. The view which have tended to come to the fore arise with American notions of faith, with American political needs and, in many instances, fantasy views of the Muslim regions. As part of that, he does not posit, so far as I recall, that Americans will all love the Israelis or that love or hate of Israel is a right wing view or a left wing view. He notes, rather, that America's view of the Middle East, driven by these various themes he believes pertinent, are the basis by which American sees Israel and the Arabs and Muslims more generally. He sees such continuing, which was my point about the past being prelude.

I might add that Mr. Mead has, in fact, written about Oren's book. According to Mead: "This is an absolutely vital work that will change the way Americans look at their role in the Middle East and beyond. The story is riveting and the research encyclopedic."

You might also read what Niall Ferguson has written: "If you think America’s entanglement in the Middle East began with Roosevelt and Truman, Michael Oren’s deeply researched and brilliantly written history will be a revelation to you, as it was to me. With its cast of fascinating characters - earnest missionaries, maverick converts, wide-eyed tourists and even a nineteenth-century George Bush - Power, Faith and Fantasy is not only a terrific read, it is also proof that you don’t really understand an issue until you know its history."

Again, my suggestion is that you read the book before you criticize it. There may be points to criticize but your critique is not informed on your reading, which, to note, is most likely the basis for pretty much everything that appeared in Mr. Mead's article.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/14/2008

I never imagined that I would acquire so many Jewish correspondents, but it is a welcome condition for me -- except that this format will preclude the lengthy ripostes that I had planned for Mr. Eckstein and Mr. Friedman.

To my criticism of Prof. Oren's book for his two-dimensional view of (Gentile) American history and his resulting prediction (which I called "projection") that expects little change in American patterns of Mideast involvement, Mr. Friedman defends Prof. Oren's conclusion that "past is prelude". Specifically, he says,

"As for thinking that past is prelude, that seems an altogether normal view. Which is to say, he thinks that he has discerned a pattern that has tended to be seen over the course of many years."

To which I say, then if Prof. Oren had written his book 45 years ago he would've "discerned a pattern that has tended to be seen over the course of many years" and then would've predicted a future where "African Americans, mainline Protestants, and leftist intellectuals" would remain Israel's strongest supporters while "Jacksonians" would still be attending Ku Klux Klan rallies to hear about the "Jewish conspiracies to de-Christianize America."

While I agree with the view that the 1967 War was a turning point -- resulting in reduced support from the Left and greater support from the Right -- I wonder if Prof. Oren or someone would care to address the fact that as Israel retreats from its 1967 gains, support for Israel has neither increased on the Left nor decreased on the Right?

My friends, I must insert something here. I was about to address Mr. Eckstein and Mr. Tzur's concerns about Jewish-Christian intermarriage when I noticed that one of my readers is "Elliot Aron Green". In one of those "what a small world" moments, I realize that we may know each other through the friendship of our children. I think I want to just stop here until I get an answer to that.


art eckstein - 8/14/2008

When I said that "the Palestinian Arabs" would not agree to any of the British-proposed schemes for semi-self-government, all I meant of course was that those various (elite familes who *claimed* to represent Palestinian "opinion" (e.g., the Hussenis) would not or could not agree as a group to the various British proposals (in part because of the bitter and indeed violent rivalries and infighting among those elite familes).


art eckstein - 8/14/2008

Elliot, time after time Omar has stated that Zionism after 1917 was a plot by the British and the Jews, and that the British forced increasing numbers of Jews into the Mandate against a helpless Palestinian population.

I protested that ahistorical propaganda, arguing that all that happened was that the British allowed Jewish immigration and made it easier than it had been under the Ottomans, but that was all. (And the figures for Jewish immigration in the 1920s are not very large.) But you make the case of the British eventually favoring the Arab Palestinians stronger, and provide some good information to back up your thesis. This will be good information to have at our disposal the next time Omar tries his paranoid lies.

Nevertheless, there are two facts:

(a) the Balfour Declaration was a British project, and stood at the heart of things in the 1920s, though of course it required Jewish voluntary will to go to Palestine, and the British did nothing more to help that immigration than to allow it.

(b) the Zionists cooperated more fully with the Mandate government than the Palestinian Arabs ever did (n part because of internal infighting between the Husseinis and other families), so this won the Zionists points with the British up until 1929. That is, the British would propose various schemes of semi-self-government in the Mandate, the representatives of the Jewish population would agree, the Arab Palestinians would not.

But I think one needs to distinguish carefully the situation in the 1920s from the situation in the 1930s, and both from the situation in the 1940s. So Katy Antionius' alleged affair with Gen. Barker (what's the source on this?) is not relevant to, say, 1922. This is not to say that the British were ever in close league with the Zionists to the point of providing them positive governmental programmatic help in settling, or legal advantages or favor even in the 1920s. It was all rather laissez faire, I think.


N. Friedman - 8/14/2008

Elliott,

Regarding British double crossing, see The British Record on Partition, published in (ironic as it may be given it view today) The Nation Magazine on May 8, 1948. The article begins:

The General Assembly of the United Nations, for the third time in twelve months, is meeting to discuss "the future government of Palestine." Discussions are taking place in an atmosphere of violence which may touch off an explosion far beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land.

The question which the General Assembly must face, and world opinion as well, is this: was an inherent injustice in the November 29 resolution of the General Assembly responsible for the current explosion?

The Nation Associates presents the facts in this memorandum as essential to a wise and just decision. An examination of the facts will show that the present violence in Palestine results from:

1) British sabotage of Partition. This British sabotage was deliberately undertaken in order to insure British base rights in Palestine in perpetuity, as well as to safeguard British oil and trade and military interests in the Middle East.

2) British Alliance with Arab League. To achieve these ends, the British have embarked on an alliance with the Arab League, composed of the governments of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Transjordan, and Yemen. The Arab League, and not the Arab Higher Committee, controls the military and political developments among the Arabs of Palestine. Representatives of the British government were present at the meetings of the Arab League where the revolt was planned and organized and are in continuous connection with it. Within a month after the November 29th resolution, the Arabs were encouraged to believe partition would be substituted by a Federal State, and arms shipments continued to the Arab States despite their known use for Palestine warfare. On April 28 Foreign Minister Bevin was still refusing to halt them.

The facts will show, moreover, that:

The British have allowed 10,000 foreign invaders to enter Palestine, offering the feeble excuse that the British armed forces, consisting, at the outset, of over 80,000 men, could not adequately protect the border.

Although since December 11, 1947 the British have been promising to return to Transjordan the contingents of the Arab Legion brought to Palestine for police duty, they have allowed the members of that force to remain in Palestine and to attack Jewish communities. The only conclusion to be drawn is that the Arab Legion constitutes a major part of the effort to coerce the Jews into accepting less than the Jewish State granted by the United Nations.

At no time has the British government, in spite of its alleged impotence, requested any help from the United Nations; in fact, as the record shows, the British have continued to deprecate the situation, refused to identify the invaders, and have consistently denied that the Arab states as such are involved.

Through their action they have admitted into Palestine Arabs of known Nazi allegiance in command of the invading forces, and have even admitted escaped Nazi prisoners of war, now to be found in command of Arab detachments.

From secret British intelligence reports, which are quoted extensively in this record, it is clear that the British know and have always known of every single Arab troop movement in Palestine, and that their relations with the Arabs are such that they could ask Arab leaders to request the invading forces to remain unobtrusive.

British sabotage has resulted in turning Jerusalem into an armed camp, has permitted the Arabs to seize the Old City and to hold as hostages some 2000 Jews.

The British have failed to take any action to insure that Haifa should remain an open city, even though they were fully aware of the desire of local Arabs to achieve this and that the Jews wanted only to be safe from attack.

Their prejudice against the Jews has been clearly indicated in their refusal to allow the Jews to arm for defense against Arab attack, and their blowing up of Jewish defense posts; in their turning over to the Arabs - and to certain death - members of the Haganah; in their confiscation of Haganah arms; in their treatment of Jewish defense personnel as criminals. The British have connived at the starving of the Jewish population of Jerusalem by their failure to keep the highways open. They have refused armed escorts to the Jews.

Their attitude to the Arab community is quite different. By British admission, the Arab community has been armed by the British. Arab train robberies, which have been frequent, have been met with shooting over the heads of the robbers. Arab desertions from the police, for the purpose of joining the attackers, accompanied by the stealing of arms, have never been prevented, and Arab violators of the peace go unpunished.

To this record can be added the detailed facts concerning the fashion in which the British have destroyed central authority, and, under the guise of establishing greater local authority, turned over in largest part to the Arabs the various services of the Palestine government created and maintained chiefly by taxation of the Jewish community. Simultaneously, assets have been dissipated and vital communications disposed of to foreign agencies. The effect of this has been to seal the Jewish community in a limited area, cut off its access to the outside world by land and sea, and surround it by Arabs in order to create such a state of siege as would cause the Jews to send up a white flag.

By arrangement with the Arab League, if partition is shelved through any one of several schemes to assure Arab dominance in Palestine, the British are to receive base rights in Haifa, the Negev and Galilee.

But the British are not depending on Arab promises alone. They have already taken the necessary steps to assure the permanent rights in Palestine to air bases and land and sea communications. To be able to carry out this program, the Mandatory has required a free hand. That is why it has kept the United Nations Commission out of Palestine and refused it cooperation.

The facts contained in this document come for the most part from the confidential reports of British Intelligence.

So intent are the British upon destroying partition that they have shown themselves oblivious to the fact that with it they may destroy the authority of the United Nations, and even the peace of the world.


N. Friedman - 8/14/2008

Elliott,

Regarding the extent of Maimonides' knowledge of the wider world, maybe you are correct, at least up to a point. However, his own experience in Egypt tends to argue towards my point, which is that the treatment of Jews varied from place to place and, in any given place, the tolerance - or, more to the point, the lack thereof - depended on local political circumstances (e.g. whether the demands of the devout were able to gain leverage over a ruler or whether a ruler was inclined toward such views, etc., etc.) at any given time.

Such, I might note, would seem also to be the view that comes across in Bat Ye'or writings as well, where she notes that religious zealots would, at times, pressure more pragmatic politicians against Jews and Christians.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2008

NF, Art et al.

I was only stating a hypothesis that cannot now be proven or disproven. However, I do think that you underestimate British malevolence. Consider what Prof Benzion Netanyahu has written on this matter in the biog sketch of Jabotinsky that I cited [available in Hebrew in Five Fathers of Zionism; maybe in English too]. Also see the bibliog in my article on Antonius and Edward Atiyah. Also consider R Meinerzhagen's assertion of encouragement by British officers on the ground in Jerusalem to Husseini to start pogroms against Jews in April 1920. Also works by Isaiah Friedman on that period. Also Horace Samuel's booklet "Revolt by Leave" about British complicity in the 1930s Arab revolt. Also the fact that both the Arab upper crust and top British officials in the country commonly socialized at Katy Antonius' salon in Jerusalem, not far by the way from the poor Jewish neighborhood of Shimon haTsadiq whose inhabitants were driven out in December 1947 and Jan 1948 from their homes by Arab irregular forces tolerated by the British. This was long before whatever happened at Deir Yassin.

In the mid-1940s, Katy Antonius was the lover of the top British general in the Land, Gen. Evelyn Barker. Their exchange of Judeophobic billet-doux is notable. It is a mistake to underestimate the two-faced British role and British malevolence. Even Christopher Mayhew, a top UK Arabophile and Judeophobe, admitted that Ernest Bevin for one, was a Judeophobe. But Mayhew was too. Why did the UK prevent Jews from finding refuge in the Jewish National Home during the Holocaust?? Was it merely to placate the Arabs? I don't think so.

If you want to see how the UK foments conflicts between others, look at the Sudan and India, among others.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2008

I agree with Bat Ye'or although she would agree, I think, that things for the Jews varied with time and place. She and many others think that B Lewis is too soft on Islam, for whatever reason. Why not look up Joseph Schumpeter's book Imperialism, which has a section on Arab imperialism?? I would also recommend it to butler and Omar.

As to Maimonides, called in Hebrew the Rambam. He was not isolated there in Cairo which was an important trading center. He was in correspondence with Jews in India and in Europe [Provence] and places in between. So he had info about those places too. His info was not limited. By the way, my son wrote a thesis about Rambam's communications.
To conclude, Rambam explicitly says that the Ismaelites or [as translated in the Hartman edition, Arabs] treated Jews worse than anybody else. And he did have info from various places with which to make a comparison.


N. Friedman - 8/13/2008

Another point to note, with reference to Mr. Butler's ben Gurion quote, is that ben Gurion wrote his words in view of the recommendation of the Peel Commission. Which is to say, transfer was an idea that had appeal to at least the British - and note, there were Arabs, including Arab leaders, who thought it a good idea as well - and it was not ben Gurion proposing that such was Israel's plan, which it clearly was not. Such subtleties seem to perplex Mr. Butler.


A. M. Eckstein - 8/13/2008

And if Butler wants "a fair treatment of the Palestinians," as he says, then I suggest that he persuade all those Muslims who stole the property of the 850,000 Jews who were forced out (or forced to flee) from Arab countries after 1948--that's 100,000 MORE people than the Palestinians, Mr. Butler, and they all arrived in Israel penniless)--that Butler try to persuade those Muslims to give up all that property to the Palestinians, as compensation for what the Palestinians lost when they were DEFEATED in a WAR which they STARTED.

Butler seems concerned with "ethnic cleansing"; well, sir, what happened to the Jews of Muslim lands was ethnic cleansing with a vengeance, it didn't occur as part of a war but was inflicted on peaceful neighbors, the Arabs got away with it historically, it was LARGER in scale than the Naqba, and it is NEVER EVER discussed. Thus some Muslim is in uncontested possession of that absolutely stolen property as I write this.
Ask that Muslim to give the property to the Palestinians, Mr. Butler. Good luck!

But of course in Butler's world, only the Jews are truly guilty. And he depends on Widipedia for his evidence.

Ridiculous.


A. M. Eckstein - 8/13/2008

Butler cited Wikipedia on the British "rule" in Iraq; I cited two separate recent scholarly books by real experts in the field and published by prestigious scholarly presses, which argue strongly for real Iraqi independence after 1932. I further explained to Butler the stringent process of examination of evidence and argument by experts through which the publication of scholarly books occurs.

Neverthless, Butler prefers WIKIPEDIA because the Wiki-article on Iraq says what he wants to believe.

What more needs to be said in terms of
Butler's being intellectually ridiculous?

BTW, Butler cites Gary Sick's general praise of Wiki (though not of the Iraq article), as if that is supposed to prove something. But Gary Sick is notorious himself for his wild and unsupported assertions, most notoriously the 'October Surprise' of 1980 which turned out to be a false story. Uchh.


james joseph butler - 8/13/2008

Ben Tzur suggests that Palestinians do as their Egyptian and Jordanian neighbors have done and sign up for peace and hope by ending their resistance and resigning themselves to their fate, after all if Prime Minister Olmert is willing to compromise even though, as he told a cheering U.S. Congress, "I believe in our people's eternal and historic right to this entire land." why can't those rootless Arabs just mosey along so the glories of, "a Jewish democratic homeland" more cheers from our representatives, with its; hi-tech, swamp draining, city growing, orange experts, can continue to lead by example. So that at last, Yahweh's chosen sovereign state, which has had to endure; "there has not been one year, one week, one day, of peace in our tortured land." E.O. again, can stand alone as a beacon of progress and democracy. You know like Iraq.

All because those Arabs didn't get the memo saying, "Ya'll are sittin on a land without a people, get lost, cause we got us a us a great story, straight out of the Old Testament, Pres. Truman's Sunday school teacher says so. We can make us a Hollywood movie; Exile, movement of the Palestinian people, that means all a yas. We got us a People Without A Land. See, they were here 700 years ago, but, well it's a long story and accordin' to P.M. Olmert, Americans and Israelis have, "similar cultural identities". Wait a second I guess I should quote a more timely Israeli leader, David Ben-Gurion, "The compulsory transfer of the Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Israeli state could give us something we never had,even when we stood on our own during the first and second temples." Heh, GREAT IDEA! Let's redraw the map according to our favorite holy book, with improvements, what's not to like?

Omar you're right, engaging in a factual discourse with the professors and company is fruitless. The germ of Cravatts' essay is that academics are waging a campaign to defame our loyal ally, that is a wicked joke, of the one other nation blessed by God above, Israel. The defenders of Israel who post on this page are of the same ilk as the three thousand evangelicals who cheered P.M. Netanyahu in 1997 when he told them, "we have no greater friends and allies than the people sitting in this room." When you attempt to discuss demographics and they compare Israel to "Germany, Russia and China" by way of saying that if countries as evil as they exist what's your problem with "tiny Israel" it illustrates a mindset which refuses to acknowledge that no matter what the sins, and God knows to lump those three nations together shows something's missing, of those countries, every nation deserves a home. I recognize that Israel is a "fact on the a ground", I just want a fair treatment for the aggreived Palestinians. Zionists miss the obvious; what percentage of German, Russian, or Chinese citizens can trace their heritage back more than three generations and remain within their countries and then ask the same question of Israeli citizens in regards to their having direct roots within Israel for more than three generations. The Zionists on this page will continue to do their backflips but the truth is Olmert has it right, America and Israel's shared cultural identity includes a history of ethnic cleansing. Obviously this is not a unique heritage, Jared Diamond does a marvelous job of showing how this is an almost natural aspect of humanity in Guns, Germs and Steel. What may set America and Israel apart is, at least in the two countries themselves, the sense that we represent the best that mankind offers, look at our per capita production and all those true believers, how can we not be special?

So of course the one thing Obama and McCain agree completely on is Israel.

Please feel free to waste your time saying how: malicious, sophomoric, nonsensical, and foolish this post is. Comic relief is always welcome. Regarding Wikipedia; "For all its faults, it's a really important addition to the world of political analysis and research." Gary Sick in an excellent Wash.Post article on Wikipedia's Ahmadinejad entry that well illustrates the dynamic apparent on this page as well.




N. Friedman - 8/13/2008

Omar,

You have not shown anywhere near 100% of the population holds any one view. You have shown that there were petitions filed by certain people. Whether such people represent the view of the total population is unknown.

As for the rest of your comment, I shall take it as an admission that you have not read the book you cited. That is not a surprise because that book does not appear to posit total opposition.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/13/2008

as to clannishness on the part of Jews. It was to a great extent promoted by Christian laws suppressing and inhibiting Judaism.

There is evidence that in the Roman Empire before Christianity became the state religion, Jews often proselytized their religion -- and made converts. However, Christian laws in the late empire and the successor states in Western Europe and in Byzantium forbid conversion to Judaism under penalty of death --if I am not mistaken. They went so far as to forbid Christians to attend Jewish festivities, such as banquets, weddings, etc. So Jewish clannishness was a product of Christian laws. See Amnon Linder's two great compendiums of Roman and post-Roman law concerning Jews [Greek & Latin originals plus translations].

On the other hand, I agree that Jews are ignorant of their own history in Islamic lands. There has been a lot of big lying on this subject. Indeed, Jews generally are ignorant of their own history in general. Bostom's book is a contribution to a new, more realistic understanding.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

Thank you, AE, I very much appreciate your commendation, because I know it is not lightly given. The quality and depth of knowledge you possess sets a standard I know I do not match.


Joseph Mutik - 8/13/2008

On the first line please read "the U.S. courts decided".


Joseph Mutik - 8/13/2008

In Connecticut, where I live, the U.S. courts that there are a lot of areas, outside the Indian reservations, that belong to American Indians. One example is Trumbull where good Americans live in houses built on Indian land and no one is telling them to give the land back. There are other places in the USA in the same situation and I repeat this isn't land belonging to the reservations. Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and many others live on stolen lands. Spain and France refuse to accept an independent Basque country. Russia responds with heavy killings of the populations it subjugate and ask for independence. There are a great number of similar examples, in our violent world, but the easy way out is to blame the Jews for trying to stay alive after being killed by Europeans and after the expulsion of Jews from Europe and Arab countries after WWII.
The Arabs joined the western world Judeophobia because it's easier to hate than to solve political, economic and social problems in their backward world.
Hating the Jews and making them the scapegoats for all the bad things in the world it's a habit used as a cover up for all the sins of the world. The Palestinian leeches are the result of the joint venture between the western world and the Arabs and the result of the 2000 years habit of hating the Jews.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

Frankly, I think it is fine that Jews are "clannish," if that means marrying amongst their own families and preserving their religion and tradition. That is how come Judaism and Jews themselves have been preserved down through the millenia, and I consider both to be a very positive blessing to humanity. Anyone who cares about the future of the Jewish people would wish for more such clannishness, not less. It is very unfortunate that the intermarriage rate is now around 50% in the U.S., because it means that (especially when combined with the ca. 1.8 birth rate of liberal Jews, not as bad as it could be but still below replacement levels) the Jewish community there might soon drastically decline in numbers. The demographic conclusions are not so clear-cut as this suggests, and there is still a lot of debate among demographers, even about basic data like just how many American Jews there really are and how one counts them. Still, American Jewish numbers have already declined from their level in the 1940s, and something similar can be found in many other Western societies where Jews have become so assimilated, so it is not just an American problem and will have world-political importance. I take comfort, however, from the "clannishness" of the modern Orthodox in the U.S., and the even greater focus inward of the Ultra-Orthodox, because not only will they continue to thrive while the liberal Jewish population voluntarily dwindles, but their very much higher birth rate per couple means that they will eventually (if they maintain it) go a long way toward replenishing American Jewish numbers with even more devotedly Jewish people.

In any case, ironically, this situation means that Israel is even more essential to Jewish survival than it would otherwise be. Depending on how one counts the American Jewish population, it may already be the largest Jewish community in the world, with its over 5.5 million Jews. There Jews will not intermarry with non-Jews to such culturally and religious self-disregarding and destructive extremes, their children will continue to be Jewish, and they thereby ensure a Jewish future just as some Diaspora communities diminish.

However, there is another implication to this charge of "clannishness" that I do not accept, namely that Jews are just self-regarding and do not care about the rest of humanity. I have already in this blog dealt irrefutably with this claim (see my response to Jerald Thomsen's thread "Why Jew-hatred?" early on in this blog's discussion), and a lot more could be said about it, both in regard to Jewish behavior (i.e., that their contributions per capita to general charities compare favorably with any other ethnic group in the U.S.), but more particularly in regard to the actual teachings of Judaism concerning non-Jews. This issue has been travestied by a lot of people who either know nothing about it or who twist what they do know to misleading and false conclusions. Jews really have very little to feel apologetic about concerning their religion's teachings about non-Jews, despite the existence of some bigotry and chauvinism reflecting the negative treatment Jews have received from non-Jews down through the ages into this very generation. There is not just one type of universalism in Jewish teachings, but three, which intertwine and help define Jewish self-understanding as well as understanding of world history. These teachings are developed in the Hebrew Scriptures, so they were not novelties in the Talmud and later Rabbinic tradition. Basically, though, they affirmed that there are righteous people in all cultures, and that it is through those people (who may be unheralded and ignored, but who are still foremost with God) that God still sustains those cultures in existence; all such people, of whatever religion, are assured of salvation. Indeed, so merciful and just is God, that nearly all of humanity will enter Paradise, and be "saved," because of the good that all but the worst of us have in them. This "righteousness" consists most specifically in obedience to the Seven Noachide Commandments that, according to the Rabbinic exegesis of the Biblical account, all of humanity entered into with God through Noah. I need not give more details of that here; suffice it that there are such teachings, and many more besides, that have universalist import. The Hebrew Scriptures really does reveal something to the whole of humanity. Jews know that very well, and are glad of it.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/13/2008

Mr Friedman
To quote chapter and verse , as you request, is but another time wasting and attention diverting ploy.
I have quoted chapter and verse for you, among others, from the KING CRANE commission with FIGURES that practically amount to 100% Arab Palestinian opinion (that is total)and as usual the herd raised superfluous obections to an American presidential commission whose report, being public, was scrutinized by people and institutions much more knowlegeable than you to no avail.

With your long history of deception and outright falsification ( A land with no people for a people with no land)you,plural, can only brook and accept what you want the document, whatever it happens to be, to say.

I deem your objections, though couched in scholarly terms, to amount to no more than attention diverting nit picking which attempts to erase the basic fundamental facts of the issue from WESTERN minds.
WE KNOW THE FACTS, and that is what counts!
This "dialogue" has only confirmed my long held opinion about the utter FUTILITY of any form of opinion exchange dialogue with Zionists.


art eckstein - 8/13/2008

BT, I think these posts above constitute a detailed and highly sophisticated and deeply scholarly understanding of the situation.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

"The in-migration," that is, of specifically Zionist settlers. There had always been in-migration of devout Jews, for thousands of years, indeed since the return from Babylonian Exile under Ezra in the late fifth century B.C.E.. And when I wrote that Jews had "always" been subservient clients in the land, I meant that "always" to apply to the Muslim period.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

Further clarification, based on what I expect Mr. Baker will claim we are "really" saying. By terming the Jewish community a "strange new group" I had in mind that for the first time the Jews sought autonomy and separate consideration as an actor in the society and politics of "Palestine." Before that, they certainly had been there from time immemorial, to use a handy phrase, but always as utterly humiliated and subservient clients, not even as a single group, and not as autonomous actors. The idea that they were a colonial implant forcibly imposed on the region is false. The in-migration started in the Ottoman period, and was accepted more-or-less then, and it merely continued and grew in scale afterward, either with or without the support of colonial powers, because of deep Jewish need and indeed because there were hardly any other realistic alternatives.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

Omar, I think that you will find that what your respondents are criticising is your simplistic and therefore unscholarly either-or view of things, whereas in real life things are never either-or. There is always a third option, and maybe even a sixth or fifteenth option: life is filled with nuances. Only "True Believers," in the sense that Eric Hoffer defined those terms in his old classic analysis of "The True Believer," live in either-ors and therefore must seek scapegoats for their own blunders and failings. If you have a look at the thread "Re: WAS the Palestianian People For or Against the Zionist Project" you will find rather more agreement with some of your views regarding "Palestianian" (sic!) rejectionism than you suppose: but I think you really mean "Arab" rejectionism since you admit there is no Palestinian people per se. But there are consequences to this. A more receptive attitude to Jews and to Israel would have brought great benefit to the Arabs of the Middle East. It still remains open to them to seize those opportunities. I know that you will answer: "Never!" But obviously there are other answers, other possibilities and options, which numerous more realistic and mature Arabs have chosen, as indicated by the peace agreements that have already been signed by various Arab states.


Ben Tzur - 8/13/2008

I also agree. The major objection I had to Mr. Baker's assertions was that they were so either-or and a priori, and were based on such questionable evidence. So it is right to point to actual evidence showing the complexities of the situation. Still, that there were those who accepted the growing Jewish settlement insofar as they could improve their own lives by it economically, or to advance the interests of their family, clan or tribe, does not mean that in general those persons or groups entirely approved Jewish settlement as such. I think a lot of the nuancing we must do when describing Jewish-Arab relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries can be supported by what we know of the anthropological dynamics of clan- and tribe-centered ethos and feud culture, and the general lack of civil society and rule of law in that part of the Middle East, as the Ottoman Empire fell apart. Anthropological studies of feud-based societies around the Mediterranean basin (for it was strong not only in Arab lands, but also in Spain, Sicily and the Italian peninsula, Turkey, and beyond - e.g., in Latin American cultures) show that in these clan and tribe environments strange new groups in general are highly suspect, and everything resolves into power relationships: the key is where one's own clan and/or tribe falls in the patron-client or friend-foe scales. These relationships may go on for generations, or may be constantly shifting, but in any case the feud and the alliances it calls forth expresses the on-going balances of power. In such a world, elaborate courtesies go along with treachery, the enemy of your enemy is your sometime friend, and allegiances can quickly shift under stress. Power is all. Collaboration with another group in such an environment need not indicate genuine fellowship or common goals. So we cannot wonder that when the Jewish community grew more independent and significant, introducing a novel factor into the prevailing power-play, it too became part of this social setting and alliances might be made with it for less than abstract idealistic purposes. This is not to deny those who might be more idealistic, but their numbers were not likely to have been great. But because the Jews were not the central power-holders, and in any case had other norms for social interaction and non-violence and so did not reciprocate in the accepted feud-patterns, it would be inevitable that this cooperation would be less pervasive than with the more significant holders of power in Arab society.

This would have applied regardless of the specific identity of the Jewish groups, merely because they were a new factor in the power equations. But when we add that Jews were traditionally considered to be at the lower end of the social scale, never power-holders, always dependent clients and furthermore despised for their few numbers and weakness, their persistent passive resistance to Islamicising, and for not having the power-backup or allies that Christians had outside the Middle East, then we must expect that a newly assertive Jewish group with some power back-up would of course be upsetting and regarded with distaste by most Arabs.

To this, in turn, we must add the influence of Qur'anic and later Muslim imaging of the Jews, highly hostile as it was, even as the archetypal enemies of Islam. It is stated clearly in the Qur'an that one ought never to make friends with non-Muslims, and especially not with Jews. This negative imaging also had to have its effect on local Arab views of Jewish settlement in their midst.

And then there was the fact that this same period saw the first emergence of secular racist and nationalist Arab ideologies, all of them attempts to fuse the divisive and violent feuding Arab communities into one single cohesive society, i.e., the first stages of what one could call Arab "primitive nationalism," in which again the Jews were seen as aliens and scapegoats. This use of Jews as the "other," already validated in traditional Islam, was heightened by the transmission of Western images from the mid-19th century on of the "Jew" as "evil alien." So Western antisemitism, classical, and then increasingly racist and political, helped influence the growth of Arab nationalist use of the "Jew" as the convenient and unifying negative "other." In short, this process began even before the rise of Zionism and before the Nazis accelerated the transmission of European antisemitic mythologies to the Arab world, indeed it helps explain the ready reception for such transmission.

So we need not wonder if in fact, as I expect, there was a generally hostile and suspicious environment in the Arab world to the growing Jewish community in its midst, notwithstanding the readiness of Arabs to work for Jewish farmers or businesses, and some clans or tribes to be more welcoming than others or even to seek alliances. In fact, it seems that King Abdullah, while genuinely pleased with the promise of the new prosperity and better relations with the Western world that the Jewish Yishuv opened up, really wanted the Jewish community to take up a subservient client relationship with him and his own tribe, and even to becoming his own agents to help him manipulate the Western powers, not to become actually an autonomous group. This would have been in accordance with more traditional feud society mores and expectations.

This, anyway, is how I understand the situation, based on what I have read of the anthropology of feud cultures generally, the anthropology of Arab cultures in particular, the historical treatment of Jews in Arab societies and in their religious and cultural traditions, and the situation in the late Ottoman Empire and in the Mandate period.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Omar,

I have now read a substantial portion of Kayyali's book. What he says, in the pages I have read, is that there was substantial opposition to Zionism and that those who were opposed to Zionism used newspapers, etc., in an effort to foment opposition by the masses.

Contrary to what you write, if there was total opposition, there would be no need to convince the public of the need not to sell to Jews, of the need to prevent Jewish immigration, of the need to oppose Zionism, etc., etc. Instead, what would be reported would be specific tactics used to advance that already existing total opposition.

So, I await the evidence you think exists.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Omar,

Please site page and quote the passages you think shows "total opposition." Note, in this regard, that Professor Eckstein has quoted specific instances of people who were not even totally opposed to Zionism, much less to Jewish immigration. In fact, he has quoted what at least one such person - a prominent person at that - has said.

That would tend to suggest that your author is misinformed, at least if he says what you claim he says. Then again, my bet is that he claims no such thing.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

You write: "I've now re-read Mr. Mead's article and I cannot find one word that I would change. You say that Mr. Mead 'claims to want to find greater US sympathy for Palestinian Arabs', but I am unable to find support for this assertion."


But, Mr. Mead writes: "It remains my view that everyone, Americans and Israelis included, would benefit if Americans developed a more sympathetic and comprehensive understanding of the wants and needs of the Palestinians." Is that close enough?

Again, what Mr. Mead writes is, less substantial detail provided by Michael Oren and less an interest in increasing US sympathy for Palestinian Arabs, the same as what Mr. Oren writes.

As for the review of Oren's book, I think he provides copious detail for his assertions. As for thinking that past is prelude, that seems an altogether normal view. Which is to say, he thinks that he has discerned a pattern that has tended to be seen over the course of many years. As for reviews, you might consider reading some further reviews or, better still, read his book, which is rather a good one.

I do not recall being particularly defensive. I was, rather, primarily addressing your point about clannishness. And, I noted that it is tending to break down to some extent.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008

The multi awarded professor should be lauded for bringing to the attention of the general reader A W Kayyali's other important book:"Zionism, Imperialism, Racism" (1979).

(Also available at Amazon.com)


omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008

Mr Friedman
You are nit picking; the immediate point of contention is total PALESTINIAN ARAB opposition to and rejection of Jewish emigration into Palestine AS chronicled and documented in A W Kayyali's book.
It is NOT Jewish "effendi" or Zionist undoubted racism.
THIS, your post, and the multi awarded professor’s only shows that you, plural:
-deny the undeniable by any standard
-resort to making impossible demands eg asking for polling results while fully knowing that the Palestinians were NOT "polled", nor were allowed to be polled by a plebiscite or to have the right to SELF DETERMINATION
-continuously avoid the immediate point and/or digress by raising points unrelated to the immediate issue,
All in an attempt to obfuscate and disinform the general reader by withholding information or casting doubts about undeniable facts.


To question or doubt the total opposition of the Palestinian people to Jewish emigration, aside of the implied racist slur embodied therein ,is akin to questioning total indigenous Jewish approval and support of that same emigration.

Which ONCE AGAIN goes only to
demonstrate and prove the utter impossibility and futility of any serious discussion or dialogue with Zionists.
Except for the sake of potential non herd readers I, for one, would NOT have bothered.



omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008

Mr Friedman
You are nit picking; the issue is the chronicle of total PALESTINIAN ARAB opposition to and rejection of Jewish emigration into Palestine.
THIS, your post, only shows that you, plural:
-deny the undeniable by any standard
-resort to making impossible demands eg asking for polling results while fully knowing that the Palestinians were NOT "polled", nor were allowed to be polled by a plebicite or to have the right to SELF DETERMINATION
-continuously avoid the immediate point and/or digress by raising points unrelated to the immediate issue,
All in an attempt to obfuscate and disinform the general reader
which ONCE AGAIN proves the utter impossibilty and futility of any serious discussion or dialogue with Zionists.
Except for the sake of potential non herd readers I, for one, would NOT have bothered.








:-


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

Note that in Kayyal, either Jews employ Palestinian Arab laborers, in which case they are living as effendis, or they DON'T employ Palestinian Arab laborers but create moshavim and kibbutzim that employ only Jews in order to get Jews "back to the land" (a very successful movement, 1900-1970)--in which case the Jews are racists!

Those Jews simply can't win with Kayyali. That must be why Omar likes him. Oh, well--Kayyali is also the atuhor of "Zionism, Imperialism, Racism" (1979).


R.R. Hamilton - 8/12/2008

Of course, the last sentence in my comment above should conclude, "I would strongly advise against giving much weight to these predictions."


R.R. Hamilton - 8/12/2008

Dear Mr. Friedman,

First, I am planning to write a separate comment for Mr. Eckstein, but I notice that each of your replies have this in common: A reflexive defensiveness about “clannishness” -- what I called ethno-centrism. As an attempt to address the point I made in my first comment, such defensiveness puts you wide of the mark. (Not to mention the irony of believing that someone with such an unmistakably Scottish surname would find much vice in anything having to do with “clans.”) So, no, I do not view Jewish “clannishness” or ethno-centrism as a problem, but more about this later.

Now turning exclusively to Mr. Friedman’s replay: I've now re-read Mr. Mead's article and I cannot find one word that I would change. You say that Mr. Mead "claims to want to find greater US sympathy for Palestinian Arabs", but I am unable to find support for this assertion. He does say that support for Israel has fallen among "African Americans, mainline Protestants, and leftist intellectuals", but that seems so obviously true that I doubt that is what you meant. Perhaps it is instead his suggestion that the "Jacksonians" -- citing as an example President Carter -- may have a change of heart. Is this it?

As far as Prof. Oren's book, it and Mr. Bostom’s book sound like a welcome eye-opener for many people. In the past when I have brought up the history of Islamic oppression of Jews, I have been met -- especially by Jews -- with disbelief. They contended that Jews and Muslims were practically holding hands and singing "I Want To Buy The World A Coke" songs until the bloody European Christians invaded to steal the oil and teach anti-semitism to the Arabs. (Of course I'm exaggerating, but not by much.)

About Prof. Oren’s book, I do note that in Robert Kagan’s generally favorable review, he notes that, “As a historian, Oren is more storyteller than grand theorist, so as a study of the complex and contradictory motives of American behavior, his book is a bit thin.” I note further that the reviews say that Prof. Oren makes predictions about future American behavior largely by projecting from past American behavior -- e.g., “Oren predicts that the United States will continue ‘to pursue the traditional patterns of its Middle East involvement.’". Because of his failure to adequately explore (Gentile) American motives, I would strongly advise giving much weight to these predictions.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Omar,

Since you cite this book, what evidence does it have regarding public opinion? I have read some of it and, so far as I can see, it is riddled with generalizations regarding the views of Zionists, most particular ben Gurion. He quotes ben Gurion as follows (on page 19):

"Among the early disappointments was the spectacle of Jews of the first aliya, now living as effendis, drawing their income from groves and fields worked by hired workmen or from occupation of the kind imposed on our people by their exile. It was clear to me we could never achieve national rehabilitation that way."

He continues: "According to Ben-Gurion the aims and achievements of the second aliya were radically different from those of the first aliya: 'Pioneer aliya gave birth to a Jewish community radically unlike all others, independent in economy, culture and speech, able to defend itself.'"

From this, Kayyali then ignores entirely the concern which, by his own quotation, concerned ben Gurion, namely, that Jews were playing the role of effendis - i.e. they were behaving like the Ottomans, which would not lead to the rehabilitation of the Jewish people. Instead, he writes:

"Here we find the prototype, as it were, of the embryo of the contemplated Zionist state: exclusively Jewish, motivated by Zionist ideals and almost completely insulated. The key Zionist concept in this context was Kibush Avodah (Conquest of Labour). In Ben-Gurion Looks Back, the Zionist veteran explained this concept, and the fight it entailed against Jewish landowners who preferred Arab labourers to inexperienced Jewish hands, and the dismissal of Circassian guards with the resulting emergence of the organisation of watchmen called the Hashomer, the forerunner of the Haganah."

Odd that he does not note the very motivation set forth in his own book. In fact, the goal was not to exclude Arab - and note that a substantial percentage of Israelis are Arab - but to liberate Jews, which is a very different thing.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008


We are now indeed at the hyper absurd stage wherein the community of committed Zionist scholars, whose "scholarship" is highly tinted by a bias verging on total blindness, disputes the A, B & C of the Palestinian issue. Namely that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs, that is 80% of total population, were adamantly opposed to Jewish emigration into Palestine throughout the British mandate era which enabled it.

A good chronicle of Palestinian opposition and struggle against Jewish emigration into Palestine is can be found in :
Palestine: A Modern History (Hardcover)
by A. W. Kayyali (Author)
( The book is available at Amazon.com)

Next they would claim that the majority of Palestinians, in and outside their homeland, are now pro Israel and has been pro Israel all along.
Some will claim that they were never polled, deliberately ignoring the practical IMPOSSIBILITY of “POLLING “ THEM NOW.


However this is one more instance which demonstrates the utter futility of “discussion” and “dialogue” with Zionists.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Art,

Then we agree entirely.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

I do agree on that. And I also agree with you that we cannot wear rose-colored glasses about Arab opinion in the Mandate period.

But the Mandate is complex because of Palestinian Arab internal politics. The Palestinian Arab enemies of the Husseinis were not insignificant and really hated them, with good reason, and hence were more likely to work with either the British or (though less likely) the Jews. For the Husseinis' part, they saw plenty of "traitors", despite their attempt to enforce their violent opinions through violence.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Art,

I agree entirely. My point here is that I think one has to wear truly rose colored glasses to think that there was ever going to be a real accommodation.

To realize that, one need only look at the Arab regions more generally. Nowhere is there any real accommodation. Imagining that there would be an accommodation between Arabs and Jews when Arabs cannot find accommodation among their own is, to me, rather naive. I trust you agree with me on this point.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

NF writes:

"What can be said is that the groups least willing to reach an accommodation came to power. And, there is no reason to imagine that the most violently opposed group would not anyway have come to the front, by hook or crook."

That is a good summary of the situation in the 1920s, in my view. The Husseini's killed many opponents in this period.

By 1940 or so, Jewish settlers had bought 10,000 square miles of Arab land in the Mandate. Some Arab sold it to them--despite the threats and violence of the Husseinis (though even Amin Al-Husseini's relative Zein al-Din al-Husseini sold land to the Jews). And both Arab Druze and (even) some Negev Bedouins fought on the side of the Jews in 1948 (making their own calculations).

And then there is Hasan Shukri, the Arab mayor of Haifa during World War I and again in the years between 1927 and 1940. He cabled the British government in 1921 denouncing those Arab nationalists who demanded that Britain renounce Zionism: "We do not consider the Jewish people as an enemy.... We consider the Jews as a brotherly people sharing our joys and troubles and helping us in the construction of our common country. We are certain that without Jewish immigration and financial assistance there will be no future development of our country as may be judged from the fact that the towns inhabited in part by Jews such as Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa and Tiberias are making steady progress while Nablus, Acre and Nazareth where no Jews reside are steadily declining."

It's a complex story. That doesn't mean the Palestinian Arabs were enthusiastic about Jewish immigration, but historical accuracy requires that this complexity be accepted

We can't expect this of Omar, of course.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Elliott,

You write: "If not for the British anti-Zionist intrigue on the ground, the Arabs in the country might have come to terms with the Jews back in the 1920s."

That is an amazing stretch of the evidence. It is, I think, true that the British acted to stir up trouble, although I note Elie Kedourie's view that the more important issue is that the British wanted to maintain control but were led, by bad advice in the 1930's, to let Arab outsiders butt into politics related to Arab Jewish relations such that the British lost control of the situation.

Assuming, nonetheless, that your view is correct, consider that there were many ingredients willing to be mixed by the British into a toxic brew. Which is to say, while we do not have polling data upon which to know what percentage thought this or that, there clearly was real opposition to the idea of any non-Muslim and non-Arab sovereignty.

There may be an analogy for you to consider. Take a look today in Europe. Note that there is opposition to immigration. Look at the US - the country of immigrants par excellance. There is and always has been real opposition to immigration here.

It is, I think, self-congratulatory to believe that Arabs - who were mostly illiterate and pre-modern in their outlook and ways of life - were likely to come to an accommodation. Rather, what can be said is that the groups least willing to reach an accommodation came to power. And, there is no reason to imagine that the most violently opposed group would not anyway have come to the front, by hook or crook.


N. Friedman - 8/12/2008

Omar,

The UN, in 1947, offered self-determination to both Arabs and Jews. The Arabs would have been free to prevent Jewish immigration to their territories but not to the territory set aside for Jews.

Based on what you have written, your problem is the presence of Jews. As you write:

However the self determnation I am always refering to is DURING the British MANDATE which would have settled that crucial issue and come out with an unquestionable and unconditional REJECTION of Jewish emigration.

That was the CRUCIAL issue:
Palestinian Arabs versus Jewish emigration!Still is come to think of it: the national identity of Palestine.


In other words, your view is that Palestinian Arabs are mostly bigots.


Howard Berg - 8/12/2008

Well said, Art Eckstien !!! So very true. Keep up the good and accurate infomation.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

There is no doubt that many Palestinian Arabs were opposed to Jewish settlement, and after 1917 some were violently opposed, but it is also the case that many sold their land at high prices to the Jews, and continued to do so.

Purchase, after all, was the only way that Jewish landholding increased in the Mandate during the 1920s and 1930s, and someone was selling them a lot of land. In 1927 an anti-Husseini newspaper could declare that "According to the al-Husseinis, half the people are 'traitors'." That's in Cohen's book, "Army of Shadows," to which I referred above.

The quote doesn't mean that half the Palestinians supported Jewish settlement, but that a large percentage were opposed to Husseini's violence and wanted to work out compromises.

All this complexity is now steam-rollered by Omar's declarations, so that his hate-filled, genocidal and ignorant insanity becomes the only Palestinian position there ever was.

He should read Cohen's book.

Not that he ever will.


Ben Tzur - 8/12/2008

There is a further interesting point here. Petitions suggest literacy. But much of the Arab population was not literate, whether in the villages or the cities. So presumably they are not represented by the petitions. Just about all the Jewish population, of course, was literate, so their petitions would have more significance as expressions of Jewish views. The Arab petitions therefore were likely to come from the rather small circles of self-appointed semi-Westernized intellectual "elite," which precisely in this period was increasingly radicalized by Western influenced ideologies like pan-Arabism and movements like secular nationalism not found amongst the peasantry, at least not until much later. That is why the support for the Jordanian monarchy in post-Ottoman times was so widespread and significant: it had political credibility not only because of its long and honored political history but also religious credibility and status because it provided the strongest hereditary link to Mohammad and the earliest Arabian Muslim dynasty. One of the most telling and most catastrophic errors of the naively temporizing and Arab-pandering British Mandate government was certainly its decision to placate and even favor the radicals under Haj Amin el-Hussaini by making him Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, undercutting the much more moderate and traditionalist Jordanian monarchy and its followers in the process.


Joseph Mutik - 8/12/2008

The above subject is another never ending tit for tat exchange of messages multiplying almost at the rate of rabbits breeding in the Fibonacci problem. It only gives Omar Barker and his ilk a way to express their sick hatred of Jews. The Arab world kept since 1948 the parasitic group, named Palestinians, as pawns in the fight against the Jews. The majority of the Palestinians refuse to perform productive work and prefer destruction. The only "compromise" they accept is to take over the great achievements of the industrious Jews, a goal that will, of course, fail.
Parasitic existence is a well known characteristic of Arabs. 99% of the Arab population lives in failing economic, social and political systems with no perspective of change in sight, so there is no reason for Palestinians to be different.


Ben Tzur - 8/12/2008

No, I remain dedicated to the actual evidence, Omar, so I am not different from the rest of the common herd of scholars.

My question of you regarding the petitions has been answered by your post's pretend outrage and even by its emphasis on ad hominen personal insult: we do not have to do here with any objective evidence of public opinion, merely with a raw count of petitions, many of which are likely to have been selected and invited by a commission already determined to slant their report in a certain direction. In this regard the remarks of Elliott Green (in his response to your post about petitions) on the bias of the British Commission, and the more general encouragement by the British Mandate government of anti-Zionist groups, are also quite germane.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/12/2008

a few points about King-Crane:

Charles Crane was a fanatic Judeophobe and Hitler admirer. See inter alia my article on George Antonius, an employee of Crane, in Crossroads [Jerusalem] no. 33 [1992]. Crane was using Antonius, whose liberal reputation is undeserved, to help him create a Muslim-Christian alliance against the Jews.

William Yale who was an assistant to the K-C Commission, and spoke Arabic, being from a family of missionaries, also submitted a report, I have read, that was pro-Zionist.

By the time that the Commission came to Israel, not called "palestine" yet officially but "Occupied Enemy Territory Administration - South", the Judeophobic British military officials on the ground [Allenby, Bols, Richmond, Storrs, etc] had had time to encourage and organize Arab opposition to Zionism which they did, inter alia, by forming Muslim-Christian Associations. Now heretofore Muslims in the country as elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire had considered Christians as dhimmis and not to be their equals. So working with Christians on a basis of equality was "unnatural" in a sense and had been promoted by the British on the ground in the country, that is, not by London, as far as I know. Prof Netanyahu has written on this period in his brief political biog of Jabotinsky. Don't forget that the same British administration in the country at the time encouraged Arab attacks on Jews, including the "Nebi Musa" riots of April 1920, timed to coincide with the San Remo Conference.

If not for the British anti-Zionist intrigue on the ground, the Arabs in the country might have come to terms with the Jews back in the 1920s.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008

Doing an Eckstein Mr Tzur?
What do you mean by this inane question :that we should go back to the 1920s and do a POLL?
For a time I thought you would be different from the rest of the herd, sadly you are NOT.
However I believe, not suspect,that you know better BUT disinforming, actually deceiving, the non involved remains your, plural, primary objective.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

Ben Tzur writes the following, and he is correct, and what he says is important. He writes:

"Here in the present blog, we can see Mr. Baker and those other contributors who love their visceral hatreds and demonic myths, whether about Israel, Zionism, Judaism and/or Jews, or themselves. Neither logic nor facts can alter this: it goes down to roots having nothing to do with Jews or Israel.

"So in a way it is pointless to engage these types in factual or scholarly discussion. But unfortunately merely leaving the field to them produces what we see in every Middle Eastern country, a very unhealthy climate for common decency. So they have to be tirelessly refuted, regardless of their rage, precisely because non-fanatics need to have the information to see through them."

This is exactly the problem here on this blog, BT.

On the one hand, it is pointless in a way to keep plugging away, having to combat these people over and over with facts, when they do not care about facts in the least, only their hatreds. But on the other, we cannot simply leave HNN to these people and their myths, demons, rage and paranoic lies. So we have to keep tirelessly providing the correct information, hoping that at least the non-fanatics will read what we say, because that is the only way to keep this blog a place of honesty.

A tiresome but necessary task.

Though not without its own gruesome entertainment value: as my wife says, my one vice is my enjoyment of shooting fish in a barrel.


Ben Tzur - 8/12/2008

A point of information: was this a raw count of petitions, or a poll of the general population? The number of petitions only indicates the number of petitions. A poll of the general population may or may not be indicative of the actual views of the actual population, depending to large degree on how scientifically the poll was conducted to reach all groups and above all the actual way the questions were formulated, as all pollsters know. But flawed or not, at least a poll is a poll. Petitions tell us next to nothing.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/12/2008

Re whether the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people was for, anti or indifferent to the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine we are now at the absurd stage where some doubt while others deny that the sun rises from the east.

To settle that point I append hereafter what the KING –CRANE commission had to say on the subject .
A point to note here is that the (85.3%)in Palestine is practically a 100% of non Jewish opinion.

“E-Zionism
1-2-3. The petitions favoring the Zionist program have been analyzed above in the discussion of programs. In opposition to these are the 1,350 (72.3 per cent) petitions protesting against Zionist claims and purposes. This is the third largest number for any one point and represents a more widespread general opinion among both Moslems and Christians than any other. The anti-Zionist note was especially strong in Palestine, where 222 (85.3 per cent) of the 260 petitions declared against the Zionist program. This is the largest percentage in the district for any one point. “

(The King-Crane Commission Report, August 28, 1919
I. THE REPORT UPON SYRIA)
(The commission's report is on the web.)



Ben Tzur - 8/12/2008

Not long after the terrorist attack that killed Bashir Gemayel and other top members of the Christian Phalangist party, and the slaughters that followed within the week at Sabra and Shatilla, I recall being on an airplane in Europe and being seated next to a clearly well-educated and well-off Christian Lebanese woman, with whom I expressed my sorrow at his death and its blow to Arab-Israeli peace hopes, at the slaughters at the Palestinian camps, and at the likelihood as it then seemed to me that Syrian agents were behind this elimination of the top Phalangist leaders and the next President of Lebanon. She surprised me by defending the necessity for the Syrian presence, and gave me the same excuse for the assassination of Gemayel as Mr. Baker did to you: Mossad had pulled off Gemayel's and the Phalangist assassinations, and why?: because actually Gemayel had decided not to have a peace treaty at all with Israel when he came to power, and the vengeful Israelis decided to kill him and other top Christian Phalangist politicians. How did she know this, since there had been absolutely nothing to this effect in the news in the days before his death, and the Phalangists remained fervent allies with Israel? Moreover Gemayel had only met with Begin a few weeks previously and negotiations were proceeding rapidly. Well, she said, it was secret stuff known only to the Israelis, but was now common knowledge in Lebanon: "everybody knew it." So rumors (no doubt in this case consciously manufactured by extremist Muslim/Syrian sources) circulated so as to undermine every positive political coalition for peace and to divide possible allies. What a nightmare society to live in.

This sort of mythological thinking is very close to the nub of the sickness at the heart of the Middle East. It is why a large majority of Arabs there, according to opinion polls, still think 9/11 was a Mossad plot, despite several videos from Osama bin-Laden bragging about it. Reality does not matter. Here in the present blog, we can see the same thing from Mr. Baker and those other contributors who love their visceral hatreds and demonic myths, whether about Israel, Zionism, Judaism and/or Jews, or themselves and their own internecine feuds. Neither logic nor facts can alter this: it goes down to roots having nothing to do with Jews or Israel. So in a way it is pointless to engage these types in factual or scholarly discussion, but unfortunately merely leaving the field to them produces what we see in every Middle Eastern country, a very unhealthy climate, to put it mildly, for democracy or common decency. So they have to be tirelessly refuted, regardless of their rage, precisely because non-fanatics need to have the information to see through them.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

BT--excellent points about the Gemayels (and I guarantee you, BT, that Omar (a) doesn't connect Sabra-Shatila with the hideous assasinations that preceded it, and (b) blames "the Jews" rather than the Maronites); about the terrorism of Husseini against all opponents starting in 1921 (which is one reason there were plenty of Palestinian Arabs willing to work with both the British and the Jews in that period); and of course the tragedy of Sadat.

When Hamas started slaughtering the children of Fatah members in spring 2007, I pointed out the savagery to Omar at that time. With the Gemayel story, you point out in additio how traditional it is in parts of Arab-Muslim culture to slaughter the children of one's political opponents. But guess what? Omar blamed the atrocities on... Mossad!


Ben Tzur - 8/12/2008

Excellent citation, AE. But another important point to make in commenting on Mr. Baker's claim that most Palestinians disapproved of Jewish presence in the Mandate territories, or that Arab populations elsewhere uniformly rejected the existence of the state of Israel, is that none of these were free opinions made in the confidence that they would not bring harm upon those that held them: the entire environment was intimating and violent. My reference to Bashir Gamayel, in a post elsewhere in this blog, reminds us of the many moderate and peaceable Arab political leaders and public figures who have been assassinated by the hate-filled extremists for seeking accommodations with Israel or for trying to establish any kind of decent democracy in Arab lands. Amin Gemayel was also often threatened by assassination. Pierre Gemayel, their father, was assassinated, and when the evildoers could not get at Bashir and Amin directly they killed their children and other family members, in accordance with the usual practices of Arab feud-based culture. So those children should be added to the list of Middle Eastern martyrs for truth and peace. It would be interesting and appalling to have a full list of them: it would put paid to the supposition that all Arabs per se, or even a majority, originally agreed with the final rejectionist policies of the extremists. King Abdullah of Jordan, who welcomed Jewish presence in Mandate Palestine, is at the top of the early victims list; as is known very many Palestinians at the time supported him. But already in the 20s many public supporters of his views were assassinated by the gangs led by Haj Amin el-Hussaini. The civil war that el-Hussaini unleased in the 30s was also against moderate elements in the Palestinian community, and the pattern of murder of "collaborationists" that was established then continues to characterize Palestinian society, as Cohen shows in the book cited. That el-Hussaini's viewpoint came as a result to dominate was purely because of constant vicious intimidation and murder. Then of course we must add various more moderate members of the P.L.O. itself to the list of those killed for being willing to accommodate peaceably to the reality of Israel, President Sadat of Egypt, and very many others over the years. Having thus intimidated their opponents, the extremists effectively have taken over the media of the various Arab countries, and spout the worst type of antisemitic demonizations through them year after year. In such an environment, of course it is laughable to talk about what the majority of Arabs freely think about Israel: there simply is no freedom, their thinking is now done for them, but not even that is free of charge - they pay with the suppression of all innovations and reforms, impoverished people and retarded economies, abused women, despotic and cruel regimes, and all the other consequences of oppression, extremism and fanaticism. In this connection it is interesting to see how the terrorist groups in Iraq have tried to discredit the democratic reforms being introduced there as the work of "Zionists" and their pawns. The anti-Zionist currents in the Arab world are its most regressive and primitive elements, against a lot more than just Israel.


art eckstein - 8/12/2008

Instead of Omar's a priori assumptions about Palestinian attitudes 100 or 90 or 80 or 70 years ago, he should actually do some READING in the EVIDENCE.

To wit:

Hillel Cohen, Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948

University of California Press, 2008: 344 pp.


Of course, I don't actually expect Omar to do RESEARCH by reading an academic BOOK.

The reference to Cohen's book, rather, is for other people on this blog who might actually be intereted in learning something about the complexities of the Mandate period.



omar ibrahim baker - 8/11/2008

Mr Friedman
You contend that:"Self-determination was offered but refused by the Arab leadership "
Could you be more specific!When? Where? How?
However the self determnation I am always refering to is DURING the British MANDATE which would have settled that crucial issue and come out with an unquestionable and unconditional REJECTION of Jewish emigration.

That was the CRUCIAL issue:
Palestinian Arabs versus Jewish emigration!Still is come to think of it: the national identity of Palestine.

Once again I refer you to that that you prefer to ignore:ceaseless Arab Palestinian agitation , demonstration and petitioning (including the BIG STRIKE)and several attempted armed insurections.
That is why the Palestinian people was denied that right to determine its own future!
Kindly do NOT do another Eckstein , one senseless voice is enough if NOT too much!
As much as I reject every thing you stand for and advocate it would be a pity if you do!


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Elliott,

If you had read my posts, you may note that I argued a declining population in the region and that Arabs were leaving what is now Israel and moving to what is now Jordan. That was certainly the case in the 19th Century. I cited the website of the Jordanian government via former King Hussein.

As for the Encyclopedia Britannica article, it is more right than not. It correctly notes what I think is the most important point, which is that there has been substantial population mixing in the region over the course of centuries so that Arabs cannot claim that a single population lived in the country throughout the ages. Such a claim by Arabs is preposterous. What they can truthfully claim is that there has been for a very long time a substantial Arab presence in what is now Israel.

I would also agree with the point that the land was largely a wasteland. Mark Twain does not make things up.

And, it is not controversial that Jews were a majority in Jerusalem.

As for the claim about DNA, maybe so. However, this is only as good as the next scientific experiment. So, who knows what will be learned. You may or may not like the results.

As for the rest, you are being too detailed for a subject about which not too much is really well known. Moreover, what if a group was able to trace its roots to before the Jewish presence. Somehow, I doubt that you would cede your claim to Israel even if such people were able to establish their claim by indisputable evidence. Which is to say, I would not place many eggs in any justification basket. Your country's justification, rather, is the same as that of any other country, to wit, your country exists. That is more than a sufficient claim.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Mr. Butler objects to my giving him information from standard scholarly books published by prestigious academic presses--he prefers Wikipedia (!) and goes on to defend himself for this "methodology" by with the sophomoric remark that no history book is objective.

Mr. Butler, that's why there are scholarly standards which are stringently applied to books published by scholarly presses. They apply a very disciplined discouse. FYI, a book published by Oxford University Press (as the recent book I cited on the British in iraq was) is not an accident. It requires that the ms be sent out anonymously to three anonymous scholars of known expertise. If they agree that the book should be published--if it passes a very stern scholarly test which is done anonymously--only then is the book published.

I know this, because I've done exactly this kind of work (it's called "refereeing") for scholarly books for Oxford University Press.

Yet you, Mr. Butler, prefer Wikipedia, which employs no scholarly standards at all--at least when it says what you want to believe.

A scholar would say you are most incautious. A less generous assessment: you are making yourself look ridiculous.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Mr. Butler,

I do not see your point. You quote some people but provide no context for quoted material. Art then provided a bit more context by providing more complete quotes. From that, you complain that he is changing the subject.

This all is not very difficult. Israel is a tiny little country. Its existence is just as justified as any other state on Earth. Were we to judge states by their behavior, would there be a Germany, Russia, China, etc., etc. Of course not.

Are the Israelis angels? Of course not. Are they devils? Of course not. Have then done worse than most other states? Of course not.

What you are writing is silly nonsense. As Art noted: Dayan was a man who wanted to end the dispute. He said all sorts of things. To understand his words, you have to care enough to look beyond wikiquotes. Incidentally, to suggest such a cite as the source of your wisdom is to admit extraordinary ignorance.



art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Mr. Butler, you grossly distorted your Dayan quote about "Israeli towns built on Arab villages", and you distorted that quote by LEAVING OUT the crucial BEGINNING PART of the quote which showed that Dayan was speaking about Jews buying the land from willing Arabs, not seizing it from hapless victims.

That is substance indeed, and that is what I posted.

To be sure, you made this gross mistake either through sheer ignorance or eager malice. I don't know which. But I certainly addressed the substance of what you wrote. And therefore you add yet *another* false statement, on top of your previous distortion of Dayan, when you say I did not address the substance of the quote.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Elliott,

I am not sure I see your point. Maimonides is one person - an important person but one person nonetheless -, living in a time when knowledge of the whole would be hard to come by. Maimonides' letter to Yemen is well known and he chronicles Islamic intolerance known to him.

Then again, he managed to do well with Saladin. So, the picture, even with Maimonides, is not uniform.

Overall, I think that Bernard Lewis' view is more correct than not. The norm in the pre-modern world for conquered peoples was rather a nasty one. Islam, by contrast to the norm, created a place for certain people it conquered. Such people were surely not treated well by our standards. Then again, tolerance for people other than the ruling clique, in the sense we understand it, did not exist. At times, Muslims did better, by our standards, than did some other civilizations. At other times, they did worse. That is all that one can say other than to chronicle the good and, more often than not, bad incidents.

At the same time, I also appreciate the work of Bat Ye'or and those who follow her approach. She is an important corrective for those who see only roses. She judges by our standards, to some extent, which is helpful given that the world is projecting alleged Muslim "tolerance" in Medieval times as if Muslims in those periods were tolerant by our standards today.


james joseph butler - 8/11/2008

Dear Art,
I know I spend too much time on these posts so I guess it's not a stretch to say you do the same, at least I hope that's the explanation for your confusing me with Omar. He may actually be related to victims of Zionism so I'm sure you can relate to an individual who feels personally sinned against by another simply by virtue of a surname, so if Omar's posts occasionally transgress upon your finely tuned sense of outrage let me say that's part of the game.

I notice you rarely deal with the substance of my arguements or quotes. You seem more concerned with my "performance", my "malice" or how "foolish" I appear, than, to use your own Dayan quote, "We came to a region inhabited by Arabs and we set up a Jewish state.", the aforementioned truth-thank you General,the Palestinians owned 93% of 1948 Palestine and are currently fighting to hold onto 22%-and America sends billions and destroys its reputation to further this process, is why I post, not so I can whine about your short comings.

You said I chose quotes to make "Dayan look an anti-zionist who didn't believe in the legitimacy of Israel,". I beg to differ. I chose quotes, by the way Art I believe he did want peace, that depict him as a Zionist who whole heartedly believed in the state of Israel, Eretz Israel, and who unflinchly sought to create by any means necessary that state. That's why he's an Israeli hero alongside Arik Sharon. Another general whose deeds were matched by his words.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

Butler, the Arabs did more than side with the Nazis. The chief palestinian Arab leader at the time, Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-husayni], collaborated in the Nazi Holocaust. He urged the Germans and their satellites and Italy to send more Jews to the death camps in Poland. So the argument that the Arabs or "palestinian" Arabs are innocents suffering for the crimes of others is false. The Arabs too were part of the murderous side in the Holocaust. They also gave the British an excuse to prevent Jews from finding refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home. That was another Arab contribution to the Holocaust. Then there were the Jews murdered in pogroms in Arab lands, as in Libya, Aden, Iraq [see Farhud of 1941], etc.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

Butler, the Arabs did more than side with the Nazis. The chief palestinian Arab leader at the time, Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-husayni], collaborated in the Nazi Holocaust. He urged the Germans and their satellites and Italy to send more Jews to the death camps in Poland. So the argument that the Arabs or "palestinian" Arabs are innocents suffering for the crimes of others is false. The Arabs too were part of the murderous side in the Holocaust. They also gave the British an excuse to prevent Jews from finding refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home. That was another Arab contribution to the Holocaust. Then there were the Jews murdered in pogroms in Arab lands, as in Libya, Aden, Iraq [see Farhud of 1941], etc.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

Butler, the Arabs did more than side with the Nazis. The chief palestinian Arab leader at the time, Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-husayni], collaborated in the Nazi Holocaust. He urged the Germans and their satellites and Italy to send more Jews to the death camps in Poland. So the argument that the Arabs or "palestinian" Arabs are innocents suffering for the crimes of others is false. The Arabs too were part of the murderous side in the Holocaust. They also gave the British an excuse to prevent Jews from finding refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home. That was another Arab contribution to the Holocaust. Then there were the Jews murdered in pogroms in Arab lands, as in Libya, Aden, Iraq [see Farhud of 1941], etc.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

you're right Art. I'd like to see a full length study of that situation during WW I. Books about Aaron Aaronsohn and NILI would help, including writings by and about the various NILI members, including Sarah Aaronsohn who was an eyewitness to the Armenian massacres. Also involved in that period and in concern for Jewish survival in the country were Jabotinsky, Max Nordau, Oscar Straus, Judge Julian Mack, Prof A S Yahuda, etc.

one of the motives for NILI was fear of the Armenian genocide being extended to the Jews.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Omar,

What I said is that there was no polling, so that the real views of those involved is not known. And, I noted that the views of leaders were not all simply rejectionist as was the view of al-Husayni.

That al-Husayni's view was not the only view is pretty clear. Otherwise, why were so many Arabs who preferred an accommodation with Jews assassinated and threatened? Surely, such people spoke for someone. Otherwise, assassination and threats would not have been necessary. Which is to say, such people had an audience.

As for the lack of Palestinian self-determination, that was a self-inflicted wound. Self-determination was offered but refused by the Arab leadership that resulted after all the violence committed by Arabs against their own. Medieval idiocy.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

RRH, the Jewish rate of intermarriage with non-Jews is about 50% in the U.S. That's hardly clannish.

I myself have a brother-in-law descended from the original Pilgrims, and a sister-in-law who is German.

I'm not saying that some clannishness doesn't exist, but Jews in the U.S. are no more clannish than Irish or Italians.

RRH, I agree with you about Christian support for Israel. Moreover, the U.S. is predominantly a Christian country, and Jews have found in the U.S. a wonderful meritocratic home.

Several times on various threads here I have strongly defended Christianity from accusations that have been raised in the context of Muslim ultra violence that "all religions are alike, all are vile, and we gotta fear Christian fundamentalists as much or more than Muslim ones."

RRH, I consider that quoted position both outrageous and ignorant. as I know you would, and have repeatedly said so.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

NF, of course the treatment of Jews varied with time and place. Yet Maimonides, whom you cite, wrote in his Letter to Yemen that the Arabs or Ishmaelites treated Jews worse than anyone else did, that is, worse than the Christians did. See Hartman's edition of Maimonides pub'd by JPS.

I recommend to those who know Italian,
Carlo Panella, Il Complotto Ebraico [Torino 2005]. Of course I was well aware of Bostom's message years before his book came out. Of course I welcome it.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Sorry, Mr. Butler--I was confusing you with Mr. Davis on the 'Oh, please!", thread above.

The rest of my critique stands.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

butler, why don't you try out Majid Khadduri's Independent Iraq [try both the 1st and 2nd eds. which are not the same]?? Khadduri has some great info although he tries to embellish and excuse or minimize all the crimes of the Arabs.

Khadduri in the 2nd ed. presents a memorandum or petition which Haj Amin el-Husseini presented to the Nazi govt asking them to "recognize the Arab right" to "solve the Jewish question" as it was being solved in Germany. He also mentions the Iraqi assault on the Assyrians and the 1941 pogrom against the Jews. This is done in the best tradition of Arab apologetics but there is still some info remaining.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/11/2008

the issue of population increase and decline in the Muslim-ruled Middle East is more important than Joan Peters book. Although I cannot judge her demographic stats and arguments I found much useful info in the book, aside from the demographic arguments which I ignored.

First a small point, Jews have been the majority in Jerusalem since 1853, according to French historian and diplomat Cesar Famin in a book published in that year. Other writers in that period also cited a Jewish majority in Jerusalem by 1860 [Gerardy Santine, Tudor Parfitt]. The EB article ca 1911 cited above seems deliberately nasty to write of Jewish "colonization."

What is more significant is that population was declining in the Land of Israel and elsewhere in the ME region for centuries. What can you attribute this to other than to Islam and Islamic government, which was ruinously exploitative, generally, especially for dhimmis?? It has been estimated that "palestine"--which was not a defined territory under Ottoman rule-- had a population of about 250,000 to 300,000 in the mid-19th century [this number included Jews]. Today, the population west of the Jordan is about 9 to 9.5 million.

Health care in the scientific sense did not exist until the mid-19th century when European Christians as well as Jews set up hospitals in Jerusalem. The Greeks, who also contributed to 19th development of the city, may also have set up a hospital or clinic.

Henry Laurens, an extremely anti-Jewish, anti-Zionist French author [to the point of apparently making up a false, unreferenced claim derogatory to Jews in the country in the late 19th century], nevertheless reports on the vast unexploited, uninhabited areas of the country in the 18th century. Laurens reports that Arab peasants began coming down from the central hills [mountains] in the late 18th century and resettling untilled land.
There were many abandoned villages to be seen from earlier periods. Recall that the Mamluks circa 1300 had all the coastal cities wrecked so that the Crusaders could not come back [the Ottomans allowed rebuilding].

Now how can this desolation be explained other than by Islamic policy, especially of taxation, especially of non-Muslims, especially of non-Muslim farmers??? Lesser factors were the common banditry in the countryside, one reason why the Jerusalem city gates were closed and locked at night up to the mid-19th century. So I don't think that Omar can truthfully look back at a green, properous countryside anymore than Arafat could in his notorious UN speech. On this see Saul Friedman's Land of Dust. Mark Twain's account of the Land of Israel in the 1860s is well known. It was barren and dusty.

Yet in ancient times, such as the kingdom of Judea under Hasmoneans and Herodians the Land of Israel supported a population of several million, much more than in 1850. On this see Lowdermilk's book, Land of Promise.

Now, a another weakness of the 1911 EB article is the then ignorance of DNA testing which now can be much more accurate than examining skeletons of supposed Canaanites. A number of studies have shown modal DNA similarities between the three main groups of Jews, Ashkenazim, Sefardim, Mizrahim [Orientals]. This fits what we knew from history, including Jewish migrations and the Christian ban on conversion to Judaism from early Christian times and the ban on Muslims leaving that religion under penalty of death. The non-Jewish religions tended to preserve the Jewish stock.

What is ironic even more so is that the modal Arab DNA is not so far from the Jewish, whereas the palestinian Arab modal DNA is closer than that of other Arabs. This may indicate Jewish conversions to Islam precisely in the Land of Israel, while similar phenomena occurred in other Muslim-ruled lands. All this can be easily explained by the misery under oppression of the dhimmi peoples. The oppression also comprised economic exploitation [jizya, kharaj] and many humiliations and inequalities. I don't think that this helps Omar. After all, if the Jews and Arabs are racially related [which was long believed], then why have Muslims related to Jews --or to Middle Eastern Christians-- usually been more impoverished? Why is India more prosperous than Pakistan?? It can't be race because Indians and Pakis are basically of the same biological race. And Muslim Arabs are related to Jews. And Armenians, according to several studies, are close to Jews but also to Kurds, who are Muslim. So why are the non-Muslim peoples more prosperous on the whole??


omar ibrahim baker - 8/11/2008

Mr Friedman!!!!!!
Next you would be saying the majority was in favour!
How silly can one be!
All you have to do is read the history of Palestine including the Great Strike to know what the people thought.
And that is WHY SELFDETERMINATION eas denied the Palestinian people.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Mr. Butler, you chose quotes that made Dayan look like an anti-Zionist who did not believe in the legitimacy of Israel, Mr. Butler. That was false on both counts.

Your performance was similar with your false and grotesque "parallels" when we were discussing Michael Walzer's principle (remember your hypothesis of the policeman shooting ten children first in your "comparison", which no one accepted because it was false?).

You are making yourself look very foolish here.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Omar,

The opinion of the majority of Arabs living in historic Palestine was not polled so we have no way to know the view of the majority.

What is known is that Arab leaders had a variety of opinions but, due to the efforts of those associated with the likes of the Grand Mufti, al-Hussayni, other opinions were silenced (e.g. by assassination, mayhem and acts of intimidation), . Had such opinions not been silenced, the likelihood that the dispute might have abated would have been greater.

The rest of what you write is an opinion - poorly formed at that - pretending to be fact. It is unworthy of a response. It is, in a word, nonsense.


james joseph butler - 8/11/2008

Dear Art,
The beauty of the net, apart from letting you and I banter, is, of course, its freedom and vast store of data. This lets you go to zionism-israel.com and me go to wikiquotes. I like to go to both. One of your earlier posts chided me for not using "the standard scholarly" book. Childishly reminescent in the way of some people who think a single book can explain the human experience.

If history bears a resemblance to science it's in the recognition that the "truth" is ineluctable and that the best historians/scientists can do is to come close. A single book as the best explanation reveals your desire to occlude the picture.

Gen. Dayan's: "There is no more Palestine" or "We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave and we will see where this process leads." reflect his mind at that moment before that audience. His other statements regarding peaceful coexistence bring to mind Clauzewitz's dictum, "The conqueror always wants peace."

I can quote any number of Israeli/Zionist leaders whose words would disappoint/shock American supporters of that bastion of Democracy in the Middle East but they're only words. More than sixty years of violence to make true David Ben-Gurion's, "We must expel the Arabs and take their places." is a reality that continues to sow the seeds of chaos and war.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

The land that the Israelis now have originated in two ways:

1. It was bought (at high prices) from Arabs who were willing to sell, in a transaction that was perfectly voluntary on both sides.

2. Or it was conquered militarily during a war which the Arabs (not the Jews) started with the intention of wreaking genocide on the Jews.

No state is born innocent, but those are the hard facts.

If Omar were sincerely concerned with human rights as a principle (as opposed to "human rights", including evidently the right not to sell one's property, as a propaganda weapon against Israel), he'd be up in arms about Darfur.

In Darfur there are hundreds of thousands of refugees and 300,000 dead in the past five years at the hands of a Muslim fundamentalist regime which the Arab League has expressed strong SUPPORT for two weeks ago when its leader was condemned by the World Court as a war criminal.

So much for principles of human rights as far as the Arab League is concerned.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/11/2008

Mr Friedman
I stress the point that the colonialist Zionist movement managed to force into Palestine, in collusion with the British government and against the express will of the majority of its Palestinian/Arab indigenous population, a sufficient number of alien Zionist/ Jewish emigrants intent on colonizing Palestine and establishing therein a Jewish nation/state.

The establishment of this Jewish nation/state in a historically Arab Palestine demanded/ordained:

1-Zionist/ Jewish Military domination and control of the maximum possible area of Palestine
AND
2-Zionist/Jewish Uprooting and Ethnic cleansing of Palestine from its predominant indigenous ARAB, both Moslem and Christian, majority and supplanting them with JEWS screened and admitted according to a strict racial/racist criterion:Jewishness.

Objective (1) was attained through military action; objective (2) was attained through forced deportation and massacres of civilians.
Both objectives were sustained by denying the Palestinian refugees their right to RETURN to their homeland and to repossess their, mainly, land and dwelling properties.

THat is the whole story/history of the issue.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Omar,

You stress the view that Jews were not seeking to live on their own land. With that in mind, how does a group come to have a land? How did the Arabs in Palestine come to have a land?

For a very long period, the land in question was under Ottoman rule. Was that rule legitimate? Was it an Ottoman land?


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Absolutely! :)

Art


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Call us even. You, with your world-wide norm and me with those pesty relatives. :) (i.e. SMILE).


James Draper - 8/11/2008

FREE ISRAEL


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Mr. Hamilton,

I thank you for your compliment.

Mr. Mead's article, you will note, is remarkably similar - apart from the editorial twist by which he claims to want to find greater US sympathy for Palestinian Arabs - to a full length book by the brilliant historian, Michael Oren. See his book Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present.

As for Jews being clannish, there may be some truth to that although such is clearly breaking down in the US. Whether such attitudes have historically been driven by outside hostility to Jews, by internal factors or both is above my pay grade.

Andrew Bostom's book is worth the time. It is long and detailed and includes documentation that is difficult to dispute. In fact, much of the book consists of translations of first hand sources and articles interpreting such sources. You should definitely read it.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

NF, that's exactly my point. You don't know what *percentage* of the Palestinian Arab refugees settled with relatives and you don't know *where* these relatives were located. If those relatives who took them in were located, say, within the original Mandate areas, that would support the conclusions I have come to. But since we simply don't know either percentages or location, you can't use this "they settled with relatives" argument at all in our discussion.

We're all incautious sometimes. NF, you were this time. It happens.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Art,

You write: "You say that many refugees found refuge with relatives."

I have no figures. I may even be mistaken, having taken a look at, for example, the Jewish virtual history website. What it indicates is that large numbers of the poor fled to their relatives and, in the end, could not return. However, it does not indicate where those relatives lived.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Dear NF,

The issue of "historic tenancy" is essentially irrelevant, I agree--for the many reasons you and I have both adduced.

Nevertheless, Peters attacked "historic tenancy" on grounds of demography and she is manifestly wrong, as Gottheil shows. She underestimates the Arab Palestinian population in 1893 in the areas that became Israel by 100%, and on that basis creates a four or five fold increase by 1948, and since that cannot have come by natural increase then posits a massive in-migration to these areas, perhaps from regions completely outside the Mandate itself. Hence there was no "historic tenancy" but a signif portion or even a majority of those who fled or were expelled in 1948 were recent arrivals. That's the point of the book and its (sarcastic) title.

But there was no four or fivefold increase in Arab Palestinian population. Give the true figures in 1893, there is no need to posit massive in-migration to account for population increase in the areas that became Israel. As Gottheil shows, by 1931 the "in-migration" (wherever they came from, and I hold to my position that they mostly came from within the Mandate) consisted of about 12% of the total Arab Palestinian population. That means that 88% of the Arab Palestinian population were not recent migrants, NF.

You say that many refugees found refuge with relatives. Can you cite me statistics, or examples, and were these relatives living inside or outside the Mandate boundaries? That would be interesting. Certainly it is the permanent refugee camps that are most famous.

And I would think--again, I am speaking cautiously--that if many "Palestinian Arab" refugees who fled to the north in 1948 to Lebanon were in reality, say, Lebanese (Lebanese "new arrivals" in the Jewish areas of the Mandate that became Israel), the Lebanese govt in 1948 would have found a way to accommodate them and would not have imposed the legal burdens they created for the refugees that have kept them in camps in, say, Sidon, for 60 years.

How much do we know on this question?

In any case, as you say, the "historic tenancy" argument is irrelevant. That's crucial.

Nevertheles, I have had to conclude as a scholar that Omar is probably correct historically when he uses the "historic tenancy" argument, and that Peters' attempt to combat the "historic tenancy" argument via demographic arguments is probably a failure.


N. Friedman - 8/11/2008

Art,

Perhaps I am have failed to stated my view artfully. In any event, my point is that the population of which you write is a comparatively small one. It is, that is, comparatively, small compared to places such as Jerusalem.

I do not think it can be denied that some of the population of the country has very long roots there. That, however, is different from claiming that there is a homogeneous population or anything remotely akin to it. What, rather, Arabs can claim is that, apart from Crusaders and, recently, Jews, most of the population has acquiesced in being dominated by Muslims. Such, after all, is the issue continuously raised by Omar, when he writes that Jews made themselves an alien culture that does not fit in with its Arab surroundings.

The other point to note is that the area where there haave been some groups with long roots is not limited to the territory which is now Israel. Rather, such territory - as judged by the very great number of Arabs who landed with their families (e.g. at the outset of hostilities in 1948 and thereafter) who lived outside of what is now Israel. There no doubt was, so far as I know, substantial movement in the general region; otherwise, people would not have kin with whom to move in with in the general region.

So, in a sense, there were people who can claim long roots in the region but whether any given family always lived in what is now Israel is, I would think, doubtful. And, even if they did - along with the large population of people who were later settled in the area -, such is a big irrelevancy.


Ben Tzur - 8/11/2008

My quick reference to Amin Gemayel at the end bothered me and it has come back to me that it was not him but his younger brother, Bashir Gemayel, who was assassinated just when he was about to become President of Lebanon, in September 1982. I recall that period: he had I believe already met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin to discuss establishing diplomatic relations with Israel as soon as he was sworn into office. Israel welcomed that; obviously the more terrorist-oriented extremists on the Muslim side, whether Palestinian, Syrian or Shi'ite, did not: although the actual perpetrators have not been identified, I recall reading a book by one of his intimate friends (I unfortunately no longer recall the title or name: it was over a decade ago) that it was most probably directed from Syrian Intelligence, like so many of the more recent notorious assassinations in Lebanon of anti-Syrian and especially Christian political leaders. The murderers blew him up with many other political leaders, so inflaming the Christian Phalangist community that their soldiers perpetrated the Sabra and Shatila massacres of Palestinians soon afterward. Amin took over the presidency and governed for six years, but his efforts to establish peace with Israel floundered on the relentless resistance of Syria and the militant Muslim community, i.e., particularly those Shi'ites willing to be eventually consolidated into Hezbollah.


R.R. Hamilton - 8/11/2008

First, as a digression, I see further down in the thread there is talk about a book by a "Bostom" which apparently documents the history of Muslim anti-Jewish views.

I'm glad Bostom has saved me the effort. For years I tried to convince my (relatively few) Jewish friends that Muslims had, historically, been every bit as anti-Jewish as Christians. None believed me, preferring, apparently to believe their own "babuskas" for lessons in world history.

Occasionally when I would quote passages proving my point from Will Durant's The Story of Civilization:Vol. 4:The Age of Faith, they would pay a little attention, but very little. Grandma knew best. I considered that I should gather up all the scattered passages from Durant's book into one. It sounds like Bostom has done my work for me.

Now, for the bad news:

I want to tell my Jewish friends here -- among who I count Mr. Eckstein and Mr. Friedman -- another truth that I am sure they will find unpalatable as my old friends found my reports of historic Muslim anti-semiticism.

I am going to do it later. In the meanwhile, I want you to do two things: First, I hope you will read Mr. Friedman's suggested article The New Israel and the Old: Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State, By Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2008. I want you to read it very, very carefully. He gets it right. But most Jews will miss the most important part. This is so important, that I will re-link it here.

The second thing I would ask of my Jewish friends is to consider, seriously, the remark of Jack Jerald Thomsen. I think it was his first remark. I realize that Mr. Thomsen is both anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist, but even broken clocks are right twice a day. In his first remark, he mentioned that Jews are past masters of ethno-centrism who condemn the trait in others. He's right about that, and if you don't believe it then my future comments won't do any good for you.

So, I ask you to wrap your minds around those two things: The article explaining the reasons for American gentile support of Zionism and the anti-semitic Mr. Thomsen's observation of the Jewish hypocrisy regarding ethno-centrism.

In the meantime, please don't imagine that you think you know what I will be saying. You cannot possibly imagine, because it's never been said before. (Even if it had, no Jew would've ever noticed.)


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Mr. Butler, Moshe Dayan was for peace, and had no illusions about what it took to create a country--any country.

But in one quote you cite, about Jewish sites built on Arab villages, you leave out what Moshe Dayan--crucially-- BEGAN that quote with:

“We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages."

THEN comes:

You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around...”

And Dayan also said THIS, Mr. Butler:

"Soldiers of Israel, we have no aims of conquest. Our purpose is to bring to naught the attempts of the Arab armies to conquer our land."


And this, Mr. Butler:

"We could not guard every water pipeline from being blown up and every tree from being uprooted. We could not prevent every murder of a worker in an orchard or a family in their beds. But it was in our power to set high price for our blood, a price too high for the Arab community, the Arab army, or the Arab governments to think it worth paying. . . It was in our power to cause the Arab governments to renounce 'the policy of strength' toward Israel by turning it into a demonstration of weakness."

So those who want to destroy Israel should stop using Dayan as if he thought Israel had no moral right to exist. Mr. Butler, you only reveal--as usual--your ignorance and malice.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

Butler, your posting tried to make Dayan into an anti-Zionist, and my response totally refuted that, so you have changed the subject.

As to the traumas of the Palestinians (a) many people have suffered the same or worse without changing their culture into a Nazi death-cult.
--12 million Germans fled or were expelled from eastern Europe (that's 18 times the Naqba), 1 million died, 1/2 a million were raped and they can't go back. But you don't see Germans blowing up schools in Danzig.
--7 million Hindus fled or were expelled from Pakistan (that's 10 times the Naqba), 1 million died. But you don't see Hindus blowing up busses filled with civilians in Karachi.
--850,000 Jews fled or were expelled from Muslim lands between 1948 and 1960; that's 100,000 more people than the Palestinian "naqba". Yet you don't see these Jews blowing up supermarkets in Bagdad.
---350,000 Greeks were expelled from Egypt or northern Turkey in the mid-1950s, in a classic case of religious and ethnic cleansing by Muslims; but you don't see these Greeks blowing up discoteques in Cairo or Ankara.

(b) The Palestinians need to take *responsibility* for the series of dreadful decisions that have landed them where they are.
--they backed the Germans in World War I
--they backed the Nazis in World War II
--they refused the compromise of 1948 which would've given them a state and instead launched a genocidal war which they lost
--they backed the Communists in the Cold War
--they backed Saddam Hussein in 1990-1991 (one result: 300,000 Palestinians were expelled by victorious Kuwait)
--in the 1990s and increasingly after 2001 engage in vicious attacks on civilians that have lost them much worldwide support. Started with the attack on the Israeli Olympic Team at Munich in 1972, violating all international custom.
--they backed Saddam Hussein in 2003.

But no, do they take responsibity for their own hideous errors and vicious violence? Never--everything's all the fault of those evil Jews! And malicious and ignorant people like Butler buy into it.


E. Simon - 8/11/2008

My God! If you feel so badly about the transfer of land titles to the extent that you will willfully disregard the concept of purchasing land, then go on, renounce what property you own, and give it away to whatever Indian tribe or other indigene who layed claim to it before governments and laws were available and willing to sort out the matter. And make sure to bring up your issue regarding Palestinian suffering to the people that have kept them in refugee camps over the generations for propaganda purposes - i.e. their own deeply-pocketed leaders.

Most Israelis are or have forebears of Middle-Eastern descent. The idea that Arab Muslims have a claim to an area (just so) that they can keep other Middle Eastern peoples out of (it) loses more currency every time the idea is uttered or insinuated.


art eckstein - 8/11/2008

The U.S. has given Israel $100 billion in aid all told since 1970: this comes out to about $3 billion a year, mostly military aid. This should be compared with the $250 billion a YEAR spent by the U.S. during the Cold War in Central Europe and Northeast Asia. (Aid to Israel makes up about 1% of the U.S. defense budget.)

Israel is a pretty much First World economy with a $150 billion annual economy and $46 billion in annual exports (including $15 billion in high tech exports). More Israeli patents were granted in 2005 (1,188) than to Chinese and Indian and Russians COMBINED. Israel has 80 companies on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Citation of scientific papers by Israelis in 2005/2006 were 3,300 per million, as compared to 2,900 for Canada, 299 for Russia, 16 per million for Syria and 1 per million for Saudi Arabia.

A $150 billion high-tech economy is not being kept afloat by $3 billion a year in military aid from the U.S.

As usual, Kislock doesn't know what he's talking about.


Stephen Kislock - 8/11/2008

PhD R.L. Cravatts, professor of Dribble and Drool!

Your PhD dissertation, must have been Propaganda.

$150 Billion in United States AID, keeps this bubble afloat.

Please never use "Democracy" and "Israel" in the same sentence.


james joseph butler - 8/11/2008

Thanks, I like the "malice". The inescapable truth which you and the other Zionists on this post admit to is that the vast majority of Israeli citizens have connections which date back to the first millenium C.E. in the Levant but their forebearers left many hundreds of years ago and thanks to the actions of bigoted Europeans they returned largely after 1918 and 1948. Which just happens to coincide with the finales of European generated world wars.

Why on earth should the Palestinians give up their land which Dayan acknowledged for the sins of the Europeans. You and I both know that's the truth. And the truth is that until Israel and sadly America acknowledge it as well and make real reparations not Oslo bandaids, Israelis and Palestinians will suffer. Ignorant, ahistorical, nave Americans will also pay a price sadly.


Ben Tzur - 8/10/2008

Is there any point to answering such wild ravings? So much in it, after all, reflects the refusal by Mr. Baker to absorb anything written and demonstrated in earlier posts by respondents. I had noted before that, unlike with them, he generally avoided outright any written response to my own answers to his contributions, and never actually addressed them in the few times he did answer them, but I suppose that he felt compelled at the end to make an effort to do so, simply to seem to refute my final remarks on his "Summing UP." Actually he deals with none of the points I made in my remarks, but just repeats himself or adds even more extreme assertions.

Still, I will not let those assertions pass unchallenged, as if I accept them or had no rebuttal of them.

So, to start with, it is strikingly obvious that Mr. Baker reads his own values into Zionism and Jews generally, and then effectively condemns himself by condemning them. As we have seen at length in this blog, he explicitly pushes a racist definition of Arab nationalism, but condemns Zionism for being a racist nationalism. When Jews espouse his own explicitly avowed value-system for themselves, and even the same brutal methods for attaining those goals (as he alleges), it is evil. Is this not a covert self-judgment? He explicitly wishes to eliminate Jews from Palestine as inauthentic "colonialists" and supports the ethnic cleansing demand made explicitly by both Fatah and Hamas, and then says Israel is evil for "expansionism," for seeking the suppression of Palestinian "inalienable rights" and the elimination of Arabs from Israel and for pursuing "ethnic cleansing" of "Palestine." Of course none of his claims are true about Zionism, but they certainly do apply to himself and those holding his views, including the main parties amongst the Palestinians. He excoriates Zionists for allying themselves with the British, as if foreign alliances by one's own community in its own interests are illegitimate betrayals, when the British due to larger imperial interests ended up trying to suppress Zionist aspirations and even to stop or intern Jews seeking refuge there from the Holocaust. Meanwhile the Arabs allied themselves directly with the Nazis, and Haj Amin el-Hussaini tried to set up a Germany colonial state in Iraq in 1941, failed, and then spent most of WWII in Berlin plotting the establishment in a Judenrein Middle East after the war of a tributary state within the post-war Nazi colonial empire. Mr. Barker takes a Blut-und-Boden view of geography and people, but accuses Zionists of the Jewish version of this, which of course he then describes as cruel and racist. He extends this to a diatribe against Judaism itself as "a unique culture that shares very little with others being self centered and self obsessed to the point of rank, religion based, racism and total blindness to and negation of the presence and rights of others and goes as far as assuming divinely bestowed transcendental prerogatives and privileges unique to that community and conditional on its blatant, unmitigated, racist provenance." But this almost incoherent rant nevertheless precisely defines his own understanding of Arabism/Islam. It has nothing to do with Judaism or Jews.

Just to take a devastatingly pertinent example, Zionism unlike Arabism cannot be a racism because the Jews are not a race. (That is why the 1991 vote of the U.N. rescinding its previous infamous equation of Zionism with racism was correct, and is now official U.N. policy. Zionism is genuinely the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, but this people is made up of Semites, Aryans, Slavs, Turkic Khazars, Ethiopians and other Africans including Berbers and, recently, some Ugandans, people of at least partly Indian ethnicity, Chinese Jews, and indeed Jews from almost all the "races" of humanity, although there remains a strong foundation from Biblical Jewry because of the remarkable loyalty Jews have shown to their religion down through the ages. Judaism is a universalist religion which, unlike any of the other world religions, actually created a people to sustain it; that people remains centrally defined by their religion. Nowadays many Jews are just secular (although this can be exaggerated: some 80% of Israeli Jews affirmed their belief in God in a recent poll), but they are still tied to their heritage and community whether out of their own conviction or by the conviction of their enemies: either way it turns out that they still need protection, as Jews, a protection that has been only sometimes extended to them by non-Jews. Certainly it is not extended by Muslims; they have been harshly persecuted down through the ages in Muslim lands, and half Israel's population is made up of refugees driven out of Arab lands. As for previous ages, see Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, already referred to several times on this blog. Many other titles could be added to this. Consult Bostom's bibliographic apparatus.

Jewish ethnicity is of a peculiar kind and needs clarification. According to the Torah, the Jewish people became a true people only at Mt. Sinai, when they all accepted the Torah; before that, they were made up of a motley crowd of the Children of Israel (Abraham's descendants) and the "mixed multitude" (Exod. 12:38) of all other slaves who wished to escape from Egyptian servitude. They became a single people at Sinai by acknowledging God and entering into a covenant with Him. So the Jews were multi-ethnic at their origins. They became more so as they intermarried with and Judaized the Canaanites over the centuries. That is why the Canaanites disappeared from history and are certainly not identical to the Palestinians. They became Jews. When the population of the region was exiled from the Land of Israel they were exiled explicitly as "Jews," and it was as "Jews" that they returned: those not so identifying assimilated to Egypt and Babylonia and joined their histories. I need not recapitulate the later history of conversions, including of whole kingdoms such as the Arab kingdom of Yemen in the sixth century. It is sufficient to say the Jews are not a single ethnicity.

Because Jewishness has never been a matter just of race or ethnicity, the very idea of religious conversion was invented by Judaism. Even Mr Baker can convert to be a member of this people, though no one can convert to being an Arab as they can convert to being a Muslim or Christian. Jewishness is not like Arabness, and it is also not like being a Muslim. It is a singular kind of category. Its peoplehood is either a voluntary spiritual choice or at the least an involuntary fact arising out of past voluntary spiritual choice: if a born Jew or a convert renounces Judaism and Jewish identity he or she remains a Jew according to Judaism itself, though now apostate and in error, and this Jewishness is passed on at least by apostate Jewish women to their children - but not by apostate Jewish men. So it is far from being merely ethnic or a matter of blood lines. Jewishness is an identity that spiritually transcends ethnicity and transforms it, reflecting a religion that aims in all things at the mutually transformative integration of the spiritual and the physical, heaven and earth: no wonder the nature of Jewish peoplehood is so puzzling, even sometimes to Jews, since it is distinctive in the history of humanity. But, just to add the point, the Jewish sources make clear that the Jews exist to benefit the whole of humanity, and so they have done down through the millenia (see my earlier post responding to Mr. Jack Jerald Thomsen's post "Who are you kidding," itself relating to Mr. Thomsen's defense of antisemitism in "But why Jew-hatred?"). Mr. Baker read that, since he responded to it, one of the few posts by me he did respond to, and he seemed in that response to grant the force of my own remarks, so he knows it is false to state that Judaism or Jews are merely self-centered. Clearly, even knowing he is speaking untrue slanders is not a problem for Mr. Baker. But I will not pursue this really large and important topic here; Jewish universalism and its deeply moral outlook is not really of interest to Mr. Baker and lies beyond our present context.

Arising from all this is the Jewish tie to the Land of Israel. It is authentic and legitimate. All Jewish religious texts, from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud through everyday prayer liturgy and medieval and modern Rabbinic philosophical, mystical and other writings, have, as one of their central themes, the longing for Zion and the association of that land and return to it with the fulfilment of Jewish longings and aspirations, including their hopes for a future Time of Peace for all humanity. It is written not only in their daily prayers but on their hearts. In every generation, Jews have sought to move to the land of Israel and live there, even when antisemitic agitations and persecutions were very severe there, as they often were under both Christians and Muslims.

The land of Israel is therefore the religious heart-land of the Jews, and the symbol of their future hopes, and always has been. This does not derogate, contra Mr. Baker, from passionate American Jewish love of America, to the point of fighting and dying for her in her armies, British Jewish love of Britain, French for France, etc. Part of the heartbreaking tragedy of German Jewry was that their true and deeply inculcated love-affair with German culture and heritage, which many German Jewish survivors still retain, was mostly unrequited. There is nothing sinister or dubious in this heartfelt sense of belonging to the land and people of one's actual birth, language, culture, etc., and also to the larger Jewish people with its legitimate aspirations. In Judaism this is in turn transcended by a deeper level of love for the welfare of all humanity and the hope for a messianic age of peace for all peoples, and beyond that Judaism teaches a gratitude simply for being alive and being able to celebrate and sanctify experience of the whole of Creation. Human being are all multi-leveled, and none are only one thing or another, not even the most fanatical madmen. Even they have complexities and multiple connections with the world around them that they might deny and have no insight into at all, which is why they are mad and destructive. In fact, the more connections and the more levels, the more maturely and sanely human we are, the more immune to the hateful worldviews of the one-eyed and the destructive.

But to drive the point home, Anglicans in the U.S. (Episcopalians) have a special tie still to England, Presbyterians to Scotland, Irish Catholics to Ireland and Polish Catholics to Poland, Greek Orthodox to Greece, etc. -- none of this brings charges of double loyalties, although Mr. Baker brazenly raises again that standard antisemitic trope. But I wonder if again he is not speaking about and confessing an accusation against himself: is his loyalty either to the Syrian Arab race and culture, or to America? What is his decision, since for him it is a dilemma?

Zionists recognize that antisemitism does exist, as I am quite sure even Mr. Baker also admits, and there needs to be at least one nation that is a Jewish refuge and that defends them as Jews, where it is not problematical to be openly and proudly Jewish: that is the aspect of political Zionism that is a response to a reality of genocide in this world. The second aspect of Zionism, or motivation for it, is that there is a great cultural and religious need for a Jewish community that determines its own priorities and in which Judaism and other Jewish enterprises need not take second place to other religions, and need not compress itself into sometimes humiliating and oppressive minority subservience, as it certainly has had to do in Muslim as well as Christian cultures over the past millenia. Jews need an autonomous community as an essential resource for Jewish self-confidence, self-renewal and self-definition, religious and cultural. This need, which if anything is more intense now than before the Holocaust, not only to revive a sorrowing people but also precisely because of the corrosive secular assimilationist challenges in modern culture, is only really possible where Jews are not a minority, where they can define and focus on their own legitimate interests. That realistically means, in the final analysis, where they have their own state.

Mr. Baker makes much of Jews being a minority in Arab Palestine. This is really not so much a positive point for the Arab argument as he thinks. Space is limited, but a few points must be made. Jews were always in the Land of Israel, even under the most difficult conditions, but they could not be as numerous there as they wanted to be because their Muslim overlords sharply limited their numbers, heavily taxed and oppressed them, and in every way restricted them harshly. Their Muslim Arab neighbors frequently rioted and killed them with impunity, and then there was the fact that the Arab culture patterns themselves made the land relatively uninhabitable: wars and pastoralism stripped the land bare and emptied the cities and villages - as elsewhere in the Middle East (a relevant analysis can be found in Marshall G.S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vol. 2: 78-85 et passim). Still, the Jewish community was the majority population in several of the larger cities of the land right up to the modern period. So they were not interlopers. And if other Jews came to join them, this was no more illegitimate in itself than if other law-abiding Christians or Muslims, including non-Arabs, came to join those co-religionists already in the land too, although the Arab overlords sought to exploit unmercifully and as a result mostly inadvertently to suppress this steady in-migration of entirely peaceable Jews. The existence of such arbitrary persecution means that the predominance of the Arab population by the early modern period is not a fact of nature but a result of cruelty and persecution: there is no legitimacy to be derived from that any more than the depredations of the hordes of Genghis Khan justified their rule over their depopulated conquered lands. But the endangered situation of the Jewish minority in the land, their constant mistreatment by the Arabs, forced them to look to their own self-protection and ultimately their own separate state, just as the Christians of Lebanon also needed their own sheltering state to protect them. Had it not been for that, and if Jews and Christians were really secure under Arab Muslim rule and treated with decency and consideration, it is likely that the Balfour Statement's "Jewish National Home" would not have needed to eventuate in an independent state. Many objective assessments by non-Jewish authorities reviewed the evidence and came to the same conclusion. This comes out in the various government commissions and reports that accumulated in Britain from the 20s, in the League of Nations that gave Britain the Mandate over Palestine, and in the new U.N. after WWII.

In the end the Jews were willing to share the land with Arabs, both including Arabs amongst their own citizens with full civil rights and calling for a stable and peaceable Arab state beside them. The very tiny territories granted them by the U.N. carefully bestowed only those sections where Jews predominated, and the Negev Desert, so Arab rights of residency were not violated.

The rise of the State of Israel was accomplished against the steady and increasing resistance of Britain and other colonial powers, and decreed first by a League of Nations Mandate but more importantly after WWII through a U.N. resolution drawing upon Western, but also third-world countries and Communist countries hostile to the Western colonial powers. The crying and desperate need for its establishment, however, is a telling and definitive indictment of the cruelty with which Jews (and not only Jews) were treated by Arab populations and under Islam. It did not only come about because of the Holocaust, although that too carried a heavy message.

A further ironical point. The Palestinians as a people actually never left their self-defined land. Many of course remained in Israel, and are now citizens there, enjoying better freedoms and lives than prevails in most of their neighboring states. But even the refugees only shifted perhaps 5 or 30 miles to Gaza, to the West Bank, to Syria or southern Lebanon. Aside possibly from the south of Lebanon, they live within their "Palestine," as they delimit it. They could have settled down as all other refugees have done and with help from their Arab brothers and sisters become integrated into their societies as farmers and villagers, and had decent lives. But of course they were not allowed to do this by their host societies, whether Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, or Egyptian: they were forced instead into permanent "refugee camps," dependent on welfare (until the 1970s when Saudi contributions began it is interesting to know that their financial support came almost entirely from donations to UNWRA from the U.S. and Israel, and next to nothing came from Arab sources: consult the relevant UN yearbooks). They had nothing to do year after year but to simmer in their own hates and despondencies, and to seek answers in acceptable scapegoats, as hostages to and pawns of Arab despotic states, "honor/shame"folk values, and hate. That is the real story of the Palestinians. These tragic outcomes were the direct result of the Arab refusal to countenance any non-Arab, non-Muslim state in their midst, and had nothing to do whatsoever with concern for Palestinian suffering or national identity (as both Egypt and Jordan showed when ruling over Gaza or the West Bank: they did not create "Palestine" then, and interestingly neither did the "Palestinians" ask them to).

Nevertheless, and this is the final point, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon under Amin Gemayel, were all eventually willing to make some sort of peace with Israel. Their gestures were fully and eagerly reciprocated by Israel. So there is some distant hope for coexistence and peace: despite the endemic violence of Arab cultures, and Muslim jihadi obsessions, peace is possible. It may have to wait, however, for several generations to get the cultural virus of simplistic extremism out of their systems. Israel will have to wait for peace until her neighbors are willing to take responsibility for their own situation, and to improve it.


art eckstein - 8/10/2008

Mr. Butler, Moshe Dayan was for peace, and had no illusions about what it took to create a country--any country.

But in one quote you cite, about Jewish sites built on Arab villages, you leave out what Moshe Dayan--crucially-- BEGAN that quote with:

“We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages."

THEN comes:

You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around...”

And Dayan also said THIS, Mr. Butler:

Soldiers of Israel, we have no aims of conquest. Our purpose is to bring to naught the attempts of the Arab armies to conquer our land.


And this, Mr. Butler:

We could not guard every water pipeline from being blown up and every tree from being uprooted. We could not prevent every murder of a worker in an orchard or a family in their beds. But it was in our power to set high price for our blood, a price too high for the Arab community, the Arab army, or the Arab governments to think it worth paying. . . It was in our power to cause the Arab governments to renounce 'the policy of strength' toward Israel by turning it into a demonstration of weakness.

So those who want to destroy Israel should stop using Dayan as if he thought Israel had no moral right to exist. Mr. Butler, you only reveal--as usual--your ignorance and malice.


james joseph butler - 8/10/2008

BT's description of Zionism as, "one of the most liberal, idealistic and humanitarian national liberation movements", Obama gave a similarly worded summary of Israeli history, is farcical. The obvious parallel is to that other great moral exemplar, the USA. The major disadvantage the Zionists had compared to their New World liberator cousins is that they didn't get off a rocket with alien germs, the better to exterminate those pesky natives.

Mr. Eckstein, your hero Gen. Dayan,I think, supplies an apt reply for Cravatts' neocon p.c. bleat.He tells it like it is, but I guess he was another self hating Jew.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/10/2008

Tzur
Your feverish extrapolation of my words to the point of virtual and unlimited falsification and pathological hallucination ....will deceive no one.
My words speak for themselves and your cheap reinterpretation of same may satisfy you and the rest of the herd but will, once again, neither deceive any one nor bestow on you any credibility.
































































art eckstein - 8/10/2008

Dear N.F.,

I'm somewhat confused. Which "article" do you mean? If you mean the 1911 BT article, I see no reference there to a small village pop.

If you mean Gottheil, I note that one of his purposes is to show that Joan Peters underestimated the long-term Palestinian Arab population in the areas that became Israel by more than 100% (he spends two pages doing so) In 1893, these look to have totaled about 200,000 Palestinian Arabs in the areas that eventually became Israel, and in 1893 there were no large cities. This doesn't look to be a small population in villages to me.

But due caution must be exercised in all of this.


N. Friedman - 8/10/2008

Art,

You miss the main point, which is that the villages had very few people, all told. They were sparsely populated. Places like Jerusalem had substantial population.

The article notes that the population of villages was small. At least, that is how I read the article.


art eckstein - 8/10/2008

BT, I'd re-post this good post at the current very bottom of these threads, in partial reply to Omar's "Ben Tzur's comments on Zionism's achievements" (1)--if you think his racist ahistorical ranting is worth replying to.


james joseph butler - 8/10/2008

Art I love when you choose what constitutes the "standard scholarly book". Here's a history tip; there is no such thing as an objective history book. Some books come closer to one person's truth than another.

I'll be sure to remind you the next time we chat about Gary Sick's comments regarding Wikipedia in the Washington Post.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/10/2008


Mr. TZUR states:
” First of all, about Zionism and Israel. Zionism constitutes the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and its product, Israel, is the only Jewish state in the world.
1-****which would be perfectly acceptable and laudable:
a- if and only if THE Jewish people was/is ONE people residing in his own land and whose land was, as several were, occupied , colonized, by a foreign power.

Whereas the Jews are only a confessional community spread all over the world dwelling many lands/countries , in which they are , or are supposed to be, loyal citizens of those lands in which they dwell .
b- if and only if The land they claim to be theirs was truly theirs.

Whereas it was/ is NOT theirs by any universal standard , since it actually belonged and still belongs to its own indigenous native people who has been dwelling in it for the last fourteen centuries and whose Arab nationalist identity it has acquired .
c- if and only if they actually did dwell that land that they claim to be theirs and constituted a majority in it.

Whereas they have been, for whatever reason, spread all over the world for the last twenty centuries and those of them residing in it only constituted a minority , less than 10 % of total population of that land ,
Furthermore those residing uninterruptedly in that land had formed together their own common cultural/confessional community with designs and ambitions NOT only UNSHARED by the majority of the indigenous population of that land but actually running diametrically opposite and contrary to its aspirations and outlook.
d- if and only if that land was actually “liberated” from its foreign ruler, its colonizer.

Whereas what that community actually did was to form a common front with the land’s actual foreign occupier , Great Britain, to frustrate and abort the national aspirations of the majority , deprive the majority of its inalienable right to SELF DETERMINATION and collude with him to introduce, against the express will of the majority of the inhabitants of that land, hundreds of thousands of alien co religionists to replace British colonialism with Zionist /Jewish colonialism .

The fact that Tzur’s words were used in a manner that DOES NOT carry their universally shared meaning to convey concepts equally unshared universally is not only a PR ploy to deceive and misinform the unknowing general reader as much as it is the symptoms of a historical endemic malady of that community.
The effects of that malady is only to be expected, however, being the outgrowth of a unique culture that shares very little with others being self centered and self obsessed to the point of rank, religion based, racism and total blindness to and negation of the presence and rights of others and goes as far as assuming divinely bestowed transcendental prerogatives and privileges unique to that community and conditional on its blatant, unmitigated, racist provenance..

The output from this mental/psychological malady, grave as it is, would have been tolerated had its implications and practical manifestations been confined to its carriers and would have remained, and universally deemed to be, a communal malady unique to that community.
Except that it does affect its carriers’ relationship with their presumed co patriots, who happen to be their coreligionists and NOT their “compatriots”, as universally assumed,

And , more importantly, in that it did generate a communal mentality that bred and evolved into a pernicious doctrine that not only justifies but actually glorifies aggression, usurpation and the outright denial of all the inalienable rights of others while presuming transcendental rights and privileges to its own , racially based ie racist community : Zionism.
However Zionism, for its self-centeredness, self obsession and innate racism will turn out to be, sadly for all concerned, not the hoped for SALVATION doctrine some believe but a bane of unforeseeable tragic results.

















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































art eckstein - 8/9/2008

Dear NF,

We really differ.

As I read it, the 1911 EB article argues that there was a significant long lasting indigenous substratum in the villages--just as Omar says. Sure, there were various inflows of various people but the thrust of the 1911 article is that overall "the sedentary population of the villages is comparatively unmixed", and consists of folk who have been in "historic tenancy": original Cannanites (!), neo-Arabs from the 7th century, some Egyptians from the 10th century. All of them have been Muslims either originally or for a very long time. Now, THAT is essentially what Omar says! I don't think you want to argue, NF, that the descendents of 10th century Egyptians, a minority in the villages in any case, have no "historic tenancy" a thousand years later...

As for the towns, though the population was more mixed than the villages in 1911, they consist primarily of "an Arab element." As for the non-Arab elements in the towns, according to the 1911 EB they are Armenians, Greeks and Italians (and, increasingly Jews); I do not think that many of these people ever came to denote themselves as "Palestinian Arabs".

None of the 1911 EB article helps the Peters argument; in fact, the description of the region in the 1911 article is pretty much what Omar says. In sum: I think that the "historic tenancy" can be refuted in many effective ways, But it cannot be via arguments based on demographics (i.e., that the "Palestinian Arab" population of the regions that became Israel were to a large extent newcomers from outside the Mandate anyway; that's the Peters thesis).

You think that counting from the 1920s is kind of ridiculous. Peters counts from the 1890s--and I do not think she does a good job of it. She argues (pp. 250-251) that the number of non-Jews in the regions that became Israel was 92,000 in 1893 (of whom only 55,000 were Muslims), and that this population had therefore quadrupled by 1931, and quintupled by 1948 and that this is a very suspicious increase and could not have occurred through natural population increase but must be the result of massive in-migration. But the *actual* figures for non-Jews in 1893 in these regions according to Porath (in the 1986 NYRB colloquy with Sanders and Pipes) was already 198,000, based on the Ottoman census figures in Kemal Karpat, "Ottoman Population records and the Census of 1881/1893", IJMES 9 (1978), pp. 262 and 271. (an article which Peters also used but evidently misunderstood). No quadrupling or quintupling is involved, and the large majority of the increase by 1948 can therefore by attributed to natural increase.

My own view, as I've said, is--cautiously--that the rest of the Palestinian Arab increase came through legal in-migration from people from within the Mandate itself, not from "illegal foreigners" from outside.


N. Friedman - 8/9/2008

Professor,

But the country villages had a very small population in a region with a small population. It does not help Omar. And, no one denies that there were people living in the region for ages on end. Jews and Bedouins certainly have. No doubt, other people in the region do have roots back to ancient times. To Omar, though, anyone other than Jews - probably because all others came to accept Muslim political supremacy - is a Palestinian Arab and can then claim roots to the beginning of the universe.

My view is that counting from the 1920's is kind of ridiculous. All through history, different groups have arrived and been added to the population of the region as a whole while, for a small number, there are very early roots. That is what the Encyclopedia says. That, moreover, undermines the potted plant theory, since the region is filled with different peoples.


art eckstein - 8/9/2008

Dear NF,

My reading of Gottheil is that while the evidence he has accumulated on population stats may not be perfect, it is "compelling" (his word) to the extent of showing that "over 10 percent of the 1931 Arab Palestinian population in those subdistricts that eventually became Israel had immigrated to those sub-districts within the 1922-1931 years." That means that almost 90% were NOT recent immigrants to those subdistricts but long-term residents.

That's not Peters. That's all I'm saying. One cannot refute the "historic tenancy" argument by arguing that most, or a majority, or even a significant minority of the Palestinian Arab residents of those subdistricts that became Israel were actually new arrivals. They apparently were not, but were long-term residents.

I don't think the great 1911 EB helps the Peters-type case; statements such as the following certainly do not:

"The sedentary population of the country villages - the fellahin, or agriculturists - is, on the whole, comparatively unmixed; but traces of various intrusive strains assert themselves. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose that there is a fundamental Canaanite element in this population: the " hewers of wood and drawers of water " often remain undisturbed through successive occupations of a land."

That is what Omar himself has been saying, in service of his "historic tenancy" argument.

One can refute the historic tenancy argument in any number of ways; Ben Tzur does a nice job of it in the first paragraphs of his new entry under "Summing Up/Friedman's Extraordinary Thesis", no. 126232, Aug. 9. But it cannot be refuted the Peters way.

I think it is very incautious to argue that both inside and beyond the 11.8% figure is some huge number of illegal, unrecorded and unevidenced in-migrants from far beyond the Mandate borders.

To me, the most important point about the internal migration sources of most of the 11.8% new Arab-Palestinian arrivals in the subdistricts that became Israel is that, as Gottheil shows, this refutes the (Omar) thesis that Palestinian-Arabs have a special tie to their so-called ancestral lands ("spatial stickiness", Gottheil calls it). This alllegedly would account for their refusal to compromise with Israel's existince, and their descent instead into a Nazi-like death-culture (it's Omar's position). But it seems to me that Gottheil shows that large numbers of Palestinian Arabs moved around WITHIN the Mandate boundaries with little or no psychological trauma, settling where they willed.

What happened in 1948 could thus have ended with them settling down permanently in other parts of the Mandate (grumpily to be sure). Those Jews expelled from Arab lands in 1958-1960 certainly had a MUCH harder task of adjustment to a new world (Israel) than the victims of the "Naqba" did. Those Middle Eastern Jews, in numbers much larger than the victims of the "Naqba" DID eventually adjust--as the 12 million expelled Germans and 7 million expelled Hindus of 1945-1947 did, and as the half-million expelled Greeks of the 1950s did. The Palestinian Arabs did not. WHY they did not, given that most of them were actually only moved around WITHIN the boundaries of the Mandate (as, Gottheil seems to show, many had been moving around before), is a crucial question.

P.S. I'm glad to see that the 1911 EB records the Bosnian Muslims at Caesarea--a point I made earlier on this thread. But they were legal immigrants from the 1880s, settled in an openly existing township quite parallel to the Yishuv.


N. Friedman - 8/9/2008

Art,

You are being too gracious to the available data, which is, according to Gottheil's article, not reliable. Not reliable means you should not rely to heavily on it. Not reliable means that the official increase may bear relatively little resemblance to the reality, even of those who ought to have been counted because they were "legally" in the area. Which is to say, the population count was not accurate within its own set parameters so the stated increase even within those parameters is not really well known.

Moreover, none of this is very meaningful. As is well known - see Bernard Lewis on this point -, the Ottoman Empire moved populations around willy nilly, depending on the needs of the Empire in any given circumstance. This was true even for Muslims. So, there are innumerable opportunities for newcomers to appear.

According to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica - which is, by the way, among the best and most reliable versions of that Encyclopedia -:

The inhabitants of Palestine are composed of a large number of elements, differing widely in ethnological affinities, language and religion. It may be interesting to mention, as an illustration of their heterogeneousness, that early in the 20th century a list of no less than fifty languages, spoken in Jerusalem as vernaculars, was there drawn up by a party of men whose various official positions enabled them to possess accurate information on the subject.1 It is therefore no easy task to write concisely and at the same time with sufficient fullness on the ethnology of Palestine.


There are two classes into which the population of Palestine can be divided - the nomadic and the sedentary. The former is especially characteristic of Eastern Palestine, though Western Palestine also contains its full share. The pure Arab origin of the Bedouins is recognized in common conversation in the country, the word " Arab " being almost restricted to denote these wanderers, and seldom applied to the dwellers in towns and villages. It should be mentioned that there is another, entirely independent, nomad race, .the despised Nowar, who correspond to the gipsies or tinkers of European countries. These people live under the poorest conditions, by doing smith's work; they speak among themselves a Romani dialect, much contaminated with Arabic in its vocabulary.


The sedentary population of the country villages - the fellahin, or agriculturists - is, on the whole, comparatively unmixed; but traces of various intrusive strains assert themselves. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose that there is a fundamental Canaanite element in this population: the " hewers of wood and drawers of water " often remain undisturbed through successive occupations of a land; and there is a remarkable correspondence of type between many of the modern fellahin and skeletons of ancient inhabitants which have been recovered in the course of excavation. New elements no doubt came in under the Assyrian, Persian and Roman dominations, and in more recent times there has been much contamination. The spread of Islam introduced a very considerable Neo-Arabian infusion. Those from southern Arabia were known as the Yaman tribe, those from northern Arabia the Kais (Qais). These two divisions absorbed the previous peasant population, and still nominally exist; down to the middle of the 10th century they were a fruitful source of quarrels and of bloodshed. The two great clans were further subdivided into families, but these minor divisions are also being gradually broken down. In the 10th century the short-lived Egyptian government introduced into the population an element from that country which still persists in the villages. These newcomers have not been completely assimilated with the villagers among whom they have found a home; the latter despise them, and discourage intermarriage.

Some of the larger villages - notably Bethlehem - which have always been leavened by Christianity, and with the development of industry have become comparatively prosperous, show tangible results of these happier circumstances in a higher standard of physique among the men and of personal appearance among the women. It is not uncommon in popular writings to attribute this superiority to a crusader strain - a theory which no one can possibly countenance who knows what miserable degenerates the half-breed descendants of the crusaders rapidly became, as a result of their immoral life and their ignorance of the sanitary precautions necessary in a trying climate.

The population of the larger towns is of a much more complex nature. In each there is primarily a large Arab element, consisting for the greater part of members of important and wealthy families. Thus, in Jerusalem, much of the local influence is in the hands of the families of El-Khalidi, El-Husseini and one or two others, who derive their descent from the heroes of the early days of Islam. The Turkish element is small, consisting exclusively of officials sent individually from Constantinople. There are very large contingents from the Mediterranean countries, especially Armenia, Greece and Italy, principally engaged in trade. The extraordinary development of Jewish colonization has since 1870 effected a revolution in the balance of population in some parts of the country, notably in Jerusalem.


There are few residents in the country from the more eastern parts of Asia - if we except the Turkoman settlements in the Jaulan, a number of Persians, and a fairly large Afghan colony that since 1905 has established itself in Jaffa. The Mutawileh (Motawila), who form the majority of the inhabitants of the villages north-west of Galilee, are probably long-settled immigrants from Persia. Some tribes of Kurds live in tents and huts near Lake Huleh. If the inmates of the countless monastic establishments be excluded, comparatively few from northern or western Europe will remain: the German "Templar" colonies being perhaps the most important.


There must also be mentioned a Bosnian colony established at Caesarea Palestina, and the Circassian settlements placed in certain centres of Eastern Palestine by the Turkish government in order to keep a restraint on the Bedouin: the latter are also found in Galilee. There was formerly a large Sudanese and Algerian element in the population of some of the large towns, but these have been much reduced in numbers since the beginning of the 20th century: the Algerians however still maintain themselves in parts of Galilee.


The most interesting of all the non-Arab communities in the country, however, is without doubt the Samaritan sect in Nablus (Shechem); a gradually disappearing body, which has maintained an independent existence from the time when they were first settled by the Assyrians to occupy the land left waste by the captivity of the kingdom of Israel.


The footnote indicates: "This list was intentionally made as exhaustive as possible, and included some languages (such as Welsh) spoken by one or two individual residents only. But even if, by omitting these accidental items, the list be reduced to thirty, a sufficient number will be left to indicate the cosmopolitan character of the city. "


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

Since Mr. Baker has made a major issue out of the claim that Zionism and Israel subverts in conspiratorial fashion all Western democracies including especially the United States, causes the suspicion by the entire non-Western world of the West and the United States in particular, is the cause even of 9/11, the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, the lowly condition, internal violence and authoritarianism of all Arab states from time immemorial and still today (except, it now begins to seem possible, Iraq as it reconstructs itself as the first Arab democracy in the region), and indeed climate warming and the impending (millions of years in the future, but impending) collapse of the sun and resultant nova, let us just quietly and softly point out that this is so only in his fevered wishful imaginings, and he really needs to take an aspirin, a nice warm soothing shower and a lie-down.

If only Jewish power were really as great as he imagines! As I have pointed out in an earlier post, if there were 57 Jewish nations and only one little Muslim enclave around Mecca, just 30 miles wide at its widest point, how different everything would be at the U.N. and would seem about the supposed third-world outrage at the West, Zionism and Israel! This outrage (by despotisms) is manifestly just a matter of power, not of truth. Israel still remains as a David facing the Goliath of her opponents, who refuse still even to recognize her existence so that they fight with shadows and demons, not with anything real.

Mr Baker is so hurt, poor fellow (as a pan-Arab racist) that Israel by its very (tiny) existence geographically cuts the Arab world in two: he apparently has never heard of air travel, the internet, or even ship and ferry traffic from Lebanon and Syria and Arabia, a hop, skip and jump from Jordan to Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba, etc. And, most cuttingly, if the Arab states made peace with Israel and allowed the Palestinians to do so too, then they could enjoy direct access through Israel on nice highways, in peace and tranquility. Their dilemma is just the outcome of their own bellicosity.

Mr. Baker's objections are truly and certifiably nuts. It is not necessary to treat them with even the respect of refuting them. Those suppositions have the weight of an opium dream. Zionism is not the reason for all that has (from his perspective) gone wrong in the world, not even for what has gone wrong in the Muslim world, in the Arab world, or in the Palestinian world. Each is responsible for itself, and in fact the Palestinian and Arab societies have needed Israel in order to blame something external to themselves for their own deficiencies and injustices. If Israel did not exist the Arab/Muslim world would have had to invent it. And in the end, that is what it has done! The Israel and the Zionism it excoriates and scapegoats for its own ills is an entirely invented one, the precise, not even inverted mirror view of all its own faults, not of anything in Israel. A particularly telling instance of this is the claim of Israeli "expansionism." (The reference is to the fact that Israel has not yet been defeated and wiped out in the various wars forced on it by its enemies, but in fact has been victorious.) The supposition is that little Israel, created to be a homeland on its Biblical soil for the Jews and a beacon of liberal democracy, its Jews numbering at first under a million and now only numbering five and a half, lusted to rule over several hundred million Arabs throughout the Middle East. No Jews even if they were crazy would or could have such an aim. It would require the rejection of democracy, a Jewish state and society, even all they had worked for. Moreover, quite beside the fact of its self-contradiction of Zionist values and aspirations, or the impossibility of attainment of such a mad goal, who would want the burden of governing such a dysfunctional and hate-filled population? Israel has had quite enough on its plate just absorbing its own refugees and building a modern state.

But the Arabs image the Jewish mirror image of their own explicit goal (at least of pan-Arabists and Muslims seeking the new caliphate) of not only ruling everywhere in the Middle East but even taking over the world. These are indeed explicitly stated goals of many ideologists. In a similar way the Nazis imagined that the Jews were "secretly" what they themselves were explicitly, seeking world domination by hook or crook. So to the Nazis the little Jewish community of Germany (a mere 1% of the population of Germany), and the equivalents elsewhere, justified their takeover of the state, their genocidal plans, even their intention to take over the world.

No, Omar, Zionism has done none of the things you claim, and certainly not any of the harm, past, present or future, that you suppose. In the end, the Palestinians and the Arabs generally are responsible for themselves and what they will make of what has been given them.

But believe this: Israel will defend itself if attacked, and her morale will remain high, because she has something solid to believe in and values to work for. She is in it for the long term: her people have outlasted all her enemies, most of whom have long ago crumbled into dust.


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

Darn it, the conversation has moved on and I keep making responses to earlier threads that have died out. So here goes with yet another rerun, this one summarizing the positive achievements of Zionism that, I believe, Mr. Baker has refused even to answer and to pretend was not written, by creating this thread about "Zionsm" [sic] and asking what it achieved? Not a bit of an answer to my earlier response to him dealing with just this question.

Mr. Baker's continuing rant offers an excellent opportunity here, which I would like to seize, to make some points about Zionism, Israel, and the general situation of minorities throughout the Middle East.

First of all, about Zionism and Israel. Zionism constitutes the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and its product, Israel, is the only Jewish state in the world. This, just by itself, justifies its existence. Such a state, with its justification being strengthened by the fact that it is on its traditional homeland and features precisely those places that continue to define Jewish identity both religiously and secularly, is in any case an existential necessity for Jews, as refuge and as the centre of autonomous Jewish cultural revitalization.

Furthermore, in one feature or trait after another, as is explicitly shown in its founding figures' ideological formulations and in its subsequent behavior as a state, Zionism remains one of the most liberal, idealistic and humanitarian national liberation movements of the modern period, and indeed is also the one with probably the greatest moral justification of any, since it arose first of all out of the pressing need to rescue its victimized people not only from the severest and most unjustified discriminations around the world but even from genocidal insanities and death itself and it continues to do so to the present time. There is no other state in the world with such a basic moral justification. Arabs have 21 states, Muslims 57, Christians and others numerous states, Jews only this little one. All of these are fundamental considerations for anyone wishing to understand what Zionism is, and why there is an Israel. For further reading, I might recommend such a book as Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea, which gives extended extracts from the early Zionist leaders.

The treatment of Israeli Arabs shows clearly the liberal democratic idealism that still animates the entire society. This can be advanced as evidence just in itself of the positive democratic and moral nature of Zionism and of the state of Israel. It can be safely said that no other Western country in an on-going state of war with neighbors, facing frequent threats of outright annihilation, has treated that segment of its population that is related closely to its most existential enemies and that often explicitly declares its alignment with them, so generously, equally and fairly, and sympathetically, extending full civil rights, free press, freedom of movement and economic life, freedom of religion, freedom of political association, even to the point of forming their own even anti-Israel and anti-Zionist political parties, having the representatives of such parties in the country's parliament (some of whom go so far as to link arms in photographs with Hezbollah leaders and give aid and comfort to Israel's enemies, without any expulsion from the Israeli parliament nor conviction for treason), and just about every other freedom almost as if there was no on-going conflict at all with their kin and fellow ideologists just over the border. In fact, Israeli doctors extend care even to enemy fighters, the Israeli government provides electricity, food and other basic amenities to Hamasastan even while it is rocketing Israeli towns and killing as many Israelis as possible, and Israeli leaders even are willing in quieter periods to allow Palestinians to work in Israel itself despite the security threat. Such liberal treatment is simply incredible.

Compare this with even the way the various Allied democratic countries during WWII treated their own citizens or "resident aliens" allied by culture or kinship to the Nazi and Japanese enemies. The Palestinian narrative is even given recognition and treatment in Israeli school texts to promote more sympathetic understanding of their perspective by Israeli children.

Such treatment of Israeli Arabs, just by itself, shows the genuine and extraordinarily liberal and humane sort of parliamentary democracy taken for granted in Israel. It contrasts vividly with the fate of Jews in the Palestinian Authority area: they have no rights and are simply killed at the first opportunity, men, women and children indiscriminately. School texts praise such murders and inculcate extreme hatred of Jews, Israel and Zionism. Jewish religious shrines in Palestinian areas are taken over and forbidden to them, are desecrated or turned into mosques, and it is formal Palestinian policy that even the Temple Mount is not legitimately holy to Jews at all. It is furthermore official policy even by the supposedly "moderate" Fatah to demand the ethnic cleansing of Jewish settlements anywhere in self-claimed Palestinian territory.

That Israel still continues, in the face of such extreme fanaticism and inhumanity by its existential enemies to extend full civil rights and privileges to its own Israeli Arab citizens, in direct contrast to the way Jews are treated in Arab societies, is truly remarkable. None of this is to deny that there is some discrimination in regard to Israeli Arabs: what is amazing is that there is not a lot more, under the circumstances.

It is furthermore relevant in discussing minority rights and the security and good conditions enjoyed in Israel by all its citizens, Jewish or not, to note that there is only one state in the entire Middle East in which Christians have flourished and their percentage of the national population has even increased over the past generation: that is Israel. In contrast, Christians in all Arab lands have halved or even further drastically reduced their numbers, and the Christians in Palestinian territories have led the way in this flight, not so much during the time under Israeli rule (1967-93) as since then, namely since Arafat took over, just as Arafat and the PLO made life impossible for Christians in Lebanon when they entered that country in the late 70s, having been forced out of Jordan. From being 80% of the population of Bethlehem a generation ago, Christians presently number somewhere around 10% due to the rampant Muslim persecution there. (Naturally, Palestinians try to blame Israel for this astonishing dwindling of Christian numbers, ignoring as usual their own responsibility for the flaws in their own community, but it is hard to see this dwindling as anything more than an especially striking instance of the same de-Christianization of all other Arab and even other Muslim countries, world-wide.)

Similarly, after centuries of cruel discrimination and persecution, the Jewish minorities were finally driven out of all Arab countries back in the 1950s, so that there are hardly any left now.

I want to thank Mr. Omar Baker for making this opportunity for me to indulge myself in the personal pleasure of reviewing these crucial and very positive realities relating to Zionism and Israel, and additionally to show the relevance of the distressing situation for Christians and Jews not only in the Palestinian areas, but everywhere else in the Arab Middle East.


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

Glancing over the ever-branching tree of this blog's responses, I see I had failed to notice that Mr. Baker's "Summing UP" (first I believe posted as a response to my entry to the thread section entitled "Re: who are you kidding," above, as "Re: who are you kidding: A defense of Zionism") was also posted by him as an independent theme here. So I would like to add my refutations of his alleged "unchallenged" conclusions here as well. For the original general characterization of Zionism, however, I refer the reader back to my "Re: Who are you kidding: A defense of Zionism," which makes what I consider to be the essential points regarding why Zionism, and why Israel, as a moral project worthy of support.

Specifically to the supposed "unchallenged" conclusions, I wrote:
Fine, Omar, in that case:
1: you yourself have refuted the "Palestinian people's ... right to self-determination" by showing that there is no such people, merely a part of the Syrian people, which does indeed have its own self-determined state called Syria.
2: allied with this, your own claims make it impossible also to claim a distinctive "cultural/nationalist identity of Palestine for the last fourteen centuries": there was no such distinctive identity, merely one identical to Arab culture elsewhere, but that does not give eternal right to Arabs to occupy any portion at all of the land they themselves appropriated from others. Furthermore, the cruel Arab treatment of its persisting Jewish minority over the centuries invalidates any moral claim to rule over them. The Jews were the indigenous nation in the region; they kept residency there despite the fiercest efforts by Arabs and Ottomans to suppress their numbers, and by this they showed their ancestral tie to the land.
3: as you know, the claim of "forced entry of Jewish emigrants" has been refuted elsewhere on this blog, and it can easily be shown that the Jewish influx was welcome to many Arabs in the area, so you misrepresent the blog discussion in your "summary"
4: you refute yourself by claiming first that the U.N. resolution establishing the state of Israel had no legitimacy and then by claiming Israel erred in "over stepping [sic] its land allocation." You whine that Israel should accept the legitimacy of the U.N. that you do not.
5: Israel did not overstep the land allocation. It accepted it, but was invaded by Arab armies bent on mass genocide, it defended itself, and when the dust settled the Arabs had lost, thank God. The borders at the final truce reflected that loss, and to complain that Israel had become more coherent and defensible after that war of self-defense seems willfully perverse. There was nothing illegitimate or improper in Israel's new boundaries, and they did not reflect an expansionary agenda, only a legitimate will to survive.
6: There was no ethnic cleansing nor "mass massacres" [sic] of civilians, not by Israel anyway; there certainly were such ethnic cleansing and massacres of Jewish civilians by Arabs from the 20s on and especially during the 47-48 period. In the case of the Jews, a few exceptions (where villages were removed, without any casualties and with compensation, that threatened Israeli security near Lod, etc.) proved the rule, whereas the rule was constant ethnic cleansing and massacres from the Arab side. In fact ethnic cleansing of the West Bank is made an explicit demand of the Palestinian Authority in its present "peace negotiations," and terrorist massacres of Jews are praised by all Palestinian parties.

So, Omar, your points are not only challenged, they are refuted.

In the end, Omar, I would like to tell you a story from the Bible. Two women and a baby were brought before King Solomon; each woman claimed she was the mother of the baby and the other had no right to her. The separate claims being unverifiable, Solomon decided to slice the baby in half and share it between the two women. One woman, in shock, cried out, "No, don't kill him, give her the live baby!" The other woman was satisfied however with the judgment, since it would at least deprive the other woman of the child. And so they in effect judged themselves, and showed who the true mother was. Similarly with the Palestinians. The Jews have cherished the land and turned it green and flourishing, covered it with trees and parks, and prosperous communities. The Palestinians have scoured the land to the white bone, so that the "Green Line" really was a sharp boundary in nature itself. Rather than allowing Jews to plant trees, they burn them down as a form of warfare. They blow up buildings, destroy greenhouses the Jews departing Gaza bequeathed to them, and show in every possible way that rather than allow the land to flourish under Jews, they are willing to destroy everything including even what they depend on themselves. They dance in the streets when the president of Iran threatens nuclear war against Israel -- in which they themselves would die. By this attitude, they show that they are unworthy of the land, and not its true inhabitants.

One further rather important point: even if the Palestinians have shown by their actions that in Solomonic terms they are not worthy inhabitants of the land they share with Jews, since they are willing to degrade and destroy it to deny it to their enemies, nevertheless the founders of Zionism took for granted that they wished to share the land with their Arab neighbors in peace and that both would share in the benefits. They accepted the U.N. resolution in 1947 that they would share the land west of the Jordan, which had been promised to them alone by the Mandate terms, with another Palestinian Arab state. Since then Israel has sought some way of establishing a peaceable and mutually enhancing relationship with a Jordanian or Palestinian state to its east, and by allowing Arafat into that territory in 93-94 and promoting the building of a true Palestinian state Israel showed its willingness to share in co-existence. So Israel still seeks a relationship that would make of the entire area a great model of democratic cooperation and prosperity that would act as a beacon to the whole of the Middle East and the world. Shimon Peres has in particular made much of this vision in recent years, but it is one that has been enunciated by many earlier and other contemporary Israeli leaders. Like the true mother of the child, in the story of Solomon's judgment, Israel is quite willing to share as long as the child flourishes, even to accept Palestinian rule in the places containing some of the holiest Jewish pilgrimage shrines going back to Biblical times, for the sake of peace and for the sake of the land itself. Would that the Palestinian side could be so caring for "Palestine"!


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

I would like to add my commendation of Bostom's book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism as an essential historical resource, filling a notable scholarly gap. A large section is given over to historical essays by leading scholars, in addition to hundreds of pages (double column, small print) of the essential documents from the Qur'an, early traditions, Islamic thinkers past and present, and so on. To that I would add Mohammed, Allah, and the Jews: The Foundational Doctrine; The Islamic Triology, Vol. 5, put out by the Center for the study of Political Islam (CSPI), 2006. The entire The Islamic Trilogy series should be a part of every serious collection on Islam, since it gives the essential documents from Islamic religious authorities, with the necessary background commentary and orientation, regarding the issues it addresses: Mohammed's own teachings and actions regarding "Unbelievers," the other political traditions stemming from Mohammed, Mohammed and the Jews, and Christians, and Hindus, and "the Intellectuals," and teachings about war. As a person who has taught the history of religions for several decades, I can say that these clearly presented and relatively brief (c. 250 pages) texts, almost entirely consisting of extensive extracts from the original sources, supply a major need for students of Islam and Middle Eastern (and general) history.


art eckstein - 8/9/2008

BT, Professor Gottheil's 2003 article supersedes Peters and has the following info:

The Arab Palestinian population in the specific regions that became Israel increased from 320,000 to 460,000 between 1922 and 1931. That's an increase of about 40% for almost half the time between 1922 and 1948--we're not anywhere near Peters' 400% or 500%. Natural increase at 2.5% a year of those Palestinian Arabs already living in those regions that became Israel accounts for 60% of that increase (80,000 people). That leaves about a 65,000 "unexplained" in the demographic increase in those years. By 1931 these "unexplained" (assume: immigrants) constituted 11.8% of the total Arab Palestinian population in the areas that eventually became Israel. BT, wherever they came from, that's not a lot.

Well, where did they come from? Logic suggests they did not come from far away, from beyond the borders of the Mandate, from Syria or Egypt or Iraq or Bosnia--not least because immigration from within the Mandate was normal and legal but such immigration into the Mandate across its internatonal borders was illegal and if caught you faced imprisonment followed by deportation. Whatever attractiveness the economic development of the areas that became Israel generated for Arabs,--and if you read N.F.'s posting above, he shows that Benny Morris does NOT think that the econ development spread widely among the Arab population--the possible punishments (and continual anxiety) would have been a significant deterrent for those who would have come asillegals.

It is much more logical to assume that the "unexplained" part of the increase (the over 2.5% "natural increase" per annum) came from legal immigation from the hill villages of the Mandate down to the coast and the urban centers.

There certainly was such illegal immigraton; the British and Palestine police were catching about 900 Arabs a year. Maybe a lot more escaped detection--but what do we mean by "a lot"? I think that under these conditions it is unwise to assume that by 1948 such illegal and undocumented Arabs in the Jewish areas of the Mandate that became Israel constituted a majority or even a significant part of the Arab Palestinian population. Anything is possible, but this doesn't seem likely.

So, with due caution expressed by me, I think the likelihood is that the Arab Palestinian population of the regions that became Israel consisted of (a) a majority indigenous to those areas that became Israel, and (b) a minority of "immigrants" to these areas, but immigrants from within the Mandate. To judge from Gottheil's figures, that minority of "immigrants"--wherever they came from--constituted only 11.8% of the Arab Palestinian population in 1931.


E. Simon - 8/9/2008

This is very well put, Sir. The lengths to which the Palestinian cause will go to deny agency and responsibility for its decisions (let alone for the consequences thereof) is absolutely stunning. Yet, such efforts are almost a prerequisite for attaining any sympathy for the Palestinian cause from Western and non-Western audiences alike. To accomplish that requires a lot of bad if not horrible history, so your reminders here of some basic facts are quite appreciated - as elementary a task as it should be to provide them.

Quite Orwellian are the times in which we live. So much propaganda has distorted our perceptions to the point where it is common to neglect to remember such basic distinctions as those which you note. Thanks for posting your comment and reminding us of them.


E. Simon - 8/9/2008

As I said, I wonder if Omar is actually a Mossad plant, whose purpose is to make Muslims in general, and Arabs and Palestinians in particular, look intellectually ridiculous.

Wow. That really is too clever. And yet, according to Omar's own logic, it would be the only explanation that could make sense.

Omar, you are pathetic in how ridiculous you make yourself look and the absurd things you say.


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

One further rather important point: even if the Palestinians have shown by their actions that in Solomonic terms they are not worthy inhabitants of the land they share with Jews, since they are willing to degrade and destroy it to deny it to their enemies, nevertheless the founders of Zionism took for granted that they wished to share the land with their Arab neighbors in peace and that both would share in the benefits. They accepted the U.N. resolution in 1947 that they would share the land west of the Jordan, which had been promised to them alone by the Mandate terms, with another Palestinian Arab state. Since then Israel has sought some way of establishing a peaceable and mutually enhancing relationship with a Jordanian or Palestinian state to its east, and by allowing Arafat into that territory in 93-94 and promoting the building of a true Palestinian state Israel showed its willingness to share in co-existence. So Israel still seeks a relationship that would make of the entire area a great model of democratic cooperation and prosperity that would act as a beacon to the whole of the Middle East and the world. Shimon Peres has in particular made much of this vision in recent years, but it is one that has been enunciated by many earlier and other contemporary Israeli leaders. Like the true mother of the child, in the story of Solomon's judgment, Israel is quite willing to share as long as the child flourishes, even to accept Palestinian rule in the places containing some of the holiest Jewish pilgrimage shrines going back to Biblical times, for the sake of peace and for the sake of the land itself. Would that the Palestinian side could be so caring for "Palestine"!


E. Simon - 8/9/2008

On August 5, 2008 at 12:18 PM, Omar wrote the following instructive analogy, although not in the way he intended:

"( To simplify the concept for newcomers consider the analogy that: the state of Georgia is part of the South of the Eastern seaboard of the USA; wherein no contradiction occurs between any of the terms used to describe the state Georgia's nationalist affiliation and geographic location.)"

In Omar's mind, I suppose the distinct legal nature and cultural norms of the state of Louisiana are just a continuing blot on the eye of Anglo-Americans and the United States by French Cajuns in an effort to deny the the former their national aspirations and other assorted rights, etc., etc., ad nauseam.


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

Fine, Omar, in that case:
1: you yourself have refuted the "Palestinian people's ... right to self-determination" by showing that there is no such people, merely a part of the Syrian people, which does indeed have its own self-determined state called Syria.
2: allied with this, your own claims make it impossible also to claim a distinctive "cultural/nationalist identity of Palestine for the last fourteen centuries": there was no such distinctive identity, merely one identical to Arab culture elsewhere, but that does not give eternal right to Arabs to occupy any portion at all of the land they themselves appropriated from others. Furthermore, the cruel Arab treatment of its persisting Jewish minority over the centuries invalidates any moral claim to rule over them. The Jews were the indigenous nation in the region; they kept residency there despite the fiercest efforts by Arabs and Ottomans to suppress their numbers, and by this they showed their ancestral tie to the land.
3: as you know, the claim of "forced entry of Jewish emigrants" has been refuted elsewhere on this blog, and it can easily be shown that the Jewish influx was welcome to many Arabs in the area, so you misrepresent the blog discussion in your "summary"
4: you refute yourself by claiming first that the U.N. resolution establishing the state of Israel had no legitimacy and then by claiming Israel erred in "over stepping [sic] its land allocation." You whine that Israel should accept the legitimacy of the U.N. that you do not.
5: Israel did not overstep the land allocation. It accepted it, but was invaded by Arab armies bent on mass genocide, it defended itself, and when the dust settled the Arabs had lost, thank God. The borders at the final truce reflected that loss, and to complain that Israel had become more coherent and defensible after that war of self-defense seems willfully perverse. There was nothing illegitimate or improper in Israel's new boundaries, and they did not reflect an expansionary agenda, only a legitimate will to survive.
6: There was no ethnic cleansing nor "mass massacres" [sic] of civilians, not by Israel anyway; there certainly were such ethnic cleansing and massacres of Jewish civilians by Arabs from the 20s on and especially during the 47-48 period. In the case of the Jews, a few exceptions (where villages were removed, without any casualties and with compensation, that threatened Israeli security near Lod, etc.) proved the rule, whereas the rule was constant ethnic cleansing and massacres from the Arab side. In fact ethnic cleansing of the West Bank is made an explicit demand of the Palestinian Authority in its present "peace negotiations," and terrorist massacres of Jews are praised by all Palestinian parties.

So, Omar, your points are not only challenged, they are refuted.

In the end, Omar, I would like to tell you a story from the Bible. Two women and a baby were brought before King Solomon; each woman claimed she was the mother of the baby and the other had no right to her. The separate claims being unverifiable, Solomon decided to slice the baby in half and share it between the two women. One woman, in shock, cried out, "No, don't kill him, give her the live baby!" The other woman was satisfied however with the judgment, since it would at least deprive the other woman of the child. And so they in effect judged themselves, and showed who the true mother was. Similarly with the Palestinians. The Jews have cherished the land and turned it green and flourishing, covered it with trees and parks, and prosperous communities. The Palestinians have scoured the land to the white bone, so that the "Green Line" really was a sharp boundary in nature itself. Rather than allowing Jews to plant trees, they burn them down as a form of warfare. They blow up buildings, destroy greenhouses the Jews departing Gaza bequeathed to them, and show in every possible way that rather than allow the land to flourish under Jews, they are willing to destroy everything including even what they depend on themselves. They dance in the streets when the president of Iran threatens nuclear war against Israel -- in which they themselves would die. By this attitude, they show that they are unworthy of the land, and not its true inhabitants.


Ben Tzur - 8/9/2008

I am not competent to evaluate the details of population statistics, such as those presented by Peters in her Appendix V. However, AE, I am still amazed at your insistance that the great majority of any increase in Arab numbers around Jewish settlements merely reflects movement from within the British Mandate area west of the Jordan, despite the porous and unmonitored borders we know existed there (for Arabs). How can this restriction to internal migration be known, when there is no evidence for it? We do not have the names, clans and so on of the migrant workers. Or rather, in the few instances where we do, as Peters shows in her text itself, using a great deal of documentary material, drawing on archival material and numerous internal memoranda from the Mandate government, the new arrivals are overwhelmingly from outside the British Mandate area. The British maintained from the middle 30s that this was a major issue. Why would they invent this as an issue? It went right against their goal of mollifying and not interfering with the Arab population. More generally, it appears that Gottheil and you do grant a basic point shown by Peters in her statistics (hers, that is, as analyzed for her by Philip Hauser, Director Emeritus of the Population Research Center of the University of Chicago - see Appendix VI of her book), namely that there was a sharp imbalance between the population increase of Arabs in areas not near Jewish settlements and in areas around Jewish settlements. I believe that she says somewhere that while over a period specified by her the non-Jewish area Arab settlements doubled in size, those near or in Jewish areas quadrupled or grew even more greatly. That is, the growth in the non-Jewish areas might well mirror the growth elsewhere in the Middle East, e.g., in Syria, Lebanon or Jordan, let us say, and it was only around the Jewish centers in Mandate Palestine that exceptional growth occurred. So what we would need to validate your proposition, it seems to me, is to show that while the Jewish areas' growth in Arab population was above the regional average, it was matched by a nearly exact decline in relative numbers in Arab communities in non-Jewish areas, relative, that is, to the normal growth in the near Middle East around Mandate Palestine. That is, if the median growth in the whole region was 2.1%, let us say, you would have to show that the Arab growth in the Jewish areas of 2.7% was matched by a growth in the non-Jewish areas of only 1.5%, or something like that. The result of such a gain-loss relationship and disproportion, by the way, would also soon show itself, within ten or twenty years, in a really enormous disparity of population of Arabs throughout the Mandate territory, of a sort I think that did not happen. Of course it is likely that some of the new Arab arrivals in Jewish areas came from nearby. That seems probable. Maybe they might even have been a large percentage. But your a priori exclusion of the possibility that most or a high percentage of those arrivals were from outside the Mandate area remains contrary to the evidence Peters presents quite convincingly.


james joseph butler - 8/9/2008

Holy Yahweh! That would be the 8th century when Allah ascended the Temple Mount to infinity and beyond.


james joseph butler - 8/8/2008

"Let us not today fling accusations at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred for us. For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps. They sit there in Gaza and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and forefathers lived." Moshe Dayan, 1956, at the funeral of an Israeli settler.

"There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." More truth from Gen. Dayan

And my favorite, "Our American friends offer us money, arms and advice. We take the money, we take the arms and we ignore the advice." Of course now a days since the U.S. Congress functions as a Likud pep squad the Israelis simply have to take the cash and keep killing those terrorists.

Generals don't make the best of politicians because lies and B.S. in war time can cost lives. Eckstein et al can continue to repeat their 7th century truths as do their Muslim coevals as Crusader Rabbit can do battle with David-NEWS FLASH- Talmudic,Biblical,Koranic, realities are based on faith. The Exodus never happened to take just one example. If I were to go to Ireland and say, "Heh, my family lived here 80 years ago and 800 years before that.. I want my Celtic birthright restored. Off my land you German vacation homeowners!" I would be laughed out of County Cork.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Gottheid argues thusly: If at the 2.5% rate of natural increase per annum the Palestinian Arab population of those areas that became Israel should've gone from 321,000 to 399,000 and instead when to 460,000, then we are dealing with 64,000 or so unexplained people. If they are immigrants they probably come from the hill villages within the Mandate (i.e., they are not Syrians, Egyptians, or Bosnians).

(NB: there WERE a large number of Bosnian Muslims around Caesarea, who arrived in the 1880s, refugees from wars in the Balkans and increasing Chistian successes there. These Bosnians hadn't been in "Palestine" from time immemorial, but rather, arrived at the same time as the First Aliyah of Jews.)

This cultural ability to migrate within the Mandate DOES raise the issue of the Palestinian propagandists claims that Palestinians are "spatially sticky", i.e., have a special deep love for their homes. On the basis of these figures, as much as 20% of the *increase* in Palestinian Arab population in 1931 in areas that became israel were new arrivals (making up 11% of the total Arab population in "Jewish" areas in 1931). Not so "spaitally sticky" (which is Gottheid's ideological point).

That is: this suggests a Palestinian Arab population that *wasn't* so tied inextricably to their home villages but were perfectly capable of migration around the Mandate. On the other hand, those who did move down to the coast had only a short distance to go if they wanted to go home to visit their home villages. They weren't far away. So when we talk about migration it's not like we're talking about migration from impoverished southern Mexico to the far-off and prosperous U.S.

This is an additional factor to consider. Sigh.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

We're in agreement. I evidently misunderstood the origins of 2.5% natural increase; my apologies on tht. But this doesn't effect the argument, I think.

I think the total figures of Arab Palestinians (from 321,000 to 463,000 by 1931) must include "illegal" immigrants, but how many were there, really, as opposed to inmigration from the hills? But then if Arabs were not sharing in the prosperity, why would anyone (whether "illegal from beyond the borders of the Mandate" or "legal inmigrant from within the Mandate") come there in the first place? So most of the increase must be natural increase. And if the Arab Palestinians DID share in the increasing prosperity, that fact alone would account for most of the natural pop increase, even if there were some immigrants (according to Gottheid, 11% of the total pop).

Again, whether it's 11% or 20% doesn't change the argument about "historic tenancy", which neither of us for multiple perfectly valid reasons accepts.

But our discussion does suggest that one can't combat the "historic tenancy" argument by claiming that the Arab Palestinians are mostly recent immigrants from elsewhere anyway, either to the Mandate in general from beyond its international boundaries, or from within the Mandate to the areas that became Israel in 1948. The facts as we have them suggest otherwise--and this means that Joan Peters is off base.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

I read Gottheil's article. It is very interesting. He, in fact, uses derived figures for his 2.5%, not a world-wide average. That was my most important point. Which is to say, what he has done is arguably valid.

One point, though. If I understood him correctly, the 2.5% is based on actual figures, which, on his analysis, did not exist for illegal migrants. So, we are talking about an increase in addition to the 2.5% increases.

I also note that, following Gottheil's argument, the Arab position is pretty absurd, since it assumes that Palestinian Arabs were unique among all Arabs, stubbornly refusing to move where there were jobs. In other words, I think this is all pretty silly.

Moreover, even if it were the case that Arabs were planted trees (or, as of late, planted bombs), it has no bearing on the legitimacy of Israel. It would be, if true, merely an interesting fact, most particularly because it is a "fact" used by Arabs to advance a political argument. But, it is, to me, wholly irrelevant as a moral point and, as I said, Israel exists, at least for now and, with a bit of luck, into the distant future.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

We are agreed that there is something special about the area that could account for an increasing population beyond the region norms, N.F. The question is what was special, and how far beyond the regions norms the growth was.

If Benny (whom I know) says that the Arab villages were decrepit, that doesn't sound like it would be attractive to immigrants looking for a better life (if he means villages around Jewish areas), or else that they were the sources of inmigration (if he means the Galilean highlands, Judaea and Samaria) to more prosperous areas.

I understand that the 3% referred to an extraordinary event, and that was in the 1980s.

But Gottheil (n. 30) has the actual pop incr numbers of Palestinian Arabs in the areas that became Israel

1922: 2.49%
1923; 2.15%
1924: 2.47%
1925: 2.18%
1926: 2.90%
1927: 2.10%
1928: 2.34%
1929: 2.34%
1930: 2.81%
1931: 2.74%

This comes out to around 2.5% increase per annum, though in 2 years it reached almost 3% (and in some years it was closer to 2%). The question is: how much of this rather steady increase is the result of sudden flood of in-migration, or a steady flow of in-migration, and how much of it is simple natural increase as a result of increased prosperity?

That there WAS increased prosperity in the regions of the Mandate that became Israel is clear, as the stats on roads, telephones and electricity usage demonstrate.

One question is whether the Arab Palestinians shared in it. If they DID share in the prosperity to some extent, then that would account for 2.5% annual natural increase (+ additional increase from inmigration, but not all that large a contribution) in order to get to from 321,000 in 1922 to 463,000 in 1931. On the other hand if the Arab Palestinians DID NOT share in the prosperity (which is what you imply with Benny's remark), then one is hard put to explain why would there be immigrants coming in large numbers to the regions that became Israel in search of better opportunities. And then how are we to explain the 2.5% increase per annum except mostly by natural increase?

You see the problem.

Again, I'm not suggesting I've got the answers to this.

Interesting discussion, but I suspect we don't know enough to approach anything definitive. Joan Peters certainly was in the same boat, though as Porath suggets, she didn't understand the complexities. I think we can only lay out the questions, but even if the Arab Palestinian in-migration constituted 20% of the Arab Palestinian population that became Israel, that's not 50%, or 70%, and the main issue of "historic tenancy" would be pretty much the same.

Again, the "historic tenancy" argument is not an argument I accept, for all the reasons I have given. But we are trying to decide whether these demographic questions would affect that argument. Whether it is 11% or 20% of the Arab Palestinian populaton in the areas of the Mandate that became israel were "immigrants" to the areas that became Israel, I think the answer is: not much.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Regarding Benny Morris, I am referring to his book, 1948.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

Let's go through this again because I think you are not quite understanding the problems with your position. The 3% figure - which is extraordinary growth by the way - occurred in the 1980's, not in the 1920's or 1930's or 1940's or 1950's. So, that is not pertinent at all, since it pertains to a different period.

One might, in fact, find that the world wide average is the applicable figure. However, such figure cannot be assumed for any given region, for reasons you now accept. Or, in simple terms, it is a methodological error to use a world wide average to determine what is occurring in a specific location. Using a world wide average cannot be a valid method, as it is scientifically unsound, even if the actual figures turn out to be the exact world wide average. One must either calculate an actual figure or use the best available evidence for the applicable region, which in this case is not the 2.5% figure.

Further, while you may think that the 1920 baseline is a reasonable baseline for interpreting the matter, I think it is very problematic. Jews began to arrive long before the 1920's. The British did not. The arrival of the British did not immediately cause more people to survive childbirth, etc., etc. Rather, improvements were gradual - that was the way of the world, at that time and such was surely the way it is in the tradition bound Arab regions.

Hence, in the early period of British rule, the likely cause of any improvement almost certainly had nothing to do with the arrival of the British. It either had to do with improvements made by Jews or by more general trends. Again, though, the more general trends were nothing like a natural growth rate of 2.5%.

Now, we must consider that a 2.5% growth rate is very different from a 1.5% or a 2% growth rate. Do the math and you will see that it really makes a difference for a ten year period whether population increases by 2.5% per annum or 2% (or 1.5%) per annum. Think about the concept of compounding, since that is an important reason it makes a difference. That is why you check interest rates very carefully when you take a mortgage.

I note lastly that no one really knows what the population increase was because none of the numbers are very reliable. So, this is really guess work and most of it is being done - by both sides - with political aims. So, my view is that it is not really reliable, no matter the apparent scientific gloss used to present what is a gross guess.

My bet is that, given the regional trend, there was something special about the area that could account for an increasing population beyond the regional norms. And, that something was mostly jobs. In Benny Morris' book, he notes that Arab villages were mostly in decrepit condition, notwithstanding the presence of the British. That does not suggest any major improvement for Arabs in their food consumption, sanitation, health care. However, the existence of jobs does explain things quite a bit, since such can coincide with otherwise decrepit conditions.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Well, I'd say that the world-wide averages are NOT far off, and that the lower averages than world averages for the Arab world are compensated for in this case by the econ development going on (for Arabs and well as Jews) in the areas that became israel.

It's not contradictory, NF. You brought up the 1.5-2% figure for the Arab world as a whole (noting that sometimes, though, it could be as high as 3%), and I was simply pointing out that the lower rate for the Arab world as a whole could well be, for Arab Palestinians, more like the world average in the areas that became Israel, because of improved local conditions. That's all I'm doing.

I'm not saying I'm correct. All I'm saying is that the calculation is reasonable.

I think what's not reasonable would be to assume a 0.5% natural increase per annum under these conditions and then say that the total increase of 140,00 Arab Palestinians in "Jewish" areas between 1922 and 1931 is really, say, 100,000 immigrants into the area that became Israel, swamping the local Arabs and their increase. And een in *that* case, the total number of newcomers by 1931 would only constitute 20% of the total Arab Palestinian population (rather than 11%).

I'm not saying you are claiming this 0.5% natural increase scenario. I'm just pointing out what the problems would be in such a position.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

Now you are arguing the opposite of what you originally argued, which was that we can rely on world-wide averages. Your new argument is that you need to look at "microclimates." In other words, you now concede my point.

Again: world-wide averages are not an appropriate basis. That was simply a person playing politics. One has to look closely at the specific land in issue.

That undermines the argument you have been making, for what it is worth.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

I think, N.F., that one has to look at "microclimates" here. The areas that became Israel were rapidly economically developing--something unusual in the Arab world in the 1920s-1940s. Even if the overall population growth rate overall in Arab lands was 1.5-2% in the 1930s, that doesn't mean the same was true for the areas we are talking about.

Take a look at Fred Gottheil, "The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931", Middle East Quarterly Winter 2003, esp. n. 30 o growth rates. (Despite the title, his actual conclusions are far more balanced.)


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Minor correction.

The population increase was as high as 3% in the early 1980's.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

I have been looking into this. Based on my very preliminary investigation, 2.5% is not a reasonable guess. In fact, the growth rate for Arab countries (between the 1930's and 1940's), was between 1.5% and 2%. By 1998, it rose to 2.1% - and that is in a time where the population of the Arab regions is growing rapidly!

So, now we have some data suggesting that the world wide average may not apply to the Arab regions. Your logical reply would be to note that historic Palestine was a special case. Consider, though, that once you claim it to be a special case, world wide averages, by definition, are no longer relevant.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Given the large econ improvements that were developing in the 1920s in the areas that became Israel, and the peace that the British imposed, the worldwide ave of 2.5% natural increase per annum seems reasonable for this region.

Of course, that is only a guess. But it is a fair guess.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Omar,

Migration is not a crime, whether it is local or to a region with a different culture. It is merely a fact. Your interpretation of migration, however, is contrary to the view universally held regarding migration.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Fair enough, Art.

However, as I noted about today's world, world wide averages have no meaning at all for understanding any given region. Why would that be better when talking about the early years of the 20th Century?


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

NF, King Hussein speaks only a little about the Palestinians in that quote, there's lots of immigration into Jordan from other areas, and the immigration he's talking about from the areas that became "Palestine" clearly refers to immigration in the Ottoman period (Palestinian Arabs escaping taxation and feuds) so we cannot escape the 1922 baseline.

In the 1920s, the infrastructure in "Palestine" hugely increased: from zero electricity to 10,500 kilowat hours sold per year, from zero telephone lines to 14,500 telephone lines, from 450 miles of metaled roads to 922 miles of metaled roads. There is no reason to think that Palestinian Arabs were leaving for Jordan under such conditions.

I think that under conditions of peace in the 1920s which the British imposed, and econ development which the British and the Jews fostered , the 2.5% increase per annum rule is perfectly reasonable. There were already 320,000 Palestinian Arabs living in the areas that became Israel in 1922. That's a lot. But the increase in Palestinian Arab population in the areas that became Israel by 1931 was only 11% over the 2.5% increase per annum, and it is a reasonable hypothesis that these are the recent arrivals.

It might be wrong, yes--but it is certainly a reasonable reconstruction.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/8/2008

Mr Friedman
1-Facts are facts whether you accept them or NOT.
These are the DETERMING FACTS which define the whole issue and are the facts which will DETERMINE the future RESOLUTION of the issue :that Palestine was the object of a Zionist/imperialist colonization project which dislocated, dispossessed, disfranchised and subjugated its indigenous ARAB Palestinian people from and in their homeland and supplanted them with aliens selected according to strict racist criteria!

2- However that "the right to find refuge where it is made available is an inalienable human right " should, or would, involve the colonization of a country by aliens and supplanting its indigenous population with alien colons is certainly a FIRST for whose universal patent and copy rights , I suggest, Israel /Zionism should apply ,
Yours, applied to Palestine, is an amazing hypothesis ...however considering its, Zionist, derivation it does NOT surprise me!


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

You are not grappling with what King Hussein wrote. Again, there was migration from what is now Israel into what is now Jordan. And, the general population trend was downward (i.e. the 2.5% number does not apply). The above facts are the background noise - i.e. the general trend -, so to speak, under Ottoman rule. So, the 2.5% world-wide rule is not pertinent here, since it is not based on pertinent population being studied. It is based, instead, on a world wide average that, so far as can be discerned, has not been shown to apply to the Middle East.

Consider the matter in today's terms. The population of European nations are mostly decreasing and are likely to decrease dramatically over the course of the next 20 to 50 years. The Arab regions, at present, have the opposite occurring, with a dramatic rise in population now occurring and likely, at least for a while, to continue occurring. Were one to use world-wide averages, one could not possibly determine anything about what is occurring in, for example, Britain, Spain, Italy and France, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, etc..

So, it seems to me that the scholarship here is employing generalizations that, with reference to the region involved, may or may not apply at all. And, it is necessary to show that such is the norm in the noted region, not the other way around. That is all the more the case in that the general population of the region was declining, as noted on King Hussein's cite.

Which is to say, you are not being critical where, as BT notes, there may actually be a bias in the scholar upon which you are relying. After all, why apply a world-wide norm? It makes no sense, unless the goal is to create a specific result in one's scholarship.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Dear NF,

The natural increase paradigm is based on a widespread sociological-demographic finding of 2.5% increase per annum (Gottheil).

Anything above the population increase expected from 2.5% increase per annum is thus what needs to be explained. In the case of the increase of the Muslim population in the areas that became israel 2.5% per annum should have led to an increase from the Mandate-established 322,000 Palestinian Arabs in 1922 to 399,000 Palestinian Arabs by 1931, but in fact the population of Palestinian Arabs in 1931 was 463,000. That means about 64,000 people "over" the expected increase of 2.5% per annum. The argument is that those 64,000 are the immigrants into "Jewish" areas in the Mandate. That's about 11% of the total Arab Palestinian population by 1931 in what became Israel.

Of course these are only *very rough* figures (from Gottheil 2003). The sources aren't the best, the British weren't cataloguing Arab inmigration across the borders.

But the likelihood, given migration-to-economic opportunity models is that most of this 11% did come from within the Mandate itself and were not "foreigners" in that sense. Of course, in a world where borders were new and artificial, what constituted what we are calling "foreigners" is problematic anyway, but the likelihood is that the (roughly) 11% of 1931 are Palestinian Arabs from the local hill villages, not Egyptians, Syrians, Turks, or Bosnians.

The immigration issue is important because if a signif. % of a population is composed of recent arrivals, then claims of historic tenancy are compromised. This "historic tenancy" argument is the basis of Omar's (emotional) arguments. Of course, I don't accept the argument much myself, given the huge population transfers of 1945-1950 all over the world. But it was Joan Peters' goal to deny the historic tenancy argument by arguing for a very large number of recent arrivals (if not in the Mandate then in the regions of the Mandate that became Israel). Hence the intensity of the response against her on ideological grounds, no matter what her evidence. But her evidence is squishy, and even Pipes calls her book appallingly sloppy. Gottheil is better but the figure he comes up with is only 11% of Palestinian Arabs are "recent arrivals" in 1931 in the regions of the Mandate that became israel.

Presumably, given lack of econ development, the percentage of "recent arrivals" was even lower elsewhere in the (Arab-Palestinian part of the) Mandate in 1931.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

How can one determine that there would have been a "natural increase" had the area been left untouched? And, untouched by what? The presence of Jews? the presence of the UK?, the presence of the Ottoman Empire? What exactly permits this "natural increase" determination? To my way of thinking, there is no way - apart from playing politics - , to isolate the population variables? Or, in a word, all else could not be made equal - which is the scientific basis for isolating a single element.

I note also that there is a real question whether there would have been an increase at all, absent the presence of the British and Jews. According to former King Hussein's website:

Population continued to dwindle until the late 19th century, when Jordan received several waves of immigrants. Syrians and Palestinians migrated to Jordan to escape over-taxation and feuds, while Muslim Circassians and Chechens fled Russian persecution to settle in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

The natural population increase theory has problems, with the above quote in mind, because, apart from special circumstances, (a) the Arab population was "naturally" and generally decreasing in the general region (so, presumably, also in what is now Israel) and (b) Arabs from what is now Israel were helping to offset the loss of population in what is now Jordan, meaning that the Arab population decrease was greater in what is now Israel, due to reasons explained by the late King Hussein's website.

So, it would seem that there had to have been a dramatic change to bring population in, that occurred during the 20th Century. Again, I think you are buying into a "natural increase" which is based on thin air.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

No one denied the Palestinian Arabs the right to self-determination; the UN in 1947 decreed them a separate state, and the Israelis agreed to it.

The Palestinian Arabs started a genocidal war instead, to drive the Jews into the sea, engaging in racist ethnic cleansing where they could, and they lost this war despite the help of five established Arabs states. The Palestinian Arabs could have had a state in 1948. They denied the self-determination to themselves through terrible decisions of the elites--a terrible decision not to accept a state, and terrible mismanagement of the genocidal war they decided upon instead.

This goes along with the Palestinians' elite amazing record of amazingly bad political decisions:

to back the Ottomans in WWI
to back the Nazis in WWII
not to accept a state in 1948
to back the Communists in the Cold War
to back Saddam Hussein in 1991 (result: 300,000 Palestinians expelled from victorious Kuwait)
not to accept a state in 2000
to back Saddam Hussein in 2003
in general to indicate genocidal intentions by adopting a policy of the most savage terrorism the world has ever seen, a strategy that has greatly damaged sympathy for the Palestinian Arabs in many places

What an incredible record of bad judgment! But...those were the decisions the Palestinians made.

(The Israeli elite, by contrast, made good political decisions: to back the Allies in WWI, to back the Allies again in WWII, to accept the reduced state they were offered by the UN in 1948, to back the West in general and then the U.S. specifically in the Cold War, to back the West and the U.S. against Saddam in 1991 and 2003.)

Traumas happen. Traumas similar to what happened to the Palestinian Arabs have happened to other peoples, with much more violence, and on a larger scale and without the victims' decision to launch a genocidal war. But all those other victims have adjusted to the trauma without turning themselves into a Nazified death-cult. Only the Palestinians went there, and Omar is proud of it.

What is noticeable in every single one of Omar's posts is the general denial of Arab and Palestinian agency or responsibility for what happened. The only place where Omar accepts Palestinian agency is in the degeneration of Palestinian culture into a Nazified death cult: though it is grossly contradictory to his general image of Palestinians as helpless victims of someone else's imperialism, of THIS he is proud.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

BT, if you look at Gottheil's 2003 work in MEQ, you will see the following:

Arab Palestinian pop in Mandate subdistricts that became israel:

1921: 321,466
1932: 463,288

Expected incr on basis of natural increase (2.5 children): 398,496

Unexpl'd incr: 64,790, that is about 11% of total increase.

That is only 11% that is unexplained, all the rest was natural incr of original inhabitants. Of this 11%, surely most were the result of inmigration from within the Mandate, ie, from the hill villages down to the coast and the urban areas because of econ oppty.

It's something. But it's not huge.


Ben Tzur - 8/8/2008

I have gone back to the Peters book, and am again impressed by the massive use of British Mandate archival material, including material on "illegal Arab immigrants" into Mandate Palestine. I really do not think Porath's statistical caveats and cavels destroy this edifice: it is too solid and full, and reflects the contemporary evidence available from all sources. However confused the official statistics, if they are confused (I am no expert about such things, but I must note that Peters relied for this on a professional demographer and population statistician: see Appendix VI of her book) he cannot wish away the actual British memoranda and other contemporary government documents, including public and private statements from Arab spokesmen. Among other such documents, and just as an instance, there is particularly full material provided about a May 1936 British memorandum (p.273 and Appendix VII) concerning Arab workers who had in previous weeks approached British authorities for help because they had been thrown out of work by the current Arab-sponsored strikes against Jewish enterprises; they knew of the British sympathetic support for the Arab side including their quiet facilitation of illegal Arab immigration, so it was reasonable of them to expect aid. It turned out that ALL of these Arabs were "illegals" from as far away as India, the Sudan, Yemen, and elsewhere, drawn to Palestine in the previous decade to find work in its expanding economy. Because of the beginnings of the Mufti-led Arab terrorism and "troubles" which was more like a civil war, directed not only against Jews which was OK for the British military but also against the British themselves, which was not, the British had suddenly become much more concerned about this tide of external Arabs, and critical of it. Thus the suddenly detailed memoranda. In 1935 when sweeps for illegals began to include Arab illegals too, three times as many Arabs as Jews were deported (p. 275). There was British concern about at least 10,000 Hauranis "from Syria" entering a year, possibly even totalling 35,000, but only some 2,500 were optimistically estimated to be in the country "at the present time" according to the British 1937 report, unwilling though it was to even admit this much of a problem. What becomes evident was how little the British knew of Arab illegal immigration, and also how in general how devoted they were (aside from the period of "troubles" in the late 30s) to knowing even less. In general it was only Jewish immigration they wanted to keep track of, because they sought to limit it. Peters shows all of this with excellent and full documentation. It may be that some footnotes are poor, and the statistics need more work, but this cannot and should not diminish the massive evidence she presents from the archive reports and other contemporary documents of the points she makes. Another point. It was stated in one post that the Halutzim insisted only on employing Jewish workers, so the Arabs could not have found work with Jews. I believe the evidence points overwhelmingly in the opposite direction: all contemporary Jewish accounts from the First Aliyah onwards indicate that many of the more established Jewish communities, including farmers, chiefly used Arab labor, and that this extended into the cities and Jewish businesses there. This was such a problem at first that some halutzim left the country, being unable to find work. The whole subject was in fact a major polemical issue in the new Yishuv throughout the period right up to 1947, and there is a lot written on it. The Gordon-inspired labour Zionists insisted on total self-sufficiency, as we know, and their kibbutzim kept to this, but many Jews who were either long-established in eretz yisrael or recent newcomers had other ideas, including many fervent Zionists inspired by the ideal of trying to establish harmonious relationships with their Arab neighbors.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

An intriguing post. Were it a post related to a part of the world with established nation states, it would be compelling.

As a comment about a part of the world where the nation state was a new concept (and not even close to being universally accepted), where the political allegiances were not primarily local and where large portions of the population had relatives living in places across the boundaries then forming, I am not so sure that your comment is compelling.

Consider that those who became refugees as a result of the 1948 war often moved in with relatives, at least for a while. So, this is not an example of French refugees being forced to live in Sweden. Rather, it is closer to the situation of internally displaced people (e.g. those displaced from New Orleans) except that those who were displaced refuse to resettle and/or the place offering refuge has set nasty terms for permitting their continued presence.

[Note, as an aside: A great many of those classified as refugees (i.e. those displaced to Gaza, Judea or Samaria) would not be deemed refugees in any other world dispute, as noted by Benny Morris. There is no imaginable reason, other than politics, for them living in refugee camps.]

My point here is that you are attempting to force a square peg into a round hole. Those who lost their homes lost homes, which is certainly terrible. But, they perceived their land differently than you perceive it. They perceived their land as either or both Syria or the greater Arab lands or, more generally, Muslim lands. So, you are forcing your understanding of the world, which includes nation states, into your analysis of a part of the world which, at that time - and even now - had very different ideas.

I also should stress that only one country on Earth attempts to justify its existence. It is not a coincidence that there is a nay side to that proposition. Were the Israelis to, rather than justify themselves, take the position that the issue is not for discussion because it is an illegitimate question, the Israelis would do much to undermine the effort at delegitimization.

In this regard, spend some time in a courtroom. You will see that for any argument supporting a proposition, there is always an argument against that proposition. Such is part of the grammar of thought. Again, as Nietzsche notes, once an idea is seen as questionable, it is doomed. Better always to place a proposition beyond question.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Omar,

Not all of your "facts" are conceded. Moreover, the conclusions you reach from your "facts" are certainly not conceded. In fact, they do not follow from what you wrote.

The main point here to consider - because its implications have escaped your notice - is that the right to find refuge where it is made available is an inalienable human right, accepted by all civilized people. In the case of Jews in what is now Israel, refuge was made available for Jews by the rulers of the land. End of story.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/8/2008

Any attempt to sum up the output from this blog can NOT fail to note that despite the all too numerous attempts by the herd and new comers to digress from and obfuscate the issue by:

-concentrating on their alleged perception of the characters of anti Zionist, anti Israel, bloggers by brandishing, directly and indirectly, the banal over used and over abused charge of anti Semitism against them
-relentlessly striving to make Islam, not Israel, the main issue
-indulging in irrelevant minutiae such as the number of Arab emigrants into Palestine

DESPITE that it is heartening to note that none of the fundamental historical facts that define the issue namely :
-pre mandate Arab overwhelming popular majority in Palestine
-inherent and uninterupted Arab cultural/nationalist identity of Palestine for the last fourteen centuries,
-denial of the Palestinian people his right to SELF DETERMINATION,
-the demographic distortion of Palestine through the forced entry of Jewish emigrants against the express will of its indigenous population,
-Israel over stepping its land allocation by the UNGA Partition resolution and expanding through military conquest,
-Zionist/Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign via forced eviction and mass massacres of civilians
Etc etc etc
It is indeed heartening to note that NONE of these determining historical facts were challenged.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/8/2008

Any attempt to sum up the output from this blog can NOT fail to note that despite the all too numerous attempts by the herd and new comers to digress from the issue by:

-concentrating on their alleged perception of the characters of anti Zionist, anti Israel bloggers by brandishing, directly and indirectly, the over used and over abused charge of anti Semitism against them
-relentlessly striving to make Islam, not Israel, the main issue
-indulging in irrelevant minutiae such as the number of Arab emigrants into Palestine

DESPITE that it is heartening to note that none of the fundamental historical facts that define the issue namely:
-pre mandate: Arab overwhelming popular majority in Palestine
-inherent uninterupted Arab cultural/nationalist identity of Palestine for the last fourteen centuries,
-denial of the Palestinian people his right to SELF DETERMINATION,
-the demographic distortion of Palestine through the forced entry of Jewish emigrants against the express will of its indigenous population,
-Israel over stepping its land allocation by the UNGA Partition resolution and expanding through military conquest,
-Zionist/Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign through forced eviction and mass massacres of civilians
Etc etc etc
It is indeed heartening to note that NONE of these determining historical facts were challenged.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

N.F., the issue does have a moral valence.

1. If the Arab "immigrants" to the "Jewish areas" are internal immigrants, i.e., from within the (artificial to be sure) Mandate, and esp. if they are from the hill country between the Jordan and the Sea, then one can talk about a folk who predominantly had been living in the region that became the Mandate for a long time. Therefore, their becoming refugees in 1948 has a seriously tragic tone to it.

(1a. Again, not that this didn't happen to a lot of other people, and to people who have not in consequence become genocidal maniacs; and not that it didn't happen more violently and on a much larger scale elsewhere,--i.e., the Naqba is not only not unique, it's not even very large as things things went in the late 1940s. Nor is it to deny that what did occur to the Palestinian Arabs was the result of a war which in 1948 THEY started; they simply got defeated, and this Naqba was one consequence of the defeat, and would not have occurred without the war which they started.)

2. If, however, there was a significant in-migration of "foreign" Arabs into the Mandate in 1921-1948, Egyptians, Syrians, even (as I showed) Bosnians, then lots of "Palestinian Arabs" who fled or were expelled in 1948 were recent immigrants to the Mandate itself, with NO ancestral ties to the land. If that is the case, then what happened to them, while bad, is less tragic. If that is the case, then the creation of "a Palestinian people from time immemorial" is also itself in good part merely a politically-motivated distortion, a weapon of lies used to undermine the justification for israel's existence.

The difference between the two possibilities is important, though even possibility number 1 (which I think is the more likely) doesn't affect the overall morality of the situation that had occurred by 1949 (for the reasons I set forth in the parenthesis (1a.)

In any case, however, no state is founded in innocence. The issue is the *extent* of the slander now being used against Israel. On this particular topic, if Peters is correct it is a very intense slander. But I am far from in agreement that, on current evidence, she is correct--though I'm not saying she's wrong, either.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Elliott,

Jews were treated poorly in and around Jerusalem. That is well established and such was a consistent policy.

On the other hand, the treatment of Jews under Arab and Ottoman rule varied from time to time and from place to place. For example, Maimonides was ill treated in al-Andalus but was better treated by the regime run by Saladin. Jews did ok under the Ottoman Empire in some areas, most especially where they had contracts for providing clothing to the Yeni Cheri. Moreover, there were periods where at least some Jews were somewhat better treated due to contacts with Jews living under Christian rule. Then again, there were Jews who were subject to being moved from place to place, which clearly was a serious disability.

On another hand, we must be careful not to delude ourselves into thinking Jews were well treated, if we were to define treatment by modern standards, under Muslim rule. They clearly were severely mistreated, if we employ modern standards.

I do not think that we can generalize whether Jews were better or worse treated than Christians. I think it depended on the time and the place. One thing, however, that can be said. Islam clearly has a built in contempt for Jews (and, for some of the same and some different reasons, for Christianity) that has, at times, played out very badly for Jews, most especially when religious fanatics have come to the fore. Such is very well shown in Andrew Bostom truly brilliant new book, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Text to Solemn History. If you have not read this book, do so. It is an extremely important work.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Dear BT,

That Peters' thesis "remains on the table" does not mean that it is correct.

In particular, one must carefully distinguish under the Mandate between possible "immigration" of "Palestinians" (i.e., southern Syrians) to Jewish areas from WITHIN the Mandate borders, vs. true cross-border immigration. It's the latter that Peters pushes.

That hill folks would come down to the developing areas make sense, and not all the development was Jewish. The British were involved, and so too Arab entrepreneurs who were piggy-backing on Jewish developments, though the Jews rarely employed Arab labor, but only Jewish labor for ideological reasons (the New Man). Once towns begin out of disheveled villages, lots of things can happen. A good example of this spontaneous combustion can be found in V. S. Naipaul's brilliant "A Bend in the River." But if it is "internal migration" that occurred, then lots and lots of these migrants *aren't* foreigners (i.e., from beyond the Mandate boundaries). Peters wants them to be.

It's true that these boundaries were themselves both new and artificial and under the Ottoman empire did not exist in any meaningful sense. But ethnically, it matters whether people are Alawis from northern Syria, Copts from southern Egypt, Bosnians from the Adriatic (see my comments to N., Friedman on the Caesarea region) or "southern Syrians" who have lived in Nazareth for 1000 years but who then migrate down to the coast.

Peters pushes her "foreign" thesis in a work that Daniel Pipes says is "appallingly crafted". And when he says "eccentric footnotes", he means the fns don't support the text, or else are out of order, or the reference is impossible to understand.

My point is not that Peters has been proven wrong, but that there are enough methodological and historiographical doubts about her book that, as I said, one should use it carefully, gingerly.

As for Rachel Ben Zvi, whose memoirs were emphasized by Ronald Sanders as a sort of trump card in the colloquy with Porath, the fact is that her testimony is not contemporary. Her memoirs were only written in the 1960s--60 years after she arrived. Perhaps her description of what she found when she arrived is accurate, perhaps it is distorted by memory, perhaps it is what she wanted to believe. We can't know. Thucydides said 2500 years ago that you cannot trust any single eye-witness, and he was talking to people about events that had occurred only a couple of years before the interview--not 60 years abefore. I'm not saying that Rachel Ben Zvi is either wrong or lying. But Sanders' use of her testimony is very incautious. That's all Porath was saying, I believe; in any case, that's what I'm saying. BT, you are right that what we need is more evidence.


N. Friedman - 8/8/2008

Art,

Well, it seems to me that there were many Arabs living on the land. There were also many Jews. There were, so far as I know, more Arabs than Jews prior to 1948 and for an extended period prior to that.

The population of the land increased in the 20th Century for a whole host of reasons, e.g., immigration, improved business climate, better sanitation, better food, improved medicine, greater ability to feed a larger population on what had been, in effect, waste land, etc., etc. Whether Arabs portion of the population increased more by immigration than for other reasons is interesting, as an historical matter. But, then again, it has no moral significance, whatever the facts may actually be.

Population studies on the topic are difficult to do, as I understand it, because the administrative boundaries that existed under Ottoman Rule were not set forth with the idea that there was a separate Palestine. In fact, the Ottoman Empire would have seen the notion of a Palestine as a Christian notion with little significance. In short, records were recorded for the needs of the Ottoman Empire and there is not likely ever going to be a sufficient translation for purposes of answering your questions.

I should add that if Ottoman records are being counted, then the population being included very possibly includes "Syrians" and "Lebanese" and "Jordanians" and those living in Judea and Sumeria, etc. How would one factor such information out of the Ottoman records? I bet that would be an impossible task.

Common sense says that people move where there are jobs and leave places that have no jobs. The job situation changed substantially due to innovation by Jews. Such change was sufficient so as to attract the attention and interest of many Arab leaders who thought that Zionism might bring improvements to the Arab regions. So, the creation of jobs by Jew had to have attracted large numbers of Arab people who would otherwise have gone somewhere else where there were jobs available. That thesis has to be more correct than not.

Again, this is not an argument for or against Israel. The US, with a population almost entirely from foreign lands and which literally destroyed the native American civilization, polity, economy and untold numbers of lives, sees no reason to justify itself. Why should Israel justify itself? To me, such effort is a mental confusion. As Nietzsche noted, to place something into a question is to undermine it.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

But N.F. (and B.T.), in my view it matters significantly to Peters' thesis whether the "Arab immigration" into the "Jewish" areas of the Mandate came from WITHIN the Palestine Mandate of 1921-1948 or from totally OUTSIDE the Mandate's boundaries.

If from WITHIN the Mandate (i.e., hill villagers attracted down to the coastal region became of economic development), that's one situation of the demographics in 1948. If it was immigration from BEYOND the Mandate (i.e., Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians), then that is a different demographic in 1948.

The latter situation but only the latter situation would mean there has been a gross distortion in claims of "Palestinian habitation of the land since time immemorial."


Ben Tzur - 8/8/2008

Thanks for your citation. I have read it. Porath's reasoning is impressive but not utterly convincing. I particularly find his dismissive comments on the contemporary witness Rachel Yannait Ben-Zvi raises questions about his own agenda: he dismisses her eye-witness accounts because her political views were not acceptable to him, when they did not necessarily change anything in what she described, only her emotional response to them. What are his own views, then? And does it influence his whole approach? I think it does, as is shown by his claim that Arab populations were drawn to areas of Jewish settlement merely by Arab enterprises. That is nonsense on the face of it. Neither do I find his reasoning sufficient to reject out of hand Peters' findings regarding Jewish settlements and Arab population. More exact work needs to be done, I see that. But he did not prove his negative case against Peters, he really only raises further questions for examination. Pipes' comments therefore still seem to me to be fully appropriate: "Faulty presentation notwithstanding, Miss Peters's hypothesis is on the table; it is incumbent on her critics to cease the name-calling and make a serious effort to show her wrong by demonstrating that many thousands of Arabs did not emigrate to Palestine in the period under question.
Until such happens, what is one to think? Is there reason to accept Miss Peters's version of events? I believe so: even though From Time Immemorial does not place Arab immigration to Palestine in a historical context, it is not hard to find a rationale for their movement. The Arabs who went to Palestine sought economic opportunity created by the Zionists. As Europeans, the Zionists brought with them to Palestine resources and skills far in advance of anything possessed by the local population. Jews initiated advanced economic activities that created jobs and wealth and drew Arabs. Zionists resembled the British, Germans, and other Europeans of modern times who settled in sparsely populated areas—Australia, southern Africa, or the American West—and then attracted the indigenous people to themselves.
There is really nothing surprising in all this; and because it makes such good sense, I put credence in the argument that substantial numbers of Arabs moved to Palestine. I will adjust my views, of course, should compelling evidence be found to show otherwise. But this will require that Miss Peters's critics go beyond polemics and actually prove her thesis wrong.

Daniel Pipes
Naval War College"

It does need to be kept in mind that historical as well as 19th century contemporary accounts make clear that Arab movement through various "countries" in the Middle East has always gone on, that the supposed borders were not well monitored and were very porous (as the very vagueness of the British Mandate Government records definitively demonstrate!), that for example much of "Arab Palestinian" farm land and villages was owned by Arabs resident in Damascus or elsewhere, and so it is much harder to believe that all population numbers even of more urbanized areas and bedouin encampments were of indigenous peoples than that they reflected a fluctuating population strongly affected by employment and other opportunities. And Jewish records make it certain that a lot of Arabs were employed by Jews, contrary to Porath, and that other Arabs flocked to serve both with associated work, again contrary to Porath. These are actual historical testimonies not even glanced at by Porath. So Porath has not made his case, and Peters still seems to me to be better based by the contemporary evidence and what statistics we have.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Exactly correct, Mr. Green. No one talks about THAT expulsion, do they? The Ottomans planned to expell the ENTIRE Jewish population of the region (as pro-British) in a death-march to the north similar to what happened to the Armenians. But the British offensive of 1917 conquered the area and put an end to the Ottoman death-plan.


art eckstein - 8/8/2008

Dear N.F.:

Yes.

For instance, there was a large BOSNIAN Muslim population around Caesarea (15 miles south of Haifa) from the 1880s. They were new arrivals. These Bosnian Muslims had fled Christian rule in the Balkans in the 1880s and had eventually settled around Caesarea, and formed about half the Muslim population in that locale.

These Bosnians were Muslims, yes--but they were NOT Arabs (they were Turks or Europeans). They arrived in the Caesarea area at exactly the same time as the first "European" Jewish settlers did. They are hardly Omar's "Palestinians who have lived in this land from time immemorial."

However, the Bosnian Muslims fled--and some were expelled by the Haganah--in 1948. The tragedy of simplification probably means that many of these Bosnians' descendants NOW claim to be Omar's "Palestinians who lived in the Holy Land forever and were of their immemorial right to the land".

Historical realities are too complex for lots of people.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/7/2008

before WW I, Jews were about 70,000-75,000 in Israel, not then a defined territory under any name. The Ottoman state expelled about 1/3 of the Jews during the war, considerably reducing the Jews' % in the population, so that there were fewer Jews after the war than before it and a smaller Jewish percentage of the population.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/7/2008

butler insists that the Arabs were indigenous to the Land of Israel. But they conquered the Land in the 7th century. Further, nobody claimed the existence of a "palestinian people" in the 1940s, least of all the Arabs living in the country who were quite pan-Arabist, as Omar Baker has confirmed above. The Jews preceded the Arabs in the Land. The Jews were oppressed by the Arabs/Muslims in the Land. The Jews in the Diaspora never lost their interest in the Land and Jerusalem especially. Jews have lived in Israel continuously since very ancient times, albeit that the Crusaders slaughtered many or most of the Jews in the country [see Moshe Gil's works]. The return to Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem are regular parts of Jewish prayers and blessings, and are even found in the Qur'an!!!! Jews came on pilgrimage and resettled in the Land over the centuries. Diaspora communities raised money to help poor Jews in Jerusalem and other places, especially the four Jewish holy cities in the Land [Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, Tiberias]. In fact, fund raising emissary came from Hebron to the American colonies before the American revolution. This rabbi, Hayim Karigal, became friendly with Ezra Stiles, the future president of Yale, while in Newport.

This claim about the Jews being alien to the land is insulting. Also recall that the Jews in Europe were not accepted as Europeans. The Arabs in the Land were not innocent since they oppressed, exploited monetarily and humiliated the Jews in the Land, as Jews treated throughout the Muslim domain. Christians were treated in like fashion, although I believe that I can establish that the Jews were treated even worse than the Christians in Israel and other areas under Arab-Muslim rule.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

Art,

There was also considerable non-Jewish migration into the region during the 19th Century. In particular, Muslim refugees from the Balkans were settled all along Asia Minor and into what is now Northern Israel. Such is sufficiently documented by Bat Ye'or in her book The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.

Moreover, there was some Christian migration into the region during the 19th Century, including, if I recall correctly, from Iraq and from Armenia.

There was certainly migration drawn in due to the availability of work from Jewish employers. On that point, Peters is more correct than not, whether or not she has made some errors.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

BT, you raise an interesting point about the inclusion of the population of the Emirate of Trans-Jordan in population statistics of the British Mandate of Palestine (which included Transjordan originally), and the role this might play in the population controversy (i.e., if the population east of the Jordan is included in 1921 then the large--i.e., allegedly suspiciously large--Arab increase west of the Jordan in the 1920s and 1930s becomes harder to detect within the statistics).

The Arab population of Trans-Jordan in 1921, according to the British, was about 300,000; this included 120,000 semi-nomads and 50,000 nomads. See "The Transformation of Nomadic Society in the Arab East" by Martha Mundi and Basim Musallam (2000).

I was not aware that this population east of the Jordan River was included in discussions on this Peters controversy. I don't think Porath includes it in his March 1986 discussion.

Porath's point, besides the severe problem with our bad sources, is that the Ottoman 1893 statistics greatly underreports the Arab population because the census' real purpose was taxation and army conscription, and many people naturally did not register.

In terms of the "over-increase" of Arab population in the "Jewish" areas of the Mandate (beyond the "natural increase" of 2.6 children, etc.), that certainly occurred in significant numbers. But the question is whether these people are from the Mandate hill country between the Jordan and the Sea, who have migrated down to the coast for the econ opportunities that came into being in that area (thanks to the Jews and the British) or whether they are from completely beyond the borders of the Mandate. I think Peters wants them to be the latter; I think the likelihood is that they were mostly the former.

See also, but to be used with care, F. Gottheil, "The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931," Middle East Quarterly Winter 2003.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

Dear BT,

Thanks for you compliment. I truly try to bring facts to bear in these threads.

But this means that defenders of Israel need to have the facts correctly as well--they need not fear anything as a result (unlike folks like Omar, who are allergic to facts, and for good reason).

Anyway, the on-line reference is

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/5172

This is a colloquy between Daniel Pipes, Ronald Sanders, and Yehoshua Porath about "From Time Immemorial", from NYRB March 27, 1986.

Porath's discussion of the sources on Palestinian Arab demography, and their tremendous problems and lacunae, is very important, and he is critical of Joan Peters, who apparently didn't understand all the difficulties.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

AE, could you provide the on-line references to that scholarly exchange on Peters? Thank you, and thank you more generally for your comments, too. They are very good.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

A problem with the criticisms I have seen of Peters (I will have to look at those you mention; I did not know of them) is that they confuse two separate things: the overall population of British Mandate Palestine and their prior Ottoman equivalents with the much more restricted population numbers of the land west of the Jordan that was eventually notionally divided by the U.N. resolution between a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. It is easy to take the first figure and apply it to the second more narrowly drawn "Palestine" and to say that population figures remained steady and there was no further in-migration. This would be a major error, but I have seen it done many times. Its equivalent is repeated nowadays in a lot of Palestinian population claims (leading to suppositions about demographic threats to Israel that swayed Ariel Sharon, etc.). A further issue is that Peters did show pretty conclusively that Arab growth was centered specifically in the districts where there was Jewish settlement, not in the non-Jewish areas. Peters deals with the refusal of the British to keep figures on Arab immigration, and works around that pretty well, again basing herself on Mandate archival documents. So, although I will check the discussions you mention, and thank you for them, I still think one cannot just dismiss Peters' book so easily.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

(I relocate here a response I first placed elsewhere in this now enormous branching tree of responses, because it has its most aesthetic and appropriate placement here. My apologies if you have read it already.)

Mr. Baker's continuing rant offers an excellent opportunity here, which I would like to seize, to make some points about Zionism, Israel, and the general situation of minorities throughout the Middle East.

First of all, about Zionism and Israel. Zionism constitutes the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and its product, Israel, is the only Jewish state in the world. This, just by itself, justifies its existence. Such a state, with its justification being strengthened by the fact that it is on its traditional homeland and features precisely those places that continue to define Jewish identity both religiously and secularly, is in any case an existential necessity for Jews, as refuge and as the centre of autonomous Jewish cultural revitalization.

Furthermore, in one feature or trait after another, as is explicitly shown in its founding figures' ideological formulations and in its subsequent behavior as a state, Zionism remains one of the most liberal, idealistic and humanitarian national liberation movements of the modern period, and indeed is also the one with probably the greatest moral justification of any, since it arose first of all out of the pressing need to rescue its victimized people not only from the severest and most unjustified discriminations around the world but even from genocidal insanities and death itself and it continues to do so to the present time. There is no other state in the world with such a basic moral justification. Arabs have 21 states, Muslims 57, Christians and others numerous states, Jews only this little one. All of these are fundamental considerations for anyone wishing to understand what Zionism is, and why there is an Israel. For further reading, I might recommend such a book as Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea, which gives extended extracts from the early Zionist leaders.

The treatment of Israeli Arabs shows clearly the liberal democratic idealism that still animates the entire society. This can be advanced as evidence just in itself of the positive democratic and moral nature of Zionism and of the state of Israel. It can be safely said that no other Western country in an on-going state of war with neighbors, facing frequent threats of outright annihilation, has treated that segment of its population that is related closely to its most existential enemies and that often explicitly declares its alignment with them, so generously, equally and fairly, and sympathetically, extending full civil rights, free press, freedom of movement and economic life, freedom of religion, freedom of political association, even to the point of forming their own even anti-Israel and anti-Zionist political parties, having the representatives of such parties in the country's parliament (some of whom go so far as to link arms in photographs with Hezbollah leaders and give aid and comfort to Israel's enemies, without any expulsion from the Israeli parliament nor conviction for treason), and just about every other freedom almost as if there was no on-going conflict at all with their kin and fellow ideologists just over the border. In fact, Israeli doctors extend care even to enemy fighters, the Israeli government provides electricity, food and other basic amenities to Hamasastan even while it is rocketing Israeli towns and killing as many Israelis as possible, and Israeli leaders even are willing in quieter periods to allow Palestinians to work in Israel itself despite the security threat. Such liberal treatment is simply incredible.

Compare this with even the way the various Allied democratic countries during WWII treated their own citizens or "resident aliens" allied by culture or kinship to the Nazi and Japanese enemies. The Palestinian narrative is even given recognition and treatment in Israeli school texts to promote more sympathetic understanding of their perspective by Israeli children.

Such treatment of Israeli Arabs, just by itself, shows the genuine and extraordinarily liberal and humane sort of parliamentary democracy taken for granted in Israel. It contrasts vividly with the fate of Jews in the Palestinian Authority area: they have no rights and are simply killed at the first opportunity, men, women and children indiscriminately. School texts praise such murders and inculcate extreme hatred of Jews, Israel and Zionism. Jewish religious shrines in Palestinian areas are taken over and forbidden to them, are desecrated or turned into mosques, and it is formal Palestinian policy that even the Temple Mount is not legitimately holy to Jews at all. It is furthermore official policy even by the supposedly "moderate" Fatah to demand the ethnic cleansing of Jewish settlements anywhere in self-claimed Palestinian territory.

That Israel still continues, in the face of such extreme fanaticism and inhumanity by its existential enemies to extend full civil rights and privileges to its own Israeli Arab citizens, in direct contrast to the way Jews are treated in Arab societies, is truly remarkable. None of this is to deny that there is some discrimination in regard to Israeli Arabs: what is amazing is that there is not a lot more, under the circumstances.

It is furthermore relevant in discussing minority rights and the security and good conditions enjoyed in Israel by all its citizens, Jewish or not, to note that there is only one state in the entire Middle East in which Christians have flourished and their percentage of the national population has even increased over the past generation: that is Israel. In contrast, Christians in all Arab lands have halved or even further drastically reduced their numbers, and the Christians in Palestinian territories have led the way in this flight, not so much during the time under Israeli rule (1967-93) as since then, namely since Arafat took over, just as Arafat and the PLO made life impossible for Christians in Lebanon when they entered that country in the late 70s, having been forced out of Jordan. From being 80% of the population of Bethlehem a generation ago, Christians presently number somewhere around 10% due to the rampant Muslim persecution there. (Naturally, Palestinians try to blame Israel for this astonishing dwindling of Christian numbers, ignoring as usual their own responsibility for the flaws in their own community, but it is hard to see this dwindling as anything more than an especially striking instance of the same de-Christianization of all other Arab and even other Muslim countries, world-wide.)

Similarly, after centuries of cruel discrimination and persecution, the Jewish minorities were finally driven out of all Arab countries back in the 1950s, so that there are hardly any left now.

I want to thank Mr. Omar Baker for making this opportunity for me to indulge myself in the personal pleasure of reviewing these crucial and very positive realities relating to Zionism and Israel, and additionally to show the relevance of the distressing situation for Christians and Jews not only in the Palestinian areas, but everywhere else in the Arab Middle East.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

But that is not a parallel for what goes on between the Israelis and the Palestinians; in fact, it's a slander of the Israelis.

Meanwhile, you haven't answered my question: if you have a killer who takes a child to use as a human shield, and from behind that child he shoots and kills a dozen innocents, one after the other, and a police sniper in that situation kills him, but the child is killed as well--WHO is responsible for
the death of the child, Mr. Davis?


Kenneth Laurence Davis - 8/7/2008

Try this one. The gunman is surrounded by ten children and is shooting at one innocent bystander. The police sniper picks off all the children then shoots the gunman.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

My library does not have the book. Neither do the libraries in my area. I shall place a request for the book to be ordered.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

You declared that Jewish doctors don't treat non-Jews, Omar: you are a slanderer and a liar, and yet, when caught in the slander and lie, you refuse to apologize.

Most of this latest posting just above from Omar reinforces my point made just above his: Other peoples in the same post-WWII period suffered like the Palestinians, and worse than the Palestinians, and some suffered far worse than the Palestinians. And yet they have not turned their cultures into Nazified death-cults in response. ONLY the Palestinians have done so.

Though Omar asserts that it is "human nature" to do what the Palestinians have done, he has to admit that no one else--including those who have suffered much worse than the Palestinians--have ever done what they have done. Omar once again makes it clear that the Palestinian response is a cultural CHOICE.

As for the shattering of Palestinian society, note once more Omar's childish refusal to accept Palestinian responsibility. Though Fatah are totally corrupt thugs who refused the Camp David and Taba deals, and Hamas are genocidal totalitarians, and these are real governments with guns, no no-if they turn them on each other, or on their own people, why it's all the Jews' fault!

As I said, I wonder if Omar is actually a Mossad plant, whose purpose is to make Muslims in general, and Arabs and Palestinians in particular, look intellectually ridiculous.




art eckstein - 8/7/2008

Thanks for the info, NF.

Also worth reading: Jonathan Adelman, The Rise of Israel: A History of a Revolutionary State (Routledge, 2008). Adelman teaches at the University of Denver.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/7/2008

The multi awarded Professor is back with the same old litany; other peoples have suffered why stress or mind your own trauma?

Inane as the implied question is it must be answered:
***Because a huge crime was committed against my people and my homeland that we will neither ever forget nor ever forgive.

***Because we are very strongly attached to our homeland, heritage and legacy and will never ever abandon any of them.
***Because it is the human nature to resist aggression and usurpation , to fight crime and injustice and defend one's homeland and care about one’s people.
***Because the aggressor poses a very serious threat to the lives and well being of our children.
*** Because a horrible injustice was perpetrated and should, definitely will, be redressed.


The question is as inane as asking a father or mother why defend your children and care about them or asking a child why defend your parents and care about them, why resist and repel the aggressor !

-What about other peoples' trauma?
He asks!
It is up to them to accept and submit or to fight...it is their choice not Eckstein's not mine!


(The Prof asks whether I am aware of the news.
I am and it is another direct output from the implantation of the Zionist colony Israel in our homeland which shattered Palestinian society and created horrendous human conditions for both residents in their homeland, Palestine, and refugees there from.

However what ever Israeli doctors do it will atone for no more than one millionth of the crime committed by their state :the colonialist and racist implant Israel.)


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

Yes, NF-- add that 2.3 million Germans were expelled form Bohemia in 1945-1946, and the Czech govt refuses (a) to let them return or (b) offer any compensation for any of the huge amount of property that was seized at that time by the Czech govt.

As the EU says, one definition of anti-semitism is holding ISRAEL to a standard of conduct that no other democratic country is ever held to.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

Professor,

Bostom's new book is a step up from his previous work, which was an interesting book. The latest book is really an important work.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

Professor,

Even more to the point, modern Poland came to be with the ethnic cleansing of Germans who had lived in places such as Danzig for centuries on end. Modern Pakistan came to be with the ethnic cleansing of Hindus. The same for modern India. None of these countries permits the return of those expelled or the offspring of those expelled.

Modern Israel would not have survived its infancy but for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab countries. Now, there is irony for you.


A. M. Eckstein - 8/7/2008

Just more empty blather from Omar.

The clash of civilizations, if it comes, will be the result of Islamic and Arab cultural psychosis.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, the Palestinians suffered a trauma and so did many other peoples in 1945-1960.

12 million Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe in 1945, 1 million of them died, another million were raped. But we don't see these Germans or their descendants blowing up schools in Danzig or Prague.

7 million Hindus were expelled or fled from Pakistan in 1947, 1 million of them died. But we don't see Hindus blowing up busses filled with civilians in Karachi.

850,000 Jews were expelled or fled from Arab lands between 1948 and 1960, a larger number than the Palestinian "naqba": they lost everything, some Arab is enjoying their property as I write this--but you don't see these Jews or their descendants blowing up discoteques in Bagdad.

300,000 Greeks were expelled or fled from Egypt in the mid-1950s, and another 100,000 were expelled or fled from northern Turkey in the same period--examples of pure ethnic and religious "cleansing"--but we don't see these Greeks or their descendants blowing up civilians in supermarkets in Ankara or Cairo.

600,000 Christians have fled Lebanon since 1980, and 60,000 since 2006: they are fleeing Omar's friends the ferociously imperial Islamofascism of Hezbellah.

Tibet was invaded and occupied by China, millions of Tibetans died, millions of Chinese colonists were imported by the govt, Tibetan culture was destroyed, 9/10 of all Tibetan religious sites were destroyed--and China sits as an honored member of the UN, a permanent member of the Security Council. Meanwhile, tiny Israel is the target of a worldwide slander campaign of which Omar is a good example.

ONLY the Palestinians have adopted genocidal terrorism as their solution, and they have repeatedly refused political compromise. As Omar has revealed, and as these examples above show, this is not a "natural" response to a trauma but rather a cultural CHOICE on the Palestinians' part.

Much is revealed about Muslim and Arab culture by this choice. Omar has explained the difference between Palestinians and other victims of the post-WWII disorders this way: the Palestinians are more "noble" than other peoples.

Yes, indeed.

BTW, Omar--did you read about Israeli hospitals caring for Fatah fighters fleeing Hamas this week? I posted it. Remember when you declared that Jewish doctors don't treat non-Jews? (Your source was "the noble Israel Shahak.) Just more slander from you, Omar. Don't you think it's time you apologized to the Israeli medical profession for your continuous ignorant slanders?


omar ibrahim baker - 8/7/2008

The Zionist movement, in overt collusion with British then American imperialism and with the near unanimous support of world Jewry, managed to realize its goal of a "Jewish/Zionist nation/state" in Palestine with the establishment of Israel in 1948!

• Israel has been a fact ever since with a majority of international and major regional official recognition and an ever increasing military capability.

The establishment of a Jewish/Zionist nation/state in Arab Moslem/Christian Palestine started in the 1920s with the forced radical demographic alteration of the country. It was substantially achieved by uprooting the majority of the indigenous Palestinian Arab population (1947-1949),and supplanting them by one ethnic/confessional entity gathered from the four corners of the world .It culminated with its declaration of independence, within pre 1967 borders, in1948.

The establishment of Israel an alien, to its predominant Arab/Moslem environment, nation /state in Palestine the heartland of a hostile Arab/Moslem world, was, by any standard, an unparalleled political achievement in modern history.

It must have looked, then, as a total victory; the absolute vindication of Zionism and the ultimate Jewish triumph!.

Was it, is it, really, with a historical perspective, the ultimate Jewish triumph?

I contend that, in view of its major success in identifying itself with world Jewry and contrary to its promise to bring them everlasting peace and security. Zionism has unwittingly launched a new phase of anti Judaism that would plague and cause vast damage to Jews and Jewish life for generations to come all over the world.

I contend that the negative repercussions of this outstanding triumph on world Jewry will eventually outweigh any benefits derived from it.

The first direct, almost instantaneous, outcome was the generation of a unanimous reaction of total and implacable enmity of what was, historically, one of the more tolerant major communities of the world towards Jewry; the Arab /Moslem world

To the Arab nation the establishment of Israel in Palestine was, still is perceived to be,, the latest success in the historical Western campaign to deArabize, Palestine and thus not only supplant their fellow Arab brethren with an alien hostile nation that dislocated, dispossessed and disfranchised them in their homeland ,ARAB Palestine ,but equally to constitute a major obstacle to Arab unity by severing the only land link between al Mashreq ( Greater Syria, the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq) and al Maghreb (Egypt, Sudan Libya and North Africa)!.

To the Moslem world it was, increasingly is, the latest campaign in the never ending Crusading effort to deIslamize the Holy Land and usurp Al Kudus Al Sharif ( noble Holy Jerusalem); the land of Al Aqsa and of the Holy , Mohammedan, ascension ( al Isra).
This relentless enmity is steadily becoming part of the collective /communal subconscious of Arab/Moslem masses and of Arab/Moslem culture; the Arab/Moslem modern equivalent of the "blood of Jesus" long standing enmity syndrome historically held against Jews by Christendom .

To the rest of the Third World this outstanding, imperialistically assisted, Zionist success was a very clear indication of the hugely destructive capability of the emerging Zionist-/Imperialist alliance. A clear fore warning of the enormous ruination it will cause when this alliance, as it is eventually bound to, turns its domineering and exploitative thrust towards them ;whether in Asia, Africa or South America!

After a short celebratory spell, partly due to the atonement complex and partly to lingering Anglo/French colonialist designs but mainly to the doubtful proposition that "Israel" would put an end to the "Jewish Question" that has plagued it for generations the West split over this unparalleled Zionist/Imperialist achievement.

Europe gradually awakened to the fact that its pro Zionist stand was, to the left, a move that led to the establishment of an aggressive RACIST/CONFESSIONAL nation/state in alliance with and at the service of American imperialism.
To the right, it suddenly dawned that Israel is the region based auxiliary of the USA that would reinforce American political and economic presence in the Middle East to the exclusion and detriment of their own similar interests!

The USA under President Truman had, by then, emerged, under the inordinate influence of the Jewish/Zionist lobby but against the council of the KING-CRANE commission and of Secretary of State George Marshall, as the main political support, and economic and military provider; the virtual lifeline of Israel.
With the growing importance of Middle East oil the USA soon perfected its plans for an exclusive American hegemony over the Middle East to be assisted by and in cooperation with its region based junior partner:Israel.
American total and unconditional support of Israel escalated, to the ceaseless
prodding ,encouragement and political ascendancy of the Zionist/Neocon
lobby, into a state of open, declared enmity to the Arabs and Moslems, gradually becoming an exact parallel of Israeli policy.
This new American policy culminated in the equally deplorable 9/11, and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq!
At this stage an American public reassessment started, questioning first American imperialist policy in general and American pro Israel, anti Arab, policies in particular.
A polarization process began, best seen at the outset of the Iraqi conquest, in the diverging, pro and anti war, stands of main stream American Churches; with the Catholic, Prespetirian and Episcopalian etc on one side of the widening divide and the Evangelicals in alliance with mainstream Jewish Synagogues on the other side!
The outcome from these increasingly diverging stands of major American institutions will not take long to materialize into new public perceptions, attitudes and convictions that will eventually affect American life and policies!

So what did Zionism achieve for the Jews, both Zionist and non Zionist,
with its spectacular victory in Palestine.

The outcome from this spectacular success , the establishment of the colonialist, aggressive , expansionist and racist alien nation/state of Israel in Palestine, on world Jewry could be summed up as:

a-A new deeply rooted and implacable enmity and total rejection by a major human community; the 1.6-1.8 ? billion strong Arab/Moslem worlds; the erstwhile less hostile and more accommodating of the major religious communities of the world.
b-The wary, suspicious and distrustful stand of the Third World
c-A world wide fundamental hostile polarization between the Arab/Moslem world and world Jewry/Zionism
d- A parallel world wide hostile polarization between pro Palestine progressive and anti imperialist forces and movements and pro Israel imperialist and colonialist forces
e-An increasingly hostile Europe
f-An increasingly acrimonious political debate dividing the American public
And, most important and far reaching,
g- a world wide rejuvenation of old, almost dormant, prejudices and suspicions of the morals and practices of Jews, a new, seemingly more valid, substantiation of the old damaging accusations of a world wide Jewish conspiracy, covert Zionist political and economic hegemony etc!

Israeli Prospects

The way Israel was born, the existential threat that it has come to present to the Arab and, increasingly, to the Moslem world , its innate alien character in its environment, its domineering ambitions and expansionist designs and , most importantly its innate nature of aggression and racism can only lead Israel to one of two mutually exclusive future prospects;
1-An ideologically reconstructed, deZionized, nation/state that recognizes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in their home land, including the Right of Return, forsakes the objective of an all or predominantly Jewish state in Palestine and abandons all dreams and ambitions of regional domination with or without external powers thus de alienating itself in its environment and slowly integrating into the region
OR
2-An alien highly militarized nation/state in a state of permanent overt and/or covert war and implacable enmity with, and total rejection by, its environment with, ultimately, a declared and self avowed racist system .



However the way things has progressed since it establishment and are presently progressing do NOT bode well and in the mean time the net out put of its colonialist conquest of Palestine will only confirm that:

Zionism has been a CATASTROPHE to the Palestinian people and a major factor of international polarization, it will soon prove to be a huge DISSERVICE, a potential new calamity, to the JEWS and, to the world at large and to world peace in particular, a primary cause of the seemingly inevitable CLASH of CIVILIZATIONS!!



Joseph Mutik - 8/7/2008

Your supposition is totally unacceptable. The question should be: what a policeman does id the madman uses a child as a shield and begins to shoot indiscriminately into a crowd of unarmed people?


A. M. Eckstein - 8/7/2008

If a madman takes a child hostage in a tenement, and his using the child as a shield as he is shooting and killing dozens of innocent people, and a police sniper shoots at the madman and hits him but also hits the child he is using as a shield as he continues his continuous killing, who is ultimately at fault Mr. Davis?



Kenneth Laurence Davis - 8/7/2008

If a madman takes a child hostage in a tenement hallway and holds it up as a shield to a police officer, what do we say if the officer shoots through the child to kill the madman?

What would we say to someone who kills a child to save himself? Or to possibly save another, more preferred child, which is in no immediate peril?

Obviously, Walzer's philosophy is full of holes.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

BT, you need to be careful if you are using Joan Peters' "From Time Immemorial." Her statistics are not to be trusted. The Arab population of what became the Palestine Mandate was at least double in the 1890s what she says it was, and thus most of the population increase by 1948 can be explained by natural increase.

On this, you need to read the exchange between Ronald Sanders, Daniel Pipes, and Yehoshua Porath in The New York Review of Books for January 16, 1986. It is available online, and Porath's discussion of sources is extremely important.

The British did not keep track of Arab immigration into the Mandate (as they did of Jewish immigration into the Mandate), and no doubt there was some significant inflow. But most of the increase in Arab population is explained by a process of natural increase consequent to the economic development of the country after 1900, with consequent decline in (e.g.) infant mortality through better medicine. (A significant percentage of this economic development is due to the Jews, to be sure).


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

Mr. Barber, the answer to your complaint was given by the prominent political philosopher Michael Walzer:

"When terrorists intentionally hide among a civilian population from which--under cover of that human shield--they themselves intentionally target enemy civilians, the consequences that come from any military response to their attacks resides with the TERRORISTS, and the terrorists alone."

If you go to Memri.com you can find several videos where Hamas respresentatives BOAST of using their civilian population as human shields from behind which they target Jews.

In 2006, German newspapers carried the boast of a Hezbollah leader, explaining why they used grammar schools as bases from which to fire rockets into Israel: "If the Jews don't respond for fear of hitting civilians--we win. And if the Jews do respond and hit the school, then we win anyway, because now we have an 'atrocity,' the leader laughed."

Mr. Barber, your posting reveals that iyou are a dupe of such propaganda. I prefer that explanation to the possibility, that you are motivated by malice and don't care about the facts,

Israel has a right to defend itself, and the Palestinians have to know that if they strike, the Israelis will strike back. As Walzer says, the consequences are on THEM. Even Barack Obama said when he looked at the destruction in Sderot--a town of Jewish refugees expelled from the Arab world--that if someone was targetting *his* daughters as these people were being targetted, he'd do what was necessary in response.


rick barber - 8/7/2008

The conduct of the Israeli state might have something to do ith the world's attitude.

Maybe the indiscriminate killing of children during "targeted killings" is more that "1,000 high tech start-ups" is worth.

Maybe the idea that land ownership is conferred by the Easter Bunny is viewed by many as superstitious nonsense unworthy of serious discussion in the 21st century.

Or conversely, maybe all these people just hate Israel because, like Rula Lenska, it is beautiful.

This article was not good.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

This answer was entered by mistake into the "reply" slot for Omar Baker's screed "Re:cult of Palestiniamism [sic]" when it was intended as a response to Bob Martin's comments here. So I introduce it here.

Bob Martin's references are excellent ones, and I too recommend them to interested readers wishing a good introduction to this or that issue, a place to start with. In particular the Mitchell Bard book on Myths and Facts at the jewishvirtuallibrary site offers a comprehensive account that is far more objective and well-researched than Omar Baker's, to say the least.

But Mr. Baker's continuing rant offers an excellent opportunity here, which I would like to seize, to make some points about Zionism, Israel, and the general situation of minorities throughout the Middle East.

First of all, about Zionism and Israel. Zionism constitutes the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and its product, Israel, is the only Jewish state in the world. This, just by itself, justifies its existence. Such a state, with its justification being strengthened by the fact that it is on its traditional homeland and features precisely those places that continue to define Jewish identity both religiously and secularly, is in any case an existential necessity for Jews, as refuge and as the centre of autonomous Jewish cultural revitalization.

Furthermore, in one feature or trait after another, as is explicitly shown in its founding figures' ideological formulations and in its subsequent behavior as a state, Zionism remains one of the most liberal, idealistic and humanitarian national liberation movements of the modern period, and indeed is also the one with probably the greatest moral justification of any, since it arose first of all out of the pressing need to rescue its victimized people not only from the severest and most unjustified discriminations around the world but even from genocidal insanities and death itself and it continues to do so to the present time. There is no other state in the world with such a basic moral justification. Arabs have 21 states, Muslims 57, Christians and others numerous states, Jews only this little one. All of these are fundamental considerations for anyone wishing to understand what Zionism is, and why there is an Israel. For further reading, I might recommend such a book as Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea, which gives extended extracts from the early Zionist leaders.

The treatment of Israeli Arabs shows clearly the liberal democratic idealism that still animates the entire society. This can be advanced as evidence just in itself of the positive democratic and moral nature of Zionism and of the state of Israel. It can be safely said that no other Western country in an on-going state of war with neighbors, facing frequent threats of outright annihilation, has treated that segment of its population that is related closely to its most existential enemies and that often explicitly declares its alignment with them, so generously, equally and fairly, and sympathetically, extending full civil rights, free press, freedom of movement and economic life, freedom of religion, freedom of political association, even to the point of forming their own even anti-Israel and anti-Zionist political parties, having the representatives of such parties in the country's parliament (some of whom go so far as to link arms in photographs with Hezbollah leaders and give aid and comfort to Israel's enemies, without any expulsion from the Israeli parliament nor conviction for treason), and just about every other freedom almost as if there was no on-going conflict at all with their kin and fellow ideologists just over the border. In fact, Israeli doctors extend care even to enemy fighters, the Israeli government provides electricity, food and other basic amenities to Hamasastan even while it is rocketing Israeli towns and killing as many Israelis as possible, and Israeli leaders even are willing in quieter periods to allow Palestinians to work in Israel itself despite the security threat. Such liberal treatment is simply incredible.

Compare this with even the way the various Allied democratic countries during WWII treated their own citizens or "resident aliens" allied by culture or kinship to the Nazi and Japanese enemies. The Palestinian narrative is even given recognition and treatment in Israeli school texts to promote more sympathetic understanding of their perspective by Israeli children.

Such treatment of Israeli Arabs, just by itself, shows the genuine and extraordinarily liberal and humane sort of parliamentary democracy taken for granted in Israel. It contrasts vividly with the fate of Jews in the Palestinian Authority area: they have no rights and are simply killed at the first opportunity, men, women and children indiscriminately. School texts praise such murders and inculcate extreme hatred of Jews, Israel and Zionism. Jewish religious shrines in Palestinian areas are taken over and forbidden to them, are desecrated or turned into mosques, and it is formal Palestinian policy that even the Temple Mount is not legitimately holy to Jews at all. It is furthermore official policy even by the supposedly "moderate" Fatah to demand the ethnic cleansing of Jewish settlements anywhere in self-claimed Palestinian territory.

That Israel still continues, in the face of such extreme fanaticism and inhumanity by its existential enemies to extend full civil rights and privileges to its own Israeli Arab citizens, in direct contrast to the way Jews are treated in Arab societies, is truly remarkable. None of this is to deny that there is some discrimination in regard to Israeli Arabs: what is amazing is that there is not a lot more, under the circumstances.

It is furthermore relevant in discussing minority rights and the security and good conditions enjoyed in Israel by all its citizens, Jewish or not, to note that there is only one state in the entire Middle East in which Christians have flourished and their percentage of the national population has even increased over the past generation: that is Israel. In contrast, Christians in all Arab lands have halved or even further drastically reduced their numbers, and the Christians in Palestinian territories have led the way in this flight, not so much during the time under Israeli rule (1967-93) as since then, namely since Arafat took over, just as Arafat and the PLO made life impossible for Christians in Lebanon when they entered that country in the late 70s, having been forced out of Jordan. From being 80% of the population of Bethlehem a generation ago, Christians presently number somewhere around 10% due to the rampant Muslim persecution there. (Naturally, Palestinians try to blame Israel for this astonishing dwindling of Christian numbers, ignoring as usual their own responsibility for the flaws in their own community, but it is hard to see this dwindling as anything more than an especially striking instance of the same de-Christianization of all other Arab and even other Muslim countries, world-wide.)

Similarly, after centuries of cruel discrimination and persecution, the Jewish minorities were finally driven out of all Arab countries back in the 1950s, so that there are hardly any left now.

I want to thank Mr. Omar Baker for making this opportunity for me to indulge myself in the personal pleasure of reviewing these crucial and very positive realities relating to Zionism and Israel, and additionally to show the relevance of the distressing situation for Christians and Jews not only in the Palestinian areas, but everywhere else in the Arab Middle East.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

Bob Martin's references are excellent ones, and I too recommend them to interested readers.

But Mr. Baker's continuing rant offers an excellent opportunity here, which I would like to seize, to make some points about Zionism, Israel, and the general situation of minorities throughout the Middle East.

First of all, about Zionism and Israel. Zionism constitutes the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, and its product, Israel, is the only Jewish state in the world. This, just by itself, justifies its existence. Such a state, with its justification being strengthened by the fact that it is on its traditional homeland and features precisely those places that continue to define Jewish identity both religiously and secularly, is in any case an existential necessity for Jews, as refuge and as the centre of autonomous Jewish cultural revitalization.

Furthermore, in one feature or trait after another, as is explicitly shown in its founding figures' ideological formulations and in its subsequent behavior as a state, Zionism remains one of the most liberal, idealistic and humanitarian national liberation movements of the modern period, and indeed is also the one with probably the greatest moral justification of any, since it arose first of all out of the pressing need to rescue its victimized people not only from the severest and most unjustified discriminations around the world but even from genocidal insanities and death itself and it continues to do so to the present time. There is no other state in the world with such a basic moral justification. Arabs have 21 states, Muslims 57, Christians and others numerous states, Jews only this little one. All of these are fundamental considerations for anyone wishing to understand what Zionism is, and why there is an Israel. For further reading, I might recommend such a book as Arthur Hertzberg, The Zionist Idea, which gives extended extracts from the early Zionist leaders.

The treatment of Israeli Arabs shows clearly the liberal democratic idealism that still animates the entire society. This can be advanced as evidence just in itself of the positive democratic and moral nature of Zionism and of the state of Israel. It can be safely said that no other Western country in an on-going state of war with neighbors, facing frequent threats of outright annihilation, has treated that segment of its population that is related closely to its most existential enemies and that often explicitly declares its alignment with them, so generously, equally and fairly, and sympathetically, extending full civil rights, free press, freedom of movement and economic life, freedom of religion, freedom of political association, even to the point of forming their own even anti-Israel and anti-Zionist political parties, having the representatives of such parties in the country's parliament (some of whom go so far as to link arms in photographs with Hezbollah leaders and give aid and comfort to Israel's enemies, without any expulsion from the Israeli parliament nor conviction for treason), and just about every other freedom almost as if there was no on-going conflict at all with their kin and fellow ideologists just over the border. In fact, Israeli doctors extend care even to enemy fighters, the Israeli government provides electricity, food and other basic amenities to Hamasastan even while it is rocketing Israeli towns and killing as many Israelis as possible, and Israeli leaders even are willing in quieter periods to allow Palestinians to work in Israel itself despite the security threat. Such liberal treatment is simply incredible.

Compare this with even the way the various Allied democratic countries during WWII treated their own citizens or "resident aliens" allied by culture or kinship to the Nazi and Japanese enemies. The Palestinian narrative is even given recognition and treatment in Israeli school texts to promote more sympathetic understanding of their perspective by Israeli children.

Such treatment of Israeli Arabs, just by itself, shows the genuine and extraordinarily liberal and humane sort of parliamentary democracy taken for granted in Israel. It contrasts vividly with the fate of Jews in the Palestinian Authority area: they have no rights and are simply killed at the first opportunity, men, women and children indiscriminately. School texts praise such murders and inculcate extreme hatred of Jews, Israel and Zionism. Jewish religious shrines in Palestinian areas are taken over and forbidden to them, are desecrated or turned into mosques, and it is formal Palestinian policy that even the Temple Mount is not legitimately holy to Jews at all. It is furthermore official policy even by the supposedly "moderate" Fatah to demand the ethnic cleansing of Jewish settlements anywhere in self-claimed Palestinian territory.

That Israel still continues, in the face of such extreme fanaticism and inhumanity by its existential enemies to extend full civil rights and privileges to its own Israeli Arab citizens, in direct contrast to the way Jews are treated in Arab societies, is truly remarkable. None of this is to deny that there is some discrimination in regard to Israeli Arabs: what is amazing is that there is not a lot more, under the circumstances.

It is furthermore relevant in discussing minority rights and the security and good conditions enjoyed in Israel by all its citizens, Jewish or not, to note that there is only one state in the entire Middle East in which Christians have flourished and their percentage of the national population has even increased over the past generation: that is Israel. In contrast, Christians in all Arab lands have halved or even further drastically reduced their numbers, and the Christians in Palestinian territories have led the way in this flight, not so much during the time under Israeli rule (1967-93) as since then, namely since Arafat took over, just as Arafat and the PLO made life impossible for Christians in Lebanon when they entered that country in the late 70s, having been forced out of Jordan. From being 80% of the population of Bethlehem a generation ago, Christians presently number somewhere around 10% due to the rampant Muslim persecution there. (Naturally, Palestinians try to blame Israel for this astonishing dwindling of Christian numbers, ignoring as usual their own responsibility for the flaws in their own community, but it is hard to see this dwindling as anything more than an especially striking instance of the same de-Christianization of all other Arab and even other Muslim countries, world-wide.)

Similarly, after centuries of cruel discrimination and persecution, the Jewish minorities were finally driven out of all Arab countries back in the 1950s, so that there are hardly any left now.

I want to thank Mr. Omar Baker for making this opportunity for me to point out these very relevant facts about Zionism, Israel, and the situation of Christians and Jews not only in the Palestinian areas, but everywhere else in the Arab Middle East.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

N.F., I haven't read the newest Bostom, but I will. I've only read Bostom's "The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims". That's a work that is serious, scholarly, and frightening.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

Professor,

Have you looked yet at The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Text to Solemn History? It is worth your time. In fact, he has written an important work. Moreover, the book will likely have real influence, as it has been noticed by some rather important writers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Martin Gilbert, Richard L Rubenstein, Lee Harris, Nonie Darwish, Efraim Karsh and, most importantly for influencing the public, the extremely influential magazine publisher Martin Peretz. Peretz has written:

All of us who study and write about the Muslim world and its Arab orbit are by now so indebted to Andrew Bostom that it is almost embarrassing to have to admit another debt to him. But so it is. Bostom has now produced a majestic volume of religious and historical Muslim texts, with learned and soundly interpretive essays illuming those texts, that is almost like a concentration in Islamic Studies at a great university. Actually, the book rivets on the ugly and long-ignored (perhaps long-concealed is a more apt phrase) record of rabid antisemitism among Muslims from the time of Mohammed until, well, today. Bostom sheds incandescent light on a subject that the easily-forgiving hearts would prefer to ignore.

Professor Rubinstein writes:

Dr. Andrew Bostom has written and edited the definitive book on Muslim antisemitism. Bostom demolishes, once and for all, the myth that Muslim antisemitism is a twentieth-century European import, conclusively demonstrating that its grim history is as old as Islam itself. He does so by compiling historical documents from many of Islam's most important authorities, as well as the testimony of those who witnessed or fell victim to Muslim aggression and contempt. Bostom also brings together, often for the first time in English, authoritative essays on the subject by some of the most important modern scholars. This is a priceless, indispensable, and authoritative resource which is being made available when it is most needed.

Lastly, Efraim Karsh writes:

It has long been a staple of anti-Israel propaganda that Muslims have never had anything against Judaism or Jews but only against Zionism and Zionists, since the Islamic world has traditionally been free of the virus of antisemitism which is essentially a European phenomenon. In this masterful collection of documents and commentaries by Muslim jurists, theologians, and historians throughout the ages, as well as by prominent scholars of Islam, Andrew G. Bostom debunks this spurious claim by exposing a deep and pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry dating to Islam's earliest days, and indeed to the Prophet Muhammad himself. Small wonder that some of the hoariest and most bizarre themes of European antisemitism should have struck a responsive chord when they made their way into the Islamic and Arab worlds over the course of the centuries, turning them into the most prolific producers of antisemitic ideas and attitudes in today's world.

Read the book. It is worth your time.


art eckstein - 8/7/2008

Thanks for the references, N.F.

As to the last point you raise, that "the Palestinians" are in fact merely Arabs from Southern Syria and for more than half the 20th century viewed themselves precisely in that way and not separately from Syria, yes, of course--Omar himself was confirming my point but he didn't seem to realize this, or what the implications were.

Frankly, I have often wondered whether Omar is not a Mossad agent, planted here on HNN to make Arabs look intellectually ridiculous.


Ben Tzur - 8/7/2008

A further very important point for both Art Eckstein and Omar Ibrahim Baker to add to their reflections is that a very large percentage of the so-called "Palestinians From Time Immemorial" were recent settlers (immigrants) in that area, being drawn there by the rejuvenation of the entire region by the burgeoning Jewish community. As Joan Peters shows in her 600-page book From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine, in elaborate and irrefutably well-documented detail, drawing from Ottoman and British Mandate Palestine archival material and statistics, Arab immigation to the vicinity of Jewish towns and cities, from across the Middle East, was massive: there was no comparable growth in parts of British Mandate Palestine that had no Jewish settlements or cities. This is another reason why there was no "Palestinian people or nation" before the P.L.O. created one: the Arabs of the area come from everywhere in the Middle East, and many of them came quite recently. Even the older settlers often stem from wandering bedouin who ranged from Egypt to Iraq, herding and raiding, sometimes wiping out village populations and settling down in their stead. The two major Arab clans populating Hebron have names indicating the origin of one in the Yemin and the origin of the other in northern Arabia. They were not even "Syrian" in nationality, by any stretch of the imagination. So Omar is comprehensively wrong. And: he knows it. What he is actually arguing for, like so many Christian Palestinians of the PFLP have done, is a purely racist definition of "Palestine," assigning to the Arabs the sole right to live there just as Hitler did in his Lebensraum theory. Even if, as he knows, Yasser Arafat was for example born in Cairo Egypt, and Edward Said similarly, it makes no difference: Palestinian Arabs may have immigrated there recently, or even may like so many now in UNRWA camps claim "Palestinian" ties they never had, but Jews whether anciently and continuously in the land (as tens of thousands were in the late 19th century) or more recent refugees from genocidal persecution by Nazis and Arab regimes, have no right to the land. They, and they alone, are "colonializers."
Naturally, Peters' book aroused howls of protest from anti-Zionists, and despite the fact that its points come straight from British Mandate government statistics and archival documents they have sought repeatedly to try to refute it - but they cannot. Just as photo collections, etchings, paintings and contemporary travelogues from the nineteenth century irrefutably document the barren desolation and nearly uninhabited wasteland that was the Ottoman-era eretz yisrael, so the anti-Zionists bluster that actually the land was densely populated and well-cultivated: when a person lives from lies, nothing is going to move him or her from them. However, to other readers, have a look at www.eretzyisroel.org/~dhershkowitz/index2 for a tour of the Land of Israel 1831-1910. Pictures speak louder than a thousand words.


N. Friedman - 8/7/2008

Professor,

You have, as always, presented your evidence and argument in a cogent manner.

To further address the point raised, it is to be noted that, contrary to the ahistorical presentation by M & W, there is the analysis by historian Michael Oren (Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present), which notes that Zionism and its predecessor beliefs are part and parcel of the American psyche, deriving from the American experience and religious interpretations thereof. This goes back to the beginning of the Republic and, in fact, even earlier.

A recent article on the Foreign Affairs website confirms this analysis. See, The New Israel and the Old: Why Gentile Americans Back the Jewish State, By Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2008.

As for Omar's view, it is nonsensical, with one exception. He correctly states the Arab view - the one spoken when Westerners are not there to be misled. Hence, the Arabs of Palestine did think of themselves are Arabs from Southern Syria. I think that is more correct than not.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Refugees from whom? (Melanie Phillips)

Monday, 4th August 2008

Extraordinary developments in Gaza have given a new meaning to the term ‘Palestinian refugees’. As the Jerusalem Post reports, fierce fighting in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas over the weekend, in which 11 people died and dozens more were wounded, resulted in 180 Fatah refugees fleeing from what they called a ‘war of genocide’ by Hamas against Fatah supporters.

And where did they flee to? Why, to Israel, of course -- which allowed them in and proceeded to treat 23 of them in Israeli hospitals. These refugees say they cannot return to Gaza because they will be killed. How fortunate, therefore, that their own Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, can give them sanctuary in the West Bank!

But hang on – Abbas won’t let them in. Yup, with the exception of five individuals whom he did allow in, he’s denied them all sanctuary. He says they should go back to Gaza. And the invaluable Khaled abu Toameh tells us the reason why:

PA officials explained that the reason behind their refusal to absorb the new ‘refugees’ was their desire not to encourage other residents of the Gaza Strip to leave. ‘Everyone knows that if we allow people to leave the Gaza Strip, almost all the residents living there would try to cross the border into Israel,’

So now Israel, with its iron commitment to human rights, is to hear a court case today where it will be argued that Israel has a moral duty to grant asylum to these Fatah men.

So let’s get this straight: Palestinians committed to the destruction of Israel fled from other Palestinians committed to the destruction of Israel into Israel, which is providing them with sanctuary and medical treatment [REMEMEBER YOUR ASSERTION THAT JEWS DON'T TREAT NON-JEWS, OMAR? BASED ON--LET'S SEE--ISRAEL SHAHAK, WASN'T IT?}. Meanwhile, the president of their putative state who bases his claim against Israel on its alleged refusal to admit Palestinian ‘refugees’ refused to allow actual Palestinian refugees fleeing Palestinian violence access to that same putative state, while Israel agonises over whether to grant them permanent asylum. Surreal, or what?

One of the Fatah men said that:

he too was wounded at the beginning of the clashes. The father of three, who has undergone surgery in his leg, said he first tried to go to a hospital in Gaza City, but was blocked by Hamas. ‘Hamas had closed all the roads leading to the hospital. I wanted to go to Shifa Hospital [in Gaza City], but Hamas did not allow any ambulance to enter our area. In the end, my brother drove me to the Israeli border,’ he said. [WHO CLOSED OFF THE HOSPITALS TO THEIR ENEMIES, OMAR? YOUR FRIENDS]

Closed the roads leading to the hospital... not allowing ambulances to enter the area to collect the wounded...Just consider what that coverage would have been like if it had been Israel rather than Hamas that had behaved like this. BUT OF COURSE THE ISRAELIS DO NOT BEHAVE LIKE THIS.

The Jerusalem Post reports:

At least 12 of those who were wounded in Saturday's fighting were under the age of 15...

What is that unfamiliar sound emanating from all those who routinely scream that Israel kills Palestinian children? It is called silence.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

BT writes:

"None of this actually relates to the real issues, which is that Israel presently exists, having been legally established by the United Nations and recognized by almost all countries, but that the Arab and Muslim world has a basic problem with any non-Arab and non-Muslim state establishing itself anywhere on land once dominated by Arabs/Muslims. According to Islam, and Arab "pride," this cannot happen: it is against God and nature. So it must be fought regardless of the cost. That is why every peace initiative has been sabotaged, no matter what Israel is willing to do to attain one. If Israel were inhabited only by angels, the situation would be the same, the demonization probably just as vicious. If there were no Jewish state, but instead a Christian state, or a Baha'i state, or a Hindu state, in eretz yisrael, there would be much the same demonization and terrorism, although the specifically antisemitic demonization of Israel and Zionism owes something special both to the Qur'an and to the glad reception of Nazi antisemitism in the Arab world (on these influences, see Andrew Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and Mattias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred). It has nothing to do with colonialism, "illegal occupation," or allegedly repressive Israeli responses to Palestinian terrorism, and certainly as even Mr. Baker admits it has nothing to do with a "Palestinian" nationalism - all those are just excuses. Instead it has everything to do with Arab/Muslim honor-shame culture, totalitarian religious ideas, and general glorification of warfare."

This sets the problem exactly right.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

"Accept the equality of all men and women regardless of faith"--Omar

His hypocrisy knows NO boundaries.

For 1500 years his beloved Islam kept non-Muslims in worse than 2nd-class dhimmi status. It still goes on today in the West Bank and Gaza, which is why Christians are fleeing those regions (as they are fleeing or being forced out of Lebanon because of the ferocious Islamism of Omar's beloved Hezbollah: 600,000 since 1989, and 60,000 just since 2006).

As for equality of women? What Islamic world is Omar thinking of? The Islamic maltreatment of women is one of the scandals of the modern age. In TEXAS a Muslim man just murdered his daughter because he didn't like her lifestyle. In GERMANY a judge ruled that apparently it is all right for Muslim men in GERMANY, and even if German citizens, to beat their wives, because that is Muslim culture.

Of course, Theo van Gogh was *murdered* for daring even to talk about it in a WESTERN country (Holland--another example o Omar's "equality of all men and women regardless of faith." And when the murderer saw van Gogh's bereaved mother,the murder said, "You do not appear to be a Muslim. Therefore, I have no sympathy for you." Yet another example of Omar's "equality of all men and women regardless of faith."

Omar has made many outrageously hypocritical statements on this blog over the years. THIS one takes the cake.




omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

But Mr Tzur Zionism has marred all that and its pernicious offspring Israel has irrevocably demonstrated how corrupting to Judaism itself Zionism is and can be!

Dezionize i.e. reject aggression, expansionism ,denial of others' inalienable rights, accept the equality of all men and women regardless of faith (i.e. forget about and discard Jew and Goyim) abandon colonialism, arrogance and racism and Judaism will regain its moral standing.

I would readily agree with you that Judaism was and increasingly is a major victim of Zionism and of Israel.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Omar, I can't help it if lots of Muslims think that 1 + 1 = 3, or if they can't read their own Holy Book.

That's a problem for the current intellectually degenerate Muslim culture, not mine.

I notice you don't even attempt to refute the facts I and Mr. Elliott present. THAT is because you cannot refute them. All you can do is jeer, not argue. Typical of you.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

Prof
you can join Mr. Elliott in his interpretation of Islam...that would not bother us in the least and then both "Chiek" Elliott and "Chiek"
Eckstein can preach it to their hearts' content ...which will make both of you a laughting stock in Islamdom and ,hopefully, take you away from full time advocacy of the aggressive, colonialist and racist doctrine: Zionism.
That is OK by us and by me also!
We have no reason to worry here!


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Mr. Butler, I gave you the title of the standard scholarly book on Britain and Iraq after 1941.

The standard scholarly book on Britain and Iraq in the 1930s is Daniel Silverfarb, Britain's Informal Empire in the Middle East: A Case Study of Iraq, 1929-1941 (Oxford University Press, 1986). The book shows how Britain tried--and failed--to maintain its political influence, economic ascendancy, and strategic position in Iraq after independence in 1932.

Butler, you've got to do better than Wikipedia here. This is a blog where real historians occasionally post.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

On October 13, 1932, Iraq became a sovereign state, and it was admitted to the League of Nations.

On this issue, see Matthew Eliot, "Independent Iraq: British Influence, 1941-1958", which argues that the government while influenced by the British was hardly a puppet of the British. This was already true from 1932. The real ruler of Iraq in the mid-1930s was General Baker al-Sidqi--an admirer or Mussolini.

The situation had deteriorated for British influence so far that the Rashid Ali regime, coming to power in 1940 and declaring neutrality in WWII (no British response), eventually invited in the Luftwaffe, which established bases in Baghdad in April 1941.

These things are more complicated than you will find on Wikipedia.


james joseph butler - 8/6/2008

Art, I imagine you agreed with Gerry Ford when he said that the Poles were self governing during the Cold War. I mean are you kidding? I can cite any number of sources from Brittanica to Foreign Policy to Wikipedia who state that the British installed and effectively controlled the Arab governments in Iraq and Jordan/Transjordan.

The "sands" of the lands that now constitute Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Quatar and the U.A.E. were the only land that the Europeans didn't take from the Arabs after the finished slicing and dicing the remains of the Ottaman Empire.

You don't have a problem with British/French colonialism because it's little different from what occurred in 1947 in Palestine. Land was taken from a third world indigenous people. The Jew/Muslim stuff was as irrelevant as the Protestant/Catholic stuff was in Ireland. It's about taking what's not yours.


Ben Tzur - 8/6/2008

None of this actually relates to the real issues, which is that Israel presently exists, having been legally established by the United Nations and recognized by almost all countries, but that the Arab and Muslim world has a basic problem with any non-Arab and non-Muslim state establishing itself anywhere on land once dominated by Arabs/Muslims. According to Islam, and Arab "pride," this cannot happen: it is against God and nature. So it must be fought regardless of the cost. That is why every peace initiative has been sabotaged, no matter what Israel is willing to do to attain one. If Israel were inhabited only by angels, the situation would be the same, the demonization probably just as vicious. If there were no Jewish state, but instead a Christian state, or a Baha'i state, or a Hindu state, in eretz yisrael, there would be much the same demonization and terrorism, although the specifically antisemitic demonization of Israel and Zionism owes something special both to the Qur'an and to the glad reception of Nazi antisemitism in the Arab world (on these influences, see Andrew Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, and Mattias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred). It has nothing to do with colonialism, "illegal occupation," or allegedly repressive Israeli responses to Palestinian terrorism, and certainly as even Mr. Baker admits it has nothing to do with a "Palestinian" nationalism - all those are just excuses. Instead it has everything to do with Arab/Muslim honor-shame culture, totalitarian religious ideas, and general glorification of warfare.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

You still miss the point.

If you focus obsessively on AIPAC and "magic Jews", you do not see that AIPAC is only ONE interest group among many powerful interest groups and you end up asserting (as both you and the anti-semite Thomsen have) that AIPAC and its "magic Jews" run U.S. policy, and to the detriment of U.S. interests.

You know, Omar--your obsession with AIPAC is like your assertion that Rupert Murdoch was Jewish.

Actually, Omar, your assertions about the magic power of "magic Jews" has its origin in the Nazi propaganda beamed continuously to the Middle East during WWII, fostered by your hero the Nazi al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the friend of Hitler and Himmler, and reflected in the Hamas Charter (complete with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion). Previous anti-semitism in Islam focused on the Jews as *weak.* What YOU write is actually an example of how you are victimized by European cultural imperialism--and it is the absolute *worst* of Europe that you have adopted.


Ben Tzur - 8/6/2008

Thank you, Richard Landes, for that reference! Actually, I just now came back onto this blog precisely to enter just that reference into it, as a beautiful and very topical and incisive response to the bizarre claims of Omar Baker. He has justified every form of terrorism and bloodshed by the Palestinians to the alleged "colonializing Israelis," ignoring that actually there are lots of local peoples who have managed to relate to perceived or actual persecution (e.g., Jews never used terrorism against Muslim and Christian populations over many centuries of severe persecutions and pogroms), and/or encroaching neighbours without responding with such evil and indiscriminate violence. But the Palestinian culture of death and violence has always above all harmed the Palestinians themselves, and they have suffered the most casualties from it as well as blocked off by it every possible positive resolution of their misery. The current gangland warfare in Hamasastan and Fatahland, and the recourse of the victims to help precisely from Israel and its more decent society, really tells the tale, as Melanie Phillips shows.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

Hot air+hot air +hot air=hot air

A writer can choose to tackle one subject at a certain time if he things it is important which DOES NOT mean that it is the only important thing around.
A writer can write a book on American armament without covering, in the same book or a future book, Chinese armament although both are very highly interconnected.

A book about poetry does not have to address painting, or even prose, at the sane time in the same book though both are forms of art and as such are highly connected.

But that is A, B & C that any of your students would know....not surprising that you DO NOT know though considering...the issue .
However as you state NOT all American administrations are totally and irredeemably servile to AIPAC &Co.

Some do, though quite rarely, remember, occasionally, that their primary concern should be the interests of the USA, not Israel's, and the well being of the American, not the Israeli, people .
Very rare but it does and did happen.


Ben Tzur - 8/6/2008

Sure, Thomsen, it is an enormous charge, since no other group in history has benefited humanity so much as the Jews have per capita, and so your attitudes should be saluted as the fully perverse things they are. E.g., all the highest ethical and spiritual values of Christianity and Islam, without their calls for jihad or claims of exclusive salvation, are derived from Judaism, and much in secular democracy and other modern idealistic movements derives from Judaism too. Jewish universalism is far broader than that of its daughter religions too, since it is taught in the Talmud, on Biblical bases, that the righteous exist in all cultures and religions, and that they all have a place in the World-to-Come, i.e., will be saved, just because God is so merciful. The contributions that continued through the Middle Ages still go on today in all the arts and sciences: although Jews are only 0.25% of the world's population, i.e., only under 3 in every 1,000, they have produced about 23% of all Nobel prizes between 1901 and 2005. Their contributions to each of the natural and the social sciences have often fundamentally shaped those sciences; their writers have contributed in major ways to almost every Western cultural tradition, their philosophers influenced how we see the world, their politically engaged thinkers contributed fundamentally both to liberal and conservative streams of thought, etc., etc. Simply their medical innovations and discoveries, and the work of the disportionately high percentage of Jews who are doctors, have saved or improved hundreds of millions, perhaps by now billions of lives. No wonder Thomsen is so jealous. Gratitude is the hardest thing for certain sorts of people. He obviously thinks it should be replaced by the suspicion all these Jewish contributions must serve some other, underground and sinister purpose, or were just made up anyway and unfairly stolen from non-Jews. Poor fellow.


Ben Tzur - 8/6/2008

Obviously Mr Thomsen is an antisemite who believes in the sinister power of the Jewish conspiracy of the Elders of Zion. Odd, though, that there is so much leftist anti-Israel propaganda in the media then, of which Cravatts in our main article complains and documents chapter and verse. How can that be if the media is "owned by Jews for other Jews"? Could it be that this anti-Zionist defamation and even antisemitism itself too is all part of a Zionist plot, and that Mr. Omar Baker, to take a ready example, is actually a Zionist or in the pay of the Zionists? Maybe the deep and sinister intention is to make the anti-Zionist pro-Palestinian position look so obviously hate-filled and inspired by idiotic and ranting fanaticism that it will be discredited by any sensible or decent person. Wow, what fiendish Zionists. In that case, maybe Mr. "Thomsen" is himself a secret Zionist or in the pay of the Elders of Zion? Cool. Let's trade our secret high signs, and neat upside-down handshakes, brother!

Why are there presently 87 responses to this blog thread, far more than to other more pressing matters at the History News Network? Because no other issue pulls the trogodytes from their holes so readily. So it has been down through the ages.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

No, Omar, you still fail to see the methodological point:

AIPAC is powerful and influential. But if you ONLY talk about the power and influence of AIPAC, and on that basis then talk essentially about a "Zionist Occupied Government" (like the insane anti-semite Mr. Thomsen)--while ignoring all the *other* interests groups which exist in Washington and which are also quite effective (including prominently the Saudis)--then you run a serious risk of a grotesquely distorted view of what has gone on and is going on.

In fact, Omar, your assertions on this subject are a perfect example of the distortions that occur. Since you *know* the methodological mistake you constantly make here, for it has been pointed out to you several times in the past, this is not ignorance on your part but malice (or, perhaps, an inability to handle complexity).

But just to cite some facts:

In 1957 President Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai and Gaza without compensation.

In 1977 President Carter halted all military aid for six months while he had a "reappraisal" of the situation.

In 1979 Carter threatened to cut off all American aid to Israel unless the Israelis went along with the Camp David Accords with Egypt

In 1981 President Reagan sold AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia over vociferous israeli objections. This scenario has happened several times since then, though American sale of weaponry to Arab states bent on israel's destruction is obviously dangerous to Israel.

In 1982 the U.S. distanced itself from the Israeli war with Lebanon

In 1991 the first President Bush prevented Israeli retaliation against Saddam Hussein's SCUD missle attacks on civilian population areas

The first President Bush also withheld American loan guarantees over Israeli West Bank settlements.

I could add to the list. I offer it to our readers rather than to Omar, who well *knows* this list but is impervious to actual FACTS, as he is impervious to the methodological point of "seeing the whole board" in order to avoid gross distortions.

The problem is that he's obsessed with "magic Jews" with their enormous secret power.

Sigh.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Yet you BASE your claim to all of Israel being under Arab control on that same right of conquest, Omar. It just happened earlier.



art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Mr. Baker has been here before with his distortions and propaganda.

Just to stick to the "law of Return", which is the only evidence he offers that israel is an "avowedly racist state": dozens of other nations around the world have the same "law of Return";

1. Long-standing examples include China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Korea, and Turkey.

2. Newer examples include almost every new nation in post-Communist eastern Europe. The Czech Republic is an interesting case, because the repatriation law here goes along with a law forbidding the return of the Germans expelled in 1945. No one objects.

The approach of Omar to this subject is similar to his approach elsewhere--"crimes" are only "crimes" when Jews do what every other ordinary nation does.

And THAT sort of intellectual behavior, by the way, fits the European Union definition of anti-semitism. To wit;

"Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

1. Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

2. Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation."


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

"The only land the Arabs were allowed to keep were [sic] the sands of Saudi Arabia."

Mr. Butler, your history is as bad as your grammar.

Feisal of Mecca received Iraq to rule, and his brother Abdullah received Transjordan to rule. They were real rulers, too. "Saudi Arabia" didn't exist at the time of the San Remo Conference. Ibn Saud the religious fanatic conquered it from the Hashemite family (which included Feisal and Abdullah) by the sword in the mid-1920s, and i remains the only country on earth named after a *family*.

The Hashemite sherifs of Mecca certainly came out of WWI with huge winnings--but of course they were bitter, because they had wanted more for their personal (but still Arab) empire, including Syria (and the area that became the Palestine Mandate).


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

As expected an inane repost!
W&M chose to write about AIPAC and Co , the inane professor can do the same on all or one of the lobbies at work in the USA including the Saudi or solely on the Saudi if he so chooses .
However there is no literary or moral law that EVERYTHING connected to a certain topic shall be addressed, in toto,in the same book or nothing at all.
Going by the multi awarded Professor's theory means one can NOT write a book about, say, "Germany at war" without making that "Germany, France, Britain, USA, Japan, Italy etc etc etc at war"
Or one can not write a book, say, “About Islam” without making it a "About Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Marxism etc etc etc"
Ridiculous and inane...not surprisingly though!
The thing to register though is that they, the herd, would rather than NO book(s) at all be ever written about AIPAC & Co.
Books seem to frighten and unbalance them, fishy indeed.
Suppression of books may soon become a major task to undertake by them.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008


I choose to dwell for now on Paul Damian O'Shea’s Re: What Is ISRAEL ??? (#125961)on August 4, 2008 at 3:56 AM.
In it he states that:

“As I teach my students, the best answer is usually the simple one. What is Israel? Israel is a sovereign state, created in 1948 by will of the emergent Israeli people and the will of the United Nations. Only if that primary fact is accepted and acknowledged as immutable, can any fruitful discussion follow in relation to realities since then.”


Which answer is, indeed, a simple but fundamentally simplistic and far from complete answer meant primarily for those that are neither concerned with neither history and morality nor with human rights.
I do suspect that some, if not all, of Mr. O’Shea ‘s students are interested in history, human rights and morality as normal human beings, and particularly students, normally ARE..
By ignoring and bypassing those two fundamental precepts Mr O’Shea is doing his students a disfavor and , in a round about way, is not doing his job properly by omitting both precepts


However to avoid falling into the pit, in Mr O’Shea”s own words, of “Distortion of history” which, also according to Mr. O’Shea ” serves no one “ that simplistic statement of his should be preceded by a short run down of facts that preceded and be inclusive of others that succeeded the establishment of Israel in Palestine..

A-
The most salient historically confirmed facts that PRECEDED its establishment are :
1-Palestine has been uninterruptedly for, at least, the last fourteen centuries an Arab country in the cultural/nationalist sense .
2-Pre British mandate, i.e. post WWI, its demographic composition was composed of 80 % Arabs, !0 % Jews and 10% others.
3-British mandate enabled Jewish emigration into Palestine against the express will of the overwhelming majority of its people i.e. 80% + of its people.
4-Throughout the period of British mandate British/Jewish collusion managed to deny the people of Palestine their inalienable right to SELF DETERMINATION.
5-Jewish emigration was primarily sustained through the continuous and unremitting denial of the Palestinian people his right to SELF DETERMINATION.
6-The British mandate enabled Jewish emigrants to have their own army, the Haganah, and their own shadow government, the Jewish Agency.
7-During that same period the Palestinian people, except the Jews, both indigenous and newly arrived colons, was relentlessly disarmed and the possession of arms by them was punishable by hanging.
8-The British mandate ended with the number of Jews accruing, through British enabled migration (Always against the express will of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people and their continued denial of SELF DERERMINATION) to something like 42% of the total population with a “nationalist” claim on Palestine.

9-Under intense Zionist world wide Jewry and USA pressure the UN General Assembly decided to “PARTITION” Palestine between its indigenous people and the newly arrived colons, allocating the 42% Jews some 52 % of the total area of Palestine..

AND

B-
The most pertinent FACTS that Succeeded the establishment of Israel in Palestine are:
1-Israel managed to occupy militarily 72% of the total area of Palestine i.e. some 20% more that its UNGA land allocation ; thus depriving the Palestinians of 58.33 % (48-20/48=58.33%) of their land allocation by that same UNGA land allocation.

2-Israel launched a massive ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestinian Arabs from all the lands that fell under its military domination.implemented through the active implementation of a policy of;

2.1 - forced Arab population transfer as in the case of Lid (Lod), Ramla etc,;

(http://www.israelipalestinianprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-I-Sub-Q02.db&;;command=viewone&op=t&id=11&rnd=762.6522443545272#early)

2.2 -the complete obliteration, by demolition, of whole villages and Arab population centers; some 400 in total; (http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/destroyed_villages/34.htm)

and
2.3 -a reign of terror imposed in Israeli permanently or temporarily conquered and occupied areas via whole sale well publicized massacres of Palestinians civilians as in Deir Yassin, Jenin, Tantura etc (http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/massacres/index.htm)


3- Persistently and adamantly rejected, then and now, to implement UNGA resolutions to allow Palestinians refugees the RIGHT of and to Return to their homeland and regain their legitimate possessions. (http://al-awda.org/)

4-Established an avowed RACIST regime best epitomized by its, the Israeli, “Law of Return” which restricts that “right” or privilege to world wide JEWS exclusively and explicitly denies it to the indigenous Palestinian Arabs .


Mr. O’Shea you correctly state that “Distortion of history serves no one “
Which “Distortion of history” certainly encompasses the suppression or omission of pertinent facts as you certainly know.

So Mr O’Shea, for you to be a good and honest teacher and to be true to your own words , you OWE it to your student to acquaint them with these indisputable historical facts .




.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

"The excesses of the zealots may succeed today, briefly, as they succeeded for a moment several times before, but such excesses are likely to lead again to disaster!"

How true , pertinent and foresightful!

Israel Shahak's spirit and morality will live for ever and those that ignore them will rue the day they did!
I have repeatedly contended that Zionism will turn out to be one of the worst thing that ever happened to the Jews; hopefully it will NOT be worst than the abominable Holocaust ..
that, however, does NOT please me but seems to be fatefully preordained with the continuous rise of the Israeli right! .
The tragedy of the whole situation is that ALL will suffer, and suffer greatly, before that lesson (“but such excesses are likely to lead again to disaster!") is learned and digested by the Zionists, the Israelis and by the Jews in general!
(Thank you Mr Davis!)


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

Omar, what is there difficult to interpret about the following:


'And [remember] when Moses said to his people: 'O my people, call in remembrance the favour of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously from it.'" [Qur'an 5:20-21].

There is nothing difficult to interpret here, Omar.

Perhaps also, Omar, you can point out to me where JERUSALEM is mentioned in the Koran as a holy site for Islam--or mentioned at all.

In fact--it ISN"T.


art eckstein - 8/6/2008

No, Omar--the question is that AIPAC has to be seen in the CONTEXT of all other interest groups, including the very powerful and wealthy Saudis, and not examined all ALONE, as if ONLY Jewish organization influenced U.S. policy! This is elementary methodology. Something you simply don't understand.

In an earlier thread last summer, I listed the long list of U.S. policies that benefitted the Saudis or other Arab states in terms of weaponry, or hurt the Israelis, and which the Israelis opposed, and which Congress or Presidents enacted.

Sorry to bother you with complicated FACTS.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

"by the way, how come Thomsen and his kameraden don't complain about Saudi influence on US policy???? " asks Elliott!

The answer is very simple: because their book was about AIPAC/Jewish influence and NOT about all the influences acting on and in the American system.

The question is worthy of the multi awarded Professor who possibly would NOT know that simple answer!

However I believe I read some where that Mr. Elliott is a Professor...for him to ask such a "naive", but certainly consciously deceptive question, pretending that he does NOT know the answer is truly far from being professorial; if any thing it is childish and demagogic!

Pity what Zionism does to the Professorial métier!


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

Elliott
I doubt Sheik Elliott's interpretation of the Koran will ever gain currency and acceptability by and in Islamdom!

If anything at all the most promising recent development is that the Palestinian issue has become a pan Islamic issue wherein Islam, and Islamdom, are now totally concerned and committed to meet and repel Zionism/Israel aggression and peril.

At long last Zionism has come to meet with its true nemesis: Islam.
However you can believe whatever you fancy re the verses of the Koran...it does not bother us!


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

Elliott
Once again:
"I am happy that you implicitly avow that Zionism/Israel , in the 20th century, replicated in act and behaviour that that was common practice some fifteen centuries before!

Which is why I have maintained and stated all along that Zionism/Israel is a RETROGRESSIVE movement and doctrine that fails to recognize human progress and is a throw back to the practices of old of "stronger tribe" supplants weaker tribe for better pastures etc.
Here we certainly see eye to eye Elliott!"


omar ibrahim baker - 8/6/2008

Elliott
"2-That except for British allowed massive Jewish migration into Palestine which malignantly distorted the natural demographic composition of Palestine the whole issue would have evolved very very differently. .

However it is typical that you wanted more and more and are never satisfied with what you get no matter how little you deserve it as in this case.
That goes a long way to explain your historical disharmony with, practically all, your surroundings. Does it NOT?

XXXXAnd that I assure you will be your undoing! XXXX

Re the verses of the Koran that you refer to : if you understand that to mean a Jewish nation/state in Palestine then your understanding of the Koran will be confined to you !
Good for you…go on believing in that .That is OK by me!"

I am happy that you implicitly avow that Zionism/Israel , in the 20th century, replicated in act and behaviour that that was common practice some fifteen centuries before!

Which is why I have maintained and stated all along that Zionism/Israel is a RETROGRESSIVE movement and doctrine that fails to recognize human progress and is a throw back to the practices of old of "stronger tribe" supplants weaker tribe for better pastures etc.
Here we certainly see eye to eye Elliott!




art eckstein - 8/6/2008

More ahistorical propaganda from Omar.

But what do we expect from someone who asserts that the authenticity of the fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion is "an open question" because lots of people (translation: a lot of anti-semitic people and websites) say its real? Omar has a soul-companion in this vicious anti-semite Thomsen who is suddenly posting here.

But Omar, Arabs didn't live in the area some call Palestine from time immemorial: they conquered it, bloodily, in the 7th century A.D., and even afterwards, up until the 12th century, the majority of the poplulation in that region was non Muslim (according to Arab sources).

And so little was this region part of Mohammed's thought in his own time that we find this in the Koran:

'And [remember] when Moses said to his people: 'O my people, call in remembrance the favour of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously from it.'" [Qur'an 5:20-21]


Kenneth Laurence Davis - 8/5/2008

Morally, Jewish tradition commands us to act justly, especially when actions seem imprudent and embarrassing, and never to be silent, even to protect Jewish unity. This Jewish morality has taken one form, recurrently, throughout the ages. Even in bad times, when Jews were under fierce attack, their moral teachers gave no exceptions. The prophets knew that Assyria and Babylonia were far more wicked than Judea, but they held Judea to account, even as the Assyrians and the Babylonians were advancing. "Only you have I known among all the nations of the world; therefore I will hold you to account for all your sins."

There were other voices in the days of the prophets. The prophets Amos, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and all the rest, were opposed, generation after generation, by prophets who belonged to the royal courts, who assured the king that his conduct was beyond reproach. The biblical prophets were harassed as traitors who weakened the resolve of a small people—but it is their "treason," and not the prudence of the court prophets, that is our unique Jewish tradition. While the official soothsayers denounced the enemies of the king, the prophets whom we revere followed after Nathan, who dared to confront King David with murdering Uriah and stealing his wife. Nathan defended this Hittite stranger against a divinely appointed Jewish king: "You are the man," he said to David: you are morally responsible.

In the memory of the Holocaust we have been reminded by you that silence is a sin. You have spoken out against indifference and injustice. Why are you making a special exception of Israel? Do you think that our silence will help Israel? The texts that we study and restudy teach the contrary. "Israel will be redeemed by righteousness, and those who return to it, by acts of loving kindness." To be silent is an act of misplaced love. Such silence gives free reign to the armed zealots of ages past, and of this day. Several times in our history, armed zealots have led the Jewish people to glorious disasters. Encouragement by silence, of the kind some of the rabbis gave the zealots when they declared war on Rome in the first century, has a long history of being tragically wrong. We dare not repeat this mistake.

The excesses of the zealots may succeed today, briefly, as they succeeded for a moment several times before, but such excesses are likely to lead again to disaster. Teachers of morality must not indulge the zealots of today, and not only because zealotry does not work. To suppress the weak because of our own supposed weakness is against the very essence of our tradition. When we were a group of hunted former slaves in the desert, Moses proclaimed, as divine teaching, that we should not oppress strangers, for we had been oppressed as strangers in the land of Egypt. This injunction is unconditional...

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4339


art eckstein - 8/5/2008

No, Omar--it means if you want to start punishing acts you consider criminal, start with the real criminals, for instance, China.

Or Egypt (expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Greeks, with no compensation for property loss)

Or Sudan (expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Darfurians and the genocide of hundreds of thousands more--all with the PROTECTION of the Arab League)

But YOU are only interested in Jews. Not in principles.


james joseph butler - 8/5/2008

Well Eliot at least you decided to premise your arguement on a document which is more than Mr.Cravatts' whine could say. The San Remo Conference is not widely discussed in regards to the fate of Palestine for the obvious reason that it did little more than to affirm the Sykes Picot Treaty and the Balfour Declaration.
When Britain, France, Italy and Japan determine the allocation of land in Palestine that's called Colonialism. The only land the Arabs were allowed to keep post WW1 were the sands of Saudi Arabia, needless to say that omission had everything to do with its perceived worthlessness.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

james, in 1920 the San Remo Conference assigned all of the Land of Israel, roughly speaking the Roman province of Judea, on both sides of the Jordan, to the Jewish National Home. So your playing with percentages is ill-informed. The UN GA partition recommendation of 11-29-1947 recommended borders for two states, Jewish and Arab, plus an international entity in and around Jerusalem. But the Arabs did not accept this recommendation and made war on it. Thus, Israel was perfectly right to take and keep as much of the Jewish National Home as it could. It is the Palestinian Authority and Jordan that occupy land assigned to the Jews in 1920 that was also historically Jewish.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

but Louis, the Arabs conquered the country and oppressed, humiliated and exploited the Jews there.

The Arabs as such are not indigenous to Israel. Since the Arab Conquest, the Middle East as a whole has been on a downslope culturally and economically, except for the tragedy that they have so much oil that is important to modern economies and the modern way of life. The Orient is no longer a great, flourishing center of civilization as it was before the Arab conquest.

And Louis, why don't you check out what Karl Marx wrote about Muslim domination in the Ottoman Empire and the harmful effect this had on the possibility of progress??


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

Thomsen believes in the insane Nazi claim that the US Govt is ZOG [a "Zionist Occupied Govt"]. It is my conviction and that of many others, not only Jews, that the State Dept has historically been anti-Israel and still is.

By the way, Thomsen got some support for his false claim from Walt-Mearsheimer. But W-M are both State Dept consultants. So their ridiculous, lie-laden book seems to have been a State Dept effort to smear supporters of Israel so that the State Dept could make US policy even more hostile to Israel and Jewish rights than it already is.

by the way, how come Thomsen and his kameraden don't complain about Saudi influence on US policy???? Didn't Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11 demonstrate Saudi influence?? The influence of Saudi Prince Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador, has been much discussed and was also subject to a criminal investigation in the UK.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

If the Arabs would only acknowledge what's written in their Qur'an that Allah assigned the Holy Land to the Jews [5:20-22] and that the Jews will return to their land, then the Arabs' supposely basic religious text could be a way to help them come to terms with Israel.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

Omar, since you like to go back in history, often incorrectly since you are wrong about 14 centuries of Arab majority habitation in Israel and about the Arabs being "indigenous," when they usurped the country, came in as brutal conquerors, etc., then you should admit that the Arab invasion of the 7th century was a usurpation, a colonization, an injustice, a disaster for civilization.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

Omar, don't you know that Israel did not have a Muslim majority till after the Crusades? Al-Muqaddasi writes of a Christian majority in the country in his time, the late 10th century.
The Christian population mainly spoke Aramaic before the Arab conquest, although the upper crust spoke Greek. They were not Arabs, by the way. So Omar is wrong in claiming 14 centuries of Arab majority habitation. Anyhow, the Arab conquerors massacred and expelled most of the native population along the Mediterranean coast [in the coastal towns] and settled Arabs in their place, although in the case of Tripoli, the Arabs took Jews from somewhere and brought them to settle the city after the Christians had fled [see al-Baladhdhuri, inter alia].

The name Filastin was used for only the southern part of Israel [Palaestina Prima] before the Crusades but not afterwards. Thus, after the Crusades Arabs and Muslims did not use the name for any country or district. Nor did they perceive a separate country in what we Jews traditionally call the Land of Israel. To the Arabs, what they now conveniently call "palestine [filastin]" was an indistinct part of bilad ash-Sham.

After the first Zionist Congress, Yusuf Dia al-Khalidi [related to Walid and Rashid, Obama's friend] wrote a letter to the chief rabbi of France, Zadoc Kahn, admitting that the country belonged to the Jews.

Musa Kazem el-Husseini [al-Husayni] was the main leader of the Arabs in the country right after WW I. He and other leading Arabs wanted the country to be part of the Syrian kingdom set up by Faisal the Hashemite until the French chased Faisal away with his entourage [1920]. Only then did Musa Kazem Husseini and his comrades start thinking in terms of "palestine", juridically created under international law at San Remo in April 1920 to be the territorial name of the Jewish National Home. Unfortunately, the San Remo Conferene did not use either the name Israel or the name Judea [IUDAEA] that the Romans had used.

Don't forget, Omar, that the British used your people as tools against the Jews.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

Omar, the Arabs conquered the Land of Israel. They were invaders. They were empire-builders, imperialists, colonialists.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/5/2008

Omar, yes, the Balfour Declaration was a victory for Zionism. But later British govts. undermined and eviscerated the Jewish National Home which was set up under international law at the San Remo Confernce in 1920. Among other anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish British policies was to restrict Jewish immigration into the country, particularly in the 1939 White Paper for "palestine." That is, the UK kept Jews out of the internationally designated Jewish National Home during the Holocaust when the Jews most needed a home. They also allowed your brethren in Iraq to massacre Jews in the Baghdad Farhud of Spring 1941.

You complain about Jewish immigrants. But you forget that Arabs conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century, oppressing, humiliating, exploiting Jews and other non-Muslims in the country. If it were not for the Arab invasion, most likely fewer Jews would have emigrated from Israel and fewer would have died in persecutions in Europe and the Middle East over the centuries. Don't forget that Arab auxiliary troops helped the Roman forces capture Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, destroying the Temple [Tacitus, The Histories, 5:1].

The 7th century Arab conquest involved massacres, population expulsions and transfers, "ethnic cleansing," etc. perpetrated against the native population. See the Arab historian al-Baladhdhuri [Futuh al-Buldan; Conquests of the Lands] if you don't believe me. This book is also available in English translation, where the author's name is spelled al-Baladhuri.
Arabs also took over Jewish homes in Israel, as at Tiberias, and settled Arab tribesmen in the Jews' homes.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/5/2008

All that the multi awarded Professor, Eckstein no less, has to say is either:
-More false extrapolation and conscious distortion of my words or my personality ( about which, for the latter , I do NOT give a hoot; considering its provenance.)
OR
-His often repeated assertion that the Palestinian plight, al Nakba, is not UNIQUE.
Which , if any thing, means that that particular crime, and the criminals who perpetrated it, should be absolved and NOT punished since other peoples suffered their own calamities.

Which only indicates how far his erudition and his morals can go.
Good for the University of M.....


james joseph butler - 8/5/2008

Dr. Cravatt's screed is as empty headed as a McCain/Obama campaign ad. And just like those advertisements the more simplistic and shrill the verbiage, "kindergarten graduates with blood soaked hands", the more comments/posts generated.

If Cravatt wanted to move beyond myth, "a coddled and insulated professoriate" with "antipathy for the perceived ills of capitalism" and Israel, to discuss the catalysts for Zionism and Israel: late 19th century Russian pogroms, European colonialism-Sykes Picot,debts to British Jews,the Holocaust, American/Truman's biblical beliefs, he would have to defend, "a land without a people for a people without a land."

Cravatt and company will not engage in such discussions because the facts are undeniable. The Jewish population in 1948, largely fresh off the boats from Europe, was one third of the population of Palestine. They owned 7% of the land. The U.N. gave Israel 56% of Palestine. Sixty years later with the installation of the WALL the Palestinians are left with 17% of their former land. Cravatt's response, "Get over it."


Louis Nelson Proyect - 8/5/2008

"How could this have happened to a country that is the Middle East’s only thriving democracy and enjoys a remarkably robust economy that has spawned some 1000 startup high tech companies, for example, second only to the U.S.?"

---

I love the touch about 1000 startup high tech companies, as if that compensates for stealing land and water from Palestinians. It is if a supporter of apartheid South Africa made some point about the fine vineyards there, or the game preserves. Who cares? Stop killing and stealing resources from Arabs and then maybe the world will not hate Israel so much.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/5/2008

No amount of sophistry and pseudo scholarship by either Tzur or Eckstein can :
a- Detract or negate the facts on the ground supported by a long history and permanent geography that Palestine is part of greater Syria which together with Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula form the Mashreq ( the eastern wing) of the Arab nation which also includes Egypt and the Sudan and in Al Maghreb (its western wing ) encompass Libya, Tunis, Algeria and Morocco .

All as perceived by an overwhelming majority of Arabs in the above defined human , cultural/nationalist and geographic scope.
b-That Palestinians did and still do believe themselves to be Arabs dwelling in an Arab land/country called Palestine, presently occupied and dominated by alien colons, which, geographically, is, geographically, part of greater Syria etc
c- No amount of objective analysis of or deduction from any of my words would lead to any of the ill willed and consciously deceptive extrapolation of my words by both pseudo scholars.

( To simplify the concept for newcomers consider the analogy that: the state of Georgia is part of the South of the Eastern seaboard of the USA; wherein no contradiction occurs between any of the terms used to describe the state Georgia's nationalist affiliation and geographic location.)


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

Mr Cravetts would have you think that Jew hatred stems from the "Christ killer" myths... or some such rot.

Jews EARN EVERY calorie expended to fight them.

Ethnocentric to a fault - megomaniacal in their own self worth - and stealth ownership of my government.

That's enough for me. I don't like em and I'm rootin for Islam. At least they are an enemy I can see.


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

You are equating hard earned anti semitism with Francophobia?

Be honest about the enormity of the charge sir?


Howard Berg - 8/5/2008

yeah, I've heard the same exact comments about Polish people. Also, the French and Russians.

Even catholics and seventh-day-adventits.

At least you're honest in disliking a 'group' here and there.

Imagine !


Howard Berg - 8/5/2008

Nobody will 'ban' you. But you have yet to answer the cogent, accurate article written by R. Cravetts.

Or have not yet digested the many concise and historically written comments on this article.

The essay by Mr. Cravetts answers very clearly those statements that you have made !


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

Sorry - but speaking as a model Jew hater - I consider it the moral high ground.

My hatred of Jews as a group stems from the behavior of the group - as a group- hiding the ethnocentric nature of the group - and then punishing anyone who notices.

Sorry - you guys get what you give.


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

Sorry - but speaking as a model Jew hater - I consider it the moral high ground.

My hatred of Jews as a group stems from the behavior of the group - as a group- hiding the ethnocentric nature of the group - and then punishing anyone who notices.

Sorry - you guys get what you give.


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

free media - like what you have in the US? -- owned by Jews for other Jews.


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

I'm not a Jew

NEXT?

All these comments need to be vetted for their ethnocentric bias. That is the charge right?

Well, it seems to be true. When we hear anything said by a Muslim - we are told that it must be weighed against the intrinsic bias of Muslims.

How about JEWS? -- come on guys - this is pretty fundamental. You don't have to be a nazi to complain of the hive.


Jack Jerald Thomsen - 8/5/2008

Israel has had the best marketing of any minority in history - including but not confined to

1 A half decade of 3 hanky holocaust film

2. complete control of their own press

3. ownership of the most powerful government in history.

IF everybody still hates you - these are the reasons.

Yet you thump for MORE control of every venue to advance your own at the expense of everyone else.

Could this be the historic reasons for your reputation?

just a thought... and now I'll be banned from the board.

[uh, another reason for the hatred]


art eckstein - 8/5/2008

This is simple: If the Arabs dwelling in the southern part of Syria called Palestine after 1922 had seen themselves as historically and organically a separate "Palestinian people" from Arab Syrians, they would have *celebrated* the creation of a separate Palestine Mandate in 1922 since it would have supported and confirmed their long-held identity, instead of mourning it as "the Naqba"--which they did--because it separated them from Syria.

In fact, the Palestinians did not fight as a unified people even in 1948, but village by village, which is why the Israelis defeated them. See Benny Morris' new book "1948".

This means that the "Palestinians" of today are a recent and artificial construct. BT rightly notes that Palestinian nationalism eventually developed in direct mirroring of Israeli nationalism, down even to directly copying Israeli slogans.

But then most nationalisms are artificial constructs (including, e.g., American, French, and israelis. I would also say that this history, while important in terms of establishing nuance (a concept foreign to Omar) and making everyone (especially Palestinians) modest in their historical claims, does not detract from the political reality that Palestinian nationalilsm, however recent and artifical its origins, does exist now. (I've said this before.)


Ben Tzur - 8/5/2008

Amazingly, Mr. Baker is so clouded by his hostilities and knee-jerk rejectionism that he even thinks he is scoring a point against his critics when in fact he is explicitly confirming their points. Now he "refutes" Eckstein and myself by insisting that yes, the "Palestinian" identity was really all along just a modality of Syrian nationalism in the first half of the 20th century, and so, it follows, has only been invented as a separate nationality at least for most Palestinians since the 60s -- and then, I might add, only to serve as a foil to Israeli nationalism and identity. Even now as in the 30s many secular Palestinian intellectuals yearn for a pan-Arab (racialist and secular) state centred in Damascus, not for a really independent state of "Palestine." How telling, in fact, that the Fatah/P.L.O. Palestinians really invented their identity as a negative mirror image to the Jewish Israeli identity: that is how recent, how derivative and how artificial it is. For example, what about the Palestine National "Covenant" (where did they get that term from?) which calls for a "Right of Return" for all Palestinians to the land of Palestine and declares Palestine a "secular democratic state" when none of the three terms applied -- except when used to describe Israel.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/5/2008

As always the multiawarded Professor is wrong.
They, ie the Palestinians, saw themselves, and still do, as Arabs dwelling in that part of southern Syria called Palestine.


Richard Landes - 8/5/2008

http://www.theaugeanstables.com/2008/08/04/gaza-anomalies-blow-pcps-circuits-result-the-sounds-of-silence/


art eckstein - 8/5/2008

Excellent post, BT.

Perhaps one should add:

Tthe original use of the term "the Naqba" by Arabs referred to the creation of the Palestine Mandate in 1922, precisely because it created a Palestine *separate* from Syria! They saw themselves then as Syrians.


art eckstein - 8/5/2008

There was no "forced entry" of Jews imposed by the British; it's simply untrue.

Between 1921 and 1929 the British *allowed* Jewish immigration in a freer way than the Ottomans had done; the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and he League of Nations Mandate of 1922 *encouraged* immigration; but it was totally up to the Jewish Diaspora, and while in one year in the mid-1920s the Jewish immigration was 33,000, in the late 1920s the total was about 4,000 a year.

After that, the British favored the Arabs. From 1937 to 1948 the British Empire tried to prevent the creation of a Jewish state and severely restricted immigration. They actively prevented Jewish state-building organizations. As the British withdrew from Palestine, they tried to turn positions over to the Arabs, sold weapons to Iraq and Jordan, and refused to sell to the Jews.

"Colonial" powers generally provided safe passage for their citizens, gave and ensured them favored positions in the colony, guaranteed trade and markets and protection. None of this existed for the Jews in Palestine. Despite Omar's fantasies of "forced insertion", the Jews lacked imperial protection.

Most "colonial" settlers built private estates and plantatons for profit and gain, but the Jews who immigrated created hundreds of villages based on socialist premises. Most "colonial" settlers got free land grants, or land cheap from the imperial government; Jews bought land from Arabs at exorbitant prices (and no one forced the Arabs to sell); most "colonial" settlers depended on native labor; the Jews did not use Arab labor at all but only their own.

Their success can't be ascribed to the British, or the structure of British colonialism in the Palestine Mandate.

If Omar wants to see a people who really HAVE been imperialized, he should think about the Tibetans--invaded by the Chinese, millions of forced immigrants inserted by government force from China, the total destruction of Tibetan culture since 1950s, millions of Tibetan dead, the destruction of 9/10s of all Tibetan religious sites. Yet China is holding the Olympics this year, and sits on the Security Council of the UN.

No, Omar--the Palestinian trauma is NOT unique. Many peoples have suffered far worse. It's just a fact.


Ben Tzur - 8/5/2008

This comment really ought to have gone into the section headed "What is Israel???" as a response to Mr. Omar Baker and his amazingly self-deluded distortions. It is standard behavior for such types to excerpt sentences from things said or written by Ben Gurion or Dayan or others of Israel's leaders (or maybe not actually said at all but put into their mouths holus-bolus), taking them out of context and as evidence of the opposite views that they were actually arguing for. This is the case with Mr. Baker's quotations. In general it is also the case with all his handling of historical issues (and citation of highly dubious "authorities"), all to hide the obvious realities before all our faces. This is why I referred to Palestinian population statistics as a disproof of genocide and ethnic cleansing claims. They cannot be denied by anyone. Behind all this is an even clearer reality: a Palestinian population which is its own worst enemy, which avoids the truth of this by classic antisemitic scapegoating techniques, and which has sabotaged every single peace initiative offered to it because it really does not want peace at all.


Ben Tzur - 8/5/2008

Despite the common anti-Zionist propaganda that Israel is engaged in genocide against Palestinians, and ethnic cleansing, the rude facts remain that the Palestinian population continues its unwavering growth (as even Palestinian statistics demonstrate, although they love to double-count their numbers and include Israeli Arabs to exaggerate their size), they remain in their settlements and cities, and the Israeli Arab population too continues contented, undisturbed and undiminished, that far more Palestinians have been murdered by Palestinians than have been killed by Israelis since the start of the first "Intifada" of the late 80s up to the present, and that it is the Palestinian Authority that fills its media with racial hate incitement, noxious antisemitic libels, and even officially and unashamedly demands the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza (which they have gotten) and the West Bank as a precondition for "peace" (i.e., the next stage in their war). In this debate, it is not a matter of two equally true viewpoints. The two sides are not equal. One is a genuine secular liberal democracy with all the standard freedoms and filled with decent people, the other is given up to unfree gangster regimes the secular and religious wings of which divide rule between them, both terrorizing their own people. Entirely unlike Israel they explicitly espouse ethnic cleansing, racism and terrorism in general and as government policy. They only differ in tactics.


Ben Tzur - 8/5/2008

Omar Ibrahim Baker pretends that the primal Zionist sin was the refusal to allow a Palestinian state. Actually, the UN specified the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel in 1947. It was the Palestinians and Arabs generally that refused this; Israel accepted the deal and so came into being. What Omar really means is that the primal sin of Israel was its coming into existence at all, for it should all have been an Arab state. Note, this state would not have been Palestine: it would have been a greater Syria, for that was what most "Palestinians" then demanded, i.e., no "Palestine" even then but just an enlarged Syria. The others wanted an enlarged Jordan. None called for a separate "Palestine." The very name was considered a "Jewish" one (e.g., the Jerusalem Post was then the "Palestine Post").

One further point: while most articles in this History blog get some comments, stuff supportive of Israel and Zionism draw the most, just as in newspaper blogs elsewhere. This is because there are still so many antisemites in the world, who hate Israel and things Jewish not for anything they do but just for existing and flourishing despite constant victimization, even just for having right so manifestly on their side. This can never be forgiven, just as in the Nazi period and the Middle Ages.

An analogy might be to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the vast majority of whose "righteous" resolutions attack Israel, while the Council ignores Sudan's genocide in Dafur (Sudan is a member in good standing of the Council), China's constant huge suppression of human rights (China sits very comfortably on the Council), the thuggish behavior of Russia against all dissidents and independence movements (Russia sits happily on the Council), Libya's brutal dictatorial regime (Libya sits unchallenged on the Council), the Palestinian Territory Authority gangsterism and persecutions (the Palestinians have a honored representative at the Council deliberations), etc., etc. You get the picture. I suppose that if there were 57 Jewish states in the world, instead of just one very tiny one, and instead of 57 Muslim nations just one little enclave around Mecca, the situation in the world would be very very different.


Paul Damian O'Shea - 8/5/2008

Having worked in the field of Genocide education for more than a few years and taught in secondary schools in Australia (Aboriginal History is mandatory) I think I can say, without too much hubris, that I have a pretty accurate idea of how Australia's first peoples feel and think ... as well as learning directly from them when I have gone and listened to their stories. History works both ways - from the archive and evidence and from the stories of a people. None of which precludes or ignores the genuine suffering of many Palestinian people, or Israelis for that matter. Today's news showing IDF providing protection for Palestinians fleeing Gaza points to the need for calm and dispassionate reporting of history. There are no black and white answers.


A. M. Eckstein - 8/4/2008

To repeat something Mr. Davis does not apparently know, or want to know:

The original founders of Israel were secular, mostly socialists, and the governments were totally secular and left-wing in orientation until 1977 (30 years); even today the government is almost totally secular in orientation (60 years). Israel wasn't founded by religious Jews; if anything, the most religious Jews opposed what they viewed as humans interfering with God's awaited miracle.

Meanwhile, in Gaza and the West Bank, Sharia Koranic law increasingly runs society--and Christians are leaving in large numbers. So are Palestinian gays--who flee religious-based persecuation of the most violent kind, running instead to secular Israel (see The New Republic, August 20, 2002).

Mr. Davis, Israel was not founded by religious zealots, and is not run by religious zealots.


A. M. Eckstein - 8/4/2008

This has nothing to do with religion--except, perhaps, on Omar's view.


Michael Davis - 8/4/2008

If both sides can't get along, they all deserve liquidation.

Religion: The absolute worst invention of humankind.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

"The Palestinians suffered a trauma in 1948, but they did not suffer a unique trauma."
Thus spake Eckstein in his unlimited ignorance practically verging on blindness.

The "trauma" started in the 1920s with the forced entry of Jewish emigrants, colonss, into Palestine intent on colonizing it.
The entry of Jewish colons was implemented by the British mandate against the express will of the Palestinian Arab people; the 80% of its total population pre forced entry!

It was sustained by Jewish/British collusion to deny the Palestinian people his RIGHT to SELF DETERMINATION which would have put and end to that illegal influx of aliens colonists with a presumed national right in a land they forced their way into.

The rest is history that we all know.


art eckstein - 8/4/2008

This is just more simplistic and ahistorical tripe from a man who believes that Jewish children, women, babies and old people in israel are only "civilians" in scare quotes (as he said in May--and hence are legitimate targets), who believes that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are likely rea (he said that in July)l, that the media mogul Rupert Murdoch is a secret Jew (ditto), that Hezbollah is not anti-semitic even though it broadcasts a 29-episode tv show focused on Jews kidnapping and eating Christian and Muslim babies (he said that 18 months ago), and that there was no expulsion of Middle Eastern Jews by Arab states,--a Naqba larger than the Palestinian one--but rather these Jews all gave up their property elsewhere and voluntarily came to Israel as penniless refugees so they could be "colonialists" (he's repeatedly said that).

The real problem is the descent of Palestinian society into a Nazi-like militarized death-cult, under the ministrations of people whom Omar supports.

(And by Nazi-like, I mean the huge popularity of Mein Kampf among the Palestinians, or the naming of Palestinian children Hitler, or the Nazi-salutes of Hezbollah, another group Omar supports.)




art eckstein - 8/4/2008

Is the baby in his carriage a murderer and rapist?
Is the child in his school a murderer and rapist?
Is the old man on the bus a murderer and rapist?

These people are intentionally targeted by Palestinian terrorists, and Omar has already said they are only "civilians" in scare-quotes, not real civilians, which alrady tells you a lot about his moral world.

And what rapes is Omar talking about, eh? The rape of the Jews of Egypt or Iraq? If he means real rapes, he ought to understand the well-known fact that the Israeli army's record on that phenomenon is so sterling that some academics claim that the LACK of rapes of Palestinians by Jewish soldiers is an indication of racism.

I'm not making that up. The Jews can't win.

Meanwhile, we have Mullahs in Saudi Arabia overtly calling for the sexual enslavement of Jewish women after the (Re)conquest!

I'm not making that up, either. Here is Sheik Saad al-Buraik, a man closely tied to the Saudi royal family, speaking in April 2002 on Saudi TV:

"Muslim Brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don't you enslave their women? Why don't you wage jihad? Why don't you pillage them?"

What an amazing hypocrite Omar is.


Arik Yacobi - 8/4/2008

The question is already answered!

over the 2000 years since the last Jewish state was brutally ended by the Romans the Jews have wandered as a persecuted minority throughout the world.

At last we have come home to our our own land and yet the ancient Jew hatred is still in the world; In the 1930's my parents were told "go back to Palestine" and now the Jews are being told "Get out of Palestine".

So what has changed? Only that anti-Semitism has evolved into ant- Israelism - but the phenomenom is the same old Jew hatred it always was.


Fahrettin Tahir - 8/4/2008

That makes sense only if you ignore the fact, that the christian world tried to exterminate the Turks between 1820 and 1920 killing 5 Millions, alone in the Balkan war of 1912 1,5 millions were killed to make the Turks disappear from Europe. The events of 1915 to 1925 were the consequence. 30 Million turkish citizens are descended from people who were forced out of their homes in what had been European Turkey. That shows we were hated long before the events of 1915 to 1925.
Aagain the same question: why do you think it is legitimate to hate any people, jews or not?


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

An interesting aspect of the developments borne out from the initial and present success of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine is the transformation that has overtaken the basic declared concepts on which Zionism was initially based and the early objectives for which it publicly strived.

Taken at face value the early,
“officially” and PR sensitive declared, objectives of the Zionist Project were to have ;

-A “Jewish Homeland”

to provide for a

-“Safe haven” for Jews.

THE METAMORPHOSIS

These objectives have morphed, under internal and external pressures, to produce a creation that is neither merely a “homeland” nor a particularly “safe haven” .

The outcome from the implementation of Zionist dogma and policies led to the dislocation and sup plantation of the indigenous Arab Palestinian people by aliens selected and assembled according to strict racial/racist criteria to structure a nation/state noted for its aggression, expansionism, plundering and for its ceaseless negation and suppression of the rights of others.

Which is present day Israel ..

Present day Israel is a hyper armed, including a nuclear arsenal, regionally unintegrable and inadmissible West oriented and western interests serving and alien Jewish nation/state striving for and claiming regional hegemony and military supremacy in and of the Arab/Moslem/Christian domain in which it was implanted.

The transition from “Homeland” and “safe haven” to regional super power was the inevitable outcome of :

- the gradual unveiling, the revelation in practice, of the real and authentic goals sought after by the Zionist movement and its allies through an extremely adroit use of unfolding conditions
and
- the, as skilful , exploitation of the regional reactions which the establishment of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine initiated and led to.
A-UNVEILING OF GENUINE OBJECTIVES:
At its very inception stage the Jewish/Zionist nation/state to be, Israel was not late to reveal and implement its elemental genuine doctrinaire objectives. At that stage, the 1948-1950 era, these were:

a-The complete take over and occupation, as a minimal interim goal, of ALL of historical Palestine
And
b-The ethnic cleansing of Palestine from its indigenous Arab, both Moslem and Christian, people and predominant population.
Objective (a) was partially achieved in the 1948 war when Israel occupied and dominated 72 % of the total area of historical Palestine . This was in excess of and in clear flouting of the UNGA which allocated 52% to the Jewish state in its Partition of Palestine resolution.

Israel then consistently refused to implement this resolution, though the nominal and only legal basis for its establishment in Palestine , and adamantly refused to withdraw from the additional 20% it occupied (72 versus 52%) to allow for the establishment of the parallel Arab Palestinian state called for by this same UNGA resolution..(Both states were to “confederate” one way or another.)
After the 1967 war Israel completed its conquest of historical Palestine by occupying the remaining 28% and has ever since stubbornly refused to withdraw there from.

Objective (b) was equally substantially achieved by a two pronged Zionist/Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign of the predominant Arab demographic composition of both the aeras allocated to Israel and from the “additional” occupied areas..

1-The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arab people in and from his homeland was implemented through the active implementation of a policy of;

1.1 - forced Arab population transfer as in the case of Lid (Lod), Ramla etc,;

(http://www.israelipalestinianprocon.org/bin/procon/procon.cgi?database=5-I-Sub-Q02.db&;command=viewone&op=t&id=11&rnd=762.6522443545272#early)

1.2 -the complete obliteration, by demolition, of whole villages and Arab population centers; some 400 in total; (http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/destroyed_villages/34.htm)

and
1.3 -a reign of terror imposed in Israeli permanently or temporarily conquered and occupied areas via whole sale well publicized massacres of Palestinians civilians as in Deir Yassin, Jenin, Tantura etc (http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/massacres/index.htm)
AND

2-The, then and now, relentless Israeli refusal to implement UNGA resolutions to allow Palestinians refugees the RIGHT of and to Return to their homeland and regain their legitimate possessions. (http://al-awda.org/)

B- REGIONAL REACTION to the ESTABLISHMENT of ISRAEL in PALESTINE :

The Zionist goal of a Jewish state in Arab Palestine was rejected in principle from the outset by the overwhelming majority of the Arab then the Moslem Worlds.

The rejection is based on the facts that its establishment in Palestine :
1- Will dislocate and disfranchise the indigenous Palestinian Arab population of Palestine inflicting on them horrendous pains and denying them their elemental civil and political rights in their homeland

2-Will endeavor to expand to occupy all of historical Palestine and deArabize it thus severing the only land link between al Mashreq and al Maghreb; the two halves of the Arab nat
3- Will give a strategically crucial central land hold to an ALIEN implant; a foreign oriented and foreign interests serving entity to act as the regional base for western colonialist and imperialist designs and objectives

The joint Arab military attempt to abort the establishment of Israel in Palestine made in 1948 failed drastically.

Concurrent with and subsequent unfolding events demonstrated beyond any doubt that ALL Arab expectations and predictions of what Israel will BE and what Israel will DO were precisely as foreseen:
a-Israel implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population and consistently refused Palestinian refugees their RIGHT of RETURN to their homeland (Objective 1 above)
b-Israel occupied 72 % of Palestine versus the 52 % allocated to it and adamantly refused to withdraw from the “surplus” 20%.(Objective 2 above)

c-Israel acted in consort with Britain and France in the 1956 aggressive war to deny Egypt the right to nationalize the Suez Canal (Objective 3 above).
The failed Arab military attempt to abort the Zionist project in Palestine was successfully exploited, still is, by Israel to retain all 1948 occupied lands and to add to it the remaining 28%, the West Bank and Gaza , in 1967.

That failed Arab attempt propelled Israel into hyper arming itself to the point of becoming, with unlimited US aid, the overwhelmingly supreme military power in the region ;( bar, now,Iran ?) .

It was also, still is, the declared justification for its constant refusal to implement UNGA re the Right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.
Be that what it may; the inevitable, historically confirmed, conclusion is that:

- Israel turned out to be, in nature and practice, exactly as predicated by the Arab nation..It practically confirmed the region’s worst nightmares and suspicions.

- Israel under different pretexts;

-overshot the “Jewish homeland” into a racist and expansionist nation state

-side laid the “safe haven” to become the regional military super power.

Both outputs, naturally enough, germinated militaristic and political ambitions of regional military supremacy and political/economic hegemony.

BUT equally these same outputs led to the further regional alienation of Israel , to expanding the geographic scope of its rejectionist enemies and to making its admission and integration into the region a political and military strategic impossibility.
CONCLUSIONS
Sixty years in the life of the Zionist colony, Israel , in Palestine lead to the following inexorable conclusions:

***The utopian myths of creating and establishing a “ Jewish home land” and “safe Haven” in Palestine for all Jews, to be gathered from all over the world, to live in peace with the indigenous Palestinian Arab population and its regional neighbours proved to be an unqualified failure and a, nationally and culturally, unattainable objective.
***The failure of the myth stems mainly from the scheme to impose and implant both the “homeland” and the Jews on an already populated country By an indigenous people deeply attached to his homeland and with a diametrically opposite national and cultural identity , ,
***The early objectives of the Zionist project, even if taken at face value, were soon overtaken and submerged then deliberately abandoned for expansionist and domination ambitions:
***Evolving events, including an unexpectedly early easy military victory, and perennial internal, Zionist pressures: the doctrinaire Zionist imperative for an all Jewish “Eretz Israel ”, the demands of real life politics led to the early unmasking of the ulterior Zionist colonialist objectives of a Jewish i.e. of an ethnically cleansed Palestine .
***The outcome was, inevitably, the establishment of a fundamentally alien and racist nation/state.

***Regional total rejection of and opposition/ resistance to the Jewish/Zionist colonialist project in Palestine together with the desire to maintain and sustain that project led to a hyper armed Israel with the inevitably associated and matching domination ambitions and domineering attitude .

***That hyper armed, West supported and imperialist West supporting ALIEN nation/state only intensified Arab rejection and inaugurated wider regional rejection..

*** Israel now, though militarily the regional super power, is neither the sought after “Jewish Homeland” nor the “Safe Haven” for Jews !

**** Its establishment in Palestine will likely prove to be, historically, a gravely tragic and horrendously shortsighted mistake committed by the Zionist movement and the West that will lead to tremendous turmoil and suffering for all concerned: the Jews, the Arabs, the region, Islamic-Judeo/Christian relations and the world at large!


TO SUM UP:

****The forced implantation of Israel in Palestine against and counter to the express will and ceaseless opposition of the majority of its native population:

-inflicted tremendous suffering on the indigenous Palestinian Arab people and deprived them of their most elementary human civil and political, rights and still DOES.

- did NOT resolve the “Jewish Problem” but further complicated it for all Jews all over the world

- deeply and irrevocably antagonized their closest neighbors the Arab/Moslem world (the erstwhile most Jewish tolerant, or less intolerant, major human community),

- catastrophically destabilized the region,

- resurrected and invigorated the all but dormant Arab/Moslem-Judeo/Christian historical conflict.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

Why punish a murderer, a rapist and a thief at all ??
Murders, rapes and outright robberies are committed every day every where!

That is the amazing logic, and morals, of a certain multiawarded Professor, no less!


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

Elliot
Going over your pseudo history I can not fail to be amazed at the unchastised and unrepentant psychology and mentality underlying, and fomenting, it!
You state:
” Omar, the Western imperialist powers did not all support Israel. Indeed, Britain actively campaigned against Israel. British officers led the Transjordan Arab Legion. British military supplies in the Suez Canal Zone were given to the Egyptian army. Britain voted against the UN General Assembly partition recommendation of 11-29-1947, etc. Further, documents from French archives --including originally British documents obtained by the French-- make clear the British-Arab collusion at the time to set up a pan-Arab state in the Fertile Crescent allied with Britain --which was to also receive special privileges in this state-- without any Israel. The historian Meir Zamir has summarized these documents in two recent articles in HaAretz available in English translation on the HaAretz web site.”

Apart from your and yours crass ingratitude that I note I would like to remind of two pertinent historical facts that I hope you will NOT deny:

1-That the Balfour Declaration was a major political triumph for Zionism.
That, if I recall correctly, was made by the British Foreign Secretary.; a certain Lord Balfour at the request and prodding of world Jewry represented by a British (possibly with many other nationalities) Jew; a certain Chaim Wizeman

2-That except for British allowed massive Jewish migration into Palestine which malignantly distorted the natural demographic composition of Palestine the whole issue would have evolved very very differently. .

However it is typical that you wanted more and more and are never satisfied with what you get no matter how little you deserve it as in this case.
That goes a long way to explain your historical disharmony with, practically all, your surroundings. Does it NOT?
And that I assure you will be your undoing!

Re the verses of the Koran that you refer to : if you understand that to mean a Jewish nation/state in Palestine then your understanding of the Koran will be confined to you !
Good for you…go on believing in that .That is OK by me!


art eckstein - 8/4/2008

Bohemia had an intrinsically German identity for 1200 years, until 1945. The Germans can't come back, by Czech law.

These things happen when you lose wars.

But--to repeat--you do not see the descendants of those Germans who became refugees (and 10% of them died in the flight to the West) blowing up schools in Prague. This is a Palestinian cultural
choice.

Nor is Israel a classic "colonial" construct--though Omar never tires of this slander. The British settlers in, say, Kenya could go back to Britain (and they did). The israelis have no place to go. Period. The British settlers in, say, Kenya, had no ancestral emotional ties to Kenya. The Jews always did have an emotional tie to Israel (even the Koran says that the region belongs to the Jews), and they have maintained a continual presence there for 3,500 years. And so, in those two senses, israel, Omar, is their authentic *home*.

Slightly more than half of the Jewish population of israel is from the Middle East anyway--they are Jews expelled penniless from Arab lands after 1948 (a Naqba Omar has always refused to recognize occurred, by the way). Most of the rest are Middle Easterners in the sense of being born in Israel in the first place.

The "colon" argument is simply a vicious propaganda tool. It appeals to the Left, though, with their love of simplicity.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

"I don't find such vitriol directed against Brasil for the dreadful treatment of their indigenous peoples or Australia for that matter. "

That is where you are doubly wrong Mr . O'Shea!
1-For one thing how can you be sure what the indigenous people of Brazil and Australia feel?
2- For another, and far more important thing, we are neither terminally defeated nor extinct nor vanishing and dissolving in a "victor's" society being part and parcel of a much bigger and numerous, and far from vanishing, major human community whose fight it is now that which has been ours only for too long.

And that is where and how, I promise you Mr O'Shea, Israel will rue the day it colonized Palestine believing that it was dealing with a primitive tribe!


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

Elliott
Equally inane statement Prof!
The issue is NOT whether they used the name Palestine or any another name or, absurdly enough as you imply, no name at all.

The issue is that land, that we Arabs, its legitimate owners, choose to call Palestine, has been continuously dwelled by an overwhelming Arab majority for at least the last fourteen centuries; and that that overwhelming majority imparted on that land their Arab cultural/nationalist character and identity as an Arab land.
The issue is that whether you call it Southern Syria, or Southern bilad al Sham or Palestine the essence of its intrinsic Arab , both Moslem and Christian, character and identity, derived from its overwhelming Arab cultural/nationalist character for at least fourteen centuries, does NOT change
That is issue!

However if you believe that the name, any name, imparts on the nominee its character and identity then you are free to do so; as absurd as that may be!

If I recall correctly Sirilanca was known as Ceylon did that change its cultural/nationalist identity?
And New York was known for quite some it as New Amsterdam; does that change its intrinsic American character and identity??


art eckstein - 8/4/2008

The Palestinians suffered a trauma in 1948, but they did not suffer a unique trauma.

12 million Germans were expelled or fled from eastern Europe in 1945, and one million died in the process. But you don't see Germans blowing up discoteques in Warsaw.

Seven million Hindus, ten times the number in the Naqba were expelled or fled from what became Pakistan in 1947, but you don't see Hindus blowing up schools in Karachi.

850,000 Jews were expelled or fled from Arab/Muslim lands after 1948--this, Omar, is a LARGER number of victims than the Palestinian Naqba. Everything these Jews had in those lands was seized by others. Some Muslim is enjoying that property as I write this. But you don't see these Jews, or rather their descendants, shooting up supermarkets in Baghdad.

350,000 Greeks fled or were expelled from Egypt in the 1950s; some had lived there for 2,500 years. This was conscious ethnic and religious cleansing on Nasser's part. While relations between the Greek government and Nasser became ice-cold, you don't see these Greeks, or their descendants, blowing up busses filled with civilians in Cairo.

50,000 Pontic Greeks were expelled or fled from northern Turkey in the mid-1950s: another classic case of ethnic and religious cleansing. No one knows about this but Greeks. But you don't see these Greek, or their descendants, rocketing civilian towns in Turkey.

600,000 Christian Lebanese have fled Lebanon since 1989--and 60,000 since 2006. They are fleeing Islamic terror; their place has been taken mostly by Shiites. No one talks about this, either.

Hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have been murdered, or diven into exile, since 2002. Yet the Arab League DEFENDS the Sudanese Muslim government that does these things.

Omar long ago explained the difference between all these groups listed above and the Palestinians: the Palestinians, he said, are "more noble". In other words, the use of terror against civilians as standard operating procedure is NOT some sort of natural reaction to the trauma of population exchange but a vicious Palestinian cultural CHOICE.

The Palestinians should accept the consequences of that choice--when you shoot at someone, they shoot back.

Yet Western leftist intellectuals make *these* people into cultural icons, make a cult out of Palestinian suffering as if it is unique! It is yet another example of romantic ridiculous "third worldism" , plus the re-emergence of anti-semitism, but now it has suddenly become safe for these Leftists to express it.

There is only one thing unique about Palestinian suffering: it has been the result of losing to the Jews. It is THAT fact that drives both Muslims and leftists insane.

(That more Jews lost their homes than Palestinians--well, that's their natural place, isn't it?)


Bob Martin - 8/4/2008

The actual facts are available for those who want to make an objective analysis.

A major source can be found here:
http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~samuel/

And here:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html

http://bmartin01.blogspot.com/


Bob Martin - 8/4/2008

And how did you come by this knowledge of Zionism?

You simply prove that the propaganda machine against us Jews in Israel has worked.

There's nothing "rabid" about Zionism. Contrast Zionism to Islamism. We Zionists are focused exclusively on re-building the Jewish Nation that was destroyed by the Romans in 138 c.e. The Emperor Hadrian crushed the revolt, and changed the name of the land from Judea to Syria-Palestina.

But I'll bet you, who crow like a cock on a dunghill about us "rabid" Zionists never even heard of this.

Islam, on the other hand, has been spreading its Imperalistic system for 1,429 years. But people like Michael E. Martin never question Islam's willingness to use violence to accomplish their goals, to dominate and to enslave those who don't share their views.

The fact is we Zionists have given the world 60 years to stop the thousands of years of irrational and baseless hatred. Our restraint and generosity has only increased the irrationality.
So it's time for a different strategy.

From now on, anybody who even talks about us in the way that Michael E. Martin does will find that a Jewish fist, guided by a Jewish mind and soul, will be squarely placed against the nose of the person uttering such insulting lies. Enough is enough.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/4/2008

Omar, the Western imperialist powers did not all support Israel. Indeed, Britain actively campaigned against Israel. British officers led the Transjordan Arab Legion. British military supplies in the Suez Canal Zone were given to the Egyptian army. Britain voted against the UN General Assembly partition recommendation of 11-29-1947, etc. Further, documents from French archives --including originally British documents obtained by the French-- make clear the British-Arab collusion at the time to set up a pan-Arab state in the Fertile Crescent allied with Britain --which was to also receive special privileges in this state-- without any Israel. The historian Meir Zamir has summarized these documents in two recent articles in HaAretz available in English translation on the HaAretz web site.

American policy at the time was divided and was not wholeheartedly pro-Israel, although the US did vote for the 11-29-1947 resolution. In fact, France and the Soviet Union [Western or non-Western??] gave more aid to the establishment of Israel and its victory in 1948 than did the USA.

Omar answers Mr Right by claiming that the country was a "thriving" Arab society. Really, Omar? But thank for the unconscious humor provided by your claim. The Middle East generally and Israel in particular were in economic and social decline throughout the Mamluk and Ottoman periods after the Crusades.

To conclude, Omar, you really ought to pay more attention to the verses in the Qur'an that assign the Holy Land to the Jews [5:20-22] and to the verses that prophesy the Jews' return to their land, etc.

On the other hand, it's true that Arabs in what the San Remo Conference later designated "Palestine" were represented in the Ottoman parliament. Indeed, one of the Khalidi family, Yusuf Dia al-Khalidi, was the speaker of the first Ottoman parliament. Other Arabs from this country --including Husseinis and Abdul-Hadis-- took high posts in the Ottoman administration. But bear in mind, Omar, that the Ottoman state was an empire, with holdings in Europe as well as the Middle East. Does that make the Palestinian Arabs complicit in Ottoman imperialism??? In the oppression of the non-Muslim and European subjects of the Empire??


Bob Martin - 8/4/2008

An excellent article, but it leaves out the main reason all this can take place... self hatred.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/4/2008

but Omar, you do know don't you that the Arabs did not commonly or traditionally use the name Palestine or Filastin before the 20th century?? Nor was there any Mamluk or Ottoman district, region or province with that name or with boundaries anything like the boundaries of the Palestine set up by the San Remo Conference in 1920 [boundary survey in December of 1920].

In other words, the Arabs did not traditionally perceive the existence of a Palestine. It was simply an indistinct, undefined part of Syria [bilad ash-Sham].


Elliott Aron Green - 8/4/2008

Paul, indeed, the Qur'an has some verses that can be considered Zionist, although Omar might not agree [see 5:12, 20-22, etc]. The Pickthall version of the Qur'an has an index and anybody can look up Jews and Holy Land in that index.


Michael E. Martin - 8/4/2008

One needn't worry about making the world hate Israel. Israel is a nation, not an ideology. All one needs to do is exactly what this otherwise fine essay succeeds at doing. Namely, ignore the fact that rabid Zionism cannot but destroy Israel. Ignoring this is all there is to it.


Paul Damian O'Shea - 8/4/2008

Possibly their rather negative track record with regard to national minorities. Turkey and the Armenians, Pontian Greeks and Assyrians between 1915-1925; Estonia and the Jews (all dead by 1944); Indonesia and the people of East Timor and Aceh (1975 till the present)


Paul Damian O'Shea - 8/4/2008

Somehow I doubt urging war on Islam is going to help anyone or anything. I live in Australia where Muslims are the fastest growing religious group in the country - about 350,000 in a population of 20 million. Jews, Christians and Muslims enjoy positive and strong inter-communal relations. Numbers are a factor - there are more non-Muslim Australians than Muslim Australians, but that has not stopped fruitful and respectful encounters. Israel figures in many of these meetings, and it is heartening to see and hear people from the different faith traditions speak honestly and openly about Israel and related issues. Israel is best served, I think, through continuing to operate as a model of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic democracy. Yes, the Israeli government needs to work hard with the Palestinian Authority to find a workable and enduring peace, and for that Israel has the right to self-defence; just as the Palestinian Authority has the moral obligation to work to halt the extremists who are willing to kill not only Jews, but their own people to achieve goals that are as illusory as they are deadly.


Paul Damian O'Shea - 8/4/2008

And what, pray tell is so wrong about an open democractic state with a relatively free media? Yes the Israeli government has made some pretty bad judgement calls in policy etc over the last 60 years - but then so has every other government in the world. I don't find such vitriol directed against Brasil for the dreadful treatment of their indigenous peoples or Australia for that matter. But it is also essential to recognise that the Israeli government has made some pretty good judgements over the last 60 years as well - home and haven for persecuted Jews (many, far too many, from despotic absolutist Arab states ...) The Jew called Jesus once exhorted his disciples - all of them Jews to start with - to take the log out of their own eye first before trying to remove the speck in the eye of their brother or sister. It is also worth noting that the Qur'an speaks with great respect towards the Peoples of the Book - Jews and Christians. It would be good to see some of that respect seen in the words that gush forth from poisonous pens.


Paul Damian O'Shea - 8/4/2008

It is truly disturbing to read in this day and age such tripe. Anti-Israel bashing has become such a sport among many groups whose only common denominator is an appalling and, often wilful, ignorance of history.

As I teach my students, the best answer is usually the simple one. What is Israel? Israel is a sovereign state, created in 1948 by will of the emergent Israeli people and the will of the United Nations. Only if that primary fact is accepted and acknowledged as immutable, can any fruitful discussion follow in relation to realities since then.

Distortion of history serves no one. I might add that the massive distortion of Islam and Islamic history by many Islamists and accepted by many uncritical and inthinking Muslims and non-Muslims is another problem that screams for remedy. And the only remedy is truth based on evidence without emotional diatribes.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/4/2008

So the Professor , Green, has weighed in with another earth shattering truth that:” Yet, in the 1940s and 1950s the Palestinian Arabs were ardent Pan-Arabists and did not view themslves as a separate, distinct people or nation. "
This is actually equally true for the past, the present and the future.
However I do NOT see how that detracts from their attachment to their homeland Palestine and willingness to liberate it from Zionist colonialism.
Unless of course if you happen to be a, say, Texan you should NOT be an ardent pan-Americanist OR conversely if you are a pan Americanist you should NOT, would NOT, bother if Texas is colonized and its people is dislocated, dispossessed, disfranchised and subjugated by aliens !
Absurd in the least by any standard!


George E. Rennar - 8/4/2008

Israel is a convenient enemy for cynics who want their slaves to forget how badly those governments of theirs have failed. The United States is a convenient enemy because it always will apologize and shower the incompetents with more money. Is there such a thing as an honest Muslim dictator? Not yet.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/3/2008

Yes, psychological warfare experts have created a mystique of "palestine" and Palestinianism. Yet, in the 1940s and 1950s the Palestinian Arabs were ardent Pan-Arabists and did not view themslves as a separate, distinct people or nation. Then the PLO came along in 1964. The PLO is also pan-Arabist if you read its charter, while Hamas tends to pan-Islamism. There is really a lot more to say about all this.

But to keep things short, paraphrasing Lenin, Palestinianism is the highest form of antisemitism.


Meamfa Erseth - 8/3/2008

Israelis should start fighting a war against their and our real enemy - Islam. Muslims hate Jews and us, they want to enslave us and to rape our wives. Muhammad's hateful, anti-human, hell-born ideology must be destroyed and erased from the face of the Earth. Otherwise the problems with those mad people will never stop.
Israel must stop talking political correct lies and start talking the truth about Islam. The West should do the same. Israelis and we must stop be cowards and accept even a war if it is against such a big evil as Islam.


art eckstein - 8/3/2008

Correction:

In no. 3 above, I of course meant: "when it was shown in detail to Omar by me that there is actually not the slightest piece of evidence that Murdoch IS Jewish..."


art eckstein - 8/3/2008

Mr. Right, here are some facts about Omar:

1. He has a lot of friends in Hezbollah, and denied it was an anti-semitic organization even after I pointed out to him that the Hezbollah TV station ran a 29-episode tv program based on Jews stealing and eating Christian and Muslim babies.

2. He believes that even Jewish babies are "civiians" in scare quotes and not real civilians and thereby legitimate targets for Palestinian violence. Real civilians are illegitimate targets, he admits, but no israeli--even women, old people and babies--are civilians in Omar's eyes. They are only "civilians" in scare quotes. He wrote that in May.

3. He thinks the Jews control the Western media (later modified to Jews are vastly overrepresented in the Western media)--and one of his "proofs" was that the media mogul Rupert Murdoch was Jewish. This he triumphantly proclaimed, on the basis of various anti-semitic websites. When it was shown to him in detail by me that there is actually not the slightest piece of evidence Murdoch was not Jewish, Omar's position became that this Jewish question was now an unclear question as far as he was concerned because so many people (i.e., on Omar's anti-semitic websites) believe it.

4. Similarly, Omar's position on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is *not* that it is an obvious Tsarist fraud (which all scholars believe) but rather that its authenticity is uncertain because so many people (i.e., on the anti-semitic websites he surfs) believe the Protocols are authentic. That includes his favored group Hamas.

5. I'd be more convinced of Omar's sincere concern for human rights if he:

a. admitted hat *more* Jews were expelled from Arab lands after 1948 than Palestinians who suffered in the Naqba, and that some Muslilm is enjoying the property stolen from then even as I write this. So much for the unique suffering of the Palestinians. Instead, Omar's position is that every single one of those Middle Eastern Jews who arrived penniless in Israel is a *voluntary* "colon"--and "colons" (men, women, children, babies) are, as far as he is concerned mere "civilians" in scarequotes and legitimate targets.

Slightly more than half the current Israeli Jewish population by the way either are refugees from the Middle East itself or their descendants--a fact Omar can't take in. Another huge percentage were born in the Middle East, i.e., Israel. The percentage of European and/or American immigrant Jews among the Israeli Jewish population is tiny.

b. Admitted that 600,000 Christians have fled Lebanon since 1985, and 60,000 since 2006, as a result of Muslim pressures and fears of the very radicals Omar supports. That is almost as big as the Palestinian Naqba itself. One of my sources on this is the British journalist Robert Fisk, who is a fierce left-winger and condemner of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

c. Was willing to condemn the racist genocidal regime in the Sudan. Instead, the Arab League *supports* the Bashir government and says that no one has a right to interfere in its "internal affairs"--even though it has killed THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND civilians in Darfur. Doesn't bother Omar or his ilk in the least.

5. So it's not the violation of human rights that bothers folks like Omar. It's only if Muslims suffer from Jews--even if the Jews are only *shooting back*. THEN his outrage is volcanic.

So, Mr. Right, that's who you are talking to when you talk to Omar.

Just thought you'd want to know.


Fahrettin Tahir - 8/3/2008

I would like to understand, why the author thinks Indonesia, Estonia and Turkey should be more unpopular than Israel?


omar ibrahim baker - 8/3/2008

Mr Adam Right wrote:
"So many lies and incorrections in one comment? no wonder u didnt put even one reference to true historic information

just a few things –
a-the state of israel was a dump in 1948. all of it was swamps and desert - u can read British and French history articles when they visit the land of isreal at that time.
no arab settlements and no nothing.

b-no arab country ever allowed jews who where thrown away from arab countries to isreal the right to return to their arab country. all their possessions were taken. so i didnt see any right of return there also.

c-there was never palastine, these people are from egypt or jordan, never were a nation by themselvs. ur trying to re wrte history with lies.

d-arabs has so many lands, so many richest with all the oil, and still try to fight over a small piece of land, you arent looking even for peace just for the destruction of israel.

e-and by the way, jerusalem isnt even mentioned in the koran. "

A-
Ignorance is a hard affliction and with some it is incurable.
Pre Zionist conquest, i.e. pre Jewish emigrants forced entry and establishing of a colony called Israel, Palestine was a living thriving Arab, both Moslem and Christian, society with an indigenous people happy to call it their homeland.
Whether it was a dump, as falsely stated, or was not DOES NOT detract from its value as a homeland.
It is a psychological weakness, a mental aberration but mainly a moral perversion, particular to some more than to others, to make one’s attachment to his homeland a function of, dependent on, its value as real estate.
B-
1-No Arab country ever implemented an ethnic cleansing campaign nor perpetrated mass massacres of civilians that included, inter alia, the disemboweling of pregnant of pregnant women as Israel did to the Palestinians in Deir Yassin.
No Arab country ever organized a mass massacre of civilians and a forced “ death march” eviction of civilians as “Israel” did in LOD.(Lydda).
Read what an Israeli historian, Benny Morris, had to say about its particulars at:
http://www.leicester-holyland.org.uk/George_Lydda.htm#Nakba_lydda.
2-Jews who left Arab countries did so out of their own free will. The rich among them went to Europe and the USA.
The poor went to the newly established Zionist colony, Israel, where they formed the “under class” among their Jewish brethren of Euro-American provenance.
They and their descendants were/are, however, invited to return and will be welcomed if they so choose. Some did to Morocco
Most, however, I guess. would rather go to the USA..
C-
Ever since the sixth century Palestine was a predominantly Arab, both Moslem and Christian, country with a sprinkling of Jews most of whom resisted being assimilated in their environment.
Palestinian Arabs are part of the Arab nation, they were , throughout, part and parcel of the successive Arab then Moslem “empires” that encompassed the whole region .As such they have had their own “state” and nation as much as say, Vermont, has it in the USA!
The Palestinians, as citizens, “nationals”, of the Ottoman Empire had their own representatives in the pan Ottoman Empire representative assembly, the “Majliss Al Maabuthan”.
(Ignorance when compounded with malice is a serious affliction.)
D-
Back to the “real estate” mentality which measures and evaluates land according to its area and/or material value and can NOT comprehend that a homeland is not commercial “real estate” .
Should one claim, correctly, that , say, Texas, is a large state then, idiotically, propose that part of it should be handed over to , say, North Koreans…would that meet with your approval ??
The point is: a Lithuanian , Polish, Ethiopian or American Jew is as alien to Palestine and the region as much as a North Korean is alien to Texas.
E-
1-Ignorance is a bad affliction. It was. Look it up.
2-However, to follow your perverted logic, neither, say, France nor Sweden were mentioned in the Talmud , the Bible nor the Koran …Does that mean that France DOES NOT belong to the French people nor that Sweden to the Swedish people???



Peter OConnor - 8/3/2008

The hatred towards Israel is never ending, and those democratic nations who ought to befriend Israel are swayed by all the constant bad press, assuming that there must be some truth in all of it, somewhere. I too used to believe it up till about 10 years ago, when some books and articles changed my mind. Now, I'm so impressed by the achievements of that tiny nation, and am a friend of Israel. Stuff Islam - Go Israel.


Adam Right - 8/3/2008

So many lies and incorrections in one comment? no wonder u didnt put even one reference to true historic information

just a few things - the state of israel was a dump in 1948. all of it was swamps and desert - u can read British and French history articles when they visit the land of isreal at that time.
no arab settlements and no nothing.

no arab country ever allowed jews who where thrown away from arab countries to isreal the right to return to their arab country. all their possessions were taken. so i didnt see any right of return there also.

there was never palastine, these people are from egypt or jordan, never were a nation by themselvs. ur trying to re wrte history with lies.

arabs has so many lands, so many richest with all the oil, and still try to fight over a small piece of land, you arent looking even for peace just for the destruction of israel.

and by the way, jerusalem isnt even mentioned in the koran.


Adam Right - 8/3/2008

u can see it everyday, thank u for putting it in front of us.

who cares to examine the propaganda of hundreds of millions of Arabs all over the world. it was all ways easy to say that all the problems are because of the weakest and smallest one.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/3/2008

WHAT IS ISRAEL ??
In the year 1948 a new state, presumably the successor to a Jewish state/nation which collapsed some2500 years earlier, came into being in the center of the Middle East and at the heart of the Arab nation.
The establishment of Israel, in that particular location, the alleged land of Israel, as a homeland for the Jews from all over the world was the fulfillment of a long held plan of the Zionist movement and of the Western Powers.
For a majority of Jews, and some Christians influenced by the Zionist movement, it was the realization of a long held dream; the return of the Jews to the supposed land of Israel. For the imperialist Western Powers it was the founding of an advanced and permanent Western military/economic/cultural outpost in the region.
The supposed land of Israel was variously defined, to allow for future expansionist plans, to include all of historical Palestine by one Zionist faction, to also include Trans Jordan by another and to extend from the Euphrates, in the East, to the Nile, in the West, by a third faction. It is note worthy that up to this date (the year 2008 A.D.) Israel still does not have an official delineation of its borders.
Israel was established in Palestine with total disregard to the existence of an indigenous population, the Palestinians, against their violent and relentless political, and sporadically armed, opposition.
The Palestinians, who since the Islamic conquest of Palestine in the first third of the seventh century had been fully Arabized , were predominantly Moslem and Christian Arabs in the nationalist/ cultural sense .The establishment of Israel in Palestine was equally met by the unanimous opposition and rejection of the rest of the Arab and Moslem worlds.
The establishment of this alien nation/state of Israel was made possible, primarily, by the Zionist/British mandate collusion through a policy of forced radical demographic alteration of Palestine and mainly through denying them their right to SELF DETERMINATION
When Britain occupied ,then obtained from the League of Nations in 1922 the mandate to administer Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs , both Moslem and Christians, made up 80% (Eighty Percent ) of the population , the Jews , mostly of Arab and Oriental descent, 10% (Ten Percent) ;the balance of 10% being Armenians, Chercassian , Russians, Italians etc .
When the mandate was terminated , and due to the British policy of admitting into Palestine Jewish immigrants and colonizers of different origins but mainly of East European provenance (always against the unanimous opposition of the Palestinians Arabs) Jews formed approximately one third of the total population of Palestine .
The nature of the conflict that accompanied the British policy of admitting Jews into Palestine, between the Palestinian Arabs on one side and the British/Zionist coalition on the other , and the objectives of that policy were abundantly clear to both the West and to the Zionist movement :
” David Ben-Gurion, eminently a realist, recognized its nature. In internal discussion, he noted that 'in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,' but he urged, 'let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.' The truth was that 'politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside'..”. Noam Chomsky, "The Fateful Triangle."
This crucial radical demographic transformation of Palestine, and the assumed political rights emanating from it for the Jewish minority, was the result of a concerted Western effort implemented by Britain and financed, mainly, by American donors. Throughout it was met by ceaseless Palestinian opposition and the adamant refusal of Britain to allow the Palestinian people the ability to exercise the RIGHT OF SELF DERTERMINATIN, since as noted in the KING- CRANE report to President Wilson (1919):
"If [the] principle [of self-determination] is to rule, and so the wishes of Palestine's population are to be decisive as to what is to be done with Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non-Jewish population of Palestine - nearly nine-tenths of the whole - are emphatically against the entire Zionist program.. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted...No British officers, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms. The officers generally thought that a force of not less than fifty thousand soldiers would be required even to initiate the program. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist program...The initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a 'right' to Palestine based on occupation of two thousand years ago, can barely be seriously considered." Quoted in "The Israel-Arab Reader" ed. Laquer and Rubin.

In 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted a plan, always against Palestinian and Arab opposition , to “partition “ Palestine into a Jewish State and a Palestinian State allocating the former some 52% and the later some 48% of the area of Palestine.
Palestinian and Arab opposition to and rejection of the “partition “plan was based on the historically undeniable fact that the new demographic composition, and the resulting cultural /nationalist identity of a considerable Jewish minority, on which its alleged right to a state was based, was achieved against the will of the people of Palestine by a foreign power with no legal power to affect this demographic distortion. Or as best summed up by the British historian Professor Arnold Toynbee “… he who does not own gave he who does not deserve.”
Arab and Palestinian efforts to prevent, by armed force, the establishment of this Jewish state in Palestine failed and the 1948 conflict ended with the establishment of Israel .The armed conflict ended in 1949 with the Jewish “state” in control of some 72 % of Palestine and massive Palestinian/Arab population movements, some voluntary some forced, that resulted in what became some 7500000 displaced Palestinians refugees.
These refugees were, and still are, denied by the state of Israel the RIGHT of RETURN to their homeland and the right to exercise their birthrights in what became the state of Israel.
Soon after Israel declared its independence it enacted “The( Israeli)Law Of Return” by which any Jew , of whatever extraction or nationality and no matter how long or where he and his forefathers has been living for the last 2000 years (approx.),was entitled, by the mere fact that he was Jewish or of Jewish origin, to relocate in Palestine and become a full citizen in the state of Israel; while always denying Palestinian refugees the “Right of Return “ to their homeland to exercise their birthrights.
In 1967 a new war erupted between Israel and Jordan ,Syria and Egypt resulting in Israeli conquest and occupation of the rest of Palestine ( presently known as Gaza and the West Bank ),the Syrian Golan heights and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula ,all still under Israeli occupation except for Sinai ..
So in addition to the cardinal point that the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine led to the DISLOCATION, DISPOSSESSION and DISFRANCHUISEMENT of the Palestinian people , an integral component of the Arab nation, from and in his homeland it led to the deARABIZATION of its heartland, Palestine!

THE MEANING OF ISRAEL: As such and because of the HOW, WHERE, WHY this nation/state was planted in Palestine, Israel came to mean, to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians and Arabs, the following:
- An illegal and illegitimate alien body (state/nation), imposed by a foreign hostile power on their land, the establishment of which led to the forced dislocation, dispossession and disfranchisement of the Palestinian people and the total denial of their birthrights as the rightful owners and dwellers of the land of Palestine
. -A racist/confessional discriminatory nation/state that grants, and withholds, basic inalienable human and civil rights depending on the religious affiliation of the person(s) under consideration.
-The body that achieved the forced alteration of the cultural/nationalist identity of the land of Palestine.
-The latest , successful ,attempt by the WEST to plant an alien body in the heart of the Arab/Moslem world ; a new campaign in and a sequel to the failed Crusades in the incessant effort by the West to deArabize and deIslamize ( often called Westernize ) the Middle East , and the Holy Land in particular, by forcing Judeo /Christian culture on the region through the imposition of an alien culture by an alien people .
-An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).
-An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.
-An ever-present expansionist power out to grab more Arab lands, depending on who is in power in Israel of the adherents of the three definitions of the land of Israel.
-A hostile physical bulwark between the Eastern (Al Mashreq ) and the Western (Al Maghreb) wings of the Arab nation and a major obstacle to the physical continuity of Arab lands.
That, in short, is ISRAEL to an overwhelming majority of Arabs and Moslems.


omar ibrahim baker - 8/3/2008

All it takes is to make the world KNOW what Israel IS.