The first post tells why. It may be too little, but hopefully not too late.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Occupiers and natives

I'll start, indeed, with duplicating one of the items located on my Israel on My Mind website. Not for better, but for worse, nothing that made me to write it has changed.

July 19, 2003. - I was invited to celebrate Independence Day by a nice American couple. Almost everybody there, with a rare Canadian exception, was a US-born American citizen. I would like to emphasize this ''US-born,'' the point close to the root of the problems discussed here.

As usual where a group of Jews is gathered, the conversation turned to Israel. I had known that the hosts were far to the left from me. For this reason, and because of the traditional voting pattern, I expected everybody to be a Democrat (which I, increasingly reluctantly, was myself). Unexpected, however, were the opinions regarding Middle East conflicts. First, even though support for the Iraq war, according to the polls, is the same among Jews as in the rest of the population, in this highly educated group it was scarce. More dramatic, it was even scarcer for Israel. There was little time left to find out why exactly, but two main points were clear: Israel was considered a cruel occupying power, and Arabs were unreservedly viewed as the suffering party.

I do not need to go into the much discussed issue of why Israel's rule in the disputed territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is not occupation - an interested reader is referred to the in-depth and definitive treatment of this issue by Eugene Rostow (former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, 1966-1969, and one of the drafters of UNSC Resolution 242) and Dore Gold. Jews have full legal right to live anywhere in these territories - the same as the right to live in Tel Aviv or Haifa. Clearly, however, the pro-Arab propaganda, operating with lies and distortions, has suppressed the influence of any objective information. Indeed, the human mind is selective in its information processing. It assimilates better what goes along with a pre-existing perspective (which, if not based on objective knowledge, is called prejudice), and, within the time limits afforded, can absorb only a limited amount. This is why the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, can comfortably lie about "500 victims" of the Israeli operation in Jenin, perfectly knowing that this lie will be disproved. He does not care about his credibility - he knows he has none. What matters to him as an experienced disciple of Goebbels is that this abhorrent misinformation is thunderously amplified by the media and fills the limited information space, feeding on old prejudices and supplanting truth, just as poisonous carbon monoxide supplants oxygen in the blood. This means that even if an equal amount of truth were to follow, it would be inadequate to set the record straight.

Any truth, however, is hardly forthcoming from major media sources, whose reporting standards have been hopelessly compromised by outright fraud compounded by anti-Israel bias. Nobody is surprised any longer that The New York Times published that photograph of a bloodied Jewish youth, Tuvia Grossman, protected from the Arab mob by a vicious-looking Israeli policeman – with the title “An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount” - and this is on the clearly seen background of a gas station (see Mr. Grossman's own account of that lynch attempt). BBC’s reporting in Israel has deserved its comparison with another notorious media source, Nazi “Der Stuermer,” which incited Germans to genocide.

The gross distortion of truth about Israel is promoted by a distinct group of intellectuals, whose left, right, Muslim, socialist and other platforms converge on one point – their Jew-hatred. The difference from the Nazi situation is two-fold. First, as observed in a comment attributed to Martin Luther King, “the times have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the Jews.” Second, the left were themselves persecuted by Hitler, so that they had little chance to join him in his genocidal effort. The same is true about Jew-haters among the Jews themselves, whose participation in Nazi crimes was limited to the few collaborationists who served in Judenrats (ghetto councils) and ghetto police. The times of war usually polarize people’s positions, and gradations in politically charged opinions become less likely. Nowadays, in what we – erroneously - perceive as peace, the Jewish opponents of Israel vary in shades from disliking the thought that they may be identified with whatever antisemitic/anti-Israel stereotypes and prejudice the Gentile population may entertain (which in Steven Rose's case extends to disliking the source of his misfortune of being born Jewish – his parents) to acting as a supporter of the mass murderers of Jews. These supporters, the contemporary candidates for the ghetto police and Auschwitz kapo jobs, include, but are not limited to, Stanley Cohen, the narcissistic Hamas attorney paid from the money this terrorist group gets from Saudis and Iran for murdering Jewish babies, and the Jewish members of the International Solidarity Movement who "recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle".

Regardless of psychological and historical roots of anti-Israelism, the result is the same – the unshakable belief that Israel is illegitimate and occupies the land whose natives – Arabs – have been treated as (or more) unjustly as were American Indians. The peculiar interweaving of these roots has resulted in the cancellation of a simple truth that the natives in the Land of Israel are Jews. Arabs are invaders or, at best, settlers, just as, before them, were Babylonians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and whoever else tortured the Holy Land. The only difference from other invaders is that Arabs have never even ruled over “Palestine,” except when 80% of it was cut off by the British in 1921 and handed over to their puppet Abdullah bin Husayn for his service as his fiefdom. It is ironic that the emirate, and later kingdom, where Jews have been prohibited by law from settling, was given a Jewish name – the name of the Jordan river.

The Jewish presence in the whole of the Land of Israel has never been interrupted, despite all efforts of invaders. But even in places where it was, as it happened in Hevron (Hebron) after Arab pogroms instigated by the Nazi mufti Amin al-Husseini, this does not make invaders natives - just as nobody would think of white New Yorkers as Native Americans, even though the tribes who used to live on Manhattan may not even exist anymore. Being US-born, even in several generations, does not make you a native of the land. The difference in the perception of “nativeness” is all the more striking considering that Indians left no cities on Manhattan, whereas the “Palestinian” city of Hevron, under this very name, was the first capital of Israel under King David, when nobody had even heard of Arabs. The tombs of the Jewish patriarchs are there, in the place bought by Abraham. That Jews could come and worship there again only after the Six Day War, after 700 years of prohibition under Muslim “tolerant” rule, had not made the cave of Machpelah Arab. It is the Jewish names under which this land is known to all humanity, despite all efforts to rename Hevron into al-Khalil, Jerusalem into Aelia Capitolina (Romans) or al-Quds (Arabs), and the whole land into Syria Palaestina (Romans), Palestine (British), or Filastiniya (Arabs). No Orwellian effort to rewrite history can change the fact that Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) has been the capital of the Jewish - and no other - State since King David. Hevron is located in Judean Hills, Judea, the land of Jews.

PS. Little that I knew then, in 2003, that in 2010 an American administration would be first to introduce the Arabic replacement name into the official lingo.

Watch, and think about who those students “from Palestine” were, in the ‘70s in Egypt, who taught him “to live in peace and security” and “to practice our faith freely” (unless, of course, he is a Muslim, and "our faith" is Islam). You probably know that the Saudi duties as “custodians of the two holy mosques” include not allowing any non-Muslim to the land of the two "holy mosques", let alone building anything Jewish of Christian in the whole of Saudi Arabia.

If you ever travel to "Palestine", perhaps you’ll visit "Al Quds". I am not sure who will be its custodians, if this administration of Saudi supplicants succeeds in its hard work of creating the new pale of settlement for Jews, this time in the Land of Israel itself.

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