Trap of Recognizing Israel
Cook denies the right of the Jewish people to political self-determination and
independence. He writes nothing against the right of any other nation-state
in the world to exist, just the Jewish one. That is as racist as it can be.
Just to remind
him, when the UN voted to establish two independent states in Mandatory Palestine,
it voted for a Palestinian-Arab and a Palestinian-Jewish state. In the Israeli
Declaration of Independence, it is clearly stated that Israel is the state of
the Jewish people. It was accepted as such to the UN and is recognized as such
by more that 150 countries.
In any nation-state
the character of the public square is determined by the majority. That is why
the flag of Switzerland shows the cross and not the crescent. Or the flag of
Turkey shows the crescent and not the cross. By the same token the flag of Israel
shows the Shield of David. That is why the weekly day of rest in France is Sunday
and not Friday, but in Syria it is Friday and not Saturday. In Israel it is
Saturday and not Sunday.
Like many other
nation-states Israel has minorities. And just like in other states there is
discrimination against those minorities. However, in Israel, one can explain
that discrimination by the state of war in which Israel has found itself since
its founding. In spite of that, from the beginning, Israel has striven to have
equality for all, as written in its Declaration of Independence. For instance,
when the state was founded, Israel acknowledged the collective rights of Arabs
in the realm of education. Israeli Arabs thus have the right to educate their
children in a separate framework, according to their own culture and language.
As for Cook's
claim that an Israeli Arab cannot bring his Palestinian spouse into Israel,
one has to remind him that there is a state of war between Israel and the Palestinians.
During WWII no American could bring his Japanese or German spouse into the U.S.
that nobody wanted to dismantle the nation-state of the German people during
WWII, but he and Hamas want to destroy Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish
people. They will both fail.
~ Jacob Amir
are several typical lines of apologia for Israel expressed here that I have
dealt with many times before in my articles and in the lengthy introduction
to my book Blood
and Religion. Taking the points, briefly, paragraph by paragraph:
Para 1: The suggestion
is that Israel's being a state for the Jews is no different from France being
a state for the French. That is transparent nonsense, as should be clear the
moment we consider whether there is a difference between Germany defining itself
as a state for the Germans or a state for the Aryans, or South Africa defining
itself as a state for South Africans or a state for the Afrikaners. A state
for the Jews is an ethnic state, an entirely different kind of state from France,
Britain, the U.S. or most countries we define as democracies.
Para 2: There
are a couple of obvious problems with this historical line of reasoning. First,
the "Jewish" state proposed by the UN in 1947 would have had a Jewish
majority of only a few tens of thousand; even with discriminatory immigration
legislation such as the current Law of Return, the "Jewish" state
would have had a Palestinian majority within a decade or two because of far
higher Palestinian birth rates. So what is the basis for Amir assuming that
the UN wanted to guarantee a Jewish state in perpetuity? Second, whatever the
UN intended (and, as shown above, I think that is not as clear as Amir would
wish) it cannot be used as the basis today for denying groups of Israel's citizens
the right to campaign legitimately to redefine the nature of their regime. A
decision taken in 1947 cannot be binding on the current population, including
Israel's Arab citizens, and used to prevent them from demanding that their state
be reformed from what it currently is – an ethnocracy, or democracy only
for Jews – into a liberal democracy. The fact that the majority are happy
with their ethnic privileges at the moment does not mean they will always be
the majority or that that they will always be happy with the arrangement. Political
systems change for the better, as we saw in South Africa, and decisions taken
more than half a century ago should not be cited as a reason to prevent such
Para 3: If Israel's
Jewishness was reflected only in the use of cultural symbols (flags, anthems
etc.) that belong to the majority, that might not be much of an issue. (Nonetheless,
it should be noted that these symbols are not healthy in a body politic that
is shared by two national groups. These symbols are ethnically loaded: i.e.
they are designed to exclude from representation those citizens who do not belong
to the national majority.) But, of course, Israel's Jewishness is not just about
the flag, language and anthem, as Amir well knows.
Para 4: Israel's
discrimination is not of the kind practiced in most societies, nor is it justified
on security grounds. Why does Israel need to exclude its Palestinian citizens
from the 93 per cent of the land that has been nationalized and is held in trust
for world Jewry rather than Israeli citizens? Why does Israel make it almost
impossible for Palestinian citizens to get a house building permit? Why does
Israel keep Arab municipalities massively under-funded? And so on, ad infinitum.
The example Amir cites proves exactly the opposite of what he claims. Palestinians
do not have a separate education system so that they can have cultural autonomy,
as he implies. If that were the case, the separate system would have to be equally
funded (instead of Arab children receiving a fifth of the money spent on Jewish
children), and its curriculum would have to be under the control of the Palestinian
community and not of the domestic security service, the Shin Bet, and the government.
Instead the separate system has been created to help maintain the state's Jewishness:
keeping Arab citizens uneducated, marginal and poor; developing a network of
collaborators in the Arab community; preventing Arab children from learning
about their history and developing their Palestinian identity; and preventing
Jews and Arabs from developing friendships at school before they learn to be
racist or fearful.
Para 5: Amir seems
to be saying it is justifiable to ban marriages based on Palestinians' being
Arabs or Palestinians, without any check on whether they actually pose a security
threat to Israel. If we take this argument seriously, then equally it could
have been argued that German Jews should have been abandoned to their fate rather
than allowed to seek sanctuary in Britain and the U.S., which were at war with
Nazi Germany. Blanket discrimination based on people's ethnicity is never justified;
we should refer to it by its proper name: racism.
Para 6: A revealing
comparison Amir implicitly draws between Nazi Germany and Israel as types of
ethnic nation states.
Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age
a magnificent article! Rarely, if ever, have the contemporary U.S. myths been
so surgically lanced by pointed truths in one brief essay. Paul Craig Roberts
is the bravest of the brave. Even then, though, the "New Dark Age" is already
so oppressive that the face of one devastating American truth probably had to
be veiled at the start by the historic whodunit analogy. Isn't the cunning transposition
of culpability for the murders of the York princes a mild comment on the 9/11
caper, in which the chosen geopolitical victims could be blamed for a monumental
crime that was still in the war-room planning phase? In a previous essay, the
same author posed the question: "Is
President Bush sane?" Please, give us a further historical metaphor. Having
spurned the stern fatherly advice of the Baker report, will the cruel young
scion become a Commodus or a Don Carlos?
~ E. Roby
am very pleased that Edward Roby thinks that I am brave. Most of my acquaintances
think that I am a fool for wasting my political connections by speaking truth
I am a little
bit more optimistic than Mr. Roby. It is possible that the American Establishment
is giving Bush enough rope with which to hang himself. Bush has gotten away
with his massive war crimes and his massive crimes against the Constitution,
because thoughtless Americans have accepted the government's 9/11 lie.
was no prospect of North Korea attacking America in the 1950s or Vietnam attacking
America in the 1960s and none today. The Nazis were defeated by Russia before
U.S. troops landed in Europe. The U.S. never faced any threat of invasion from
Germany, Italy, or Japan."
I am in the process
of weighing the claims of official history against those of a different perspective.
The facts and interpretation of WWII seem to be hotly contested, perhaps as
the defining moments of our situation, and though I am open to learning more,
I must confess I am mystified by the above assertions regarding the defeat of
the Nazis and the non-threat of Japan. Were the Nazis on their way out of France
when we attacked? Did not Japan attack Pearl Harbor and represent a real threat
to the U.S. coast? This is an honest inquiry, are there resources online or
better questions to be asking?
I agree that Jonathan needs to do a lot of study before he writes letters about
military history. Germany was defeated by the end of January 1943 after a 199
day battle for Stalingrad. Germany and its allies lost 850,000 soldiers in the
battle, and Field Marshall Paulus surrendered the surviving elements of his
army on Feb. 3, 1943.
From that date
onward, the Russians pushed Germany's forces out of Russia and converged on
Berlin. The U.S. troops arrived in June, 1944, by which time Germany was unable
to stop the Russian advance. The difference the U.S. troops made was in preventing
the Russian occupation of all of Europe. All Japanese war records document that
the Japanese knew they had no prospect of invading the U.S. The attack on the
U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor was done in order to prevent the U.S. Navy from interfering
in Japanese conquests in the Pacific. A number of high-ranking Japanese officers
opposed the attack on Pearl Harbor as a grave military mistake, as Japan had
no prospect of following with an attack on the U.S.
Embarrassment of the Wretched
Julius and Schama tempt providence by mentioning Germany. There was a boycott
campaign against Nazi Germany because of Hitler's persecution of the Jews. The
biggest breach in this boycott was the Jewish Agency's Ha'avara agreement, taking
The Nazis were
no fools, having sent emissaries to the Yishuv, and learned quickly how to use
the Zionist movement to undermine the solidarity of Diaspora Jews.
~ Charles P.
HaCohen writes: "But while Julius and Schama were busy writing their article,
Gaza had been under Israeli siege for months on end. Numbers of dead reached
historic levels; a million and a half human beings have been locked in the tiny
Strip, deprived of proper medical care and on the verge of starvation."
True to form,
he says nothing about the fact that Israel left the Gaza strip to the last inch
more than a year ago. He does not say that the Palestinians continued to fire
rockets at Israeli towns and villages. More than 800 rockets were fired in the
last year. Even in the last 12 days, when a ceasefire was announced, observed
scrupulously by Israel, more than 50 rockets were fired. Yesterday, a 14-year-old
boy was critically wounded in Sderot and another 14-year-old was gravely wounded.
No sovereign country
can tolerate such attacks on its citizens. Israel is no exception. But, do not
expect HaCohen to say that.
One wonders if
HaCohen can imagine what would have happened if, immediately after Israel left
the Gaza strip, all terror activity from there had ceased. Which means no rocket
launching, no weapon smuggling, no efforts to bomb the border crossing points,
no efforts to send suicide murderers into Israel. Then all the crossing points
would have remained open, there would have been free merchandise exchange, thousands
of Gazans would have been able to work in Israel, it would have been possible
to travel between the West Bank and Gaza.
community's financial help could have been invested and helped the local economy.
But HaCohen did not tell us that the Palestinians chose to continue their war
of terror. ...
As for the war
in Lebanon, HaCohen will not tell us anything about Hezbollah's military headquarters
located in a civilian neighborhood in Beirut, which may explain to him why that
neighborhood was bombed.
As the West Bank
was not annexed by Israel the relations between Israel and the Palestinians
there are not governed by Israeli laws. One can argue what is permissible and
what is not under intentional law, but Julius and Schama were right to write
that Israeli laws do not apply.
And the security
fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with security. It
has been able to significantly reduce the number of the suicide murderers able
to enter Israel and has saved the lives of hundreds of Israeli civilians. Again,
HaCohen will never say that.
And, the democratically
elected Palestinian government does not struggle for a nation-state, as HaCohen
claims. It struggles for the elimination of Israel and its replacement by a
single Palestinian state, from the sea to the river. And that is why the security
fence and the roadblocks are still required.
~ Jacob Amir
fine example of Israel's colonialist propaganda. The writer expects the Palestinians
to lay down their arms and accept Israel's occupation, and expresses his confidence
– in spite of all the evidence in the past and present – that then,
oh then, every little thing's gonna be all right: Israel will voluntarily end
the occupation, and present the Palestinians with the freedom it has always
yearned to give them. True, we rob their land, we steal their water and we lock
them behind walls. But we do it not because we want their lands, not because
desire their water, and not because we wish they weren't there at all –
but simply because they resist our noble intentions, our loving care, and our
(sometimes rough, but always well-meant) educational methods.
A tip to promote
inter-cultural understanding: When an Israeli tells you he is a "leftist" or
"peacenik," never take this on face value.
You might end
up hearing a pro-occupation manifesto like Mr. Amir's, who is himself a member
of a discussion group called Alef, short for "Academic Left."
'Surge' Faces Trouble In the Senate
"surge" is not about Iraq. It is about domestic politics. Mr. Bush will propose
a very unreasonable "surge" of troops in Iraq, with a straight face, but disingenuously.
Democrats will balk. Thus, coming into the next election, Republicans will then
charge that Iraq was lost because of the Democrats' lack of resolve. Write it
on the wall.
~ Warren Dekker