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Topics - John Tinmouth

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1
Evan Davis was at it again on Newsnight.

On the Tuesday evening programme on 24th April, Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews was given free rein to vent his concerns over anti-Semitism in the Labour party. It is important to note that the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) never criticises the racist, apartheid Israeli state’s murderous actions and policies against the Palestinians, not even, for example, at the height of Israel’s assaults on Gaza in recent years – indeed, it supports the Israeli state no matter what it does. The BoD is Zionist and attempts (together with the Jewish Chronicle) to police the close-knit Jewish community so that it takes courage and commitment for Jews to speak out against them. Nevertheless, some Jewish groups do so.

The entire piece on the programme was the alleged concern – does anti-Semitism exist in the Labour party? But this is a false premise. Since the Labour party – because of Jeremy Corbyn – now has well over half a million members – it would be surprising if there were not some real anti-Semites within its ranks. Since anti-Semitism, like other forms of racism, does exist in British society, the correct question to ask is whether anti-Semitism within the Labour party is any worse than in the rest of society – or exists at the same level – or is in fact less pervasive.

Those who ask the wrong question – does anti-Semitism exist in the Labour party – do so deliberately. A phony debate can then – and has been – whipped up by those factions who dislike Corbyn and all he stands for.  Thus, a loose assortment of Tories and other right-wingers, Zionists (like Arkush and the BoD, and the Jewish Labour Movement) who realise that Corbyn (rightly) supports the cause of Palestinian human rights, Blairites in the Labour party and Labour Friends of Israel – plus many so-called liberals who, when it comes down to it, are hearty opponents of socialism – can use the false debate as a means of attacking Corbyn’s Labour. (If they had asked the right question, there would have been no debate at all.) They have stirred up things in spades – just prior to the local elections.

Arkush, as a Zionist (and therefore a racist and anti-Semite himself, since the Palestinians are also Semites) deliberately asked the wrong question. And Evan Davis let him do it.

Davis tentatively asked him to comment on the charge of whipped-up accusations of anti-Semitism – Arkush said only that he was there to defend Jews in the Labour party, and commented on the thousands (some say only hundreds) of Jews who demonstrated against anti-Semitism in Labour’s ranks – without mentioning that the major demonstration was by the Jewish Labour Movement – and without mentioning that movement’s very dodgy antecedents (for which see below).

Arkush said that Labour had not done enough to quash the supposed scourge. He specifically mentioned Labour’s rejection of an ombudsman. But very significantly, he made no mention of the range of other actions which the BoD and the Jewish Leadership Council requested of Labour. The most important of these by far was the request that the Labour party formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. This is attached as Appendix A. The points set out in the paragraphs below concern this vitally important definition:

Theresa May announced (at a Conservative Friends of Israel meeting in December 2016) the UK’s  formal adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism agreed on earlier this year by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). It poses a familiar threat to legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. The points inset below are contained in an article in the Independent of Tuesday 13 December 2016 headed “Theresa May’s new definition of antiSemitism will do more harm than good”:
  • “…The text of the IHRA definition is based on, and very similar to, a draft document first circulated by a European anti-racism agency in 2005, only to be subsequently abandoned as not fit for purpose. That particular definition, drafted with the help of pro-Israel advocacy groups, was the subject of serious critique for its conflation of genuine anti-Semitic bigotry on the one hand, and criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel on the other. It is that definition which has now been resuscitated, and endorsed by a Tory government that has already sought to intimidate Palestine solidarity activism and undermine civil society boycotts…”
  • “…In fact, the definition endorsed by May is almost identical to the one at the heart of a free speech furore in the US, pitching pro-Israel senators against groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Jewish Voice for Peace, who oppose efforts they see as intended to stifle pro-Palestine activism…”
  • “…American Jewish commentator Peter Beinart also wrote in December 2016 in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, suggesting that such efforts “to classify anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, punishable by law” are a direct response to the growing number of “progressives” who “question Zionism”…The Israeli government and its friends and allies are desperate to smear and shush – even if it means compromising the fight against genuine anti-Semitism with muddled definitions…”

The Jewish Labour Movement has been one of the main groups on the right wing of the Labour Party whipping up a phony “anti-Semitism crisis” since Corbyn was elected in 2015. A witch hunt was conducted against members who had actually done little more than criticize Israel or defend Palestinian rights. The Jewish Labour Movement has close links to the Israeli embassy, and is constitutionally committed to Zionism. It is involved in the World Zionist Organization, which is strongly involved in the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank by Israeli settlers:
  • The Jewish Labour Movement has strongly promoted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, which Israeli lobby groups have pressed legislatures around the world to adopt – see the Appendix for this definition.
  • A previous unadopted Jewish Labour Movement proposal would have allowed the party to discipline members accused of anti-Semitism in cases “where the victim or anyone else think it was motivated by hostility” towards Jews. In other words, one politically motivated false accusation of anti-Semitism is all it would have taken for a Labour Party member to be expelled. The Jewish Labour Movement also argued that its original proposal would have rendered it unacceptable “to use Zionism as a term of abuse.”

The Labour Party’s “Race and Faith Manifesto” formally endorses a two-sentence definition of anti-Semitism, contained in the controversial IHRA document, which does not mention Israel: “A certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” It adds that, “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”:
  • This part of the IHRA document does not produce any problem. It is the accompanying “examples” provided by IHRA (see the Appendix) that define criticism of Israel and its Zionist state ideology as anti-Semitism. The Labour manifesto is rightly silent on whether the party accepts or rejects those examples as valid instances of anti-Semitism. A careful reading of these examples reveals what can only be regarded as a sinister attempt to expand the boundaries of what may properly be considered as “anti-Semitism” into very contentious areas, and is in fact an attack on free speech itself – its blatant intent is to close down criticism of Israel as far as possible, and try to legally intimidate Israel’s critics. It is a thoroughly reprehensible document.

But surely, in the interests of the BBC’s famed impartiality, Davis entertained some countervailing voice? Someone like Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, for example, a leading member of the Jewish Voice for Labour group, which supports Palestinian rights, and which held a counter-demonstration against the “attack Corbyn” demonstration organised by the Jewish Labour Movement? She may well have excoriated the BoD president about the nature of the Jewish Labour movement, queried the genuineness of the “Labour anti-Semitism” debate, exposed the real motives behind the BoD’s request for the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and attacked his and the BoD’s Zionism. Davis did nothing of the sort - the unabashed Zionist was allowed, unopposed, to exercise his prejudices and set out his dishonest narrative.

To be fair to Evan Davis and the BBC, he and the corporation were no worse than the rest of the mainstream media (both broadcast and print) as regards the sham respect accorded to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, whose true views on Israel are never reported. But it is up to the BBC, as a publicly-funded broadcaster not susceptible to commercial and financial pressures, to impartially present issues such as the current anti-Semitism debate (and the related Israel-Palestine conflict), and so hold other broadcast media to a standard they may otherwise wish to avoid. In this it shamefully fails, as in the truths it has omitted to tell surrounding the issues discussed above. Davis is a stooge of the pro-Israel lobby and so is the the disgraceful BBC.

John Tinmouth, member of Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Tuesday, 1st May 2018











APPENDIX - International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism

Bucharest, 26 May 2016

In the spirit of the Stockholm Declaration that states: “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils” the committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of antisemitism.
On 26 May 2016, the Plenary in Bucharest decided to:

Adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”


To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
•   Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
•   Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
•   Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
•   Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
•   Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
•   Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
•   Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
•   Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
•   Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
•   Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
•   Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

2
One night on Newsnight last week, the presenter Evan Davis interviewed Lord Levy.

Lord Levy, Blair's financier and a man with first-class contacts with those at the head of the Zionist, racist regime in Tel Aviv, is of course a rabid Zionist himself. That is, he fully supports, without any criticism, that regime in its racism, its intransigence in the face of world opinion, its arrogance, and its murderous and continuing oppression of the Palestinian people.

So what does Evan do, does he castigate the noble Lord and his repugnant views? No, he allows Levy to detail a (truly antisemitic) email that he, Levy, has received. The effect was to show this prominent Zionist in a sympathetic light - truly disgusting.

But kow-towing to the Zionist racists is standard fare at the BBC. Occasionally, when the BBC is vigorously shamed and prodded, and when events like the "day of rage" in Gaza are too big even for the BBC to ignore, then Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen bestirs himself, and the Corporation (reluctantly) reports the event.

Of course, it has been said that the American Anti-Defamation League is in town with a brief to take on critics of Israel. Just as The Israeli Defence Force is really, really, really an Israeli Attack Force, so the Anti-Defamation League is really, really, really a Defamation League - its brief is to intimidate and get the dirt on Israel's critics. We know from the book by the American professors Walt and Meisenheimer on the pro-Israel lobby in America that these people don't pull any punches, they get up to some very nasty tricks to silence people. Could this have happened to Evan? We don't know.

Tools of which state? Well, the British state (as opposed to the British people) is - against all morality, strongly supportive of the state of Israel. So, a tool of both the British state and the state of Israel? Or perhaps just a victim.

John Tinmouth, member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Tuesday, 3rd April 2018


3
Original and first update

Mick Bowman, a member of the Newcastle branch of the Palestine Solidarity campaign, was arrested by the Israeli Army sometime on Friday, February 13th 2015.

Mick had recently gone to Palestine as part of the International Solidarity Movement of international activists who support the Palestinians, particularly in their struggle against Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank, and who go out jointly with Palestinians on protests.

There is a high-profile weekly protest at Bil'in, and this was where he was arrested yesterday. The following report of events at the protest is from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee of Bil'in. Israeli occupying forces were waiting near the old route of the wall, where they began firing tear gas canisters, sound grenades and rubber-coated metal bullets at the demonstrators, in order to prevent them reaching the wall. Ten activists were injured, one of them a journalist, while many others suffered from inhalation of tear gas. Two activists were arrested - one was Mohammed Khatib, a member of the Coordination Committee - the other was Mick. They were hit by Israeli soldiers in the course of their arrest.

Below are four pictures of Mick taken by activists as he is assaulted and arrested at the protest.







Below are some other pictures taken at the protest.










It is thought that, since the Israelis don't work on the Sabbath - though they probably make an exception for interrogation work - he will be deported, but that this will not take place until sometime next week.

Obviously, since Mick is in Israeli custody, there are as yet no details of his treatment by them. If he had been a Palestinian, no doubt he may have been very roughly handled - Israeli security forces have scant regard for Palestinian rights. However, they have to be rather more careful about the human rights of Europeans - if only for public relations purposes. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

The International Solidarity Movement are monitoring the situation very closely and are in touch with Mick's family. His sister reports that he is okay, though what this means in relation to the tender ministrations of the Israeli security forces is not clear.

Local Labour MP Ian Lavery has been informed. The matter is also to be brought up at Unison's National Executive Committee on Monday (Mick is a Unison official).

The British Consul has been informed by the family, and will take appropriate action.



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Second Update, on Sunday 15th February at 2.00pm

Mick was later released from custody. He sent us this report, received just before 10am on Sunday morning (15th February)

.... just to confirm that after being taken to court yesterday evening (Saturday) I was released with conditions, which are essentially that I do not travel to the West Bank for the remaining time before I fly back to the UK on 19th. ( I will leave it to you to judge whether or not I will be scrupulous in abiding by these conditions).

Oh, and just to let you know the army alleged that I had assaulted an IDF soldier and that was why they had detained and restrained me with "appropriate force" (standing on my hands and thumping me etc to get the plastic cuffs on and then pepper-spraying my eyes from a distance of 6 inches after I had been cuffed but  refused to stand up). 

The military were extremely aggressive from the outset in how they responded to what was a peaceful demonstration, one of the purposes of which was to pay tribute to the young American woman, Kayla Mueller who had been murdered in Syria by ISIS a few days previously: Kayla had been in the West Bank with ISM  for a couple of months 4 years previously and had joined the protests in Bil'in then. I gave up counting the number of tear gas grenades fired after I counted 50 or so - the eventual number will have been in the hundreds - and stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets were fired at us all. (I've attached some of the photos I took to try and give a sense of what Palestinians have to face if they dare to stand up to the occupation)

My Palestinian comrade from the village of Bil'in who was arrested before me and treated in similarly appropriate fashion is called Mohamed Khatib : he's a bloke in his early 40s and a committed activist in the struggle for justice and he will fare much worse than me as he's Palestinian. After we were processed by the military and then interviewed by the Israeli civil police at one of the illegal West Bank settlements ( a place called Binyamin) he was taken off to the infamous Ofar prison close to Ramalla (incidentally, G4S set up and run the central control room at Ofar) and will be held there until Monday when he will be before the court.. I've spoken with his lawyer - the same guy who represented me and did great work - and he's hopeful that he will be released . I'll be following up what happens to Mohamed and will let you know.

When I was released last night and could access my phone (which somehow didn't get broken, tough things these Nokias, perhaps they should consider it for an advertising campaign ...), I was overwhelmed and really touched to see all the messages of support and solidarity from friends and comrades in the UK, thank you all, it really meant a lot to me.

Let's all redouble our efforts to work towards a free Palestine.

In solidarity,
Mick


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Third Update, on Monday 16th February at 2.30pm

A friend and fellow activist Tony Pierre spoke to Mick yesterday:
"I've spoken to him and he was in good spirits, arrested and accused of assaulting a police person, in fact he was objecting to mistreatment of another protester. The pictures we've seen had security forces standing on his hands and they sprayed pepper spray into his eyes from 6 inches - Stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets also used at this protest, without warning. Threatened with deportation and 10 year ban, which hasn't happened. Due back Newcaste Saturday after a night in London.'"

Mick' arrest and detention made the front page of today's Newcastle Journal, headlined Beaten because I dared to protest. Inside was a full-page story Detained, restrained and pepper-sprayed as I mountd my protest. - see www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/tyneside-campaigner-mick-bowman-arrested-8650866


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Fourth Update, on Tuesday 17th February at 1.30pm

The story of Mick's arrest and detention has now been reported on the Middle East Monitor website - see www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/17006-how-britains-pro-israel-lobby-invests-in-young-parliamentary-candidates

Mick has told us that it is being taken up by Jude Kirton Daleng (MEP) and some MPs as well.

He has also provided brief details regarding the situation of Mohammed Khatib, the Palestinian activist from Bil'in who was arrested just before Mick at the protest at Bil'in last Friday.
Mick says it's good news in that Mohammed was released from Ofar Prison on Sunday, after appearing in court and being bailed for 4,000 New Israeli Shekels (about £700). Mick is not sure if any other conditions were imposed as he hasn't yet been able to speak to him directly, but at least he's now back home.


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Final Update, on Monday 23rd February at 3.30pm

Mick flew back from the West Bank to the UK last Thursday, 19th February. He spent the next day with family in London, then returned by train to Newcastle on Saturday, where he was met by PSC supporters and family.

No doubt he will give his full story in due course.


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This website will be regularly updated with further news as we receive it. Details, including the footage of the arrest, are also on the Facebook page of the Newcastle branch of Palestine Solidarity campaign - go to www.facebook.com/newcastlepsc

No doubt Mick will in due course give us a full account of what happened, and it will be reported on this website.

Published February 14th 2015. Last updated Monday 23rd February at 3.30pm
.

4
South Tyneside Stop the War / As I Walked Out One End-summer Day
« on: December 01, 2014, 11:50:12 AM »
SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION


As I Walked Out One End-summer Day


In 1935, the English poet and writer Laurie Lee walked from his landing at Vigo in Spain, to Madrid, a journey made famous in his book “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning” - a distance of some 440 miles. Laurie subsequently walked to the southern coast, leaving Spain briefly, to return and fight in the Spanish civil war for justice and against oppression.

80 years later, in late-September 2014, I too walked from Vigo to Madrid, dressed in "Laurie Lee/Free Palestine Walk" T-shirts - a political walk to symbolise another fight for justice and against oppression - the Palestinians’ fight for justice against Israeli oppression.

I hope that my trip may inspire others around the world to carry out similar actions in support of the Palestinian cause.


Click here to read the account of my walk, with the photographs I took on the way.




I have written, in the past few years, a number of articles to convey the stark reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as opposed to the cosy lies of numerous Zionist myths. These are set out below.

Israel, The Illegitimate State: A Solution
Click here to read the article above.


Bully Boys II: Mearsheimer And Walt's Book On The Israel Lobby

Click here to read the article above.


A Brief History Of Modern Palestine
Click here to read the article above.


A History Of Judaism And Present-Day Orthodox Judaism
Click here to read the article above.


Hamas And Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations
Click here to read the article above.


German Moral Cowardice Over The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Click here to read the article above.


One of the four specially-designed "Laurie Lee/Free Palestine Walk" T-shirts I wore in my walk across Spain is currently on sale on Ebay. All proceeds of the sale go to Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who will reimburse the expenses of my journey only out of such proceeds.

Click here to see the sale.


John Tinmouth
South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition
October 2014

5
South Tyneside Stop the War / Israel, The Illegitimate State: A Solution
« on: November 29, 2014, 04:19:54 PM »
    SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION



    Springtime for Bibi
       
    (It is a conference of executives reviewing progress on the forthcoming film, tentatively titled “The New Producers”, now in production. The producer, Max, is talking)   

    Producer   “ … on that note, perhaps our production manager can fill us in. Moshe?”
       
    Production Manager   “Well, guess what, boys, we got all the production sets for the original film, The Producers, for a song! They were just rotting away on one of Embassy Pictures Corporation’s back lots. We got’em all for ten cents on the dollar, sweet deal, should do wonders for our production costs! And, speaking of songs, it turns out that the rights for the Springtime For Hitler song in the original film were easy to get too! So we’ve adapted it for our Springtime For Bibi number with no problems.”         
       
    Producer   “What about casting, Abe?”
       
    Casting Director   “There’s a problem on the Bibi role – I can’t understand it, the money’s good, but it seems that, for some reason, nobody wants to play him!”
       
    Producer   (Smacks his head – a stroke of genius has just occurred) “What about George W. Bush! - he’s ideal, psychologically, he’ll identify with the part, bought into the whole thing, didn’t he? And they tell me he hasn’t had a whole lot of employment opportunities lately.”
       
    Casting Director   “Great, Max, baby, what would we do without you!” (Smiles ingratiatingly) “I think that also solves another little difficulty. There’s a small-time part for one of Bibi’s cohorts, a two-bit politico with veracity problems, now fallen on tough times and finding it hard to cope with reality. I got thinking about … ”
       
    Producer   (Excitedly, beating him to the punch) “Tony Blair, you mean? Yes, yes, yes! And he’s used to small-time bit parts, especially in American productions!!” (Then, crestfallen.) “No, no, he’d never do it, I mean the guy is worth a fortune now, with all his connections.”
       
    Casting Director   “Listen, that guy will do anything for money!” (Hollers through to his secretary.) “IRMA! Get a Mister Tony Blair on the blower, will you? What, dear, no, he doesn’t live in New York city, everybody doesn’t live in New York city, Irma – though he is some kind of honorary American if you come to think of it. He’s English, darling, phone England.”

    “What do you mean, honey, where’s England? It’s a small place somewhere on the other side of the pond, dear. I don’t know precisely, what the f**k is this, am I the office boy?” (Roars down the phone.) “RING THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, DEAR, they ought to know, do I have to do everything around this f***ing place?
       
    Producer   Leave it, Abe, you can sort it later. I want to get down to the production lot, they’re just about to film what’s-his-name singing the Springtime For Bibi number.Come on, folks, this oughta be good!”
       
       (They leave the conference and walk down to the production lot. It is set up as a sizeable theatre stage, where a large cast of dancers in Israeli army uniforms mill around, waiting. The singer (what’s his name?) is about to break into song. The singers form up, male IDF soldiers, menacingly looking out from a raised platform at back, female IDF soldiers centre-stage.)    

    Whats-his-name   (Clears throat, orchestra starts up, he sings)

    Germany Israel was having trouble
    What a sad, sad story
    Needed a new leader
    To restore its former glory
    Where, oh where was he?
    Where could that man be?
    We looked around
    And then we found
    The man for you and me
    And now it's

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Deutschland Eretz Israel is happy and gay
    We're marching to a faster pace
    Look out
    Here comes the master race

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Winter for Poland Gaza and France West Bank
    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Come on, Germans soldiers
    Go into your dance”
       
       (Three rows of attractive IDF female soldiers in short skirts zigzag across the stage, alternately high-kicking in one direction, then goose-stepping in the other. At the extremity of each leg they raise their Uzi machine guns, and spray “Gazans”  in the wings. The Gazans fall down.)
       
    Whats-his-name   (Continuing his song.)

    “I was born settled down in Dusseldorf Ariel
    And that is why they call me Rolf Gave those West Bankers bloody hell
    Don't be stupid, be a smarty
    Come and join the Nazi Likud party

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Goosestep's the new step today
    Bombs falling from the skies again
    Deutschland Eretz Israel is on the rise again

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Uboats F16s are sailing flying once more

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Means that soon we'll be going
    We've got to be going
    You know we'll be going to war”
       
       (The stage erupts in smoke and flame. Plastic F16s and Blackhawk helicopters “fly” overhead with a deafening roar. All is noise and chaos.)
       
    Director   “Cut. It’s a wrap, folks. Congratulations!”
       
       …
       
    Marketing Director   (Back at the studio offices, the newly-employed marketing director, Hymie, is on the telephone)
    (Highly agitated)

    “Whaddya mean, how do I think it’ll go down in Tel Aviv? Are you crazy? Like The Triumph Of The Will, you schmuck. Like a lead balloon, you f***ing dickhead! Oh, why did I get into the movies, I should have listened to my Jewish momma.”

    (Wails, bursts into tears, stares gloomily out of the window. Then, slowly, his gloom evaporates, as he begins to think it through.)

    “Wait a minute! Now, just wait a goddamn minute! What about how it’ll go down in Amman? Or Ramallah? Or Cairo, or Riyadh, or Damascus, or Beirut, or … … … “

    (He pauses in rapt concentration …)

    “Son, we just might have a hit on our hands. This one, I feel, could be, well, BIG!!!”
       
    Producer   (In a low voice, confidentially.) “Abe, old son, you don’t think it’s a little, well, OTT, do you? I mean, didn’t that Jewish professor guy, er, Michael Neumann, talk about the Israelis using American, rather than Hitlerian, levels of violence?”
       
    Marketing Director   “Over the top? Look, it’s a spoof, dearie, it’s a piss-take, they’re always a little over the top. Anyway, we can stick in a disclaimer at the end, you know the stuff – none of the events depicted, and so forth. We could get Mark Regev to do it – he tells beautiful lies with such great assurance, don’t you think? IRMA, get me a Mister … ”


    --------------------------------------




    Samih X was a Palestinian. Like me, he was an exile in this Middle East state, but there the similarity ended - whilst my own exile was self-imposed and voluntary, that of an expatriate, his separation was forced upon him by the Israeli occupiers of his homeland; his was that of a refugee. He spent this particular annual leave visiting the West Bank, with his brother. On the first day of his return, I noticed that he looked distraught, and asked if anything was wrong. He said that his brother had been shot dead by the Israeli army. I was shocked - though I did not know his brother, I knew Samih as a quiet, rather shy, man in his mid-twenties, and could not imagine him, them, doing anything more violent than chucking a few rocks at the Israeli Defence Force. Though my intuition, of course, could be wrong. They gave him two weeks compassionate leave.

    It was later that same year, or perhaps the following one, memory of dates is imprecise, that Mohammed Y also went on annual leave, also visited the West Bank. Mohammed was an assured individual approaching thirty. His English was excellent, unsurprisingly, since he had been educated in the UK at an English public school. He had traveled to his home town of Nablus. There, he had stood facing his family house, unable to enter, helpless, powerless to do anything, because his home had been taken over by Jews. I envisaged him there, under that hot Middle Eastern sun, standing, just standing; feeling futile and angry – very, very angry; with an acid anger, black and acrid and powerful. And then just having to walk away, to leave, to abandon. He explained that his family held all the necessary title deeds, but that these meant nothing to the Israelis. I surmised, because of his background, that the property was very probably quite substantial, though I did not ask him. He related all this calmly, almost dispassionately, though the emotion simmering under the surface was apparent..

    Because I knew Mohammed, and had never met Samih’s brother, it was Mohammed’s story which affected me most strongly. I imagined standing in front of my own house in the UK, unable to go in because it had been occupied by citizens of some foreign invader. The helplessness. And the dark welling up of a bitter rage which does not go away, that burns at the soul, that, at unguarded moments, colours and casts its bleak shadow over each passing day.

    Recollections of this writer, from his time in the Middle East.




    --------------------------------------




    ISRAEL, THE ILLEGITIMATE STATE: A SOLUTION


    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PART I
    CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY AS A STATE



    Netanyahu: delegitimising the delegitimisers
    The meaning of “legitimate” in relation to a state
    The history of modern Palestine – a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


    PART II
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE LEGAL SENSE

    LEGITIMACY IN THE LEGAL SENSE
    Legitimacy in the legal sense
    A legalistic approach instead of a political approach

    THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE BRITISH MANDATE
    The Balfour Declaration for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine
    The League and Palestine – no immediate independence - self-determination a legal right
    Britain’s mandate over Palestine – inclusion therein of the Balfour Declaration
    Britain announces leaving Palestine - requests UN solution – Assembly appoints Special Committee

    UN RECOMMENDATION OF PARTITION – SUBSEQUENT ABANDONMENT OF PARTITION
    Special Committee - ignores self-determination of Palestinians – majority proposes partition
    UN General Assembly constitutes an Ad Hoc Committee – request for ICJ opinion on Palestine rejected
    Subcommittee approves partition plan – Ad Hoc committee votes to recommend partition to Assembly
    Assembly approves partition plan as Resolution 181 after great US pressure – criticism of the Resolution
    The abandonment of the partition plan
    Resolution 181 for partition is only a recommendation – it is a dead letter conferring no territorial rights

    THE UN POWER OVER PALESTINE
    General Assembly can only make recommendations and has no capacity to convey territorial rights
    Argument that General Assembly has decision-making power over former Mandate territories
    The Namibia case
    Namibia – Difference between the Namibia case and the Palestine case
    Namibia – ICJ opinion that General Assembly has power to supervise former League mandates - rejected
    Argument - Even if Assembly had supervisory power, it cannot determine a mandate’s future status
    Namibia – ICJ did not decide whether Assembly can make a decision contrary to wishes of inhabitants
    Namibia again – Another difference between the Namibia case and Palestine case
    Resolution 181 would violate right of self-determination if binding – Palestinian rights under the Charter
    Argument – the Palestine Arabs forfeited their right of self-determination - rejected
    Argument - Resolution 181 was “re-affirmed” by the Security Council – rejected

    THE DE FACTO REALISATION OF THE ZIONIST DREAM
    Britain gives up authority in Palestine - Assembly relieves commission to supervise partition of its duties
    Israel declares statehood, ignoring the General Assembly’s abandonment of Resolution 181

    THE ZIONIST CLAIM OF ANCIENT TITLE TO PALESTINE
    Israel’s claim of ancient title/biblical title to Palestine - rejected
    THE 1948 WAR – A ZIONIST WAR OF AGGRESSION – ISRAEL AS A COLONIAL STATE
    Zionists did not have the right to take Palestine by force
    The Arab Higher Committee, though not a state, had a strong claim to sovereignty over Palestine
    An attack by the Zionists may lawfully be opposed by the Arab Higher Committee
    The Zionists’ 1947-48 war as the action of agents of a state – an armed attack warranting self-defence
    The Zionists imposition of statehood can be considered a forced colonisation of Palestine

    ISRAEL AS A DE FACTO STATE
    The initial Israeli application for UN membership is rejected
    Israeli resubmission for UN membership approved despite some members concerns
    Recognition of Israel does not imply its legitimacy
    The sovereignty-vacuum theory as a legitimisation of Israel – rejected
    Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency as the only authority remaining in place – rejected
    Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact – rejected
    The post-war armistice agreements do not affect Israel’s territorial sovereignty
    Israel’s factual existence does not make clear the extent of its territory
    The special situation concerning the status of Jerusalem
    The status of the Gaza Strip and West Bank after the 1948 war
    Israel called upon to withdraw unconditionally from the occupied territories
    UN Security Council and General Assembly declare Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem a nullity
    Illegality of Israel’s continued occupation of the occupied territories
    UN General Assembly rejects Camp David restrictions on Palestinian rights over the occupied territories

    CONCLUSION

    PART III
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE SENSE OF VALID/ACCEPTABLE


    ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IN THE SENSE OF VALIDITY/ACCEPTABILITY
    Legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE RACIST STATE
    UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Israel as a racist regime, and of Zionism as racism
    Zionism
    Discussion of Zionism as racism
    Is The State Of Israel A Jewish State?
    Israeli Racism – Further evidence in recent legal measures
    Israeli Racism – Further evidence from recent events
    Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Israel’s Mizrachi Jews
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE COLONIAL STATE
    The Israelis As Colonisers
    Foreigners take the land of another state by force against the resistance of the indigenous population
    The coloniser’s denial of the right of self-determination
    The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonised
    The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters

    • Israel’s actions are at the root of the violence
    • Reprisals against Palestinian cross-border raids
    • The occupation
    • Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories
    • Settler violence
    • Israeli repression of resistance prior to the intifadas (uprisings)
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the first intifada - The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the second intifada
    • The Israeli response to Palestinian resistance from Southern Lebanon- the 1982 Lebanon war
    • The Israeli response to the resistance of Hezbollah – the 2006 Lebanon war
    • The Israeli response to the current situation in the West Bank
    • The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)
    The coloniser’s economic oppression of the colonised
    • Dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians
    • Dispossession, expulsion, and Palestinian unemployment
    • Economic discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel – This involves:
    • Economic oppression in the Occupied Territories
    • Economic oppression amounting to colonial oppression

    The coloniser’s denial of the human rights of the colonised
    • Israel’s colonial, Zionist and apartheid nature involves a denial of human rights
    • The nature of Israel’s occupation is a fundamental violation of human rights
    • Israel and specific abuses of human rights in the occupied territories
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE APARTHEID STATE
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: ITS DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND OPINION

    Israel disregard of international law concerning its legitimacy as a state
    The 1948 war in Palestine
    Israel’s Wars:

    • The 1956 Suez campaign
    • The 1967 6-day war – Israel’s war of expansion
    • The 1973 war
    • The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
    • The 2006 invasion of Lebanon
    Israeli racial discrimination against its Palestinian minority in Israel
    Illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories
    Israel ignores international condemnation over settlements in and adjacent to Arab east Jerusalem
    Condemnations of Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance to occupation
    Israel’s illegal forcible expulsions from the occupied territories, property destruction, group penalties
    Israel’s confiscation of property in the occupied territories
    Israel’s exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories
    Israeli abuses in the first intifada
    Israeli abuses in the second intifada
    Condemnations of the Wall
    Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza
    Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza

    CONCLUSION

    PART IV
    WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

    Israel’s illegitimacy reinforces the need for a solution to the conflict
    What kind of solution?
    How likely is a solution?
    What, then, of the Americans?
    What of the ‘Quartet’?
    What political stance should the European Union adopt?
    Reason for hope – a multipolar world
    Reason for hope – The Non-Western World
    Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers
    Reason for hope  - activists from around the world
    Consequences of a failure to achieve an equitable settlement to the conflict
    A final message of support for the Palestinians




    PART I
    CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY AS A STATE

    Netanyahu: delegitimising the delegitimisers
    A year ago, Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to Judge Goldstone’s devastating report to the UN Human Rights Council, principally concerning Israeli war crimes committed during its assault on Gaza in December 2008, said the report was being used to "delegitimise" Israel's right to self-defence. This so-called “self-defence” was in fact a brutal, murderous, and (in the eyes of the world) massively disproportionate attack on Gaza, ostensibly done to protect Israel from Hamas rocket attacks. The reality is that it was an attempt to punish Hamas and discredit it amongst the Palestinian people, because Israel sees Hamas as a more difficult and less compliant political opponent, in any peace negotiations, than Mahmoud Abbas. Continuing in the same mendacious vein, the Israeli Prime Minister asserted, "We must delegitimise the delegitimisers". His remarks perhaps reflected Israeli nervousness not only over international criticism of Israeli war crimes in the Gaza assault, and the continuing cruelty of the blockade, but international impatience with Israeli intransigence in refusing for more than 40 years to settle the conflict with the Palestinians in any way which is remotely equitable.

    Netanyahu’s call in effect to “delegitimise” Israel’s critics is through the (by now well-known) Zionist tactic, now wearing rather thin and ineffective, of attacking the messenger rather than the message, usually by charges of anti-Semitism, often additionally by smear tactics. Of course, what else can this Jewish racist/supremacist and his Zionist and other apologists do? :

    • Could they say, for example – see the history referred to below - that the initial Zionist project of Jewish (mainly European) foreigners inserting themselves into the land of Palestine, and progressively dispossessing the indigenous Palestine Arabs, was a humane venture?
    • Could they say – see the history again – that in the 1948 and 1967 wars, and the subsequent bloody expulsion and ethnic cleansing of so many Palestinians from their own homeland, that the Israelis acted towards the Palestinians with consideration and compassion?
    • Could they say – refer to the history – of the Palestine Arabs left within de facto Israel, that they have always treated them as equals, and not with racism and discrimination?
    • Could they say – look at the history again – that subsequent to the 1967 war, with Israel’s harsh and brutal occupation of the remaining one-fifth of Palestinian land that it had not already taken, and the brutal and colonial oppression that followed (including the recent assault and blockade of Gaza), that they have at all times treated the Palestinian people with tender, loving care?
                                                                                                                                           Of course they could not – historical truth-telling cannot be in the Zionists’ repertoire - so smear the critics and get all friendly media (especially the American media) to tell lies and half-truths for Israel.

    Regardless of Netanyahu’s misleading rhetoric, it is actually the legitimacy of Israel itself which is the real question.


    The meaning of “legitimate” in relation to a state
    The Oxford English Dictionary basically gives two different meanings to the adjective “legitimate” in the context of a “legitimate” state;
    • The first relates to legality – “Conformable to law or rule; sanctioned or authorized by law or right; lawful; proper”
    • The second relates to acceptability – “Normal, regular; conformable to a recognized standard type; valid or acceptable; justifiable, reasonable”

    Let us, then, consider the legitimacy of the Israeli state in each of these two basic senses – legality and acceptability.

    The history of modern Palestine – a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    When considering various aspects of Israel’s legitimacy, it is always necessary to know the historical background and context. This article in each case provides sufficient details of that history. However, for those interested in a fuller and more detailed historical account, we have already written and distributed articles on the history of Israel-Palestine. For those who do not have copies, these articles are available on South Tyneside STWC’s website, www.northeaststopwar.org.uk – at the site, just click on ‘Forum’, then select ‘South Tyneside Stop the War’, then select the relevant article.:

    • A Brief History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The following sources were principally used to provide that history:
      • Ilan Pappe’s A History Of Modern Palestine (second edition)
      • John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective
      • Michael Neumann’s The Case Against Israel
      • Khaled Hroub’s Hamas; A Beginner’s Guide.
    • A History Of Judaism In The Past, And Present-Day Orthodox Judaism: Its Social And Political Effects. The sole source for this history and social and political analysis was:
      • Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion



    PART II
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE LEGAL SENSE


    LEGITIMACY IN THE LEGAL SENSE
    Legitimacy in the legal sense
    We first examine Israel’s legitimacy in the legal sense – “conformable to law or rule; sanctioned or authorized by law or right; lawful; proper”.

    A legalistic approach instead of a political approach
    The Brief History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict referred to above takes a political approach to that history on the grounds that realpolitik, concerned with geopolitical power, has been the prime mover in that history, rather than legal issues. This article remedies that omission – we are concerned here with international law. The article quotes extensively from John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective.

    Quigley teaches international law at Ohio State University. In the preface to his copiously referenced book, he elaborates on his approach: “The issue of legal entitlement is at the heart of the analysis presented in this book … I understand that most writers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict find an emphasis on legal entitlement to be unrealistic, even counterproductive. They point out that politics has played a decisive part in shaping the conflict … I acknowledge the difficulty of bringing about a settlement based on legal entitlement … I remain convinced that a peace not based on justice may turn out to be no peace at all.”



    THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE BRITISH MANDATE
    The Balfour Declaration for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine
    Quigley states that, “In 1917 [towards the end of the first world war] … at [British foreign secretary] Balfour’s request, [Zionist leader] Weizmann and Lord Rothschild, who headed the Zionist Federation in Britain, drafted the statement. Balfour convinced the cabinet to approve the statement, which Balfour then issued as a letter to Rothschild.” The letter, notes Quigley, said that Britain “viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine … ” The letter became known as the Balfour Declaration.

    The League and Palestine – no immediate independence - self-determination a legal right
    “In an attempt to prevent wars like the one [the first world war] just ended the Versailles conference created an international organization of nations, called the League of Nations”, Quigley records. He continues:
    • “ …the Versailles conference did not opt for independence [for the peoples of former colonies of defeated Germany and Turkey, which included Palestine].” Instead, Quigley notes, in Article 22 of the League of Nations covenant adopted in 1919, it characterized the peoples of these former colonies as “not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world”. It said that the states administering them, he goes on, should promote “the well-being and development of such peoples”, bearing “a sacred trust of civilization. Administering states, which it referred to as mandatory powers, were to be accountable to the League of Nations.” [See also the History of Modern Palestine - a British census of Palestine in 1918 gave an estimate of the Palestinian population as 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews. Thus, the population was more than 90% Arab. Given this population split, if Palestine had then been made an independent state, there would have been no question of its overwhelmingly Arab nature, and Israel would never have existed.]
    • “An assembly of delegates elected that year from Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, called the General Syrian Congress, denounced Article 22.” The delegates, notes Quigley, said that Article 22 “relegates us to the standing of insufficiently developed races requiring the tutelage of a mandatory power.” “Fearing that Britain would try to implement the Balfour Declaration”, he continues, they also rejected “the claims of the Zionists for the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth.”
    • “Though Article 22 denied independence to the people of Palestine and other dependent territories, it did recognize them as having an international status.” Quigley goes on:
      • “In 1931 the Institute of International Law, a leading academic group, said that a mandate community was a subject of international law, meaning that it had the capacity to bear rights and responsibilities.”
      • “In 1947 the UN Special Committee on Palestine stated that the mandate system gave”, says Quigley, “international recognition” to self-determination.
      • “By prohibiting the states [Britain and France] that took territories from Germany and Turkey from holding them as colonies, the International Court of Justice would say in 1971 that the League rejected the legality of annexation.”
      • “The League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, which oversaw mandate administration, said that mandatory powers had no right of sovereignty but that the people under the mandate held ultimate sovereignty.”
    • “Administering states”, states Quigley, “bore specific responsibilities.” He goes on:
      • “and the condition of tutelage was temporary.”
      • The “ultimate objective”, he notes that the International Court of Justice would later say, was “the self-determination and independence of the peoples concerned.”
      • “In determining the fate of the territory after the expiration of the mandate, the wishes of the population were to be the key factor.”
      • “The League divided the mandate territories into three classes, dependent on its assessment of how close the territory was to readiness for independence. Class ‘A’ mandates were the closest to independence, Class ‘C’ mandates were the farthest from independence.” “The League made Turkey’s former colonies, including Palestine, Class ‘A’ mandates, which it defined”, states Quigley, as those whose “existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized.”
    • “An opinion rendered in 1920 in a dispute that the League of Nations was handling indicated that self-determination was considered a legal right.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The dispute related to the Aaland Islands, which lie between Finland and Sweden. The inhabitants of the Aaland Islands were Swedish. In 1809 Sweden ceded the islands, along with Finland, to Russia. When Finland became independent of Russia in 1917 the islanders asked Finland to return the islands to Sweden. A committee of jurists appointed by the League to give an opinion on the matter said that self-determination did not apply to a people located in a state that, like Finland, is ‘definitively constituted’. The jurists thus concluded that the islanders had no right to separate from Finland.”
      • “But the jurists said that in a situation of unresolved sovereignty self-determination would apply.”
      • “They stated”, says Quigley, that if “ ‘territorial sovereignty’ is lacking”, then “the principle of self-determination may be called into play.”
      • “Referring to ‘the principle of recognizing the rights of peoples to determine their political fate’, they said that a people in a situation of unresolved sovereignty had a right to choose between ‘the formation of an independent State’ and merger with an existing state.”

    Britain’s mandate over Palestine – inclusion therein of the Balfour Declaration
    Quigley notes that, “In 1922, at Britain’s request, the League of Nations gave it a mandate to administer Palestine … the Mandate for Palestine, which was a treaty between the League and Britain.” He continues:
    • “The mandate included the words of the Balfour Declaration [see above], just as it was adopted by the British cabinet in 1917.”
    • “Objections were raised in Britain that to make the Balfour Declaration governing policy in Palestine would violate the self-determination right of the people of Palestine. In the House of Lords a group of members moved that Britain reject the mandate because of the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration. They put their motion to a vote and it carried by 60 votes to 29. But the British government ignored the Lords and accepted the mandate.”
    • “The League thus gave its endorsement to the concept of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The scope of that endorsement, however, remained unclear.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The Balfour Declaration referred to the ‘historical connection’ of the Jews to Palestine, and Weizmann construed this phrase to mean ‘that we have the right to establish our national home in Palestine.’ ”
      • “But it is not clear what ‘right’ was intended.”
      • “The World Zionist Organisation had asked the Versailles Conference to use the phrase ‘historical right’ instead of ‘historical connection’. The conference refused, precisely to avoid recognizing a right.”
      • [The History of Modern Palestine records that, thus, Britain was required under the terms of the mandate to administer Palestine for the benefit of the population as a whole, but the mandate also required it to execute the provisos of the Balfour Declaration - an impossible task given the near-absolute incompatibility of the two sets of requirements.]
    • “ … Britain, in 1922 [following anti-Zionist Arab rioting in Palestine] clarified that the Balfour Declaration did not mean a Jewish state, but rather a ‘national home’, and that the ‘national home’ would not encompass all of Palestine.”

    Britain announces leaving Palestine - requests UN solution – Assembly appoints Special Committee
    “In April 1947”, Quigley states, “Britain announced that it would leave Palestine … It was unable … to balance the competing Zionists and Arab interests, and so it asked the newly-established United Nations to propose a solution.” He goes on:
    • “ … When Britain asked the United Nations to make recommendations on the status of Palestine, five Arab states asked the UN General Assembly to take up the Palestine issue as a matter of ‘the termination of the Mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence’ [our italics].” Quigley continues:
      • “They were concerned that that Britain’s open-ended request for a recommendation on the future governance of Palestine invited the General Assembly to link the issue of Jewish refugees in Europe [after the war against Hitler] with that of Palestine’s status.”
      • “They feared that the question of legal entitlement would be forgotten.”
      • “But the General Assembly rejected the Arab approach and took up Britain’s request … ”
    • “[The General Assembly] appointed an eleven-nation Special Committee on Palestine. The General Assembly gave the Special Committee a broad mandate, which the committee construed as permitting it to consider Jewish refugees in Europe in formulating  a recommendation on Palestine.”

    UN RECOMMENDATION OF PARTITION – SUBSEQUENT ABANDONMENT OF PARTITION

    Special Committee - ignores self-determination of Palestinians – majority proposes partition
    “In September, 1947”, Quigley records, “the Special Committee reported back to the General Assembly” He says that:
    • “The committee acknowledged that the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs had been violated by the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine Arabs.”
    • “The committee further stated that the principle of self-determination, internationally recognized after World War I, was ‘adhered to with regard to other Arab territories’ but was ‘not applied to Palestine, obviously because of the intention to make possible the creation of the Jewish National Home there’.”
    • “The ‘Jewish National Home’ and the ‘sui generic Mandate for Palestine’, it said, ‘run counter’ to the principle of self-determination.”
    • “The Special Committee did not [further] question the validity of the League’s approach, even though a self-determination right had just been written into Article 1 of the UN Charter.” [our italics – the Special Committee’s disregard of a right of self-determination which had just been written into the Charter of the newly-formed United Nations cannot be over-emphasised.] Quigley continues:
      • “Three members of the Special Committee proposed a federal state with Jewish and Arab components”
      • “ … A majority of seven members suggested the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state with an economic union between them.”
      • “None favoured a single state in Palestine, the preferred solution of the Arab Higher Committee.”

    Quigley again: “[Aside from ignoring the question of self-determination] the decision of the majority to propose partition reflected a linkage of the [Jewish] refugee and Palestine questions. Weizmann correctly stated that the United Nations ‘was motivated pre-eminently by the purpose of solving once and for all the Jewish question in Europe, to get rid of the concentration camps and of the aftermath of Hitler’s holocaust.’ But others viewed this as a convenient solution for a problem that should have been handled otherwise.” Quigley continues:
    • “Morris Ernst, Roosevelt’s adviser, decried ‘the hypocrisy of closing our own doors while making sanctimonious demands on the Arabs’.”
    • “Pakistan’s UN delegate commented sarcastically: ‘Australia, an overpopulated small country with congested areas, says no, no, no; Canada, equally congested and overpopulated, says no; the United States, a great humanitarian country, a small area, with small resources, says no … they state: let them go to Palestine, where there are vast areas, a large economy, and no trouble; they can easily be taken in there.’ ”
    • “There was ‘neither merit nor justice’, said Toynbee, in ‘compensating victims at the expense of innocent third parties.’ The Palestine Arabs were ‘innocent of the crimes committed against the Jews by the Germans under the Nazi regime.’ Toynbee thought that if a state were to be created as compensation, it ‘should have been carved out of Central Europe.’ ”
    • “[Quoting Toynbee again] A ‘guilty Western people’s territory was held to be sacrosanct, because, though guilty, they were Westerners … An innocent non-Western people’s territory could, it was held, legitimately be given away to the Jews by the victorious Western powers. This amounts to a declaration of the inequality of the Western and non-Western sections of the human race. It is a claim that Westerners are privileged, however guilty they may be.’ ”
    • “A US diplomat found ‘no necessary connection between the humanitarian problem of succouring the displaced persons of Europe and the political problem of creating a new nationalist state in Palestine.’ ”
    UN General Assembly constitutes an Ad Hoc Committee – request for ICJ opinion on Palestine rejected
    “After receiving the Special Committee’s report”, notes Quigley, “the General Assembly constituted an Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question to frame the Palestine issue for plenary debate, composed of all UN member states.” He goes on:
    • “The ad hoc committee set up a subcommittee 1 to draw up a detailed plan for partition, and a subcommittee 2 to draw up a plan for a single Palestinian state.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 asked the ad hoc committee to urge the General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice before adopting any resolution on Palestine. It wanted the Court to determine whether the Balfour Declaration violated self-determination of the Palestine population, whether the indigenous population of Palestine had a right to determine the status of Palestine, and whether the General assembly had the power to suggest or to enforce a territorial settlement for Palestine. A Jewish Agency lawyer, Shabtai Rosenne, thought the question ‘one-sided.’ The ad hoc committee narrowly defeated the request of the subcommittee 2 for an advisory opinion. That led members of subcommittee 2 to castigate the majority for giving insufficient weight to the ‘juridical aspects of the Palestine question.’ ”

    Subcommittee approves partition plan – Ad Hoc committee votes to recommend partition to Assembly
    “Subcommittee 1”, notes Quigley, “approved the Special Committee’s partition plan, with some changes, and the ad hoc committee voted to recommend partition to the General Assembly.” He goes on:
    • “The resolution asked the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency to establish states with an economic union between them, including common rail transport, postal system, and currency.”
    • “A two-year phase-in period was envisaged to establish this infrastructure. Jerusalem was to be included in neither state but to be administered under an international regime.”
    • “The suggested boundary between the two states was long and intricate – not intended as a defensible international border.”
    • “The proposed boundaries of the Jewish state – according to Robert McLintock, a U.S. State Department official – were ‘predicated on the assumption that there would also be an Arab State in Palestine … ‘ He likened the partition map to ‘a portrait by Picasso.’ ”
    • “The proposed Jewish state would have had 56 per cent of Palestine [even though] Jews owned [only] 6 per cent of the land and made up [only] 30 per cent of the population, [and] most of them mandate-period immigrants [the Jewish population at the start of the mandate was well under 10 per cent of the total population]”
    • “Ernest Bevin, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, noted the difficulty of drawing boundaries because of the sparseness of the Jewish population. ‘It is impossible to find in all Palestine, apart from Tel Aviv and its environs … any sizeable area with a Jewish majority.’ ”
    • “In the envisaged Jewish state Jews would have been in a minority – 499,020 Jews to 509,780 Arabs. In the proposed Arab state there would have been only 9,520 Jews to 749,101 Arabs. The plan thus gave much Arab-populated territory to the Jewish state, but little Jewish-populated territory to the Arab state.”
    Assembly approves partition plan as Resolution 181 after great US pressure – criticism of the Resolution
    Quigley records that, “On November 25, 1947, the ad hoc committee approved the partition recommendation of subcommittee 1.” He continues:
    • “[The vote was] 25 to 13, with 17 abstentions. While sufficient to carry the plan in the subcommittee, this margin was short of the two-thirds majority that would be required for passage in the General assembly.”
    • “By this time the United States had emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition. Most European countries, including the Soviet Union, supported it, but most Third World countries viewed it as an infringement of Arab rights.”
    • “The United States got the General Assembly to delay a vote ‘to gain time to bring certain Latin American republics into line with its own views.’ U.S. officials, ‘by direct order of the White House’, used ‘every form of pressure, direct and indirect’, to ‘make sure that the necessary majority’ would be gained, according to former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. Members of the U.S. Congress threatened curtailment of economic aid to several Third World countries.”
    • “ … the General Assembly proceeded to a vote on the partition plan. On November 29 it adopted a draft resolution embodying the partition plan as Resolution 181.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The resolution narrowly gained the required majority of two-thirds – 33 in favour, 13 opposed, and 10 abstaining.”
      • “Included in the countries that switched their votes from November 25 to November 29 to provide the two-thirds majority were Liberia, the Philippines, and Haiti. All heavily dependent on the United States financially, they had been lobbied to change their votes. Liberia’s ambassador to the United Nations complained that the U.S. delegation threatened aid cuts to several countries. Some delegates charged U.S. officials with ‘diplomatic intimidation.’ Without ‘terrific pressure’ from the United States on ‘governments which cannot afford to risk American reprisals’, said an anonymous editorial writer, the resolution ‘would never have passed.’ ”
      • “The fact such pressure had been exerted became public knowledge, to the extent a State Department policy group was concerned that ‘the prestige of the UN’ would suffer because of ‘the notoriety and resentment attendant upon the activities of U.S. pressure groups, including members of Congress, who sought to impose U.S. views as to partition on foreign delegations.’ ”
    • “Resolution 181”:
      • “was a political solution, a Zionist lawyer, Benjamin Akzin, wrote at the time, ‘not a verdict of a court of law.’ ”
      • “An Arab lawyer, Nabil Elaraby, chided the General assembly for having acted without examining the question of legal claims to Palestine.”
      • [Quigley notes that] “ … in subsequent self-determination disputes – over Namibia … and Western Sahara – the General assembly would seek advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice.” [This did not happen in the case of Palestine]
      • “ ‘The Arabs’, declared an Arab jurist of Resolution 181, ‘have had to pay for and expiate the outrage committed against mankind in Treblinka, Auschwitz, and elsewhere.’ ”
      • “A Yugoslav jurist objected that Resolution 181 reflected the view”, quotes Quigley, that “so-called ‘civilised’ people were still entitled to determine the fate of the ‘uncivilised’, and that the territories and interests of dependent nations were objects to be manipulated – in short the blindly obstinate arrogance which we call the ‘colonial spirit’. ”
      • “A U.S. military officer, Commander E. H. Hutchison, who later chaired the Israel-Jordan Armistice Commission, said that”, quotes Quigley, “in adopting Resolution 181 the major powers ‘overran the rights of the indigenous population of Palestine – the Arabs. Every step in the establishment of a Zionist state was ‘a challenge to justice’. ”

    The abandonment of the partition plan
    “On March 5, 1948”, Quigley records, “the UN Security Council adopted a resolution asking its five permanent members – Britain, France, China, the USSR and the United States – to make recommendations on how partition might be implemented. But the strongest supporter of partition, the United States, was having second thoughts. The State Department’s policy planning staff, in a report to the Secretary of State, noted the Palestine Arab’s rejection of partition. The staff expressed fear that, in the light of that rejection, US support for partition ran counter to the Palestine Arabs’ right of self-determination. The staff suggested the United States abandon the partition recommendation.” He goes on:
    • “On March 19 the United States suggested to the Security Council that partition be abandoned. It advised the Council to ask the General Assembly to set up a temporary trusteeship over Palestine until the two parties reached a settlement.”
    • “On April 1, at the urging of the United States, the Security Council asked the General Assembly to ‘consider further the question of the future government of Palestine’; in other words, to seek a solution other than partition.”
    • “The Council did not seriously consider the possibility of using UN troops to force partition on the Palestine Arabs.”
    • “Thus, the United Nations abandoned the partition idea scarcely four months after labouring long and hard to approve it. The abandonment of partition is not surprising, however, in the light of the Arab rejection of it.”

    Resolution 181 for partition is only a recommendation – it is a dead letter conferring no territorial rights
    Quigley demonstrates that resolution 181 is only a recommendation which was then abandoned. He says::
    • “When it posed the Palestine question to the General Assembly in 1947, Britain had asked the assembly to exercise its power of recommendation [our italics]. In its request it referred to the assembly’s powers under Charter Article 10, which gives the assembly the power to make recommendations [our italics].
    • “The General Assembly had approached the Palestine issue with the aim of making proposals that the parties might accept. In Resolution 181 it had recommended the adoption and implementation of the partition plan and asked the inhabitants of Palestine to take ‘such steps as may be necessary on their part to put this plan into effect.’ ”
    • “In Resolution 181 itself, the assembly had made reference to charter provisions giving it a power of recommendation [our italics] by stating that it ‘considers that the present situation in Palestine is one which is likely to impair the general welfare and friendly relations among nations.’ The phrases ‘general welfare’ and ‘friendly relations’ are drawn from Article 14, which gives the General Assembly the power of recommendation [our italics].”
    • “Member states viewed Resolution 181 as a recommendation. In the Security Council discussion that led to the abandonment of Resolution 181, the United States said that General Assembly recommendations [our italics] have only ‘moral force’. Britain told the Security Council that it would not implement partition so long as Arab or Jewish authorities objected. Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Iraq told the council they did not consider the partition recommendation [our italics] binding on them.”
    • “Resolution 181 contemplated voluntary compliance in its mechanism for selecting provisional leaders of the two projected states. A UN commission, ‘after consultation with the democratic parties and other public organizations of the Arab and Jewish States’, was to ‘select and establish in each State as rapidly as possible a Provisional Council of Government.’ Since this cooperation did not materialize, resolution 181 remained a recommendation [our italics] only.”
    • “Resolution 181 also requested the Security Council ‘determine as a threat to the peace’ any attempt ‘to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.’ This provision was later cited as indicating that the General Assembly intended ‘a solution to be imposed by force’, and therefore ‘not a simple recommendation’. But this appeal was not more than a recommendation. The assembly used the term ‘request’, an indication it was aware of the limit of its power. The United States, commenting on the assembly’s request to the council, said that the charter ‘does not empower the Security Council to enforce a political settlement made pursuant to a recommendation of the General Assembly [our italics]’”
    • “Moreover, the General Assembly, when it asked the Security Council to deal with a possible attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged in Resolution 181, contemplated a situation in which the two parties were creating the two states voluntarily but where an outside party might intervene militarily. U.S. representative Warren Austin said this provision referred to an attempt to frustrate partition ‘on the part of states or people outside Palestine’. ”
    • “Resolution 181 did not purport to convey title to territory, and since partition had not been accepted by the parties no territorial rights were created [our italics].”
    • “Resolution 181”, Quigley continues, “had failed; it was a ‘dead letter’. ”

    THE UN POWER OVER PALESTINE
    General Assembly can only make recommendations and has no capacity to convey territorial rights
    Quigley notes that, “Moshe Shertok (later Moshe Sharett), head of the Jewish Agency political department, said in the United Nations that the General Assembly was legally competent to determine the future status of Palestine and that its resolution 181 carried binding force.” “But”, Quigley states:

    • “The General assembly of the United Nations is not a legislature for the world.”
    • “The UN Charter, in Articles 10, 11, and 14, gives it only the power of recommendation. ”
    • “The assembly makes binding decisions only on internal UN matters, like setting the budget or electing members of the International Court of Justice.”
    • “Thus, even if the assembly had intended to impose partition, it is not clear it had the legal authority to do so.”
    “Leading early students of the UN Charter”, Quigley records, “said that in adopting Resolution 181 the General Assembly had only the power of recommendation. ” He quotes them:
    • “Hans Kelsen, citing Resolution 181, wrote that General Assembly recommendations ‘do not constitute a legal obligation to behave in conformity with them’.”
    • “Leland Goodrich and Edward Hambro, also citing Resolution 181, stated that ‘recommendations have no obligatory character’.”
    • “Clyde Eagleton said that ‘a resolution of the General Assembly, such as that for the partition of Palestine, is no more than a recommendation’ and ‘can have no legally binding effect upon any state whatsoever’.”
    • “The U.S. deputy representative to the Security Council said during the Palestine debate that the General Assembly had the power only to recommend a settlement.”

    Quigley continues: “A lawyer from the UN secretariat, E. Blaine Sloane, argued to the contrary, saying that Resolution 181 carried binding force. He stated that the General Assembly has the power to decide the status of territory whose sovereignty is unclear. In areas ‘where sovereignty is not vested in a member state’, the General Assembly, ‘acting as the agent of the international community’, may take ‘a binding decision’. On this view, Resolution 181 gives Israel a valid title to Palestine [that part referred to in Resolution 181]. ” Quigley notes, however:
    • “But few lawyers agreed with him.”
    • “By the UN Charter, the General Assembly is given no power over territory any broader than its general power of recommendation.”
    • “The assembly, according to Ian Brownlie, a later student of the Charter, has no ‘capacity to convey title’, since it ‘cannot assume the role of territorial sovereign’. Even as regards disposition of territory, Brownlie wrote, the assembly ‘only has a power of recommendation’.”
    • “The assembly, wrote Elihu Lauterpacht, another leading student of the charter, could not ‘give the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine any rights which either did not otherwise possess’.”
    Argument that General Assembly has decision-making power over former Mandate territories
    “It has been argued by some scholars, however”, Quigley notes, “that even if the General Assembly has no power over territory generally, it has decision-making power over territory that was under a League of Nations mandate.” He continues:
    • “Emile Geraud, a former legal officer of both the League of Nations and United Nations, said that the United Nations succeeded to the League’s power over mandate territory.”
    • “The Assembly, stated Allan Gerson, possesses an ‘adjudicative role’ to terminate a mandate that is ‘beyond its normal recommendatory role’.
    • “This argument relies largely on the International Court of Justice advisory opinions on Namibia (South-West Africa) of 1950 and 1971.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The court said in 1950 that the competence to determine and modify the international status of a League of Nations mandate territory rested with the mandatory, ‘acting with the consent of the United Nations’.”
      • “Nathan Feinberg, a legal scholar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, argued that Resolution 181 was an agreement between Britain and the United Nations to change the status of Palestine.”
    The Namibia case
    “In 1971”, Quigley states, “the International Court of Justice discussed the legal significance of General Assembly Resolution 2145, which affirmed the right of the people of Namibia to independence and decided that South Africa’s mandate ‘is therefore terminated, that South Africa has no other right to administer the Territory and that henceforth South-West Africa comes under the direct responsibility of the United Nations’.” He goes on:
    • “The Court upheld the legality of that resolution, stating: ‘To deny to a political organ of the United Nations which is a successor to the League in this respect the right to act, on the argument that it lacks competence to render what is described as a judicial decision, would not only be inconsistent but would amount to a complete denial of the remedies available against fundamental breaches of an international undertaking’.”
    • “Gerson cited this language to argue that the General Assembly has the power to determine the status of a League of Nations mandate territory and that Resolution 181 was such a resolution and was binding.”
    • “What the court found, however, was that the General Assembly had supervisory power over the South-West Africa mandate. The court made it clear that this power ‘derived from’ Article 10 of the charter, ‘which authorizes the General Assembly to discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the Charter and to make recommendations on these questions or matters to the Members of the United Nations’.”
    • “Thus”, Quigley says, “the power it found in the assembly to supervise former mandate territories is only a power to make recommendations.”
    Namibia – Difference between the Namibia case and the Palestine case
    Quigley notes that, “The issue in the two Namibia advisory opinions, moreover, was different from that raised by the situation in Palestine.” He continues:
    • “South Africa had declared an intent to incorporate the mandate territory. The court said that South Africa could not do so without consent of the General Assembly. “
    • “The court recognized the people of the territory as a ‘jural entity’, possessing rights under the mandate.”
    • “It could have found, as did dissenting Judge Fitzmaurice, that South Africa was precluded from incorporating the territory solely by virtue of terms of the mandate instrument, which forbade incorporation.”
    • “The instrument was a treaty between the League and South Africa, and it survived the League’s demise in the court’s view. That obligation flowed not to the United Nations or any of its organs, but rather to the other members of the League and to the people of South-West Africa, who were a third party beneficiary of the mandate instrument.”
    Namibia – ICJ opinion that General Assembly has power to supervise former League mandates - rejected
    “The court [the International Court of Justice]”, Quigley notes, “said that Resolution 2145 fell within what it found to be a power of the General assembly to supervise former League mandates.” He carries on:
    • “If the court had not found supervision to be within the assembly’s competence, South Africa would have had only an obligation to make reports on South-West Africa ‘for informational purposes’.”
    • “But the court found supervision to be an essential aspect of the mandate system: ‘The obligation incumbent upon a mandatory State to accept international supervision and to submit reports is an important part of the Mandates System’.”
    • “The court had not been asked by the General Assembly, however, whether the assembly had supervisory functions over the South-West Africa mandate.” Quigley continues:
      • “The assembly had asked only whether South Africa was required to conclude a trusteeship agreement with the assembly and whether South Africa could modify the status of South-West Africa unilaterally.”
      • “To answer these questions, the court had no need to state whether the General Assembly had supervisory functions.”
    Quigley notes that, “The court’s statement that the assembly exercised ‘supervisory functions’ made little sense in the context of the League’s demise and the founding of the United Nations.” He goes on:
    • “Judge McNair, dissenting, said that ‘the succession of the United Nations to the administrative functions of the League of Nations in regard to the Mandates could have been expressly preserved and vested in the United Nations’ by an appropriate provision in the UN charter. But, he noted, ‘this was not done’.”
    • “McNair also stated: ‘The United Nations did not succeed to the rights of the League of Nations as to the former mandated territories … There is no legal continuity in the relations of these two systems’.”
    • “The United States had agreed with McNair’s view in a Security Council discussion of Resolution 181 in 1948. ‘The United Nations does not automatically fall heir to the responsibilities either of the League of Nations or of the Mandatory Power in respect of the Palestine mandate. The record seems to us to be entirely clear that the United Nations did not take over the League of Nations Mandate system’.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 also said that the United Nations ‘has not inherited the constitutional and political powers and functions of the League of Nations’ and is not ‘the successor of the League of Nations insofar as the administration of mandates is concerned’. In addition, UN powers over mandate territories are limited ‘by the specific provisions of the Charter’, and ‘neither the General Assembly nor any other organ of the United Nations’ is competent to ‘recommend or enforce’ a ‘solution with regard to the mandated territory’.”
    • “One [other] reason that the United Nations could not succeed to the League’s power of supervision is that the supervision to which mandatory powers agreed under the League of Nations mandate system was significantly less onerous than what the court said could be imposed on South Africa.”  Quigley continues:
      • “The League’s supervision over mandates was exercised by its council, which functioned on unanimity. All the mandatory powers were council members … Britain represented the interests of the mandatory powers that belonged to the Commonwealth – South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Thus, each mandatory power possessed a veto on a decision regarding its performance.”
      • “The General Assembly in this situation operates by two-thirds majority voting. Thus, a decision adverse to the mandatory power could be taken over its negative vote. A state which assumed a League mandate did not consent to such a procedure.”
      • “There would be an ‘excess of supervision if the decision of the General Assembly reached by a two-thirds majority’, stated Judge Lauterpacht of the International Court of Justice, ‘had the same legal and binding force as unanimous resolutions of the Council of the League of Nations’.”
    Argument - Even if Assembly had supervisory power, it cannot determine a mandate’s future status
    “Even if the General Assembly had supervisory power over a former League of Nations mandate territory”, Quigley notes, “that would not give it the power to determine the territory’s future status.” He goes on:
    • “With trusteeship, the UN analogue to the League of Nations mandate system, the assembly had no power to make decisions binding on an administering state.”
    • “ ‘The Trusteeship Agreements’, stated Judge Lauterpacht, ‘do not provide for a legal obligation of the Administering Authority to comply with the decisions of the organs of the United Nations in the matter of trusteeship. Thus, there is no legal obligation, on the part of Administering Authority, to give effect to a recommendation of the General Assembly to adopt or depart from a particular course of legislation or any particular administrative measure. States administering Trust Territories … have often asserted their right not to accept recommendations of the General Assembly’. That right ‘has never been seriously challenged’.”
    Namibia – ICJ did not decide whether Assembly can make a decision contrary to wishes of inhabitants
    Quigley again: “In its advisory opinion on Namibia, the International Court of Justice did not decide whether the General Assembly has the power to decide on the future status of a mandate territory against the wishes of the inhabitants, which is the issue if it is asserted that Resolution 181 is a binding decision.” He continues:
    • “In the Namibia situation the decision of the assembly - to prohibit South Africa from incorporating the territory – was in accord with the wishes of the population.”
    • “But Resolution 181 foresaw a territorial solution unacceptable to the majority of Palestine’s inhabitants.”
    • “The Namibia advisory opinions do not suggest the assembly has the power to adopt a territorial solution against the wishes of the inhabitants.”
    Namibia again – Another difference between the Namibia case and Palestine case
    “There is one other difference”, notes Quigley, “between the Namibia case and the Palestine case. The League had made Palestine a class ‘A’ mandate, but it made South-West Africa a class ‘C’ mandate. The covenant described a community under a class ‘C’ mandate as ‘best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory’, whereas a class ‘A’ mandate was to be governed separately. Thus, even if the International Court of Justice had decided that the assembly had the power to resolve the status of mandate territory against the wishes of its inhabitants, that would not give the assembly a similar power over Palestine.”

    Resolution 181 would violate right of self-determination if binding – Palestinian rights under the Charter
    “If Resolution 181 were considered a binding determination of future status”, Quigley states, “it would violate the Palestine Arabs’ right of self-determination.” He goes on:
    • “Some have argued that it did not violate the right of self-determination of the Palestine Arabs since it recognized the claims of both the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine. But since partition was against the will of the majority of the inhabitants, the right of self-determination was violated.”
    • “The Palestine National Covenant, which was adopted in 1968 as a statement of principle by the Palestine Arabs, construed Resolution 181 as a binding decision. On that basis, it considered it ‘null and void’ since ‘it was contrary to the wishes of the people of Palestine and its natural right to its homeland, and contradicts the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the first of which is the right of self-determination’.”
    • “Moreover, the population of Palestine has specific rights under the UN charter. The charter states that the rights of a people under a League of Nations mandate may not be altered to its detriment.” Quigley continues:
      • “The charter contemplated that League mandates would be converted into trusteeships. Article 80 stated that nothing in the charter’s chapter on trusteeship could alter the rights ‘of any states or any peoples or existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”
      • “Thus, the rights of the Palestinian people under the mandate instrument are preserved. Arab states, in arguing that partition would violate the rights of the Palestine Arabs, relied on Article 80.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 said that a partition of Palestine against the consent of its population would violate that population’s rights. The United Nations ‘cannot make a disposition or alienation of territory, nor can it deprive the majority of the people of Palestine of their territory and transfer it to the exclusive use of a minority in their country’.”

    Argument – the Palestine Arabs forfeited their right of self-determination - rejected
    Quigley notes that, “It has been argued that even if the Palestine Arabs once had a right to self-determination, they forfeited it by not establishing a state as recommended in Resolution 181. But resolution 181, as indicated, proposed a solution that would violate the Arabs’ right to self-determination. They cannot be considered to have forfeited their right to self-determination by rejecting a proposal which would have violated that right.”

    Argument - Resolution 181 was “re-affirmed” by the Security Council – rejected
    “One other argument”, Quigley states, “has been made to reach the conclusion that Resolution 181 was binding.” He continues:
    • “The argument is that even if the General Assembly did not have the power to issue a binding decision on the future status of Palestine, the Security Council ‘re-affirmed’ Resolution 181 and thereby made it binding. The Council, unlike the assembly, has the power under the UN charter to make decisions that are binding on member states.” Quigley goes on:
      • “Security Council Resolution 42 is cited, in which the council asked its five permanent members to make recommendations regarding ‘instructions which the Council might usefully give to the Palestine Commission with a view to implementing the resolution of the General Assembly’.”
      • “Security Council Resolution 46 is also cited, in which the council called on each of the two parties to refrain from actions that might frustrate the claims of the other.”
      • “From Resolution 54 language is cited in which the council decided a truce should remain in force ‘until a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine is reached’.”
    • “None of this language implies an affirmation of Resolution 181 by the Security Council.” Quigley continues:
      • “In April 1948, when the Security Council became aware that Resolution 181 was unrealistic, it abandoned it.”
      • “Even if the council had ‘re-affirmed’ Resolution 181, that would not render it binding. While the council has decision-making power on some subjects, it does not have a power to dispose of territory.”


    THE DE FACTO REALISATION OF THE ZIONIST DREAM
    Britain gives up authority in Palestine - Assembly relieves commission to supervise partition of its duties
    “On May 14, 1948”, Quigley records, “Britain renounced authority in Palestine.” Quigley again:
    • “The General Assembly had not finalized its trusteeship recommendations.”
    • “Instead, it proposed a truce [fighting had been going on between Jews and Palestine Arabs since late in 1947] and appointed a mediator ‘to promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in Palestine’.”
    • “At the same time it relieved of its duties the commission it had established in Resolution 181 to supervise partition.”

    Israel declares statehood, ignoring the General Assembly’s abandonment of Resolution 181
    On May 14, 1948, the day that Britain renounced authority in Palestine, its troops were in the final phase of withdrawal from Palestine. Quigley states that:
    • “The Arab Higher Command did not proclaim statehood.”
    • “But [that same day] the Jewish Agency did, issuing a Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel:
      • … ‘by virtue of our natural and historic right’
      • ‘and on the strength of the resolution [Resolution 181] of the United Nations General Assembly’
      • ‘we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel’.”
    • “Thus, the [Jewish] Agency ignored the General Assembly’s abandonment of partition and insisted that Resolution 181 gave them legal entitlement.”
    • “ … The declaration did not specify any borders for Israel. But in a message to President Truman urging him to recognize Israel, the Agency said it was proclaiming statehood ‘within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947’.” [It should be noted that this refers to the partition frontiers, not the armistice lines, incorporating even more land, which Israel ended up with after its further land-grab in the 1948 war.] Quigley notes that, “Use of the term ‘Eretz Israel’ suggested, however, that broader claims might be intended.”
    • “Truman immediately [within hours] extended de facto [our italics] recognition of Israel. [The U.S. was the first state to do so.] That recognition led – according to Dean Rusk, director of the State Department’s Office of Special Political Affairs – to ‘pandemonium’ on the floor of the UN General Assembly, since delegates (including U.S. delegates) felt that the United Nations should establish a temporary trusteeship.”

    THE ZIONIST CLAIM OF ANCIENT TITLE TO PALESTINE

    Israel’s claim of ancient title/biblical title to Palestine - rejected
    Quigley notes that, “In addition to Resolution 181, the Jewish Agency relied for its claim to Palestine on … ancient title.” It is said that the Jews have a historical claim, on the basis that they inhabited the place some 2,000 years ago. Alternatively, the claim is made on a biblical basis – that God gave Israel to the Jews. Concerning the historical claim, on this basis, are the Saxons entitled to parts of England, or the Normans? Can the native Indians reclaim the whole of America? The historical argument seems inherently absurd, as does the biblical one (at least to the more than 99% of the world’s population who are not Jewish). For this reason, we note here only the main arguments in Quigley’s book, where he rejects Israel’s claims – those interested in the detail (he devotes a chapter of several pages to the subject, and makes further references in the chapter following) should refer to the book itself. Quigley again:
    • “The basis for a claim to territory is long-time occupation … Occupation and dominion are the key considerations in international law in a claim to territory, though in the twentieth century, when aggression was outlawed, naked possession was no longer sufficient.”
    • “But the initial consideration in a claim to territory is longevity of control over it … Claims to territory based on ancient title [that is, an absence of control for a long time] have not generally been recognised … The International Court of Justice rejected a concept of original, or ancient, title.”
    • “The fact of [religious or] psychological attachment to a territory does not yield territorial rights.”
    • [Quigley summarises the situation]: “These [Jewish] views overlook the Palestine Arabs’ strong claim based on occupation and dominion and the correspondingly weak claim of the Zionists on these grounds.”

    THE 1948 WAR – A ZIONIST WAR OF AGGRESSION – ISRAEL AS A COLONIAL STATE

    Zionists did not have the right to take Palestine by force
    “If”, says Quigley, “the Jewish Agency did not have a right based on history [or religion, we may add] – and if the United Nations conferred no rights upon it [by Resolution 181 or otherwise – see above] – and if the indigenous population of Palestine (predominantly Arab) had a right to self-determination – then the Jewish Agency’s right to use force to take control of Palestine is in doubt.”

    He goes on, “As the Arab Higher Committee viewed the matter, ‘the people of Palestine’ were ‘an independent nation’. It said that the ‘majority of the population of Palestine, the 1,300,000 Arabs’, considered that ‘the Jewish minority – whether the 300,000 Palestinian citizens or the 400,000 foreigners [that is, recent Jewish immigrants] – is a rebellious minority which has revolted against the sovereignty of the majority of the population of the country’.” Quigley continues:

    • “Thus, the committee thought ‘that any attempt to create any foreign government in Palestine’ was ‘an act of rebellion’.”
    • “This view was expressed in more colourful terms some years later by Mohammed Bedjaoui, an Arab jurist who would become a judge of the International Court of Justice. ‘Who is the aggressor? The intruder who, without right or title, has taken possession of another’s house and cries foul play whenever an attempt is made to evict him?’, Bedjaoui asked. ‘Or the rightful owner, who has been clamouring for his rights for nearly half a century and asks for nothing but the restitution of his property?’ ”
    The Arab Higher Committee, though not a state, had a strong claim to sovereignty over Palestine
    Quigley notes that, “The Arab Higher Committee was not a state. But, like the Jewish Agency, it was recognised by the League of Nations as representing the interests of its community in Palestine.” He goes on:
    • “ ‘Communities under mandate’ were ‘subjects of international law’ with ‘a patrimony distinct from that of the Mandatory State’, the Institute of International Law said in 1931.”
    • “They possessed ‘a national status’, and they could acquire rights or be held to their obligations.”
    • “As the entity representing the majority population of Palestine, the Arab Higher Committee had a strong claim to be the bearer of sovereignty.”
    • “And Palestine, as it emerged from the mandate upon Britain’s renunciation, possessed many attributes of statehood:
      • It had a border internationally recognised
      • Its inhabitants carried Palestinian citizenship
      • It had a body of law deriving from Ottoman law enforced in its courts
      • and it had been a party in its own name to treaties.”
    An attack by the Zionists may lawfully be opposed by the Arab Higher Committee
    “ … an attack by a private group”, states Quigley, “ … may lawfully be opposed by force.” He continues:
    • “A state has the right to defend itself from armed action by private groups, whether they originate in the state or enter from outside”
    • “Thus, if the Arab Higher Committee were a territorial sovereign, it would have a right to use force against the Jewish Agency, which would have been asserting by armed force a right to sovereignty in the committee’s territory.”
    The Zionists’ 1947-48 war as the action of agents of a state – an armed attack warranting self-defence
    “The Jewish Agency’s military action of 1947-48 has also been analysed as the action of a state”, Quigley notes, “on the ground that that the Agency had public-law status with the League of Nations. Under this analysis, the Zionist forces were agents of that public-law body who took up arms against the majority population of Palestine. Their action, therefore, constituted an armed attack by a state warranting self-defence by the majority population.”

    The Zionists imposition of statehood can be considered a forced colonisation of Palestine
    Quigley says that, “It was also plausibly suggested that the Jewish Agency’s imposition of statehood amounted to a forced colonisation of Palestine.” He goes on:
    • “The Agency had been allowed to develop a Jewish settler population by Great Britain, and it then revolted against Britain.”
    • “The UN Charter did not require administering states to divest themselves of their colonies. But, like the League of Nations Covenant, it barred new colonisation.” [our italics]
    • “By outlawing aggression and requiring the promotion of self-determination, the charter prohibited the taking of a people’s territory by force.” Quigley notes later in his book that “ … until the twentieth century forcible seizure of territory as colonies was permitted”. He goes on to say that “while that may be true for some peoples denied the right of self-determination, it is not true of the Palestine Arabs. Their territory was taken from them … after international law prohibited acquisition of colonies by force. Thus, the taking was unlawful from the outset.” [our italics]
    • “In the post-charter era no state claimed a right to acquire new colonies.”
    • “If the Jewish Agency had no right to statehood, the colonialist aspect of its venture was unmistakable.”
    • [In Part III of this article, Israel As A ‘Legitimate’ State In The Sense Of Valid/Acceptable: Israel’s Abnormality: The Colonial State, a persuasive case for considering Israel as a coloniser is set out in detail.]


    ISRAEL AS A DE FACTO STATE

    The initial Israeli application for UN membership is rejected
    “On November 29 [1948]”, notes Quigley, “the [Israeli] provisional government applied for UN membership.” He carries on:
    • “Under the UN charter a state is admitted to membership by an affirmative vote in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.”
    • “The Security Council took up Israel’s application on December 17 … Britain voiced concern … said that before it could support Israeli membership it needed clarification of Israel’s position on the internationalization of Jerusalem and on the repatriation of the Arab refugees.”
    • “Israel’s application was put to a vote and rejected.”
    Israeli resubmission for UN membership approved despite some members concerns
    Quigley states that, “In March [1949] Israel resubmitted to the Security Council its application for membership, and this time the council approved it.” He goes on:
    • “The General Assembly then took up the application.” Quigley again:
      • “… many members had the same concerns that Britain had [previously] expressed.”
      • “… some were concerned as well that Israel had claimed no borders; this raised the question of whether it might intend to take further territory. If it did, Israel might not meet the membership requirement in Article 4 of the charter that it be ‘a peace-loving state’. The Assembly’s ad hoc political committee asked Israel … to address these matters.”
      • “In a statement to the committee, … Israel’s representative”, notes Quigley, said that:
        • “Jerusalem’s status should be defined by international consent but that internationalisation should apply only to the holy sites and that Israel might claim sovereignty over the “Jewish” part of the city.” [the Israelis thus displaying the same ambiguity that had worked so well for them in the past, from the Balfour Declaration thereon]
        • “On the refugee question”, Quigley notes:
          • “Israel said the situation ‘was a direct consequence of the war launched by the Arab states’ [see above on the legal argument that it was the Jewish forces who were the aggressors], and therefore the matter should be solved by resettlement of the refugees in Arab states [one wonders why, since they had been expelled from that part of Palestine taken by Israel].”
          • “It agreed to compensate Palestine Arabs whose property had been taken [it has not subsequently done so – see below] and promised to respect the property of the Palestine Arabs who remained in the territory it held [it hasn’t – see below].”
        • “On the question of borders this should be determined by negotiation between it and the Arab states.”
      • “Though some members expressed concern over Israel’s explanations, the General Assembly on May 11 approved Israel’s application for membership, thereby admitting it to the United Nations. Its resolution approving the application noted its own Resolution 194 that called on Israel to repatriate the refugees and referred to the explanations given by Israel.”

    Recognition of Israel does not imply its legitimacy
    “During 1948”, Quigley notes, “few states had recognized Israel. But in 1949 more did so.” He continues:
    • “This recognition and the admission to UN membership led to a new argument for Israel’s legitimacy. Even if there had been no lawful basis to establish Israel, its recognition became an argument for its legitimacy.”
    • “It is not generally accepted, however, that recognition can legitimize a state that asserts sovereignty over territory to which it is not entitled. A ‘vice in title’ wrote Ian Brownlie, cannot be ‘cured by recognition’ … Thus, recognition confers no objective status.”
    • “Some scholars, like Quincy Wright, pointed to Israel’s admission to the United Nations as a fact that constituted recognition by other states. But admission to UN membership does not imply recognition by all member states or even by those voting for admission. The UN charter does not require a member state to recognize another member state. Many states that do not recognize Israel are UN members.”
    The sovereignty-vacuum theory as a legitimisation of Israel – rejected
    “Another theory that has been asserted to legitimise Israel”, states Quigley, “is that Britain created a ‘legal vacuum’ when it left Palestine. Palestine became a ‘terra delicta’ or ‘terra nullius’ in which Israel created itself through ‘auto-emancipation’ … This sovereignty-vacuum theory relies on the concept in international law that sovereignty may be established by exerting control over unoccupied territory.” He goes on:
    • “The sovereignty-vacuum theory as applied to Israel has been criticized as smacking of colonialism since it assumes the indigenous population has no rights.”
    • “Palestine was not open to occupation by whoever might take it in 1948. An inhabited territory, said Brownlie, ‘cannot be regarded as terra nullius susceptible to appropriation by individual states in case of abandonment by the existing sovereign [in this case, Britain under the mandate]. When mandate territory is abandoned, sovereignty is still located somewhere.”
    • “The International Court of Justice made this point in the case involving Spain’s departure from its colony of Western Sahara. When Spain relinquished sovereignty, Western Sahara was not terra nullius since there was a people in occupation.”

    Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency as the only authority remaining in place – rejected
    Quigley records that, “A theory suggested by Andre Cocatre-Zilgien is that Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency. After Britain’s withdrawal, he wrote, the ‘only authority remaining in place’ was, ‘in fact and even in law, the Israeli authority’.” “But”, he states, “while the Jewish Agency had the status of a public body, it represented only a minority of Palestine’s population. Thus, it could not have been deemed the bearer of sovereignty in Palestine.”

    Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact – rejected
    Quigley notes that another theory “has been posited to justify Israel’s existence, namely, that Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact.” He goes on:
    • “Reliance is placed on the Legal maxim uti possidetis, which says that one owns what one possesses.”
    • “But the international community has not followed such a rule. Rhodesia maintained a factual existence as an independent state 1965-80 but was deemed illegitimate since its government denied self-determination to a segment of the population.”
    • “Title to territory can be established by long-standing possession, a doctrine known as acquisitive prescription.” Quigley continues:
      • “But the possession must be peaceful and unchallenged.”
      • “It does not apply ‘where possession has been maintained by force in the face of persistent and violent opposition’.”
      • “A U.S. claim of acquisitive prescription to the Chamizal tract, long in dispute between it and Mexico, was denied by an arbitration panel because the possession had not been ‘undisturbed, uninterrupted, and unchallenged’. Mexico had ‘constantly challenged and questioned’ U.S. control.”
      • “In the Palestine case the possession has been persistently challenged both by neighbouring states and by the Palestine Arabs.”
      • [Though Quigley does not feel the need to mention it, it is in any case very unlikely that Israel’s possession, only since 1948, is nearly long enough to constitute “long-standing possession”.]
    The post-war armistice agreements do not affect Israel’s territorial sovereignty
    “In the spring of 1949 [after the 1948 war]”, records Quigley, “Israel concluded individual armistice agreements – though not peace treaties – with Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria.” He continues:
    • “Under the armistice lines drawn in these agreements, Israel retained the territory it had taken militarily [including territory beyond the abandoned partition plan] with minor adjustments.”
    • “ … By the agreements Israel held 77 per cent of Palestine [compared to the 55% envisioned under the partition plan, which was itself very generous to the Jews – see above] – all sectors except the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of the Jordan river.”
    • “The agreements specified that the armistice lines were not international borders and that their acceptance did not imply recognition of a right to any piece of territory [with the exception of the Israel-Lebanon armistice].”
    Israel’s factual existence does not make clear the extent of its territory
    “Israel’s factual existence”, Quigley states, “did not make clear the extent of its territory.” He goes on:
    • “While the Jewish Agency declared statehood within the borders proposed for a Jewish state in Resolution 181 [the abandoned partition plan], the provisional government of Israel asserted that the resolution’s rejection by the Arab Higher Committee and the military intervention by the Arab states freed it of that limitation.”
    • “When Transjordan cited the resolution in a discussion over borders in May 1949, Foreign Minister Shertok told Transjordan that Resolution 181 had no legal force since the resolution had assumed the two parties would voluntarily establish their states [thus apparently being in agreement with the arguments referred to above that Resolution 181 had been abandoned].”
    • “With respect to the territory it took outside that designated for a Jewish state in Resolution 181, Israel claimed it acted in self-defence against the Arab states and filled a ‘sovereignty vacuum’ there.” Quigley again:
      • “That position is dubious, however, since Israel’s claim to self-defence was weak [see above – and Quigley goes into considerable, and convincing, detail over this in his book, to which those who wish to know the detail may refer].”
      • “[The crucial point is that] … even acting in self-defence, a state does not have the right to territory it occupies while repelling the attack, since self-defence is justifiable only as self-protection.”
      • [Thus, whatever its rights, if any, under Resolution 181, the partition plan, Israel does not have rights to the territory it took in the 1948 war beyond that described in the partition plan
    • “[Furthermore] in October 1949 Israel told the United Nations that it ‘asserts its title to the territory over which its authority is actually recognized’, by which it presumably meant the territory within the 1949 armistice lines [that is, including the territory it took by force outside that envisaged by the partition plan] … This claim to the territory on Israel’s side of the armistice lines is doubtful, however, since [in addition to the point made in the sub-paragraph above] the armistice agreements stated that the lines were not international borders. Many specified that Israel’s borders were undetermined.”
    The special situation concerning the status of Jerusalem
    Quigley notes that “States recognizing Israel did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over west Jerusalem.” He continues:
    • “They typically cited UN resolutions proposing an international status for Jerusalem.”
    • “In December 1949 the General Assembly recommended placing Jerusalem under a ‘permanent international regime’, supervised by the Trusteeship Council.”
    • “But the Knesset soon declared west Jerusalem Israel’s capital.”
    • “Few states located embassies there, and Tel Aviv remained the effective capital.”
    The status of the Gaza Strip and West Bank after the 1948 war
    “The 1949 armistice agreements [after the 1948 war]”, states Quigley, “left the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in an uncertain status, Gaza administered by Egypt and the West Bank by Transjordan.” He goes on:
    • As regards Transjordan:
      • “In 1949, Transjordan became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, ‘Hashemite’ after the ruling family and ‘Trans’ being dropped to indicate that, with the inclusion of the West Bank, the country spanned both sides of the Jordan River.”
      • “In 1950 Jordan’s parliament incorporated the West Bank, fulfilling king Abdullah’s long-held objective. But the parliament said it took the step ‘without prejudicing the final settlement of Palestine’s just case within the sphere of national aspirations, inter-Arab cooperation and international justice’. It thus acknowledged the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs. The Arab states and many Palestine Arabs opposed the merger … “
      • Later in his book, Quigley notes that, however, “in response to the desire for independence that came out of the [first intifada which started in 1987], Jordan renounced its claim to the West Bank”
    • “Egypt did not incorporate the Gaza Strip but administered it as ‘an inseparable part of the land of Palestine’. The Egyptian administration continued the law of Palestine in force and issued court judgments ‘in the name of the people of Palestine’. A Gaza constitution adopted in 1962 was declared to be in force ‘until a permanent constitution for the State of Palestine is promulgated’ ... Limited legislative competence was given to a legislative council … ”
    Israel called upon to withdraw unconditionally from the occupied territories
    Quigley records that:
    • “The UN Security Council [during the 1967 war] called for a cease-fire in the 1967 hostilities, but as a result of the position taken by the United States it did not issue a clear call to Israel to withdraw.”
    • “In November 1967, in its Resolution 242, the council asked Israel to withdraw but in the context of an envisaged general settlement with Arab states.”
    • “The United States blocked an alternative resolution proposed by Latin American states to make an unconditional call on Israel for withdrawal.”
    • “In the drafting of Resolution 242, [the U.S.] blocked the placement of the word ‘the’ before ‘territories’ from which Israel was to withdraw, thereby leaving it unclear whether withdrawal was to be from all the territories it occupied, or only from some portion.”
    Quigley states that “By conditioning Israel’s obligation to withdraw on recognition of Israel by the Arab states, the Security Council in effect made the attainment of self-determination by the Palestine Arabs contingent on acts by others. This was a dubious approach since the exercise of a right cannot be conditioned on acts that may or may not be taken by a group of states. The International Court of Justice said as much when it ruled on the question of whether member states of the United Nations could vote against the admission of new states as members on the ground that they wanted other states to be admitted as part of a package. The court said admission was a right for a state satisfying the criteria set in the UN Charter and, therefore, a member state could not make an affirmative vote conditional on other considerations.”

    He goes on: “Viewed from another perspective, Resolution 242 sought to force Arab states to recognize Israel’s control over the territory inside the 1949 armistice lines in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and West Bank.” Quigley continues:

    • “Syria criticized Resolution 242 for neglecting ‘the uprooted, dispossessed people in exile’.”
    • “The Organisation of African Unity said Resolution 242 failed to guarantee the rights to which the Palestinian people are entitled.”
    “Since Resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but from no other territory”, Quigley goes on, “it was interpreted by some as an implied recognition of Israel’s sovereignty within the 1949 armistice lines. ‘It would appear’, wrote Konstantin Obradovic, ‘that the international community has tacitly resigned itself to the fruits of the 1948 conquest remaining finally in Israeli hands, although in strictly legal terms, that should obviously not be the case’.” Quigley states that “It is questionable, however, that Resolution 242 had this effect.” He continues :
    • “Resolution 242 sought to deal with the recent hostilities and did not address the question of Israel’s borders.”
    • “The Security Council adopted Resolution 242 under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, which gives it the power to recommend solutions for disputes.”
    • “The Council did not act under Chapter 7, which gives it the power to make decisions binding on member states to resolve breaches of the peace.”
    • “Thus, whatever its meaning, Resolution 242 was not binding on UN member states.”
    Quigley notes that “In any event, in 1980 the Security Council issued an unconditional call on Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and West Bank.” He carries on:
    • “ ‘Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible’, it [the Security Council] referred to ‘the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem’.”
    • “The General Assembly also called for unconditional withdrawal. It said that ‘the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible’ and that ‘Israel must withdraw unconditionally from all the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem’.”
    UN Security Council and General Assembly declare Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem a nullity
    “After the 1967 war”, states Quigley, “Israel treated east Jerusalem differently from the rest of the West Bank … the [Israeli] government declared Israeli law applicable to an area that included east Jerusalem, plus adjacent West Bank territory of approximately equal size … [and] merged this newly enlarged east Jerusalem area with west Jerusalem.” He continues:
    • “The action was condemned by the UN Security Council and General Assembly as annexation and, therefore, a violation of the rights of the Palestine Arabs.”
    • “The annexation of east Jerusalem was not recognised by other states and was condemned as unlawful.”
    • “In 1980, the Knesset declared ‘Jerusalem, complete and united’ to be ‘the capital of Israel’ … [and] denominated this law a ‘basic law’ giving it quasi-judicial rank. The Security Council and General Assembly declared the 1980 law a nullity.”
    Illegality of Israel’s continued occupation of the occupied territories
    Quigley notes that “A number of theories were suggested to justify Israel’s temporary or permanent retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but all were based on the view that Israel acted in self-defence [and the self-defence claim is comprehensively disputed – see above]. One theory was that a state taking territory in self-defence may lawfully annex it.” Quigley goes on:
    • “As already indicated, however, a state that uses force in self-defence may not retain territory it takes while repelling an attack [Even] if Israel had acted in self-defence, that would not justify its retention of the Gaza Strip and West Bank”
    • “Under the UN Charter there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defence.”
    • “The response of other states to Israel’s occupation showed a virtually unanimous opinion that even if Israel’s action was defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was not.” Quigley notes further on in his book that “The General Assembly characterised Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a denial of self-determination and hence a ‘serious and increasing threat to international peace and security’.”
    “Another thesis”, records Quigley, “was that Israel’s taking of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was necessary and proportional in relation to its security needs and that this necessity did not immediately subside. But even if Israel had responded to an imminent attack in 1967 [and the evidence is very far from this – see the History of Modern Palestine referred to above], it quickly eliminated any threat to itself. At that point its defensive right would have ceased and it would have been obligated to withdraw.”
    Quigley states that “It was also asserted that Israel might lawfully retain the Gaza Strip and West Bank, pending a peace agreement between itself and the Arab states. Others argued that it might lawfully retain them permanently on the theory that Jordan had not held lawful title and, therefore, there was no sovereign power to whom the territories could revert.” He goes on:

    • “Israel, it was said – particularly because it took the territories defensively [this is very dubious, as noted above] – had a better claim to title than anyone else.”
    • “That argument ignored, however, the generally recognised proposition that uncertainty over sovereignty provides no ground to retain territory taken in hostilities … ”
    • “The argument also overlooked the fact that the Palestine Arabs had a sound claim to the Gaza Strip and West Bank on the basis of their right of self-determination.”
    UN General Assembly rejects Camp David restrictions on Palestinian rights over the occupied territories
    “In 1978”, Quigley records, “Israel concluded a treaty with Egypt, the Camp David agreement, that required Israel to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. The agreement also made provision for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, calling for limited autonomy for the Arab population, a continued Israeli military presence, and a prohibition against any Palestinian military force. It contemplated, as construed by Israel, permanent control by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” He continues:
    • “The West Bank and Gaza population rejected the Camp David agreement, on the grounds that:
      • they had had no role in its elaboration
      • and it did not contemplate self-determination.”
    • “The UN General Assembly agreed that the agreement violated the Palestine Arabs’ right to self-determination.”

    CONCLUSION
    The detailed examination above shows that, in the legal sense of the word, Israel is very far from being a legitimate state. Indeed, its legal legitimacy is threadbare to the point of non-existence. To those of us who are not lawyers, and know the history of the Zionist project, this is unsurprising. It would be strange indeed if the progressive dispossession of the Palestinians’ land, culminating [in 1948] in a bloody war complete with extensive ethnic cleansing, and finally [in 1967] with a war of expansion resulting in a 40-plus-year occupation of the territory remaining to the dispossessed, somehow turned out to be legal after all.




    PART III
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE SENSE OF VALID/ACCEPTABLE

    ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IN THE SENSE OF VALIDITY/ACCEPTABILITY
    Legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability
    We next examine Israel’s legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability – ‘Normal, regular; conformable to a recognized standard type; valid or acceptable; justifiable, reasonable’

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE RACIST STATE
    UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Israel as a racist regime, and of Zionism as racism
    Quigley states that, “In a resolution on racial discrimination in 1975 [General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 10th November, 1975], the assembly quoted a resolution of the Organisation of African Unity ‘that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being’. The assembly referred as well to a statement by the Non-aligned Countries that ‘condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology’. With those quotations as a preface, the General Assembly proclaimed ‘that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination’.”

    Quigley notes that, “This characterisation has been strongly criticized. But the opinion that Zionism as practiced in Israel reflects racial animus against the Palestine Arabs is widely held in the world community. In particular, those states previously subject to foreign authority view the Palestine Arabs as being in the situation in which they found themselves prior to independence.”

    He goes on: “This characterization called Israel’s formation and existence into question. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, commented: ‘It is a short step from the proposition that Zionism is racism to the proposition that the State of Israel is based on aggression’. She said: ‘Adoption of this resolution was tantamount to declaring Israel an illegitimate state based on an illegitimate philosophy’. Zionism, she said, ‘is the national movement on which Israel is based. When the UN majority declared Zionism is racism, it declared immoral the foundations of Israel’.”

    Quigley notes that, subsequently [in 1991], the General Assembly voted, tersely, “to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 … of 10th November 1975.” However, he also notes the context:

    • A focus by the Palestinians, in the face of their own weakness and the strength of an Israel supported strongly by the United States, on reversing the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rather than on their original aim of reversing the original occupation of the 1948 territory which created Israel.
    • The failure, in 1983, of the UN to carry out a General Assembly proposal for an international conference to end the conflict, based on lines somewhat similar to the present-day “two-state” solution (though they also called for a Palestinian right of return to home areas inside Israel). Quigley reports that though “Most UN member states supported the idea of a conference, Israel did not, knowing it would be outnumbered by states insisting on proposals it sought to avoid. The United States sided with Israel. No conference was held, and no other steps towards a settlement followed.”
    • Quigley continues: “Still [in 1991], the United States would not accede to a UN conference, because in such a context Israel might be pressured to respect the rights of the Palestinians. Instead, the United States promoted the idea of negotiation between the two parties alone, and without a prior understanding of the rights to be protected.”
    • He goes on: “The United States organized a conference … to adopt this approach … In a letter to the Palestinians, the United States made clear its view that the UN should keep hands off the anticipated bilateral process: ‘Since it is in the interest of all parties for this process to succeed, while this process is actively ongoing, the United States will not support a competing or parallel process in the United Nations Security Council.’ The United States did not want the Security Council criticizing Israel for rights violations.” [This “peace process”, and the Oslo peace process which followed it, ultimately came to nothing.]
    • Quigley continues: “As part of its diplomatic offensive, the United States promoted repeal of the resolution passed in 1975 that called Zionism racist. Against the fears of Arab governments that nullifying the resolution would encourage Israel to become more intransigent, U.S. diplomats argued that repeal would encourage Israel to participate meaningfully in the bilateral process sponsored by the United States.” [We might add that all can now see how naïve, or duplicitous, this view was.]
    Zionism
    Zionism was discussed in our article Bully Boys II: Thoughts On Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book On The Israel Lobby, which is also available on our website referred to above. The next paragraph reproduces in full what was said in that article.

    Historical Zionism – that is, Zionism before the creation of the state of Israel - can be defined as a project by Jews from outside Palestine to inhabit a Jewish area in Palestine. [Jewish author Michael] Neumann again: "Having a project to inhabit a certain region in no way entitles you to wield the power of life and death over its current inhabitants, or for that matter to give them a choice of submission or departure."  He goes on “Since your project is illegitimate, it may be resisted just as fiercely as any other project that gives someone, illegitimately, the power of life and death over your existence.” Historical Zionism involved supporting this Zionist project without regard for the rights of the people who were there in the first place, the Palestinians, as the murderous history of the Zionist project referred to below [in that article] amply demonstrates. What then, can current Zionism mean – that is, Zionism since the creation in 1948, by murderous violence, of the state of Israel (a de facto state – its legitimacy is another matter)? Current Zionism, therefore, can only be defined as similar continuing support for post-creation Israel without regard for the legitimate and human rights of the people who were there in the first place – the Palestinians. Thus, anyone who now supports Israel without regard for the rights of the Palestinians is a Zionist (or an apologist for Zionists), and, since the Israeli state currently ignores Palestinian rights, it follows that it itself is a Zionist state unless and until it changes its policies. But, as the history referred to below [in that article] demonstrates, the Israeli state is also a Jewish supremacist state, a racist state. A Zionist, therefore, (whether or not he or she is Jewish – many of them are) is a supporter of such a state, and is therefore a racist. Zionism is thus an oppressive, racist creed which should be resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all. It is vital that it be carefully distinguished from both the notions of Jewishness, and of the people of the state of Israel. It is also even more vital that any attempt by Zionists to confuse the three different notions – Jewishness, the people of the state of Israel, and the Zionist cause – for their own malicious purposes, be similarly resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all.

    There is an apparent problem here – though on examination it turns out not to be a problem at all. In recent months, American Zionists, and their apologists, frantically attempting to change the goalposts (the history of the Zionist project shows them to be masters of self-serving ambiguity), have asserted that there are Zionists who desire a “two-state solution”. In the first place, the sincerity of such an assertion may be doubted since events have shown that America cannot achieve such a resolution of the conflict. It is easy, therefore, to profess a solution which you are sure will not in any case be achieved. Secondly, they do not express the details of such a “two-state solution”, and in particular do not demand a viable Palestinian state in any manner that the rest of us may consider satisfactory. However, others, notably Justice Goldstone, have referred to themselves as Zionists (though in his case it may have been a matter of self-defence). It remains true, however, that the great majority of Zionists adhere to the Zionist project and its unconcern with Palestinian and human rights. There is no need, therefore to amend the charge that Zionism is a racist creed, despite some misapplying the term to themselves. In any case, what ultimately matters is the behaviour of the Israeli state, and the attitudes of all of us to it.


    Discussion of Zionism as racism
    In the (at least officially) multicultural world of the US and the UK, racism is rightly regarded as anathema. However, there is one form of racism which is never talked about – Zionism.

    In the US, this is because all of the media, whether print or broadcast, brow-beaten by the pro-Israel lobby, is strongly pro-Israel, as discussed in part IV of this article, What Is To Be Done, in the section headed Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers.

    In the UK, the position of the media is more complex, as also discussed in part IV as noted above. Though the “liberal” British print media give excellent coverage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there has as yet been no overt discussion of Zionism as racism – though there are many background noises. The situation is very different in the broadcast media, including the BBC, which (with the exception of Channel 4), are similarly bullied by the British pro-Israel lobby. Thus, fairly recently, on the BBC’s flagship Question Time programme, the racist British National Party’s Nick Griffin was roundly and rightly castigated by all members of the panel, including the presenter David Dimbleby. However, as noted below, his brother Jonathan, also a notable BBC presenter, although initially keen to appear in Peter Oborne’s Channel 4 programme investigating the British pro-Israel lobby, suddenly felt unable to do so.

    Zionism is the elephant in the room.


    Is The State Of Israel A Jewish State?
    “Jews are said”, notes Quigley, “to form a ‘nation’ because of a self-perception of commonality and a perception by others.” He goes on:
    • “Supreme Court Justice Moshe Silberg said that in view of  ‘the exclusive status of the Jews in the world’ and of ‘the fact that we are always so different from others’, Jewry must be considered ‘as a people or nation’.”
    • “The government and Supreme Court of Israel both view Jewishness as something other than birth as a Jew, because they consider that a Jew who opts for a religion other than Judaism is not a Jew.” Quigley continues:
      • “ … Judge Silberg [stated] that ‘a Jew who has become a Christian is not deemed a Jew’.”
      • “Judge Zvi Berenson quoted a statement made at the United Nations on behalf of the Jewish Agency by Moshe Sharett, later a prime minister of Israel. Sharett said that, to be a Jew ‘it is essential that the person has not converted to another religion. He need not be an active, pious Jew. He is still considered a Jew. But if he converts to another religion he can no longer demand to be recognized as a Jew. The religious test is decisive’.”
    • “That conclusion [in the sub-paragraph above] was written into [Israeli] statute law in 1970. The Knesset amended the Law of Return to define a Jew as ‘a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion’ … By using religious affiliation as a criterion, the Knesset suggests that Jewry is not a nation.”
    Quigley notes that, “ … others [contend] that the link among Jews is religion, not ‘nationhood’.” He goes on:
    • “The United States has … taken the position that Jewry does not constitute a nation. It was explained – regarding a possible relation to Israel of Jews who are U.S. citizens – that the U.S. government ‘does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon the religious identification of American citizens … Accordingly, the Department of State does not regard the ‘Jewish people’ concept as a concept of international law.”
    • “A second obstacle to Jewish nationhood is the fact that Jews do not inhabit a single territory but are nationals of many states. Because of the nationality of Jews in various states, early Zionist diplomats used the term ‘Jewish people’, rather than ‘Jewish nation’, though they intended the ‘Jewish people’ be considered a ‘nation’ in the international law sense of a group having collective rights.”

    “Even though there is no ‘Jewish nation’”, continues Quigley, “it is possible there could be an ‘Israeli nation’, made up of those Jews, or perhaps those Jews and Arabs, living in Israel.” He carries on:
    • “The government and courts of Israel have said, however, that there is no ‘Israeli nation’. In 1972, a Jewish Israeli asked to change the ‘nationality’ notation in his identity card from ‘Jewish’ to ‘Israeli’. Israel’s identity cards call for nationality, and the designation used for Jewish Israelis is ‘Jew’. The interior minister denied the request, and the applicant sued. The Supreme Court also denied the request, stating that there is ‘no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewry’. Chief Judge Simon Agranat stated that the creation of an Israeli nation would negate the aspiration on which Israel was established. The court’s decision reinforced the concept that Israel exists not for those within its territory but for persons wherever they are located who make up the ‘Jewish nation’. That definition of Israel’s constituency excludes Arabs, even if they are citizens of Israel.”
    Israel used to demand of the Palestinians that they recognise the existence of Israel. But recently Netanyahu has said he wants a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" – see the paragraph below

    Israeli Racism – Further evidence in recent legal measures
    Further evidence of Israeli racism comes from recent legal measures:
    • Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman, an overt racist, had wanted a loyalty oath from all existing Palestinian citizens of Israel. A bill put to the vote on 10th October 2010 in a divided Cabinet drew back from that, applying only to future non-Jewish citizens – it would not apply to Jews, so it would be a case of racist discrimination on any interpretation. The bill specifically required new non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state". Later that month, Netanyahu (perhaps in defence of the “Jewish interest”, after widespread condemnation and outrage) said he wanted to extend the loyalty oath to also include future Jewish citizens as well as future non-Jewish citizens. The Israeli parliament must ratify such an amended bill before it becomes law. The bill had, when Netanyahu made his comments, yet to be approved by the country's parliament:
      • The commentator Gideon Levy said in Haaretz on 10th October (that is, before Netanyahu’s subsequent comments): "Remember this day. It's the day Israel changes its character ... From now on, we will be living in a new, officially approved, ethnocratic, theocratic, nationalistic and racist country." An Arab Knesset member, said the measure was a provocation whose "purpose is to solidify the inferior status of Arabs by law".
    • In November 2010, it was reported that a Knesset committee had adopted a law that enables “reception committees” of “communal localities” with less than 500 families to refuse would-be residents not to their liking. The law, due to come into force within a matter of days of that report, is designed to circumvent the judgment of the Supreme Court forbidding the refusal to admit Arabs. The wording of the law, said the report, is a masterpiece of verbal acrobatics in order to avoid the use of the word “Arab”. But, the report noted, the meaning is clear to everybody - this is a clear case of racial segregation.
    • Due to time pressures to publish this article, we have not checked whether either of these two legal measures did subsequently become law. The point is that the intent of the measures is clearly racist.

    Israeli Racism – Further evidence from recent events
    Newspaper reports in the British press a few months ago indicated that Israel is “in thrall” to mob rule racism:
    • two Arab citizens of Israel were "disappeared" by the state's secret police
    • an Arab member of the Knesset faced death threats, was jostled and sworn at in the Knesset chamber, and was stripped of her parliamentary privileges for being on the Gaza aid flotilla;
    • a Palestinian man from Jerusalem was convicted of rape after having consensual sex with an Israeli woman who believed him to be a fellow Jew
    • the Israeli children of migrant workers are threatened with expulsion, as a government campaign warns against hiring foreign workers.
    • The Association for Civil Rights in Israel referred to various laws at that time working their way through parliament:
      • to gag Israeli rights groups
      • to threaten imprisonment or financial sanctions for marking the Nakba with protests
      • a bill that criminalises starting up or developing boycotts against Israel.
    • The reports noted that “all this has widespread support – in fact, one of the few causes to bring thousands of Israelis on to the streets was a recent ultra-orthodox protest for the right to segregate Ashkenazi children, of European origin, from their Middle Eastern Jewish classmates.”
    Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs.
    From the beginning of the Zionist project in Palestine, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. Furthermore, land acquisition, through purchase or confiscation, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand.

    In the period both before and during the British mandate (from 1922 to 1948), tracts of land in Palestine were purchased by the Jewish National Fund in close proximity to each other, to create the geographic nucleus for a state.

    Before, and during the 1948 war, large-scale ethnic cleansing was carried out by the victorious Jewish forces in mandate Palestine, in order to attempt to achieve a Jewish-only state. The following is a summary – greater detail is given in the history referred to above:

    • The period from September 1947 to May 1948, when the last British forces left, marked a descent into a civil war which had the character of ethnic cleansing. The expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish forces began. In April and May 1948 the Jewish leadership put into operation a plan to seize most of Palestine and to cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible. The nature of the conflict was transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation. The Palestine Arabs were terrorized and intimidated - their fear for their lives was accentuated by several massacres, which may have been meant to, as they eventually did, force Palestinians living in areas falling into Jewish hands to flee under the threat of death or eviction. These atrocities were not randomly committed; they were part of a master plan to rid the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible.
    • The 1948 war proper began in May 1948. Immediately after the British mandate ended and the last British troops had left, the Jewish Agency declared the creation of the state of Israel – in response, the Arab League intervened on behalf of the Palestine Arabs. It raged both on the edges of what was, by partition, to be the Jewish state, and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. The victorious Jewish forces took areas beyond those proposed in the partition plan, and carried out further large-scale ethnic cleansing. By the winter of 1948, when the war ended, out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained on or nearby their land and homes, becoming the Palestinian minority in Israel. The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres. Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees.
    • Post-war ethnic cleansing from the de facto Israeli state continued until 1954 - Palestinians were being driven to the border and expelled, in the same way as had happened during the war. Between 1949 and 1952, 40 Palestinian villages were depopulated, their inhabitants either moved en bloc to other villages, driven across the border, or dispersed within the country. Those who lost their homes but remained within Israel joined the large community of internal refugees which in 2006 numbering some 200,000.
    The Israelis were constantly on the alert lest the international community insist on implementing the commitment made in the December 1948 General Assembly Resolution 194 that called on Israel to repatriate the refugees. To avert this, the Israeli government began, in August 1948, to execute an anti-repatriation policy, which resulted in the total destruction or confiscation of every deserted Palestinian house and dwelling, in both rural village and urban neighbourhood:
    • Legislation was passed in 1950 that allowed the government to go on confiscating Palestinian property and use it for public purposes.
    • In 1953, the army too was authorised to make use of Palestinian villages and fields for ‘security’ purposes. These laws provided the constitutional basis for the continued depopulation of Palestinian villages in the name of ‘security’. In those early years after the 1948 war, the army occupied dozens of Arab villages in the north and coastal plain, and expelled their populations.
    • In addition to the above, there were the 370 formerly Palestinian villages destroyed in the 1948 war – Jewish real estate was hastily erected on top of their remains.
    • There was also the land of those evicted after the war – for significant evictions took place after the war. The continued depopulation after the 1948 war was closely connected to Israel’s absorption and settlement policy. The government wished to settle new, post-war Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders. Locating them on the border, often on the ruins of deserted Palestinian villages, provided an easy solution for problems of accommodation and land – it also extended Judaisation into geographical areas it had been unable to reach during the Mandate. This campaign of land and village confiscation continued from 1949 to 1954.
    • In the south, the Bedouins were settled by force in a process of dispossession that robbed them of the vast tracts of land they had owned in the late Ottoman period, and of their nomadic culture.

    Jewish settlement in the occupied territories began almost immediately after the 1967 war; the beginning of a continuing attempt to Judaise them. The first began among Palestinians living within the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. “Judaising the Galilee” was a clandestine programme until 1976, when it became an open slogan of the Housing Ministry. Jews were asked to settle in Galilee in every possible way: new towns, new kibbutzim, new community centres. The emergency regulations from the British mandate were used again to expropriate land without compensation or the right of protest. The land was used for new Jewish towns (no new Arab town has ever been built in Israel) and community centres to attract upwardly mobile people from Tel-Aviv. Land was also expropriated for the Israeli army, which seemed to be in constant need of more training grounds. Thousands of Galilean Arabs had their land and houses taken from them by force. Further settlement – further Judaisation - has taken place at intervals ever since settlement began, for the last 40-plus years, right up to the present day – a creeping annexation. The construction of the notorious wall, begun in 2002, to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, with large inroads to ensure that some of the major Jewish settlements would be on the Israeli side of the divide, is part of that process. Jewish settlement always involves ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of Palestinians - settlements are built on previously confiscated land. There are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, which (including Arab East Jerusalem) house over 500,000 settlers - around 60% of the West Bank has now been confiscated or annexed:
    • Settlements were not, and were not perceived to be, a security requirement.
    • The settlers, and the ideologues behind them testified, in the clearest possible fashion, to an intention to displace the occupied population, in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment.
    • Furthermore, a settlement needs access, a road to connect it with other settlements - roads are another reason for confiscating Palestinian property - roads are long and wide and their route can be shifted to achieve maximum impact in terms of houses demolished, orchards uprooted, and so on.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel
    Basic laws passed by Israel in the 1950s served to reinforce a discriminatory system against non-Jews that persists today.  Three laws in particular affected, and continue to affect, the Palestinian citizens of Israel:
    • The 1950 Law of Return gave “every Jew” a “right to come to this country” (whether they wanted to or not). This unrestricted right of immigration for Jews is deemed a basic aspect of the concept of a Jewish state. However, Palestine Arabs displaced in 1948 have no right under Israeli law to return.
    • The 1952 Nationality Law conferred Israeli citizenship automatically on every Jew who settles in Israel and does not reject it. As regards Palestinians, the Nationality Law grants citizenship to a person who maintained continuous residence in Israel from May 18th 1948 to July 14th 1952. or returned during that period and registered as an inhabitant. It was directed at Palestine Arabs who departed in the 1948 war, and therefore gave them no right to citizenship unless they returned by the specified date in 1952. The government, however, permitted only a few to legally return - the vast majority could not, and their land, as ‘absentee’ property, was controlled by the custodian of absentee property, who rented it to Jews – the rent money going to the government.
    • the law of the Jewish National Fund created a discriminatory system of land transactions, used to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land (see above), the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. Most importantly, the laws defined most of the land for sale in Israel as the exclusive and perpetual property of the Jewish people. The result was that almost all of Palestinian-owned land was taken by the government and turned into state land to be sold or leased only to Jews. By the end of the confiscation policy and the formulation of the policy legalizing it, 92% of the country’s land had fallen into Jewish hands. Palestinian land, which on the eve of war amounted to about 4.6 million dunams within the territory that became Israel, was reduced by 1950 to half a million dunams. By 2000, even though the Palestinian population had grown tenfold, the amount of land available to them remained almost unchanged.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Israel’s Mizrachi Jews
    After 1948, the Zionist elite (East European Ashkenazi Jews) felt that Israel needed numbers to survive even if they came from ‘underdeveloped and primitive’ areas of the world. There was a drive for the mass immigration of Jews from the Arab world:
    • When Mizrachi (Arab Jewish) immigrants arrived in Israel, they were greeted in a manner devised to show them that they had left a primitive traditional existence for a modern one, and ought to be grateful. In fact, they were needed for their (cheap) labour. They lacked financial means, which made them hostages to the power of the Israeli state absorption apparatus, which was run by East European Jews harbouring racist and condescending views about Arabs in general, and Arab Jews in particular.
    • North African Jews were mainly unskilled workers:
      • who were pushed into the development towns the government had erected on the borders. The intention was to expand the Jewish community, which tended to prefer the urban centres on the coast, into those areas.
      • Some were asked to repopulate the deserted and abandoned Arab neighbourhoods in what had been the mixed towns of Palestine - the choicest part of refugee spoils having already been taken by public bodies and then the Kibbutz movement – what was left was turned into crowded slums for North African Jews. But they did not just suffer from poor-quality housing, of which they were the main recipients.
      • Mizrachi Jews:
        • did not receive the same services and benefits as other unemployed (the Histradut union was not immune from Ashkenazi racist attitudes)
        • nor did they enjoy the union’s help in their demand for equal pay for equal work.
        • The speaking of Arabic was forbidden, as were their customs and costumes.
        • Immigrants were offered a second-rate education, full of Zionist indoctrination, but inadequate in preparing them for social mobility and progress.
        • The Mizrachi Jews were also needed in order to expand agricultural production. They were not invited to join the Ashkenazi kibbutzim, except for young children, who were admitted without their parents (these children, unlike their parents, gained the privilege of an exceptional mobility and integration). In general, Mizrachi Jews were thrust into collective cultivation of the land in areas not desired by the kibbutz movement. The economic advantage from the low wages paid to Mizrachi Jews was an incentive to ignore the situation.
    • Even after many years, the Mizrachi Jews have not escaped the lower social stratum their new state assigned to them. In contrast to the prosperity of the Ashkenazim, they remain stuck in the same unskilled, underpaid and low-status rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
     
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories
    The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are also subject to discriminatory laws which treat them differently to Israel’s citizens [the settlers] who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This too, can be regarded as Israeli racism. It is discussed in detail below in relation to Israeli as a colonial state, in the section Israel’s Abnormality: The Colonial State, The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonized.

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE COLONIAL STATE
    The Israelis As Colonisers
    Quigley records that, “In 1973, the UN General Assembly condemned ‘the unholy alliance between Portuguese colonialism, South African racism, Zionism and Israeli imperialism’.”

    We can look at empires and colonisers in the past, and derive from many colonial experiences a typical pattern. Typically, a colonising state:

    • Consists of foreigners who take the land of another state by force, against the resistance of the indigenous population
    • When installed, subjugates and oppresses the indigenous population by:
      • Treating them unequally in a political fashion, in particular by denying them their right of self-determination
      • Treating them unequally under the law
      • Treating them unequally in a physical way, by military and police oppression
      • Treating them unequally by suppressing them economically
      • Treating them unequally by oppressively denying them their human rights generally
    • The unequal treatment referred to in each case above is discriminatory – that is, it is based on racial, ethnic or religious lines – its ultimate purpose is to differentiate the coloniser from the colonised (the oppressor from the oppressed, “us” from “them”), and then treat the oppressed in an inferior way
    • Racism is a frequent feature of empires and colonisers – it could be argued that, psychologically, it is “needed” by the coloniser – in order to “justify” (at least to himself) the inferior treatment of the colonised. At any rate, whatever is the ultimate reason for racism, the fact is that racism is often present in colonial situations.
    The Zionists and their project, which resulted in the bloody and murderous creation of Israel, conform to this pattern as can be seen from the History of Modern Palestine referred to above. The various aspects of colonialism referred to in the paragraph above, are considered below in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using details from that history.

    Foreigners take the land of another state by force against the resistance of the indigenous population
    The Zionist movement consisted of European Jews (foreigners to Palestine), and their purpose was to secure Palestine for the Jewish people (also foreigners to Palestine). The Zionists, as witness their statements, were unconcerned, or indifferent to the fact that Palestine was not an empty land – it had its indigenous, overwhelmingly Arab, population, which had lived there for more than 1,000 years, more or less harmoniously with the small Jewish element. At the start of the project, Palestine was overwhelmingly Arab in population – well over 90% of the population
    In the years of the British mandate, the British allowed significant Jewish immigration so that, when they left just prior to the 1948 war, the Jews now constituted 30% of the population (although owning only 6% of the land). Furthermore, the British allowed the Jewish Agency to operate as a state within a state, and permitted the build-up of the main Jewish armed force, the Haganah. Taken together, these developments were such  that the Jews now constituted a serious, perhaps mortal, threat to the Arab Palestinians
    In the months preceding Britain’s departure in 1948, civil war broke out in Palestine between Jew and Arab, and ethnic cleansing began. When Britain left, the Jewish Agency unilaterally declared the state of Israel, Arab armies intervened, and in the ensuing 1948 war proper, the superior Jewish forces, using a detailed plan to seize most of Palestine and cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible, were victorious. (The plan had been drawn up even before the 1947 partition plan was abandoned.) This conventional war occurred on the edges of what was to be the Jewish state and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. When the conflict ended in January 1949, the de facto Israeli state now comprised 79% of the area of the Palestine Mandate:

    • compared to the 55%. the Jews would have got under the abandoned partition plan
    • and the abandoned partition plan was itself generous, because of it's recognition of a Jewish state covering 55% of a country where Jews were only around 30% of the population (and that only recently – 25 years beforehand they had been less than 10% of the population), and where Zionist landholdings still amounted to less than 8% of the land.
    Only 21% of mandate Palestine now remained in Arab hands - the Palestinian Nakbah (the catastrophe):
    • Out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained (to become the Palestinian minority in Israel). The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres.
    • Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees – in the Gaza strip, in the West Bank, in neighbouring Arab countries - crammed into tented camps, living off charity and solidarity. Israel has always refused to allow them to return, and has never compensated them for the loss of their homes and property.

    The 1967 6-day war was long planned by the Israelis, and Israel was the aggressor – as the history referred to above makes clear. In the 1967 war, the victorious Israelis invaded and occupied the remaining 21% of what had been Palestine. This territory consisted of the (larger) West Bank and the (smaller) Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories. Israel to this day still occupies the West Bank. Though Israel in recent years left the Gaza Strip, the Strip is currently under siege, after an Israeli assault on it in December 2008.

    In a more typical colonisation, the imperial army would march in on some pretext and militarily take over, pretty well in one fell swoop. The Zionist project was somewhat different due to the initial weakness of the Zionists – they therefore had to do their colonisation in a more or less “peaceful” stage (prior to the 1948 war) until they were strong enough, when they then opted for the “military” solution (the 1948 war and subsequent conflicts - in particular the 1967 war). Because of this initial weakness, the Zionists resorted to ambiguity and duplicity to disguise their aims, and effectively lobbied powerful groups to obtain crucial assistance (for example, the Balfour Declaration and the British Cabinet in 1917, US pressure to get the UN General Assembly to vote for partition [though partition was later abandoned]). They are still doing so today (for example, their ultimate aims in the West Bank are ambiguous, they very effectively use the powerful American pro-Israel lobby). In general, though, the Zionist project, and the creation of Israel, consists of foreigners taking Palestine by force from the indigenous Palestinians.


    The coloniser’s denial of the right of self-determination
    The denial of the Palestinian’s right to self-determination has already been extensively covered above in part II of this article, Israel As A ‘Legitimate’ State In The Legal Sense. The conclusion of that section is that Israel is very far from being a legitimate state - indeed, its legal legitimacy is threadbare to the point of non-existence.

    The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonised
    From the beginning of the occupation, international jurists commented on the illegitimacy of the Israeli resolution to maintain the territories as an occupied area without adhering to the requirements sanctioned by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of such areas. Israel violated almost every clause of that convention by settling Jews there, expelling Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment.

    The legal basis for the occupation regime was the notorious mandatory regulations of 1945. The Israelis now added a new regulation allowing the army to expel from anywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories anyone suspected of being a security risk. The Palestinian minority in Israel are subject to discriminatory laws passed by Israel in the 1950s. These have already been discussed in detail above in relation to Israeli racism.

    Quigley noted that the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are also subject to discriminatory laws which treat them differently to Israel’s citizens [the settlers] who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Quigley states:

    • “To govern the settlers, the military governors issued military orders that repeated verbatim the texts of various Israeli laws. In this way the settlers were freed from the local law of the West Bank or Gaza Strip with respect to education, personal status, health, and labour. They gained a kind of extraterritoriality. For most legal purposes Israeli settlers … were deemed … to be residents of Israel rather than of the West Bank or Gaza Strip.”
    • “This separation resulted in separate legal regimes for settlers and for Arabs … Arabs continued to function under the prior existing law and institutions – which meant Jordanian law and courts in the West Bank and Palestinian law and courts in the Gaza Strip – except to the extent they were superseded by military orders and military courts.”
    • “For [civil] lawsuits:
      • between settlers the government created courts in the settlements, and it made the judgments of these courts enforceable in courts inside the 1949 armistice lines. The government also authorised settlers to sue one another in courts inside the 1949 armistice lines. Arab courts continued to function in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but the settlers did not file there since the government provided [these] non-Arab alternatives.
      • If an Arab wanted to sue a settler, the Arab courts would, in theory, have jurisdiction. But they had no enforcement mechanism to compel an appearance in court by a settler defendant.”
    • “[In criminal matters]:
      • Arab police abstained from entering the settlements to investigate crime or make arrests
      • In criminal matters the settlers were made subject to Israeli law rather than the local law and courts. Criminal cases against settlers are to date prosecuted either in Israeli courts within the 1949 armistice lines, in settlement courts, or, rarely, in Israeli military courts. Arab courts still do not try settlers. In a 1984 directive to West Bank prosecutors and judges the government ordered Arab courts not to try settlers … The exclusion of criminal jurisdiction over settlers left Arabs unprotected from physical attacks by settlers, which occurred with some frequency. Israeli authorities rarely prosecuted the perpetrators of those attacks.”

    The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters
    Israel’s physical – that is, military and police – oppression of the Palestinians both in the Occupied Territories and in neighbouring states, and, later, of their supporters such as Hezbollah, is set out briefly below:
    • Israel’s actions are at the root of the violence - Quigley states that, “The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors the Convention on the Rights of the Child, addressed the issue of violence by Palestinians [and Israelis]. It noted ‘continuing acts of terror on both sides, especially the deliberate and indiscriminate targeting and killing of Israeli civilians, including children, by Palestinian suicide bombers’. But the committee found that Israel’s own actions were at the root of this violence [our italics]: ‘the committee recognizes that the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, the bombing of civilian areas, extrajudicial killings, the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces, the demolition of homes, the destruction of infrastructure, mobility restrictions and the daily humiliation of Palestinians continue to contribute to the cycle of violence’.”
    • Reprisals against Palestinian cross-border raids - By the late 1950’s, Palestinian resistance fighters were mounting cross-border raids into Israel from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Later, Jordan became a base, and the PLO established itself in Lebanon. The Israelis reacted harshly from the beginning, attacking and killing civilians in reprisals, using special elite commando units of the Israeli army. Their shoot-to-kill policy resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians.
    • The occupation - After the 1967 war, Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip was from the beginning a harsh and brutal occupation. The inhabitants of the Occupied Territories were, and still are today, under the sovereignty of a Jewish state, with power of life and death over them.
    • Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories - Israeli settlements always involved the mass expulsion of Palestinians. This was begun by the army, seeking land for its camps and installations, but afterwards most of the coveted land was allocated to the settlers. Mass expulsions began immediately after the war and took place at intervals, so that the threat of expulsion and relocation was one of the many burdens imposed by the occupation on the Palestinians. Settlement has continued apace for the last 40 years, and there are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, housing over 500,000 settlers.
    • Settler violence - The development of the settler movement and the policies that sheltered it did not even leave the Palestinians with anything remotely resembling a secure and tolerable existence. By the mid-1970’s, both the settler movement and the settlers themselves had become increasingly terrifying forces. Their messianic notions of racial destiny have been amply documented:
      • Settlers have little fear of government intervention, and can take matters into their own hands. This normally consists of harassment at a fairly low level, physical attacks, destruction of trees, and so on, though occasionally there are more serious attacks.
      • Israeli army forces are primarily in the area to protect Israelis from attacks by Palestinians (that is, they will not normally feel the need to protect Palestinians).
      • In addition, every settlement has its own heavily-armed native militia, often imbued with the settler attitude of mind referred to above, though settler violence does not normally compare with Israeli military incursions.
    • Israeli repression of resistance prior to the intifadas (uprisings) - Settlements caused and justified an increasingly bitter Palestinian resistance. There were increasingly vicious Israeli attempts to repress it, resulting in more and more damage to Palestinian lands, cities, and livelihoods.
      • ‘Resistance’ was, in the eyes of the Israelis, very liberally defined. Any show of opposition to the occupation, such as a rally, a strike, distribution of petitions or the waving of the Palestinian flag, was met with severe brutality.
      • Collective punishment began – the first such act was in 1967, when half of the houses in the West Bank town of Qalqilya were demolished. This was the first act of collective punishment in a long series of such acts in the first decade after the 1967 war, for any gesture that was regarded as subversive or resistant to occupation. Such punishment involved:
        • destruction of houses
        • expulsion
        • arrest without trial.
      • Shows of Palestinian resistance with stones, Molotov cocktails, whatever they could find, were quashed under the firepower of tanks and heavy guns employed indiscriminately against the local civilian population.
      • There was restriction of movement. Movement between any destinations in the occupied territories has remained the exclusive right of Jewish settlers. The Palestinians require special permission to do so. The restrictions on freedom of movement were, and still are, harsher on those wishing to leave the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.. This hardship was particularly acute in the case of Palestinian workers who were invited to join, as unskilled cheap labour, the Israeli economy. The workers were allowed to enter Israel at dawn, but had to leave at dusk. The daily routine of these workers was humiliating – daily commuting – Israeli checkpoints where they were quite often subjected to maltreatment and harassment. By the beginning of the 1980’s, about 150,000 Palestinians were living this way.
      • Border closures stifled employment opportunities in Israel.
      • Curfews and, above all, checkpoints made anything resembling normal economic life impossible – thus, unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty, especially in the Gaza Strip.
      • To the direct harm of the settlements must be added the indirect harm resulting from the violence they spawned. For the Palestinians, it all represented dispossession, humiliation, lack of opportunity. Their lives, and the lives of their families, are constantly in real danger, and it is entirely reasonable to respond with violence. (Israelis responded to Palestinian violence with considerable savagery and questionable methods, including collective punishment).
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the first intifada - The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted in the Occupied Territories in 1987 as an expression of Palestinian desperation and despair, and, erratically waxing and waning, lasted until roughly 1993, when the abortive Oslo peace process started. It was mostly a weaponless confrontation – Palestinian stone-throwers against the Israeli army. The Israelis responded with various measures::
      • the sealing off of houses, and house demolitions
      • the use of collaborators
      • mass arrests without trial
      • torture during interrogation
      • assembling all the men in reoccupied villages and in some instances subjecting them to merciless beatings
      • cordoning off villages as ‘secure military areas’, preventing entry and exit for days on end – to keep out the international media
      • Towards the end of the intifada, the Israeli army resorted to an economic clampdown as a last resort, cutting off electricity and water, and preventing olive-picking during the height of the season
      • The Israelis did not resort to mass expulsions during the intifada – they would do so in 1993.
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the second intifada - The second intifada broke out in October 2000, as a result of the failure, after several years of negotiations, of the Oslo peace process. Although it started as a popular uprising with no use of weapons, the second intifada quickly turned into an armed confrontation. Suicide bombings were among the measures of resistance that the Palestinians used:
      • The Israelis responded by a harsh re-occupation of all of the West Bank cities and villages, resisted by force, most courageously in the refugee camp at Jenin (in April 2002) – the Palestinians claimed that a massacre took place there.
      • In Ramallah, Arafat’s compound was demolished, and he was put under siege. (After being under siege for two years, Arafat died in November 2004 [some suspected poisoned by the Israelis], after being taken to a hospital in France.)
    • The Israeli response to Palestinian resistance from Southern Lebanon- the 1982 Lebanon war - The increase in Palestinian resistance operations from Southern Lebanon (see above), led the Israelis to invade Lebanon in 1982. (the war, and combat with the subsequent resistance led by Hezbollah, became a running sore in Israel’s side, with mounting Israeli casualties, and the Israelis ultimately withdrew unconditionally from Lebanon in 2000, after almost 20 years). The 1982 Israeli operation:
      • scarred Lebanon
      • forced the PLO to evacuate to Tunis (other PLO groups moved to Damascus)
      • reached a low point with the massacre, by Christian Phalangists, of hundreds of the inhabitants of two refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, encouraged and incited by Israeli military officers of the highest rank.
    • The Israeli response to the resistance of Hezbollah – the 2006 Lebanon war - In the summer of 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanon, which it had planned months before, as a response to Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel in support of the Palestinians. Israel’s war aim was to send a message to the Lebanese government of the dire consequences of their not suppressing Hezbollah, and to crush Hezbollah itself. In the war:
      • The Israeli air force launched a major air campaign designed to punish the Lebanese by laying waste to Lebanon’s infrastructure. More than 1,100 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians, and roughly one-third of whom were children.
      • The Israeli army invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush Hezbollah and eliminate its stockpiles of rockets.
    • The Israeli response to the current situation in the West Bank - The cycle of violence in the West Bank continues:
      • There have been constant clashes with Israeli security forces, and the firing, by Hamas, of primitive missiles from the Gaza Strip. Israeli retaliation has been brutal, and has included the political assassination of many of the Hamas leaders, Islamic Jihad, and the military wing of Fatah.
      • Over the last seven years, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed – during the same period, around 1,000 Israelis have been killed.
      • Israel continues to imprison more than 10,000 Palestinians, including Palestinian parliamentarians, abducted and in prison without charge.
      • A few months ago, two new Israeli military orders came into force which are broadly worded to make it easier for Palestinians living in the West Bank to be labelled infiltrators and deported or jailed, in contravention of the Geneva conventions.
    • The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)
      • In the summer of 2005, the Israelis pulled out of Gaza
      • Later, in 2007, after Israel, abetted by the US and a supine EU, ignored the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections of 2006 and assisted its rival Fatah as the “Palestinian authority” in the West Bank, Hamas (in fact, the elected authority for all of the Palestinians) took control in Gaza. The Israeli response was to blockade Gaza, further increasing the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. A senior Israeli official joked about "putting the Gazans on a diet".
      • Then, in December 2008, Israel began a long-planned and savage 22-day assault on Gaza - the Israeli army, the fourth largest army in the world, plus the (American-equipped) Israeli air force, against the light weapons of the Palestinian resistance fighters of Hamas.
        • Israel’s military action killed around 1400 Palestinians (more than 400 of them children), and injured more than 5,000 (more than 1800 of them children). Unsurprisingly, given the balance of forces, there were only 13 Israeli deaths – the usual kill ratio of many Palestinians for each Israeli.
        • Israel was accused of serious war crimes by numerous groups, including the UN, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even Israeli groups. Further details are given below in the section Israel’s Abnormality: Its Disregard Of International Law And Opinion, Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza.
        • More sinisterly, a booklet, approved by the army’s chief rabbi, was issued to soldiers preparing for the Gaza offensive. This document, bordering on racist incitement, talks about the necessity of cruelty against the enemy, and dehumanises and delegitimises the Palestinians and their claims. Israel Shahak, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, similarly reported years ago on the racist effects of Orthodox Judaism, prevalent not just among Israeli politicians (and particularly Likud), but within the Israeli army, affecting the army’s attitude towards the Palestinians.
      • The Israeli blockade of Gaza continued after the assault ended, and persists, despite some easing, to this day. Its real purpose, like that of the assault, is to bring down Hamas by coldly and quite deliberately causing death and malnutrition, and physical and mental suffering to one and a half million Palestinians in an act of collective punishment which the oppressors hope will turn the population against Hamas. Conditions are dreadful:
        • Large areas have been reduced to rubble, and infrastructure and much of private industry has been destroyed.
        • Many thousands of people remain displaced, living in tents amongst the debris, or forced to stay with relatives.
        • The Israeli overlords control the borders and refuse to allow reconstruction materials in, or adequate food supplies.
        • Medical services cannot handle a traumatized population battered by siege, bombardment from land and air, renewed siege, the killing of family and friends, living in poor conditions on inadequate rations with, for many, precarious access to water and power.
      • UN security council resolution 1860, passed after Israel’s assault on Gaza, calls "for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food, fuel and medical treatment". Israel ignored it with impunity until the attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May of this year (referred to below in the section Israel’s Abnormality: Its Disregard Of International Law And Opinion, Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza) refocused international attention onto the blockade itself. Under pressure from the international community, in an effort to end its deepening international isolation, Israel agreed, in June, following the flotilla debacle, to ease its land blockade of Gaza. However, it has insisted that its naval blockade is essential to prevent the shipment of arms to militants.
      • The effect of the blockade:
        • It has destroyed a once-entrepreneurial and productive economy, ensured that 80 per cent of Gaza’s population now depend on food aid. Hundreds of companies have collapsed. Many farmers are unable to plough their lands and fishermen are restricted to a tiny area. The economic collapse in Gaza is striking. A decade ago, annual per capita income in Gaza was $2,500, and some $400m of goods was exported to Israel annually. Last year, per capita income fell to just $600, plunging most Gazans below the poverty line to survive on less than $2 a day. Unemployment runs at 45 per cent. About 80 per cent of the population is now dependent on UN food aid. Exports were negligible.
        • The United Nations estimates that Gaza is now only getting around a quarter of the supplies it received before the blockade was tightened three years ago.
        • Israel claims that it allows in all the humanitarian aid that Gaza needs. But the United Nations says that less than a third of the necessary supplies get through. The result for Gazans is widespread malnourishment.
        • The blockade on construction materials means that three-quarters of the homes and buildings destroyed in the 2008/2009 Israeli invasion have not been rebuilt (in addition to the many thousands more destroyed since the beginning of the intifadas)
        • The embargo on fuel has created chronic shortages of electricity, most of Gaza’s water is undrinkable, and Gaza's sanitation system is close to collapse. - much of Gaza's sewage is pumped into the sea because sanitation facilities are poor.
        • 100 new schools the UN refugee agency Unrwa desperately needs to meet its ever-soaring demands cannot be built -  children are forced to attend school in shifts.
        • Defiance has only grown in Gaza.
      • In June, and only because of international pressure, Israel said it would "liberalise" the flow of goods to Gaza:
        • It eased its regime for food imports.
        • The relaxation fell far short of the much wider lifting of the economic blockade which had been increasingly urged by the international community, and is just a sop to world opinion.
        • No raw materials for manufacturing, barred as part Israel’s economic warfare.
        • A (very limited) agreement to expand the shipment of construction materials needed to repair Gaza’s devastated infrastructure – but only in reference to those needed for internationally supervised infrastructure projects – and further decisions would be taken on "additional steps to implement this policy" - some such projects, requiring strict security guarantees from international organisations like the UN, will be exempted from a general prohibition on materials like cement (desperately needed cement, Israel says, may be used by Hamas to build up its "military machine" – this, of course, is preposterous – haven’t they got “bunker-busters” from their American friends?).
        • Exports (with minor exceptions) are still banned.
        • No easing of the naval blockade.
        • The basic regime of control maintained.
        • Not many believed that Israel would really dismantle its blockade – and they were right. Israel defends the blockade as essential to its security – this is an excuse, since sea imports could be controlled as regards security and a similar regime could no doubt be set up for imports by land. The real reason Israel is determined to prevent any substantive easing is its wish to destroy, or at least weaken, Hamas, which controls Gaza – after all, it has the compliant Abbas in the West Bank to deal with in peace negotiations – Hamas may be a tougher customer.
      • The response of the international community was cool. The chief Palestinian negotiator said, "With this decision, Israel attempts to make it appear that it has eased its four-year blockade.... In reality, the siege of the Gaza Strip, illegally imposed on Palestinians, continues unabated." A Hamas official condemned the move as "window dressing."
      • The actual effects of Israel’s (limited and insufficient) easing of the blockade: at end-November 2010, a report from 21 respected international organisations called for an end to the Gaza blockade, saying the easing agreed by Israel six months previously has done little to improve the plight of the 1.5 million people in Gaza, still suffering from:
        • severe restrictions on the import of construction materials (11% of pre-blockade levels). Many of the thousands of homes and businesses hit during the war are still unrepaired almost two years later because of the shortage of building materials. Despite having agreed to allow in materials for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to rebuild its schools and clinics damaged or destroyed in the three-week war in 2008-09, Israel has permitted only 7% of the necessary amount.
        • Damage to the business sector. Israel now allows clothing factories to import fabric, but blocks the export of finished items. However, some businesses are still unable to import raw materials they need. According to the report, two-thirds of Gaza's businesses have closed since the blockade was tightened in June 2007, and the rest are operating at restricted capacity.
        • Damage to agriculture and fishing. There has been no change on the "buffer zone" around Gaza's perimeters, which swallows 35% of Gaza's arable land and 85% of maritime fishing waters "with devastating impact on the economy and people's rights and livelihoods … Boundaries of the restricted areas are highly arbitrary and enforced by live fire," says the report. Since the blockade was eased six months ago, six civilians have been killed and 50 injured by Israeli fire in the buffer zone.
        • a ban on exports (with minor exceptions) – (later, in December, Israel decided to allow exports, consistent with security conditions – whether this is a genuine improvement or mere public relations remains to be seen)
        • The loosening of the embargo has done little to improve the plight of Gaza's civilians. Since the easing, the import of food and many other consumer items has resumed. Israel is maintaining an overall ban on the movement of people, with the number of permits granted to people to leave Gaza less than 1% of the number 10 years ago, the report says.
        • severe restrictions on people’s movement.
        • In summary, the cruel and illegal blockade still collectively punishes the entire civilian population.
    The coloniser’s economic oppression of the colonised
    • Dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians – The history of the Zionist project, and the state of Israel which it created, is a history of the progressive dispossession and expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians from the land they had lived on for thousands of years. This in itself, as well as being the act of a colonizer, can also be viewed as a massive act of economic oppression and domination. The phases of this dispossession were:
      • From the beginning of the Zionist project, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. Prior to, and during, the Mandate years, tracts of land were acquired by the Jewish National Fund by purchase.
      • The creation of the de facto state of Israel through the bloody and murderous 1948 war, which, through military force and violence, dispossessed and expelled the Palestinians from 79% of the land they had lived on for thousands of years. Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled.
      • The continuation, after the 1948 war (until 1954), of the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinian minority within the Israeli state - closely connected to Israel’s absorption of Jewish immigrants, and to settlement policy. The Israelis wished to settle Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders. Land confiscation policy also continued in the name of security and ‘public interest’. The use of an apartheid-style system of land transactions to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land has already been referred to above in the section on Israeli racism, Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel.
      • After the 1967 war, there was a further wave of some 400,000 Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories began almost immediately. Further settlement – always involving the expulsion of Palestinians - has taken place right up to the present day – a creeping annexation. The process has already been described above, in the section on Israeli racism referred to in the sub-paragraph above.
      • The Palestinian refugees:
        • After the 1948 war, some 750,000 Palestinian refugees had been expelled to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, others to nearby Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Their numbers were further augmented by further Israeli post-war expulsions which continued until 1954. They were reduced to beggary, dependent on the United Nations for hand-outs. Their camps were the shanty towns of the Middle East, with their lack of basic infrastructure – water, sewage, housing electricity, roads – a constant reminder to the world of the bitter harvest of the 1948 war. The vast majority have never been allowed to return,– this has already been referred to in the section on Israeli racism above Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs - nor have they ever been compensated.
        • After the 1967 war, the camps and other Palestinian refugee communities were swollen by a new wave of displaced people - around 400,000 of the population of the Occupied Territories became refugees, almost half of them for a second time - adding to the burden of an already oppressed community.
        • Though some escaped the camps, to work in the Gulf states, and by other means, many did not. In 1972, 1.5 million refugees were registered, of whom 650,000 lived in thirteen large, overcrowded camps in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The number of refugees would increase to about 2 million by 1982. By the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, the refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank alone held about 1,500,000 people. Today, the Palestinian refugees, together with their dependents, now number more than 7 million people – they make up the majority of the total Palestinian population – 70% of the Palestinians are refugees. They comprise the largest single group of refugees in the world. Approximately 4.5 million are refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants who are registered with the UN. An estimated another 1.5 million are not registered. Palestinian refugees from the 1967 war, and their descendants, number around another 1 million.
      • Finally, there are around one-third of a million internally displaced Palestinians and their descendants living in Israel, with citizenship but unable to return to their original homes and villages. They were not permitted to reoccupy their home areas. Many live in squalid circumstances in new make-shift towns.
    • Dispossession, expulsion, and Palestinian unemployment
      • An element of the Zionist concept of land redemption was that the “redeemed” land should be worked only by Jews – Arabs should not be hired as labourers – land purchase, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand. Prior to, and during, the Mandate years, Jewish labour policy required that only Jewish labour worked Fund land, leading to a large and growing class of landless, dispossessed Palestinian Arabs.
      • After the 1948 war, for the Palestinian minority in Israel, there was growing economic hardship, to which the post-war expulsions referred to above contributed. The Palestinian minority had the highest level of unemployment and underemployment. Peasants in unskilled and poorly-paid jobs had to return home daily as they were not allowed to stay overnight in Jewish areas. In the security-minded state, significant sections of industry were closed to Palestinians because of the ‘security’ problem. The Palestinian minority in Israel continue to exist, economically, as second-class citizens.
      • After the 1967 war, Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories resulted in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment, and led to an inexorable degradation of Palestinian living conditions and opportunities. Unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty.
      • For the Palestinian refugees, life was difficult due to economic deprivation. They became the landless proletariat of Palestinian society. Life was governed by finding work, perhaps in the fields of a local landlord during harvest, or in the workshops and offices of relief organisations in the camps. Some worked as street vendors. Survival depended on the economies of the host countries or on temporary labour, with earnings usually insufficient to keep an average family.
    • Economic discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel – This involves:
      • The use of an apartheid-style system of land transactions involving the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. This has already been referred to above in the section on Israeli racism, Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel.
      • Discrimination in the area of welfare benefits. Only people who have served in the Israeli army are eligible for important welfare benefits such as loans, mortgages, subsidised rents, child support payments, and reduced university fees – and the Jewish army is not filled with Palestinians. A system of benefits dependent on army service consists of discrimination by the back door.
    • Economic oppression in the Occupied Territories
      • The occupation itself, coupled with the ‘creeping annexation’ of Palestinian land through the building of more and more Israeli settlements, and the relentless processes of deprivation described above, have had socio-economic implications that, taken together, amount to a kind of neo-colonialist relationship of Palestinian dependence:
        • Continuing settlement, each new settlement being linked by ‘Jewish-only’ roads led the effective break-up of the Occupied territories into a series of ‘Bantustans’.
        • the absorption of a good part of the Palestinian workforce into the Israeli economy, as cheap labour
        • the integration of the Palestinian economy into the Israeli economy
        • a fall in savings and investment in the Palestinian economy
        • the dumping of Israeli products on the Territories, undercutting local producers
      • Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza, begun in 2007 and continuing to this day, was aided and abetted by the US and a supine EU, and has already been referred to above, in the section The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters. It has further increased the already considerable suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
      • In June, 2010, an Israeli-American company announced the discovery of two potentially huge offshore natural gas fields that could be worth as much as $40bn and turn Israel from a net importer of fossil fuels into a lucrative exporter. Another significant, perhaps vastly significant, case of Israel exploiting Palestinian resources.
    • Economic oppression amounting to colonial oppression – Quigley says that, “Israel’s economic policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were similar, analysts charged, to those followed by European powers in their Third World colonies.” He goes  on: “For the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one study concluded, Israel’s economic policy led to:
      • A migratory labour situation
      • Stagnated production
      • A  lack of capital formation
      • Minimal physical infrastructure
      • A near total dependence on Israel’s economy
      • A brain drain of professionals, the emigration of entrepreneurs
      • The export of capital
      • The proletarianisation of the farm population.”
    The coloniser’s denial of the human rights of the colonised
    • Israel’s colonial, Zionist and apartheid nature involves a denial of human rights - Quigley notes that, “The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, in naming in its preamble concepts that involve a denial of rights, listed ‘colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, zionism’.”
    • The nature of Israel’s occupation is a fundamental violation of human rights - Quigley again: “The UN Commission on Human Rights characterised the occupation [of the West Bank and Gaza Strip] from a human rights perspective as ‘a fundamental violation of the human rights of the civilian population of the occupied Arab territories’.”
    • Israel and specific abuses of human rights in the occupied territories
      • “In the 1990s”, records Quigley, “Israel ratified human rights treaties that required it to report periodically to [UN] committees. When Israel filed reports, it included information on its human rights performance only in its own territory, but not in Gaza or the West Bank. Israel took the position that provisions in these treaties … do not  require a state to apply them outside its own sovereign territory. The committees … replied that Israel’s obligation under these treaties extend to non-Israeli territory it occupies … these committees pressed it for information about its practices in Gaza and the West Bank.”
      • Quigley continues: “The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, found Israel in violation for:
        • The assassination of opposition figures
        • Demolishing Palestinian houses as punishment
        • Using physical force in interrogating suspects
        • Building a security barrier [the wall] that the committee said would disrupt access to health care and to water resources.”
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE APARTHEID STATE
    The 1976 UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines apartheid as ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over another racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’. According to Article 2 of the Convention, these ‘inhuman acts’ include:
    • Denial of the right to life and liberty
    • Imposition of living conditions calculated to cause physical destruction in whole or in part
    • Creation of conditions preventing full development, in particular by denying basic human rights and freedoms, including:
      • The right to work
      • The right to education
      • The right to leave and return to their country
      • The right to a nationality
      • The right to freedom of movement and residence
    • Any measures designed to divide the population along racial lines by:
      • The creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups
      • The prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups
      • The expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or to members thereof

    A perusal of the short history set out above shows that the Israeli government has been guilty of all these ‘inhuman acts’ in relation to the Palestinian people. Israel is therefore an apartheid state.

    Archbishop Tutu, in 2001 gave a compelling address, entitled “Apartheid in the Holy Land”, describing Israel as an apartheid state. The South African Defence Minister did the same in 1994. Nelson Mandela, on a visit to Gaza in 1999, said, addressing a special session of the Palestinian assembly: “the histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots.” The Israeli academic Uri Davis has argued for the comparison at length in his book Israel; An Apartheid State. The former American president, Jimmy Carter, titled his recent book on the conflict Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

    The maintenance of separate legal systems for settlers and Palestinians in the occupied territories has already been referred to above. Quigley states that, “The separation in applicable law and court jurisdiction between the settlers and the Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been characterised as ‘a form of legal apartheid’, since the Apartheid Convention prohibits dividing a population on racial lines for administrative purposes.”


    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: ITS DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND OPINION

    Israel disregard of international law concerning its legitimacy as a state
    Israel’s disregard of international law in regard to its actual legitimacy as a state has already been comprehensively dealt with in part I of this article, Considerations Regarding Israel’s Legitimacy As A State

    The 1948 war in Palestine
    The 1948 war, which resulted in the bloody and murderous creation of Israel, accompanied by extensive ethnic cleansing, has also been dealt with extensively above, and in  part II.

    Israel’s Wars  – Further details on these conflicts are given in the History of Modern Palestine, referred to above. It should be noted that, apart from the 1973 war, Israel was in each case the aggressor:
    • The 1956 Suez campaign - Israeli society was becoming increasingly militarised – hawks like Ben-Gurion dreamed of a Greater Israel expanding to the north, east, and south, and believed in an aggressive policy. There was fierce rhetoric on the Arab side about revenge for the 1948 defeat, which contributed to an ‘eve of war’ atmosphere, and aggressive actions on the part of the Egyptians, but they in fact merely provided the Israelis with a welcome pretext. Ben-Gurion was looking for war. (In 1954, according to former Prime minister Moshe Sharett, the Israeli army sought a way to initiate a war with Egypt in order to take the Gaza Strip. In 1955, Ben-Gurion asked the cabinet to approve an invasion of the Gaza Strip [they rejected the proposal, concerned over US reaction]). He found one by aligning Israel to the Anglo-French plot to overthrow Nasser. The ex-colonial powers had their own colonialist agenda, which involved bringing down Nasser in Egypt. Israel’s military victory, in conjunction with the British and French, was swift – the Israelis penetrated into the Gaza Strip, and most of the Sinai Peninsula. But the political consequences were less impressive – Israel withdrew from both the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula after a concentrated effort by both the USA and the USSR (in those days, the Israel lobby was not the factor in American politics which it became later). (The British and French, too, were forced to withdraw.)
    • The 1967 6-day war – Israel’s war of expansion
      • In a period of increasing tension between Arab forces and the Israelis, UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the UN arrange a settlement. Egypt accepted the idea, but Israel rejected it. Thant then asked Israel to accept United Nations forces on its side of the 1949 armistice line. Israel declined – the probable inference is that Israel was not concerned about an Egyptian attack.
      • Israel mobilised, and Egypt moved troops toward the Israel-Egypt armistice line. The Israeli army concluded that Nasser meant to intervene in case of an Israeli attack on Syria. US intelligence likewise did not expect Egypt to attack in the absence of an Israeli invasion of Syria, and communicated that assessment to Israel.
      • The Israelis followed a long and well-rehearsed plan. The Israeli cabinet authorised an invasion of Egypt, and the following morning, the first day of the war, in a surprise attack, Israel’s air force destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground at their bases and attacked Jordan’s and Syria’s aircraft in a similar fahion - by the evening it had destroyed the air warfare capacity of all three. At the same time, Israel sent ground troops through the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula. The United States gave Israel military support – ammunition, jet fighters, and the use of reconnaissance aircraft - which was crucial to its success.
      • By the fourth day of the war, when a cease-fire was effected, Israel had taken the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. (Egypt eventually recovered the Sinai after a bilateral peace with Israel in 1979.) On the fifth day, Israel attacked Syria, which had shelled Israeli targets during the first four days, but had not otherwise engaged in the war. After occupying Syria’s Golan Heights, Israel stopped its attack on the sixth day, under pressure from the United States.
      • In the Security Council on the first day of the war, Egypt and the USSR charged Israel with aggression. Israel claimed that Egypt had struck first. In fact, Egypt had not attacked by land or air and none of its aircraft had approached Israel. The United States, according to President Lyndon Johnson, was aware that Israel had initiated the hostilities, but it supported Israel’s claim that Egypt had attacked it. Two days later, Eshkol acknowledged that Israel had struck first, abandoning Israel’s initial position that Egypt had initiated the hostilities. Eshkol now said that Israel’s attack had been a “legitimate defence”, in anticipation of an Egyptian attack on Israel. However, various Israeli officials said later that Israel had not in fact anticipated an imminent attack by Egypt when it struck – their testimony is detailed in the History of Modern Palestine. Israel was the aggressor.
      • At the start of the 1967 war, Israel existed on 79% of what had been Palestine. At its end, it now occupied the remaining 21%, consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories.
    • The 1973 war
      • The 1973 joint Syrian-Egyptian attack caught Israeli intelligence unprepared, and the near-defeat on the battlefield sent shock waves through the Israeli political system as a whole.
      • This round of fighting was not focused on the Palestinian question – the bloodiest of all Arab-Israeli confrontations was fought over issues not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It shattered the illusion of unity of purpose within Israeli society – the myth of Israeli invincibility was shattered. It was of no importance to those living in the Occupied territories or in the refugee camps.
      • The 1973 war might have ended with an even more devastating Israeli defeat had it not been for an intensive American support operation which tipped the military balance after the early days of the war.
      • Egypt and Syria had wanted a limited war, and achieved their major objective: the resumption of the peace process. (This led in 1979 to a bilateral peace agreement with the Egyptians, and their recovery of the Sinai Peninsula, lost in the 1967 war. The Syrians have still not recovered the Golan Heights to this day.)
    • The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
      • An increase in Palestinian resistance operations from Southern Lebanon led the Israelis to invade Lebanon in 1982. Israeli Defence Minister Sharon misled his prime minister into believing that the operation would be limited to the occupation of Southern Lebanon, although from the start he intended to occupy Beirut, install a Maronite pro-Christian government in Lebanon, and destroy the PLO.
      • Lebanon was scarred, the PLO evacuated to Tunis, the Syrians achieved greater control over the country, and Hezbollah, a radical political Islamist movement, appeared on Lebanon’s political scene. The low point for Israel was reached with the massacre, by Christian Phalangists, of hundreds of the inhabitants of two Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, encouraged and incited by Israeli military officers of the highest rank. Hezbollah began a campaign of guerrilla resistance in Southern Lebanon, causing hundreds of Israeli casualties in bold suicide attacks, ambushes and direct confrontation with the occupying Israeli army. The war, and combat with the subsequent resistance led by Hezbollah, became a running sore in Israel’s side, with mounting Israeli casualties. The Israelis ultimately withdrew unconditionally from south Lebanon in 2000, after almost 20 years, because they were not achieving their objectives (to crush Hezbollah and stop rocket and other attacks into Israel), and because of mounting pressure at home due to the mounting losses of Israeli soldiers
    • The 2006 invasion of Lebanon
      • Subsequent to 2000, Hezbollah acquired stockpiles of weapons and rockets from Syria and Iran with which to attack Israel. The Israelis planned a major attack on Lebanon months before it began, briefed the Bush administration of their plan, and were given a tacit green light by Washington. Israel’s war aim was to send a message to the Lebanese government of the dire consequences of their not suppressing Hezbollah, and to crush Hezbollah itself.
      • In the summer of 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanon In July, Hezbollah had captured several Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Though incidents such as this went on all the time, Israel used it as a pretext for starting the war. The Israeli air force launched a major air campaign designed to punish the Lebanese by laying waste to Lebanon’s infrastructure. More than 1,100 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians, and roughly one-third of whom were children. The Israeli army invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush Hezbollah and eliminate its stockpiles of rockets.
      • Israel’s excessive response was widely condemned around the globe – virtually alone in the world, the US failed to criticise Israel. (The only, shameful, exception, was the UK, due solely to British prime minister Tony Blair’s grovelling attitude to the US.) The US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that criticised Israel and worked hard for about a month to prevent the UN from imposing a ceasefire, so that Israel could try to finish the job with Hezbollah. Only when it was apparent that the Israelis had failed, did the US allow a ceasefire to be imposed. During the conflict, the US supplied Israel with precision-guided bombs when Israel’s stocks started running low, and also supplied military intelligence.
      • Despite strong support from the US, Israel failed to achieve its military or political objectives, and Hezbollah emerged from the war with its popularity and prestige significantly enhanced. The war intensified anti-American attitudes throughout the world.
    Israeli racial discrimination against its Palestinian minority in Israel
    Quigley records that, “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which monitors the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, noted in 2003 ‘the continuing difference in treatment between Jews and non-Jews, in particular Arab and Bedouin communities, with regard to their enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights’. It said that an ‘excessive emphasis upon the state as a ‘Jewish State’ encourages discrimination and accords a second-class status to its non-Jewish citizens’.

    Illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories
    Quigley notes that, “Just as in the 1930s the Jewish Agency settled land in preparation for statehood, so after 1967 the government of Israel settled the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a step toward permanent control … The Likud was more explicit in declaring the West Bank to be part of Israel. It asserted the right to establish settlements at any location in the West Bank, on the ground that it formed part of Eretz-Israel, over which it asserted Israeli sovereignty. On the issue of possible annexation by Israel of the West Bank, the Likud prime minister, Menachem Begin, said, ‘you can annex foreign land. You cannot annex your own country. Judea and Samaria [that is, the West Bank]’, he said, ‘are part of the land of Israel, where the nation was born’. Itzhak Shamir, who succeeded Begin as prime minister in 1983, pledged in his inaugural speech to continue what he called the ‘holy work’ of settlement in the West Bank.”

    “The International Commission of Jurists”, records Quigley, “citing the ‘permanent character’ of many of the settlements and ‘pronouncements of Israeli leaders to the effect that they are permanent’, viewed the settlements as a ‘step towards eventual assertion of sovereignty over the [occupied] territories or part of them’. It said this policy violated the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs.”

    Quigley also notes that, “In 1995, the European Union concluded an agreement with Israel, like others it has with non-European states, to allow for reduced tariffs on products of Israeli origin entering Europe … In identifying products, Israel included, as Israeli-produced, items from its settlements in the Palestinian territories. The European Commission … interpreted the agreement as excluding goods from Gaza and the West Bank, since they are not territory of Israel. It asked Israel to specify which products had their origin in Israel, and which in the occupied territories. Israel refused. It said that the EU was trying ‘to prejudge Israel’s borders … ’ This reply suggested that Israel might be planning to keep Gaza and the West Bank.

    Quigley goes on:

    • “… The law of belligerent occupation … applied since Israel had come into control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip through hostilities. The law of belligerent occupation provides a variety of protections for an occupied population, while ceding to the occupying power the right to protect its temporary tenure. The principal embodiment of the law of belligerent occupation is the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to which Israel and the neighbouring Arab states are parties.”
    • “The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to change the existing order as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the population it finds there. It may not bring in its own people to populate the territory. This prohibition is found in the convention’s Article 49 which states: ‘The Occupying Power shall not … transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’.”
    • “On the basis of Article 49 many states criticised Israel for establishing and maintaining settlements.”
    • “ … In 1987 the UN Human Rights Commission criticised [Israel] for the ‘settlement of alien populations brought from other parts of the world in the place of the original Palestinian owners of the land’.”
    • “ … All states that indicated a view on the matter, other than Israel, found the convention to be applicable to Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.”

    Israel ignores international condemnation over settlements in and adjacent to Arab east Jerusalem
    Quigley states that, “In 1995 [Israel] announced that it would expropriate new tracts of land in [Arab] east Jerusalem to build housing for Jews. The UN Security Council met on the matter. The delegate from the United Kingdom said that Israel should ‘refrain from taking actions which seek to change the status quo on this most sensitive of all issues before the conclusion of the final-status negotiations [referring to the peace process which was ultimately aborted]’. Delegates of Russia, Indonesia, Italy, and France all expressed concern that the land seizures were intended to preempt the Palestinian claim to east Jerusalem … Although the Declaration of Principles [regarding that peace process] did not forbid new settlements, under international law parties must fulfill treaty obligations in good faith. A state that agrees to resolve a contentious issue may not take action that renders the issue more intractable.”

    “In 1997”, continues Quigley, “Israel announced yet another major settlement initiative … the projected settlement … would complete a string of settlements between east Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, thus cutting east Jerusalem’s Arabs off from the rest of the West Bank … ” He goes on:

    • “The UN Security Council met. A European-sponsored resolution was proposed to condemn Israel’s settlement plan as illegal, and as a ‘major obstacle to peace’. Fourteen of the Council’s fifteen members voted in favour of the draft resolution, but the United States vetoed.”
    • “The General Assembly then took up the matter and adopted the failed Security Council resolution as its own. This resolution asked Israel ‘to refrain from all actions or measures, including settlement activities, which alter facts on the ground, preempting the final status negotiations, and having negative implications for the Middle East Peace Process [which ultimately came to nothing]’.”
    • “When Israel began construction … yet another draft resolution was proposed in the Security Council, to demand that Israel ‘immediately cease construction of  [this particular settlement] as well as all other Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories’. Thirteen states voted in favour, but again the United States vetoed.”
    • “In casting vetoes, the United States did not view the construction as lawful. Rather, in line with its emphasis on the bilateral negotiation process, it said the UN was not the ‘proper forum’. As viewed by other member states, however, the settlements threatened a peace arrangement and thus were very much the concern of the UN. The UN General Assembly condemned the … construction … ”
    Condemnations of Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance to occupation
    Quigley quotes various sources which consider Palestinian resistance to occupation as legal (a people denied self-determination may resort to force, short of attacking civilians, to achieve independence - anti-colonial force is not to be deemed aggression). Here, however, we are interested in Israel’s countervailing use of force – Quigley refers to various authorities which condemn Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance, and some of these are referred to below:
    • The Zionists’ forced colonisation of Palestine has already been referred to above. Quigley records that:
      • “In its 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the General Assembly said that ‘all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependant peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected’.”
      • “In 1970, in its Declaration on Friendly Relations, the General Assembly … declared “Every state … has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples … of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence.”
    • In relation to the 1967 war, Quigley notes that, in the Security Council:
      • “Pakistan said that Israel’s 1967 aggression deprived it of the right to use any force against Fatah, since [Fatah] was protecting the territory [Israel] had taken unlawfully.”
      • “France objected to Israel’s claim to use force in reprisal for ‘the security of the territory and population’ under its jurisdiction because ‘we cannot recognise that jurisdiction, which was established through occupation’.”
    • Quigley notes that Israeli attacks (like Palestinian attacks) often kill civilians, and that “under the rules of warfare, a state in waging war … must refrain from attacking civilians”. However, he also observes that:
      • “The General Assembly studied terrorist acts in the 1970s and concluded that they are often undertaken as a result of the inability of a dependent people to attain self-determination by political or legitimate military means. In order to eliminate ‘the causes and the problem of international terrorism’, the United Nations should ‘pay special attention to all situations, including, inter alia, colonialism, racism and situations involving alien occupation, that may give rise to international terrorism and may endanger international peace and security, with a view to the application, where feasible and necessary, of the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, including Chapter VII thereof..’ ”
      • Quigley then notes that “Chapter 7 of the charter provides for economic and military sanctions to be imposed by the Security Council against a state that threatens the peace. By referring to Chapter 7 the assembly was suggesting that the Security Council mandate collective coercive measures to terminate the denial of self-determination.”
    • those interested in the full arguments should refer to the book itself.
    Israel’s illegal forcible expulsions from the occupied territories, property destruction, group penalties
    Quigley states that, “Much of Israel’s suppression activity [in the Occupied Territories] violated the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” He notes that:
    • “Article 49 stated: ‘Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory … are prohibited, regardless of their motive’.”
    • “The convention also protects property … Thus, the punitive demolition of the houses occupied by persons suspected of violent acts violated the convention.”
    • “[The convention also] forbids penalties imposed on groups or communities as opposed to individual perpetrators … The curfews also represented a penalty taken against a group for the acts of an individual.”

    Israel’s confiscation of property in the occupied territories
    Quigley states that, “An earlier treaty on belligerent occupation is the Hague Regulations of 1907. Article 46 of the Hague Regulations states that private property should not be confiscated. Much of the land confiscated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was taken from private persons. While Israel is not a party to the regulations, they are generally taken to reflect the customary law of nations and, therefore, to be binding on all states.”

    Israel’s exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories
    Quigley records that, “The UN General Assembly … called on Israel to end its ‘illegal exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories’.”

    Israeli abuses in the first intifada
    Quigley states that, “[In the first intifada, which began in 1987, the Israeli government] responded quickly and harshly to suppress the uprising … The IDF arrested several thousand Palestine Arabs … most under the administrative detention procedures that did not require a criminal charge … The IDF reacted to demonstrations with live fire from high-velocity military weapons, causing many deaths. The UN Security Council ‘strongly deplored’ the ‘opening of fire by the Israeli army, resulting in the killing and wounding of defenceless Palestinian civilians’.”

    Quigley continues: “ … In reaction to the international criticism of the shootings … the [Israeli] government announced a policy of summary physical beatings to be administered by the IDF at the site of demonstrations. Defence Minister Itzhak Rabin said that the purpose was to instill fear in the population … IDF soldiers broke the hands or arms of many demonstrators with methodically directed blows, according to reports by many physicians … The uprising continued into a second year, and shooting deaths of Arabs by the IDF continued, the number of fatalities exceeding five hundred … It imposed curfews on localities of demonstrations, extending at times for weeks … the government began to expel persons it considered uprising leaders … ”

    “Many of the methods Israel used to suppress the uprising”, notes Quigley, “were criticized by UN bodies as contrary to the Palestinian’s right to self-determination, to their rights under the law of belligerent occupation, and to human rights norms. The situation led the United States, which had in earlier years been mild in its criticism of Israel’s occupation practices, to issue a strong condemnation of many of Israel’s policies. The UN Human Rights Commission, using the Geneva Convention’s provision that certain violations of humanitarian law are ‘grave breaches’ meriting criminal punishment for perpetrators, found a number of Israel’s practices during the uprising to constitute ‘war crimes’. It included:

    • physical and psychological torture of Palestinian detainees and their subjection to improper and inhuman treatment
    • the imposition of collective punishment on towns, villages, and camps
    • the administrative detention of thousands of Palestinians
    • the expulsion of Palestinian citizens
    • the confiscation of Palestinian property
    • the raiding and demolition of Palestinian houses.”
    Israeli abuses in the second intifada
    In the second intifada, beginning in 2000, Israel re-occupied West Bank towns it had allowed the PLO to administer. Quigley notes that, “The UN Security Council asked Israel to withdraw but did nothing to enforce its call.”

    Quigley again: “Although the United Nations did nothing to turn this situation around, its agencies that were not hamstrung by the veto power examined what was occurring and reported on it. As the intifada and reprisals proceeded, the UN Commission on Human Rights dispatched fact-finding missions that visited the Palestinian territories and castigated Israel for abusing the Palestinians.”


    Condemnations of the Wall
    Construction of the notorious wall, begun in 2002 to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, has continued despite international condemnation and the denunciation of the wall as illegal by the International Court of Justice.

    Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza
    On 30 May, in the early hours of the morning under cover of darkness, in international waters, an elite unit of the Israeli navy stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a flotilla of activists attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The masked commandos abseilled onto the Turkish ship's deck from a helicopter and boarded from the side by fast attack launch. They were armed with guns, stun grenades and tear gas. Those on board said the Israelis fired on the boat before boarding. When the commandos descended they were attacked by waiting passengers armed with what appeared to be metal bars and sticks.

    The Israeli commandos killed nine people and injured dozens more. Autopsy results revealed that the nine men killed (all Turkish) were shot a total of 30 times, Many bullets were fired at close range. Five men were killed by gunshot wounds to the head. Five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back. This information undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists. Many eye-witness accounts from passengers on the Marmara also contested Israel's version of events.

    It may have been just a cock-up – by an elite unit? But Israeli actions do raise suspicions that the violence may have been premeditated, to deter other activists on other, future, flotillas from repeating the exercise, and so avoiding repeated murderous assaults which world opinion would not tolerate:

    • The Israeli military was well aware there were no arms on board the boats in the flotilla as they had been repeatedly searched by Greek and Turkish authorities. The fearsome weapons it said it had discovered turned out to be a collection of chair legs and kitchen knives. Several of the photos released by the IDF "proving" there were other weapons there have been exposed as old images that have been on the web for years.
    • If the Israelis had only wanted to stop the ship, they could have attacked the rudder and propeller. Instead they preferred to send masked commandos to attack the vessel.
    • Violence did not apparently end with the assault. Witnesses attested to rough treatment and beatings after being taken into custody.
    Israeli actions in closing down information also raise suspicions that they were trying to hide the truth:
    • Shortly after the assault, the Israelis blocked all communications with the flotilla. Mobile phones, satellite phones and internet access all went down, making it all but impossible to glean any account from the passengers about what had happened, beyond a few minutes that were captured on film. Israel's version of events became the only one available in any detail.
    • Shortly after the assault began, the commandos took mobile phones from the activists.
    • When the Mavi Marmara was brought into the Israeli port of Ashdod, the area was closed to the media.
    • Israel imposed a communications blackout on the detained activists - while simultaneously launching a sophisticated public relations operation to ensure its version of events was dominant. First-hand accounts from passengers were difficult to come by, with activists taken straight to Israeli hospitals or screening by Israeli officials in preparation for summary deportation or trial. Those arrested by the Israelis were given no access to attorneys – possibly because they might then have communicated details of Israel’s assault. Israeli officials confiscated all mobile phones. Israel barred journalists from speaking to the wounded in its hospitals.
    The Israelis also attempted misinformation: Israel alleged that some passengers were al-Qaeda terrorists - the Israeli Army later admitted there was “no evidence” that al-Qaeda members were on board or had any links to the convey.

    The attack, in international waters - a serious infringement of international law - sparked international outrage, and demands for an independent inquiry. However, there were exceptions:

    • The American reaction was particularly spineless: a US spokesman said the administration was "working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy". Obama expressed "regret" at the loss of life. No condemnation.
    • In a similar vein, neither the UK nor the EU explicitly condemned Israel's action, though each called for an inquiry (the UK for an independent one, the EU for an Israeli inquiry, echoing some European governments); each also called for an easing of the Gaza siege.
    • The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon was similarly muted in his comments. He condemned the violence and called for an investigation: "I heard the ships were in international water. That is very bad."
    • The UN Security Council statement condemned the "acts" which led to the deaths and injuries, and called for an impartial investigation. Its statement was severely diluted by the US, which refused to go along with an outright condemnation. America blocked demands at the Security Council for an international inquiry. A compromise statement called for an “impartial” and “credible” investigation – unsurprisingly, the US signified this could be carried out by Israel – a view treated with scepticism by others. The statement did call for an easing of the Gaza blockade.
    Israel seems to have initially calculated that it could weather the storm of criticism, because when the UN secretary general in early June called for a multinational investigation, this was promptly rejected by the Israelis – however:
    • under international pressure, Israel announced that it would conduct an internal investigation - this in addition to a separate military investigation. Though Israel’s Haaretz newspaper called the proposed panel a “farce”, the White House gave its approval.
    • The military inquiry concluded in July that, although mistakes had been made, "… there were no wrongdoings and no negligences in any fundamental areas …" - a whitewash, then, given the details of the raid noted above.
    • The internal inquiry (the Turkel inquiry) opened at the end of June – it is examining the political decisions taken and whether international law was breached.
    • In early August, after two months of sustained international pressure from the UN, Europe and Turkey (but not the US), Israel agreed to co-operate with a UN investigation, saying it had nothing to hide.
    In late September, after a fact-finding mission ordered by the UN Human Rights Council, with which Israel refused to co-operate, its report was released:
    • It found that the Israeli military was guilty of "an unacceptable level of brutality", deployed "totally unnecessary and incredible violence" in the flotilla raid, and said that its forces violated international law.
    • The authors said it was clear to them that there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza when the aid flotilla was approaching. "The preponderance of evidence is too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion," the report said. "Any denial that this is so cannot be sustained... For this reason alone, the blockade is unlawful."
    • The findings come even as a second high-level panel created by the UN Security Council is preparing shortly to issue its own interim findings.
    In October, the international criminal court was urged to prosecute members of the Israeli defence force for the flotilla raid. Turkish victims formally requested an investigation, following the report of the UN Human Rights Council referred to above. An investigation is possible only after a reference from the UN security council – the US will ensure that this does not happen.

    Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza
    Israel’s cruel and continuing blockade of Gaza, and its savage assault thereon which it carried out in December 2008-January 2009, have been detailed above in the section The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters, The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)

    Israel was accused of serious war crimes by numerous groups, including the UN, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even Israeli groups. (Human Rights Watch later accused Israel and its supporters of an "organised campaign" of false allegations and misinformation, including "extremely personal attacks" on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza – similar to attacks on Judge Richard Goldstone, see below.)

    In January 2009, in the absence of any effective measures on the part of the Security Council, the UN’s Human Rights Council adopted a resolution mandating an investigation into violations related to the 2008 Gaza conflict. In April 2009 the president of the Human Rights Council established the investigative team, appointing Justice Richard J. Goldstone  In May 2009 the fact-finding Mission established its programme of work The 575 page report included recommendations for further action by numerous bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council itself,  the  UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General,  the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Criminal Court (the Court to be involved if Israel, and the Palestinians, were not to carry out fully independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, "possible war crimes and crimes against humanity" during the Gaza operation).. The object of involving these various UN bodies and the Court, was essentially an attempt to prevent an American veto in the Security Council burying the report. Seasoned UN observers also feared that follow-up by the Secretary-General could effectively bury the report because of the political pressures that can, and are, placed on him. Action by the International Criminal Court (despite Israel, like the US, not being a signatory to it) would be devastating for Israel.

    The report, which became known as the Goldstone report, was released in September 2009:

    • The report said, of Israel’s 23-day assault on Gaza which began at the end of December 2008, that, “while the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.” It found the war was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability". The military operation left some 1,400 Palestinians dead (including 770 civilians) against only 13 Israelis, and triggered a wave of criticism against Israel across the world. More than 5,000 Palestinians were injured.
    • "The operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support."
    • Grave breaches of the laws of war were committed by Israeli forces: wilful killing, the use of human shields, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly “These acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility." Thus, soldiers and others could face prosecution.
    • The long Israeli economic blockade of Gaza (which began almost three years prior to the Gaza assault, and which continues to this day) amounted to "collective punishment intentionally inflicted by the government of Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip".
    • Israeli actions depriving Gazans of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, and denying their freedom of movement "could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, had been committed".
    • "The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces". The purpose was "to make the daily process of living and dignified living more difficult for the civilian population".
    • Deeds by Israeli forces, and the statements of Israeli political and military leaders before and during the Gaza assault indicated the use of "a deliberate policy of disproportionate force", aimed, the report said, not only at the enemy but also at the "supporting infrastructure". The report goes on: "In practice this appears to have meant the civilian population."
    • The vandalising of houses and "the graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often racist slogans all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanisation of the Palestinian population".
    • “Hospitals and ambulances were targeted by Israeli attacks."
    • The report also called on Israel to halt immediately its closures of the crossings into Gaza and said the Israeli military needed to review its rules of engagement to avoid future Palestinian civilian deaths.
    • The report also harshly criticised the Palestinian side. However, Israeli conduct during the operation takes up much the greater part of the 575-page report, and its harshest language is reserved for the Israelis.
    • In effect, the report accused the Israelis of war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

    Israel refused to cooperate with the inquiry, and did its best to obstruct the fact-finding mission headed by the Jewish South African former Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone, who it and various pro-Israel lobbies attempted to smear (standard Israeli and lobby tactics - they are terrified of confronting the actual findings of the report).

    It is instructive to read the full transcripts of the various subsequent Security Council open debates on the Middle East, held in October 2009 and January, April, and July 2010, where non-members of the Security Council are allowed to speak. It is a pity that even the UK’s liberal print media did not quote more extensively from them:

    • For to do so is to hear speaker after speaker for the majority of the world’s nations (including the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States) denouncing Israel and the long list of its crimes – the cruelty of its long occupation, the crimes in Gaza described in the Goldstone report, and so on - in considerable and passionate detail – mostly about the Palestinians, but also about Lebanon and Syria. They speak out against Israel’s impunity and disregard for international law, and its intransigence in obstructing the (doomed) peace process; some are bold enough to note that this is only because of the support it receives from certain quarters (though they do not refer to America by name). They call upon the Security Council itself to take effective action instead of doing nothing, and, so that this can happen, implicitly call upon the US (which has veto power) to change its flagrantly pro-Israeli stance. Some note that the credibility of the UN Security Council, and that of the UN itself, is at stake.
    • This contrasts with the speakers for the Western minority of nations (excluding the US, see below). Principal among these is the European Union. Though the EU makes muted criticisms of the Israelis, its line in practice is to kowtow to the US, and follow the US position. Echoing the US line, therefore, in the first, post-Goldstone open debate, in October 2009, the acting head of the EU, speaking for the EU, said that:
      • Negotiations must respect previous agreements and understandings.
      • The European Union will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties (that is, the land swaps referred to below)
      • Furthermore, he called for all Palestinians to promote reconciliation behind President Abbas, (that is, Hamas is to remain out in the cold).
    • The US stands out alone in its flagrant and one-sided support for Israel In the first post-Goldstone open debate, in October 2009, the speaker for the US, aside from emphasising America’s excessive concern for Israel’s security (with little regard for that of the Palestinians, especially in Gaza), gives the game away in several instances:
      • For Hamas to take part in negotiations, apart from renouncing violence and recognizing Israel (as a Jewish state), it must accept previous agreements and obligations.
      • An independent (and viable?) Palestinian State must be based on the 1967 lines, with agreed land swaps.
      • Although the US does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement building, nothing is said about existing settlements.
      • Only through negotiations can a peaceful settlement be realized – that is, despite the massive imbalance of power between the occupier and the occupied, the US will not impose a settlement on the Israelis.
      • In other words, the US accepts that considerable settlements in the West Bank will be retained by Israel, and that the US will not take any action to force Israel to a just settlement. One suspects that the land swaps themselves, to enable major Israeli settlements to be retained, may consist of lumps of desert in the Negev in return for the prime land represented by these retained settlements.
      • Finally, the US speaker said that the allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations contained in the Goldstone report “are not a matter for Security Council action”. It is thus the attitude of the US, and the threat of its veto, which prevents the Security Council from taking any effective action on the Goldstone report.
    In October 2009, the Goldstone report was endorsed by the UN’s Human Rights Council and referred to the UN General Assembly despite intense lobbying by Israel and the US. The vote at the Human Rights Council was thus the first opportunity to stop all action on the Goldstone report dead in its tracks, and it is therefore instructive to examine the voting, which was 25-6 in favour of referring Goldstone to the Assembly, with 11 abstentions. The USA (in its usual resolute pursuit of freedom and human rights around the world) opposed the resolution. Of the 27 EU states, none voted in favour of the resolution, 4 opposed it – the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia, 2 abstained – Belgium and Slovenia (Norway, a European state but outside the EU, also abstained), and 2 others  - the UK and France, which had been expected to register formal abstentions, instead called in vain for a delay in the decision and did not participate in the vote at all. The vote followed a U-turn by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who faced severe criticism from the Palestinian people themselves after succumbing to US and Israeli pressure to defer the whole issue.

    In November 2009 the General Assembly passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone report together with that report’s recommendations for further action by numerous UN bodies, and the International Criminal Court, as noted above. It called upon both the Israelis and the Palestinians, within three months, to undertake independent, credible investigations in conformity with international standards into the serious violations reported in the Goldstone report. It requested the Secretary-General to transmit the Goldstone report to the Security Council, and to report back to the General Assembly, within a period of three months, on the implementation of the present resolution, with a view to the consideration of further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies, including the Security Council. Though the 192-member UN General Assembly, with its majority of non-Western nations, was always likely to endorse Goldstone, it is nevertheless instructive to look at the voting - there were 114 votes in favour of the resolution, 18 votes against, and 44 abstentions - in addition, 16 states did not vote:
    •   As expected, the US joined Israel in voting against.
    • Of the 27 EU states:
      • only 5 – Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Slovenia voted in favour
      • 7 opposed – the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and Slovakia
      • 15 abstained – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
    • Of the European states which are not in the EU, Switzerland and some smaller states voted in favour, while Norway and some smaller states abstained. In addition, Turkey, which is applying for membership of the EU, voted in favour.
    • Two other states which are effectively part of the “West” also voted against – Canada and Australia. Two others, Iceland and New Zealand, abstained.
    • The BRICs, minus Russia (which abstained) also voted in favour – that is, Brazil, India, and China

    The Secretary-General then, also in November 2009, duly transmitted the Goldstone Report to the Security Council, which has, as expected, taken no action thereon up to the present date. He also gave the Israelis and Palestinians a late January 2010 deadline to advise him of progress with their investigations.

    In early February 2010, the Secretary-General sent, as required, his follow-up report to the General Assembly. In his report, he noted that he had duly requested both the Israelis and the Palestinians to provide information on any investigations they were carrying out, and that he had received, in late-January 2010, documents from both sides. (Initially, Israel, which has not got a history of co-operating with international inquiries into the actions of its army, refused to accept any inquiry, but later changed its mind.) However, the Secretary-General’s report concluded, from the documents received, that because the investigations initiated by the Israelis were ongoing, and since the Palestinians had just initiated their investigations, no determination could at that time be made on the adequacy or otherwise of those investigations. Consequently, in late-February 2010, the General Assembly, to keep the Goldstone report alive, reiterated its call for Israelis and Palestinians to carry out appropriate investigations, and requested from the Secretary-General a second follow-up report, within five months, with a view to considering further action, by the relevant UN organs and bodies, including the Security Council.

    In March 2010, the Human Rights Council resolved to establish a committee of experts to monitor and assess the adequacy of Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the violations of international law set out in the Goldstone Report. The Council also reiterated its call upon all concerned parties, including UN bodies, including the Security Council, to ensure their implementation of the recommendations contained in the Goldstone report. The Council further decided to follow up implementation. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 29-6, with 11 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

    • The US voted against
    • Of the 8 EU states involved in the vote, only 1 state voted for the resolution – Slovenia, 4 voted against – the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia, and 3 abstained – the UK, France, and Belgium
    • Of the 2 European states which are not in the EU, and also involved in the vote, 1 small state voted in favour, while Norway abstained.
    • All 4 of the BRICs were involved in the vote – Brazil, India and China voted in favour, and Russia abstained.
    • Of the 31 other non-Western states involved in the vote, 23 voted in favour, only 1 voted against – the Ukraine, and 7 abstained.

    In June 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the Human Rights Council and announced the appointment of the required committee of three independent experts.

    In August 2010, the Secretary-General sent, as required, his second follow-up report to the General Assembly (delayed because of the time taken to translate the Israeli and Palestinian submission documents), concerning what steps the Israeli and Palestinian sides had taken over independent, credible investigations by each, in conformity with international standards, into the serious violations of law reported in the Goldstone report. His report noted that he had duly received documents from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, which were attached as annexes to the report, and that he had sent these documents to the committee of independent experts charged with monitoring and assessing them.

    And there, essentially, matters currently rest, in the confusion following the collapse of the moribund peace process in September 2010, despite a frantic, humiliating and unsuccessful American offer to keep it going, for which see part IV of this article, in the section What, then, of the Americans?

    However, the Goldstone report will not go away, even in the face of the near-certain use of the American veto in the Security Council to protect Israel from the consequences of its crimes. As noted above, the Goldstone report provided numerous avenues for possible action, other than exclusively through the Security Council. The following possible options for the UN General Assembly have been discussed:

    • The Goldstone report stated that, among the possible actions by the UN General Assembly, the Assembly, “may, in order to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators, consider whether additional action within its powers is required in the interests of justice, including under [an old General Assembly resolution dating back to 1950] – resolution 377 (V) ‘Uniting for Peace’ ”. In the Uniting for Peace resolution, the General Assembly:
      • Reaffirms the importance of the exercise by the Security Council of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the duty of the permanent members to seek unanimity and to exercise restraint in the use of the veto.
      • Recognizes that a failure of the Security Council [perhaps because of a veto] does not deprive the General Assembly of its rights or relieve it of its responsibilities under the UN Charter in regard to the maintenance of international peace and security
      • Resolves that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members [perhaps because of a veto], fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures … to maintain or restore international peace and security.
    • The collective measures could then consist, for example, of economic sanctions or a trade boycott. They could equally consist of a requirement that member states use “universal jurisdiction” against Israel, under which countries can prosecute perpetrators of crimes against international humanitarian law regardless of where in the world the alleged crimes were committed.
    • Another possibility that has been mooted is to declare Palestine a state, using the “Uniting For Peace” procedure if need be, and then refer the issue to the International Court of Justice, asking the Court to rule on the validity of a Palestinian signature on the International Criminal Court convention. The International Criminal Court could then be requested to initiate investigations and proceedings.

    CONCLUSION
    The comprehensive scrutiny above reveals that Israel is very far from being a legitimate state, when considering “legitimate” in the (non-legal) sense of valid, acceptable, justifiable, reasonable. Its history closely resembles that of a colonial state; it is racist; it practices apartheid; it is indifferent to international law; many states and peoples deny its legitimacy.




    PART IV
    WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

    Israel’s illegitimacy reinforces the need for a solution to the conflict
    We conclude, therefore – see above – that, although Israel is a de facto state, it is very far from being a legitimate state, either in the strictly legal sense, or in the sense of being a valid, acceptable, justifiable, reasonable state. This conclusion is valuable because it strengthens the need for reaching a peaceful, acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    What kind of solution?
    The realpolitic, “consensus” two-state solution, based upon Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories to the 1948 borders does not represent a just solution:

    • Full justice to the past would require the abolition of Jewish sovereignty in Israel (the “one-state” solution), as well as a full right of return, with compensation, for Palestinians, and the eviction of Jewish inhabitants occupying Palestinian property.
    • The “consensus” two-state solution represents, if accepted, a considerable forfeiture by Palestinians, giving them only 21% of historic [mandate] Palestine. They will thus have lost nearly four/fifths of their homeland.
    • Nevertheless, the Palestinians may accept this solution on a pragmatic, realpolitik basis, if only because they cannot get anything else, due to Israeli arrogance and intransigence - a second-hand arrogance, a borrowed intransigence, scrounged on the back of the massive economic, military and (above all) diplomatic support they receive from their American backers (ever ready in their support of democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world).
    • However, it is becoming more and more apparent to the world at large that Bibi, Avigdor, and the rest of the American-backed bunch of Jewish racists/supremacists who run things in Tel Aviv, do not want a viable two-state solution of the kind which most observers envisage:
      • To most (non-American) observers, a land settlement comprising anything less than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip (the remaining 21%), by excluding some or all of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem) would make a Palestinian state unviable. No state worthy of the name could exist with islands of the territory of another state either embedded within it, or (alternatively) existing as spear-like projections into it. It follows therefore that, at a minimum, a future Palestinian state would require Israeli withdrawal from all of the illegal settlements on the West Bank, including those in East Jerusalem. It now appears that, to prevent Israeli “islands” within a Palestinian state, there will be “land swaps”. The suspicion is that the land swaps to enable major Israeli settlements to be retained may consist of lumps of desert in the Negev in return for the prime land represented by these retained settlements.
      • The Israeli leadership appear not to be prepared even for this minimum Palestinian state – never mind the need to abandon all Israeli settlements, they resist even a moratorium on the building of new, additional settlements. They appear, from what Netanyahu and others have said in the past, to envisage for Palestine a political entity which is not a state at all, which has no army (that is, it is defenceless), and which may include embedded within it some un-dismantled Israelis settlements (that is, it is not a state worthy of the name). Indeed, all they appear to offer is (perhaps) a little more economic prosperity within a political entity which is little more than a colony, a collection of bantustans. In this, they appear to be oblivious to changing world (particularly European) opinion, and changing geopolitical realities.
      • Indeed, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Israelis, playing for time, are quite happy to string things out (as they have in the past), gulling the Americans (and perhaps some others) with the pretence rather than the actuality of a peace process.
    • It is also important to consider the fact that the so-called “consensus” for a two-state solution is very far from being a world-wide consensus. It is in fact largely a Western consensus in which the principal actors, aside from America itself, are the states of the European Union. A much larger number of other states - the developing countries and the Arab and larger Muslim world - have, virtually since Israel’s creation, been against the Zionist project (as a form of colonialism, and for many other reasons), and would certainly consider the two-state solution to be overly generous towards Israel. However, their power to change things is limited because of the American veto in the UM Security Council – unless the so-called “Uniting For Peace” resolution can really be used.

    Other solutions are at least thinkable:
    • There is the “one-state solution” already referred to, which currently seems wildly unrealistic for decades. A variant of this is the two-state solution which makes provision for an eventual one-state solution at some unspecified distant time in the future.
    • Other prescriptions are also thinkable, for example:
      • The original UN partition plan embodied in the abandoned resolution 181
      • A revised (and fairer) UN partition which takes into account the relative populations in 1947
    There is, however, yet another two-state solution which has, apparently, never been discussed. Since no valid settlement has been made in the past, and since the past has gone and cannot be reconstituted (whether fairly or not), a two-state partition could be made which is fair to the present (rather than the past) Jewish and Arab populations of Israel/Palestine, reflecting the numbers of each of the two populations:
    • This solution has the immense advantage that it is fair to the present populations:
      • The Palestine Arabs are innocent of anything – they are the victims.
      • The original Zionists who were guilty of creating Israel out of someone else’s land are, for the most part, dead and gone.
      • The proposed solution does not visit the sins of the Jewish fathers on their Jewish sons, who are not responsible for them.
      • It also has the immense advantage that it assumes that everyone in the two present Jewish and Arab populations is innocent.
      • Of the Palestinian refugees who are outside Palestine, it is suggested that only those who wish to permanently return are included in the Arab population. Those who have made a satisfactory life elsewhere and do not wish to return should not be so included.
    • The mere mention of such a solution will enrage the Zionists in Tel Aviv. They are not used to fair solutions, only solutions which are very considerably to their advantage, and very considerably to the disadvantage of the Palestinians.
    • The Americans, too, are unused to any solutions which are not very considerably in favour of their racist Zionist friends, and very considerably to the detriment of the Palestinians. True to their consistent and blatantly pro-Israeli stance, the assiduous pursuers of freedom, democracy, and human rights throughout the world will not be interested in a fair solution.
    • What of the rest of the world? Developing countries (that used to be referred to as the Third World) would no doubt be overwhelmingly in favour of a just solution – but they have no power to change things – unless, again, the “Uniting For Peace” resolution can really be used. What of the states in the European Union? They are so used (due to a combination of threats and bribes) to a position of abject subservience to America, that, despite their moral misgivings, they are unlikely to depart from the pro-Israeli American position. What of the peoples of the world (at least the 99%-plus who are not Zionists) who are very likely to be strongly for a settlement which is just and fair? Hell, we don’t count, baby, didn’t you know that!

    How likely is a solution?
    The Israeli leadership, as noted above, appear not to be prepared to accept a Palestinian state which is worthy of the name, and envisage (if anything at all) a mere form of Palestinian colony. They seem quite happy to string out a peace process which is going nowhere.

    What, then, of the Americans?
    The United States was instrumental in bringing Israel into existence 60 years ago. It has strongly and more or less uncritically supported the Israelis, at least since Israel’s seizure of the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip 40-odd years ago, and its harsh and brutal occupation of them ever since (Gaza, though no longer occupied, is under siege – the biggest prison in the world). The Americans have thus placed themselves down there in the gutter with the Israelis, as the oppression of the Palestinians has become progressively more horrific, making mock of American pretensions to democracy, freedom, and human rights. Furthermore, the moral bankruptcy of the American position is increasingly perceived around the world:
    • The media often refer to the American president as “the most powerful man in the world” – this (despite the ailing American empire – see below) is still true in the short-term - except when it comes to things Israel-related. It is impossible to believe that Barack Obama, as a black American, has any sympathy with the racists in Tel Aviv. However, in the case of things Israeli, Obama, like his predecessors, is but of diminutive stature.
    • Consider the massively generous incentives which Obama offered Netanyahu in a desperate attempt to save the expiring peace process, by attempting to get Bibi to renew, for a mere three months, a partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction which still did not include East Jerusalem. The package included the sale of $3 billion worth of American military aircraft, backing for Israel's continued military presence in the Jordan Valley following the formation of a Palestinian state, and a promise by the US to veto any UN Security Council resolutions Israel does not like. And still Netanyahy disdainfully turned him down. Commentators have fittingly used the terms “bribe”, “appeasement”, and “humiliation”.
    • No, when it comes to Israel-related things, the most powerful political entity in the world (again, at least in the short-term) is the United States Congress, and they are bought and paid for by the powerful pro-Israel lobby (with Zionist Jewish organizations at its core, supported by, among others, an unholy bunch of Christian Zionists), which listens slavishly to Netanyahu and his Zionist buddies.
    • The American mainstream media are also a disgrace when it comes to things Israeli – British journalist Robert Fisk correctly labeled them (when it comes to Israel) as “gutless and biased”. Indeed, if the American media and the well-paid stooges who write and front for them were honest about Israel, and in particular its history (as recommended by professors Meisenheimer and Walt in their book on The Israel Lobby), American public opinion is very likely to change against Israel. The dishonest American media are thus (like Congress) a major obstacle to progress towards settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – see, on our website referred to above, our article Bully Boys II: Thoughts On Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book On The Israel Lobby, under the section To The American People: They’ve Never Told You The Truth – Otherwise, You Wouldn’t Unconditionally Support Israel.
    • However, with the appearance on the American scene of  “J Street”, a more moderate Jewish-American lobby group which favours the two-state solution (but do they favour an equitable two-state solution – the devil is in the detail), things may eventually change – but they have neither the finances nor the power of the “old” pro-Israel lobby of AIPAC and the rest – so, for the short-term, little may be expected from America. And the Palestinians don’t have time.
    • Shifts are occurring, too, among the military and diplomatic elite. General Petraeus who has commanded US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has recognised Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian land as an obstacle to resolving these conflicts. And a former director of intelligence assessment for the US defence secretary has written a paper called “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” – he observed a change in thinking at the White House, state department and the Pentagon concerning  the effect of Washington's automatic support for Israeli policies He said, “… the depth of America's moral [moral!] commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability … It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbours.” But again, these changes are very likely to be too little, too late for the Palestinians.
    • Attitudes of the American public toward Israel are also changing. The American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy polling unit has contended that American opinion shifts against Israel with each Israeli outrage: Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in December 2008,  the flotilla attack in May 2010,  and Israel’s disregard of international law. A 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians also detected significant changes in American public attitudes favouring US disengagement from Israel. Americans are apparently becoming weary of Israeli procrastination in “peace negotiations”, and Israeli officials undercutting the American President and flaunting their power in Congress. There is a growing belief that Israel takes the US, and its economic and military aid, for granted. Again, probably too late for the Palestinians.
    • Obama’s whole approach to the conflict is determined by the above-noted factors, and as a result is totally inadequate, and a complete waste of time, Furthermore, even if the now-moribund peace process had succeeded, it would have brought about such a non-satisfactory non-state that Palestinians would not have accepted it, and it would not, therefore, have brought peace about. America needs to use its enormous leverage over Israel to force change – there is no necessity to repeat our detailed arguments, which are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section To The New American Administration – Bring Peace To The Middle East: Stop Treating Israel As Special, And Demand A Viable Palestinian State. As a result, two years have been wasted, and the peace process is dead in the water.
    • There is an important additional point about the current (near-moribund) American-instigated peace process. The Americans will not accept Hamas as a negotiating partner – the excuse is that they are a “terrorist” organization. However, the real reason is that America/Israel will not deal (at least officially) with Hamas because they believe (with good reason) that Mahmoud Abbas will be easier to deal with (that is, more compliant), and the most important reason of all is that, unlike Abbas, Hamas may not accept all past “agreements”, which may include, according to Avi Shlaim, Israel's retention of the major settlement blocs on the West Bank (This is bizarre, of course, since Israel doesn’t follow past agreements – take settlement building for example). It should be noted that:
      • Hamas has explicitly said it will not use violence against America or any other state than Israel, and it has not in fact done so.
      • Furthermore, Hamas “terrorist” violence (to regain Palestinian territory, to fight for self-determination, to fight against the oppressor) is little different from Israeli state violence (to hold territory dispossessed from the Palestinians, to hold illegally-occupied territory, to assassinate the opposition). Both Hamas and the Israelis kill civilians.
      • In the face of American-supported Israeli intransigence, the Palestinians (and Hamas) have no alternative to the use of violence within their resistance strategy; the Israelis leave them no other option if they are to resist at all. However, the Israelis do have an alternative – they could end the occupation of the West Bank (and the siege of Gaza) unilaterally tomorrow if they so wished – and therefore Israeli violence cannot be excused, because they have a peaceful alternative.
      • The entire argument concerning Israeli state violence and Hamas “terrorist” violence is discussed in great detail in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section A Call To Everyone – Don’t Be Fooled By Zionist Myths, in the sub-section Zionist Myths: Palestinian Terrorism Prevents Peace.
      • A viable and lasting peace probably cannot be achieved without the participation of Hamas.
      • For more details about Hamas, see our website referred to above, and an article entitled Hamas and Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations.
    • The Americans, as noted above, prefer to deal with Mahmoud Abbas, whose party lost the Palestinian elections, whose Palestinian Authority is completely financially dependent on the pro-Israeli US, and the EU, which is subservient to the US, and whose security forces are trained and paid for by the US and EU. Abbas’s other shortcomings are also detailed above. For what it is worth, an international activist who had recently been in the West Bank, was of the opinion that very few Palestinians had faith in Abbas as a negotiator capable of achieving a “just” settlement to the conflict. The Americans have done their best to prevent any reconciliation between Abbas and Hamas.
    • In short, nothing can be expected of an American-led peace process if the Palestinians, and the world community, want to see a truly viable Palestinian state. The American failure to achieve peace in the Middle East damages not only the Palestinians, and indeed the best interests of the Israelis themselves – it also damages everyone else's interests. Effective peace efforts must begin elsewhere, and, among other things, concentrate on isolating America with Israel, its pariah “friend” and ally.
    What of the ‘Quartet’?
    • The Quartet (the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN) has been in the past a creature of George W. Bush, and a singular failure, a near-moribund organization existing only as a cover for the Bush regime’s misdeeds. It might perhaps just be disbanded.
    • But if the Quartet is not disbanded, and is rejuvenated, then it must, like the European Union, take a robust and independent line from that of the United States.
    • Tony Blair, as the Quartet’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, needs to be replaced. It is difficult to think of a more ill-suited person. Second only to George W. Bush himself, Blair must be the most hated man in the Middle East, where he has achieved nothing - furthermore, he has disturbing Zionist connections.
    • Our detailed arguments are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section The ‘Quartet’: Act Independently Of The Americans, And Press For Swift Action To Bring Peace.
    What political stance should the European Union adopt?
    The European Union has traditionally been more sympathetic towards the Palestinians. If little is to be hoped for from America, then it is all the more important that the European Union take a robust and independent line from that of the United States, and use its own clout with Israel to promptly and forcefully bring pressure to bear for a solution to the conflict
    • Chris Patten, the former EU commissioner said as much a few months ago, on a visit to Gaza, "The default European position should not be to wait to find out what the Americans are going to do, and if the Americans don't do anything to wring our hands. We should be prepared to be more explicit in setting out Europe's objectives and doing more to try to implement them." And on Hamas: “… do we need to insist on them accepting all past agreements? Has Israel accepted all past agreements?”
    • Last month, twenty-six European grandees (former EU leaders) urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel. Their letter did not go nearly far enough - they implicitly accepted land swaps, and instead of demanding an EU trade boycott, and a downgrading of relations with Israel in all areas, they merely settled for a proposed refusal to upgrade ties with Israel unless settlements are frozen. They could have, as Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador actually did last month, and Uruguay plans to do soon, proposed recognition of the independent State of Palestine, within borders that conform to the ceasefire lines of 1967 – but they didn’t. Meanwhile, the US pays for Israeli weapons which demolish EU-funded projects in Gaza, and the EU pays for them to be rebuilt - in time for Israel to destroy them again?
    • As noted above, the supporters of Israel are limited more or less to the Western nations. A much larger number of other states - the developing countries and the Arab and larger Muslim world - have, virtually since Israel’s creation, been against the Zionist project (as a form of colonialism, as a denial of self-determination). But their power to change things, as noted above, is limited. Thus, aside from the United States itself, the European Union could take a pivotal role in forcing a resolution of the conflict.
    • Coordinated EU action to bring pressure to bear on Israel for an acceptable solution to the conflict would have the effect of more or less totally isolating Israel as a pariah state, except for its American patron. This in turn would put pressure on America, to adopt an even-handed approach towards the Israelis and the Palestinians
    • Though the EU doesn’t have the clout of America, it nevertheless has considerable influence with Israel, since it is Israel’s biggest trading partner. It should use this influence to the utmost, and, until there is an end to the siege of Gaza,  and a satisfactory resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
      • Publicly suspend any upgrade of relations with Israel
      • immediately suspend the EU-Israel Association agreement and all trade preferences
      • use trade sanctions against Israel – leading progressively to a complete trade ban
      • bring pressure to bear on Israel to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner – see the discussion on Hamas above.
    • The EU should also pressure America to take adequate and prompt steps to resolve the conflict - a repeat of the cruel trickery of the wasted years of the (totally inadequate) “peace process” under former president Clinton, and the wasted years of the (non-existent) “road map” process under Bush junior, must not be allowed to happen again.
    • More detailed arguments are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section To The European Union: Take A Robust And Independent Line From The US, And Use Europe’s Leverage
    • There is a problem, however. The arrogance of imperial America has grown over the years – such that threats and bribes are used as frequently against its supposed allies and friends as much as its enemies. As a result, individual European states, and the EU itself, have far too often been subservient to the demands of the United States, both over Israel and on other matters. This docile submission should be resisted, and the knowledge of American imperial decline, and the rise of other powers in the world – see below – should make it easier to do so.
    • Germany, a major force in the EU, also presents a major problem – it is slavishly pro-Israeli because of its Nazi past (a fact that the pro-Israel lobby in Germany uses mercilessly). The Germans are an important player in the European Union, and need to do their part.. They cannot carry on forever a penance for the sins of some of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers some 60-70 years ago. They need to end their easy and politically correct kow-towing to the Israelis (for a terrible relic from the historical past which they cannot change) and take the politically courageous course of supporting the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve their human rights (a present-day cause which they can do something about). If they do so, they may be pleasantly surprised at the number of friends they have gained, not just among the Palestinians and in the Arab and Muslim worlds, but in Europe too, and throughout the developing world. Further background is provided in another article on our website, Taking The Easy Way Out: German Moral Cowardice Over The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Germans, however, are only one among twenty-seven European states, and the others should not allow misplaced German qualms to impede progress towards a resolution of the conflict.
    • As for the UK, it too has its pro-Israel lobby. And the signs are not good - the government is intending, disgracefully (and specifically to help its Israeli “friends” – some of whom are war criminals), to change the law on universal jurisdiction to abolish the ability to bring private prosecutions for international crimes in the UK. But the UK has a particular need, post-Blair (that is, after solid support for America over Iraq, Lebanon in 2006, Israel-Palestine, not to speak of Afghanistan), to restore the UK’s damaged reputation around the world, especially in the Arab and Islamic worlds. And even the British have (belatedly) realised that their “special relationship” with America, to the extent that it ever existed, is no more – if the United States desired a special relationship, it would now be with China – see below.
    • David Cronin, in his recently published book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding The Occupation, gives a detailed account of how Israel has wormed its way into the European Union’s institutions and snuggled up to its highest representatives. He notes in the preface that, "Israel has developed such strong political and economic ties to the European Union over the past decade that it has become a member state of the union in all but name." He quotes Javier Solana, then EU foreign policy chief in 2009, “There is no country outside the European continent that has this type of relationship that Israel has with the European Union. Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions. It’s a member of all the [EU’s] programmes, it participates in all the programmes". As the Independent’s Robert Fisk remarked, in a recent article on Cronin’s book, and concerning this institution, so unaccountable to the citizens of its various member states: “Pardon me? Did we know this? Did we vote for this? Who allowed this to happen?” Cronin goes on, ” … their [EU representatives] alliance with Israel is largely devoid of ethical integrity … the European Union’s cowardice towards Israel … Europe is abetting crimes against humanity in the Middle East.”
    • The EU and its member states need to absorb the end of American hegemony, take a tougher and more autonomous line from the US, and actively seek to end the conflict by seeking collective action with the non-Western world.

    Reason for hope – a multipolar world
    There is another reason for greater hope for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Americans are, despite recent bust-ups with Netanyahu, still staunchly (and amorally) pro-Israeli – but American power is waning. Though major world events are frequently unpredictable, and long-term forecasting is distinctly error-prone, it does appear that the American empire is in terminal decline. It is generally agreed, at least outside the United States, that American hegemony, “full spectrum dominance” in every region of the world, as beloved by the neocons, is over. There is a belated realisation that the defining moment was the Great Crash of 2008 – that is, on the watch of the widely-despised George W. Bush, leaving Obama to handle the problem. Other powers, the so-called BRICs, are seen to be on the rise. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are likely to have a very different attitude to the Israeli state than the American one:
    • India in particular has had direct historical experience of colonisation, under the old British empire.
    • Brazil also, as a South American country, has experienced the murderous depredations throughout that sub-continent of the new American empire, particularly (and not so long ago) under Reagan, but also in previous years, when South America was considered (at least by the United States) to be “America’s backyard”.
    • China, as a rising industrial power, has a large and increasing demand for oil; Arab states and other Muslim states such as Iran supply much of the world’s oil – for historical reasons, none of these has cause to love Israel.
    • Russia suffered in the 1990s under a resurgent America following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was forced (like much of the rest of the world) to adopt an ugly neoliberal economic agenda which had very harsh effects on many of its people. Notwithstanding recent rapprochements (it would be nice to know precisely what bribes and carrots the Americans proffered – they can’t use threats, they only use those against the helpless and weak), Russia is unlikely to feel much warmth towards America. It may be tempted, therefore, to simultaneously cock a snook at the Americans while siding with the angels – and support the Palestinians in their struggle.
    Reason for hope – The Non-Western World
    To examine the progress of the Goldstone report (see part III above) is to watch the various geopolitical forces at play. Here is the US, conspicuous and alone in its barefaced and biased support for Israel. Here are the Western minority of nations, excluding the US, the most important among these being the European Union, making muted criticisms of Israel, but in reality subservient to the US, and falling into line with the hugely pro-Israeli US position. Their stance together putting the credibility and prestige of the United Nations itself in jeopardy.

    But then there are the majority of the world’s nations (including the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States), struggling to help the Palestinians in their unequal contest, and doing their best, through the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, in the face of a US veto in the Security Council, to keep Goldstone alive.
     
    Here, then, are reasons for hope, as the rest of the world becomes more assertive as US dominance declines in a more multipolar world. In particular, there is the increasing power and influence of the so-called BRICs, as noted in the paragraphs above. There is also a new forcefulness in Latin America, for so long America’s “backyard”, in which (especially in the not-so-long-ago Reagan era) the US played out its brutal neo-imperialist games – this is especially so for Brazil, Venezuela, and some others.

    Aside from the general role which these non-Western nations can play in building a genuine peace process to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is, perhaps, one specific opportunity. This is to use, via the UN General Assembly, the “Uniting For Peace” resolution to nullify an American veto in the UN Security Council (see part III above).
       

    Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers
    The American mainstream print media have already been dealt above - the British journalist Robert Fisk has correctly labeled them as “as pro-Israel, biased and gutless as the two professors infer them to be”. The two academics he refers to are professors Mearsheimer and Walt, whose book is also referred to above. They say in their book, “The American [print] media’s coverage of Israel tends to be strongly biased in Israel’s favor, especially when compared with news coverage in other democracies.” They note that, “to discourage unfavorable reporting on Israel, groups in the [pro-Israel] lobby organize letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations, and boycotts against news outlets whose content they consider anti-Israel”. Anyone who has watched American TV networks will know that their coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is similarly dire. In contrast, Israeli journalists like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, do not hesitate to criticise Israel.

    By contrast, coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the “liberal” British print media – the Guardian (and the Guardian Group’s Observer) and Independent is excellent – we say nothing of the right-wing press, particularly Murdoch’s papers. It is a different matter with the British broadcast media – with exceptions (see the point on Channel 4 below):

    • Tim Llewellyn, in a 2004 article in the Observer, said that, “British television and radio's reporting [of the Arab-Israeli conflict] has been, in the main, dishonest - in concept, approach and execution … The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is shown, most especially on mainstream bulletins, as a battle between two 'forces', possessed equally of right and wrong and responsibility. It is the tyranny of spurious equivalence … Legions of critics have formed similar views and put them to the BBC and ITN, to no avail … the general BBC and ITN attitude is to bow to the strongest pressure”
    • Bad News From Israel, by Greg Philo and Mike Berry recounts the research of the Glasgow University Media Group, who monitored and analysed four separate periods of BBC and ITN coverage between late 2000 and the spring of 2002. These are some of the comments on that book by Tim Llewellyn in the same article referred to above:
      • “[The book] makes the scientifically based case that the main news and current affairs programmes - with the rare exception, usually on Channel 4 - are failing to tell us the real story and the reasons behind it
      • The Israeli view, the study finds, dominates the coverage
      • far more coverage of Israeli deaths than Palestinian, even though far more Palestinians have died
      • Israeli violence is tempered not only by the weight of coverage but by the very language used to describe incidents
      • the cycle is always shown as Palestinian attack and Israeli reprisal. Broadcasters consistently fail to suggest that it might be the military occupation that engenders armed resistance, or that Israeli actions may be such as to provoke Palestinian violence
      • the daily despairing and degrading consequences of living under military occupation are rarely reported
      • while there is constant reference to Israeli security and Israel's right to exist, there is little mention of Palestinians' security or their right to exist
      • ignorance among people who rely on TV for their information about the world is not surprising: Bad News reveals that between 28 September and 16 October 2000 BBC1 and ITN devoted 3,500 lines of text to the crisis in Israel/Palestine - 17 of which were devoted to the history of the conflict
      • This thoughtful study does offer some hope. It found that the images of this crisis, of tanks, jet fighters and helicopter gun-ships in lethal pursuit of terrified civilians, many of them women and children, have brought home to viewers that a grave injustice is being committed in Palestine. They are just not quite sure what it is.”
    The BBC is Britain’s publicly-funded broadcaster, with a duty to educate as well as entertain, and it is required to be impartial. Unfortunately, a number of commentators have cast doubt on that impartiality when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - calling into question its international reputation:
    • Peter Oborne’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the British pro-Israel lobby was aired in November 2009, and accompanied by an online pamphlet and an article in the Guardian. Oborne made the following points (among many others):
      • The BBC (and the Guardian) suffer from a barrage of complaints and emails, many from outside the UK. The BBC has proved unable to cope. As the then culture secretary, Ben Bradshaw (the then culture secretary, and a former BBC reporter), rather bravely remarked after director general Mark Thompson turned down a request to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for Gaza: "I'm afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally. Israel has a long reputation for bullying the BBC."
      • many individuals who privately told Dispatches of their concerns about the lobby simply felt they had too much to lose by confronting it. The BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby had boldly expressed criticism in a powerfully argued article for Index on Censorship of the pressure from pro-Israel groups on the BBC, which led to the BBC Trust’s report on Jeremy Bowen, and had initially been keen to be involved [in Oborne’s programme]. From Oborne’s pamphlet: “Suddenly his interest evaporated. There simply wasn’t the time, he said. At first we felt baffled and let down. But in due course we discovered that his comments had brought a complaint from the very same lawyer, Jonathan Turner of the Zionist Federation, that had complained about Jeremy Bowen … ”
      • In January 2009, Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, took the unprecedented decision of breaking away from other broadcasters and refusing to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Appeal for Gaza, claiming outlandishly that it would compromise the BBC’s impartiality
    • John Pilger’s film The War You Don't See was broadcast on ITV last month. It is instructive to see Pilger cornering various hapless BBC management persons on their misguided views as to what constitutes impartiality and bias.
    • Robert Fisk, in various recent articles, refers to:
      • “the BBC's grovelling coverage of Israel”
      • in an article headed “How can you trust the cowardly BBC?”, Fisk says “the BBC Trust is now a mouthpiece for the Israeli lobby which abused Bowen … the BBC Trust's report on Jeremy Bowen's dispatches from the Middle East is pusillanimous … The trust has collapsed, in the most shameful way, against the usual Israeli lobbyists … the BBC management cowards … Bowen and his colleagues are truly lions led by BBC management donkeys”
      • “the BBC's pusillanimous coverage of the Gaza aid ships”
    • An article in the Independent in November 2005 noted that the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, “has recently returned from Jerusalem, where he held a … meeting with the hardine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon … Sources at the Beeb also suspect that it heralds a ‘softening’ to the corporation's unofficial editorial line on the Middle East.” The article continues, quoting from the ‘BBC source’: "Not many people know this, but Mark is actually a deeply religious man. He's a Catholic, but his wife is Jewish, and he has a far greater regard for the Israeli cause than some of his predecessors." The article adds (for the sake of fairness) that a BBC spokesman stressed that Thompson had also held talks with the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Most British people would probably think it odd (and demeaning) that the head of the BBC should meet with Sharon, much less discuss things with him (what things? BBC coverage?) Moreover, given the BBC’s pro-Israeli coverage, was the visit to Abbas merely for the sake of a spurious (and non-existent) “balance”?
    • In studies of television coverage by the University of Wales, Cardiff, and Media Tenor, the BBC's coverage was found to reflect overwhelmingly the government line.
    John Pilger, in a recent article in the London Guardian, asks “Why are wars not being reported honestly?” (He is speaking of conflicts in general) He goes on: “So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us? … Never has so much official energy been expended in ensuring journalists collude with the makers of rapacious wars.” He speaks of military intentions to control the media as far as possible; of "false realities" and their adoption by the media; of a news vocabulary that “seldom questioned the good intentions of the invaders”; of the pressure on journalists - of losing their job, of being labelled unpatriotic, and of a [Wiki]-leaked document revealing that the most effective journalists “are those who are regarded in places of power not as embedded or clubbable, but as a "threat”.

    The need for uncompromising media executives, editors, and journalists, some of whom have been mentioned in this article, is palpable - authors too. Indeed, Mearsheimer and Walt, in their book referred to above, identified this as one of two main points they made about mitigating the effects of the pro-Israel lobby, to encourage a more open debate about Middle East issues, and to encourage editors, journalists, and scholars to resist the lobby’s efforts to shape public discourse, and to reject the silencing tactics that some lobby groups employ. (Interestingly, their other major point, to reduce the lobby’s political influence, was to recommend the public financing of all elections – a point that could be borne in mind here in the UK.)

    So, dear readers, how honest is the press, TV and radio in your country when it comes to the Middle East conflict? (Compare it to the Middle East coverage on Al-Jazeera and Russia Today.)


    Reason for hope  - activists from around the world
    It was ordinary people from around the world who, motivated by the injustice done to the Palestinians, manned the Gaza flotilla which attempted to break Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. The international outrage provoked by Israel’s murderous attack on the flotilla caused a shift in global attitudes towards Israel, not least at the United Nations, and led to some easing of the blockade.

    So, come on, all you good people out there in all countries! Get active. Write to your MP, senator, or other political representative about Israeli wrongs. March and protest. Join your local BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, and Sanctions) campaign - or start one.

    An activist who had been on a blockade-breaking “Viva Palestina” land convoy told us of the wonderful reception they had received from ordinary people in all of the countries they had passed through – bringing out the often big differences in attitude between the average citizen and those of the elites who rule over them. It would be nice if some reputable polling organization would carry out a new, comprehensive poll throughout the European Union, to look at public attitudes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a poll should at least cover all European states with large populations, and, in addition to measuring people’s attitudes to Israelis and Palestinians, should also measure their feelings about America’s position on the confllict, and the extent of their historical knowledge of the Zionist project and the related Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union’s ruling elites would then be confronted, perhaps, with the distance between their own, currently subservient, position towards Israel, and the feelings of ordinary people – not that they ever listen to us.


    Consequences of a failure to achieve an equitable settlement to the conflict
    If a resolution of the conflict is left entirely to the Israelis and the Palestinians (this is essentially the disingenuous American view), with perhaps a little mild behind-the-scenes chivvying, then, such is the massive imbalance of power between the two parties, coupled with Israeli intransigence, that no lasting, viable solution can come about. Unless, therefore, the United States changes course, and puts real pressure on Israel, or the European Union (and perhaps others) do so (putting also whatever pressure they can bring to bear on a recalcitrant America), then no solution to the conflict will be achieved. If this happens, then:
    • The Israelis, as well as the Palestinians, are headed for a disaster which may well spill over into the entire Middle East, and perhaps even further.
    • The extent of Israeli settlements (facts on the ground) is so great now, that if they continue much longer:
      • Then a two-state solution becomes more impossible by the day, paradoxically forcing the Palestinians towards a one-state solution (whether by force or not).
      • There is also a danger that Israel’s slow and cruel strangulation of the Palestinian people, so far advanced today, may be somehow completed – a genocide in slow motion.
    • In either of the above cases, if such a terrible end-game were to occur, the Americans would bear a heavy, not to say major, responsibility, since without their massive and long-term military and economic aid and diplomatic support, Israel’s expansionist wars, and its continuing illegal settlements, would not have been possible. They would rightly be widely reviled, and all their pretensions to freedom, democracy, and human rights would be derided.

    A final message of support for the Palestinians
    We reiterate our support for the Palestinians. No-one can know the history of modern Palestine and not come to the conclusion that the creation of Israel in 1948 was a crime, and its expansion after the 1967 war a crime upon a crime. We say again to the Palestinians:
    • Ultimately it is not up to the rest of the world to “decide” what is good, or what is not good, for you.
    • If you wish to continue the struggle to reverse the creation of Israel, there are many people who will sympathise, and others who will not. The question is in any case irrelevant, since, in the end, no one can force you to acceptance of anything against your will.
    • The “consensus” solution is the two-state solution, but in reality it is not a consensus at all. It is the favoured solution of a minority of largely Western nations led by America, and it is very favourable to the status quo – that is, to the Israelis. The minority of nations who propose it hold the power, at least currently. It may be possible to muster greater support for a solution other than the two-state solution outside your own community, but, at least for the present, hard realpolitik points to the two-state solution.
    • A breakthrough could occur at any time. On the other hand, there may be a long and bitter struggle, comparable to the struggle decades ago against apartheid South Africa.
    • You are the wronged party in this terrible and tragic conflict. You have our support whether you accept a two-state solution, or struggle for some other solution, and we wish you well.



    John Tinmouth
    South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition
    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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      6
        SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION


        BULLY BOYS II:
        THOUGHTS ON MEARSHEIMER AND WALT’S BOOK ON THE ISRAEL LOBBY

        An ideology that divides the world into those who are worth more and those who are worth less, into superior and inferior beings, does not have to reach the dimensions of the German genocide to be wrong.
        Amira Hass, Israeli Journalist


        --------------------------------------

        There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.
        Golda Meir, former Israeli Prime Minister.
        Extract from John Pilger’s book Freedom Next Time, heading to his chapter ‘The Last Taboo’, discussing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict
        .


        --------------------------------------

        Sometime in the late 1950’s, that world-class gossip and occasional historian, John F. Kennedy, told me how, in 1948, Harry S. Truman had been pretty much abandoned by everyone when he came to run for president. Then an American Zionist brought him two million dollars in cash, in a suitcase, aboard his whistle-stop campaign train. "That’s why our recognition of Israel was rushed through so fast". As neither Jack nor I was an anti-Semite (unlike his father and my grandfather) we took this to be just another funny story about Truman and the serene corruption of American politics.

        Unfortunately, the hurried recognition of Israel as a state has resulted in forty-five years [now sixty] of murderous confusion and the destruction of what Zionist fellow-travellers thought would be a pluralistic state - home to its native population of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as a future home to peaceful European and American Jewish immigrants, even the ones who affected to believe that the great realtor in the sky had given them, in perpetuity, the lands of Judea and Samaria. Since many of the immigrants were good socialists in Europe, we assumed they would not allow the new state to become a theocracy and that the native Palestinians could live with them as equals. This was not meant to be. I shall not rehearse the wars and alarms of that unhappy region. But I will say that the hasty invention of Israel has poisoned the political and intellectual life of the USA, Israel’s unlikely patron.
        Gore Vidal, in the foreword to the first printing of Israel Shahak’s book Jewish History, Jewish Religion.


        --------------------------------------





        Part I:
        Background: STSTWC’s Position, Anti-Semitism, Zionism, The History Of Palestine


        This article seeks to investigate the issues surrounding Mearsheimer and Walt’s book on The Israel Lobby. Because the issue is so highly emotive, it is necessary first of all to set out South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition’s position, and to consider both the nature of anti-Semitism, and of Zionism. It is also necessary to examine the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

        South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition’s Position
        South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition is, like the national Stop The War Coalition, just that - a coalition. All of its founding members are secular. Though none are right-wing, their politics range from liberal with a small ‘l’, via Old Labour, to Marxist in about equal proportions. They include a Briton who was born in Iran and came here as a young man (he is also a liberal and stood against Miliband at the last general election - they say here in rock-solid Labour South Shields that, if Labour were to put up a monkey it would win by a landslide – and Miliband duly won). They also include a British Jew (who is also a Marxist and a pacifist). Several of the founding members regularly go out and distribute anti-racist leaflets in areas where a roughing-up is always a possibility, which is probably more than can be said for most of those so-called liberals and others (often Jewish) who attack anyone who criticises Israeli policy. We strongly support the Palestinian cause, not because we love Palestinians and hate Israelis, but for justice, because the Palestinians have first been dispossessed of their land, and then have long been brutally oppressed by the Israeli state. Furthermore, a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would bring peace and security to the region, and thus greatly benefit, not just the Palestinians, but also the Israeli people themselves (as opposed to the Zionist Israeli government). We are not anti-Semitic, though we are strongly anti-Zionist.


        Anti-Semitism
        Anti-Semitism is a complex subject, but some quotes from Michael Neumann’s book The Case Against Israel may be apposite:
        • "The claim that opposition to Israel is anti-Semitic is unworthy of discussion for two reasons. First, it is patently false. Since not all Jews are Israelis or supporters of Israel, to be against all Israelis or Israel is not to be against all Jews. Second, opposition to Israel is almost always opposition to Israeli policies, not to the existence of Israel, and it is often held that such policies are in fact harmful to Israel, Israelis and Jews. These claims can hardly be considered anti-Semitic. Indeed, the accusation can hardly be made in good faith."
        • Neumann continues: "No doubt many anti-Semites oppose Israel, and do so for anti-Semitic reasons, and conceal their motives. None of this is relevant to whether or not Israel is in fact in the wrong. No doubt many people opposed Japanese fascism for racist reasons. It does not follow that such opposition was mistaken."
        • Neumann also makes a further significant point, in his essay What Is Anti-Semitism? (included in the Politics Of Anti-Semitism, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair). After first arguing that we should not be bullied into proclaiming anti-Semitism in today’s world as uniquely the Evil of Evils - though very unpleasant, it has not caused Jews a great deal of actual harm (he mentions roughly half a dozen Jews hospitalised – none killed *) - he goes on to say:
          “... the scandal today is not anti-Semitism but the importance it is given. Israel has committed war crimes. It has implicated Jews generally in these crimes, and Jews generally have hastened to implicate themselves. This has provoked hatred against Jews. Why not? Some of this hatred is racist, some isn’t, but who cares? Why should we pay any attention to this issue at all? Is it of any importance that Israel’s race war has provoked bitter anger when we compare that anger with the war itself? Is the remote possibility that somewhere, sometime, somehow, this hatred may in theory, possibly kill some Jews, of any importance next to the brutal, actual, physical persecution of Palestinians ...? Oh, but I forgot. Drop everything. Someone spray-painted anti-Semitic slogans on a synagogue.”

          * Neumann’s book was published in 2005. Since then, as M & W report, a French Jew was murdered by a Muslim gang in 2006. Still, when compared with Israel’s crimes, it hardly invalidates Neumann’s point.
        It is also useful to peruse M & W on the so-called ‘new anti-Semitism’ – alarmist claims about a resurgence of virulent anti-Semitism - which is alleged (invariably by Zionists and their apologists) to be abroad, especially, they say, in Europe:
        • “No one would deny that there are still some virulent … anti-Semites in Europe (as there are in the United States), but their numbers are [relatively] small and their extreme views are rejected by the vast majority of Europeans.” We could add to M & W’s point that, for example, the British National Party (BNP) in Britain, and Le Penn’s party in France have, over the years, garnered little support when reviewed dispassionately. For example, despite the BNP’s recent ‘surge’ in European elections, those voting for it (something less than 1 million) represent only about 1 person in 40 of the electorate eligible to vote. Despite the near-hysterical furore in the British media, this is hardly a landslide – more an extremist fringe. Whilst not condoning them, those of us who have encountered them on the streets will testify that there is a considerable proportion of them who, rather than being racist, are concerned more about jobs (and the supposed effect of immigration on jobs) in these difficult economic times.
        • “Nor would we deny that there is anti-Semitism among European Muslims, some of it provoked by Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians and some of it straightforwardly racist.” To add to M & W, we again refer to the BNP’s performance, as noted above. M & W continue: “In Great Britain, for example, the Community Security Trust (CST), a watchdog group that monitors anti-Semitism ... reported a 31 per cent rise in such incidents in 2006 ... the total number of incidents reported was 594 (in a country of more than sixty million people) ... As CST’s Mark Gardner acknowledged, ‘This is certainly not comparable with the 1930’s or anything remotely like that’.”
        • “When pressed to go beyond vague assertions, pro-Israel groups now claim that there is a ‘new anti-Semitism’ which they equate with criticism of Israel.” M & W continue, with a telling instance: “When the Synod of the Church of England voted in early 2006 to divest from Caterpillar Inc. on the grounds that Caterpillar manufactures the bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes, the chief rabbi of the U.K. complained that it would ‘have the most adverse repercussions on ... Jewish-Christian relations in Britain’, while Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Reform movement, said, ‘There is a clear problem of anti-Zionist – verging on anti-Semitic – attitudes emerging in the grass roots, and even in the middle ranks of the Church.’ ” M & W continue: “the church was guilty of neither anti-Zionism nor anti-Semitism; it was merely protesting Israeli policy.”

        Neumann’s is the major point. Of course it is necessary to be always vigilant, and extreme Jewish sensibilities on the matter are understandable. But, as M & W point out, “Supporters of Israel, in fact, have a history of using fears of a ‘new anti-Semitism’ to shield Israel from criticism.” These objectionable tactics are referred to in detail below, in the section headed ‘The Lobby - Objectionable Tactics’.

        Zionism
        Historical Zionism – that is, Zionism before the creation of the state of Israel - can be defined as a project by Jews from outside Palestine to inhabit a Jewish area in Palestine. Neumann again: "Having a project to inhabit a certain region in no way entitles you to wield the power of life and death over its current inhabitants, or for that matter to give them a choice of submission or departure."  He goes on “Since your project is illegitimate, it may be resisted just as fiercely as any other project that gives someone, illegitimately, the power of life and death over your existence.” Historical Zionism involved supporting this Zionist project without regard for the rights of the people who were there in the first place, the Palestinians, as the murderous history of the Zionist project referred to below amply demonstrates. What then, can current Zionism mean – that is, Zionism since the creation in 1948, by murderous violence, of the state of Israel (a de facto state – its legitimacy is another matter)? Current Zionism, therefore, can only be defined as similar continuing support for post-creation Israel without regard for the legitimate and human rights of the people who were there in the first place – the Palestinians. Thus, anyone who now supports Israel without regard for the rights of the Palestinians is a Zionist (or an apologist for Zionists), and, since the Israeli state currently ignores Palestinian rights, it follows that it itself is a Zionist state unless and until it changes its policies. But, as the history referred to below demonstrates, the Israeli state is also a Jewish supremacist state, a racist state. A Zionist, therefore, (whether or not he or she is Jewish – many of them are) is a supporter of such a state, and is therefore a racist. Zionism is thus an oppressive, racist creed which should be resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all. It is vital that it be carefully distinguished from both the notions of Jewishness, and of the people of the state of Israel. It is also even more vital that any attempt by Zionists to confuse the three different notions – Jewishness, the people of the state of Israel, and the Zionist cause – for their own malicious purposes, be similarly resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all.

        The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict – A Brief History
        There is one further task to carry out before examining the issues raised by Mearsheimer and Walt’s book. We need to examine the history of Israel (and thus of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict), since this is the root cause of the problem. This has already been done in an article entitled “A Brief History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, which we have already distributed. For those who do not have copies, the article is available on South Tyneside STWC’s website, www.northeaststopwar.org.uk – at the site, just click on ‘Forum’, then select ‘South Tyneside Stop the War’, then select the article. The history ends with the Israeli assault on Gaza in December 2008 - events since then to the present date are set out below.

        The long-planned and savage 22-day assault on Gaza - the Israeli army, the fourth largest army in the world, plus the (American-equipped) Israeli air force, against the light weapons of the Palestinian resistance fighters of Hamas, began in the last tottering days of the ardently pro-Israeli Bush administration. It ended with Israel’s declaration of a ceasefire on 17th January, just prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration as the new president of the United States. It had killed around 1400 Palestinians, and injured more than 5,000. Unsurprisingly, given the balance of forces, there were only 13 Israeli deaths – the usual kill ratio of many Palestinians for each Israeli.

        Israel was accused of serious war crimes by numerous groups, including the UN, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even Israeli groups. These include the use of white phosphorus against civilians, the use of human shields by the Israeli army, the deliberate targeting and killing of civilians (including by drones), and the killing of medical rescue units. The issue is unlikely to go away. More sinisterly, it has emerged that a booklet, approved by the army’s chief rabbi, was issued to soldiers preparing for the Gaza offensive. This document, bordering on racist incitement, talks about the necessity of cruelty against the enemy, and dehumanises and delegitimises the Palestinians and their claims. Israel Shahak, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, similarly reported years ago on the racist effects of Orthodox Judaism, prevalent not just among Israeli politicians (and particularly Likud), but within the Israeli army, affecting the army’s attitude towards the Palestinians. So much for Israeli ‘purity of arms’.

        The Israeli siege of Gaza, commenced more than two years ago, continued after the assault ended, and persists to this day – Palestinian torment goes on. Its real purpose, like that of the assault, was to bring down Hamas by coldly and quite deliberately causing death and malnutrition, and physical and mental suffering to one and a half million Palestinians in an act of collective punishment which the oppressors mistakenly calculated would turn the population against Hamas. Conditions are dreadful. Large areas have been reduced to rubble, and infrastructure and much of private industry has been destroyed. Many thousands of people remain displaced, living in tents amongst the debris, or forced to stay with relatives. The Israeli overlords control the borders and refuse to allow reconstruction materials in, or adequate food supplies. Medical services cannot handle a traumatized population battered by siege, bombardment from land and air, renewed siege, the killing of family and friends, living in poor conditions on inadequate rations with, for many, precarious access to water and power. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian land continued to be stolen amidst settler and Israeli army violence.


        The new Obama administration indicated from the outset its intention to settle the Israeli-Palestinian question. However:
        • In February, Israeli elections resulted in a right-wing coalition government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu – an outcome which did not help the siuation
        • In America, in March, the Israel lobby struck again, in their first clash with the Obama administration, overturning the appointment of long-time diplomat Charles Freeman to a top intelligence job. Freeman, after the lobby’s attentions over his criticisms of Israeli government policy, resigned before even starting work. The White House declined to comment on the resignation, which perhaps does not bode well for the future – Freeman considers that the hullabaloo raises "serious questions" as to the Obama administration’s ability to take on the lobby. ” Just a few of his comments regarding the lobby: their tactics “plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the wilful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth."; their effect “a hammer lock on both public discussion and policy"; the object of their campaign “[to] reinforce the taboo against any critical discussion of Israeli policies".





        Part II:
        Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book, And The American Background

        Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book
        We can now examine Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, and the American background. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (subsequently referred to as M & W) are two distinguished American academics.  Their original paper and article in March 2006, and subsequent book The Israel Lobby And US Foreign Policy in September 2007, generated much heat and controversy. They argue that a very powerful lobby of staunchly pro-Israel groups, think tanks, institutions and individuals, many of them Jewish but also including sympathetic gentiles (who include Christian Zionists), and with neoconservatives prominent amongst them, unduly influences America’s Middle East foreign policy in ways that the lobby considers to be favourable to Israel. The result, they say, is an extraordinary degree of financial and political support for Israel, which, they contend, cannot be justified either on strategic or moral grounds - in fact, they consider that foreign policy has thereby been distorted in ways detrimental to American interests, and which are also in fact damaging to Israel’s real interests.

        The Israel Lobby
        The Israel lobby is a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape US Middle East policy in a pro-Israeli direction. It is in no sense a unified movement with a central leadership, and the individuals and groups that make it up sometimes disagree on specific policy issues. The boundaries of the lobby cannot be identified precisely – there are individuals and groups whose position is hard to classify.

        The lobby has a “core”, which includes AIPAC, WINEP, and the ADL. The bulk of the lobby consists of Jewish Americans and Jewish organizations. The elements of the lobby comprise:
        • key organizations which include
          • AIPAC – American-Israel Public Affairs Committee – identified by M & W as the most important organization. M & W: “In recent years, AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents [of Major American Jewish Organizations] have tilted towards Likud and other hard-line parties in Israel and were skeptical about the Oslo peace process …”
          • The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations – M & W report that 51 of the largest and most important organizations come together in this umbrella organization whose mission includes “forging diverse groups into a unified force for Israel’s well-being” and working to “strengthen and foster the special U.S.-Israel relationship”.
          • ZOA – Zionist Organisation of America
          • ADL – the Anti-Defamation League
        • think tanks which include:
          • JINSA – Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
          • MEF – Middle East Forum
          • WINEP – Washington Institute for Near East Policy
        • the neoconservatives, many of whom occupy influential positions (even after the recent election of Barack Obama)
        • the Christian Zionists – a subset of the Christian Right
        M & W quote J.J. Goldberg on the lobby’s desire that American Jews discuss Jewish issues in an inconspicuous way: “All these [Jewish lobby] organizations came to the same conclusion: American Jews had the right to discuss issues freely, but only within discreet forums outside public view.”

        M & W are careful to point out that the Israel lobby is not a cabal [their word] or conspiracy, and that it operates in the open [but see the paragraph above] and proudly advertises its own clout. They are also careful to stress that its operations are no different from those of other interest groups. However, they say, what sets it apart is the unusual degree of power of those groups and individuals which comprise it, and its extraordinary effectiveness. It is easy to infer that its extraordinary effectiveness is because of its unusual degree of power.


        The Operation Of The Lobby
        Before examining the operation of the Israel lobby, we can:
        • note that M & W are careful to state that the Israel lobby is like other policy interest groups in its desire to influence the U.S. government through a variety of different channels. They note that it “is in a better position to do so than most other groups, which is one reason its efforts are so effective.”
        • note in passing the comment in Jeffrey Blankfort’s article The Israel Lobby and the Left (included in The Politics Of Anti-Semitism referred to above), where he notes that “Jewish power has, in fact, been trumpeted by a number of Jewish writers, including one J.J. Goldberg, editor of the Jewish weekly Forward, who wrote a book by that name in 1996.” He said that “any attempt, however, to explore the issue from a critical standpoint inevitably leads to accusations of anti-Semitism ...”
        • also note in passing, since much of the American situation described below is concerned with the effect of Israel lobby money on politics, that Blankfort’s article also quotes from Benjamin Ginsberg’s book The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State, written in 1993. Blankfort states that this is how Ginsberg began his book, written in 1993:
          • “Since the 1960’s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980’s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today [that is, in 1993], though barely 2 per cent of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times.”
        The Operation Of The Lobby In The Political Sphere
        Strategies
        M & W state that the groups and individuals who make up the lobby pursue two broad strategies to encourage steadfast support for Israel. One of these is to exert significant influence on the policy-making process in Washington, and is discussed here. To influence the policy-making process, M & W allege, the lobby helps get sympathetic individuals elected or appointed to key positions. It wants uncritical support for Israel to be the ‘smart’ political choice. To this end, the lobby tries to shape perceptions and options so that many key leaders willingly favour the lobby’s positions, and puts pressure on US leaders who might nevertheless be tempted to take an independent view

        Influence On The U.S. Congress
        M & W assert that a major plank in the lobby’s effectiveness is its influence in the U.S. Congress, to the point that Israel, remarkably, is largely immune from criticism. Unlike virtually all other areas of policy, where lively debate is the norm, “where Israel is concerned, potential critics fall silent and there is hardly any debate at all.” They give as an instance a hearing on the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process on February 14th, 2007, by a sub-committee in the House of Representatives. Testimony was sought from three witnesses, all of whom were “central players in the lobby” (involving AIPAC, WINEP and the right-wing Middle East Forum). “No critic of Israel, much less a Palestinian or Arab-American was brought in to offer alternative views”. The authors quote M.J. Rosenberg, from a “moderate pro-Israeli group that actively supports a two-state solution” (the Israel Policy Forum): “This was a hearing about two sides of a conflict where only one side was allowed to speak.”

        Some key members of Congress are Christian Zionists, such as former Majority Leader Richard Armey (who said ‘my No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel’ – not America, as M & W point out). Tom DeLay was Armey’s successor as Majority Leader (he said that he was ‘an Israeli at heart’)

        There are Jewish senators and representatives who work to make US foreign policy support Israel’s interests. We note that, for the 111th Congress, the Jewish Virtual Library website currently lists 44 Jewish members of Congress, 13 out of 100 senators and 31 out of 435 in the House. Thus, the Jewish community is considerably over-represented in both Senate and House – Jewish members make up 8% of Congress, whereas the Jewish community makes up a little over 2% of the population.  M & W report that, in 2006, a record number of Jewish Americans were elected to the House and Senate. They note that some of these legislators are ardent defenders of Israel, and that the chair of the subcommittee described above was Gary Ackerman (D-NY), “another avid backer of Israel”, while the chair of the larger Committee on Foreign Affairs is [was] Tom Lantos (D-CA), “who has no rival on Capitol Hill in his devotion to Israel. As one former AIPAC leader put it, Lantos ‘is true blue and white’ ”)

        Congressional staffers can tilt legislation in a pro-Israel way – they provide policy options for their employers. M & W quote Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC: “There are lots of guys at the working level up here [on Capitol Hill] ... who happen to be Jewish, who are willing ... to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness ... These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators ... You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.” Representatives from lobby groups sometimes directly help Hill staffers draft legislation, provide talking points that legislators can use publicly, help write letters that legislators send one another on their positions, draft and circulate open letters designed to put congressional pressure on the executive branch.


        AIPAC: At The Core Of The Lobby
        M & W, after pointing out that lobbying groups of all types provide a ‘legislative subsidy’ to sympathetic lawmakers by providing direct help as described in the paragraph above, then consider AIPAC (at the “core” of the Israel lobby): “Not only does every member of Congress receive AIPAC’s bi-weekly newsletter Near East Report, its personnel are also available to help staffers when issues affecting Israel arise. According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, ‘it is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.’ More important, he notes that AIPAC is ‘often called upon to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes.’ In other words, AIPAC inserts itself directly into the legislative and policy-making process with considerable frequency ...”

        M & W state that it is AIPAC that holds the key to influence in Congress, and that this is a fact widely acknowledged by politicians from both parties. They quote:
        • Bill Clinton as once describing AIPAC as “stunningly effective” and “better than anyone else lobbying in this town”.
        • former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who called it “the most effective general-interest group ... across the entire planet.”
        • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “I can’t think of a policy organization in the country as well-organized and respected [as AIPAC].”
        • the New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg, who  calls it “a leviathan among lobbies”
        • AIPAC’s own website, which quotes the New York Times’ assessment that it is “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel.”

        AIPAC: Its Tactics And Operations
        They attribute AIPAC’s success largely to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda and to punish those who do not, mainly through its ability to influence campaign contributions – AIPAC makes sure its friends get financial support so long as they do not stray from AIPAC’s line. Many individuals who bankroll AIPAC are important political contributors in their own right. AIPAC also helps connect political candidates to other donors and sources of funds. AIPAC screens potential candidates and arranges meetings with potential donors and fund-raisers, and provides information to pro-Israel PACs. M & W quote the historian David Biale: “The American Jewish ‘Israel lobby’ has developed ... into one of the most sophisticated and effective lobbying organizations in the United States Congress. It has done so in part by developing a national network of Jewish Political Action Committees for contributing funds to congressional candidates based on the criteria of support for Israel.” And AIPAC President Howard Friedman: “AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel’s predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a ‘position paper’ on their views of the US-Israel relationship – so it’s clear where they stand on the subject.” The authors note that Friedman’s description of AIPAC’s modus operandi is consistent with testimony from other political figures:
        • they note Tom Hayden, “the anti-war figure who was running for a seat in the California Assembly in the early 1980’s, explains how he won support from the local power broker Michael Berman on the condition that he would always be a ‘good friend to Israel’. Hayden, who won the election, notes that he ‘had to be certified ‘kosher’ ’, not once but over and over again. The certifiers were the elites, beginning with rabbis and heads of the multiple mainstream Jewish organisations ... An important vetting role was held as well by ... [AIPAC], a group closely associated with official parties in Israel. When necessary, Israeli ambassadors, counsels general and other officials would intervene with statements declaring someone a ‘friend of Israel’.”
        • they also quote the case of Harry Lonsdale: “the democratic candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR) in 1990 has described his own visit to AIPAC headquarters during that campaign. ‘The word that I was pro-Israel got around’, he writes. ‘I found myself invited to AIPAC in Washington, D.C., fairly early in the campaign, for ‘discussions’. It was an experience I will never forget. It wasn’t enough that I was pro-Israel. I was given a list of vital topics and quizzed (read grilled) for my specific opinion on each. Actually, I was told what my opinion must be, and exactly what words I was to use to express those opinions in public ... Shortly after that encounter at AIPAC, I was sent a list of American supporters of Israel ... that I was free to call for campaign contributions. I called; they gave, from Florida to Alaska.’ ”
        • then there is former Idaho governor John V. Evans: “... tells a similar story about his 1986 campaign against incumbent Idaho Senator Steven Symms. He visited AIPAC headquarters, where, according to Evans, they ‘emphasised constantly that they were not a PAC (political action committee) ... But they noted that there were Jewish organizations all over the country that had their own PAC’s and that if we could contact them, they would be able to help us.’ According to the Wall Street Journal, AIPAC steered Mr. Evans to a series of supposedly independent committees – many of them run by people with ties to AIPAC – that gave him $204,950 for his losing race against Republican Sen. Steve Symms.”

        M & W report that AIPAC monitors congressional voting records and makes these records available to its members so they can decide which candidates or PACs to support, and that candidates or incumbents who are seen as hostile to Israel can expect AIPAC to guide campaign contributions to their opponents. They note that “internal AIPAC documents acquired by the Washington Post in 1988 revealed that its deputy political director was actively ‘trying to help raise money for several candidates in the 1986 Senate.’ ” Also, “the Wall Street Journal reported in 1987 that ‘despite AIPAC’s claims of non-involvement in political spending, no fewer than 51 pro-Israeli PACs – most of which draw money from Jewish donors and operate under obscure-sounding names – are operated by AIPAC officials or people who hold seats on AIPAC’s two major policy-making bodies. Although the federal Election Commission ruled that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to conclude that AIPAC controlled the network of pro-Israel PACs, the belief that AIPAC helps guide contributions remains widespread.” Notwithstanding the above, M & W state that “despite its name, AIPAC is not a political action committee and does not officially endorse candidates or give money directly to their campaigns.” George Sunderland (Sunderland is the pen name of a senior congressional staffer), in his article Our Vichy Congress in The Politics of Anti-Semitism referred to above, goes further, and asks “... Why is AIPAC different? For one thing, it is a political action committee that lobbies expressly on behalf of a foreign power; the fact that it is exempt from the Foreign Agents’ Registration Act is yet another mysterious ‘Israeli exception.’ ” And the effect? :
        • M & W again: “The veteran diplomat David Newsom, who served as assistant secretary of state in the Nixon administration and as undersecretary of state under Jimmy Carter reports that ‘when a prominent member of congress was once asked the reason for the power of AIPAC in the legislature, he replied, Money. It's as simple as that.’ ”
        • Jeffrey Blankfort’s article on The Israel Lobby and the Left in The Politics of Anti-Semitism referred to above referred to above, quotes former US Senator James Abourezk (D-South Dakota), in a speech before the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee: “That is the state of American politics today. The Israel lobby has put together so much money power that we are daily witnessing US senators and representatives bowing down low to Israel and its US lobby. Make no mistake. The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators’ love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israel lobby ... that [US aid and] … money [to Israel] plus the political support the US gives Israel at the United Nations, is what allows Israel to conduct criminal operations in Palestine with impunity.”

        How much money? M & W go on: “The Center For Responsive Politics (CRP), a non-partisan research group that tracks campaign contributions, has identified roughly three dozen pro-Israel PACs active in recent elections. In the 2006 midterms, these groups gave more than $3 million to candidates from both parties. Between 1990 and 2004, reports the Economist, pro-Israel groups contributed nearly $57 million to candidates and parties, while Arab-American and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000. When combined with individual contributions to particular candidates and donations given to the national party organizations themselves, pro-Israeli forces wield considerable electoral clout. According to CRP’s Steven Weiss, ‘If you are a candidate and you get the pro-Israel label from AIPAC, the money will start coming in from contributors all over the country.’ ”

        AIPAC: The Effectiveness Of Its Tactics On Congress
        M & W say that “there is little doubt over the potency of these tactics” and go on to give a number of instances:
        • “in 2006 ... money from pro-Israel groups and individuals helped Senator Joseph Lieberman retain his seat by running independently following his defeat by Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary. Lieberman received a total of more than $145,000 from two different pro-Israel PACs, and none of these groups helped Lamont.”
        • “in the same year [2006], $76,000 worth of pro-Israel PAC contributions helped Sheldon Whitehouse defeat incumbent senator Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI), who had long been regarded as lukewarm on Israel.”
        • “other beneficiaries of pro-Israel PAC support include successful candidates such as Robert Menendez (D-N) and Brad Ellsworth (D-IN). According to Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the money for these (and other candidates) was ‘raised by a loose network of donors, many of whom have strong ties to [AIPAC], the pro-Israel lobby.’ ”
        • “AIPAC and its related network cannot influence every election, of course, and even large donations from pro-Israel groups could not get Lonsdale or Evans elected or prevent former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) or incumbent senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) from being defeated in their respective bids for re-election in 2004 and 2006. But over the past three decades it has helped many successful candidates win their races, while driving from office a number of individuals it considered unfriendly to Israel.”
        • “in 2002, for example, it helped defeat Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) by funnelling campaign money to her opponents. McKinney returned to office in 2004 but was again defeated for re-election in 2006. Hank Johnson, her victorious opponent in the 2006 Democratic primary, received at least $34,000 from seven pro-Israel PACs.” Further detail on McKinney’s 2002 defeat is provided in Alexander Cockburn’s article ironically titled My Life as an ‘Anti-Semite’ in The Politics of Anti-Semitism:  “McKinney ... an excellent liberal black congresswoman ... had called for a proper debate on the Middle East ... American Jewish money showered upon her opponent, Denise Majette ... Buckets of sewage were poured over McKinney’s head in the Washington Post ... McKinney saw ... that American Jewish money was pumping up Majette’s challenge. So she went to Arab-American groups to try to raise money to fight back. This allowed Tom Edsall to attack her in the Washington Post as being in receipt of money from pro-terror Muslims ... Down went McKinney.”
        • “in another well-known case, wealthy Chicago businessman and former AIPAC President Robert Asher helped recruit and vet an Illinois attorney, Richard Durbin, to run against incumbent Congressman Paul Findley (R-IL) in 1982. Durbin had never held elected office, and as Asher later recalled, ‘I probed [Durbin’s] views ... I wanted to make sure we were supporting someone who was not only against Paul Findlay but also a friend of Israel. He beat Findlay with a lot of help from Jews, in-state and out-of-state. Now, how did the Jewish money find him? I travelled around the country talking about how we had the opportunity to defeat someone unfriendly to Israel. And the gates opened’. Asher solicited funds with a letter to potential donors declaring that the election was the ‘best chance’ to remove a ‘dangerous enemy of Israel’ from Congress, and Durbin eventually received a total of $104,325 in campaign funds from thirty-one different pro-Israeli PACs. By way of comparison, other Illinois congressional candidates received an average of about $3,700 from the same groups. Durbin went on to narrowly defeat Findley, who had served eleven previous terms, and he later won election to the Senate, where he currently serves as majority whip.”
        • “in 2002, Mayer ‘Bubba’ Mitchell, another member of the ‘Gang of Four’ (the group of wealthy donors that guides AIPAC’s policy making) used similar tactics to oust Congressman Earl Hilliard (D-AL). Like Durbin, Hilliard’s opponent got financial help from AIPAC supporters across the country. According to the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Asher later said that he had ‘asked Bubba how he felt after [Hilliard's opponent] won’, and he said ‘just like you did when Durbin got elected.’ “ again, further detail is provided in Alexander Cockburn's article titled My Life As An ‘Anti-Semite’ : ”Hilliard had made the fatal error of calling for some measure of even-handedness in the Middle East. So he was targeted by AIPAC ... Down he went, defeated in the Democratic primary by Artur Davis, a black lawyer who obediently sang for his supper on the topic of Israel.”
        • The following case comes from Alexander Cockburn’s article titled My Life as an ‘Anti-Semite’ : Rep. James Moran, “... in hot water for having remarked ... , as quoted in the Virginia-area newspapers, ‘if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.’ The House and Senate Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle, hastened to denounce Moran’s remarks, and six Jewish House Democrats took it upon themselves to advise Moran that he not seek re-election in 2004 ... Moran was forced to give up on his positions as Democratic Party leader in the mid-Atlantic region ...”
        • M & W again: “AIPAC has also played an important role in defeating a number of other politicians who took positions it disagreed with, including representative Pete McCloskey (R-CA) and senators J. William Fulbright (D-AR) and Roger Jepson (R-IA), to name a few. Jepson’s fate is particularly revealing: he was targeted after he succumbed to a personal plea from President Ronald Reagan and agreed to support the 1981 sale of AWACS aircraft to Saudi Arabia. His opponent in the 1984 Senate race, democrat Tom Harkin, received more than $100,000 in pro-Israel PAC money and Jepson lost his seat. Senator Alan Cranston (D-CA) later commented that Jepson’s fate ‘has sort of struck terror into the hearts of senators about switching’ on Middle East votes.”
        • “... former Senator Adlai Stevenson (D-IL), who ran for Governor of Illinois in 1982. He first ran afoul of pro-Israel groups in 1980, when he introduced an amendment to a Senate bill that called for reducing foreign aid to Israel if it did not stop building settlements. Stevenson knew the amendment would never pass, but he wanted to show that his colleagues would support Israel even if it was acting in ways contrary to U.S. Policy. The measure was easily defeated, gaining only seven votes. One reluctant opponent of the amendment, Senator Quentin Burdick (D-ND), told the Illinois Senator, ‘Sorry, Adlai, but I am up for reelection.’ When Stevenson ran for governor two years later, he quickly discovered that campaign contributions began to dry up, and indeed, went to his opponent. According to the former senator, he and his wife ‘were reviled as anti-Semitic. Some in the press turned hostile. Jewish Democratic Committeemen wilted under pressure. Jewish friends and supporters were also reviled.’ Stevenson was narrowly defeated, and as he later said, ‘the lobby made the difference in that election many times over.’ ”
        • “… perhaps the most renowned example of the costs that can befall a politician who crosses AIPAC is the defeat of Senator Charles Percy (R-IL) in 1984. despite a generally pro-Israel voting record, Percy incurred AIPAC’s wrath by declining to sign the AIPAC-sponsored ‘Letter of 76’ protesting President Ford’s threatened ‘reassessment’ of U.S. Middle East policy in 1975. He also made the mistake of calling PLO leader Yasser Arafat more ‘moderate’ than some other Palestinian terrorists. Percy’s opponents in both the primary and general election in 1984 received large sums from pro-Israel PACs, and a businessman from another state (California), Michael Goland, who was also a major contributor to AIPAC, spent $1.1 million on anti-Percy advertising in Illinois ... As Tom Dine boasted after Percy’s narrow defeat, ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’ Dine’s hyperbole notwithstanding, the basic lesson of these cases is hard to miss. As J.J. Goldberg, the editor of the Forward, said in 2002, ‘there is this image in Congress that you don’t cross these people or they take you down.’ “

        M & W note that AIPAC and pro-Israel PACs focus on more than getting Israel-friendly candidates elected. They have also had notable success turning politicians into steadfast supporters of Israel:
        • They note that “former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) was an outspoken critic of the U.S. Foreign aid program for much of his career, which also meant that he opposed giving substantial aid to Israel. In 1984, however, Helms was in a hard-fought (and expensive) race for reelection against James Hunt, the popular governor of North Carolina. Sensing an opportunity to put a formidable enemy out of business, AIPAC channeled large amounts of campaign money to Hunt, who came within a hair of winning. Helms got the message: he traveled to Israel the following year and had his picture taken with a yarmulke on his head kissing the Western Wall. The same trip also produced a picture of the senator with Ariel Sharon for his office wall. More important, Helms became a vocal supporter of Israel and remained one until his retirement in 2002.”
        • George Sunderland, in his article Our Vichy Congress in The Politics Of Anti-Semitism, cites the case of Marianne Gingrich as an instance of the lobby’s power to influence Congress: “... In 1995, coincidentally the year her then husband became Speaker of the House, Marianne Gingrich was hired by the Israel Export Development Co. Ltd ... as its vice president for business development. Mrs. Gingrich’s interest in Israel began during an eight-day trip to Israel she and her husband made in August 1994 at Israel’s expense.” Was it, Sunderland asks, “a political payoff from a foreign power?” ... Mrs. Gingrich ... had no experience in the field. Her salary was $2,500 per month, ‘plus commissions’, the size of which neither she nor anyone connected with the business would reveal. By an even odder coincidence, the newly minted Speaker Gingrich’s foreign policy prescriptions became stridently pro-Israel and bellicosely opposed to the countries that Israel designated as enemies. One of Gingrich’s notable forays into diplomacy at the time was his public call for the CIA to overthrow the government of Iran ...”

        M & W state that “if electoral pressure and persuasion don’t work, AIPAC has been known to threaten politicians who appear reluctant to follow its lead. In 2006, for example, congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), a liberal with a solid pro-Israel voting record, nonetheless opposed the AIPAC-backed Palestinian Anti-terrorism Act. The measure, which sought to impose draconian measures on the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of the election of Hamas, was also opposed by the State Department, the Catholic Bishops, and other pro-Israel groups like Americans for Peace Now and the Israel policy Forum. Nonetheless, an AIPAC lobbyist told McCollum’s chief of staff that the representative’s ‘support for terrorists will not be tolerated’, a threat that led McCollum to demand an apology from AIPAC chief Howard Kohr and to bar AIPAC representatives from her offices.”

        George Sunderland, in his article Our Vichy Congress in The Politics Of Anti-Semitism mentions the following cases where Congress’s investigatory apparatus, he alleges, was not used, or was muffled:
        • he cites the example of “Lyndon Johnson’s decision to cover up the deliberate and protracted attack [by the Israeli air force] on the USS Liberty in June 1967 (which resulted in 34 deaths, almost double the deaths suffered by the crew of the USS Cole) was pointedly not investigated by Congress. Instead, the surviving crew were shamefully bullied into silence by the gargoyle Johnson and his functionaries; those who did break the silence later were reviled by the lobby as delusional anti-Semites.”
        • he continues: “... the congressional investigation into the Beirut barracks bombing stuck to the narrow issue of the incompetent US military chain of command, and avoided the wider issue of the Marines’ presence as sitting ducks in the middle of Sharon’s first war of conquest. A retired officer has asserted that the Mossad had intelligence from informers that the frame of a truck was being reinforced to carry a heavy load of explosives, but chose to keep the intelligence secret. Despite the lobby’s claim that the US-Israel relationship is one of mutual intelligence sharing, the real relationship is a starker one: according to old intelligence hands, Israel takes all and gives nothing, even if US lives are at stake.”
        • he goes on: “The way for then National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane’s ‘opening to Iran’ was paved by the fact that Israel was already providing F-4 Phantom spare parts manufactured in the United States and transported to Israel at American taxpayer expense to Iran on the sly as a way of counterbalancing Iraq’s military power. The extent to which President Reagan’s privatized foreign policy used these pre-existing links to pursue the Iranian opening is uncertain. What is certain is that the joint House-Senate investigating committee, chaired by long-time AIPAC favorite senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, took some pains to steer the investigation away from Israel, so that those links would not be made public in a way that would embarrass our major non-NATO ally.”
        • and more: “... Congress’s deafening silence over the Israeli ‘art student’s saga ... is astonishing for those unfamiliar with Congress’s reticence about embarrassing Israel ... The full story of how hundreds of Mossad agents-in-training were literally inundating federal facilities in the year and a half prior to 9/11 may never be known, thanks to a total smothering by the Justice Department, Congress, and the major media.”

        AIPAC: Its Clout In Congress
        Back to M & W. “The basic message”, they say, “is clear: any senator or representative who crosses AIPAC is playing with fire ... its ability to affect a politician’s electoral prospects is well-known.”:
        • M & W: “as one congressional source put it in 1991, ‘voting against Israel has become like voting against lumber in Washington state, except AIPAC does it all over the country.’ ”
        • M & W again: “And that is why Morris Amitay, the former AIPAC director who later served as the organization’s treasurer, could say in 2002 that ‘everyone seems to be very good [that is, pro-Israel] nowadays’ ”
        • M & W, noting what Jimmy Carter said in February 2007: “I don’t see any present prospect that any member of the US Congress, the House or Senate, would say, ‘Let’s take a balanced position between Israel and the Palestinians and negotiate a peace agreement.’ ” Carter added, “It’s almost politically suicidal ... for a member of the Congress who wants to seek reelection to take any stand that might be interpreted as anti-policy of the conservative Israeli government.”
        • Again, George Sunderland in his article Our Vichy Congress: “Since the mid-1980’s, no member of Congress has even tried to take on the lobby directly.” As a Senate staffer told Sunderland “it is the ‘cold fear’ of AIPAC’s disfavor that keeps the politicians in line. This scam has been going on for decades. The main purpose, other than to maintain the flow of weapons and loot to Israel, is to keep Congress’s investigatory apparatus turned off.”
        “AIPAC’s clout”, as M & W note, “also explains why attendance at its annual Policy Conference has become a command performance for prominent politicians. Speakers at the 2007 Policy Conference included Vice President Dick Cheney, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). The previous year’s speakers included Cheney, Boehner, UN Ambassador John Bolton, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Representatives Roy Blunt (R-MO), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Artur Davis (D-AL), Bill Pascrell (D-N), and Robert Wexler, as well as former senator and [then] presidential hopeful John Edwards. Speakers in other years have included have included President George W. Bush, Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, former House Speakers Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Newt Gingrich, former Majority Leader Richard Amey, and a bevy of prominent pro-Israeli pundits.” M & W say that “it is hard to think of any other lobbying organization that is wooed as strenuously by politicians in both parties.”

        M & W continue: “To seal the deal, an AIPAC sister organization, the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), funds free congressional trips to Israel itself. These junkets burnish a legislator’s pro-Israel credentials and facilitate fund-raising, and also expose him or her to the policy preferences and basic worldview of Israel’s leaders. This situation helps explain why about 10 per cent of all congressional trips overseas are to Israel, even though it is but one of nearly two hundred countries in the world. The Center for Public Integrity reports that AIEF spent nearly $1 million on these visits from January 2000 to mid-2005. Not surprisingly, AIPAC and other Jewish groups lobbied hard – and successfully – to make sure that the new ethics rules enacted after the Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay scandals did not interfere with these visits.”

        Concerning congressional trips, George Sunderland’s article Our Vichy Congress states that a perusal of the May 6th, 2002, Jerusalem Post reveals the following headline: “Visiting Congressmen Advise Israel To Resist Administration Pressure.” He continues: “the Israeli newspaper chronicles the pilgrimage of a group of Congressional wardheelers to the Promised Land, carrying with them a copy of the resolution of support for the Israeli government that passed Congress by a vote of 352-21 with 29 abstentions. The delegation’s leader, Rep. James Saxton of New Jersey, displayed a copy of the resolution to reporters, which he said they wanted to ‘hand deliver’ to the Israeli people.” Sunderland does not mention whether this particular trip was free or not.


        “The bottom line”, say M & W, “is that AIPAC, which bills itself as ‘America's Pro-Israel Lobby’, has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress. One of the three main branches of the American government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. Open debate about U.S. policy toward Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world”:
        • “As Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) noted as he was leaving office in 2004, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ ”
        • “Another senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, told a Washington Post reporter in 1991, ‘my colleagues think AIPAC is a very, very powerful organization that is ruthless and very, very alert. Eighty per cent of the senators here roll their eyes on some of the votes. They know that what they’re doing isn’t what they really believe is right, but why fight on a situation where they’re liable to get beat up on?’ ”
        • George Sunderland, in his article Our Vichy Congress, mentions Chris Patten, the European commissioner for external relations, who “writing recently in the Washington Post”, says, “A senior Democratic senator [alas, Patten does not name him] told a visiting European the other day: ‘All of us are members of Likud now’ ”
        • “Small wonder then”, continue M & W, “that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘When people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them – Help AIPAC.’ His successor, Ehud Olmert, agrees, remarking, ‘Thank God we have AIPAC, the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world.’ “
           
        AIPAC: Its Influence On The Executive
        M & W note that “American presidents are not as sensitive to pressure as Congress is, and most of them have taken positions that Israel or the lobby opposed at one time or another. But such instances are becoming increasingly rare, even though Israel’s strategic value has declined and some of its actions (such as the continued effort to colonize the Occupied Territories) are at odds with stated U.S. policy.” M & W consider congressional pressure on the executive branch when it takes actions that are considered to be not in Israel’s interest: “When that happens, the president or cabinet official is likely to get a hard-hitting letter from one or both houses of Congress, signed by most of its members ...”:
        • M & W: “The receipt of such a letter by President Gerald Ford in 1975 when he threatened a reassessment of U.S.-Israeli relations.” Further detail is provided in Jeffrey Blankfort’s article on The Israel Lobby and the Left referred to above: “Gerald Ford, angered that Israel had been reluctant to leave the Sinai following the 1973 war not only suspended aid for 6 months in 1975 but in March of that year made a speech, backed by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, that called for a ‘reassessment’ of the US/Israel relationship. Within weeks, AIPAC ... secured a letter signed by 76 senators confirming their support for Israel, and suggesting that the White House see fit to do the same. The language was tough, the tone almost bullying. Ford backed down.”
        • Jeffrey Blankfort again, in his article The Israel Lobby and the Left referred to above: “In 1991 ... Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir asked the first Bush administration for $10 billion in loan guarantees in order, he said, to provide for the resettlement of Russian Jews. Bush Sr. had earlier balked at a request from Congress to appropriate an additional $650 million dollars to compensate Israel for sitting out the Gulf War, but gave in when he realized that his veto would be overridden. But now he told Shamir that Israel could have the guarantees only if it would freeze settlement building and promised that no Russian Jews would be resettled in the west Bank. An angry Shamir refused and called on AIPAC to mobilize Congress and the organized American Jewish community in support of the loan guarantees. A letter, drafted by AIPAC, was signed by more than 240 members of the house demanding that Bush approve them, and 77 senators signed on to supporting legislation. On September 12th, 1991, Jewish lobbyists descended on Washington in such numbers that Bush felt obliged to call a televised press conference in which he complained that ‘1000 Jewish lobbyists are on Capitol Hill against little old me’ ... Bush’s opposition to the loan guarantees was the last straw for the Israel lobby ... Months later, the loan guarantees were approved ...”
        • M & W: “President Bush got a similar letter in April 2002, when he briefly sought to end a large-scale military incursion in the Occupied Territories.” Further detail is again given by Jeffrey Blankfort: “... Bush Jr. forthrightly demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdraw his troops from Jenin, saying ‘Enough is enough!’ It made headlines all over the world, as did his backing down when Sharon refused. What happened? Harsh criticism boomed from within his own party in Congress and from his daddy’s old friends in the media ... Junior got the message and within a week declared Sharon to be ‘a man of peace’. Since then, as journalist Robert Fisk and others have noted, Sharon seems to [have been] writing Bush’s speeches.”
        • M & W: “Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice felt the same pressure as she sought to restart the peace process by visiting the Middle East in March 2007. Just before her departure, Rice received an AIPAC-sponsored letter signed by seventy-nine  senators, urging her to avoid contact with the new Palestinian ‘unity government’ until it recognized Israel, renounced terror, and agreed to abide by Israeli-Palestinian agreements.”
        • M & W note: “The lopsided percentage of signatories [for the letters to Ford and Bush Jr. referred to above] is eloquent testimony to AIPAC’s ability to twist arms. As senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) commented after signing the letter to Ford in 1975, ‘it’s easier to sign one letter than to answer 5000.’ ... or as Senator John Culver (D-IA) later admitted, ‘The pressure was just too great. I caved.’ ... No wonder former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger once told AIPAC’s Tom Dine, ‘Dine, I deal with you because you could hurt me.’ ”
        M & W note that “influence over the executive branch derives in part from the impact Jewish voters have on presidential elections”. M & W state, “Despite their small numbers in the population (less than 3 per cent), American Jews make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties”, and they continue:
        • “As presidential adviser and former White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan wrote in a confidential memorandum to President Jimmy Carter, ‘wherever there is major political fundraising in this country, you will find American Jews playing a significant role.’ ”
        • “Indeed, the Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money raised from private sources.’ Other estimates are lower, but contributions from Jewish Americans form a substantial share – between 20 and 50 per cent – of the contributions made to the Democratic party and its presidential candidates.”
        • “Israel is not the only issue that inspires these contributions, of course, but candidates who are perceived as hostile (or even indifferent) to Israel run the risk of seeing some of these funds go to their opponents.”
        • “... Jewish voters have high turnout rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania ... In close races, therefore, the so-called Jewish vote can tip the balance in key states.”
        • “... Because Jewish votes matter in close elections, presidential candidates go to considerable lengths to cultivate their support. Indeed, a 2007 story in the Jerusalem Post referred to this effort to court Jewish support as ‘a Washington ritual as reliable as the cherry blossoms.’ Candidates are especially eager to appeal to AIPAC and other organizations in the lobby – and not just to Jewish voters as a bloc – because they know that the seal of approval from these prominent organizations will facilitate fund-raising and encourage higher turnout on their behalf.”
        • “Gaining and retaining that support means backing Israel down the line, which is why presidential candidates John Edwards, Mitt Romney, and John McCain all made emphatic pro-Israel speeches ...”
        • M & W note “... the fate that befell Howard Dean in the 2004 presidential campaign, when he made the mistake of recommending that the United States take a more ‘even-handed’ role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In response, one of Dean’s rivals for the nomination, Joseph Lieberman, accused him of selling Israel down the river ... Even more remarkably, virtually all of the top democrats in the House of Representatives signed a hard-hitting letter to Dean criticizing his comments ...” M & W add that “this worry [about Dean] was absurd”, and give reasons. They note that “key groups in the lobby do not welcome the idea of even-handedness when it comes to the Arab-Israel conflict.” They conclude, “Dean’s failure to win the Democratic nomination has many causes, of course, but the incident underscored the potential cost of being anything less than ardently pro-Israel during a presidential campaign.”

        M & W state that the lobby’s goals, obviously, are served when individuals who share its perspective occupy important positions in the executive branch. While stressing that this desire is no different from that of other lobbies and interest groups, they note:
        • “the Clinton administration’s Middle East policy was heavily shaped by officials with close ties to Israel or to prominent pro-Israel organizations ... The two most notable individuals in this regard were Martin Indyk ... and Dennis Ross ... They were among President Clinton’s closest advisers at the [abortive] Camp David summit in July 2000. Although both Indyk and Ross ... favoured the creation of a Palestinian state ... they did so only within the limits of what would be acceptable to Israeli leaders ... the American delegation at Camp David took most of its cues from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, coordinated negotiating positions with Israel in advance, and did not offer its own independent proposals for settling the conflict ... As another member of the U.S. team later admitted, Israeli proposals were often ‘presented [to the Palestinians] as U.S. concepts, not Israeli ones’, a subterfuge that fooled no one and reinforced Palestinian suspicions. Not surprisingly, Palestinian representatives protested that they were ‘negotiating with two Israeli teams – one displaying an Israeli flag, and one an American flag.’ ”
        • “… the problem … even more pronounced in the second Bush administration, whose ranks have included staunchly pro-Israel neoconservatives like Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Aaron Friedberg, John Hannah, I. Lewis Libby, William Luti, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Wurmser ... These officials consistently pushed for policies favored by Israel and backed by key organizations in the lobby.
        • “... groups in the lobby also try to make sure that people who are seen as critical of Israel do not get foreign policy jobs ...” M & W give instances.

        The Operation Of The Lobby To Ensure Favourable Public Discourse
        Strategies
        M & W state, as noted above, that the groups and individuals who make up the lobby pursue two broad strategies to encourage steadfast support for Israel. One of these is to exert influence on the Washington policy-making process, and has been discussed above. The other is for the lobby to “go to great lengths to ensure that public discourse about Israel is favourable.”

        M & W continue: “... Its [the lobby’s] various elements do this by constantly reaffirming Israel’s strategic value, by repeating one-sided accounts about Israel and its founding, and by defending Israel’s actions in policy debates. The goal is to convince the public that America’s and Israel’s interests and values are one and the same.”

        They go on: “At the same time, groups in the lobby try to marginalise anyone who criticises Israeli policy or challenges the ’special relationship’, and try to prevent that person’s views from getting a fair hearing in the public arena. To do this, the lobby sometimes employs heavy-handed tactics to silence critics, accusing them of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic.”

        And, further, they say, “Channeling public discourse in a pro-Israel direction is critically important, because an open and candid discussion of Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories, Israeli history, and the lobby’s role in shaping America’s Middle East policy might easily lead more Americans to question existing policy toward Israel and to call for a relationship with Israel that more effectively serves the U.S. national interest.” Given Israel’s history as we have referred to it above, and even taking into account that M & W are American (they describe themselves as ‘American realists’), this is a remarkably restrained comment in the circumstances. However, this controlled, even muted, language, adds authenticity to their book – no one can accuse them of going over the top.


        The Media: Managing The Debate
        M & W examine the American media, noting that “Pro-Israel forces are well aware that dominating discussions about the Jewish state is essential to their agenda”, and that “these efforts do not always succeed, of course, but are still remarkably effective.” They make the following points:
        • “The American media’s coverage of Israel tends to be strongly biased in Israel’s favor, especially when compared with news coverage in other democracies”
        • M & W stress that they are not asserting that “Jews control the media”. They point out that “there are certainly owners, publishers, editors, columnists and reporters who have no special feelings for Israel and would feel comfortable criticizing its policies ... It is  therefore wrong - and objectionable – to argue that Jews or pro-Israel forces ‘control’ the media ... In fact, the reason that the lobby works so hard to monitor and influence what the mainstream media says about Israel is precisely that the lobby does not control them ... If the media were left to their own devices, they would not serve up as consistent a diet of pro-Israel coverage and commentary. Instead, there would be a more open and lively discussion about the Jewish state and U.S. policy towards it, as there is in virtually every other democracy of in the world. Indeed, that debate is especially lively in Israel itself, the one state where the Jews clearly do ‘control the media.’ ”
        • M & W note that the lobby’s perspective on Israel is widely reflected in the mainstream media:
          • in part [our italics] because a substantial number of American commentators who write about Israel are themselves pro-Israel”
          • “In a 1976 comparison of domestic interest groups and U.S. Middle East policy, Robert H. Trice found that ... ‘one of the most serious political handicaps of pro-Arab groups during the 1966-1974 period was their inability to gain support from any of the best-known and nationally-syndicated columnists.’ Trice also found that ‘pro-Israel groups could count on media support not only from national columnists but also from the editors of some of the country’s most widely read newspapers.’ ”
          • M & W note that “matters have not changed much since then. The debate among Middle East pundits, wrote the media critic Eric Alterman in 2002, is ‘dominated by people who cannot imagine criticizing Israel.’ He listed fifty-six ‘columnists and commentators who can be counted on to support Israel reflexively and without qualification.’ Conversely, Alterman identified only five pundits who consistently criticize Israeli behaviour or endorse pro-Arab positions ...”
          • M & W themselves consider the major American newspapers:
            • New York Times and Washington Post – “in recent years ... William Safire and A. M. Rosenthal were passionate defenders of Israel (and in Safire’s case, especially favorable toward Ariel Sharon) ... today, David Brooks consistently defends Israel’s position. Thomas L. Friedman is more moderate; he has been critical of some of Israel’s policies (and occasionally the lobby itself), but he almost never takes the Palestinian’s side or advocates that the United States distance itself from Israel. Nicholas D. Kristof is frequently critical of various aspects of American foreign policy, and wrote one controversial column in March 2007 decrying the lack of serious public discussion of U.S. relations with Israel. But the Middle East is not a frequent theme in his commentary and he certainly did not take a pro-Palestinian position. Maureen Dowd has been sharply critical of pro-Israel neoconservatives, but like Kristof, she rarely writes about the Jewish state or U.S. policy toward it. No-one in the stable of regular columnists is a consistent defender of the Palestinians, or even as evenhanded as former columnist Anthony Lewis, who retired in 2001.”
            • Washington Post - “it has had several columnists in recent years who consistently supported Israel: Jim Hoagland, Robert Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, and George Will. It used to feature two others: the late Michael Kelly and William Kristol, who runs the Weekly Standard and has a column in Time. Not only were these individuals staunchly pro-Israel, they tended to favor the ideas and policies of the hawkish Likud party rather than Israeli moderates. Richard Cohen also writes about the Middle East for the Post, but he has the same profile as the Times’s Friedman: attached to Israel but willing to offer qualified and intelligent criticism. Neither of these papers – which are arguably the two most influential daily newspapers in the United States – employs any full-time commentator who consistently favors the Arab or Palestinian side.”
            • “in recent years, the only prominent columnist who has frequently criticized Israel is Robert Novak, whose column is syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times and regularly appears in the Post. Still, Novak is hardly a champion of the Palestinian cause.”
            • “The fact is that the ‘other side’ has no equivalent of Safire and Krauthammer, or even Friedman and Cohen, at either the New York Times or the Washington Post, or any other major American newspaper, for that matter.”
            • The Los Angeles Times ... regularly publishes three opinion columnists who are staunch defenders of Israel: Max Boot, Jonathan Chait, and Jonah Goldberg. It employs no columnist who is critical of Israel, much less anyone who routinely defends the Palestinian cause against the Israelis.”
            • “Although these papers occasionally publish guest op-eds that challenge Israeli policy, the balance of opinion clearly favors Israel. There is no American commentator comparable to Robert Fisk or Patrick Seale, who are often sharply critical of Israel and who publish regularly in British newspapers, and no one remotely like Israeli commentators Amira Hass, Akiva El-dar, Gideon Levy, and Bradley Burston, all of whom are openly critical of particular policies that their country pursues ... Voices like theirs are almost entirely absent from major American newspapers.”
          • Noting that, unsurprisingly, this pro-Israel bias is also reflected in editorials, M & W continue:
            • “Robert Bartley, the late editor of the Wall Street Journal, once remarked, ‘Shamir, Sharon, Bibi – whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me.’ ”
            • The Journal”, they assert, “along with other prominent newspapers like the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Sun, and the Washington Times, regularly runs editorials that read as if they were written by the Israeli prime minister’s press office: To its credit, the New York Times’s editorials sometimes criticize Israeli policies, and in recent years, the criticism has occasionally been strongly worded. The Times recognizes that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances and a right to have their own state. Still, its treatment of the two sides over the years has not been even-handed. In his memoirs, Times executive editor Max Frankel recounted the impact his own pro-Israel attitudes had on editorial choices: ‘I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert ... Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.’ ”
          • M & W note that “the media’s reporting of news events involving Israel is less slanted than their editorial commentary, in part [our italics] because most reporters strive to be objective, but also because it is difficult to cover events in the Occupied Territories or in Southern Lebanon without acknowledging Israel’s actual behaviour.”
        • M & W consider pro-Israel magazines [it is clear that they do not consider these to be ‘mainstream media’, but part of the lobby itself]: “Magazines like Commentary, the New Republic, and the Weekly Standard also zealously defend Israel at every turn. Indeed, Commentary’s former editor, Norman Podhoretz, once told a gathering of journalists in Jerusalem that ‘the role of Jews who write in both the Jewish and general press is to defend Israel, and not join in the attacks on Israel.’ Martin Peretz, the long-time editor of the New Republic, once proclaimed, ‘I am in love with the state of Israel’, and admitted that ‘there’s a sort of party line on Israel’ at his journal.”

        The Media: Lobby Tactics To Manage The Debate
        M & W note the tactics of the Israel lobby to influence the media:
        • (also from the 1976 Trice study, see above): “Pro-Israel groups were more active shaping media coverage than pro-Arab groups were; in 1970, for example, the Conference of Presidents [of Major American Jewish Organizations] distributed press kits (complete with photos and feature stories) to more than seventeen hundred newspapers and to major wire services. In Trice’s words, ‘At virtually every level of media organization – from local communities, syndicated columnists, and major national papers, to the international news services that supply the country with information – pro-Israel groups were more successful than pro-Arab groups at getting their side of the story transmitted to both the articulate and mass publics.’ ”
        • “... to discourage unfavorable reporting on Israel, groups in the lobby organize letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations, and boycotts against news outlets whose content they consider anti-Israel”.
        • “As the Forward reported in April 2002, ‘Rooting out perceived anti-Israel bias in the media has become for many American Jews the most direct and emotional outlet for connecting with the conflict 6,000 miles away.’ ”
        • “one CNN executive has said that he sometimes gets six thousand e-mail messages in a single day complaining that a story is anti-Israel.”
        • “... papers such as the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Enquirer, and the Washington Post have faced consumer boycotts over their Middle East reporting.”
        • “One correspondent told the journalist Michael Massing that newspapers were ‘afraid’ of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups, saying that ‘the pressure from these groups is relentless. Editors would just as soon not touch them.’ ”
        • “As the former spokesman for the Israeli consulate in New York, Menachem Shalev, once put it, ‘Of course, a lot of self-censorship goes on. Journalists, editors, and politicians are going to think twice about criticizing Israel if they know they are going to get thousands of angry calls in a matter of hours. The Jewish lobby is good at orchestrating pressure.’ ”
        • “One of the lobby’s most energetic media watchdog groups – though not the only one – is the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)”:
          • “It has been especially critical of National Public Radio, which it sometimes refers to as ‘National Palestine Radio’. ”
          • “... maintaining a website to publicize alleged [our italics] examples of media bias ...”
          • “CAMERA organized demonstrations outside National Public Radio stations in thirty-three cities in May 2003, and it tried to convince contributors to withhold support from NPR until its Middle East coverage became more sympathetic to Israel. One of Boston’s public radio stations, WBUR, reportedly lost more than $1 million in contributions as a result of these efforts.”
          • “In 2006, CAMERA ran expensive full-page advertisements in the New York Times and New York Sun criticizing Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, ads that included the publisher’s phone number and encouraged readers to call in and complain.”
        • “Additional pressure on NPR comes from Israel’s friends in Congress. In March 2003, for example, a group of congressmen – whose ranks included staunch defenders of Israel such as California Democrats Tom Lantos, Brad Sherman, and Henry Waxman – wrote a letter to NPR President Kevin Klose, asking for an internal audit of its Middle East coverage. Klose refused, but he also began reaching out to various Jewish groups in an effort to deflect the pressure.”
        • M & W note that the lobby’s efforts to gain favorable coverage take other forms as well:
          • “In August 2003, for example, the writer Ian Buruma wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine titled ‘How to Talk About Israel’. He made the obvious point that it is sometimes difficult to talk ‘critically and dispassionately’ about Israel in the United States and pointed out that ‘even legitimate criticism of Israel, or of Zionism, is often quickly denounced as anti-Semitism by various watchdogs’. In response, Bret Stephens, then the editor of the Jerusalem Post and now a columnist and editorial board member at the Wall Street Journal, published a vitriolic open letter in the Post that began by asking Buruma, ‘Are you a Jew?’ Two paragraphs later, Stephens declared, ‘What matters to me is that you say, ‘I am a Jew’’. Why did this matter? Because in Stephen’s view, ‘One must be at least a Jew to tell the goyim how they may or may not talk about Israel.’ ” M & W continue: “The message of this remarkable letter was, in short, that non-Jews should talk about this subject only in ways that Jews deem acceptable ...”
          • M & W continue: “Sensitivity on this point may also explain why an editor at the New York Times asked the historian Tony Judt to identify himself as Jewish in an op-ed he had written defending our [M & W’s] original London Review of Books article.
          • M & W go on, noting that Stephen’s views “are undoubtedly anathema to many people – including most American Jews – but the fact remains that some leading figures in the lobby are uncomfortable with a free and open discussion of issues related to Israel. ADL head Abraham Foxman told New York Times Magazine writer James Traub that it is ‘naïve’ to think that the ‘free market of ideas ultimately sifts falsehood to produce truth.’ As Traub recounts, ‘Experience ... has taught [Foxman] that the truth does not win on its own merits; the market for falsehood is too powerful.’ ” M & W note that “Falsehood, in this view, is what would follow from a serious interrogation of the United States-Israel relationship and Israel’s strategic and moral standing. Groups like the ADL want to make sure that critics of Israel ... remain on the margins of public discourse, and that their views about Israel be regarded as illegitimate.”
        • “the final way to encourage favorable coverage of Israel is to co-opt prominent commentators ... Toward this end, the Conference of Presidents [of Major American Jewish Organizations] helped establish America’s Voices In Israel, a non-profit group whose purpose, according to the Conference’s website, is ‘to strengthen American understanding of and support for Israel by inviting U.S.-based radio talk show hosts to see Israel and broadcast their programs live from Jerusalem.’ The America’s Voices website describes the organization as being ‘on the forefront of Israel’s hasbara (public relations) efforts’, and Conference of Presidents head Malcolm Hoenlein (who is also president of the America’s Voices board calls it ‘one of the most important, exciting, and effective hasbara initiatives. ... The campaign helps ensure that a growing array of talk show hosts will purvey a pro-Israel message to their listeners.’ ”
        • M & W note that America’s Jewish press is not exempt from pressure, either: “In 1989 ... AIPAC’s media director, Toby Dershowitz, asked Andrew Carroll, the editor of Washington Jewish Week, not to assign the reporter Larry Cohler to an ongoing story about AIPAC, because his earlier reports – which had been somewhat critical of AIPAC – were supposedly ‘inaccurate’. When Cohler received the assignment anyway, Dershowitz and AIPAC legal counsel David Ifshin called Carroll. Ifshin said that if Cohler remained on the assignment, AIPAC would reexamine his earlier stories ‘with an eye toward litigation.’ This not-too-subtle attempt to pressure Carroll did not succeed, but in 1991, AIPAC’s foreign policy director, Steven Rosen, sent several board members of Washington Jewish Week an internal AIPAC memorandum arguing that Carroll was too sympathetic to the political left and ‘sought to bring down the organized Jewish community.’ In April 1992, a new editor with no professional newspaper experience was hired over Carroll, who resigned three months later and was replaced by the former editor of the AIPAC newsletter Near East Report.”
        Political Think Tanks: The Lobby’s Influence
        M & W next examine, in a section headed ‘Think Tanks That Think One Way’, political think tanks, noting that:
        • “Pro-Israel forces ... wield significant influence in think tanks, which play an increasingly important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy on key issues. Instead of relying on government officials or academics to provide analysis and commentary, news media increasingly depend on experts from Washington-based think tanks, most of which have energetic public relations and media relations and media relations offices designed to promote their experts’ views in the public arena.”
        • “Many think tanks also distribute brief and easily digested policy memorandums to legislators and other government officials; organize seminars, working breakfasts; and briefings for officials and their staffs; and encourage their own analysts to publish op-eds and other visible forms of commentary, all with the goal of shaping the prevailing climate of ideas.”
        • “Think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute or Brookings supply advisers to presidential campaigns and officials to new administrations, offer the same people a safe haven when they are out of power, and provide them with platforms from which they can continue to influence debate inside and outside the Beltway.“
        • “... they serve as incubators for new policy ideas and are a critical part of the web of power in Washington.”
        • M & W consider the Israel lobby’s influence in a number of think tanks:
          • Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) - “... recognizing the need for a prominent but seemingly ‘objective’ voice in the policy arena surrounding Israel, former AIPAC president Larry Weinberg; his wife, Barbi Weinberg; AIPAC’s vice-president; and AIPAC deputy director for research Martin Indyk founded [WINEP] in 1985. Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel and claims that it provides a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, this is not the case. In fact, WINEP is funded and run by individuals who are deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda. Its board of advisers includes prominent pro-Israel figures such as Edward Luttwak, Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, and Mortimer Zuckerman, but includes no-one who might be thought of as favoring the perspective of any other country or group in the ‘Near East’. Many of its personnel are genuine scholars, but they are hardly neutral observers on most Middle East issues and there is little diversity of views within WINEP’s ranks.”
          • the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs - “... over the past 25 years, pro-Israel individuals have established a commanding presence [in these bodies]. These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of U.S. support for the Jewish state.”
          • the Brookings Institution - “... another indication of the lobby’s influence in the think tank world is the evolution of the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on Middle East issues was William B. Quandt, a distinguished academic and former NSC official with a well-deserved reputation for evenhandedness regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the mid-1970’s, in fact Brookings released an influential report on the Middle East that emphasized the need for Israeli withdrawals, Palestinian self-determination (including the possibility of an independent state) ... Today, however, Brookings work on these issues is conducted through its Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which was established in 2002 with a $13 million grant, primarily advanced by Haim Saban, an ardent Zionist. The New York Times described him as ‘perhaps the most politically connected mogul in Hollywood, throwing his weight and money around Washington and, increasingly, the world, trying to influence all things Israeli.’ This ‘tireless cheerleader for Israel’ told the Times, ‘I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.’ His efforts led Ariel Sharon to describe him as ‘a great American citizen and a man who always stood by Israel and the Jewish people in time of need.’ The man chosen to run the Saban Center was Martin Indyk, the former Clinton administration official who had previously served [at AIPAC] and helped found WINEP. It is hard to imagine that a research institute funded by Saban and directed by Indyk is going to be anything but pro-Israel. To be sure, the Saban Center occasionally hosts Arab scholars and exhibits some diversity of opinion. Saban Center fellows – like Indyk himself – often endorse the idea of a two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. But Saban Center publications never question U.S. support for Israel and rarely, if ever, offer significant criticism of key Israeli policies. Moreover, individuals who stray from the Center’s line do not remain for long, as former NSC official Flynt Leverett’s brief tenure there illustrates ... The Center’s ... 2006 Forum ... Pro-Arab voices ... were conspicuously absent.”
          • Council on Foreign Relations - “... prestigious ... based in New York City ... Its impressive staff of  experts has a more diverse range of views than  the leading think tanks in Washington, for many years hosting both visible critics of Israel such as Henry Siegman, former head of the American Jewish Congress, along with ardent pro-Israel figures like Max Boot. But the Council is not exempt from pressure, as the reaction to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September 2006 illustrates. Prominent Jewish organizations angrily protested the invitation and an effort to organize a set of high-profile resignations was headed off only when Council President Richard Haass agreed to downgrade the session from a dinner to a ‘working meeting’. As the ADL’s Abe Foxman told the New York Times Magazine, ‘To break bread with the guy ... was crossing the line.’ Given Ahmadinejad’s offensive remarks about Israel and the Holocaust, this reaction is understandable. Yet it demonstrates once again the lobby’s efforts to ensure that the various institutions that shape public discourse remain sensitive to its concerns.”
        • “given the important role that these institutions play in shaping ideas and policy, the balance of power inside the Beltway strongly favors Israel. There are a few smaller think tanks that are not reflexively pro-Israel – like the New America Foundation, the Cato Institute, and the Middle East Research Institute.”
        Academia: The Lobby’s Policing Of Academia
        M & W then deliberate, in a section headed ‘Policing Academia’, the lobby’s campaign to mold the debate about Israel in academia. They note that here the lobby “has faced the greatest difficulty”, because of adherence to the “core” values of intellectual freedom and  a deep-seated commitment to freedom of speech. It is another unedifying tale where, “predictably, the most important organization in the effort to win back the campuses was AIPAC”. 
        • M & W stress that “lobbying on Israel’s behalf is wholly legitimate, as are overt [our emphasis] efforts to shape public perceptions by participating in public discourse about matters relating to Israel.”
        • They point out that “We do not think the lobby’s current influence serves the interest of either the United States or Israel, but most of its tactics are reasonable and simply part of the normal rough-and-tumble that is the essence of democratic politics.”
        • They continue: “Unfortunately, some pro-Israeli individuals and groups have occasionally [occasionally!] taken their defense of Israel to illegitimate extremes, attempting to silence individuals who hold views they dislike. This endeavor can involve intimidating and smearing critics of Israel, or even attempting to damage or wreck their careers.” M & W then refer to a number of examples of this kind of behavior, “which has no place in a democratic society.”:
          • “efforts to influence university faculty and hiring practices ... In the early 1980’s ... AIPAC recruited students to help it identify professors and campus organizations that might be considered anti-Israel ... the ADL, which was compiling files on individuals and organizations it considered suspect regarding Israel ...” Both organizations, note M & W, published details.
          • “This effort intensified in September 2002, when Daniel Pipes established Campus Watch, a website that posted dossiers on suspect academics and ... encouraged students to report comments or behavior that might be considered as hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars prompted a harsh reaction and Pipes later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report alleged anti-Israel behavior at U.S. colleges.”
          • “Pipes ... began encouraging Congress to curtail or at least closely monitor the ... funding that the federal government gives to Middle East and other area studies programs ... The aim is to silence or at least inhibit critics of Israel and as a result force universities to hire scholars whose views are more in line ...” At the time M & W’s book went to press, this attempt to produce “ideological conformity” was unresolved.
          • “in 2006 ... the Department of History and Sociology at Yale University voted an appointment for ... a distinguished historian [who] has been critical of a number of Israeli policies ... Pro-Israel columnists in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times attacked [his] appointment, and the newspaper Jewish Week reported that several prominent Jewish donors had called Yale officials to protest the decision, which was subsequently overturned by Yale’s appointments committee. The actual impact of donor pressure is unknown ...”
          • “Efforts to protect Israel ... have also targeted individual speakers, visiting professors, and guest lecturers ... In 1984, a student group at Stanford University invited ... former Congressman Pete McCloskey to teach as a visiting lecturer ... McCloskey was a prominent critic of unconditional U.S. support for Israel, having proposed an amendment in 1980 that would have reduced American aid by the amount that Israel was spending annually on it’s West Bank settlements. His actions led to charges that he was an anti-Semite and helped ensure his defeat in his 1982 Senate campaign ... the controversy did not stop there; the director of Stanford’s Hillel chapter said his appointment was ‘a slap in the face of the Jewish community’, and members of the student governing council threatened to reduce his compensation or terminate his appointment if he did not [remove an article from his course, add materials reflecting pro-AIPAC views, schedule sessions with guests representing alternative perspectives] ... A faculty review found the student group guilty of ‘serious abridgements’ of academic freedom and McCloskey eventually received a formal apology from the Stanford provost.”
          • M & W relate their own experience in early 2006: “We were each independently invited to appear on a panel at the U.S. Naval War College’s annual Current Strategy Forum ... The topic of the panel was ‘The Nature of Power’, which ... had little to do with Middle East politics ... Following the publication of our original article, ‘The Israel Lobby’ in 2006, the president of the War College received phone calls from several members of Congress who questioned whether it was appropriate to have us speak at the conference. To his credit, the president took no action ... a subsequent invitation to Walt to speak in a lecture series at the University of Montana also provoked heated denunciations by several faculty members, who began a protracted but unsuccessful campaign to have the faculty coordinator of the lecture series removed from his post.”
          • In 2007, Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry and Beyond Chutzpah: on the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, and a popular professor at DePaul University in Chicago, was forced to resign. Finkelstein argued in his books that accusations of anti-Semitism are used to silence criticism of Israel. In Beyond Chutzpah he was particularly scathing about the tactics used by Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor and staunch Zionist, and Dershowitz’s book, The Case For Israel. Dershowitz led the months-long campaign to oust Finkelstein and succeeded.
          • “The latest, barely credible example comes from Minnesota, where the Catholic University of St. Thomas has rescinded an invitation [early in 2007] to the Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, after pressure from the Zionist Organisation of America accusing him of anti-Semitism. The university’s vice-president explained: ‘We had heard some things he said some people judged to be anti-Semitic and against Israeli policy … He compared the state of Israel to Hitler and … making moral equivalences like that are hurtful to the Jewish community.’ That is the extent of Tutu’s ‘moral equivalences’, for which he is branded an anti-Semite.”
          • “... a number of pro-Israel academics and groups have tried to suppress publication of scholarly works that challenged their views.” M & W give instances.

        M & W conclude that “pro-Israel groups have fought a multifront battle – against students, professors, administrators and the curriculum itself – to shape discourse on campus. Their efforts have not been as successful in academia as they have been on Capitol Hill or even in the media, but their work has not been in vain ... there is less criticism of Israel on college campuses today than there was five years ago.”

        The Lobby - Objectionable Tactics
        The Lobby’s Resort To Objectionable Tactics
        In a section headed ‘Objectionable Tactics’, M & W consider behaviour of the lobby which they judge to be unacceptable in a democratic society. They are careful to first state that “As we have repeatedly emphasized, lobbying on Israel’s behalf is wholly legitimate, as are overt [our italics] efforts to shape public perceptions by participating in public discourse about matters relating to Israel.” M & W continue:
        • “We do not think the lobby’s current influence serves the interest of either the United States or Israel, but most of its tactics are reasonable and simply part of the normal rough-and-tumble that is the essence of democratic politics.”
        • “Unfortunately, some pro-Israel individuals and groups have occasionally taken their defence of Israel to illegitimate extremes, attempting to silence individuals who hold views they dislike. This endeavor can involve intimidating and smearing critics of Israel, or even attempting to damage or wreck their careers.”
        • M & W go on: “The previous discussion of the lobby’s actions in academia [see above] provides a number of examples of this kind of behavior, which has no place in a democratic society.”
        • “The lobby, however, does not confine its strong-arm tactics to the academic world.” M & W go on to quote some by now well-known cases:
          • That of Tony Judt, a New York University lecturer who is Jewish but frequently critical of Israel’s actions. It has been alleged that, in October 2006, in order to prevent a lecture at the Polish consulate in New York City, the consulate, which had merely rented its facilities for the event, was ‘leaned on’ by officials from two groups in the lobby, ADL and the American Jewish Committee. The consulate cancelled Judt’s lecture at the last minute. Judt has apparently reported receiving death threats against him and his family on other occasions, inspired by his previous criticisms of Israeli policy.
          • M & W again: “A similar incident occurred later that same month, when the French embassy in the United States scheduled a reception to celebrate the publication of Carmen Callil’s Bad Faith, a widely hailed examination of the role that a scurrilous French official (Louis Darquier) had played in the deportation of French Jews to Auschwitz. Although the book is a passionate and moving indictment of French complicity in the Holocaust, the embassy reportedly received complaints about a brief passage in Callil’s postscript: ‘What caused me anguish, as I tracked down Louis Darquier, was to live so closely to the helpless terror of the Jews of France, and to see what the Jews of Israel were passing on to the Palestinian people.’ Bowing to the pressure, the French embassy said that ‘it could not endorse a personal opinion of the author expressed in the postscript of the book’ and cancelled the reception.”
          • M & W: “An even more prominent case involved My Name Is Rachel Corrie, a play about the young woman who was killed in March 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer when she was attempting to prevent the IDF from demolishing a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip. The play, which was based on Corrie’s diaries and e-mails, opened in April 2005 ... in London and was widely acclaimed. It was scheduled to open in March 2006 at the New York Theater Workshop, which has a well-established reputation for staging controversial productions, only to be postponed about a month before its scheduled opening. The New York Times reported that the workshop’s artistic director has decided to postpone the play ‘after polling local Jewish religious and community leaders as to their feelings about the work’ ... (The ... play was eventually brought to New York in the fall of 2006 for a limited run of eighty performances) A similar occurrence took place in Canada in December 2006 when that country’s largest not-for-profit theatre cancelled a scheduled production of the play, due to fears that it would anger Toronto’s Jewish community. And the same thing happened again in April 2007, when Miami’s Mosaic Theater cancelled plans to mount the play after protests from what the Miami Herald called an ‘impassioned, vocal minority’ of subscribers and outside individuals.”
          • M & W: “The over-zealous pursuit of supposedly ‘dangerous critics’ has even landed one prominent group in the lobby in a courtroom. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the ADL enlisted the services of a private investigator named Roy Bullock who also did intelligence gathering for the apartheid government in South Africa. Bullock, in turn, obtained information from a Los Angeles police intelligence officer who allegedly removed confidential documents from the police department and the Department of Motor Vehicles. In all, the two reportedly maintained files on some twelve thousand individuals and six hundred organizations in California, some of which were provided to the ADL. In addition to white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups, the targets of this surveillance included a number of Jewish dissidents, Arab-American groups, and other critics of Israeli government policies. The San Francisco district attorney launched a criminal investigation, and the police officer ultimately pleaded no contest to the unauthorised use of a police computer. But the district attorney was reluctant to prosecute the ADL because he thought it was a force for good. Instead, the district attorney accepted an offer by the ADL to pay $75,000 to fight bigotry in the local area, and no charges were filed against the organization or Bullock. There was, however, a civil suit brought by three of the targets, two of them Jewish. The ADL eventually agreed to settle out of court and to pay each $50,000 plus court costs. ADL head Abraham Foxman denied that the ADL spied on anyone, but defended its practice of investigating groups critical of Israel by saying ‘a viable, safe, secure haven’ in Israel is ‘part and parcel of the safety and security and survival of the Jewish people.’ ” M & W give their verdict: “The ADL was not protecting the community from anti-Semitism or bigotry, which is its stated mission; it was simply targeting individuals thought to be critical of Israel or of U.S. support.”
        Reaction In America To Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book
        Controversy And (Standard) Accusations Of Anti-Semitism
        The furious and vitriolic reaction in the American media to M & W’s article (in March 2006) and subsequent book (in September 2007) is itself a perfect demonstration of the lobby’s readiness to use objectionable tactics against its critics, and considerable proof of the extensive influence of the lobby in the mainstream media, which their book had discussed.

        The Atlantic magazine, which had commissioned the original article, got nervous and withdrew from publishing it. Tellingly, another US publisher could not be found, and the article subsequently appeared in the London Review of Books. The US mainstream media, according to Robert Fisk (who characterises them as “as pro-Israel, biased and gutless as the two academics infer them to be”), “did not know whether to report on their conclusions, or to remain submissively silent.” He cites “the New York Times, for example, which “only got round to covering [the article] in depth well over two weeks after the reports publication, and then buried its article in the education section on page 19.”


        The article and subsequent book provoked considerable criticism and accusations of anti-Semitism:
        • A column in the Washington Post by the historian and neoconservative Eliot A. Cohen, headed “Yes, It’s Anti-Semitic”, declared that the article displayed “obsessive and irrationally hostile beliefs about Jews.”
        • In the Wall Street Journal, the neoconservative pundit William Kristol accused the authors of “anti-Judaism”.
        • The New York Sun typically (and disgracefully) linked them with the white supremacist David Duke.
        • The historian Benny Morris wrote in the New Republic: “Were ‘The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy’ an actual person, I would have to say that he did not have a single honest bone in his body.” Martin Peretz, the magazine’s editor, called the authors “obsessives with dark and conspiratorial minds.”
        • Professor Walt’s fellow Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz – criticized in the article as an “apologist” for Israel – denounced the authors as “liars” and “bigots” in the university’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and compared the article with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
        • The Anti-Defamation League insisted that it was “a classic conspiratorial anti-Semitic analysis invoking the canards of Jewish control”, and the book has already spurred Deadliest Lies, a 256-page counterblast from Abe Foxman, head of the fiercely pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League, attacking “paranoid fantasies that reinforce anti-Semitic myths.”

        Walt himself said in an interview after the book’s publication: “It is striking, and it is probably something one would predict, having read our book, that virtually all of the mainstream reviews in the United States have been either somewhat negative, or harshly negative. And many have included many personal attacks on us – not all, but the vast majority.”

        Mearsheimer made a telling point about those who wish to attack the detailed arguments of people like himself who attack the lobby: “But that is not because we were on thin ice, it’s because the arguments on the other side are so weak. They can’t beat us with facts and logic, so they misrepresent our arguments and then attack the arguments that we did not make.”

        M & W’s article and subsequent book provoked a wider debate about the limits of permitted criticism of the state of Israel. The distinguished British-born historian Tony Judt said: “All Jews are silenced by the requirement to be supportive of Israel, and all non-Jews are silenced by the fear of being thought anti-Semitic, and there is no conversation on the subject.”


        The Effect Of The Israel Lobby On American Foreign Policy
        America: Israel’s Great Benefactor
        In a chapter headed ‘The Great Benefactor’, M & W examine in detail the remarkable levels of U.S. economic aid, military assistance, and diplomatic support to Israel. It is worth reading this chapter in full to completely appreciate the fine details of this extraordinary story. Two subsequent chapters entitled ‘Israel: Strategic Asset or liability?’ and ‘A Dwindling Moral Case’ examine these questions. Briefly, they conclude:
        • “Israel now receives on average about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, an amount that is roughly one-sixth of America’s direct foreign assistance budget and equal to about 2 per cent of Israel’s GDP ... In recent years, about 75 per cent of U.S. assistance has been military assistance, with the remainder broken down into various forms of economic aid. In per capita terms, this level of direct foreign assistance amounts to a direct subsidy of more than $500 per year for each Israeli. By comparison, the number two recipient of foreign aid, Egypt, receives only $20 per person, and impoverished countries such as Pakistan and Haiti receive roughly $5 per person and $27 per person respectively ... the canonical figure of $3 billion omits a substantial number of other benefits, and thus significantly understates the actual level of U.S. support ... Remarkably, Israel is the only recipient of U.S. economic aid that does not have to account for how it is spent ... this exemption makes it virtually impossible for the United States to prevent its subsidies from being used for purposes that it opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank ...”
        • M & W note that “in addition to government subsidized aid and loan guarantees, Israel receives an estimated $2 billion annually in private donations from American citizens.”
        • “This flow of [aid] money to Israel has been a crucial boon to the general economy ... All of this largesse is especially striking when one realises that Israel is not a poor or devastated country ... On the contrary ... its per capita income in 2006 was twenty-ninth in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund, and is nearly double that of Hungary and the Czech Republic ... and far outstrips every country in Latin America and Africa ... yet this comparatively prosperous state is America’s biggest aid recipient, each year receiving sums that dwarf U.S. support for impoverished states such as Bangladesh, Bolivia and Liberia ...”
        • “... the bulk of US [aid] support is now committed to preserving Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East ... Israel [receives] access to top-drawer U.S. weaponry ...”
        • “... the United States provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support. Between 1972 and 2006, Washington vetoed forty-two UN Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel ... There were also numerous resolutions focusing on Israel that never reached a vote in the Security Council due to the threat of an American veto ... Outside the Security Council, the United States routinely backs Israel whenever the UN General Assembly passes one of the many resolutions condemning Israeli behavior or calling for action on behalf of the Palestinians. Although these resolutions are non-binding and largely symbolic, Washington’s stance often puts it at odds with most of its allies and in the company of a tiny handful of other states ...” M & W also note significant and sometimes crucial U.S. support for Israel in its wars and conflicts, and in its illegal settlement policy.
        • M & W: “Today, America’s intimate embrace of Israel – and especially its willingness to subsidize it no matter what its policies are, is not making Americans safer or more prosperous. To the contrary: unconditional support for Israel is undermining relations with other U.S. allies, casting doubt on America’s wisdom and moral vision, helping inspire a generation of anti-American extremists, and complicating U.S. efforts to deal with a volatile but vital region. In short, the largely unconditional ‘special relationship’ between the United States and Israel is no longer defensible on strategic grounds.”
        • M & W consider the dwindling moral case for supporting Israel. The arguments are substantially covered, and demolished, in Michael Neumann’s book The Case Against Israel referred to above and there is no need to repeat them here.

        American Foreign Policy: The Lobby’s Damaging  Influence
        The entire second part of M & W’s book is devoted to an examination of some of America’s major relationships in the Middle East, and the effect of the lobby on these, particularly in more recent years. There are two important points to note. First, their book was published in September 2007 and therefore their account is not up-to-date. Second, they naturally write as Americans, and therefore from an American point of view – they describe themselves as ‘American realists’– and it would be fair to say that they do not write from a left-wing point of view. That being said – and while some like ourselves would differ over various emphases and assumptions, we would not differ too significantly over their overall historical conclusions, and not at all with their contention that the effect of the Israel lobby’s influence has been detrimental to America’s interests, and to Israel’s real interests . In an introduction to the second part, M & W note that:
        • “The Israel lobby’s influence would not be especially worrisome if its agenda were limited to making sure that Congress continued to provide foreign aid to the Jewish state. Although there might be better uses for this money, the United States is a wealthy country and can afford the $3 billion-plus that it annually provides to Israel.”
        • “But the lobby’s efforts have not been limited to foreign aid. Like a number of other special interest groups, it also works to influence various aspects of U.S. foreign policy, in its case focusing primarily on the Middle East. These efforts are understandable: although material aid is valuable, it is even more helpful to have the world’s only superpower bring its vast capabilities to bear on Israel’s behalf.”
        • “Even so, this aspect of the lobby’s agenda would be of little concern if it encouraged policies that were obviously in America’s best interest ... we show that this is not the case ... There are instances where the lobby has supported policies that advanced these interests, but many of the policies that organizations in the lobby have promoted over time have ultimately left the United States worse off. That was not their intention, of course, and the groups and individuals who pushed for these policies undoubtedly believed that the actions they favored would be good for the United States. They were wrong. Indeed, although these policies were intended to benefit Israel, many of them have damaged Israel’s interests as well.”

        Before looking at M & W’s examination, we can note in passing the observation made in Jeffrey Blankfort’s article on The Israel Lobby and the Left referred to above:  “There is, as yet, no record of a single Israeli soldier shedding a drop of blood in behalf of US interests, and there is little likelihood one will be asked to do so in the future. When US presidents have believed that a cop was necessary in the region, US troops were ordered to do the job ... in 1991, President Bush told Israel to sit on the sidelines.”

        In the chapter headed ‘The Lobby Versus The Palestinians’, M & W examine America’s relationship with the Palestinians, and the effect of the lobby on that relationship. It is important to note that their account begins only in 2001, and that the long history of the Zionist project which first created Israel and then sustained it, which we have referred to above, is therefore missing. They conclude:
        • “Absent the lobby, the Bush administration almost certainly would have been much more self-interested and hard-nosed in pushing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians ... The United States has enormous potential leverage at it’s disposal ... it could threaten to cut off all economic and diplomatic support for Israel ... If that were not enough, it would have little difficulty lining up international support to isolate Israel ... Regarding the Palestinians, the United States could hold out the promise of fulfilling their dream of a viable state ... Given the political divisions within Israel ... as well as the presence of violent rejectionists on both sides, achieving a final settlement would not be easy. But doing nothing, or backing Israel so consistently has not made things better. On the contrary, this policy has almost certainly made things worse ... and continues to erode America’s reputation in the world ...”

        In the following chapter, headed ‘Iraq, and Dreams of Transforming The Middle East’, M & W discuss the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the wider scheme, and the lobby’s involvement, and conclude:
        • “the Bush administration’s plans for Iraq and the wider region have been a stunning failure. Not only is the American military stuck in a losing war, but there is little prospect of exporting democracy across the Middle East anytime soon. Iran has been the main beneficiary of this ill-conceived adventure and it seems as determined as ever to acquire a nuclear capability. Syria, like Iran, remains at odds with Washington, and both states have a powerful interest in having the U.S. military bogged down in Iraq.”
        • “The war in Iraq has not been good for Israel either, especially because it has strengthened Iran’s hand in the region. Indeed, the Forward reported in early 2007 that there is a ‘growing chorus’ of voices in Israel who are saying that the Jewish state ‘could find itself in more danger’ now that Saddam has been removed from power.” M & W also note that “... we should not be surprised that some Israelis and their American allies have tried to rewrite the historical record to absolve Israel of any responsibility for the Iraq disaster ...”

        The next chapter, headed ‘Taking Aim at Syria’: M & W discuss  the relationship of the U.S. with Syria, and the lobby’s involvement, and conclude:
        • “Unfortunately, Washington’s confrontational approach to Damascus has produced nothing but negative consequences for the United States and undermined Israel’s long-term interests too ... Syria has stopped providing Washington with intelligence about Al-Qaeda. Assad has done little to help the United States shut down the insurgency in Iraq ... Damascus has continued to support Hezbollah in Lebanon and has formed a tacit alliance with Iran, which makes it harder to maintain peace in Lebanon and to discourage Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.”
        • “Although these developments are not good for the United States, hard-liners in the lobby remain committed to a policy of confrontation and are quick to criticize anyone who suggests a different course.
        • But Israeli leaders, who appear to be determined to hold on to the Golan Heights, have no interest in seeing the United States establish cooperative relations with Syria ... The result is that the United States continues to pursue a strategically foolish policy toward Syria and will in all likelihood continue to do so until Israel gets a prime minister like Yitzhak Rabin, who understood that exchanging the Golan Heights for peace with Syria would leave Israel in a substantially better strategic position.”

        In the chapter headed ‘Iran in the Crosshairs’, M & W discuss America’s relationship with Iran, and the lobby’s input, and conclude:
        • “American policy toward Iran has been harmful to the national interest”
        • “By opposing any detente between Iran and the United States, much less cooperation, the lobby has also strengthened Iran’s hard-liners, thereby making Israel’s security problems worse”
        Lastly, in the chapter headed ‘The Lobby and the Second Lebanon War’, M & W discuss Israel’s second invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, and the lobby’s involvement. After discussing the invasion in detail, they conclude:
        • “... Nor can one find a compelling strategic or moral rationale that explains why the United States provided Israel with unyielding support while the rest of the world harshly criticized Israeli behavior. In fact, the lobby played the critical role in keeping the United States firmly aligned with Israel during the conflict, despite the strategic costs and dubious moral position this entailed.”
        • “Hezbollah is more powerful than ever in Lebanon ... The war in Lebanon has been a disaster for the Lebanese people as well as a major setback for the United States and for Israel ... The lobby enabled Israel’s counterproductive response by discouraging the Bush administration from exercising independent judgment and influence either before or after the war. In this case, as in so many others, the lobby’s influence has been harmful to U.S. as well as Israeli interests.”

        M & W conclude that “Until the lobby begins to favor a different approach, or until its influence is weakened, American policy in the region will continue to be hamstrung to the detriment of all concerned.”

        What Is To Be Done?
        Combating The Lobby: What Is To Be Done
        In the final chapter, entitled ‘Conclusion: What Is to Be Done’, M & W identify what U.S. policy ought to be, and discuss how the lobby’s negative impact might be mitigated or modified. They conclude that the obvious way to reduce the lobby’s influence:
        • is campaign finance reform. Public financing of all elections would seriously weaken the link between the lobby and elected officials. M & W believe that, unfortunately, the prospects for meaningful campaign finance reform are dim.
        • is to encourage a more open debate about Middle East issues in order to correct existing myths about the Middle East. Americans, say M & W, need to better understand the real history of the creation of the Israeli state, and the true story of Israel’s subsequent conduct.
        • is to force groups in the lobby to defend their positions.
        • is to encourage editors, journalists, scholars, and Americans of all backgrounds to resist the lobby’s efforts to shape public discourse, and to reject the silencing tactics that some lobby groups employ, so that Americans get a more accurate picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. M & W note that “stifling debate” and “smearing opponents” is inconsistent with the principles of vigorous and open dialogue on which democracy depends. They imply indirectly (and correctly), that the smear most often used is a false accusation of anti-Semitism, and note that “once virtually any criticism of Israel becomes equated with anti-Semitism, the charge itself threatens to become meaningless.” They add that continued reliance on such undemocratic tactics runs the risk of generating a hostile backlash at some point in the future.





        Part III:
        A Call For Peace In Palestine, And Messages To Those Involved

        A Call To Everyone – Don’t Be Fooled By Zionist Myths
        Zionist Myths
        There are a number of myths which are propagated by Zionists and their apologists. Don’t be fooled by them. Those detailed below consist of our own interpretation of ideas principally taken from Michael Neumann’s book The Case Against Israel, Uri Avnery’s article Manufacturing Anti-Semitism, and the late Edward Said’s article Dignity, Solidarity and the Penal Colony, both articles in The Politics of Anti-Semitism. They do not necessarily reflect the thinking of these writers.

        False Accusations Of Anti-Semitism
        Zionists, as fervent and uncritical supporters of Israel, often, as noted above, make false accusations of anti-Semitism to silence Israel’s critics.
        • The “anti-Semite” libel when wrongly applied is harmful because it denies free speech and censors debate about Israel’s racism and human rights abuses.
        • Whilst the false application of the “anti-Semite” label may have sometimes been successful in the past in silencing Israel’s critics, there may well be a backlash. When, as has happened recently, individuals such as Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Jimmy Carter are accused of being anti-Semitic, people begin to realise what is going on, and these disreputable tactics will become less and less effective as more and more people refuse to be intimidated.
        • There is a danger that the most angry denunciations of anti-Semitism, when falsely applied, may actually encourage anti-Semitism in the long run, because people see through it and direct their disgust at the accusers.
        • We have already shown, as above, that Zionism is a racist creed. So it is a case of Zionist racists falsely accusing Israel’s critics – of racism! Now that’s chutzpah!

        Zionist Misuse Of The Holocaust
        Ardent pro-Israelis frequently bring up the Holocaust in order to deflect criticism. This is a dishonest tactic, it should fool no one, and it should be resisted:
        • Michael Neumann: “Let no one throw up the Nazi era as some excuse for Israel … The situation is urgent, and dangerous to all involved. The lies, obfuscations, and self-deceiving nonsense that sustain Israel’s occupation – something it could end tomorrow – cost Jewish as well as Palestinian blood.”
        • And Norman Finkelstein, in his article Counterfeit Courage: Reflections on “Political Correctness” in Germany in The Politics of Anti-Semitism: “The Nazi Holocaust, however horrific … is – except for a handful of survivors – fundamentally a historical question. The persecution of the Palestinians is, by contrast, an ongoing horror … In the first instance, moral action is no longer possible; in the second, it plainly is.”
        • Or Jeffrey Blankfort, in his article in the same book: “ … constant reminders of the Jewish Holocaust that, by no accident, appear in the movies and in major news media on a regular basis.” This can contribute to anti-Semitism in the long run because constant appeals on spurious pretexts  become irritating and then cause anger when it is realized that the intention is to prevent useful criticism of Israel.

        Zionist Myths: Israel’s “Humane” Occupation
        Forget talk of Israel’s ‘humane’ occupation – it is mere propaganda, which most people in the world now comprehend. There are the massive human rights violations described in the Brief History Of Modern Palestine referred to above; there are the war crimes; there are the assassinations; there are the terrible effects of assault and siege; there is the degradation, suffering and want that is the daily lot of the Palestinians. Neumann again: “… after the Nazi era, it is small comfort indeed to know that Israel could have done even worse”.

        Zionist Myths: Palestinian Violence (In Contrast To Israeli Peacefulness)
        Forget also the argument of some impassioned Zionists that the Palestinians opted for violence long before the occupation – so they did, but it is necessary to consider both past, pre-1967 violence related to resistance to the creation of Israel, and current violence related to opposition to illegal Israeli settlement, two responses to two different situations. Past Palestinian violence was a valid resistance to the colonialist project for the creation of Israel described in the Brief History Of Modern Palestine referred to above. Current Palestinian violence as also depicted in that brief history is, as discussed in detail below, the response of a people without other options, forced to do so by Israeli settlement and other actions. In both cases - the Zionist project, then the Israeli state - initiated the violence by their actions, causing a justified Palestinian response. The charge against the Palestinians is untrue - it is a shoddy attempt to muddy the waters and deflect blame from Israel.

        Zionist Myths: Unfathomable Arab/Palestinian Hatred
        Zionists sometimes talk of Arabs and Palestinians eternally plotting Israel’s destruction, consumed with a burning hatred that will not die (they’ll always hate us, so peace is impossible, why bother to try). This is a shabby excuse normally trotted out to sabotage any moves towards peace. As regards the wider Arab world, it should be pointed out that peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan have held. On the basic point, of course many Palestinians and Arabs do hate Israelis, and this is unsurprising given the history of the conflict. As Neumann says: ”What bred Palestinian hatred of Jews and Israelis was just like what bred Israeli and Jewish hatred of Palestinians”. The hatreds were a normal consequence of war and conflict, not the cause of the conflict. One may say that the Zionists and the Israeli government exacerbate Palestinian/Arab hatred against ordinary Israelis in their pretence that they represent the entire Jewish people, Israelis and the Diaspora. As to undying hatred, there is absolutely no reason to suppose that there is something historically unique and different in kind about current Arab/Palestinian hostility and hatred of Israel, brought on by war and conflict, which has never happened in the world before. Consider Allied hatreds against Germany and Japan after World War II – while some may persist in a very few (very old) old men, current generations of British and American children seem to be entirely free of it – Germans are the same as other Europeans, and Japanese just like other Asians. Given the history of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, it will take time to abate, but surely it will abate. It is hysterical nonsense to claim otherwise, used by Zionists with base motives. But, in any case, if the ‘unquenchable hatred’ theory is true, then improved security through Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories (as argued for in detail below) is even more desirable. Neumann in addition makes another point which he considers even more important – after a conflict, often when there is continued animosity there is virtually no violence – he gives as one example the likelihood of the Vietnamese or Cambodians or Laotians wreaking vengeance on the Americans for those who died in Indochina. As he says; “It is not just that hatred dissipates; it is also that it often ceases to be a danger.”

        Zionist Myths: Palestinians Can Just Leave
        The myth that the Palestinians can just leave if the occupation is so bad. There is a Zionist myth, widely propagated, that the Palestinians can just pack up and leave if they don’t like the brutal occupation in the Occupied Territories – there are, it is said, some 40 million fellow Arabs in neighbouring countries to which they can go. For sheer Zionist effrontery this takes some beating - the thief is grumbling that the victim should stop complaining and just get out – why should the Palestinians do this? In fact, as Neumann demonstrates in great detail in the chapter of his book on The Settlements, this is not a Palestinian option – they have nowhere else to go. Neumann argues that, though their fellow-Arabs are truly sympathetic to their cause, there are limits, practical and otherwise, to their generosity. In particular, a refuge in Jordan, as is most often cited, Neumann describes as “fatuous” in its impracticality, the equivalent of the USA taking in 180 million people.

        Zionist Myths: It’s Not Israel’s Zionist Policies That Are Making Israel Unsafe
        Myths that deny that it is Israel’s Zionist policies which are making Israel unsafe. The myth is that Israel is a safe haven for all Jews, and must therefore be protected at all costs. In his article Manufacturing Anti-Semites in The Politics of Anti-Semitism referred to above, the Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery speaks of Zionist myths he grew up with, and which are now turned upside down. One is that Israel is a haven for all the Jews in the world – Jews, the myth goes, live in perpetual fear that a cruel persecutor will arrive, as happened in Germany. Israel is the safe haven, to which all Jews can escape in times of danger. Then, says Avery, Saddam [Hussein] came along and proved the opposite. All over the world, Jews live in safety, and only in one place on the planet are they threatened: Israel. Avery says that many Israelis are already planning to escape to communities in the Diaspora – end of myth. What Avnery implies is that Israeli policies are making Israel unsafe

        Zionist Myths: It’s Not Israel’s Zionist Policies That Are Feeding Anti-Semitism
        Myths that deny that it is Israel’s Zionist policies which feed anti-Semitism. Another Zionist myth, Uri Avnery relates in his article in The Politics of Anti-Semitism, is that the Diaspora creates anti-Semitism – everywhere the Jews are a minority, and a minority inevitably attracts the hatred of the majority. Only when the Jews gather in the land of their Forefathers and constitute the majority will anti-Semitism disappear throughout the world. Nowadays, the very opposite is happening: the state of Israel is causing the resurrection of anti-Semitism all over the world, threatening Jews everywhere. The Sharon government [he was writing at that time] is a giant laboratory for growing the anti-Semitism virus and exporting it to the whole world, and anti-Semitism is now riding on a great wave of opposition to Sharon’s policy of aggression. One could disagree slightly with Avnery, and say that perhaps, for some, Israeli policies have led to anti-Semitism, but perhaps for others, it has just led to revulsion and anger and opposition to Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians. Either way (and this is Avnery’s point), it is not good for the state of Israel. His message to the Diaspora: break the habit of automatic identification with everything the Israeli government does – let your conscience speak out. We agree.

        Zionist Myths: Israel’s “Right” To Palestine
        Apologists for Israel often make spurious claims of Israel’s “right” to Palestine (the Holy Land):
        • It is said that the Jews have a historical claim, on the basis that they inhabited the place more than 2,000 years ago. On this basis, are the Saxons entitled to parts of England, or the Normans? Can the native Indians reclaim the whole of America? The argument is absurd.
        • Alternatively, the claim is made on a biblical basis – that God gave Israel to the Jews. To the vast majority of the world’s people (those who are not Jews, and religious Jews at that) this claim means nothing, and will not be accepted.
        • Or it is sometimes said that, because of the growing Nazi menace in Europe, which culminated in the Final Solution, the Jews had a need for refuge. This is demonstrably true, and such a refuge could have been demanded from the whole world. Since the world, particularly the major powers, did not respond, it could be argued that the Jews had a right to take refuge wherever they could, including Palestine. However, once the danger passed (that is, once the Hitler regime was defeated in 1945), the right to refuge ended. Certainly the time-limited “right to refuge” argument does not give the Zionists any right to take over, permanently, any part of Palestine.
        • A variant of the “refuge” claim is that the Jews needed their own state because only in this way could they have a truly safe haven from persecution. There were certainly real threats, in the late nineteenth century, and in the Hitler period (1933-45), as noted in the attached short history, but the Jews could have done what they had done in past centuries – just leave, get out, anywhere, as a matter of self-defence. However, the Zionists insisted that they go only to Palestine, their insistence being not for the express purpose of saving Jewish life, but primarily to help in the Zionist project of taking over someone else’s country.
        • But what of protection from (undefined) future threats? Again, there was always an alternative available to the Zionist project - the historical one of just leaving in the event of any sufficiently threatening situation in the future – just leaving for any suitable place, and assimilating there. Moreover, since many peoples and groups are always imagining looming threats, perceived more or less vaguely – the world would be in chaos if all such groups were allowed to take their own “Zionist” option, and similarly take over someone else’s country. Vague, undefined future threats are insufficient reason for the Zionist project.
        • Those interested in a comprehensive refutation of all of the above arguments should refer to Michael Neumann’s book The Case Against Israel, where a whole chapter is devoted to them.

        Zionist Myths: Palestinian Terrorism Prevents Peace
        The myth that peace cannot be obtained because the Palestinians will not give up terrorism:
        • Michael Neumann points out that, unless the Palestinians assent to the continuing encroachment of the settlements, and the mortal threat these represent – that is, unless they acquiesce to their own continuing dispossession and possible ultimate destruction, they have no other option but to resist – what else can they do? Their options are limited therefore to the form that resistance will take.
        • Ignoring the Israelis’ own massive use of violence before, during, and after the creation of the Israeli state right up to the present day, indignant Zionists sometimes assert that the Palestinians have “failed” to use non-violent resistance – the cheek of these people, the argument goes, it’s all their fault then, we’ll just leave them to stew until they get more sense. However, the option of non-violent resistance alone doesn’t work – historically, on its own, it never has. Neumann, in the chapter of his book describing Palestinian and Israeli Alternatives, demonstrates this, discussing in detail the often-quoted examples of Gandhi’s independence movement, the U.S. Civil rights campaign, and the South African campaign against apartheid – indeed, in the South African case, he shows that, on the contrary, violence did help. The Palestinians, who in fact have always used a mixture of violent and non-violent action, are, in the circumstances of the conflict, justified in a violent resistance. As Neumann says, “the notion that a people ... can free itself literally by allowing their captors to walk all over them is in historical terms a fantasy.” On the other hand, the Israelis do not have to use violence – they can end the whole, long, tragic story whenever they wish, by withdrawing from all of the Occupied Territories and then making a permanent peace, as described in the section below headed ‘A Call To The Israeli People - A Vision For Peace’.
        • Neumann, after observing that not so long ago, the Zionists were themselves terrorists, then goes into a long discussion about terrorism and “state terrorism”. Terrorism, he argues, involves arbitrary attacks against civilians (that is, non-combatants). He notes that the object might not be to instill terror, but to attempt to get the targeted population to make rational calculations about the success or otherwise of  their government’s policies. Further, he says, there are two related questions which must be asked; is terrorism better or worse than other practices, such as, for example, “state terrorism”, or are the two “morally equivalent”; whether “terrorism” is sometimes justified. Neumann’s argument is that, if terrorism is morally equivalent to some other brutal practice such as “state terrorism”, it is still necessary to ask if it is nevertheless justified.
        • Neumann then asks specifically whether Palestinian terrorist attacks are morally different in any significant way from the tactics employed by the Israelis, whose government claims to abhor terror. Israel has employed “state terrorism” in that it, for example, uses air strikes, which do kill civilians. This is still different to Palestinian terrorism, because Israel says it does not deliberately kill civilians (though Neumann is not so sure about this [and in the recent assault on Gaza, Israel has been accused of deliberately killing civilians]) – they are “collateral damage”, whereas Palestinian terrorism deliberately kills civilians. However, Neumann asserts, the issue is not whether a distinction can be made between collateral damage and terrorism, but whether the distinction has any moral importance. Neumann points out that when the Israelis speak of collateral damage, they are not speaking of some unexpected civilian casualties – on the contrary, they in general know with certainty – the commanders, the soldiers, the decision-makers – that civilians are in the firing line, and that they will be killed. Thus, collateral damage involves knowingly killing innocent civilians, and terrorism involves deliberately killing innocent civilians. Neumann notes that, while the conceptual difference is discernable, the moral difference is too academic even for an academic, and that, certainly to the dead, the difference doesn’t matter.
        • Neumann then goes on to point out that, in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the assumption is that, if actions can be classified as terrorism they must be wrong. This is false, he says – by commonly accepted standards, some of these acts can be right:
          • First, there is the question of justification. Conventional morality, even restricted by the concerns expressed in international conventions, does in actuality sanction horrible violence, perhaps even against civilians. Neumann asks whether, in a war, it is in fact so very much worse to kill civilians rather than combatants, and gives several examples, including the saturation bombing campaign against German cities in the Second World War, and the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. These campaigns were perhaps justified because the intention was to end the war and avoid even greater loss of life – some may disagree – but, as Neumann says, the situation is
          • Second, there is the question of good intentions to avoid collateral damage, as is commonly (indeed invariably) claimed by the Israelis – we always try our best to avoid civilian casualties, they say, in a pained way, why can’t the rest of the world understand? This, as Neumann says, is a non-runner – if you know in fact that you will kill civilians as collateral damage, then you are knowingly committing “state terrorism” - you are knowingly killing civilians
          • Thirdly, there is the question of reasons for accepting brutality against civilians – Neumann points out that in fact we’re pretty relaxed about standards for killing and mutilating civilians – that we don’t seem to require great certainty that they are absolutely necessary – that we don’t really feel that you must not make mistakes when it comes to reasons for war, and are very charitable about such mistakes. He quotes the First World War, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war, and contrasts our woolly moralising about war with the crystal clarity about our moralising on, say, the rape of a child. We do lower our standards when it comes to war – the brutalities of war affect us less - we expect countries to act like vicious beasts – the other guy’s atrocities horrify us, not our own.
          • Finally, he comes to terrorism. Like war, and killing, terrorism is sometimes justified, sometimes not. What is crucially clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that we all accept the mutilation and killing of civilians as a means to certain political ends, and that no self-serving revulsion against terrorism will change this.
        • In the case of Palestinian terrorism, the Palestinians have no obviously viable non-violent alternatives. Anyone who believes that the Palestinians should renounce terror ought at least to provide a plausible argument that some other strategy will be more effective – and, Neumann notes, he doesn’t see any such argument on the horizon.
        • The Israelis, on the other hand, have alternatives. They can, as described in the section below headed ‘A Call To The Israeli People - A Vision For Peace’, end the whole, long, tragic story whenever they wish, by withdrawing from all of the occupied territories and then making a permanent peace.

        Zionist Myths: Palestinians Don’t Want Peace
        The Zionist myth that Palestinians would never accept any peace offer. Peace offers, they say, have been made to them in the past, but could not be agreed upon because the Palestinians are committed to the destruction of Israel. Therefore, peace is unattainable. The suspicion is that this Zionist claim is made because it is the Zionists who do not want peace – they want it all, including the West Bank:
        • The Palestinians could not have done so prior to the occupation. Until 1967, Israel had nothing to offer the Palestinians unless it was willing to cease being a Jewish state and permit unlimited right of return. Only this could have ended the sovereignty of Jews over Palestinians which was at the heart of the dispute. Israel never dreamed of making such an offer, so the Palestinians never dreamed of a peaceful settlement.
        • After the Israeli victory in the Six Day War in 1967 and the resulting occupation, Israel was now in a better position to resolve the Palestinian question. There was indeed a chance of peace because the Israelis now had something to offer the Palestinians - the Gaza strip and the West Bank in which to create a sovereign state of their own. Neumann claims that such a proposal seems to have been contemplated but never seriously considered. Dayan and his military advisers recognised the potential of a settlement with the Palestinians on the West Bank immediately after the war when the Palestinians still felt that that they had been liberated rather than conquered by the Israelis. The Palestinian leaders telephoned their desire for an immediate settlement. About 40 of the West Bank notables put their names to a call for a provisional Palestinian Assembly. But there was no reply, despite the fact that at that time the Palestinians regarded the Israelis as liberators [this is Neumann’s claim] because they hoped for an independent state, free from the rule of King Hussein (word had got round that, by agreement with the Israelis, King Hussein was coming back to the West Bank) The chance of a peace settlement was lost when the Israeli government turned to  Hussein instead of inviting the Palestinians to come home and take over their rightful heritage as of right and not on sufferance – that is, to establish their own state in Palestine alongside the Jews. Very quickly, the settlements began. They represented a decisive rejection of peace. Israel, Neumann claims, had been wavering between sponsoring a Palestinian state and giving the Occupied Territories back to Jordan. Now, there would be no Palestinian homeland, nor even any attempt to work out some arrangement between the Palestinians and King Hussein. Whatever their words, by their actions the Israelis had declared unequivocally their studied lack of interest in a Palestinian state or indeed of any accommodation with the Palestinians.
        • After the occupation, and especially after the settlement movement, there could be no peace without a sovereign Palestinian state that could plausibly provide protection from settler ambitions. Other matters, such as the problem of Jerusalem, the right of return, or even the legitimacy of the Israeli state, are secondary to sovereignty, and therefore need not be considered if peace offers did not include sovereignty as a minimum – if Palestinians were not offered real sovereignty, Neumann says, they were offered nothing. The complex issue of negotiations and peace offers now reduces to something much simpler. Israel’s offers supposedly reached some climax of generosity in 1999-2001 – so we can concentrate on that period. We can simply ask – were the Palestinians offered a sovereign state? They were not. Neumann quotes Professor Menachem Klein, Senior Scholar at the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies, Professor at Bar Ilan University, who served as advisor to the Israeli delegation to the Camp David Summit in July 2000. Professor Klein, as Neumann notes, is “not much given to jargon or circumlocution: he dismisses the pro-Israeli claims of generous offers and Palestinian intransigence as ‘nonsense’, and is very clear on one crucial point: “Israel presented a map to Yasir Abd Rabbo and then presented this orally in Stockholm and at Camp David. It was leaked to [the Israeli newspaper] Yediot Aharanot. It shows Israel controlling a Greater Jerusalem that goes to the Dead Sea and connects with the Jordan Valley where Israel would have sovereignty over a strip of land west of the River, and thereby keep control over the external borders of the Palestinian state.” As Neumann says, what happened at the borders of the Palestinian “state”, in other words, would be entirely at the discretion of the Israelis. He notes other state-destroying defects – a territory riddled with settlements and Israeli-controlled access roads, with supervised ports, immigration, and airspace. But, as he says, “the border restrictions alone represent the starkest, clearest denial of Palestinian sovereignty.” You do not have sovereignty, a state, unless you control its territory, and you do not control its territory if you do not control its external borders. It doesn’t matter, therefore, whether what you are being offered represents 80 or 90 or 95 or 98 per cent of the Occupied Territories – to be offered territory you do not control is to be offered nothing.
        • Neumann continues the narrative: after Camp David, Barak resigned, there was an election, and Sharon was elected – just before he took over, there were more negotiations at Taba, at which the Israeli side made much improved, though vague, proposals. Taba is generally conceded to represent the furthest negotiations have advanced towards peace, the contours of a settlement to which both sides might have assented – a demilitarised but sovereign Palestinian state with full control of its borders and a contiguous territory produced in part by land swaps. However, as Neumann notes, the “progress from Camp David to Taba was the progress from a clearly unacceptable offer to a possibly not unacceptable non-offer” - when the Sharon government took power, the Taba proposals, unsurprisingly, never gained official status.
        • The current situation is that, given the settlements, the intentions of the settlers, and Israeli settlement policy, it presently appears crystal clear that Israel will not give the Palestinians room for a sovereign state – it could not do so, given  the Israeli agenda. Since Israel instituted the settlements, it is Israel that currently denies the possibility of peace.
        • Neumann also makes one last, obvious point - if the Palestinians were ever to accept some unsatisfactory offer, this would not produce peace – Palestinian resistance would just continue.
        • Finally, here is the late Edward Said’s assessment of the Bush ‘road map’, from his article Dignity, Solidarity and the Penal Colony in The Politics Of Anti-Semitism. “Anyone who believes that the road map devised by the Bush administration offers anything resembling a settlement or that it tackles the basic issues is wrong. Like so much of the prevailing peace discourse, it places the need for  restraint and renunciation  squarely on Palestinian shoulders ... the road map ... is not about a plan for peace so much as a plan for pacification ... hence the repetition of the term ‘performance’ ... in other words, how the Palestinians are expected to behave ... no violence, no protest, more democracy, better institutions, all based on the notion that  the underlying problem has been the ferocity of Palestinian resistance, rather than the occupation that has given rise to it. Nothing comparable is expected of Israel ...” One wonders if the present Obama/Mitchell approach is in any way significantly different from this.
        Zionist Myths: Claims Of Common Values
        Zionist claims of common values. Nowadays, the American alliance with Israel is typically defended on nebulous grounds: Israel is “our friend”, it “shares our values”, it is a staunch ally in the “war on terror”. These phrases disguise the fact that, in contrast to most alliances, there is virtually no confluence of American and Israeli interests:
        • That Israel is “our friend” implies an affection for which there is little evidence: even discounting spy scandals and the USS Liberty incident, the relationship is certainly prickly enough. So, the only sense in which Israel is truly “our friend” is that Israel is America’s ally. This of course begs the question at hand. No one would dispute that Israel is America’s ally in the sense that America has allied itself with Israel; at issue is whether this alliance is to America’s advantage.
        • As for “sharing our values”, this is too nebulous to take seriously. Alliances involve common interests, not common mentalities. In the Second World War, France and Italy probably shared more values than France and Russia; the alliances did not reflect these facts. And it must be said that, though Israel does indeed claim to believe in democracy, the American conception of democracy would not permit territorial control of 3 million Palestinians for 40-plus years without any role in the election of their ultimate rulers, the Israeli government. Furthermore, Israel is a democracy for Israeli Jews only, not for the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs comprising some 20 per cent of the population who are second-class citizens, as noted in the brief history referred to above. If the U.S. is to have good reason to ally itself with Israel, that alliance must have shared objectives rather than a mere appearance of shared values.
        • With communism no more a common enemy, the Israelis had to worry about the appearance of a common cause.
          • In this respect, 9/11 was a godsend because it enabled the Israelis to present themselves as a comrade in the “war on terror” The Israeli government, their Zionist apologists, and the now-discredited-and-out-of-office Bush administration, with its American neocons (mostly Zionists by another name), have dishonestly confused and conflated Israeli and American problems with terrorism as a way of falsely boosting the need of the USA to have Israel as a partner and comrade in the “war on terror”. In fact, the terrorist enemies of each are different and have different motivations. America and Israel do not have common terrorist enemies, and therefore America has no need of Israel in its fight against terrorism. Al-Qaeda is an enemy of America – it is unnecessary to go into the many reasons for this, since it is sufficient only to note that it is not an Israeli enemy – although it has made sympathetic noises to the Palestinian cause, it has done nothing useful for the Palestinians. And Hezbollah and Hamas are enemies of Israel, but not the US. (We have already made this point in great detail about Hamas, in a previous article ‘Hamas and Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiation’, which can also be seen on South Tyneside STWC’s website at www.northeaststopwar.org.uk
          • On the other hand, Israel does nothing but harm the strategic and political position of the United States. This is apparent whether one looks at the purported advantages of the alliance, or at its known disadvantages:
            • It is often claimed that the U.S. alliance with Israel is motivated by oil politics. This is implausible. In fact, were it not for that alliance, the US would be able to apply much more direct and finely-tuned pressure on oil-rich governments, if one is to take a Machiavellian view of geopolitics. Israel is best positioned to pressure states which are not significant oil producers – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, utterly superfluous for pressuring feeble Gulf states, and politically unsuitable, as the Gulf wars showed, for pressuring militarily strong producers like Iraq under Saddam, and Iran. Israel is more of a hindrance than a help
            • The portrayal of Israel as America’s stationary aircraft carrier is equally unconvincing. Again taking a Machiavellian view of geopolitics, the U.S. does not need Israel to strike through Jordan and Syria to Gulf oil fields. This ‘solution’ would be much more of a problem than simply occupying the oil fields with American troops. The one thing that might conceivably come in handy – lots of ground troops – only friendly Arab governments, not Israel, can supply.
            • As for more immediate objectives, there is no common interest at all. America (apart from that tiny but very influential piece of it which is the lobby) has absolutely no desire for Israeli settlers to dispossess the Palestinians of the little that remains to them, no desire whatever to persecute the Palestinians in any way. Israel (apparently) benefits from these activities; America merely pays the price, in dollars and lives.

        There are a number of reasons why the alliance should end:
        • Neumann notes that, despite the air of unshakeable piety that surrounds the U.S.-Israel alliance, it has never been, even at its height, the sacred bond that it is habitually supposed to be. Even after the Yom Kippur war, when the U.S. replenished Israel’s arsenal, U.S. aid to Egypt was very substantial and preceded the Camp David agreements of 1977. Saudi Arabia, still at war with Israel, is armed by the United States. And how soon the fact is forgotten, that in 1990, the U.S. and Syria were military allies.
        • In fact, Neumann continues, America would be better off on the other side of the Israel-Palestine conflict:
          • It would instantly gain the warm friendship of Arab oil producers.
          • It would obtain greater cooperation from Muslim governments in its fight against terrorism, and reduce the ranks of Muslim extremists.
        • It has already been noted in the section headed ‘American Foreign Policy: The Lobby’s Damaging  Influence’, that America has tremendous leverage to pressure Israel into a peace settlement with the Palestinians. If it were to do so, a conflict that has simmered and broken out sporadically since 1948 in a strategically vital oil-rich region of the world could at last be ended.

        A Call To The Jewish Diaspora, And All People Of Goodwill
        Speak Out Against Israeli Oppression And Intransigence, And Take Action
        Israeli intransigence has allowed an occupation of the West Bank, and (until recently) the Gaza Strip to drag on for more than 40 years, in which the Palestinian people have been savagely persecuted, and now appear to be slowly being strangled out of existence. In this situation, it is not enough for the Jewish Diaspora, especially in America, and indeed all Jews everywhere, to merely refrain from supporting Israel no matter what it does. All people of goodwill everywhere, including Israeli Jews and the Jewish Diaspora must speak out:
        • Michael Neumann again:
          • “... no nation and no person of any ethnicity should support Israel. Nor is that nearly enough. They should work to isolate that nation and, by marshaling the most extensive international sanctions possible, to force Israel out of the Occupied Territories. That is not an extreme proposal but the bare minimum that the current situation demands.”
          • “... no one should be deterred from vigorous anti-Israeli action by the horrors of the Jewish past. On the contrary: Israel’s current policies are themselves an insult and a threat to Jews and Israelis everywhere. Concern for the past requires a quite different attitude. When it comes to the lessons of history, we can do no better than heed the words of Irena Klepfisz, who was born in Warsaw in 1941 and whose father died in the Warsaw uprising:
            • ‘Am I to feel better that the Palestinians ... were not shot by the Israelis but merely beaten? As long as hundreds of Palestinians are not being lined up and shot, but are killed by Israelis only one a day, are we Jews free from worrying about morality, justice? Has Nazism become the sole norm by which to judge evil, so that anything that is not its exact duplicate is considered by us morally acceptable? Is that what the Holocaust has done to Jewish moral sensibility?’ ”
        • This is Neumann again, taken from his article What Is Anti-Semitism in The Politics Of Anti-Semitism referred to above. He speaks of complicity in crimes: “... for denying the horror unfolding around them, for failing to speak out and resist, for passive consent ... If many Jews spoke out, it would have an enormous effect. But the overwhelming majority of Jews do not, and in the vast majority of cases, this is because they support Israel.”
        • Another point – it is entirely insufficient to only demand, for example, a “two-state solution”, in circumstances where America and Israel call the shots and appear to be doing nothing effective. Groups like J.Street in America, and Independent Jewish Voices in the UK need to go beyond that and actively criticise Israel’s behaviour. They have made a start.
        Action, too, is necessary. All people of goodwill can take part in boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns.

        In April, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Jeff Halper, a visiting Israeli peace activist, discussed some vital questions for the Jewish Diaspora everywhere. Extracts are reproduced here: “ … Diaspora Jewry uses Israel as the lynchpin of its ethnic identity, mobilising around a beleaguered Israel as a way of keeping the community intact … Israel cannot be held up as a voyeuristic ideal by people who, though professing a commitment to Israel’s survival … the vast majority … are not going to emigrate to Israel, actually need an Israel at conflict for their own community’s internal survival … Israel must change in ways David Ben-Gurion and Leon Uris never envisioned, even if that is hard for Diaspora Jews to accept … I can envision an Israel at peace …it is precisely such a normal state at peace with its neighbours that is so threatening to Jews abroad, because it leaves them with no external cause around which to galvanise … Diaspora Jews need to revalidate Diaspora Jewish culture (that Zionism dismissed as superficial and ephemeral) and find genuine, compelling reasons why their children should remain Jewish … Blindly supporting Israel’s extreme right-wing and militaristic policies is not the way to do that. Such uncritical support contradicts the very liberal values that define Diaspora Jewry, driving away the younger generation of thinking Jews … [the Diaspora] must let Israel go, get a (Jewish) life of its own, and return to its historical commitment to social justice and human rights. It may wish Israel well, but it must support an end to Israel’s occupation and a just peace with the Palestinians.”


        A Call To The Israeli People- A Vision For Peace
        A Call To The Israeli People – Act To Bring Peace To The Middle East
        Michael Neumann’s book contains a vision for peace involving withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. The ideas which are detailed below consist of our own interpretation of his ideas. Though they are similar, they do not reflect his own thinking.

        It has been argued in the section above headed ‘Zionist Myths: Palestinian Terrorism Prevents Peace’ that the Palestinians have no alternative but violent resistance.


        It is often said that Israel also has no alternative other than a military response to such resistance; that Israelis and Palestinians are locked together in some fatal struggle. This is incorrect. Israel does have an alternative – unilateral withdrawal from all of the Occupied Territories, both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, since Israel does have this alternative, a military response to Palestinian resistance is not justified. Though an Israeli unilateral withdrawal is currently out of the question given the nature of the Netanyahu government, it is nevertheless discussed in detail below because of its insights and possibilities, and because governments change:
        • Michael Neumann points out that unilateral withdrawal “has been recommended since 1998 by the Council for Peace and Security, an organisation originally headed by Aharon Yariv, who joined the Haganah (the main Zionist armed force) in 1939 and was at various times a general, the first commander of the IDF staff college, head of military intelligence, and cabinet minister in the Meir and Rabin governments. The group comprises some 1,000 ‘security experts’, including ex-army and intelligence officers with impressive credentials. Some of its members want to hang on to some of its settlements, but on the whole something very close to complete withdrawal is contemplated.”
        • Neumann noted that “In the opinion of this group, withdrawal will improve, not harm Israel’s security.” The main reasons are obvious:
          • Vast resources are currently needed to defend the settlements because it is more difficult to protect civilians scattered all over the landscape than to protect a single border.
          • Because of the settlements, the existing border cannot be properly sealed; this constraint would vanish on withdrawal. It is eloquent testimony to the desirability of this option that almost invariably, when Israel is really concerned about its internal security, it does in fact temporarily close the border, roughly along the pre-1967 ‘Green Line’ Within its borders, Israel could erect whatever barriers and fortifications it liked to tighten its frontiers.
          • Palestinians in the Occupied Territories [both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip] will be able to establish a state of their own. Most will no longer have a motive for engaging in violence. The extent to which withdrawal would reduce Palestinian attacks is the subject of much speculation, but it would be unreasonable to suppose that withdrawal offered no grounds for expecting a reduction.
        • The chief disadvantage alleged is that Israel will ... lose its ‘buffer’ of the Occupied Territories, so that Palestinians or conceivably neighboring states would be in a better position to mount attacks. Many, both Israelis (see the quote below) and non-Israelis, suspect that this alleged disadvantage – the loss of the “buffer” - is in fact an excuse used to hide the real intention – to preserve, and even extend, the settlements. Nevertheless, the alleged problem of the loss of the “buffer” is considered below. As Neumann says, “This problem is vastly overblown”. Neumann again:
          • “Buffer zones need not be within one’s own borders. States do on occasion announce that military operations close to certain vulnerable borders would not be tolerated. Israel is more than powerful enough to do the same.”
          • “Nothing would prevent Israel from making retaliatory or even pre-emptive strikes across its borders if genuinely necessary. This is in fact the strategy that Israel has in the past employed against neighbouring states, with considerable success.”
          • “Only on the most pessimistic analysis can it be supposed that the government of a [new] Palestinian state would not want to restrict terrorism against Israel: with a state, the Palestinians would have much to lose in such attacks, and, given military realities, virtually nothing to gain.”
          • “There is a good chance that international forces could be enlisted to monitor the border.”
          • “In the worst case, the decision would not be irrevocable. If Israel really did find itself in an intolerable security situation as a result of withdrawal, there is little doubt it would have the power to reoccupy the territories, particularly if it did so before allowing a buildup of forces on the other side.”
          • [There is Israel’s preponderance of military power, at least in the short and medium term.]
        • On the other hand, the risks, particularly the long-term ones, of leaving the situation unchanged have also to be considered:
          • The difficulty of defending settlements scattered all over the landscape, as noted above.
          • Continuing Palestinian violence.
          • The possibility of increasing levels of anti-Semitism around the world because of Israel’s behaviour towards the Palestinians – as Israel becomes more and more unpopular, the perceived identification of Jews with Israel could invigorate an unacceptable ideology that fell into disrepute after the Holocaust. This would have adverse repercussions for Israel (as well as the Jewish Diaspora).
          • Increasing anger in the Arab and Muslim world, and in Europe too, matched by Israel’s increasing diplomatic isolation, with the possibility, at some time or other, of European economic and other sanctions, cannot be good for security in the long-term.
          • Continued reliance on large-scale American support, which, even if currently available, cannot be guaranteed in the long-term – the world is ever-changing, new global powers are emerging, and the global geopolitical picture could look very different in a decade or two.
        • What makes the withdrawal option so significant is that it is instantly available –  it requires no negotiations, no change in Palestinian attitudes, no trust, and no improvement in the effectiveness of the Palestinian authority” Neumann quotes an Israeli major in the Israeli armored corps who “showed an appreciation of the situation when he said that:
          • ‘Make no mistake, Israel has no other reason for remaining in the Occupied Territories than to preserve the existing settlements, even when they are deep within Palestinian centers of population. Maybe the Palestinians are not interested in peace – one of the most commonly heard justifications for our recent invasions – and truly want to push us into the sea. Even then, we would be much better off defending ourselves from the 1967 borders rather than from inside the narrow alleys of Jenin, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. This is why I think that the occupation runs against the most basic interests of the state of Israel, even to the extent of threatening its very existence.’ ”
        • Concerning the settlements, the political difficulties involved in getting Israelis to accept the withdrawal are irrelevant to its viability: they simply mean that Israel might not choose it, and that decision would remain Israel’s responsibility. As for the settlers, Israel could arrange for their removal as it did recently when it previously withdrew from the Gaza Strip – despite settler threats, they were removed without too much trouble. Although the numbers (roughly half a million, around 200,000 in East Jerusalem and 250,000 in other parts of the West Bank) are much bigger, the task is by no means impossible.
        • A unilateral withdrawal would enable peace negotiations to subsequently take place. Neumann in fact argues that negotiations after withdrawal make more sense, because there could then be a sovereign Palestinian state to negotiate with. Neumann also points out that Israel would not lack negotiating chips, such as the possibility of a land corridor between the West Bank and Gaza, negotiated after the withdrawal, to produce a contiguous Palestinian state.
        Over the years, you have elected a succession of governments, each one of which has been indifferent, to a greater or lesser degree, to the human rights of the Palestinians, and has in fact savagely persecuted them, and killed them in their thousands – your present right-wing government is no exception. Those governments have frequently used fear as a means of keeping the Israeli people in line. The consequences are:
        • You have become a pariah state around the world:
          • From early on (1948 and earlier), you have been opposed, not only by the Arab and Muslim worlds, but by virtually all of the so-called developing countries, many of whom had their own bitter colonial experiences to draw on.
          • Increasingly, the so-called developed countries, in Europe and elsewhere, are turning against you. There is a long line of UN resolutions where you have been supported by America almost alone. It may be that much of Europe’s support is only because European governments felt, subserviently, that they had to toe the American line (certainly, this was the case in the UK). That support may be eroding.
        • To date, you have been able to count on massive American support, not least due to the efforts of the Israel lobby. But, as noted above, continued reliance on large-scale American support is not a wise security policy - even if currently available, it cannot, in an ever-changing world, be guaranteed in the long-term.
        • Fearful damage to the national psyche, as a result of the local, regional and worldwide effects of the actions taken by the state in your name. It must be enormously difficult to live at ease in Israel – psychological ease, that is - to the detriment of all its inhabitants.
        • The likelihood of more conflict, due to increasing capabilities in neighbouring Arab countries, and in the Arab and Muslim world at large, coupled with their increasing anger due to the failure to find a solution.
        A peaceful solution to the conflict with the creation of a Palestinian state (whether involving a prior unilateral withdrawal or not) would finally bring peace and true security to yourselves, the Palestinians, and the whole region. The long cycle of violence would end, and long-held hatreds on both sides would subside over the years. We urge those of you who are not Zionists to put the maximum pressure on your government to change course and help bring about a viable Palestinian state, rather than the poor collection of dependent Bantustans assembled in some pitiable non-state, which is what your Prime Minister envisages. Netanyahu’s solution, even if successfully forced on the Palestinians, won’t work because it won’t bring peace – the Palestinians just wouldn’t accept it, and the conflict would continue.

        We stress again that we are not anti-Semitic, we are anti-Zionist. To all Israelis who are not Zionists, we hope that you too, can, like the Palestinians, live in peace and security.


        To The New American Administration – Bring Peace To The Middle East
        Stop Treating Israel As Special, And Demand A Viable Palestinian State
        President Obama, newly arrived six months ago at the White House, carried the world’s hopes for a historic change in American policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During that time, he has done nothing of the scale and scope required to effect a viable settlement. If he had acted as though both sides in the dispute were equals – equal in terms of the moral rightness of their position, and, more crucially, equal in terms of their military strengths – then this would have been bad enough, since patently this is not the case. But he has done worse than this – while doing nothing to help the besieged Palestinians in Gaza, he has worried excessively over the security of the illegally-occupying power, the racist Israeli state, whose moral position, as witness the past and recent histories detailed above, is, to be plain, disgusting. Furthermore, he has done this knowing that the military strengths of the two sides are vastly disparate, due almost entirely to the past and continuing one-sided support of Israel by the United States itself - so that, without American help, the Palestinians will find it difficult to avoid a solution dictated by Israel – a state noted for its previous intransigence, whose current government is certain to be at least as awkward, unyielding, and prevaricating as Israel has ever been in the past. There are many who believe that this and all past Israeli governments, with the vision of a ‘Greater Israel’ (of undefined borders) in mind, have never intended that there be a viable Palestinian state, have never intended that (if they are forced to allow something) there be any more than the pretence, the façade, of a Palestinian state – not a state, not defensible, nothing - a mere collection of Bantustans entirely dependent on Israel for their very existence. Obama must have been very well aware of this special danger – yet his actions to date show that he has done nothing to avoid it – indeed, they seem designed, principally through his appointment of George Mitchell to carry out peace negotiations, to produce just such a pitiable, non-viable non-state for the Palestinians. Such a non-state will not bring peace, since the Palestinians (or significant sections of them) will not accept it. Therefore, the whole American peace effort, as currently constituted, is a waste of time.

        The consensus among the various powers involved (as opposed to the Palestinians themselves) is a “two-state solution”; its essence (give or take some minor land swaps) is that Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders, and that the new Palestinian state is formed from the West Bank (currently occupied by the Israelis) and the Gaza Strip (currently under siege by the Israelis). The crucial point is that if the Palestinians were to accept this, then they would be accepting the loss of almost four-fifths (79%) of historic (mandate) Palestine on the practical, realpolitik basis that, whether legitimate or not, Israel is a de facto state whose existence and territory could very plausibly be disputed legally, but would be hard to dispute in terms of power, since such a dispute could only be by force and, thanks to America, Israel has very powerful armed forces. Thus, a two-state solution as envisaged, represents a substantial territorial loss to the Palestinians, and they cannot realistically be expected to bear any greater loss than this. Furthermore, anything less than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip (the remaining 21% - for example, by excluding some or all of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank) would render a viable Palestinian state unfeasible in purely territorial terms – for what state worthy of the name could exist with islands of the territory of another state either embedded within it, or (alternatively) existing as spear-like projections into it. It follows therefore that, at a minimum, a future Palestinian state would require Israeli withdrawal from all of the illegal settlements on the West Bank. It is also essential, for the same reason, that there is a swift halt to the creation of any further settlements, and an absolute ban on any extension of existing settlements.

        In such circumstances, it was entirely insufficient for Obama to appoint a special envoy, George Mitchell, to start peace negotiations with Israeli and Palestinian representatives. What was needed, and needed swiftly, was of such magnitude and scope that it could only be done by the President of the United States himself, namely a call to the Israelis to accept a two-state solution, with the proposed Palestinian state constituting, at a minimum, all of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and an Israeli state constituting, at a maximum, of an Israeli state based on its pre-1967 borders. This could have been coupled with a further stipulation for satisfactory arrangements as to both Jerusalem, and the Palestinian refugees, a demand for the immediate end to all settlement activity, and a start on dismantling existing settlements. Finally, Obama should have told the Israelis that peace negotiations must begin without any pre-conditions for either side. He needed furthermore to issue a non-negotiable demand that the Israelis unconditionally end the siege of Gaza immediately. He should then have made it crystal clear to the Israelis that if they were not to accept these provisions within a fairly short period of time, then drastic US sanctions would follow – a withdrawal of all economic and military aid and diplomatic support, and, if that were not enough, a concerted US diplomatic effort to isolate Israel. All of this would have required a determined and hard-nosed stance towards Israel, which in turn would have meant taking on America’s pro-Israel lobby in an uncompromising way.

        Obama has done nothing like this. What, in detail, then, has he done and not done? Most importantly, Obama has appointed George Mitchell as his special envoy to carry out peace negotiations between the two parties. Since he has not previously demanded that the Israelis accept a two-state solution, with the proposed Palestinian state constituting, at a minimum, all of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, then any such negotiations can, realistically, only produce a Palestinian state with less than this, in the form of various settlements which the Israelis refuse to give up. That is, they can only produce, firstly, a territorial loss to the Palestinians which is greater then they can realistically be expected to bear, and secondly an area of land which, as noted above, is such as would render a viable Palestinian state unfeasible - a recipe for a non-state which will not bring peace. But what if the envoy were to prevent the concession to Israel of any of the existing settlements, or only such very minor settlements as made no practical difference? – then Obama may as well have stipulated at the outset the minimum Palestinian state depicted above. The only other possibility is significant concessions on settlements, and a Palestinian non-state as already described.


        Furthermore, Mitchell himself is not the pro-Palestinian horror that the pro-Israel lobby hints at – indeed, he is to some extent one of their children. His details set out below raise considerable doubts as to whether he would prevent the retention of considerable areas of existing Israeli settlements in the west Bank:
        • He became a Senator after receiving significant help from AIPAC in scoring an upset victory in 1982. After the brief term following his appointment, he won election to a full six-year term, AIPAC having arranged for various political action committees to help finance his campaign. Perhaps even more significantly, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported in February (just prior to the Israeli election) that Mitchell had “told Israeli officials that the new administration … would take into consideration facts on the ground, meaning large settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands [our italics].”
        • In 2000, Mitchell headed a committee set up by Bill Clinton with the object of saving the faltering “peace process”. The following year, Mitchell’s committee published a report which (among other things) called on the Israelis to freeze their settlements in the occupied territories – it did not call for them to be removed. The report also ignored the fact that all of the settlements are illegal under international law, and that UN Security Council resolutions, adopted unanimously with U.S. support, already call for Israeli withdrawal – but hell, when has the trivial matter of illegality bothered the good ol’ USA?
        In short, it appears that the situation which the Obama administration has set up appears likely, if nothing is changed, to produce a repeat of the past Clinton administration’s efforts – that is, will similarly dither (amidst detailed and time-consuming arguments) over which particular settlements can be retained, and which cannot, in the face of the inevitable Israeli procrastinations, and end up, like Clinton, cruelly prolonging Palestinian suffering for years, only to finally offer a pathetic and pitiful non-state, not viable, not independent, not a state, nothing – with the difference that this time Israel’s slow and cruel strangulation of the Palestinian people, so far advanced today, may by that time have been virtually completed – a genocide in slow motion.

        Briefly, what else has the Obama administration failed to do, despite the massive economic, military, and diplomatic leverage they have over Israel?
        • Although Obama has talked sweetly to the Muslim world, effective action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been almost non-existent.
        • He has failed to end the crippling siege on Gaza, with its terrible effects on the Palestinians there.
        • Not only have the Americans failed to pressure the Israelis to start dismantling settlements, but, despite repeated protestations, they have even failed to stop them creating new ones.
        • He has allowed Netanyahu to tie the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the question of Iran and nuclear weapons. He should decisively reject such linkage – Israel’s failure to give up occupied Palestinian lands is the major cause of tension in the Middle East. Also, and worryingly, after warning Israel not to attack Iranian nuclear installations, his administration has more recently been sending more equivocal signals. American hypocrisy over this issue is breathtaking – Iran is to be forced, one way or another, to conform, while no mention is made of the hundreds of nuclear weapons that Israel possesses.
        • He has failed to adjust to the reality of Hamas, and the depleted appeal of  Fatah and Abbas.
        • In June, Obama said “The United States can’t force peace upon the parties”. This is exactly the point – faced with Israeli intransigence, this is precisely what he will have to do.
        Obama needs to do what he should have done in the first place, as noted above, that is:
        • personally demand the Israelis accept a two-state solution with the proposed Palestinian state constituting, at a minimum, all of the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
        • make appropriate stipulations as to Jerusalem, and the Palestinian refugees
        • demand the immediate end to all settlement activity, and a start on the dismantling of all existing settlements, including those in East Jerusalem.
        • demand that peace negotiations begin without any pre-conditions for either side.
        • require that the Israelis unconditionally end the siege of Gaza immediately
        • decouple the Iranian question, and make it clear that any Israeli attack on Iran would not be tolerated, and would have the gravest consequences.
        • tell the Israelis that a failure to accept these provisions within a fairly short period of time will  result in drastic US sanctions – a withdrawal of all economic and military aid and diplomatic support, and, if that were not enough, a concerted US diplomatic effort to isolate Israel.
        • stop treating Israel as a ‘special’ state -  it must no longer be given complete license to escape criticism.
        As we have already noted in a previous article, the likelihood (some would say the near-certainty) is that Obama and his people in the Home Of The Brave and The Land Of The Free won’t have the bottle or the political will to take on the pro-Israel lobby and end America’s long-time and amoral support of the Israelis no matter what they do. His administration, like several previous American administrations, will persist in ignoring the human rights of the Palestinian people, and their continuing and brutal oppression at Israeli hands. Given the current American approach, as described above, there is a distinct possibility (again, some would say a near-certainty) that, like the avidly pro-Israeli Clinton administration of former days, Obama’s administration will similarly dither in the face of the inevitable Israeli procrastinations, haggling over this settlement or that settlement, and end up, as noted above, like Clinton, cruelly prolonging Palestinian suffering, only to ultimately offer a pitiful non-state – except that by that time Israel’s asphyxiation of the Palestinian people, so far advanced today, may by then be total – a genocide. If such a terrible end-game were to occur, the Americans would bear a heavy, not to say major, responsibility, since without their massive and long-term military and economic aid and diplomatic support, Israel’s expansionist wars, and its continuing illegal settlements, would not have been possible. Everyone knows that the Israeli air force consists of American planes, financed by America, with Israeli pilots (by contrast, the Israelis build their own tanks, although America still pays for them). The moral position of the Americans over the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is now widely perceived throughout the world to be down there in the gutter with the Israelis. Unless they decisively change tack, American pretensions over human rights, freedom and democracy will be seen throughout the world for what they are – as so much bullshit.

        To The American People
        They’ve Never Told You The Truth – Otherwise, You Wouldn’t Unconditionally Support Israel
        People such as ourselves are very often characterized here in the UK, by uncritical supporters of America (with an axe to grind), as anti-American. We are not – we are against the American administration in its present stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

        Governments, in America and elsewhere (and not least that of the UK) often act, to a greater or lesser degree, in a pragmatic, not to say cynically expedient way that considers only what they consider the realpolitik of the situation. Ordinary people, on the other hand, perhaps only because they remain uncorrupted by power, are more likely to act in a fundamentally decent way. We believe that the American people, if only they were told the truth about Israel’s history, both past and present, would exert irresistible pressure on the American government to change course, and end its zealous support for an Israeli regime which cruelly suppresses the Palestinians. Mearsheimer and Walt obviously believe the same thing (despite calling themselves ‘American realists’, they do look in detail at the moral aspects of the situation) – and, moreover, they believe that, even on realistic, self-interested grounds, America is harming its real interests (and those of Israel, too), by its amoral support for the Israeli state.


        However, for the American people to act, they first need to know the truth about Israel’s past and current history, and this, as Mearsheimer and Walt make abundantly clear, is near to impossible given the skewed and untruthful version of the conflict, past and current, presented to them by the American media:
        • Here is what we said concerning a previous article on the subject: “[Here] is a short history of Israel and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a history which … you will never come across in the mainstream American media. The short history is related in the same manner as it is told by those Israeli “new historians”, who, in the 1990’s, attempted to set out the true history of Israel in direct contradiction to the cosy lies of Israel’s foundational myths. It is the history of Israel which Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, in their book The Israel Lobby And US Foreign Policy wanted to be revealed to the American public. If they are correct, it is a history which you will never read in the New York Times, or the Washington Post, or the Chicago Sun-Times, or the Los Angeles Times, or any of the mainstream print media. If they are correct, it is a history which you will never see on the major networks ABC or CBS or NBC ... ”
        • Here also, as an example, is a report in London’s Guardian newspaper on 27 January, shortly after the Gaza assault ended: “The New York Times editorial page was subdued … It took over a week into the war before it allowed an Arab voice to weigh in on the opinion page. Its correspondents pulled their punches, attempting to bend over backwards to "understand" the Israeli position. Whenever they reported on war crimes charges they were careful to convey Israel’s defence, no matter how lame. If a reporter doubted an Israeli claim, it had to be tweezed out by reading between the lines. Coverage overseas was much more straightforward with this report in the Times [a link here to the report concerned] typifying coverage which openly questioned the basic premises of Israeli strategy.”
        The American media, and their highly-paid stooges and front men, bear a heavy responsibility for what they have done. The British journalist Robert Fisk called them “as pro-Israeli, biased and gutless as the two academics [M & W] infer them to be”. He was right.

        Nevertheless, we do believe that, even in America, the truth will out, and that the American people will then act.


        The ‘Quartet’
        Act Independently Of The Americans, And Press For Swift Action To Bring Peace
        The Special Envoy to the Middle East for the ‘Quartet’ (the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN) is, of course, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister. Blair owed his appointment as envoy to pressure from the previous American regime of George. W. Bush, who, together with the neocon clique around him, wanted someone to do their bidding. It is difficult, with Obama’s administration in place, to think of a more ill-suited person:
        • second only to the now-gone-and-forgotten Bush himself, Blair must be the most hated man in the Middle East (except, that is, for his Israeli friends). Why? Because of his record on the Iraq war, his record on the second Lebanon war (where, to our shame and disgrace, he allowed the UK to stand, almost alone in the world, with America in steadfast support of the Israelis), and because he is rightly seen throughout the Arab world as a creature of the blatantly pro-Israeli and now discredited Bush regime.
        • Bush never actually trusted Blair with a role in any (non-existent) peace process – his sphere of action was basically limited to helping the Palestinians improve their economy, and he achieved nothing. In fact, Blair had been advocating, presumably on behalf of his Zionist Israeli friends, that Hamas had to be severely weakened to achieve any progress. He did his bit, therefore, towards the Israeli assault on Gaza. Furthermore, when the Gaza assault was in progress, he said there could only be a ceasefire when the supply of arms and money to the Palestinians was cut off – no similar demands regarding the Israelis, of course. Blair also said that there had to be Palestinian unity to achieve a Palestinian state, conveniently forgetting the central role the US, the EU, and the UK, played in destroying it, and their attempts to destroy Hamas.
        • Having groveled to Bush, Blair changed tack when Obama took power, making his first belated visit to Gaza in March (despite having been the Quartet’s envoy since June 2007), called belatedly for a new approach (the two-state solution), for the lifting of the siege, and for Hamas to be brought into the peace process, and said belatedly that he was “appalled” at what was going on (though he still refrained from criticizing his Israeli buddies). Later, in April, we heard of Blair’s “understanding” of Netanyahu’s unwillingness to declare support for a Palestinian state until “circumstances become right” – the man just can’t give up his unadulterated support for his Israeli friends.
        • Blair has disturbing connections, too – his personal bagman, his financier, was Lord Levy, who is Jewish and, apparently has excellent access to the (Zionist) great and the good in Tel Aviv – Blair subsequently ennobled him. In May, Blair received a million dollar prize from a foundation set up by an Israeli Zionist (some of his best friends are Zionists). The prize (the money was passed on to Blair’s religious foundation) was apparently awarded for "achievements having an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on our world."
        • Blair, the values-free opportunist, has certainly made an impact on our world! His messianic and dangerous ‘clash of civilisations’ message has, with others of a like mind, opened a Pandora’s box of worldwide violence from which the world will not easily recover. An (as yet) untried war criminal who, we hope, will in the relatively near future be hauled before the Iraq war inquiry (which he has partially succeeded in hobbling – more on that later).
        We should remember that the Quartet itself was set up under Bush to give the false appearance that, internationally, something was being done to help the Palestinians. It has been a Bush creature, and a singular failure, existing only as a cover for the Bush regime’s misdeeds. It might perhaps just be disbanded. But if it is not, and is rejuvenated under Obama, Blair must be summarily dismissed – he, like Bush, is a discredited has-been from a murderous past.

        To The European Union
        Take A Robust And Independent Line From The US, And Use Europe’s Leverage
        Back in mid-2008, Jimmy Carter urged Britain and other European governments to split with America, describing the EU’s stance over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "supine". He also noted the Quartet’s (and thus the EU’s) failure to criticise the Israeli blockade of Gaza: "To see Europeans going along with this is embarrassing". Carter said, on the prospect of Europe breaking away from the position of the United States: "Why not? They’re not our vassals. They occupy an equal position with the US." Carter also noted the Quartet’s/EU’s policy of not talking to Hamas unless it recognised Israel, renounced violence, and accepted previously-signed peace agreements. In short, the EU’s cringing stance was a carbon copy of Bush’s fervently pro-Israeli policy.

        It will be recalled that a survey carried out in late 2003 in the then 15 member states of the EU found that nearly 60 percent of European citizens believe Israel poses the biggest threat to world peace. However, the European Union has never been notable for considering the opinions of its own citizens.


        The EU continues to more or less slavishly follow the US line, this time of the new Obama administration, which, as noted above, is currently wholly inadequate to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are, however, some stirrings for change. Points to note:
        • during the Israeli assault on Gaza, the EU was hopelessly split between those states that condemn Israel for disproportionate use of force (notably, France, Ireland and Luxembourg) and those that put all the blame on Hamas (notably Germany and the Czech Republic).
        • Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was only made after the US had agreed to provide intelligence and equipment to help prevent Hamas smuggling weapons into Gaza, and similar assistance from the EU. As a result of that deal, however, it appears that Israel decided it did not need to lift the Gaza siege after all.
        • the EU-Israel Association agreement continues to give Israel preferential access to EU markets, despite the fact that it contains a provision that allows for its suspension in the event of human rights abuses. Apparently, EU council members refuse even to think about a suspension.
        • In June 2008, the EU had said a "closer partnership with Israel" (an upgrade of Israel’s trade and economic relations with Europe, which would give Israel better access to EU markets, closer cooperation in areas such as energy, environment, battling crime and terrorism, and more educational exchanges) must happen in parallel to "the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution." The Palestinians have repeatedly urged Europe to freeze the upgrade. An EU diplomat said there is a "complete standoff" in the EU on the issue, since any upgrade would require a unanimous decision. The issue remains in abeyance.
        • In March, a confidential EU report on East Jerusalem accused the Israelis of using methods including settlement expansion as a way of  “actively pursuing the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem
        • EU states continue to sell military equipment to Israel, and buy military equipment from it.
        The Europeans are not bondsmen of the Americans. The European Union needs to take a much more robust, and completely independent line (and why not poll its citizens again), and:
        • press the United States to take those adequate steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestine question which are set out in the section headed “To The New American Administration – Bring Peace To The Middle East”
        • publicly suspend any upgrade of relations with Israel, and immediately suspend the EU-Israel Association agreement, until America has taken those adequate steps referred to in the sub-paragraph above, and Israel has accepted them
        • use trade sanctions against Israel, including the possibility of a complete trade ban, and ban all arms sales to Israel, in the event that adequate steps are not taken by the United States, as referred to in the first sub-paragraph above, and accepted by Israel.
        • Press the United States to decouple the Israeli-Palestinian question from that of Iran’s nuclear facilities, and make it clear to both Israel and America that any Israeli attack on Iran would not be tolerated, and would have the gravest consequences. One doesn’t have to believe that Iran has a perfect political system to nevertheless want to prevent their being attacked by the Israeli bully, with or without a nod from the Yankees. It is extremely disturbing that Dennis Ross, former Middle East envoy for Bill Clinton, is now the Obama administration’s most senior Middle East and Iran adviser. Ross is a long-time Jewish Zionist with close ties to WINEP (a think tank at the core of the pro-Israel lobby, which often reflects the Israeli government’s views). During the Camp David negotiations in 2000 he was seen to have been consistently and resolutely pro-Israel. Ross endorsed an early draft of a report published in March by WINEP, which included the statement, "If the international community appears unable to stop Iran’s nuclear progress, Israel may decide to act unilaterally."

        To The British Government
        Act Independently Of The Americans, And Press For Swift Action To Bring Peace

        Once upon a time, a Labour government would have had a sizeable portion of the parliamentary party who were almost automatically on the side of any oppressed peoples anywhere, and who could therefore be counted on to take the side of the Palestinians in the conflict with Israel. But that was in the time of Old Labour, when the party had a big heart. Today, with New Labour, that heart is more like a dried peanut, and the voices within the parliamentary party who support the Palestinians, though they still exist, are few and far between. 

        It is therefore impossible to feel confident over the British government’s stance for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Over the years, UK governments have something of a record of acceding to demands of the American superpower, sometimes more so, sometimes less. No one has been more subservient than former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who, by aligning the UK so firmly to the United States over the Iraq war, by doing so again (almost alone in the world) over the second Lebanon war, and by not acting firmly and independently over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has damaged the UK’s reputation around the world, and especially in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

        The present New Labour government has links to prominent Jewish organizations here in the UK, to important Jewish donors to the party, and to strongly pro-Israeli media organizations, in a less than fully transparent, and disturbing echo of the ‘Israel lobby’ in America. None of this will make it any easier to assert a strong and independent line from America’s position in any attempt to resolve the Israeli-Palestine dispute.

        David Miliband’s position as Foreign Secretary is unfortunate. Miliband is Jewish, has relatives who are (illegal) settlers in the West Bank, and has even visited them. Miliband’s pronunciations since the Gaza assault betray an evident desire to toe the (new) American line. Although Miliband is said to be ‘progressive’ over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Obama line, while not as ardently pro-Israeli as that of Bush, still leans very definitely towards the Israelis, and for the most part, Miliband does not contradict it. Miliband has, valuably, stressed the importance of an Arab league solution, pointing out that the Palestinians “simply do not have enough on their own to offer the Israelis to clinch a deal”. He has also said “We will not allow Israel to perpetuate the occupation in the West Bank under the guise of economic gestures of good will.” And he has stated that talking to Hamas was the “right thing to do” – but that Egypt and other parties were best placed to do this. On the other hand, prior to the Gaza ceasefire, Miliband stressed that a ceasefire would involve finding ways to curb the smuggling of weapons to Hamas. Just like Blair, then – it’s all the fault of the Palestinians. And he takes the American line on Hamas: “Hamas have shown themselves over a number of years ready to be murderous in word and deed … Their motif is ‘resistance’ and their method includes terrorism.” And he apparently swallows the ‘wonderful Israeli democracy’ line: “Israel is [in contrast to Hamas] … a thriving, democratic state … As a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, Israel’s best defence is to show leadership in finding a political solution …” And, on the volume of recent UK trade union resolutions on Palestine, he said that the government was “dismayed that motions calling for boycotts of Israel are being discussed at trade union congresses and conferences this summer.”

        Nevertheless, even if he could achieve feats of impartiality which are not given to most of us, that is not the point. He will not stand up to the Americans over their inadequate approach as described above, and he will never be perceived by the Palestinians as unbiased. He is an apparatchnik, a ‘yes’ man who first toed the Bush/Blair line on Israel-Palestine, and now toes the Obama line. Miliband needs to be replaced by someone who can take a strong line against the Americans, and who will be unbiased in his judgements on the dispute.

        A fair resolution of the conflict, where the UK is seen to have taken a proper consideration of the Palestinian side, and is not automatically pro-Israeli, will help considerably to restoring the UK’s reputation in the Arab and wider worlds. The UK should press the Americans to take the actions recommended above in respect of the US, and similarly press the European Union to take the actions recommended above in respect of the EU.


        To The Palestinians – We Wish You Well, And You Have Our Support
        It’s Your Choice In The End – We Wish You Well
        As Michael Neumann indicates in his book, a peace based upon Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories to the 1948 borders does not represent a just solution. Full justice would require the abolition of Jewish sovereignty in Israel (the “one-state” solution), as well as a full right of return, with compensation, for Palestinians, and the eviction of Jewish inhabitants occupying Palestinian property. The realpolitik, ‘consensus’ two-state solution referred to in detail above represents, if accepted, a considerable forfeiture by Palestinians, giving them only 21% of historic [mandate] Palestine. Then there is the “one-state solution” already referred to, which currently seems wildly unrealistic for decades. Then there is the two-state solution which makes provision for an eventual one-state solution some distant time in the future. Intermediate prescriptions are also thinkable, if impractical - why not the original UN partition plan adopted as resolution 181? Why not a revised UN partition which takes relative populations more fairly into account? And so on. The following points need to be made:
        • There are many, probably most, people around the world who would agree with you that the original creation of Israel in 1948 was a crime.
        • Ultimately, it is not up to the rest of the world to ‘decide’ what is good, or what is not good, for you.
        • If you wish to continue the struggle to reverse the creation of Israel, there are many people who will sympathise, and others who will not. The question is in any case irrelevant, since, in the end, no one can force you to acceptance of anything against your will.
        • As a matter of hard realpolitik, in so far as there is any consensus at all, it is on the lines of a “two-state solution” as set out in detail above. It may be possible to muster greater support for a one-state solution outside your own community, but it does not appear likely, at least at present.
        • You are the wronged party in this terrible and tragic conflict. You have our support whether you accept a “two-state solution”, or struggle to try for a, “one-state solution”, and we wish you well.


        John Tinmouth
        South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition
        Tuesday, 11th August, 2009
        [/list]

        7
        SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION


        … At Bibi Netanyahu’s dinner table in Jerusalem, I listened with crawling dismay to Bibi talking about the future of his country. “In the next war, if we do it right we’ll have a chance to get all the Arabs out”, he said. “We can clear the west Bank, sort out Jerusalem.” He joked about the Golani Brigade, the Israeli infantry force in which so many men were North African or Yemenite Jews. “They’re okay as long as they’re led by white officers.” He grinned. He and his kin despised what they perceived as the decadence of the West and of Europe, such feeble friends to Israel in her hours of need. I saw revealed at tables of that sort in those days a scorn for weakness, an exaggerated respect for strength and toughness, which made me deeply uneasy because it possessed a historical resonance of the most baneful kind.
        Extract from Max Hastings book, Going To The Wars


        --------------------------------------





        A HISTORY OF JUDAISM IN THE PAST, AND PRESENT-DAY ORTHODOX JUDAISM: ITS SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EFFECTS
        – AS DESCRIBED IN ISRAEL SHAHAK’S Jewish History, JewishReligion






        TABLE OF CONTENTS

        THE BOOK, THE AUTHOR, HIS EXPOSÉ
        The Book
        The Author
        The Author’s Exposé
        Shahak: The Key To Understanding Israeli Politics And Zionism
        Shahak: The Nature Of The Jewish State, And The Dangers It Poses
        A Note On The Arrangement Of This Article

        JEWISH HISTORY TO THE END OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD
        Judaism To The End Of The Talmudic Period
        The Talmud And Its Structure
        The Legal System Of The Talmud

        Jewish History To The End Of The Talmudic Period
        Ancient Jewish History
        The Period Of The Dual Centres Of Palestine And Mesopotamia

        JEWISH HISTORY IN THE PERIOD OF CLASSICAL JUDAISM
        Classical Judaism
        Judaism Is Not A Monotheistic Religion
        Classical Judaism And Jewish Mysticism – The Cabbala
        Interpretation Of The Bible
        Classical Judaism And The Dispensations
        Social Aspects Of Dispensations
        The Laws Against Non-Jews

        Jewish Deceptions About Judaism In The Classical Period
        Attacks On, And Censorship Of, Judaism, And The Jewish Response
        Historic deceptions about Judaism in detail

        Jewish History In The Period Of Classical Judaism
        Major Features Of Jewish Society In The Period Of Classical Judaism
        Jewry’s Ignorance Of Jewry’s Contemporary State
        Anti Jewish Persecutions

        JEWISH HISTORY IN MODERN TIMES
        Orthodox Judaism In Modern Times
        Jewish Deceptions About Judaism In Modern Times

        Modern deceptions about Judaism in detail
        Jewish History In Modern Times
        General
        The Condition Of Jewry At The Beginning Of Modern Times
        The Breakdown Of The Totalitarian Jewish Community
        The effect of liberation from outside
        Anti Jewish Persecutions
        Modern Antisemitism
        The Zionist Response To Anti-Semitism
        Major Features Of Israeli Society
        Israeli Expansionism
        The terrible effect of Jewish religious fanaticism on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
        The Failure To Speak Out Against Zionism And Jewish Rascism

        POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES
        Pervasive Influence Of Orthodox Judaism And Zionism
        Effect Of Orthodox Judaism And Zionism On Israeli Policies
        The Baleful Influence Of Some Diaspora Jews, Especially Some Jewish-Americans

        A NEED FOR CHANGE
        Confronting the Past
        The Test Facing Both Israeli And Diaspora Jews
        Our Own Comments - The Good Guys And The Bad Guys
        Conclusion




        THE BOOK, THE AUTHOR, HIS EXPOSÉ

        The Book
        Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion was first published in 1994 and reprinted with a new foreword in 1997. It is therefore several years old now, but the picture he presents is unchanged. In fact, evidence from the Israeli army’s recent assault on Gaza supports his views. Today, it is even more important that his voice is heard.

        The blurb on the back cover of the reprint (its author is not identified) gives a brief summary: “While Muslim fundamentalism is vilified in the West, Jewish fundamentalism goes largely unremarked. In this highly acclaimed and controversial work, Israel Shahak embarks on a provocative study of the extent to which the [supposedly] secular state of Israel has been shaped by religious orthodoxies of an invidious … nature. Drawing on his study of the Talmud and rabbinical laws, Shahak argues that the roots of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism must be understood, before it is too late.”


        The Author
        In the forewords to the first and second printings, by Gore Vidal and the late Edward Said respectively, details are given of the author:
        • “Emeritus professor of organic chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem” …  “Born in Warsaw in 1933 and spent his childhood in the concentration camp at Belsen. In 1945, he came to Israel; served in Israeli military.”
        • “ … began to see for himself what Zionism and the practices of the state of Israel entailed in suffering and deprivation not only for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, but for the substantial non-Jewish (that is, Palestinian minority) people who did not leave in the expulsions of [the] 1948 [war], remained and then became Israeli citizens [some of whom then suffered subsequent expulsions].”
        • “This then led him to a systematic inquiry into the nature of the Israeli state, its history, ideological and political discourses which, he quickly discovered, were unknown to most non-Israelis, especially Diaspora Jews for whom Israel was a marvelous, democratic, and miraculous state deserving unconditional support and defense.”
        • Edward Said: “He … stated the unadorned truth, without consideration for whether that truth, if stated plainly, might not be ‘good’ for Israelis or the Jews.” Said notes also that Shahak is “profoundly … anti-racist in his writings and public statements; there was one standard, and one standard only, for infractions against human rights …” and that, as a result, “… he became an extremely unpopular man in Israel.” He states that “Shahak’s mode of telling the truth has always been rigorous and uncompromising … no attempt made to put it ‘nicely’, no effort expended on making the truth palatable … ”
        • Said again: “Shahak … is an absolute and unwavering secularist … What is also surprising is that Shahak is not, properly speaking, a man of the left. In a whole variety of ways he is very critical of Marxism, and traces his principles to European free-thinkers, liberals, and courageous public intellectuals like Voltaire and Orwell. What makes Shahak even more formidable as a supporter of Palestinian rights is that he does not succumb to the sentimental idea that because the Palestinians have suffered under Israel they must be excused their follies. Far from it: Shahak has always been quite critical of the PLO’s sloppiness, its ignorance of Israel, its inability to resolutely oppose Israel, its shabby compromises and cult of personality, its general lack of seriousness …” Said notes too that Shahak was extremely critical of the Israeli peace camp for its compromises and self-serving constraints. Said: “ … he was never a politician: he simply did not believe in all the posturing and circumlocutions that people with political ambitions were always willing to indulge. He fought for equality, truth, real peace and dialogue with the Palestinians; the official Israeli doves fought for arrangements that would make possible the kind of peace that brought Oslo, and which Shahak was one of the first to denounce.”
        • And again: “ … But it is as a scholar of Judaism that he towers over so many others, since it is Judaism that has occupied his energies as a scholar and political activist from the beginning …”
        • Gore Vidal: “He was – and still is – a humanist who detests imperialism, whether in the name of the God of Abraham or of George Bush … he opposes with great wit and learning the totalitarian strain in Judaism.” … “Needless to say, Israel’s authorities deplore Shahak.”
        • Finally, Said again: “Shahak is a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity. But in today’s world the example of indefatigable work, unrelenting moral energy, and intellectual brilliance that he has set are an embarrassment to the status quo …”

        The Author’s Exposé
        Edward Said, in his foreword, sums up the account in Shahak’s book:
        • “A great deal of what he writes has had the function of exposing propaganda and lies for what they are. Israel is unique in the world for the excuses made on its behalf; journalists either do not see or write what they know to be true for fear of blacklisting or retaliation; political, cultural, and intellectual figures, especially in Europe and the United States, go out of their way to praise Israel and shower it with the greatest largesse of any nation on earth, even though many of them are aware of the injustices of the country. They say nothing about those. The result is an ideological smokescreen that more than any single individual Shahak has laboured to dissipate. A Holocaust victim and survivor himself, he knows the meaning of anti-Semitism. Yet unlike most others he does not allow the horrors of the Holocaust to manipulate the truth of what in the name of the Jewish people Israel has done to the Palestinians. For him, suffering is not the exclusive possession of one group of victims; it should instead be, but rarely is, the basis for humanizing the victims, making it incumbent on them not to cause suffering of the kind that they suffered. Shahak has admonished his compatriots  not to forget that an appalling history of anti-Semitism endured does not entitle them to do what they wish, just because they have suffered. No wonder then he has been so unpopular, since by saying such things, Shahak has morally undermined Israel’s laws and political practises towards the Palestinians.”
        • “… [Shahak’s book] is therefore a powerful contribution [to the study of Judaism] …It is no less than a succinct history of ‘classical’ as well as more recent Judaism, as those apply to an understanding of modern Israel.” Shahak shows that:
          • “… the obscure, narrowly chauvinist prescriptions against various undesirable Others are to be found in Judaism … ”
          • “… but he then goes on to show the continuity between those and the way Israel treats Palestinians, Christians and other non-Jews.”
          • “[so that] a devastating portrait of prejudice, hypocrisy and religious intolerance emerges”
          • “[and] what is important about it is that Shahak’s description:
            • gives the lie not only to the fictions about Israel’s democracy that abound in the Western media
            • but it also implicitly indicts Arab leaders and intellectuals for their scandalously ignorant view of that state, especially when they pontificate to their people that Israel has really changed and now wants peace with Palestinians and other Arabs.”
        Shahak: The Key To Understanding Israeli Politics And Zionism
        Shahak:
        • states that he realised from his studies of “[the religious] Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism … nor Israeli politics since the inception of the state of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora [what we would now call the major component of the pro-Israel Lobby], could be understood unless the deeper influences of those laws, and the worldview which they both create and express, is taken into account.”  [our italics]
        • adds that “the actual policies Israel pursued after the Six Day War, and in particular the apartheid character of the Israeli regime in the Occupied territories and the attitude of the majority of Jews to the issue of the rights of the Palestinians, even in the abstract, have merely strengthened this conviction.”
        • notes that “any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it. This is especially so if its discussion is prohibited, either formally or by tacit agreement. When racism, discrimination and xenophobia is prevalent among Jews, and directed against non-Jews, being fuelled by religious motivations, it is like its opposite case, that of antisemitism …”
        • adds that, “Today, however, while the second [antisemitism] is much discussed, the very existence of the first [Zionism/Jewish racism] is generally ignored, more outside Israel than within it.”

        Shahak: The Nature Of The Jewish State, And The Dangers It Poses
        Shahak believes that:
        • We cannot understand the concept of Israel as a Jewish state “without a discussion of prevalent Jewish attitudes to non-Jews”.
        • There is a widespread misconception that Israel is a true democracy – it is not, he asserts, even without considering its regime in the Occupied Territories. This fallacy, he says, arises from “the refusal to confront the significance of the term ‘a Jewish state’ … ”
        • “Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but to all Jews and to all other peoples and states in the Middle East and beyond.” He similarly believes that other Middle Eastern states or entities which define themselves as ‘Arab’ or ‘Muslim’ in a similar, exclusive, way, likewise constitute a danger. He notes that, while the danger from such ‘Muslim’ states is widely discussed, the danger inherent in the Jewish character of the state of Israel is not.

        A Note On The Arrangement Of This Article
        It has been thought useful, in summarising Shahak’s book, to arrange events chronologically. Shahak splits Jewish history into three periods. Judaism is described for the first two periods, that from ancient times to the end of the Talmudic period, and the period referred to by Shahak as ‘classical Judaism’. However, since Shahak’s account is ultimately concerned only with Orthodox Judaism, and its political effects, he describes Orthodox Judaism only in the third period – modern times. Within each period, two narratives, as described by Shahak, are set out:
        • first, religious developments within Judaism itself (though, as stated above, the modern period is concerned with Orthodox Judaism only – Shahak’s sole concern)
        • then, secondly, Jewish social/political history is dealt with.

        Naturally, these two narratives – the religious history of Judaism and Orthodax Judaism, and Jewish social/political history, interact with and profoundly affect each other. Indeed, this is the whole point of Shahak’s account.




        JEWISH HISTORY TO THE END OF THE TALMUDIC PERIOD

        Judaism To The End Of The Talmudic Period
        The Talmud And Its Structure
        Shahak notes that “ … the source of authority for all the practices of classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism, the determining base of its legal structure, is the Talmud, or, to be precise, the so-called Babylonian Talmud; while the rest of the talmudic literature (including the so-called Jerusalem or Palestinian Talmud) acts as a supplementary authority.”

        He explains that although, in the Talmudic period ending around AD500, there were Jews living throughout the Roman Empire and in many areas of the Sassanid Empire, it is quite evident from the Talmudic text composed in that period that no scholars from countries other than Mesopotamia and Palestine took part in the composition of the Talmud, and that its text therefore:

        • reflects a confined geographical area – it does not reflect social conditions outside these two locales
        • reflects a complete Jewish society of that time, with Jewish agriculture as its basis.

        “We cannot enter here into a detailed description of the Talmud and Talmudic literature”, Shahak says, “but confine ourselves to a few principal points needed for our argument.” “Basically, the Talmud consists of two parts”, he continues:
        • “First, the Mishnah – a terse legal code consisting of six volumes, each subdivided into several tractates, written in Hebrew, redacted in Palestine around AD200 out of the much more extensive (and largely oral) legal material composed during the preceding two centuries.”
        • “The second and by far predominant part is the Gemarah – a voluminous record of discussions on and around the Mishnah. There are two, roughly parallel, sets of Gemarah, one composed in Mesopotamia (‘Babylon’) between AD200 and 500, the other in Palestine between about AD200 and some unknown date long before 500.”
        • “The Babylonian Talmud (that is, the Mishnah plus the Mesopotamian Gemarah) is much more extensive and better arranged than the Palestinian, and it alone is regarded as definitive and authoritative. The Jerusalem (Palestinian) Talmud is accorded a decidedly lower status as a legal authority, along with a number of [other] compilations, known collectively as the ‘talmudic literature’, containing material which the editors of the two Talmuds had left out.”
        • “Contrary to the Mishnah, the rest of the Talmud and talmudic literature is written in a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic, the latter language predominating in the Babylonian Talmud. Also, it is not limited to legal matters. Without any apparent order or reason, the legal discussion can suddenly be interrupted by what is referred to as ‘Narrative’ (Aggadah) – a medley of tales and anecdotes about rabbis or ordinary folk, biblical figures, angels, demons, witchcraft and miracles. These narrative passages, although of great popular influence in Judaism through the ages, were always considered (even by the Talmud itself) as having secondary value. Of greatest importance for classical Judaism are the legal parts of the text, particularly the discussion of cases which are regarded as problematic.”
        • “The Talmud itself defines the various categories of Jews, in ascending order, as follows:
          • The lowest are the totally ignorant
          • Then come those who only know the Bible
          • Then those who are familiar with the Mishnah or Aggadah
          • And the superior class are those who have studied, and are able to discuss the legal part of the Gemarah. It is only the latter who are fit to lead their fellow Jews in all things.”

        The Legal System Of The Talmud
        Shahak notes that “The legal system of the Talmud can be described as totally comprehensive, rigidly authoritarian, and yet capable of infinite development, without however any change in its dogmatic base. Every aspect of Jewish life, both individual and social, is covered, usually in considerable detail, with sanctions and punishments provided for every conceivable sin or infringement of the rules. The basic rules for every problem are stated dogmatically and cannot be questioned. What can be done and is discussed at very great length is the elaboration and practical definition of these rules.” He then gives a few examples:
        • “ ‘Not doing any work’ on the Sabbath:
          • The concept work is defined as comprising exactly 39 types of work, neither more nor less. The criterion for inclusion in this list has nothing to do with the arduousness of a given task; it is simply a matter of dogmatic definition.
          • One forbidden type of ‘work’ is writing. The question then arises: How many characters must one write in order to commit the sin of writing on the sabbath? (Answer: Two). Is the sin the same irrespective of which hand is used? (Answer: No). However, in order to guard against falling into sin, the primary prohibition on writing is hedged with a secondary ban on touching any writing implement on the Sabbath.”
        • “Another prototypical work forbidden on the Sabbath is the grinding of grain:
          • From this it is deduced, by analogy, that any kind of grinding of anything whatsoever is forbidden. And this in turn is hedged by a ban on the practice of medicine on the sabbath (except in cases of danger to Jewish life), in order to guard against falling into the sin of grinding a medicament.
          • It is in vain to point out that in modern times such a danger does not exist (nor, for that matter, did it exist in many cases even in talmudic times); for, as a hedge around the hedge, the Talmud explicitly forbids liquid medicines and restorative drinks on the Sabbath.
          • What has been fixed remains for ever fixed, however absurd. Tertullian, one of the early Church Fathers, had written, ‘I believe it because it is absurd.’ This can serve as a motto for the majority of talmudic rules, with the word ‘believe’ replaced by ‘practise’.”
        • “The following example illustrates even better the level of absurdity reached by this system. One of the [types] of work forbidden on the Sabbath is harvesting:
          • This is stretched, by analogy, to a ban on breaking a branch off a tree. Hence, riding a horse (or any other animal) is forbidden, as a hedge against the temptation to break a branch off a tree for flogging the beast.
          • It is useless to argue that you have a ready-made whip, or that you intend to ride where there are no trees. What is forbidden remains forbidden for ever.
          • It can, however, be stretched and made stricter: in modern times, riding a bicycle on the Sabbath has been forbidden, because it is analogous to riding a horse.”
        • “My final example illustrates how the same methods are used in purely theoretical cases, having no conceivable application in reality. During the existence of the Temple, the High Priest was only allowed to marry a virgin:
          • Although during virtually the whole of the Talmudic period there was no longer a Temple or a High Priest, the Talmud devotes one of its more involved (and bizarre) discussions to the precise definition of the term ‘virgin’ fit to marry a High Priest.
          • What about a woman whose hymen had been broken by accident? Does it make any difference whether the accident occurred before or after the age of three? By the impact of metal or of wood? Was she climbing a tree? And if so, was she climbing up or down? Did it happen naturally or unnaturally?
          • All this and much else besides is discussed in lengthy detail. And every scholar in classical Judaism had to master hundreds of such problems. Great scholars were measured by their ability to develop these problems still further, for as shown by the examples there is always scope for further development – if only in one direction – and such development did actually continue after the final redaction of the Talmud.”

        Jewish History To The End Of The Talmudic Period
        This consists of the period to about 500AD, comprising the period of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which was followed by the period of the dual centres of Palestine and Mesopotamia.

        Ancient Jewish History
        Shahak takes ancient Jewish history as comprising “the [period] of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, until the destruction the first Temple (587 BC) and the Babylonian exile.” He notes that “much of the Old Testament is concerned with this period, although most major books of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch as we know it, were actually composed after that date ... Socially, these ancient Jewish kingdoms were quite similar to the neighbouring kingdoms of Palestine and Syria; and - as a careful reading of the Prophets reveals - the similarity extended to the religious cults practised by the great majority of the people. The ideas that were to become typical of later Judaism - including in particular ethnic segregationism and monotheistic exclusivism - were at this stage confined to small circles of priests and prophets, whose social influence depended on royal support.”

        The Period Of The Dual Centres Of Palestine And Mesopotamia
        The following period, as taken by Shahak, is that of “the dual centres, Palestine and Mesopotamia, from the first 'Return from Babylon' (537 BC) until about AD 500.” Shahak continues:
        • “It is characterised by the existence of these two autonomous Jewish societies, both based primarily on agriculture, on which the 'Jewish religion', as previously elaborated in priestly and scribal circles, was imposed by the force and authority of the Persian empire.” Shahak elaborates:
          • “The Old Testament Book of Ezra contains an account of the activities of Ezra the priest, 'a ready scribe in the law of Moses', who was empowered by King Artaxerxes I of Persia to 'set magistrates and judges' over the Jews of Palestine, so that 'whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgement be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.”
          • “And in the Book of Nehemiah - cupbearer to King Artaxerxes who was appointed Persian governor of Judea, with even greater powers - we see to what extent foreign (nowa¬days one would say 'imperialist') coercion was instrumental in imposing the Jewish religion, with lasting results.”
        • “In both centres, Jewish autonomy persisted during most of this period and deviations from religious orthodoxy were re¬pressed. Exceptions to this rule occurred when the religious aristocracy itself got 'infected' with Hellenistic ideas (from 300 to 166 BC and again under Herod the Great and his succes¬sors, from 50 BC to AD 70), or when it was split in reaction to new developments (for example, the division between the two great parties, the Pharisees and the Sadduceans, which emerged in about 140 BC). However, the moment any one party triumphed, it used the coercive machinery of the Jewish autonomy (or, for a short period, independence) to impose its own religious views on all the Jews in both centres.”
        • “During most of this time, especially after the collapse of the Persian empire and until about AD 200, the Jews outside the two centres were free from Jewish religious coercion. Among the papyri preserved in Elephantine (in Upper Egypt) there is a letter dating from 419 BC containing the text of an edict by King Darius II of Persia which instructs the Jews of Egypt as to the details of the observance of Passover. But the Hellenistic kingdoms, the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire did not bother with such things. The freedom that Hellenistic Jews enjoyed outside Palestine allowed the creation of a Jewish literature written in Greek, which was subsequently rejected in toto by Judaism and whose remains were preserved by Christianity. The very rise of Christianity was possible because of this relative freedom of the Jewish communities outside the two centres. The experience of the Apostle Paul is significant: in Corinth, when the local Jewish community accused Paul of heresy, the Roman governor Gallio dismissed the case at once, refusing to be a 'judge of such matters'; but in Judea the governor Festus felt obliged to take legal cognizance of a purely religious internal Jewish dispute.”
        • “This tolerance came to an end in about AD 200, when the Jewish religion, as meanwhile elaborated and evolved in Pales¬tine, was imposed by the Roman authorities upon all the Jews of the Empire … From about AD 200 until the early 5th century, the legal position of Jewry in the Roman Empire was as follows”, says Shahak:
          • “A hereditary Jewish Patriarch (residing in Tiberias in Palestine) was recognised both as a high dignitary in the official hierarchy of the Empire and as supreme chief of all the Jews in the Empire.”
          • “As a Roman official, the Patriarch was vir illustris, of the same high official class which included the consuls, the top military commanders of the Empire and the chief ministers around the throne (the Sacred Consistory), and was out-ranked only by the imperial family. In fact, the Illustrious Patriarch (as he is invariably styled in imperial decrees) out-ranked the pro¬vincial governor of Palestine. Emperor Theodosius I, the Great, a pious and orthodox Christian, executed his governor of Pales¬tine for insulting the Patriarch.”
          • “At the same time, all the rabbis - who had to be designated by the Patriarch - were freed from the most oppressive Roman taxes and received many official privileges, such as exemption from serving on town councils (which was also one of the first privileges later granted to the Christian clergy).”
          • “In addition, the Patriarch was empowered to tax the Jews and to discipline them by imposing fines, flogging and other punishments. He used this power in order to suppress Jewish heresies and (as we know from the Talmud) to persecute Jewish preachers who accused him of taxing the Jewish poor for his personal benefit.”
          • “We know from Jewish sources that the tax-exempt rabbis used excommunication and other means within their power to enhance the religious hegemony of the Patriarch.”
          • “We also hear, mostly indirectly, of the hate and scorn that many of the Jewish peasants and urban poor in Palestine had for the rabbis, as well as of the contempt of the rabbis for the Jewish poor (usually expressed as contempt for the 'ignorant'). Nevertheless, this typical colonial arrangement continued, as it was backed by the might of the Roman Empire.”



        JEWISH HISTORY IN THE PERIOD OF CLASSICAL JUDAISM

        Classical Judaism
        Judaism Is Not A Monotheistic Religion
        Shahak states that, before considering the theological-legal structure of classical Judaism, “it is necessary to dispel at least some of the many misconceptions disseminated in almost all foreign-language (that is, non-Hebrew) accounts of Judaism, especially by those who propagate such currently fashionable phrases as ‘the Judeo-Christian tradition’ or ‘the common values of the monotheistic religions’ … [Among] the most important of these popular delusions [is] that the Jewish religion is, and always was, monotheistic … as many biblical scholars know, and as a careful reading of the Old Testament easily reveals, this … view is quite wrong. In many, if not most, books of the Old Testament the existence and power of ‘other gods’ are clearly acknowledged, but Yahweh (Jehovah), who is the most powerful god, is also very jealous of his rivals and forbids his people to worship them. It is only very late in the Bible, in some of the later prophets, that the existence of all gods other than Yahweh is denied.”

        Classical Judaism And Jewish Mysticism – The Cabbala
        Shahak says that it is quite clear, though much less widely realised, that classical Judaism, “during its last few hundred years, was for the most part far from pure monotheism.” He continues:
        • “The decay of monotheism came about through the spread of Jewish mysticism (the cabbala) which developed in the 12th and 13th centuries, and by the late 16th century had won an almost complete victory in virtually all the centres of Judaism. The Jewish Enlightenment [see below, Orthodox Judaism In Modern Times] , which arose out of the crisis of classical Judaism, had to fight against this mysticism and its influence more than against anything else, but [as we will see later, the influence of the cabbala continues to be important].”  Shahak notes that “The cabbala is of course an esoteric doctrine, and its detailed study was confined to scholars. In Europe, especially after about 1750, extreme measures were taken to keep it secret and forbid its study except by mature scholars and under strict supervision. The uneducated Jewish masses of eastern Europe had no real knowledge of cabbalistic doctrine; but the cabbala percolated to them in the form of superstition and magic practices.”
        • “Knowledge and understanding of [cabbalistic] ideas is … important for two reasons. First, without it one cannot understand the true beliefs of Judaism at the end of its classical period. Secondly, as we will see later, these ideas play an important contemporary political role inasmuch as they form part of the explicit system of beliefs of many religious politicians, including most leaders of Gush Emunim, and have an indirect influence on many zionist leaders of all parties, including the Zionist left. [our italics]
        • Shahak then proceeds to summarise the system of the cabbala as below:
          • “The universe is ruled not by one god but by several deities, of various characters and influences, emanated by a dim, distant, First Cause.”
          • “From the First Cause, first a male god called ‘Wisdom’or ‘Father’ and then a female goddess called ‘Knowledge’ or ‘Mother’ were emanated or born.”
          • “From the marriage of these two, a pair of younger gods were born: Son, also called by many other names such as ‘Small Face’ or ‘The Holy Blessed One’; and Daughter, also called ‘Lady’ … ‘Shekhinah’, ‘Queen’ and so on.”
          • “These two younger gods should be united, but their union is prevented by the machinations of Satan, who in this system is a very important and independent personage.”
          • “The Creation was undertaken by the First Cause in order to allow them to unite, but because of the Fall they became more disunited than ever, and indeed Satan has managed to come very close to the divine Daughter and even to rape her (either seemingly or in fact – opinions differ on this).”
          • “The creation of the Jewish people was undertaken in order to mend the break caused by Adam and Eve, and under Mount Sinai this was for a moment achieved: the male god Son, incarnated in Moses, was united with the goddess Shekhinah.”
          • “Unfortunately, the sin of the Golden Calf again caused disunity in the godhead; but the repentance of the Jewish people has mended matters to some extent.”
          • “Similarly, each incident of biblical Jewish history is believed to be associated with the union or disunion of the divine pair. The Jewish conquest of Palestine from the Canaanites and the building of the first and second temple are particularly propitious for their union, while the destruction of the Temples and exile of the Jews from the Holy Land are merely external signs not only of the divine disunion but also of a real ‘whoring after strange gods’: Daughter falls closely into the power of Satan, while Son takes various female satanic personages to his bed, instead of his proper wife.”
        • “The duty of pious Jews is to restore through their prayers and religious acts the perfect divine unity, in the form of sexual union, between the male and female deities. Thus before most ritual acts, which every devout Jew has to perform many times each day, the following cabbalistic formula is recited: ‘For the sake of the [sexual] congress of the holy Blessed One and his Shekhinah … ‘ The Jewish morning prayers are also arranged so as to promote this sexual union, if only temporarily. Successive parts of the prayer mystically correspond to successive stages of the union: at one point the goddess approaches with her handmaidens, at another the god puts his arm around her neck and fondles her breast, and finally the sexual act is supposed to take place.”
        • “Other prayers or religious acts, as interpreted by the cabbalists, are designed to deceive various angels (imagined as minor deities with a measure of independence) or to propitiate Satan.” Shahak goes on:
          • “At a certain point in the morning prayer, some verses in Aramaic (rather than the more usual Hebrew) are pronounced. This is supposed to be a means for tricking the angels who operate the gates through which prayers enter heaven and who have the power to block the prayers of the pious. The angels only understand Hebrew and are baffled by the Aramaic verses; being somewhat dull-witted (presumably they are far less clever than the cabbalists) they open the gates, and at this moment all the prayers, including those in Hebrew, get through.”
          • “Or take another example: both before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands, uttering a special blessing. On one of these two occasions, he is worshipping God, by promoting the divine union of Son and Daughter; but on the other he is worshipping Satan, who likes Jewish prayers and ritual acts so much that when he is offered a few of them it keeps him busy for a while and he forgets to pester the divine Daughter.”
          • “… the cabbalists believe that some of the sacrifices burnt in the Temple were intended for Satan. For example, the seventy bullocks sacrificed during the seven days of the feast of the Tabernacles, were supposedly offered to Satan in his capacity as ruler of all the Gentiles, in order to keep him too busy to interfere on the eighth day, when sacrifice is made to God.”
          • “Many other examples of this kind can be given.”
        • Shahak notes that “Several points should be made concerning this [cabbalistic] system, and its importance for the proper understanding of Judaism, both in its classical period and in [,as we will see later, ] its present political involvement in zionist practice [our italics] He continues:
          • “First, whatever can be said about this cabbalistic system, it cannot be regarded as monotheistic … “
          • “Secondly, the real nature of classical Judaism is illustrated by the ease with which this system was adopted. Faith and beliefs (except nationalistic beliefs) play an extremely small part in classical Judaism. What is of prime importance is the ritual act, rather than the significance which that act is supposed to have or the belief attached to it. Therefore in times when a minority of religious Jews refused to accept the cabbala (as is the case today), one could see some few Jews performing a given religious ritual believing it to be an act of worship of God, while others do exactly the same thing with the intention of propitiating Satan – but so long as the act is the same they would pray together and remain members of the same congregation, however much they might dislike each other. But if instead of the intention attached to [say] the ritual washing of hands anyone would dare to introduce an innovation in the manner of washing, a real schism would certainly ensue.”

            Shahak adds a note : “[Hand washing] is prescribed in minute detail. For example, the ritual hand washing must not be done under a tap; each hand must be washed singly, in water from a mug (of prescribed minimal size) held in the other hand. If one’s hands are really dirty, it is quite impossible to clean them in this way, but such pragmatic considerations are obviously irrelevant. Classical Judaism prescribes a great number of such detailed rituals, to which the cabbala attaches a deep significance. There are, for example, many precise rules concerning behaviour in a lavatory. A Jew relieving nature in an open space must not do so in a North-South direction, because North is associated with Satan.”
        • “The same can be said about all sacred formulas of Judaism. Provided the wording is left intact, the meaning is at best a secondary matter.” Shahak gives an example:
          • “For example, perhaps the most sacred Jewish formula, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one’, recited several times each day by every pious Jew, can at the present time mean two contrary things:
            • It can mean that the Lord is indeed ‘one’.
            • But it can also mean that a certain stage in the union of the male and female deities has been reached or is being promoted by the proper recitation of this formula.”

        “Finally, all of this”, says Shahak, “is of considerable importance in Israel (and in other Jewish centres) even at present.” He goes on:
        • “The enormous significance attached to mere formulas (such as the ‘Law of Jerusalem’)”
        • “the ideas and motivations of Gush Emunim”
        • “the urgency behind the hate for non-Jews presently living in Palestine”
        • “the fatalistic attitude towards all peace attempts by Arab states,”
                                                                                                                                        - “all these”, says Shahak, “and many other traits of zionist politics, which puzzle so many well-meaning people who have a false notion of classical Judaism, become more intelligible against this religious and mystical background. I must warn, however, against falling into the other extreme and trying to explain all zionist politics in terms of this background. Obviously, the latter’s influences vary in extent. Ben-Gurion was adept at manipulating them in a controlled way for specific ends. Under Begin the past exerted a much greater influence upon the present. But what one should never do is ignore the past and its influences, because only by knowing it can one transcend its blind power.” [our italics]

        “It will be seen from [the above]”, says Shahak, “that what most supposedly well-informed people think they know about Judaism may be very misleading, unless they can read Hebrew. All the details mentioned above can be found in the original texts or, in some cases, in modern books written in Hebrew for a rather specialised readership. In English one would look for them in vain, even where the omission of such socially important facts distorts the whole picture.”

        Interpretation Of The Bible
        Shahak states that “There is yet another misconception about Judaism which is particularly common among Christians, or people heavily influenced by Christian tradition and culture. This is the misleading idea that Judaism is a ‘biblical religion’; that the Old Testament has in Judaism the same central place and … authority which the Bible has for Protestant or even Catholic Christianity … We have seen [under classical Judaism] that in matters of belief there is great latitude. Exactly the opposite holds with respect to the legal interpretation of sacred texts. Here the interpretation is rigidly fixed – but by the Talmud rather than by the Bible itself. Many, perhaps most, biblical verses prescribing religious acts and obligations are ‘understood’ by classical Judaism and by present-day Orthodoxy in a sense which is quite distinct from, or even contrary to, their literal meaning as understood by Christian or other readers of the Old Testament, who only see the plain text. The same division exists at present in Israel between those educated in Jewish religious schools and those educated in ‘secular’ Hebrew schools, where on the whole the plain meaning of the Old Testament is taught.”

        “This important point”, Shahak goes on, “can only be understood through examples [specific examples of interpretations of the Bible].” Shahak then gives some examples of interpretations – these are included in the attached Appendix A, “Examples Of Judaistic Interpretations Of The Bible”

        Shahak notes that “It is quite clear even from the examples [given in Appendix A] that when Orthodox Jews today (or all Jews before about 1780) read the Bible, they are reading a very different book, with a totally different meaning, from the Bible as read by non-Jews or non-Orthodox Jews. This distinction applies even in Israel, although both parties read the text in Hebrew. Experience, particularly since 1967, has repeatedly corroborated this. Many Jews in Israel (and elsewhere), who are not Orthodox and have little detailed knowledge of the Jewish religion, have tried to shame Orthodox Israelis (or right-wingers who are strongly influenced by religion) out of their inhuman attitude towards the Palestinians, by quoting at them verses from the Bible in their plain humane sense. It was always found, however, that such arguments do not have the slightest effect on those who follow classical Judaism; they simply do not understand what is being said to them; because to them the biblical text means something quite different than to everyone else.”

        “If such a communication gap exists in Israel, where people read Hebrew and can readily obtain correct information if they wish, one can imagine”, says Shahak, “how deep is the misconception abroad, say among people educated in the Christian tradition. In fact, the more such a person reads the Bible, the less he or she knows about Orthodox Judaism. [Orthodox Jews regard] the Old Testament as a text of immutable sacred formulas, whose recitation is an act of great merit, but whose meaning is wholly determined elsewhere. And, as Humpty Dumpty told Alice, behind the problem of who can determine the meaning of words, there stands the real question: ‘Which is to be master?’ ”


        Classical Judaism And The Dispensations
        It was noted above that the Talmudic text does not reflect social conditions outside the dual centres of Mesopotamia and Palestine, and reflects a complete Jewish society of that time, with Jewish agriculture as its basis. Shahak notes that this contrasts sharply with the period of classical Judaism - we find, he says, “that the two features mentioned above have been reversed” Jewish societies are spread over a much wider geographical area of the world. Shahak says that they have undergone a deep change – wherever they are, they are not peasant societies.

        Shahak notes that “the Talmud was adapted to the conditions – geographically much wider and socially much narrower, and at any rate radically different – of classical Judaism. We shall concentrate on what is in my opinion the most important method of adaptation, namely the dispensations.”

        He goes on “As noted above, the Talmudic system is most dogmatic and does not allow any relaxation of its rules even when they are reduced to absurdity by a change in circumstances. And in the case of the Talmud – contrary to that of the Bible – the literal sense of the text is binding, and one is not allowed to interpret it away.”

        Shahak states that “in the period of classical Judaism various Talmudic laws became untenable for the Jewish ruling classes – the rabbis and the rich. In the interest of these ruling classes, a method of systematic deception was devised for keeping the letter of the law, while violating its spirit and intention. It was this hypocritical system of ‘dispensations’ (heterim) which, in my view, was the most important cause of the debasement of Judaism in its classical epoch.” [Shahak considers the second most important cause of the debasement of Judaism to be Jewish mysticism, as described above]. Shahak then gives some examples of dispensations, to illustrate how the system works – these are included in the attached Appendix B, “Classical Judaism And Present-Day Orthodox Judaism: The Dispensations”


        Social Aspects Of Dispensations
        “Two social features of [dispensations] and many similar practices deserve special mention”, says Shahak.

        He goes on: “ … a dominant feature of … dispensations, and of classical Judaism inasmuch as it is based on them, is deception – deception primarily of God, if this word can be used for an imaginary being so easily deceived by the rabbis, who consider themselves cleverer than him. No greater contrast can be conceived than that between the God of the Bible … and of the God of classical Judaism The latter is more like the early Roman Jupiter, who was likewise bamboozled by his worshippers, or the gods described in Frazer’s Golden Bough.” He continues:

        • “From the ethical point of view, classical Judaism represents a process of degeneration, which is still going on; and this degeneration into a tribal collection of empty rituals and magic superstitions has very important social and political consequences.”
        • “For it must be remembered that it is precisely the superstitions of classical Judaism which have the greatest hold on the Jewish masses, rather than those parts of the Bible or even the Talmud which are of real religious and ethical value ... “
        • What is popularly regarded as the most ‘holy’ and solemn occasion of the Jewish liturgical year, attended even by very many Jews who are otherwise far from religion? It is the Kol Nidrey prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur – a chanting of a particularly absurd and deceptive dispensation, by which all private vows made to God in the following year are declared in advance to be null and void.”
        • “Or, in the area of personal religion, the Qadish prayer, said on days of mourning by sons for their parents in order to elevate their departed souls to paradise – a recitation of an Aramaic text, incomprehensible to the great majority.”
        • “Quite obviously, the popular regard given to these, the most superstitious parts of the Jewish religion, is not given to its better parts.”
        • “Together with the deception of God goes the deception of other Jews, mainly in the interests of the Jewish ruling class. It is characteristic that no dispensations were allowed in the specific interest of the Jewish poor. For example, Jews who were starving but not actually on the point of death were never allowed by their rabbis (who did not often go hungry themselves) to eat any sort of forbidden food, though kosher food is usually more expensive.”

        “The second dominant feature of the dispensations”, saya Shahak, “is that they are in large part obviously motivated by the spirit of profit. And it is this combination of hypocrisy and the profit motive which increasingly dominated classical Judaism.” He continues:
        • “In Israel, where the process goes on, this is dimly perceived by popular opinion, despite all the official brainwashing promoted by the education system and the media.”
        • “The religious establishment – the rabbis and the religious parties - and, by association, to some extent the Orthodox community as a whole, are quite unpopular in Israel. One of the most important reasons for this is precisely their reputation for duplicity and venality. Of course, popular opinion (which may often be prejudiced) is not the same thing as social analysis; but in this particular case it is actually true that the Jewish religious establishment does have a strong tendency to chicanery and graft, due to the corrupting influence of the Orthodox Jewish religion.”
        • “Because in general social life religion is only one of the social influences, its effect on the mass of believers is not nearly so great as on the rabbis and leaders of the religious parties. Those religious Jews in Israel who are honest, as the majority of them undoubtedly are, are so not because of the influence of their religion and rabbis, but in spite of it”.
        • “On the other hand, in those few areas of public life in Israel which are wholly dominated by religious circles, the level of chicanery, venality and corruption is notorious, far surpassing the ‘average’ level tolerated by general, non-religious Israeli society.”

        The Laws Against Non-Jews
        Classical Judaism (and, as we will see later, Orthodox Judaism) displays hostile attitudes to non-Jews and practices deceptions against them.

        The laws against non-Jews, which refer to the above codes of Talmudic law, are extensive, and are included in the attached Appendix C, “Classical Judaism And Present-Day Orthodox Judaism: The Laws Against Non-Jews”.


        Statements Directed Against Christianity
        Shahak states that “the Talmud and the talmudic literature – quite apart from the general anti-Gentile streak that runs through them [which is discussed in detail above], contains very offensive statements and precepts directed specifically against Christianity.” Shahak gives some examples:
        • “… a series of scurrilous sexual allegations against Jesus”
        • “the Talmud states that his [Jesus’] punishment in hell is to be immersed in boiling excrement” (a statement, Shahak observes, “not exactly calculated to endear the Talmud to devout Christians.”)
        • “Or one can quote the precept according to which Jews are instructed to burn, publicly if possible, any copy of the New Testament that comes into their hands. (this is not only still in force but actually practised today; thus on 23 March 1980 hundreds of copies of the New testament were publicly and ceremonially burnt in Jerusalem under the auspices of Yad Le’akhim, a Jewish religious organisation subsidised by the Israeli Ministry of Religions).”

        Jewish Deceptions About Judaism In The Classical Period
        Attacks On, And Censorship Of, Judaism, And The Jewish Response
        There were, Shahak notes, “ … Christian attacks against those passages in the Talmud and the Talmudic literature which are specifically anti-Christian or more generally anti-Gentile … this challenge developed relatively late in the history of Christian-Jewish relations – only from the 13th century on. (Before that time, the Christian authorities attacked Judaism using either Biblical or general arguments, but seemed to be quite ignorant as to the contents of the Talmud). The Christian campaign against the Talmud was apparently brought on by the conversion to Christianity of Jews who were well versed in the Talmud and who were in many cases attracted by the development of Christian philosophy, with its strong … universal character.”

        “A powerful attack”, says Shahak, “well based in many points, against talmudic Judaism developed in Europe from the 13th century. We are not referring here to ignorant calumnies, such as the blood libel, propagated by benighted monks in small provincial cities, but to serious disputations held before the best European universities of the time and on the whole conducted as fairly as was possible under mediaeval circumstances.”

        “What”, Shahak asks, “was the Jewish – or rather the rabbinical – response? The simplest one was the ancient weapon of bribery and string-pulling. In most European countries, during most of the time, anything could be fixed by a bribe. Nowhere was this maxim more true than in the Rome of the Renaissance popes.” Shahak notes that “the Editio Princeps of the complete Code of Talmudic Law, Maimonides Mishneh Torah – replete not only with the most offensive precepts against all Gentiles but also with explicit attacks on Christianity and on Jesus (after whose name the author adds piously; ‘May the name of the wicked perish’) – was published unexpurgated in Rome in the year 1480 under Sixtus IV, politically a very active pope who had a constant and urgent need for money.”

        “During that period”, Shahak says, “as well as before it, there were always countries in which for a time a wave of anti-Talmud persecution set in. But a more consistent and widespread onslaught came with the Reformation and Counter Reformation, which induced a higher standard of intellectual honesty as well as a better knowledge of Hebrew among Christian scholars. From the 16th century, all the Talmudic literature, including the Talmud itself, was subjected to Christian censorship in various countries. In Russia, this went on until 1917. Some censors, such as in Holland, were more lax, while others were more severe; and the offensive passages were expunged or modified.”

        “All modern studies on Judaism”, continues Shahak, “particularly by Jews, have evolved from that conflict, and to this day they bear the unmistakable marks of their origin: deception, apologetics or hostile polemics, indifference or even hostility to the pursuit of truth. Almost all the so-called Jewish studies in Judaism, from that time to this very day, are polemics against an external enemy rather than an internal debate.”

        He goes on: “It is important to note that this was initially the character of [religious] historiography in all known societies … [it] was true of the early Catholic and Protestant historians, who polemicised against each other. Similarly, the earliest European national histories are imbued with the crudest nationalism and scorn for all other, neighbouring nations. But sooner or later there comes a time when an attempt is made to understand one’s national or religious adversary and at the same time to criticise certain deep and important aspects of the history [or religious history] of one’s own [nation or religious] group; and both these developments go together. Only when historiography becomes … ‘a debate without end’ rather than a continuation of war by historiographic means, only then does a humane historiography, which strives for both accuracy and fairness, become possible; and it then turns into one of the most powerful instruments of humanism and self-education.”

        Shahak notes that “It is for this reason that modern totalitarian regimes rewrite history or punish historians. When a whole society tries to return to totalitarianism, a totalitarian history is written, not because of compulsion from above but under pressure from below, which is much more effective. This is what happened in Jewish history, and this constitutes the first obstacle we have to surmount.”


        Historic deceptions about Judaism in detail
        “What”, says Shahak, “were the detailed mechanisms (other than bribery) employed by Jewish communities … to ward off the attack on the Talmud and other religious literature? Several methods can be distinguished, all of them having important political consequences reflected in current Israeli policies.” [our italics] Shahak then records the historic deceptions about Judaism in detail – these are included (together with modern-day deceptions) in the attached Appendix D, “Jewish Deceptions About Judaism”

        Jewish History In The Period Of Classical Judaism
        Between the period of the dual centres, and the period of classical Judaism, Shahak says, “there is a gap of several centuries in which our present knowledge of Jews and Jewish society is very slight, and the scant information we do have is all derived from external (non-Jewish) sources. In the countries of Latin Chris-tendom we have absolutely no Jewish literary records until the middle of the 10th century; internal Jewish information, mostly from religious literature, becomes more abundant only in the 11th and particularly the 12th century. Before that, we are wholly dependent first on Roman and then on Christian evidence. In the Islamic countries the information gap is not quite so big; still, very little is known about Jewish society before AD 800 and about the changes it must have under¬gone during the three preceding centuries.”

        “Let us”, says Shahak, “therefore ignore those 'dark ages', and for the sake of convenience [in studying the period of classical Judaism], begin with the two centuries 1000-1200, for which abundant information is available from both internal and external sources on all the important Jewish centres, east and west. Classical Judaism, which is clearly discernible in this period, has undergone very few changes since then, and (in the guise of Orthodox Judaism) is still a powerful force today.” Shahak defines the period of classical Judaism as ending around 1780.


        Major Features Of Jewish Society In The Period Of Classical Judaism
        Shahak characterises the period of classical Judaism in terms of the social differences distinguishing it from earlier phases of Judaism, and distinguishes the following major features. He notes:
        • Classical Jewish society has no peasants, and in this it differs profoundly from earlier Jewish societies in the two centres, Palestine and Mesopotamia.” He goes on:
          • “It is difficult for us, in modern times, to understand what this means. We have to make an effort to imagine what serfdom was like; the enormous difference in lit¬eracy, let alone education, between village and town throughout this period; the incomparably greater freedom enjoyed by all the small minority who were not peasants — in order to realise that during the whole of the classical period the Jews, in spite of all the persecutions to which they were subjected, formed an integral part of the privileged classes.”
          • “Jewish historiography, especially in English, is misleading on this point inasmuch as it tends to focus on Jewish poverty and anti-Jewish discrimination. Both were real enough at times; but the poorest Jewish craftsman, pedlar, land¬lord's steward or petty cleric was immeasurably better off than a serf.”
          • “This was particularly true in those European countries where serfdom persisted into the 19th century, whether in a partial or extreme form: Prussia, Austria (including Hungary), Poland and the Polish lands taken by Russia. And it is not without signifi¬cance that, prior to the beginning of the great Jewish migration of modern times (around 1880), a large majority of all Jews were living in those areas and that their most important social function there was to mediate the oppression of the peasants on behalf of the nobility and the Crown.”
          • “Everywhere, classical Judaism developed hatred and con¬tempt for agriculture as an occupation and for peasants as a class, even more than for other Gentiles - a hatred of which I know no parallel in other societies. This is immediately appar¬ent to anyone who is familiar with the Yiddish or Hebrew literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.”
          • “Most east-European Jewish socialists (that is, members of exclusively or predominantly Jewish parties and factions) are guilty of never pointing out this fact; indeed, many were them¬selves tainted with a ferocious anti-peasant attitude inherited from classical Judaism. Of course, zionist 'socialists' were the worst in this respect, but others, such as the Bund, were not much better. A typical example is their opposition to the formation of peasant co-operatives promoted by the Catholic clergy, on the ground that this was 'an act of antisemitism'. This attitude is by no means dead even now; it could be seen very clearly in the racist views held by many Jewish 'dissidents' in the USSR regarding the Russian people, and also in the lack of discussion of this background by so many Jewish socialists, such as Isaac Deutscher. The whole racist propaganda on the theme of the supposed superiority of Jewish morality and intellect (in which many Jewish socialists were prominent) is bound up with a lack of sensitivity for the suffering of that major part of humanity who were especially oppressed during the last thousand years - the peasants.”
        • Classical Jewish society was particularly dependent on kings or on nobles with royal powers.” Shahak goes on:
          • “ … we [have discussed above] various Jewish laws directed against Gentiles, and in particular laws which command Jews to revile Gentiles and refrain from praising them or their customs. These laws allow one and only one exception: a Gentile king, or a locally powerful magnate (in Hebrew paritz, in Yiddish pooretz). A king is praised and prayed for, and he is obeyed not only in most civil matters but also in some religious ones. As [noted above] Jewish doctors, who are in general forbidden to save the lives of ordinary Gentiles on the Sabbath, are commanded to do their utmost in healing magnates and rulers; this partly explains why kings and noblemen, popes and bishops often employed Jewish physicians. But not only physicians. Jewish tax and customs collec¬tors, or (in eastern Europe) bailiffs of manors could be depended upon to do their utmost for the king or baron, in a way that a Christian could not always be.”
          • “The legal status of a Jewish community in the period of classical Judaism was normally based on a 'privilege' - a charter granted by a king or prince (or, in Poland after the 16th century, by a powerful nobleman) to the Jewish commu¬nity and conferring on it the rights of autonomy - that is, investing the rabbis with the power to dictate to the other Jews. An important part of such privileges, going as far back as the late Roman Empire, is the creation of a Jewish clerical estate which, exactly like the Christian clergy in medieval times, is exempt from paying taxes to the sovereign and is allowed to impose taxes on the people under its control - the Jews - for its own benefit. It is interesting to note that this deal between the late Roman Empire and the rabbis antedates by at least one hundred years the very similar privileges granted by Constantine the Great and his succes¬sors to the Christian clergy.”
          • “From about AD 200 until the early 5th century, the legal position of Jewry in the Roman Empire [has already been described above]”. Shahak notes that similar arrangements existed, within each country, during the whole period of classical Judaism. To reiterate, the main characteristics are:
            • the head of the rabbinate recognised as a high dignitary of the state, and as supreme chief of all the Jews in the state
            • a privileged rabbinate freed from (amongst other things) the most oppressive state taxes
            • the head of the rabbinate being empowered to tax the Jews, to discipline them harshly,  and using this power to suppress Jewish heresies and persecute Jewish opposition generally
            • the use by the tax-exempt rabbinate of excommunication and other means within their power to enhance religious hegemony
            • the hate and scorn that many of the Jewish poor had for the rabbis, as well as of the contempt of the rabbis for the Jewish poor (usually expressed as contempt for the 'ignorant').
          • “The social effects [of this legal position] on … Jewish communities differed, however, according to the size of each community”. Shahak goes on:
            • “Where there were few Jews, there was normally little social differentiation within the community, which tended to be composed of rich and middle-class Jews, most of whom had considerable rabbinical-talmudic education.”
            • “But in countries where the number of Jews increased and a big class of Jewish poor appeared, the same [social] cleavage as the one described above manifested itself”, says Shahak. He goes on:
              • “ … the rabbinical class, in alliance with the Jewish rich, oppressing the Jewish poor in its own interest as well as in the interest of the state — that is, of the Crown and the nobility. This was, in particular, the situation in pre-1795 Poland … want to point out that because of the formation of a large Jewish community in that country, a deep cleavage between the Jewish upper class (the rabbis and the rich) and the Jewish masses developed there from the 18th century and continued throughout the 19th century.”
              • “so long as the Jewish community had power over its members, the incipi¬ent revolts of the poor, who had to bear the main brunt of taxation, were suppressed by the combined force of the naked coercion of Jewish 'self-rule' and religious sanction.”
          • “Because of all this, throughout the classical period (as well as in modern times) the rabbis were the most loyal, not to say zealous, supporters of the powers that be; and the more reactionary the regime, the more rabbinical support it had.”
        • “The [closed] society of classical Judaism is in total opposition to the surrounding non-Jewish society, except the king (or the nobles, when they take over the state). … The religious laws against non-Jews [referred to above] cause and reinforce this isolation …”

        Shahak states that “The consequences of [the above] social features, taken to¬gether, go a long way towards explaining the history of classical Jewish communities both in Christian and in Muslim countries”. He goes on:
        • “The position of the Jews is particularly favourable under strong regimes which have retained a feudal character, and in which national consciousness, even at a rudimentary level, has not yet begun to develop.”
        • “It is even more favourable in coun¬tries such as pre-1795 Poland or in the Iberian kingdoms before the latter half of the 15th century, where the formation of a nationally based powerful feudal monarchy was temporarily or permanently arrested.”
        • “In fact, classical Judaism flourishes best under strong regimes which are dissociated from most classes in society, and in such regimes the Jews fulfil one of the functions of a middle class - but in a permanently depend¬ent form.” “For this reason”, Shahak says:
          • “they are opposed not only by the peasantry (whose opposition is then unimportant, except for the occasional and rare popular revolt) but more importantly by the non-Jewish middle class (which was on the rise in Europe), and by the plebeian part of the clergy”
          • “they are protected by the upper clergy and the nobility.”
        • “But in those countries where, feudal anarchy having been curbed, the nobility enters into partnership with the king (and with at least part of the bour¬geoisie) to rule the state, which assumes a national or proto¬national form, the position of the Jews deteriorates.”

        Shahak then illustrates how the social features referred to above apply, by briefly reviewing the history of various Muslim and Christian coun¬tries as examples. For those interested, his book may be referred to.

        Jewry’s Ignorance Of Jewry’s Contemporary State
        Shahak also notes that, because of the closed nature of Jewish communities everywhere, Jewish history was not written, and, as a result, Jews were unaware [at that time] of the contemporary state of Jewish society. He says:
        • “Historically, it can be shown that a closed society is not interested in a description of itself, no doubt because any description is in part a form of critical analysis and so may encourage critical ‘forbidden thoughts’. The more a society becomes open, the more it is interested in reflecting, at first descriptively and then critically, upon itself, its present working as well as its past.”
        • “Classical Judaism had little interest in describing or explaining itself to the members of its own community, whether educated (in Talmudic studies) or not. It is significant that the writing of Jewish history, even in the driest annalistic style, ceased completely from [the] … end of [the] first century … until the Renaissance, when it was revived for a short time in [certain countries with particular conditions]. Characteristically, the rabbis feared Jewish even more than general history, and the first modern book on history published in Hebrew (in the 16th century) was entitled History of the Kings of France and of the Ottoman Kings. It was followed by some histories dealing only with the persecutions that Jews had been subjected to. The first book on Jewish history proper (dealing with ancient times) was promptly banned and suppressed by the highest rabbinical authorities, and did not reappear before the 19th century. The rabbinical authorities of [eastern] Europe furthermore decreed that all non-talmudic studies are to be forbidden, even when nothing specific could be found in them which merits anathema, because they encroach on the time that should be employed in studying the Talmud or in making money – which should be used to subsidise Talmudic scholars. Only one loophole was left, namely the time that even a pious Jew must perforce spend in the privy. In that unclean place sacred studies are forbidden, and it was therefore permitted to read history there, provided it was written in Hebrew and was completely secular, which in effect meant that it must be exclusively devoted to non-Jewish subjects … As a consequence, two hundred years ago the vast majority of Jews were totally in the dark, not only about the existence of America but also about Jewish history and Jewry’s contemporary state …”

        Anti Jewish Persecutions
        “During the whole period of classical Judaism”, Shahak notes, “Jews were often subjected to persecutions … [these were] popular movements, coming from below.” Shahak then examines particular anti-Jewish persecutions in the period of classical Judaism, and comes to the following conclusions:
        • “…in all the worst anti-Jewish persecutions … the ruling elite – the emperor and the pope, the kings, the higher aristocracy and the upper clergy, as well as the rich bourgeoisie in the autonomous cities – were always on the side of the Jews.
        • “The [Jews’] enemies belonged to the more oppressed and exploited classes and those close to them in daily life and interests, such as the friars of the mendicant orders.”
        • “ … in most (but I think not in all) cases members of the elite defended the Jews neither out of considerations of humanity nor because of sympathy to the Jews … , but for the type of reason used generally by rulers in justification of their interests – the fact that the Jews were useful and profitable (to them), defence of ‘law and order’, hatred of the lower classes and fear that anti-Jewish riots might develop into general popular rebellion. Still, the fact remains that they did defend the Jews.”
        • “ … all the massacres of the Jews during the classical period were part of a peasant rebellion or other popular movements at times when the government was for some reason especially weak. This is true even in the partly exceptional case of Tsarist Russia. The Tsarist government, acting surreptitiously through its secret police, did promote pogroms; but it did so only when it was particularly weak (after the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, and in the period immediately before and after the 1905 revolution) and even then took care to contain the break¬down of 'law and order'. During the time of its greatest strength - for example, under Nicholas I or in the latter part of the reign of Alexander III, when the opposition had been smashed - pogroms were not tolerated by the Tsarist regime, although legal discrimination against Jews was intensified.”

        “The general rule can be observed in all the major massacres of Jews in Christian Europe”, says Shahak. He goes on: “During the first crusade, it was not the proper armies of the knights, commanded by famous dukes and counts, which molested the Jews, but the spontaneous popular hosts composed almost exclusively of peasants and paupers in the wake of Peter the Hermit. In each city the bishop or the emperor's representative opposed them and tried, often in vain, to protect the Jews. The anti-Jewish riots in England which accompanied the third crusade were part of a popular movement directed also against royal officials, and some rioters were punished by Richard I. The massacres of Jews during the outbreaks of the Black Death occurred against the strict orders of the pope, the emperor, the bishops and the German princes. In the free towns, for example in Strasbourg, they were usually preceded by a local revolution in which the oligarchic town council, which protected the Jews, was overthrown and replaced by a more popular one. The great 1391 massacres of Jews in Spain took place under a feeble regency government and at a time when the papacy, weakened by the Great Schism be¬tween competing popes, was unable to control the mendicant friars.”

        Shahak again: “Perhaps the most outstanding example is the great massacre of Jews during the Chmielnicki revolt in the Ukraine (1648), which started as a mutiny of Cossack officers but soon turned into a widespread popular movement of the oppressed serfs: 'The unprivileged, the subjects, the Ukrainians, the Orthodox [persecuted by the Polish Catholic church] were rising against their Catholic Polish masters, particularly against their masters' bailiffs, clergy and Jews.’ This typical peasant uprising against extreme oppression, an uprising accompanied not only by mas¬sacres committed by the rebels but also by even more horrible atrocities and 'counter-terror' of the Polish magnates' private armies, has remained emblazoned in the consciousness of east-European Jews to this very day - not, however, as a peasant uprising, a revolt of the oppressed, of the real wretched of the earth, nor even as a vengeance visited upon all the servants of the Polish nobility, but as an act of gratuitous antisemitism directed against Jews as such. In fact, the voting of the Ukrainian delegation at the UN and, more generally, Soviet policies on the Middle East, are often 'explained' in the Israeli press as 'a heritage of Chmielnicki' or of his 'descendants'.







        JEWISH HISTORY IN MODERN TIMES

        Orthodox Judaism In Modern Times
        It is crucial to understand that Shahak is interested, in modern times [since around 1780], only in Orthodox Judaism (because of its political/social/military effects) – he is not interested in any other strand of Judaism in modern times. It was noted above that classical Judaism, during its last few hundred years, was for the most part far from pure monotheism. Shahak states: “The same can be said about the real doctrines dominant in present-day Orthodox Judaism, which is a direct continuation of classical Judaism.” He notes that “The Jewish Enlightenment [with which he is not concerned], which arose out of the crisis of classical Judaism, had to fight against this mysticism and its influence more than against anything else, but in latter-day Jewish Orthodoxy, especially among the rabbis, the influence of the cabbala has remained predominant. For example, the Gush Emunim movement is inspired to a great extent by cabbalistic ideas.”

        Jewish Deceptions About Judaism In Modern Times
        Modern deceptions about Judaism in detail
        Shahak states that “Modern scholars of Judaism have not only continued the deception [about Judaism], but have actually improved upon the old rabbinical methods, both in impudence and in mendacity.” He goes on: “I omit here the various histories of antisemitism as unworthy of serious consideration, and shall give just three particular examples and one general example of the modern ‘scholarly’ deceptions.” Shahak then records these examples of modern-day deceptions about Judaism in detail – these (together with historic deceptions) are included in the attached Appendix D, “Jewish Deceptions About Judaism”

        Jewish History In Modern Times
        General
        Shahak says that Jewish history in modern times is “characterised by the breakdown of the totalitarian Jewish community and its power, and by attempts to reimpose it, of which zionism is the most important. This phase begins in Holland in the 17th century, in France and Austria (excluding Hungary) in the late 18th century, in most other European countries in the middle of the 19th century, and in some Islamic countries in the 20th century. (The Jews of Yemen were still living in the medieval 'classical' phase in 1948).”

        The Condition Of Jewry At The Beginning Of Modern Times
        Shahak defines the condition of Jewry at the beginning of modern times (that is, at the end of the period of classical Judaism, [roughly] around 1780), and thus the meaning of the word ‘Jew’ at that time, as follows:
        • “ …the universally accepted meaning of the word ‘Jew’ [that is, to non-Jews] basically coincided with what the Jews themselves understood as constituting their own identity.”
        • “This identity was primarily religious, but the precepts of religion governed the details of daily behaviour in all aspects of life, both social and private, among the Jews themselves as well as in their relation to non-Jews.”
        • “ … the same laws of behaviour towards non-Jews were equally valid from Yemen to New York … all Jewish communities at that time were separate from the non-Jewish societies in the midst of which they were living.”
        • “Since the time of the late Roman Empire, Jewish communities had considerable legal powers over their members. [They therefore had powers beyond those arising] through voluntary mobilisation of social pressure, [such as], (for example, refusal to have any dealing whatsoever with an excommunicated Jew, or even to bury his body). [The legal powers amounted to] a power of naked coercion: to flog, to imprison, to expel – all this could inflicted quite legally on an individual Jew by the rabbinical courts for all kinds of offences. In many countries – Spain and Poland are notable examples – even capital punishment could be and was inflicted, sometimes using particularly cruel methods such as flogging to death. All this was not only permitted but positively encouraged by the state authorities in both Christian and Muslim countries, who, besides their general interest in preserving law and order had in some cases a more direct financial interest as well. (For example, in Spanish archives dating from the 13th and 14th centuries there are records of many detailed orders issued by those most devout Catholic kings of Castile and Aragon, instructing their no less devout officials to co-operate with the rabbis in enforcing observance of the Sabbath by the Jews. Why? Because whenever a Jew was fined by a rabbinical court for violating the Sabbath, the rabbis had to hand nine tenths of the fine over to the king – a very profitable and effective arrangement.)” Shahak then gives an example of the use of rabbinical power:
          • “One can quote from the responsa written shortly before 1832 by the famous Rabbi Moshe Sofer of Pressburg (now Bratislava), in what was then the autonomous Hungarian Kingdom in the Austrian empire, and addressed to Vienna in Austria proper, where the Jews had already been granted some considerable individual rights. He laments the fact that since the Jewish congregation in Vienna lost its power to punish offenders, the Jews there have become lax in matters of religious observance, and adds: ‘Here in Pressburg, when I am told that a Jewish shopkeeper dared to open his shop during the Lesser Holidays, I immediately sent a policeman to imprison him.’ ”
        • “[The legal powers of the rabbinate] was the most important social fact of Jewish existence before the advent of the modern state: observance of the religious laws of Judaism, as well as their inculcation through education, were enforced on Jews by physical coercion, from which one could only escape by conversion to the religion of the majority, amounting in the circumstances to a total social break and for that reason very impracticable except during a religious crisis.”

        The Breakdown Of The Totalitarian Jewish Community
        Shahak states that “All this was changed by two parallel processes - beginning in Holland and England, continuing in revolutionary France and in countries which followed the example of the French Revolution, and then in the modern monarchies of the 19th century. The Jews gained a significant level of individual rights (in some cases full legal equality), and the legal power of the Jewish community over its members was destroyed … both developments were simultaneous.” He goes on:
        • “ … once the modern state had come into existence, the Jewish community lost its powers to punish or intimidate the individual Jew. The bonds of one of the most closed of ‘closed societies’, one of the most totalitarian societies in the whole history of mankind were snapped.”
        • “This act of liberation came mostly from outside; although there were some Jews who helped it from within, these were at first very few. This form of [external] liberation had very grave consequences for the future. Here Shahak first gives an analogous situation in Germany: “… in the case of Germany (according to the masterly analysis of A.J.P. Taylor) it was easy to ally the cause of reaction with patriotism, because in actual fact individual rights and equality before the law were brought into Germany by the armies of the French Revolution and of Napoleon, and one could brand liberty as ‘un-German’ ”. He goes on: “… it turned out to be very easy among the Jews, particularly in Israel, to mount a very effective attack against all the notions and ideals of humanism and the rule of law (not to say democracy) as something ‘un-Jewish or ‘anti-Jewish’ – as indeed they are, in a historical sense.” Shahak further notes that such notions (of humanism and the rule of law) may nevertheless be used ‘in the Jewish interest’ but have no validity against the “Jewish interest”, for example, when Arabs invoke those same principles.
        • “This [external liberation and the ruinous reaction to it]  has led – just as in Germany and other nations of Mitteleuropa – to a deceitful, sentimental and ultra-romantic Jewish historiography, from which all inconvenient facts have been expunged.” [our italics] Shahak expands on this:
          • “So one will not find in Hannah Arendt’s voluminous writings, whether on totalitarianism or on Jews, or on both, the smallest hint as to what Jewish society in Germany was really like in the 18th century: burning of books, persecution of writers, disputes about the magic powers of amulets, bans on the most elementary ‘non-Jewish’ education such as the teaching of correct German or indeed German written in the Latin alphabet.”
          • “Nor can one find in the numerous English-language ‘Jewish histories’ the elementary facts about the attitude of Jewish mysticism (so fashionable at present in certain quarters) to non-Jews: that they are considered to be, literally, limbs of Satan, and that the few non-satanic individuals among them (that is, those who convert to Judaism) are in reality ‘Jewish souls’ who got lost when Satan violated the Holy Lady … The great authorities, such as Gershom Scholem, have lent their authority to a system of deceptions in all the ‘sensitive’ areas, the more popular ones being the most dishonest and misleading.”
        • “ … the social consequences of this process of liberalisation was that, for the first time since about AD 200, a Jew could be free to do what he liked, within the bounds of his country’s civil law, without having to pay for this freedom by [making the extreme social break of] converting to another religion. The freedom to learn and read books in modern languages, the freedom to read and write books in Hebrew not approved by the rabbis (as any Hebrew or Yiddish book previously had to be), the freedom to eat non-kosher food, the freedom to ignore the numerous absurd taboos regulating sexual life, even the freedom to think – for ‘forbidden thoughts’ are among the most serious sins.”
        • “All these freedoms were granted to the Jews of Europe (and subsequently of other countries) by modern or even absolutist rulers, although the latter were at the same time anti-Semitic and oppressive.” Shahak comments further on these absolutist European regimes:
          • “Nicholas I of Russia was a notorious anti-Semite and issued many laws against the Jews of his state. But he also strengthened the forces of ‘law and order’ in Russia … with the consequence that it became difficult to murder Jews on the order of their rabbis, whereas in pre-1795 Poland it had been quite easy. ‘Official’ Jewish history condemns him on both counts. For example, in the late 1830’s a ‘Holy Rabbi’ … in a small Jewish town in the Ukraine ordered the murder of a heretic by throwing him into the boiling water of the town baths …” Shahak records that “… contemporary Jewish sources note with astonishment and horror that bribery was ‘no longer effective’ and that not only the actual perpetrators but also the Holy Man were severely punished.”
          • “The Metternich regime of pre-1848 Austria was notoriously reactionary and quite unfriendly to Jews, but it did not allow people, even liberal Jewish rabbis, to be poisoned. During 1848, when the regime’s power was temporarily weakened, the first thing the leaders of the Jewish community in the Galician city of Lemberg (now Lvov) did with their newly regained freedom was to poison the liberal rabbi of the city, whom the tiny non-Orthodox Jewish group in the city had imported from Germany. One of his greatest heresies, by the way, was the advocacy and actual performance of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony, which had recently been invented.”

        The effect of liberation from outside
        The effect of liberation from outside is noted by Shahak:
        • “In the last 150 years, the term ‘Jew’ has … acquired a dual meaning, to the great confusion of some well-meaning people, particularly in the English-speaking countries, who imagine that the Jews they meet socially are ‘representative’ of Jews ‘in general’.”
        • “In the countries of eastern Europe as well as in the Arab world, the Jews were liberated from the tyranny of their own religion and of their own communities by outside forces, too late and in circumstances too unfavourable for genuine internalised social change. In most cases, and particularly in Israel, the old concept of society, the same ideology – especially as directed towards non-Jews – and the same utterly false conception of history have been preserved. This applies even to some of those Jews who joined ‘progressive’ or leftist movements. An examination of radical, socialist and communist parties can provide many examples of disguised Jewish chauvinists and racists, who joined these parties merely for reasons of ‘Jewish interest’ and are, in Israel, in favour of ‘anti-Gentile’ discrimination. One need only check how many Jewish ‘socialists’ have managed to write about the kibbutz without taking the trouble to mention that it is a racist institution from which non-Jewish citizens of Israel are rigorously excluded, to see that the phenomenon we are alluding to is by no means uncommon.”
        • “Avoiding labels based on ignorance or hypocrisy, we thus see that the word ‘Jewry’ and its cognates describe two different and even contrasting social groups, and because of current Israeli politics the continuum between the two is disappearing fast.” Shahak notes that on the one hand there are those Jews for whom genuine internalised social change did not take place, referred to in the paragraph above, for whom the old, traditional, totalitarian concepts hold. He continues: “On the other hand, there are Jews by descent who have internalised the complex of ideas which Karl Popper has called ‘the open society’.” He also notes that “There are also some, particularly in the USA, who have not internalised these ideas, but try to make a show of acceptance.”
        • “It is important to understand that all the supposedly ‘Jewish characteristics’ – by which I mean the traits which vulgar so-called intellectuals in the West attribute to ‘the Jews’ – are modern characteristics, quite unknown during most of Jewish history, and appeared only when the totalitarian Jewish community began to lose its power.” He continues:
          • “Take, for example, the famous Jewish sense of humour. Not only is humour very rare in Hebrew literature before the 19th century (and is only found during few periods, and in countries where the Jewish upper class was relatively free from the rabbinical yoke …) but humour and jokes are strictly forbidden by the Jewish religion – except, significantly, jokes against other religions. Satire against rabbis and leaders of the community was never internalised by Judaism, not even to a small extent, as it was in Latin Christianity. There were no Jewish comedies (just as there were no comedies in Sparta), and for a similar reason.”
          • “Or take the love of learning. Except for a purely religious learning, which was itself in a debased and degenerate state, the Jews of Europe (and to a somewhat lesser extent also of the Arab countries) were dominated, before about 1780, by a supreme contempt and hate for all learning (excluding the Talmud and Jewish mysticism). Large parts of the Old Testament, all non-liturgical Hebrew poetry, most books on Jewish philosophy were not read and their very names were often anathematised. Study of all languages was strictly forbidden, as was the study of mathematics and science. Geography, history - even Jewish history - were completely unknown.”
          • “The critical sense, which is supposedly so characteristic of Jews, was totally absent, and nothing was so forbidden, feared and therefore persecuted as the most modest innovation or the most innocent criticism.”
          • “[The world of classical Judaism] was a world sunk in the most abject superstition, fanaticism and ignorance, a world in which the preface to the first work on geography in Hebrew (published in 1803 in Russia) could complain that very many great rabbis were denying the existence of the American continent, and saying that it is ‘impossible’. Between that world and what is often taken in the West to ‘characterise’ Jews there is nothing in common except the … name.”
        • “However”, Shahak goes on, “a great many present-day Jews are nostalgic for that world, their lost paradise, the comfortable closed society from which they were not so much liberated as expelled. A large part of the zionist movement always wanted to restore it - and this part has gained the upper hand. Many of the motives behind Israeli politics, which so bewilder the poor confused western ‘friends of Israel’, are perfectly explicable once they are seen as reaction, reaction in the political sense which this word has had for the last two hundred years: a forced … return to the closed society of the Jewish past.”
        Anti Jewish Persecutions
        “During the whole period of classical Judaism [as noted above]”, Shahak states, “Jews were often subjected to persecutions - and this fact now serves as the main 'argument' of the apologists of the Jewish religion with its anti-Gentile laws and especially of zionism. Of course, the Nazi extermination of five to six million European Jews is supposed to be the crowning argument in that line. We must therefore consider this phenomenon and its contemporary aspect. This is particularly important in view of the fact that the descendants of the Jews of pre-1795 Poland (often called 'east-European Jews' - as opposed to Jews from the German cultural domain of the early 19th century, including the present Austria, Bohemia and Moravia) now wield predomi¬nant political power in Israel as well as in the Jewish communities in the USA and other English-speaking countries; and, because of their particular past history, this mode of thinking is especially entrenched among them, much more than among other Jews.” [our italics]

        He continues: “We must, first, draw a sharp distinction between the persecutions of Jews during the classical period on the one hand, and the Nazi extermination on the other. The former were popular movements, coming from below; whereas the latter was inspired, organised and carried out from above: indeed, by state officials. Such acts as the Nazi state-organ¬ised extermination are relatively rare in human history, al¬though other cases do exist (the extermination of the Tasmanians and several other colonial peoples, for example). Moreo¬ver, the Nazis intended to wipe out other peoples besides the Jews: Gypsies were exterminated like Jews, and the extermi¬nation of Slavs was well under way, with the systematic massacre of millions of civilians and prisoners of war. How¬ever, it is the recurrent persecution of Jews in so many countries during the classical period which is the model (and the excuse) for the zionist politicians in their persecution of the Palestinians, as well as the argument used by apologists of Judaism in general; and it is this phenomenon which we consider now.”


        Modern Antisemitism
        “The character of anti-Jewish persecutions”, Shahak states, “underwent a radical change in modern times. With the advent of the modern state, the abolition of serfdom and the achievement of minimal indi¬vidual rights, the special socio-economic function of the Jews necessarily disappears. Along with it disappear also the powers of the Jewish community over its members; individual Jews in grow¬ing numbers win the freedom to enter the general society of their countries. Naturally, this transition aroused a violent reaction both on the part of Jews (especially their rabbis) and of those elements in European society who opposed the open society and for whom the whole process of liberation of the individual was anathema.”

        He goes on: “Modern antisemitism appears first in France and Germany, then in Russia, after about 1870. Contrary to the prevalent opinion among Jewish socialists, I do not believe that its begin¬nings or its subsequent development until the present day can be ascribed to 'capitalism'. On the contrary, in my opinion the successful capitalists in all countries were on the whole remark¬ably free from antisemitism, and the countries in which capital¬ism was established first and in its most extensive form - such as England and Belgium - were also those where antisemitism was far less widespread than elsewhere.”

        “Early modern antisemitism (1880-1900)”, Shahak asserts, “was a reaction of bewildered men, who deeply hated modern society in all its aspects, both good and bad, and who were ardent believers in the conspiracy theory of history. The Jews were cast in the role of scapegoat for the breakup of the old society (which anti-semitic nostalgia imagined as even more closed and ordered than it had ever been in reality) and for all that was disturbing in modern times. But right at the start the antisemites were faced with what was, for them, a difficult problem: how to define this scapegoat, particularly in popular terms? What is to be the supposed common denominator of the Jewish musician, banker, craftsman and beggar - especially after the common religious features had largely dissolved, at least externally? The 'theory' of the Jewish race was the modern antisemitic answer to this problem.”

        “In contrast”, he goes on, “the old Christian, and even more so Muslim opposition to classical Judaism was remarkably free from rac¬ism. No doubt this was to some extent a consequence of the universal character of Christianity and Islam, as well as of their original connection with Judaism (St Thomas More repeatedly rebuked a woman who objected when he told her that the Virgin Mary was Jewish). But in my opinion a far more impor¬tant reason was the social role of the Jews as an integral part of the upper classes. In many countries Jews were treated as potential nobles and, upon conversion, were able immediately to intermarry with the highest nobility. The nobility of 15th cen¬tury Castile and Aragon or the aristocracy of 18th century Poland - to take the two cases where intermarriage with con¬verted Jews was widespread - would hardly be likely to marry Spanish peasants or Polish serfs, no matter how much praise the Gospel has for the poor.”

        Shahak continues: “It is the modern myth of the Jewish 'race' - of outwardly hidden but supposedly dominant characteristics of 'the Jews', independent of history, of social role, of anything - which is the formal and most important distinguishing mark of modern antisemitism. This was in fact perceived by some Church lead¬ers when modern antisemitism first appeared as a movement of some strength. Some French Catholic leaders, for example, opposed the new racist doctrine expounded by E. Drumont, the first popular modern French antisemite and author of the noto¬rious book La France Juive (1886), which achieved wide circula¬tion. Early modern German antisemites encountered similar opposition.”

        Shahak says that “It must be pointed out that some important groups of European conservatives were quite prepared to play along with modern antisemitism and use it for their own ends, and the antisemites were equally ready to use the conservatives when the occasion offered itself, although at bottom there was little similarity between the two parties. 'The victims who were most harshly treated [by the pen of the above-mentioned Drumont] were not the Rothschilds but the great nobles who courted them. Drumont did not spare the Royal Family ... or the bishops, or for that matter the Pope. Nevertheless, many of the French great nobles, bishops and conservatives generally were quite happy to use Drumont and antisemitism during the crisis of the Dreyfus affair in an attempt to bring down the republican regime.”

        “This type of opportunistic alliance”, notes Shahak, “reappeared many times in various European countries until the defeat of Nazism. The conservatives' hatred of radicalism and especially of all forms of socialism blinded many of them to the nature of their political bedfellows. In many cases they were literally prepared to ally themselves with the devil, forgetting the old saying that one needs a very long spoon to sup with him.”


        Shahak contends that “The effectiveness of modern antisemitism, and of its alliance with conservatism, depended on several factors.” He lays these out:
        • “First, the older tradition of Christian religious opposition to Jews, which existed in many (though by no means all) Euro¬pean countries, could, if supported or at least unopposed by the clergy, be harnessed to the antisemitic bandwagon. The actual response of the clergy in each country was largely determined by specific local historical and social circumstances. In the Catholic Church, the tendency for an opportunistic alliance with antisemitism was strong in France but not in Italy; in Poland and Slovakia but not in Bohemia. The Greek Orthodox Church had notorious antisemitic tendencies in Ro¬mania but took the opposite line in Bulgaria. Among the Protestant Churches, the German was deeply divided on this issue, others (such as the Latvian and Estonian) tended to be antisemitic, but many (for example the Dutch, Swiss and Scan¬dinavian) were among the earliest to condemn antisemitism.”
        • “Secondly, antisemitism was largely a generic expression of xenophobia, a desire for a 'pure' homogeneous society. But in many European countries around 1900 (and in fact until quite recently) the Jew was virtually the only 'stranger'. This was particularly true of Germany. In principle, the German racists of the early 20th century hated and despised Blacks just as much as Jews; but there were no Blacks in Germany then. Hate is of course much more easily focused on the present than on the absent, especially under the conditions of the time, when mass travel and tourism did not exist and most Europeans never left their own country in peacetime.”
        • “Thirdly, the successes of the tentative alliance between con¬servatism and antisemitism were inversely proportional to the power and capabilities of its opponents. And the consistent and effective opponents of antisemitism in Europe are the political forces of liberalism and socialism -historically the same forces that continue in various ways the tradition symbolised by the War of Dutch Independence (1568-1648), the English Revolu¬tion and the Great French Revolution. On the European conti¬nent the main shibboleth is the attitude towards the Great French Revolution - roughly speaking, those who are for it are against antisemitism; those who accept it with regret would be at least prone to an alliance with the antisemites; those who hate it and would like to undo its achievements are the milieu from which antisemitism develops.”

        “Nevertheless”, states Shahak, “a sharp distinction must be made between conservatives and even reactionaries on the one hand and actual racists and antisemites on the other. Modern racism (of which antisemitism is part) although caused by specific social conditions, becomes, when it gains strength, a force that in my opinion can only be described as demonic. After coming to power, and for its duration, I believe it defies analysis by any presently understood social theory or set of merely social obser¬vations - and in particular by any known theory invoking interests, be they class or state interests, or other than purely psychological 'interests' of any entity that can be defined in the present state of human knowledge … I do not mean that such forces are unknowable in principle; on the contrary, one must hope that with the growth of human knowledge they will come to be understood. But at present they are neither under¬stood nor capable of being rationally predicted - and this applies to all racism in all societies. As a matter of fact, no political figure or group of any political colour in any country had predicted even vaguely the horrors of Nazism. Only artists and poets such as Heine were able to glimpse some of what the future had in store. We do not know how they did it; and besides, many of their other hunches were wrong.”

        The Zionist Response To Anti-Semitism
        Shahak says that “Historically, zionism is both a reaction to antisemitism and a conservative alliance with it - although the zionists, like other European conservatives, did not fully realise with whom they were allying themselves.”

        He goes on: “Until the rise of modern anti-Semitism, the mood of European Jewry was optimistic, indeed excessively so. This was manifested not only in the very large number of Jews, particu¬larly in western countries, who simply opted out of classical Judaism, apparently without any great regret, in the first or second generation after this became possible, but also in the formation of a strong cultural movement, the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), which began in Germany and Austria around 1780, was then carried into eastern Europe and by 1850-70 was making itself felt as a considerable social force. I cannot enter here into a discussion of the movement's cultural achieve¬ments, such as the revival of Hebrew literature and the crea-tion of a wonderful literature in Yiddish. However, it is impor¬tant to note that despite many internal differences, the move¬ment as a whole was characterised by two common beliefs: a belief in the need for a fundamental critique of Jewish society and particularly of the social role of the Jewish religion in its classical form, and the almost messianic hope for the victory of the 'forces of good' in European societies. The latter forces were naturally defined by the sole criterion of their support for Jewish emancipation.”

        “The growth of antisemitism as a popular movement”, Shahak continues, “and the many alliances of the conservative forces with it, dealt a severe blow to the Jewish Enlightenment. The blow was especially devastating because in actual fact the rise of antisemitism occurred just after the Jews were emancipated in some Euro¬pean countries, and even before they were freed in others. The Jews of the Austrian empire received fully equal rights only in 1867. In Germany, some independent states emancipated their Jews quite early, but others did not; notably, Prussia was grudging and tardy in this matter, and final emancipation of the Jews in the German empire as a whole was only granted by Bismarck in 1871. In the Ottoman empire the Jews were subject to official discrimination until 1909, and in Russia (as well as Romania) until 1917. Thus modern antisemitism began within a decade of the emancipation of the Jews in central Europe and long before the emancipation of the biggest Jewish community at that time, that of the Tsarist empire.”

        “It is therefore easy”, says Shahak, “for the zionists to ignore half of the relevant facts, revert to the segregationist stance of classical Judaism, and claim that since all Gentiles always hate and persecute all Jews, the only solution would be to remove all the Jews bodily and concentrate them in Palestine or Uganda or wherever. Some early Jewish critics of zionism were quick to point out that if one assumes a permanent and ahistorical incompatibility between Jews and Gentiles - an assumption shared by both zionists and antisemites! - then to concentrate the Jews in one place would simply bring upon them the hatred of the Gentiles in that part of the world (as indeed was to happen, though for very different reasons). But as far as I know this logical argument did not make any impression, just as all the logical and factual arguments against the myth of the 'Jewish race' made not the slightest difference to the antisemites.”

        Shahak states that “In fact, close relations have always existed between zionists and antisemites: exactly like some of the European conserva¬tives, the zionists thought they could ignore the 'demonic' character of antisemitism and use the antisemites for their own purposes. Many examples of such alliances are well known. Herzl allied himself with the notorious Count von Plehve, the antisemitic minister of Tsar Nicholas II; Jabotinsky made a pact with Petlyura, the reactionary Ukrainian leader whose forces massacred some 100,000 Jews in 1918- 21; Ben-Gurion's allies among the French extreme right during the Algerian war included some notorious antisemites who were, however, careful to explain that they were only against the Jews in France, not in Israel.”


        Shahak continues: “Perhaps the most shocking example of this type is the delight with which some zionist leaders in Germany welcomed Hitler's rise to power, because they shared his belief in the primacy of 'race' and his hostility to the assimilation of Jews among 'Aryans'. They congratulated Hitler on his triumph over the common enemy - the forces of liberalism. Dr Joachim Prinz, a zionist rabbi who subsequently emigrated to the USA, where he rose to be vice-chairman of the World Jewish Con¬gress and a leading light in the World Zionist Organization (as well as a great friend of Golda Meir), published in 1934 a special book, Wir Juden (We, Jews), to celebrate Hitler's so-called German Revolution and the defeat of liberalism.” Shahak continues:
        • He quotes from Wir Juden: ‘The meaning of the German Revolution for the German nation will eventually be clear to those who have created it and formed its image. Its meaning for us must be set forth here: the fortunes of liberalism are lost. The only form of political life which has helped Jewish assimilation is sunk.’
        • “The victory of Nazism rules out assimilation and mixed marriages as an option for Jews. 'We are not unhappy about this,' said Dr Prinz. In the fact that Jews are being forced to identify themselves as Jews, he sees 'the fulfilment of our desires'.” Shahak quotes again from Wir Juden:
          • ‘We want assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and Jewish race. A state build upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only [be] honoured and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his own kind. Having so declared himself, he will never be capable of faulty loyalty towards a state. The state cannot want other Jews but such as declare themselves as belonging to their nation. It will not want Jewish flatterers and crawlers. It must demand of us faith and loyalty to our own interest. For only he who honours his own breed and his own blood can have an attitude of honour towards the national will of other nations.’
        • “The whole book”, says Shahak, “is full of similar crude flatteries of Nazi ideology, glee at the defeat of liberalism and particularly of the ideas of the French Revolution and great expectations that, in the congenial atmosphere of the myth of the Aryan race, zionism and the myth of the Jewish race will also thrive.”

        “Of course”, says Shahak, “Dr Prinz, like many other early sympathisers and allies of Nazism, did not realise where that movement (and modern antisemitism generally) was leading. Equally, many people at present do not realise where zionism - the movement in which Dr Prinz was an honoured figure - is tending: to a combination of all the old hates of classical Judaism towards Gentiles and to the indiscriminate and ahis-torical use of all the persecutions of Jews throughout history in order to justify the zionist persecution of the Palestinians.”

        “For”, continues Shahak, “insane as it sounds, it is nevertheless plain upon close examination of the real motives of the zionists, that one of the most deep-seated ideological sources of the zionist establish¬ment's persistent hostility towards the Palestinians is the fact that they are identified in the minds of many east-European Jews with the rebellious east-European peasants who partici¬pated in the Chmielnicki uprising and in similar revolts - and the latter are in turn identified ahistorically with modern an¬tisemitism and Nazism.”


        Major Features Of Israeli Society
        Shahak sets out the defining features of Israeli society:
        • “The principle of Israel as ‘a Jewish state’.” He continues:
          • “Without a discussion of the prevalent Jewish attitudes to non-Jews [as examined above], even the concept of Israel as ‘a Jewish state’, as Israel formally defines itself, cannot be understood.”
          • “The widespread misconception that Israel, even without considering its regime in the Occupied Territories, is a true democracy arises from the refusal [particularly by the West] to confront the significance of the term ‘a Jewish state’ …” [our italics]
          • “The principle of Israel as ‘a Jewish state’ was supremely important to Israeli politicians from the inception of the state …” [We might add that indeed it was supremely important to the Zionist project from its inception in the late 19th century – see the article entitled “A History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, which we have already distributed. For those who do not have copies, the article is available on South Tyneside STWC’s website, www.northeaststopwar.org.uk – at the site, just click on ‘Forum’, then select ‘South Tyneside Stop the War’, then select the article.] Shahak goes on: “ … [this principle] was inculcated into the Jewish population by all conceivable ways.”
          • “When, in the early 1980’s, a tiny minority of Israeli Jews emerged [who] opposed this concept, a Constitutional Law (that is, a law overriding provisions of other laws, which cannot be revoked except by a special procedure) was passed in 1985 by an enormous majority of the Knesset. By this law no party whose programme openly opposes the principle of ‘a Jewish state’, or proposes to change it by democratic means, is allowed to participate in the elections to the Knesset.
          • “I myself”, Shahak goes on, “strongly oppose this constitutional principle. The legal consequence for me is that I cannot belong, in the state of which I am a citizen, to a party having principles with which I would agree, and which is allowed to participate in Knesset elections. Even this example shows that the State of Israel is not a democracy due to the application of a Jewish ideology directed against all non-Jews and those Jews who oppose this ideology.”
          • “ … this dominant ideology … influences Israeli foreign policies … will continue to grow, as long as … the Jewish character of Israel [increases] … [and Israeli] power … particularly … nuclear power [increases, and] … Israeli influence in the USA political establishment [does not decline] …”
          • “Hence”, says Shahak, “accurate information about Judaism, and especially about the treatment of non-Jews [especially Palestinians] by Israel, is now … politically vital … “
          • “By this official definition [of the term ‘Jewish’], Israel ‘belongs’ to [all] persons who are defined … as ‘Jewish’, irrespective of where they live, and to them alone. [Jewish-Americans, British Jews., and so on] [our italics] … On the other hand, Israel doesn’t officially ‘belong’ to its non-Jewish citizens, whose status is considered even officially as inferior.”
          • “This means in practice”, says Shahak, “that if members of a Peruvian tribe are converted to Judaism, and thus regarded as Jewish, they are entitled at once to become Israeli citizens and benefit from the approximately 70 per cent of the West Bank land (and the 92 per cent of the area of Israel … [excluding the Occupied territories] ), officially designated [as] only for the benefit of Jews. All non-Jews (not only all Palestinians [living as Israeli citizens] ) are prohibited from benefiting from those lands. (The prohibition applies even to Israeli Arabs who served in the Israeli army and reached a high rank.) The case involving Peruvian converts to Judaism actually occurred a few years ago. The newly-created Jews were settled in the West Bank, near Nablus [in the Occupied Territories], on land from which non-Jews are officially excluded.”
          • “All Israeli governments are taking enormous political risks, including the risk of war, so that such settlements, composed exclusively of persons who are defined as ‘Jewish’ (and not ‘Israeli’ as most of the media mendaciously claims) would be subject to only ‘Jewish’ authority.”
          • “I suspect”, Shahak says, “that the Jews of the USA or of Britain would regard it as antisemitic if Christians would propose that the USA or the United Kingdom should become a ‘Christian state’ belonging only to citizens officially defined as ‘Christians’ ”
          • “According to Israeli law a person is considered ‘Jewish’ if either their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother [or] great-great-grandmother were Jewesses by religion; or if the person was converted to Judaism in a way satisfactory to the Israeli authorities, and [in either case] on condition that the person has not converted from Judaism to another religion [in which case Israel ceases to regard them as ‘Jewish’.]” Shahak notes that the “first [condition] represents the Talmudic definition of ‘who is a Jew’, a definition followed by Jewish Orthodoxy.” He further notes that “The Talmud and post-Talmudic rabbinical law also recognise the conversion of a non-Jew to Judaism … provided that the conversion is performed by authorised rabbis in a proper manner.”
        • “The state of Israel officially discriminates in favour of Jews and against non-Jews in many domains of life …” [This topic too is extensively covered in the article entitled “A History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” referred to above.] Shahak goes on: “I regard”, he says, “three as being most important: residency rights, the right to work, and the right to equality before the law.” He continues:
          • “Discrimination in residency is based on the fact that about 92 per cent of Israel’s land is the property of the state and is administered by the Israel Land Authority according to regulations issued by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. In its regulations the JNF denies the right to reside, to open a business, and often also to work, to anyone who is not Jewish, only because he is not Jewish. At the same time, Jews are not prohibited from taking residence or opening businesses anywhere in Israel. If applied in another state against the Jews, such discriminatory practice would instantly and justifiably be labelled antisemitism and would no doubt spark massive public protests. When applied by Israel as a part of its ‘Jewish ideology’, they are usually studiously ignored or excused when rarely mentioned. [our italics]
          • “The denial of the right to work means that non-Jews are prohibited officially from working on land administered by the Israel Land Authority according to the JNF regulations. No doubt these regulations are not always … enforced but they do exist. From time to time Israel attempts enforcement campaigns by state authorities, as, for example, when the Agriculture Ministry acts against the pestilence of letting fruit orchards belonging to Jews and situated on National Land [that is, land belonging to the State of Israel] be harvested by Arab labourers, even if the labourers in question are citizens of Israel. Israel also strictly prohibits Jews settled on ‘National Land’ to sub-rent even a part of their land to Arabs, even for a short time; and those who do so are punished, usually by heavy fines. There is no [similar] prohibition on non-Jews renting their land to Jews.”
          • “Non-Jewish citizens of Israel do not have the right to equality before the law. This discrimination is expressed in many Israeli laws in which, presumably to avoid embarrassment, the terms ‘Jewish’ and ‘non-Jewish’ are usually not explicitly stated …” Shahak continues:
            • “ … [Exceptionally, the terms ‘Jewish’ and ‘non-Jewish’ are used] in the crucial Law of Return. According to that law only persons officially recognised as ‘Jewish’ have an automatic right of entry to Israel and of settling in it. They automatically receive an ‘immigration certificate’ which provides them on arrival with ‘citizenship by virtue of having returned to the Jewish homeland’, and with the right to many financial benefits ... ”
            • “Other Israeli laws substitute the more obtuse expressions ‘anyone who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return’ and anyone who is not entitled to immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return’. Depending on the [particular] law in question, benefits are then granted to the first category and systematically denied to the second.”
            • “The routine means for enforcing discrimination in everyday life is the ID card, which everyone is obliged to carry at all times. ID cards list the official ‘nationality’ of a person, which can be ‘Jewish’, ‘Arab’, ‘Druze’, and the like, with the significant exception of ‘Israeli’. Attempts to force the Interior Minister to allow Israelis wishing to be officially described as ‘Israeli’, or even as ‘Israeli-Jew’ in their ID cards have failed. Those who have attempted to do so have received a letter from the Ministry of the Interior stating that ‘it was decided not to recognise an Israeli nationality’. The letter does not specify who made this decision or when.”
            • “There are so many laws and regulations in Israel which discriminate in favour of the persons defined as those ‘who can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return’ that the subject demands separate treatment.” [See the article entitled “A History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” referred to above.] Shahak then looks at one example “ … seemingly trivial in comparison with residence restrictions, but nevertheless important since it reveals the real intentions of the Israeli legislator. Israeli citizens who left the country for a time but who are defined as those who ‘can immigrate in accordance with the Law of Return’ are eligible on their return to generous customs benefits, to receive subsidy for their children’s high school education, and to receive either a grant or a loan on easy terms for the purchase of an apartment, as well as other benefits.” “The obvious intention”, says Shahak, “of such discriminatory measures is to decrease the number non-Jewish citizens of Israel,in order to make Israel a more ‘Jewish’ state.”
        • “The ideology of ‘redeemed’ land.” [Again, we might add that the notion of ‘redeeemed’ land was supremely important to the Zionist project from its inception in the late 19th century - this topic too is extensively covered in the article entitled “A History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” referred to above.] Shahak goes on:
          • “Israel also propagates among its Jewish citizens an exclusivist ideology of the Redemption of Land.” [This was also true from the very start of the Zionist project, before the bloody and murderous creation of Israel - see the article entitled “A History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” referred to above.]
          • “Its official aim of minimizing the number of non-Jews can be well perceived in this ideology, which is inculcated [in] Jewish schoolchildren in Israel. They are taught that it is applicable to the entire extent of either the State of Israel or, after 1967, to what is referred to as the Land of Israel.”
          • “According to this ideology, the land which has been ‘redeemed’ is the land which has passed from non-Jewish to Jewish ownership. The ownership can be either private, or belong to either the JNF or the Jewish state. The land which belongs to non-Jews is, on the contrary, considered to be ‘unredeemed’.”
          • “ … the Utopia of the ‘Jewish ideology’ adopted by the Land of Israel is a land which is wholly ‘redeemed’ and none of it is owned or worked by non-Jews.” [our italics]
          • “The leaders of the Zionist labour movement expressed this utterly repellent idea [that ‘redeemed’ land be worked only by Jews] with the greatest clarity. Walter Laquer, a devoted Zionist, tells in his History of Zionism how one of these spiritual fathers, A.D. Gordon, who died in 1919, ‘ … wanted every tree and every bush in the Jewish homeland to be planted by nobody else except Jewish pioneers.’ This means that they wanted everyone else to just go away and leave the land to be ‘redeemed’ by Jews.” [It also meant in addition that the dispossession of non-Jews was accompanied by their expulsion, frequent loss of livelihood, and, ultimately, the function of some as landless workers to be exploited by the Israeli state – [see also the article referred to above.] Shahak adds that “Gordon’s successors added more violence than he intended but the principle of ‘redemption’ and its consequences have remained.”
          • “In the same way, the kibbutz, widely hailed as an attempt to create a Utopia, was and is an exclusivist Utopia; even if it is composed of atheists, it does not accept Arab members on principle and demands that potential members fron other nationalities be first converted to Judaism.” “No wonder”, continues Shahak, “the kibbutz boys can be regarded as the most militaristic segment of the Israeli Jewish society.”
          • “It is this exclusivist ideology, rather than all the ‘security needs’ alleged by Israeli propaganda, which determines the take-overs of land in Israel in the 1950s and again in the mid-1960s and in the Occupied Territories after 1967. This ideology also dictated official Israeli plans for ‘the Judaization of Galilee’. This curious term means encouraging Jews to settle in Galilee by giving them financial benefits.” “I wonder what would be the reaction”, says Shahak, “of US Jews if a plan for ‘the Christianization of New York’ [with its very large Jewish population] … would be proposed in their country.”
          • “ … the JNF, vigorously backed by Israeli state agencies (especially by the secret police) is spending great sums of public money in order to ‘redeem’ any land which non-Jews are willing to sell … ”
        Israeli Expansionism
        Shahak says that “the main danger which Israel, as ‘a Jewish state’, poses to its own people, to other Jews [the Jewish diaspora], and to its neighbours, is its ideologically motivated pursuit of territorial expansion and the inevitable series of wars  resulting from this aim.”

        “The more Israel becomes Jewish”, he notes, “or, as one says in Hebrew, the more it ‘returns to Judaism’ (a process which has been under way in Israel since at least 1967), the more its actual politics are guided by Jewish ideological considerations and less by rational ones. [our italics]


        He continues: “The ideological defences of Israeli policies are usually based on Jewish religious beliefs or, in the case of secular Jews, on the ‘historical rights’ of the Jews, which derive from those beliefs and retain the dogmatic character of religious faith.” Shahak gives a telling example:
        • He relates how, in 1956, Ben-Gurion gave all the political and military reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War, and then, “(in spite of [his] being an atheist, proud of his disregard of the commandments of the Jewish religion), pronounced in the Knesset on the third day of that war, that the real reason for it is ‘the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon’ to its Biblical borders. At this point in the speech, almost every Knesset member spontaneously rose and sang the Israeli national anthem.” Shahak says that, to his knowledge, “no zionist politician has ever repudiated Ben-Gurion’s idea that Israeli policies must be based (within the limits of pragmatic considerations) on the restoration of the Biblical borders as the borders of the Jewish state.”
        Shahak states that “close analysis of Israeli grand strategies and actual principles of foreign policy, as they are expressed in Hebrew, makes it clear that it is ‘Jewish ideology’, more than any other factor [such as Israeli imperial planning of a secular nature, as discussed below], which determines actual Israeli policies.”

        Jewish ideology, says Shahak, “enjoins that land which was either ruled by any Jewish ruler in ancient times, or was promised by God to the Jews, either in the Bible or – what is actually more important politically – according to a rabbinic interpretation of the Bible and the Talmud, should belong to Israel since it is a Jewish state.”
        • “ … A number of discrepant versions of Biblical borders of the Land of Israel, which rabbinical authorities interpret as ideally belonging to the Jewish state, are in circulation.”
        • “The most far-reaching among them include the following areas within these borders:
          • In the south, all of Sinai and a part of northern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo
          • In the east, all of Jordan and a large chunk of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part of Iraq south of the Euphrates
          • In the north, all of Lebanon and all of Syria together with a huge part of Turkey (up to Lake Van)
          • In the west, Cyprus.”
        • “An enormous body of research and learned discussion based on these [various sets of] borders, embodied in atlases, books, articles and more popular forms of propaganda is being published in Israel, often with state subsidies, or other forms of support.”
        • “Certainly the late Kahane and his followers, as well as influential bodies such as Gush Emunim, not only desire the conquest of those territories by Israel, but regard it as a divinely commanded act, sure to be successful since it will be aided by God. In fact, important Jewish religious figures regard the Israeli refusal to undertake such a holy war, or even worse, the return of Sinai to Egypt, as a national sin which was justly punished by God. One of the more influential Gush Emunim rabbis, Dov Lior, the rabbi of [the] Jewish settlements of Kiryat Arba and of Hebron, stated repeatedly that the Israeli failure to conquer Lebanon in 1982-5 was a well-merited divine punishment for its sin of ‘giving a part of [the] Land of Israel’, namely Sinai, to Egypt.”
        • Shahak says that, although he chose as above “an admittedly extreme example of the Biblical borders of the Land of Israel which ‘belong’ to the ‘Jewish state’, those borders are quite popular in national-religious circles. There are less extreme versions of Biblical borders (sometimes also called ‘historical borders’).”
        • Shahak says that it must be “emphasised that within Israel and [in] the [outside] community of its diaspora Jewish supporters”:
          • “The validity of the concept of either biblical borders or historical borders as delineating the borders of land which belongs to Jews by right is not denied on grounds of principle (except by the tiny minority which oppose the concept of a Jewish state)”
          • “Otherwise, objections to the realisation of such borders by a war are purely pragmatic. One can claim that Israel is currently too weak to conquer all the land which ‘belongs’ to the Jews, or that the loss of Jewish lives (but not of Arab lives) entailed in a war of conquest of such magnitude is more important than the conquest of the land. But in normative Judaism one cannot claim that ‘the Land of Israel’, in whatever borders, does not ‘belong’ to all the Jews.”
          • Shahak notes that “in May 1993, Ariel Sharon formally proposed in the Likud Convention that Israel should adopt the ‘Biblical borders’ concept as its official policy. There were rather few objections to this proposal, either in the Likud [party] or outside it, and all were based on pragmatic grounds. No one even asked Sharon where exactly are [these] Biblical borders which he was urging that Israel should attain.”
          • Shahak comments that “it is not only the belief itself, however dogmatic, but the refusal that it should ever be doubted, by thwarting open discussion, which creates a totalitarian cast of mind. Israeli-Jewish society and diaspora Jews who are leading ‘Jewish lives’ and organised in purely Jewish organisations, can be said therefore to have a strong streak of totalitarianism in their character.” 

        “However”, says Shahak, “an Israeli grand strategy, not based on the tenets of ‘Jewish ideology’, but based on purely strategic or imperial considerations had also developed since the inception of the Israeli state”:
        • He reports that “an authoritative and lucid description of the principles governing such strategy was given by General (Reserves) Shlomo Gazit, a former Military Intelligence commander.”According to Gazit:
          • ‘Israel’s main task has not changed at all [since the demise of the USSR] and it remains of crucial importance. The geographical location of Israel at the centre of the Arab-Muslim Middle East predestines Israel to be a devoted guardian of stability in all the countries surrounding it. Its [role] is to protect the existing regimes, to prevent or halt the processes of radicalisation, and to block the expansion of fundamentalist religious zealotry.
          • For this purpose Israel will prevent changes occurring beyond Israel’s borders [which it] will regard as intolerable, to the point of feeling compelled to use all its military power for the sake of their prevention or eradication.’
        • “In other words”, says Shahak, “Israel aims at imposing a hegemony on other Middle Eastern states. Needless to say, according to Gazit, Israel has a benevolent concern for the stability of Arab regimes. In Gazit’s view, by protecting Middle Eastern regimes, Israel performs a vital service for ‘the industrially advanced states, all of which are keenly concerned with guaranteeing … stability in the Middle East …’ ”

        Shahak tells us that he opposes “root and branch the Israeli non-ideological policies as they are so lucidly and correctly explained by Gazit” However, he recognises that “the dangers of the policies … motivated by ‘Jewish ideology’ are much worse than [the dangers of] merely imperial policies, however criminal” [our italics]. He continues “This [Jewish] ideology is, in turn, based on the attitudes of historic Judaism to non-Jews, one of the main themes of this book. Those attitudes necessarily influence many Jews, consciously or unconsciously.” He goes on:
        • “The influence of ‘Jewish ideology’ on many Jews will be stronger the more it is hidden from public discussion.”
        • “Such discussion will, it is hoped, lead people [to] take the same attitude towards Jewish chauvinism and the contempt displayed by so many Jews towards non-Jews [which is described above] as that commonly taken towards anti-Semitism and all other forms of xenophobia, chauvinism and racism.”
        • “It is justly assumed that only the full exposition, not only of anti-Semitism, but also its historical roots, can be the basis of struggle against it. Likewise I am assuming that only the full exposition of Jewish chauvinism and Jewish fanaticism can be the basis of struggle against those phenomena.”
        • “This is especially true today when, contrary to the situation prevailing fifty or sixty years ago, the political influence of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism is much greater than that of anti-Semitism.” Shahak adds that he strongly believes “that anti-Semitism and Jewish chauvinism can only be fought simultaneously”.

        Furthermore, Shahak says that, because foreign observers usually know nothing about Judaism except crude apologetics, they thus take no heed of Judaism as it really is, and no heed of ‘Jewish ideology’ – so that Israeli policies are incomprehensible to them.

        Shahak says it is politically important, especially for foreign observers, that, since an important component of Israeli policy is based on ‘Jewish ideology’, this ‘Jewish ideology’ is understood. He goes on to say that this ‘Jewish ideology’ is in turn based on the attitudes of historic Judaism to non-Jews, and that those historic attitudes necessarily influence many Jews today, consciously or unconsciously. The task, therefore, he says, is to discuss historic Judaism.

        Shahak goes on to note that “true believers in that Utopia called the ‘Jewish state’, which will strive to achieve the ‘Biblical borders’, are more dangerous than the grand strategists of Gazit’s type because their policies are being sanctified by the use of religion or, worse, by the use of secularised religious principles which retain absolute validity. While Gazit at least sees a need to argue … [the case for] the Israeli diktat [his ridiculous argument that it benefits the Arab regimes], Ben-Gurion did not pretend that the re-establishment of the kingdom of David and Solomon will benefit anybody except the Jewish state.”


        “There can be no better definition of ‘classical Judaism’ ”, says Shahak, “and of the ways in which the rabbis manipulated it, than this Platonic definition …”:
        • “The principal thing is that no one, man or woman, should ever be without an officer set over him, and that none should get the mental habit of taking any step, whether in earnest or in jest, on his individual responsibility. In peace as in war he must live always with his eyes on his superior officer … In a word, we must train the mind not even to consider acting as an individual or know how to do it. (Laws, 942 ab)”
        • “If the word ‘rabbi’ is substituted for ‘an officer’ ”, says Shahak, “we will have a perfect image of classical Judaism [which] is still deeply influencing Israeli-Jewish society and determining to a large extent Israeli policies.”

        Shahak further notes that “it was the above quoted passage which was chosen by Karl Popper in The Open Society and Its Enemies as describing the essence of  ‘a closed society’. Historical Judaism and its two successors, Jewish Orthodoxy and Zionism, are both sworn enemies of the concept of the open society as applied to Israel. A Jewish state, whether based on its present Jewish ideology or, if it becomes even more Jewish in character than it is now, on the principles of Jewish Orthodoxy, cannot ever contain an open society. There are two choices which face Israeli-Jewish society”:
        • “It can become a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labour of Arab helots, kept in existence by its influence on the US political establishment and by threats to use its nuclear power, or it can try to become an open society.”
        • “The second choice is dependent on a honest examination of its Jewish past, on the admission that Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism exist, and on a honest examination of the attitudes of Judaism towards the non-Jews.

        The terrible effect of Jewish religious fanaticism on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
        Shahak states that “It is against the glorification of inhumanity, proclaimed not only by the rabbis but by those who are supposed to be the greatest and certainly the most influential scholars of Judaism, that we have to struggle …” He continues: “ … we can derive [a] general conclusion about the most effective and horrific means of compulsion to do evil, to cheat and to deceive and, while keeping one’s hands quite clean of violence, to corrupt whole peoples and drive them to oppression and murder … for there can no longer be any doubt that the most horrifying acts of oppression in the West Bank are motivated by Jewish religious fanaticism.” [our italics]

        The Failure To Speak Out Against Zionism And Jewish Rascism
        “Most people seem to assume”, states Shahak, “that the worst totalitarianism employs physical coercion, and would refer to the imagery of Orwell’s 1984 for a model illustrating such a regime. But it seems to me that this common view is greatly mistaken, and that the intuition of Isaac Asimov, in whose science fiction the worst suppression is always internalised, is the more true to the dangers of human nature … the rabbis – and even more so the scholars attacked here, and with them the whole mob of equally silent middlebrows such as writers, journalists, public figures, who lie and deceive more than them – are not facing the danger of death or the concentration camp, but only social pressure; they lie out of patriotism because they believe that it is their duty to lie for what they conceive to be the Jewish interest. They are patriotic liars, and it is the same patriotism which reduces them to silence when confronted with the discrimination [against] and oppression of the Palestinians.” [our italics]

        “ … we are also faced with another group loyalty”, he goes on, “but one which comes from outside the group, and which is sometimes even more mischievous. Very many non-Jews (including Christian clergy and religious laymen, as well as some marxists from all marxist groups) hold the curious opinion that one way to ‘atone’ for the persecution of Jews is not to speak out against evil perpetrated by Jews, but to participate in ‘white lies’ about them. The crude accusation of  ‘antisemitism’ (or, in the case of Jews, ‘self-hate’) against anybody who protests at the discrimination [against] Palestinians or who points out any fact about the Jewish religion or the Jewish past which conflicts with the ‘approved version’ comes with greater hostility and force from non-Jewish ‘friends of the Jews’  than from Jews. It is the existence and great influence of this group in all western countries, and particularly in the USA … which has allowed the rabbis and scholars of Judaism to propagate their lies not only without opposition but with considerable help. [our italics.]


        Shahak goes on:
        • “ … Although this phenomenon of blind and stalinistic support for any evil, so long as it is ‘Jewish’, is particularly strong from 1945, when the truth about the extermination of European Jewry became known, it is a mistake to suppose that that it began only then.”
        • “On the contrary, it dates very far back, particularly in social-democratic circles” He continues:
          • “One of Marx’s early friends, Moses Hess, widely known and respected as one of the first socialists in Germany, subsequently revealed himself as an extreme Jewish racist, whose views about the ‘pure Jewish race’ published in 1858 were not unlike comparable bilge about the ‘pure Aryan race’. But the German socialists, who struggled against German racism, remained silent about their Jewish racism.”
          • “In 1944, during the actual struggle against Hitler, the British Labour Party approved a plan for the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine, which was similar to Hitler’s early plans (up to about 1941) for the Jews. This plan was approved under the pressure of Jewish members of the party’s leadership, many of whom have displayed a stronger ‘kith and kin’ attitude to every Israeli policy than the Conservative ‘kith and kin’ supporters of Ian Smith ever did. But stalinistic taboos on the left are stronger in Britain than on the right, and there is virtually no discussion even when the Labour Party supports Begin’s government.”
        • “In the USA a similar situation prevails, and again the American liberals are the worst.”
        • … we must face reality: in our struggle against the racism and fanaticism of the Jewish religion, our greatest enemies will be not only the Jewish racists (and users of racism) but also those non-Jews [as referred to above] who in other areas are known – falsely in my opinion – as ‘progressives’.” [our italics]





        POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES


        Pervasive Influence Of Orthodox Judaism And Zionism
        Shahak states that “The persistent attitudes of classical Judaism toward non-Jews strongly influence its followers, Orthodox Jews and those who can be regarded as its continuators, zionists. Through the latter it also influences the policies of the State of Israel. Since 1967, as Israel becomes more and more 'Jewish', so its policies are influ¬enced more by Jewish ideological considerations than by those of a coldly conceived imperial interest. This ideological influence is not usually perceived by foreign experts, who tend to ignore or downplay the influence of the Jewish religion on Israeli policies. This explains why many of their predictions are incorrect.”

        He continues: “In fact, more Israeli government crises are caused by religious reasons, often trivial, than by any other cause. The space devoted by the Hebrew press to discussion of the constantly occurring quarrels between the various religious groups, or between the religious and the secular, is greater than that given any other subject, except in times of war or of security-related tension. At the time of writing, early August 1993, some topics of major interest to readers of the Hebrew press are: whether soldiers killed in action who are sons of non-Jewish mothers will be buried in a segregated area in Israeli military cemeteries; whether Jewish religious burial associations, who have a monopoly over the burial of all Jews except kibbutz members, will be allowed to continue their custom of circumcising the corpses of non-circumcised Jews before burying them (and without asking the family's permission); whether the import of non-kosher meat to Israel, banned unofficially since the establishment of the state, will be allowed or banned by law. There are many more issues of this kind which are of a much greater interest to the Israeli-Jewish public than, let us say, the [then] negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria.”


        Effect Of Orthodox Judaism And Zionism On Israeli Policies
        “The attempts made by a few Israeli politicians to ignore the factors of 'Jewish ideology' in favour of purely imperial interests have led to disastrous results”, says Shahak. He goes on:
        • “In early 1974, after its partial defeat in the Yom Kippur War, Israel had a vital interest in stopping the renewed influence of the PLO, which had not yet been recognised by the Arab states as the [sole] legitimate representative of the Palestinians. The Israeli gov¬ernment conceived of a plan to support Jordanian influence in the West Bank, which was quite considerable at the time. When King Hussein was asked for his support, he demanded a visible quid pro quo. It was arranged that his chief West Bank supporter, Sheikh Jabri of Hebron, who [at that time] ruled the southern part of the West Bank with an iron fist and with approval of then Defence minister Moshe Dayan, would give a party for the region's notables in the courtyard of his palatial residence in Hebron. The party, in honour of the king's birthday, would feature the public display of Jordanian flags and would begin a pro-Jordanian campaign. But the religious settlers in the nearby Kiryat-Arba, who were only a handful at the time, heard about the plan and threatened Prime Minister Golda Meir and Dayan with vigorous protests since, as they put it, displaying a flag of a 'non-Jewish state' within the Land of Israel contradicts the sacred principle which states that this land 'belongs' only to Jews. Since this principle is accepted by all zionists, the government had to bow to their demands and order Sheikh Jabri not to display any Jordanian flags. Thereupon Jabri, who was deeply humili¬ated, cancelled the party and, at the Fez meeting of the Arab League which occurred soon after, King Hussein voted to recognise the PLO as the sole representative of the Pales¬tinians.”
        • “For the bulk of [the] Israeli-Jewish public the [then] current nego¬tiations about 'autonomy' [following the Oslo Accords] are likewise influenced more by such Jewish ideological considerations than by any others.” [and, in retrospect, we can see what happened to that peace process]

        “The conclusion from this consideration of Israeli policies, supported by an analysis of classical Judaism, must be”, says Shahak:
        • “that analyses of Israeli policy-making which do not emphasise the importance of its unique character as a 'Jewish state' must be mistaken.”
        • “In particular, the facile comparison of Israel to other cases of Western imperialism or to settler states, is incorrect”, he says:
          • “During apartheid, the land of South Africa was officially di¬vided into 87 per cent which 'belonged' to the whites and 13 per cent which was said officially to 'belong' to the Blacks. In addition, officially sovereign states, embodied with all the sym¬bols of sovereignty, the so- called Bantustans, were established.”
          • “But 'Jewish ideology' demands that no part of the Land of Israel can be recognised as 'belonging' to non-Jews and that no signs of sovereignty, such as Jordanian flags, can be officially allowed to be displayed. The principle of Redemption of the Land demands that ideally all the land, and not merely, say, 87 per cent, will in time be redeemed', that is, become owned by Jews. 'Jewish ideology prohibits that very convenient principle of imperialism, already known to Romans and followed by so many secular empires, and best formulated by Lord Cromer: `We do not govern Egypt, we govern the governors of Egypt.' “
          • “Jewish ideology forbids such recognition; it also forbids a seem¬ingly respectful attitude to any 'non-Jewish governors' within the Land of Israel. The entire apparatus of client kings, sultans, maharajas and chiefs or, in more modern times, of dependent dictators, so convenient in other cases of imperial hegemony, cannot be used by Israel within the area considered part of the Land of Israel. Hence the fears, commonly expressed by Pales¬tinians, of being offered a 'Bantustan' are totally groundless.”
          • “Only if numerous Jewish lives are lost in war, as happened both in 1973 and in the 1983-5 war aftermath in Lebanon, is an Israeli retreat conceivable since it can be justified by the principle that the sanctity of Jewish life is more important than other considerations.”
          • “What is not possible, as long as Israel remains a 'Jewish state', is the Israeli grant of a fake, but nevertheless symbolically real sovereignty, or even of real au¬tonomy, to non-Jews within the Land of Israel for merely political reasons. Israel, like some other countries, is an exclu-sivist state, but Israeli exclusivism is peculiar to itself.”
          • [our own comment – Shahak says in effect that the Palestinian position is worse than if they were suffering under Apartheid]

        The Baleful Influence Of Some Diaspora Jews, Especially Some Jewish-Americans
        “In addition to Israeli policies”, states Shahak, “it may be surmised that the `Jewish ideology' influences also a significant part, maybe a majority, of the diaspora Jews. While the actual implementation of Jewish ideology depends on Israel being strong, this in turn depends to a considerable extent on the support which diaspora Jews, particularly US Jews, give to Israel. The image of the diaspora Jews and their attitudes to non-Jews, is quite different from the attitudes of classical Judaism, as described above. This discrepancy is most obvious in English-speaking countries, where the greatest falsifications of Judaism regularly occur. The situation is worst in the USA and Canada, the two states whose support for Israeli policies, including policies which most glaringly contradict the basic human rights of non-Jews, is strongest.”

        Shahak says that “US support for Israel, when considered not in abstract but in concrete detail, cannot be adequately explained only as a result of American imperial interests.” …” [We might add that this same conclusion was arrived at some years later by the American professors Mearsheimer and Walt – see the article entitled “Bully Boys II: Thoughts On Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book On The Israel Lobby”, which we have already distributed. For those who do not have copies, the article is available on South Tyneside STWC’s website, www.northeaststopwar.org.uk referred to above.] Shahak continues: “The strong influence wielded by the organised Jewish community in the USA in support of all Israeli policies must also be taken into account in order to explain the Middle East policies of American administrations. This phenomenon is even more noticeable in the case of Canada, whose Middle Eastern interests cannot be considered as important, but whose loyal dedication to Israel is even greater than that of the USA.”  “In both coun¬tries (and also in France, Britain and many other states)”, he goes on:
        • “Jewish organisations support Israel with about the same loy¬alty which communist parties accorded to the USSR for so long.”
        • “Also, many Jews who appear to be active in defending human rights and who adopt non-conformist views on other issues do, in cases affecting Israel, display a remarkable de¬gree of totalitarianism and are in the forefront of the defence of all Israeli policies.”
        • “It is well known in Israel that the chauvinism and fanaticism in supporting Israel displayed by organised diaspora Jews is much greater (especially since 1967) than the chauvinism shown by an average Israeli Jew. This fanaticism is especially marked in Canada and the USA but because of the incomparably greater political importance of the USA”, says Shahak, “I will concentrate on the latter.”
        • “It should, however, be noted that we also find Jews whose views of Israeli policies are not different from those held by the rest of the society (with due regard to the factors of geography, income, social position and so on).”

        “Why”, asks Shahak, “should some American Jews display chauvinism, some¬times extreme, and others not?” He explains:
        • “We should begin by observing the social and therefore also the political importance of the Jewish organisations which are of an exclusive nature: they admit no non-Jews on principle. (This exclusivism is in amusing contrast with their hunt to condemn the most obscure non-Jewish club which refuses to admit Jews.)”
        • “Those who can be called 'organised Jews', and who spend most of their time outside work hours mostly in the company of other Jews, can be presumed to uphold Jewish exclusivism and to preserve the attitudes of classical Judaism to non-Jews:
          • Under present circumstances they cannot openly express these attitudes toward non-Jews in the USA where non-Jews constitute more than 97 per cent of the population.
          • They compensate for this by ex¬pressing their real attitudes in their support of the 'Jewish state' and the treatment it metes to the non-Jews of the Middle East.”
        “How else”, says Shahak, “can we explain the enthusiasm displayed by so many American rabbis in support of, let us say, Martin Luther King, compared with their lack of support for the rights of Palestinians, even for their individual human rights? How else can we explain the glaring contradiction between the attitudes of classical Juda¬ism toward non-Jews, which include the rule that their lives should not be saved except for the sake of Jewish interest, with the support of the US rabbis and organised Jews for the rights of the Blacks? After all, Martin Luther King and the majority of American Blacks are non-Jews. Even if only the conservative and Orthodox Jews, who together constitute the majority of organised American Jews, are considered to hold such opinions about the non-Jews, the other part of organised US Jewry, the Reform, had never opposed them, and, in my view, show themselves to be quite influenced by them.”

        “Actually the explanation of this apparent contradiction is easy”, avers Shahak: “It should be recalled that Judaism, especially in its classical form, is totalitarian in nature. The behaviour of supporters of other totalitarian ideologies of our times was not different from that of the organised American Jews”, he says:
        • “Stalin and his supporters never tired of condemning the discrimina¬tion against the American or the South African Blacks, espe¬cially in the midst of the worst crimes committed within the USSR.”
        • “The South African apartheid regime was tireless in its denunciations of the violations of human rights committed either by communist or by other African regimes, and so were its supporters in other countries.”
        • “Many similar examples can be given.”






        A NEED FOR CHANGE

        Confronting the Past
        Shahak says that “All Jews who really want to extricate themselves from the tyranny of the totalitarian Jewish past must face the question of their attitude towards the popular anti-Jewish manifestations of the past, particularly those connected with the rebellions of enserfed peasants. On the other side, all the apologists of the Jewish religion and of Jewish segregationism and chauvinism also take their stand - both ultimately and in current debates - on the same question. The undoubted fact that the peasant revolutionaries committed shocking atrocities against Jews (as well as against their other oppressors) is used as an 'argument' by those apologists, in exactly the same way that the Palestin¬ian terror is used to justify the denial of justice to the Palestinians.”

        “Our own answer”, continues Shahak, “must be a universal one, applicable in principle to all comparable cases. And, for a Jew who truly seeks liberation from Jewish particularism and racism and from the dead hand of the Jewish religion, such an answer is not very difficult.”

        “After all”, says Shahak, “revolts of oppressed peasants against their mas¬ters and their masters' bailiffs are common in human history. A generation after the Chmielnicki uprising of the Ukrainian peasants, the Russian peasants rose under the leadership of Stenka Razin, and again, one hundred years later, in the Pugachev rebellion. In Germany there was the Peasant War of 1525, in France the Jacquerie of 1357-8 and many other popular revolts, not to mention the many slave uprisings in all parts of the world. All of them - and I have intentionally chosen to mention examples in which Jews were not targets - were attended by horrifying massacres, just as the Great French Revolution was accompanied by appalling acts of ter¬ror. What is the position of true progressives - and, by now, of most ordinary decent educated people, be they Russian, German or French - on these rebellions? Do decent English historians, even when noting the massacres of Englishmen by rebellious Irish peasants rising against their enslavement, con¬demn the latter as 'anti-English racists'? What is the attitude of progressive French historians towards the great slave revo¬lution in Santo Domingo, where many French women and children were butchered? To ask the question is to answer it. But to ask a similar question of many 'progressive' or even `socialist' Jewish circles is to receive a very different answer; here an enslaved peasant is transformed into a racist monster, if Jews profited from his state of slavery and exploitation.”

        Shahak goes on: “The maxim that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it applies to those Jews who refuse to come to terms with the Jewish past: they have become its slaves and are repeating it in zionist and Israeli policies. The State of Israel now fulfils towards the oppressed peasants of many countries - not only in the Middle East but also far beyond it - a role not unlike that of the Jews in pre-1795 Poland: that of a bailiff to the imperial oppressor. It is charac¬teristic and instructive that Israel's major role in arming the forces of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, and those of Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile and the rest has not given rise to any wide public debate in Israel or among organised Jewish communities in the diaspora. Even the narrower question of expedi¬ency - whether the selling of weapons to a dictatorial butcher of freedom fighters and peasants is in the long term interest of Jews - is seldom asked. Even more significant is the large part taken in this business by religious Jews, and the total silence of their rabbis (who are very vocal in inciting hatred against Arabs). It seems that Israel and zionism are a throw-back to the role of classical Judaism — writ large, on a global scale, and under more dangerous circumstances.”

        “The only possible answer to all this”, Shahak continues, “first of all by Jews, must be that given by all true advocates of freedom and humanity in all countries, all peoples and all great philosophies - limited though they sometimes are, as the human condition itself is limited. We must confront the Jewish past and those aspects of the present which are based simultaneously on lying about that past and worshipping it. The prerequisites for this are, first, total honesty about the facts and, secondly, the belief (leading to action, whenever possible) in universalist human principles of ethics and politics.”


        Shahak quotes the ancient Chinese sage Mencius (4th century BC), much admired by Voltaire:
        • ‘This is why I say that all men have a sense of commiseration: here is a man who suddenly notices a child about to fall into a well. Invariably he will feel a sense of alarm and compas¬sion. And this is not for the purpose of gaining the favour of the child's parents or of seeking the approbation of his neigh-bours and friends, or for fear of blame should he fail to rescue it. Thus we see that no man is without a sense of compassion or a sense of shame or a sense of courtesy or a sense of right and wrong. The sense of compassion is the beginning of humanity, the sense of shame is the beginning of righteousness, and sense of courtesy is the beginning of deco¬rum, the sense of right and wrong is the beginning of wisdom. Every man has within himself these four beginnings, just as he has four limbs. Since everyone has these four beginnings within him, the man who considers himself incapable of exer¬cising them is destroying himself.’

        “We have seen above”, says Shahak, “how far removed from this are the precepts with which the Jewish religion in its classical and talmudic form is poisoning minds and hearts.”

        “The road to a genuine revolution in Judaism”, he goes on, “to making it humane, allowing Jews to understand their own past, thereby re-educating themselves out of its tyranny - lies through an unrelenting critique of the Jewish religion. Without fear or favour, we must speak out against what belongs to our own past as Voltaire did against his.”


        The Test Facing Both Israeli And Diaspora Jews
        Shahak upholds that “The support of democracy or of human rights is therefore meaningless or even harmful and deceitful when it does not begin with self-critique and with support of human rights [even] when they are violated by one's own group. Any support of human rights in general by a Jew which does not include the support of human rights of non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the 'Jewish state' is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist. The apparent enthusiasm displayed by American rabbis or by the Jewish organisations in the USA during the 1950s and the 1960s in support of the Blacks in the South, was motivated only by considerations of Jewish self-interest, just as was the commu¬nist support for the same Blacks. Its purpose in both cases was to try to capture the Black community politically, in the Jewish case to an unthinking support of Israeli policies in the Middle East.”

        “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews”, says Shahak:
        • “is the test of their self-criticism which must include [a] critique of the Jewish past.”
        • “The most important part of such a critique must be [a] detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.”
        • “This is what many Jews justly demand from non-Jews: to confront their own past and so become aware of the discrimination and persecutions inflicted on the Jews.”
        • “In the last 40 years the number of non-Jews killed by Jews is by far greater than the number of the Jews killed by non-Jews.”
        • “The extent of the persecution and dis¬crimination against non-Jews inflicted by the 'Jewish state' with the support of organised diaspora Jews is also enor¬mously greater than the suffering inflicted on Jews by regimes hostile to them.”
        • “Although the struggle against antisemitism (and of all other forms of racism) should never cease, the struggle against Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism, which must include a critique of classical Judaism, is now of equal or greater importance.”
        Our Own Comments - The Good Guys And The Bad Guys
        Let us, for a brief moment, take a leaf out of George W. Bush’s simplistic black-and-white world, and take a brief look at the good guys and the bad guys. Childish of course, but it’s fun! Have you got your very own good guys or bad guys? See if you can spot them in the list! If not, write and tell us, with your reasons!

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        Netanyahu, Lieberman and co., their racist Israeli state, and the racist Jewish religious fanatic settlers.
        Marvel at their utter indifference to Palestinian human rights, the rule of law, and world opinion! Watch the Israeli flea flip the American elephant, and take him for a ride!
        Consider for further review: Bibi Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak, Gush Emunin, Shlomo Aviner, Brig Gen Avichai Ronsky, Elad, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        The Jewish-American pro-Israel Lobby, and their neocon and other Gentile friends:
        Behold as they buy off and suborn America’s Vichy Congress! So much for American democracy!
        Consider for further review: American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), Anti-Defamation League, the neocons, the Christian Zionists, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        America’s Vichy Congress, and the senators and congressmen who make it so:
        See (or rather, don’t see) them take Jewish-American campaign contributions! Stare in amazement as they are hectored and lectured by Bibi, AIPAC and the like! Go with them on their free trips to Israel! See them pervert the policy of the USA in the Middle East in a way which damages America’s real interests! Watch the world laugh in astonishment!
        Consider for further review: America’s Vichy Congress, Joe Lieberman, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        The American Administration:
        Goggle as Netanyahu treats Barack like a schmuck! Observe Obama as he fails to stop continuing Israeli illegal settlement (never mind the Israeli withdrawal necessary for a viable Palestinian state)! Watch him as he fails even to end the siege of Gaza and alleviate a little the suffering of the Palestinians there! Stare as he helplessly surveys Israel’s slow and cruel strangulation of the Palestinian people, so far advanced today! Perceive how he fails to use the vast leverage available to America by threatening withdrawal of its massive diplomatic, economic, and military support for Israel! Despair as he continues to support a (currently moribund) peace process which is designed (like the Clinton one before it) to produce a pitiable, non-viable non-state for the Palestinians! Conjecture how he might have acquired rose-coloured spectacle of such dimensions as might lead him to believe that such a non-state could bring peace, since the Palestinians would not accept it! Marvel at his not understanding that his entire American peace effort, as currently constituted, is a waste of time! But, above all, comprehend that he hasn’t got the bottle to take on the pro-Israel lobby and all those purchased senators and paid-for congressmen in a hard-nosed and uncompromising way, and force a just peace on Israel!
        Consider for further review: Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, George Mitchell, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        The mainstream American media, and the writers and journalists who serve it:
        Regard their half-truths and distortions as they seek to exonerate Israel’s crimes!  See them praise the wondrous state of Israel and it’s democracy! Notice how their executives cave in to pressure from CAMERA, Jewish letter campaigns and the like! Consider their lack of stomach! Watch how they prevent the truth about Israel from reaching the American public! They don’t directly have blood on their hands like George W., but, by hiding the truth from the American people, haven’t they got some blood on their hands?
        Consider for further review: ABC, CBS, CNN and their front-men, the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, and the likes of Safire, Kagan, Krauthammer, Kristol, Boot and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        American cultural, intellectual and religious apologists, many of them Gentiles, many of them supposed ‘liberals’, who curiously believe that one way to ‘atone’ for the Nazi persecutions is not to speak out against Israeli crimes and to participate in ‘white lies’ about them, and to support ‘Jewish’ positions in general.
        Watch them as they shout ‘Anti-Semite!’, and attempt to vilify any critic of Israel, or those whose account of Jewish history or Jewish religion conflicts with the cosy lies of Israel’s foundational myths, or the deceptions about Judaism propagated by rabbis and Jewish ‘scholars’!  (Or if the critic is a Jew, he’s a ‘self-hater’!) The real ‘friends of the Jews’? – no, the real friends of the Zionists, and the enemies of free speech.! Consider for further review: the Zionist historians and their apologists, the film-makers who propagate the Exodus and Fiddler On The Roof version of history, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        The British  pro-Israel Lobby:
        They’re much more opaque than their American counterparts! They do similar things, though, helping to finance MPs, taking them on free trips to Israel and so on!
        Consider for further review: the Friends Of Israel (Labour and Conservative) and their wonderful opacity, Board of Deputies of British Jews, Lord Levy, Jon Mendelsohn and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        Britain’s Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary:
        Watch them, as, grovelling to the Yankees as usual (following in Blair’s footsteps), they take a very tender line with Israel, and a tough one with the Palestinians!
        Consider for further review: Gordon and David, the dream ticket for the Israelis.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        Parts of the British  media, and many of the writers and journalists who serve it:
        In general, they’re not as mendacious and truth-distorting as their American buddies, but that’s not saying much! Speculate, as they spare Israel, their apparent utter indifference to the fate of the Palestinians! There are fewer of them in the ‘liberal’ British media, but they’re not unknown.
        Consider for further review: BBC Trust, BBC (especially BBC2 television and Radio 4), Director-General of the BBC, certain heavyweight BBC personalities in the area of current affairs, the right-wing press in general, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        British cultural, intellectual and religious apologists, many of them Gentile, many of them supposed ‘liberals’, who, just like their American counterparts, curiously believe that one way to ‘atone’ for the Nazi persecutions is not to speak out against Israeli crimes and to participate in ‘white lies’ about them, and to support ‘Jewish’ positions in general.
        Consider for further review:   bishops, rabbis, and cultural/entertainment apologists who soft-pedal on Israel, or defend the indefensible (or merely don’t mention the subject), who attack critics of Israel, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really bad guys:
        The pro-Israel Lobbies in Canada, Germany, France and other countries , those parts of their media which are part of that lobby, and their cultural, intellectual and religious apologists (many of them Gentiles):
        Consider for further review: the politically correct and morally cowardly Germans who don’t speak out about Israel’s present-day crimes because of a terrible past which they can do nothing about, and many, many more.

        Really, really, really, really, really, really, really good guys:
        A round of applause for: the American professors Mearsheimer and Walt, Noam Chomsky,  Joe Klein, Israel Shahak, Amira Hass, John Pilger, Michael Neumann, Ilan Pappe, Robert Fisk, Seamus Milne, Peter Oborne, Yesh Din, the Israeli soldiers involved in the ‘Breaking The Silence’ project, and not too many more.


        Conclusion
        This is an important book by Israel Shahak, and should be read by all those concerned with Middle East policy, and anyone uneasy about democracy in America, Canada, the UK, Germany, France and elsewhere. Will Barack get to read it? Will it get past Rahm Emanuel?







        --------------------------------------

        FURTHER CORROBORATION FROM THE ASSAULT ON GAZA

        General
        Further evidence which has emerged since Israel’s recent assault on Gaza provides further corroboration of Israel Shahak’s line of reasoning.

        The Goldstone Report
        According to a UN-commissioned report published in September 2009, Israel targeted "the people of Gaza as a whole" in its 23-day assault which began at the end of December 2008. The military operation, which left some 1,400 Palestinians dead (including 770 civilians, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem) against only 13 Israelis, triggered a wave of criticism against Israel across the world. Disproportionate, you think? The journalist Robert Fisk recently quoted Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army northern commander in the Gaza war: "We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction... This isn't a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorised."

        Israel had refused to cooperate with the inquiry, contending that the UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned the inquiry, was biased against Israel. It therefore prevented the inquiry team entering Israel or the occupied West Bank. However, they were able, over this summer, to hold public hearings in Gaza, talking to Palestinians, and in Geneva, talking to Israelis. They interviewed 188 people and read 300 reports.

        The UN fact-finding mission was headed by the Jewish South African former Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone. He said Israel should face prosecution by the International Criminal Court, unless it carried out fully independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, "possible war crimes and crimes against humanity" during the Gaza operation.

        The UN mission rejected Israel's argument that the war was a response to Palestinian rocket attacks and therefore an act of self-defence. It said it "considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole". It found the war was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability".

        The report also said that "In this respect the operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support." It added that some Israeli military personnel should carry "individual criminal responsibility" for grave breaches of the laws of war, meaning soldiers could face prosecution.

        Furthermore, the report also stated that the long Israeli economic blockade of Gaza (which began some two years prior to the Gaza assault, and which continues to this day) amounted to "collective punishment intentionally inflicted by the government of Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip".

        Israeli actions depriving Gazans of means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, and denying their freedom of movement "could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, had been committed", it said.

        “The report says that "the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces". The purpose was "to make the daily process of living and dignified living more difficult for the civilian population".

        The report also says that vandalism of houses by some soldiers and "the graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often racist slogans constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanisation of the Palestinian population". Hospitals and ambulances were "targeted by Israeli attacks."

        The statements of Israeli political and military leaders in before and during the Gaza assault indicated the use of "disproportionate force", aimed, the UN report said, not only at the enemy but also at the "supporting infrastructure". Further: "In practice this appears to have meant the civilian population."

        Goldstone also called on Israel to halt immediately its closures of the crossings into Gaza and said the Israeli military needed to review its rules of engagement to avoid future Palestinian civilian deaths.

        The report also harshly criticised the Palestinian side, on attacks that have caused terror in southern Israel, and on the extrajudicial killings, detention and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees by both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. However, Israeli conduct during the operation takes up much the greater part of the 570-page report, and its harshest language is reserved for the Israelis.

        In October 2009, the report was referred to the UN General Assembly by the Human Rights Council despite intense lobbying by Israel and the US. The 25-6 vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva brings one step closer – at least in theory – the possibility that Israel could face International Criminal Court proceedings if it does not launch, within 6 months, its own independent investigation into its conduct of the war. The USA (in its usual resolute pursuit of freedom around the world) opposed the resolution. Britain and France (gutless as usual), which had been expected to register formal abstentions, instead called in vain for a delay in the decision and did not participate in the vote at all - both countries had been under intense pressure from Israel and the US to oppose the resolution. So much for America’s worldwide pursuit of democracy. The US, UK, and France advised Israel to hold its own inquiry.

        Douglas Griffiths , a senior US diplomat in Geneva, said America had opposed the decision because of its "one-sidedness" and because it could unsettle a Middle East peace process. What Middle East peace process? There is no Middle East peace process, because Obama hasn’t the bottle to take on America’s powerful pro-Israel lobby.

        The vote followed a U-turn by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who faced severe criticism from the Palestinian people themselves after succumbing to US and Israeli pressure, when the Human Rights Council first debated the report two weeks prior, to agree to defer the whole issue until next year

        The decision refers the report of the council's fact-finding mission headed by Goldstone to the UN General Assembly for further consideration.

        Israel refused to accept the decision, calling it "unjust" and "one-sided, and said today it would launch a diplomatic offensive to prevent any risk of prosecutions. No independent inquiry into the military's conduct during the war last January would be held, it said. Israel has not got a history of co-operating with international inquiries into the actions of its army.

        While the US (defending democracy again) has indicated it will veto any Security Council resolution calling for proceedings by the International Criminal Court – neither Israel nor the US, is a signatory – a UN General Assembly decision in favour of such proceedings cannot be ruled out.


        Rabbinical Influence In The Israeli Army
        Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Israel. We quote verbatim from his article on the Electronic Intifada website, dated 4 February 2009 (http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10274.shtml).

        “Extremist rabbis and their followers”, says Cook, “bent on waging holy war against the Palestinians, are taking over the Israeli army by stealth, according to critics. In a process one military historian has termed the rapid ‘theologization’ of the Israeli army, there are now entire units of religious combat soldiers, many of them based in West Bank settlements. They answer to hardline rabbis who call for the establishment of a Greater Israel that includes the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

        Cook continues: “Their influence in shaping the army's goals and methods is starting to be felt, say observers, as more and more graduates from officer courses are also drawn from Israel's religious extremist population. ‘We have reached the point where a critical mass of religious soldiers is trying to negotiate with the army about how and for what purpose military force is employed on the battlefield’, said Yigal Levy, a political sociologist at the Open University who has written several books on the Israeli army.

        He goes on: “The new atmosphere was evident in the ‘excessive force’ used in the recent Gaza operation, Dr Levy said. More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, a majority of them civilians, and thousands were injured as whole neighborhoods of Gaza were leveled. ‘When soldiers, including secular ones, are imbued with theological ideas, it makes them less sensitive to human rights or the suffering of the other side.’ ”

        “The greater role of extremist religious groups in the army came to light [in January 2009]”, Cook states, “when it emerged that the army rabbinate had handed out a booklet to soldiers preparing for the recent 22-day Gaza offensive. Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group, said the material contained messages ‘bordering on racist incitement against the Palestinian people’ and might have encouraged soldiers to ignore international law. The booklet quotes extensively from Shlomo Aviner, a far-right rabbi who heads a religious seminary in the Muslim quarter of East Jerusalem. He compares the Palestinians to the Philistines, the Biblical enemy of the Jews. He advises: ‘When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers ... This is a war on murderers.’ He also cites a Biblical ban on ‘surrendering a single millimeter’ of Greater Israel.”

        “The booklet”, says Cook, “was approved by the army's chief rabbi, Brig Gen Avichai Ronsky, who is reportedly determined to improve the army's ‘combat values’ after its failure to crush Hizballah in Lebanon in 2006. Gen Ronsky was appointed three years ago in a move designed, according to the Israeli media, to placate hardline religious elements within the army and the settler community. Gen Ronsky, himself a settler in the West Bank community of Itimar, near Nablus, is close to far-right groups. According to reports, he pays regular visits to jailed members of Jewish terror groups; he has offered his home to a settler who is under house arrest for wounding Palestinians; and he has introduced senior officers to a small group of extremist settlers who live among more than 150,000 Palestinians in Hebron. He has also radically overhauled the [army] rabbinate, which was originally founded to offer religious services and ensure religious soldiers were able to observe the sabbath and eat kosher meals in army canteens.”

        Cook says that “Over the past year the rabbinate has effectively taken over the role of the army's education corps through its Jewish Awareness Department, which co-ordinates its activities with Elad, a settler organization that is active in East Jerusalem.”

        “In October”, he goes on, “the Haaretz newspaper quoted an unnamed senior officer who accused the rabbinate of carrying out the religious and political ‘brainwashing’ of troops. Levy said the army rabbinate's power was growing as the ranks of religious soldiers swelled.”

        Cook continues: “Breaking the Silence [referred to further below], a project run by soldiers seeking to expose the army's behavior against Palestinians, said the booklet handed out to troops in Gaza had originated among Hebron's settlers. ‘The document has been around since at least 2003,’ said Mikhael Manekin, 29, one of the group's directors and himself religiously observant. ‘But what is new is that the army has been effectively subcontracted to promote the views of the extremist settlers to its soldiers.’ ”

        He goes on: “The power of the religious right in the army, reflected wider social trends inside Israel, Levy said. He pointed out that the rural cooperatives known as kibbutzim that were once home to Israel's secular middle classes and produced the bulk of its officer corps had been on the wane since the early 1980s. ‘The vacuum left by their gradual retreat from the army was filled by religious youngsters and by the children of the settlements. They now dominate in many branches of the army.’ According to figures cited in the Israeli media, more than one-third of all Israel's combat soldiers are religious, as are more than 40 percent of those graduating from officer courses.”

        “The army has encouraged this trend”, says Cook, “by creating some two dozen hesder yeshivas, seminaries in which youths can combine Biblical studies with army service in separate religious units. Many of the yeshivas are based in the West Bank, where students are educated by the settlements' extremist rabbis. Ehud Barak, the defense minister, has rapidly expanded the program, approving four yeshivas, three based in settlements, last summer. Another 10 are reportedly awaiting his approval.”

        Cook states that “Manekin, however, warned against blaming the violence inflicted on Gaza's civilians solely on the influence of religious extremists. ‘The army is still run by the secular elites in Israel and they have always been reckless with regard to the safety of civilians when they wage war. Jewish nationalism that justifies Palestinian deaths is just as dangerous as religious extremism.’ ”


        Breaking The Silence – The testimonies of Israeli soldiers
        As noted above, ‘Breaking the Silence’ is a project run by soldiers seeking to expose the army's behaviour against Palestinians. Selected testimonies of Israeli soldiers, 54 in all, are recorded in the ‘Breaking The Silence’ website. According to the information on the website, “ … many Israelis are still not aware of what really happened [in Gaza] … The testimonies … were gathered … from soldiers who served in all sectors of the operation. The majority of the soldiers who spoke with us … turned to us in deep distress at the moral deterioration of the IDF [Israeli army] … these narratives are enough to bring into question the credibility of the official IDF versions.” These testimonies describe use of the ‘Neighbor Procedure’ … white phosphorus ammunition … massive destruction of buildings … permissive rules of engagement … We also hear … about the general atmosphere … harsh statements made by junior and senior officers … the military rabbinate … introduced controversial religious and political interpretation under the auspices of the IDF and with its blessing … the IDF spokesperson has gone to great lengths to prove that if there were any moral problems … they were merely on the level of the ‘delinquent soldier,’ rather than a widespread, systemic issue. The [testimonies] prove that we are not dealing with the failures of individual soldiers, and attest instead to failures in the application of values primarily on a systemic level. The IDF’s depiction of such phenomena as ‘rotten apple’ soldiers is a tactic used to place the responsibility solely on individual soldiers on the ground and to evade taking responsibility for the system’s serious value and command failures. The testimonies of the soldiers in this collection expose that the massive and unprecedented blow to the infrastructure and civilians of the Gaza strip were a direct result of IDF policy, and especially of the rules of engagement, and a cultivation of the notion among soldiers that the reality of war requires them to shoot and not to ask questions.”

        More on this later.

        John Tinmouth
        South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition
        Monday, 23 November 2009



        Since this article was completed, we noticed that there were notable omissions from our list of  really, really, really, really, really, really, really good guys: Jonathan Cook, Max Hastings, George Galloway MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, and Mark Steel. There are probably others.




        --------------------------------------







        APPENDIX A


        EXAMPLES OF JUDAISTIC INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BIBLE

        Shahak: “We have seen [under classical Judaism] that in matters of belief there is great latitude. Exactly the opposite holds with respect to the legal interpretation of sacred texts. Here the interpretation is rigidly fixed – but by the Talmud rather than by the Bible itself. Many, perhaps most, biblical verses prescribing religious acts and obligations are ‘understood’ by classical Judaism, and by present-day Orthodoxy, in a sense which is quite different from, or even contrary to, their literal meaning as understood by Christian or other readers of the Old Testament, who only see the plain text.”

        “This important point”, says Shahak, “can only be understood through examples. It will be noted that the changes in meaning do not all go in the same direction from the point of view of ethics … [apologists] of Judaism claim that the interpretation of the Bible … fixed in the Talmud, is always more liberal than the literal sense. But some of the examples below show that this is far from being the case.” He continues:
        • “Let us start with the Decalogue itself. The Eighth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal’ (Exodus, 20:15), is taken to be a prohibition against ‘stealing’ (that is, kidnapping) a Jewish person. The reason is that according to the Talmud all acts forbidden by the Decalogue are capital offences. Stealing property is not a capital offence (while kidnapping of Gentiles by Jews is allowed by Talmudic law) – hence the interpretation. A virtually identical sentence – ‘Ye shall not steal’ (Leviticus, 19:11) – is however allowed to have its literal meaning.”
        • “The famous verse ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth’ etc. (Exodus, 21:24) is taken to mean ‘eye-money for eye’, that is payment of a fine rather than physical retribution.”
        • “Here is a notorious case of turning the literal meaning into its exact opposite. The biblical text plainly warns against following the bandwagon in an unjust cause: ‘ Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgement’ (Exodus, 23:2). The last words of this sentence – ‘Decline after many to wrest judgement’ – are torn out of their context and interpreted as an injunction to follow the majority!”
        • “The verse ‘Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk’ (Exodus, 23:19) is interpreted as a ban on mixing any kind of meat with any milk or milk product. Since the same verse is repeated in two other places in the Pentateuch, the mere repetition is taken to be a treble ban, forbidding a Jew (i) to eat such a mixture (ii) to cook it for any purpose and (iii) to enjoy or benefit from it in any way.”
        • “In numerous cases general terms such as ‘thy fellow’, ‘stranger’ or even ‘man’ are taken to have an exclusivist chauvinistic meaning.” Shahak goes on:
          • “The famous verse ‘thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself’ (Leviticus, 19:18) is understood by classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism as an injunction to love one’s fellow Jew, not any fellow human.”
          • “Similarly, the verse ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ (ibid., 16) is supposed to mean that one must not stand idly by when the life (‘blood’) of a fellow Jew is in danger; but, as will be seen [below], a Jew is in general forbidden to save the life of a Gentile, because ‘he is not thy fellow’.”
          • “The generous injunction to leave the gleanings of one’s field and vineyard ‘for the poor and the stranger’ (ibid., 9-10) is interpreted as referring exclusively to the Jewish poor and to converts to Judaism.”
          • “The taboo laws relating to corpses begin with the verse ‘This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent … shall be unclean seven days (Numbers, 19:14). But the word ‘man’ (adam) is taken to mean ‘Jew’, so that only a Jewish corpse is taboo (that is, both ‘unclean’ and sacred. Based on this interpretation, pious Jews have a tremendous magic reverence towards Jewish corpses and Jewish cemeteries, but have no respect towards non-Jewish corpses and cemeteries. Thus hundreds of Muslim cemeteries have been utterly destroyed in Israel (in one case in order to make room for the Tel-Aviv Hilton) but there was a great outcry because the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was damaged under Jordanian rule. Examples of this type are too numerous to quote. Some of the inhuman consequences of this type of interpretation will be discussed [below].”
        • “Finally, consider one of the most beautiful prophetic passages, Isaiah’s magnificent condemnation of hypocrisy and empty ritual, and exhortation to common decency. One verse (Isaiah, 1:15) in this passage is: ‘And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.’ Since Jewish priests ‘spread their hands’ when blessing the people during service, this verse is supposed to mean that a priest who commits accidental homicide is disqualified from ‘spreading his hands’ in blessing (even if repentant) because they are ‘full of blood’.”






        APPENDIX B

        CLASSICAL JUDAISM AND PRESENT-DAY ORTHODOX JUDAISM
         THE DISPENSATIONS

        Shahak gives some examples of dispensations, to illustrate how the system works. These are set out below in his own words – quotation marks at the start and end of each of the sections below indicate this.

        Taking of interest.
        “The Talmud strictly forbids a Jew, on pain of severe punishment, to take interest on a loan made to another Jew.

        According to a majority of talmudic authorities, it is a religious duty to take as much interest as possible on a loan made to a Gentile.

        Very detailed rules forbid even the most far-fetched forms in which a Jewish lender might benefit from a Jewish debtor. All Jewish accomplices to such an illicit transaction, including the scribe and the witnesses, are branded by the Talmud as infamous persons, disqualified from testifying in court, because by participating in such an act a Jew as good as declares that 'he has no part in the god of Israel'.


        It is evident that this law is well suited to the needs of Jewish peasants or artisans, or of small Jewish communities who use their money for lending to non-Jews. But the situation was very different in east Europe (mainly in Poland) by the 16th century. There was a relatively big Jewish community, which constituted the majority in many towns. The peasants, subjected to strict serfdom not far removed from slavery, were hardly in a position to borrow at all, while lending to the nobility was the business of a few very rich Jews. Many Jews were doing business with each other. In these circumstances, the following arrangement (called heter 'isqa - 'business dispensation') was devised for an interest-bearing loan between Jews, which does not violate the letter of the law, because formally it is not a loan at all:
        • The lender 'invests' his money in the business of the borrower, stipulating two conditions.
          • First, that the borrower will pay the lender at an agreed future date a stated sum of money (in reality, the interest [on] the loan) as the lender's 'share in the profits'.
          • Secondly, that the borrower will be presumed to have made sufficient profit to give the lender his share, unless a claim to the contrary is corroborated by the testimony of the town's rabbi or rabbinical judge, etc. - who, by arrangement, refuse to testify in such cases.
        • In practice all that is required is to take a text of this dispensation, written in Aramaic and entirely incomprehensible to the great majority, and put it on a wall of the room where the transaction is made (a copy of this text is displayed in all branches of Israeli banks) or even to keep it in a chest - and the interest-bearing loan between Jews becomes perfectly legal and blameless.”

        The sabbatical year.
        “According to talmudic law (based on Leviticus, 25) Jewish-owned land in Palestine must be left fallow every seventh ('sabbatical') year, when all agricultural work (in¬cluding harvesting) on such land is forbidden. There is ample evidence that this law was rigorously observed for about one thousand years, from the 5th century BC till the disappearance of Jewish agriculture in Palestine. Later, when there was no occasion to apply the law in practice, it was kept theoretically intact. However, in the 1880s, with the establishment of the first Jewish agricultural colonies in Palestine, it became a matter of practical concern. Rabbis sympathetic to the settlers helpfully devised a dispensation, which was later perfected by their succes¬sors in the religious zionist parties and has become an established Israeli practice.

        This is how it works:
        • Shortly before a sabbatical year, the Israeli Minister of Internal Affairs gives the Chief Rabbi a document making him the legal owner of all Israeli land, both private and public.
        • Armed with this paper, the Chief Rabbi goes to a non-Jew and sells him all the land of Israel (and, since 1967, the Occupied Territories) for a nominal sum.
        • A separate document stipulates that the 'buyer' will 'resell' the land back after the year is over.
        • And this transaction is re¬peated every seven years, usually with the same 'buyer'.

        Non-zionist rabbis do not recognise the validity of this dispensation, claiming correctly that, since religious law for¬bids Jews to sell land in Palestine to Gentiles, the whole transaction is based on a sin and hence null and void. The zionist rabbis reply, however, that what is forbidden is a real sale, not a fictitious one!”

        Milking on the Sabbath.
        “This has been forbidden in post-talmudic times … The ban could easily be kept in the diaspora, since Jews who had cows of their own were usually rich enough to have non-Jewish servants, who could be ordered (using one of the subterfuges described below) to do the milking. The early Jewish colonists in Palestine employed Arabs for this and other purposes, but with the forcible imposition of the zionist policy of exclusive Jewish labour there was need for a dispensation. (This was particularly important before the introduction of mechanised milking in the late 1950s.) Here too there was a difference between zionist and non-zionist rabbis.

        According to the former, the forbidden milking becomes permitted provided the milk is not white but dyed blue. This blue Saturday milk is then used exclusively for making cheese, and the dye is washed off into the whey.


        Non-zionist rabbis have devised a much subtler scheme (which I personally wit¬nessed operating in a religious kibbutz in 1952). They discov¬ered an old provision which allows the udders of a cow to be emptied on the sabbath, purely for relieving the suffering caused to the animal by bloated udders, and on the strict condition that the milk runs to waste on the ground. Now, this is what is actually done:
        • on Saturday morning, a pious kibbut¬znik goes to the cowshed and places pails under the cows. (There is no ban on such work in the whole of the talmudic literature.)
        • He then goes to the synagogue to pray.
        • Then comes his colleague, whose 'honest intention' is to relieve the animals' pain and let their milk run to the floor. But if, by chance, a pail happens to be standing there, is he under any obligation to remove it? Of course not. He simply 'ignores' the pails, fulfills his mission of mercy and goes to the synagogue.
        • Finally a third pious colleague goes into the cowshed and discovers, to his great surprise, the pails full of milk. So he puts them in cold storage and follows his comrades to the synagogue. Now all is well, and there is no need to waste money on blue dye.”

        Mixed crops.
        “Similar dispensations were issued by zionist rabbis in respect of the ban (based on Leviticus, 19:19) against sowing two different species of crop in the same field.

        Modern agronomy has however shown that in some cases (especially in growing fodder) mixed sowing is the most profitable.

        The rabbis invented a dispensation according to which one man sows the field length¬wise with one kind of seed, and later that day his comrade, who 'does not know' about the former, sows another kind of seed crosswise.


        However, this method was felt to be too wasteful of labour, and a better one was devised:
        • one man makes a heap of one kind of seed in a public place and carefully covers it with a sack or piece of board.
        • The second kind of seed is then put on top of the cover.
        • Later, another man comes and exclaims, in front of witnesses, 'I need this sack (or board)' and removes it, so that the seeds mix 'naturally'.
        • Finally, a third man comes along and is told, 'Take this and sow the field,' which he proceeds to do.”

        Leavened substances.
        “Leavened substances must not be eaten or even kept in the possession of a Jew during the seven (or, outside Palestine, eight) days of Passover.

        The concept 'leavened substances' was continually broadened and the aversion to so much as seeing them during the festival approached hysteria. They include all kinds of flour and even unground grain.

        In the original talmudic society this was bearable, because bread (leavened or not) was usually baked once a week; a peasant family would use the last of the previous year's grain to bake unleavened bread for the festival, which ushers in the new harvest season.


        However, in the conditions of post-Talmudic European Jewry the observance was very hard on a middle-class Jewish family and even more so on a corn merchant. A dispensation was therefore devised, by which:
        • all those substances are sold in a fictitious sale to a Gentile before the festival and bought back automatically after it.
        • The one thing that must be done is to lock up the taboo substances for the duration of the festival.
        • In Israel this fictitious sale has been made more efficient. Religious Jews 'sell' their leavened sub-stances to their local rabbis, who in turn 'sell' them to the Chief Rabbis; the latter sell them to a Gentile, and by a special dispensation this sale is presumed to include also the leavened substances of non-practising Jews.”

        Sabbath-Goy.
        “Perhaps the most developed dispensations con¬cern the 'Goy (Gentile) of Sabbath'.

        As mentioned above, the range of tasks banned on the sabbath has widened continually; but the range of tasks that must be carried out or supervised to satisfy needs or to increase comfort also keeps widening. This is particularly true in modern times, but the effect of technological change began to be felt long ago.

        The ban against grinding on the sabbath was a relatively light matter for a Jewish peasant or artisan, say in second-century Palestine, who used a hand mill for doniestic purposes. It was quite a different matter for a tenant of a water mill or windmill - one of the most common Jewish occupations in eastern Europe.

        But even such a simple human 'problem' as the wish to have a hot cup of tea on a Saturday afternoon becomes much greater with the tempting samovar, used regularly on weekdays, standing in the room.

        These are just two examples out of a very large number of so-called 'problems of Sabbath observance'. And one can state with certainty that for a community composed exclusively of Orthodox Jews they were quite insoluble, at least during the last eight or ten centuries, without the 'help' of non-Jews. This is even more true today in the 'Jewish state', because many public services, such as water, gas and electricity, fall in this category. Classical Judaism could not exist even for a whole week without using some non-Jews.


        But without special dispensations there is a great obstacle in employing non-Jews to do these Saturday jobs; for talmudic regulations forbid Jews to ask a Gentile to do on the Sabbath any work which they themselves are banned from doing. I shall describe two of the many types of dispensation used for such purposes:
        • First, there is the method of 'hinting', which depends on the casuistic logic according to which a sinful demand becomes blameless if it is phrased slyly.
        • As rule, the hint must be ‘obscure', but in cases of extreme need a 'clear' hint is allowed.
        • For example, in a recent booklet on religious observance for the use of Israeli soldiers, the latter are taught how to talk to Arab workers employed by the army as Sabbath-Goyim:
          • In urgent cases, such as when it is very cold and a fire must be lit, or when light is needed for a religious service, a pious Jewish soldier may use a 'clear' hint and tell the Arab: 'It is cold (or dark) here'.
          • But normally an 'obscure' hint must suffice, for example: 'It would be more pleasant if it were warmer here. This method of 'hinting' is particularly repulsive and degrading inasmuch as it is normally used on non-Jews who, due to their poverty or subordinate social position, are wholly in the power of their Jewish employer. A Gentile serv¬ant (or employee of the Israeli army) who does not train himself to interpret 'obscure hints' as orders will be pitilessly dismissed.
        • The second method is used in cases where what the Gentile is required to do on Saturday is not an occasional task or personal service, which can be 'hinted' at as the need arises, but a routine or regular job without constant Jewish supervision. According to this method — called 'implicit inclusion' (havla'ab) of the Sabbath among weekdays:
          • the Gentile is hired 'for the whole week (or year)', without the Sabbath being so much as mentioned in the contract.
          • But in reality work is only performed on the Sabbath.
          • This method was used in the past in hiring a Gentile to put out the candles in the synagogue after the Sabbath-eve prayer (rather than wastefully allowing them to burn out). Modern Israeli examples are: regulating the water supply or watching over water reservoirs on Saturdays.
        • A similar idea is used also in the case of Jews, but for a different end:
          • Jews are forbidden to receive any payment for work done on the Sabbath, even if the work itself is permitted.
          • The chief example here concerns the sacred professions: the rabbi or talmudic scholar who preaches or teaches on the Sabbath, the cantor who sings only on Saturdays and other holy days (on which similar bans apply), the sexton and similar officials.
          • In talmudic times, and in some countries even several centuries after, such jobs were unpaid. But later, when these became salaried professions, the dispensation of 'implicit inclusion' was used, and they were hired on a 'monthly' or 'yearly' basis.
          • In the case of rabbis and talmudic scholars the problem is particularly complicated, because the Talmud forbids them to receive any payment for preaching, teaching or studying tal¬mudic matters even on weekdays. For them an additional dispensation stipulates that their salary is not really a salary at all but 'compensation for idleness' (dmey batalah). As a combined result of these two fictions, what is in reality payment for work done mainly, or even solely, on the Sabbath is trans¬mogrified into payment for being idle on weekdays.”






        APPENDIX C


        CLASSICAL JUDAISM AND PRESENT-DAY ORTHODOX JUDAISM
        THE LAWS AGAINST NON-JEWS, AND THEIR PRESENT-DAY CONSEQUENCES


        Shahak states that “As explained [above], the Halakhah, that is the legal system of classical Judaism - as practised by virtually all Jews from the 9th century to the end of the 18th and as maintained to this very day in the form of Orthodox Judaism - is based primarily on the Babylonian Talmud. However, because of the unwieldy complex¬ity of the legal disputations recorded in the Talmud, more man¬ageable codifications of talmudic law became necessary and were indeed compiled by successive generations of rabbinical scholars. Some of these have acquired great authority and are in general use. For this reason we shall refer for the most part to such compilations (and their most reputable commentaries) rather than directly to the Talmud. It is however correct to assume that the compilation referred to reproduces faithfully the meaning of the talmudic text and the additions made by later scholars on the basis of that meaning.”

        He continues: “The earliest code of talmudic law which is still of major importance is the Mishneh Torah written by Moses Maimonides in the late 12th century. The most authoritative code, widely used to date as a handbook, is the Shulhan 'Arukh composed by R. Yosef Karo in the late 16th century as a popular condensation of his own much more voluminous Beyt Yosef which was intended for the advanced scholar. The Shulhan ‘Arukh is much com¬mented upon; in addition to classical commentaries dating from the 17th century, there is an important 20th century one, Mishnah Berurah. Finally, the Talmudic Encyclopedia - a modern compilation published in Israel from the 1950s and edited by the country's greatest Orthodox rabbinical scholars - is a good com¬pendium of the whole talmudic literature.”

        The laws against non-Jews, and their consequences, are set out below in Shahak’s own words – quotation marks at the start and end of each of the paragraphs below indicate this.


        Murder and Genocide
        “According to the Jewish religion, the murder of a Jew is a capital offence and one of the three most heinous sins (the other two being idolatry and adultery). Jewish religious courts and secular authorities are commanded to punish, even beyond the limits of the ordinary administration of justice, anyone guilty of murdering a Jew. A Jew who indirectly causes the death of another Jew is, however, only guilty of what talmudic law calls a sin against the ‘laws of heaven’, to be punished by God rather than by man.”

        “When the victim is a Gentile, the position is quite different. A Jew who murders a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of Heaven, not punishable by a court. To cause indirectly the death of a Gentile is no sin at all.”

        “Thus, one of the two most important commentators on the Shulhan ‘Arukh explains that when it comes to a Gentile, 'one must not lift one's hand to harm him, but one may harm him indirectly, for instance by removing a ladder after he had fallen into a crevice ... there is no prohibition here, because it was not done directly. He points out, however, that an act leading indirectly to a Gentile's death is forbidden if it may cause the spread of hostility towards Jews.”

        “A Gentile murderer who happens to be under Jewish juris¬diction must be executed whether the victim was Jewish or not. However, if the victim was Gentile and the murderer converts to Judaism, he is not punished.”

        “All this has a direct and practical relevance to the realities of the State of Israel. Although the state's criminal laws make no distinction between Jew and Gentile, such distinction is certainly made by Orthodox rabbis, who in guiding their flock follow the Halakhah. Of special importance is the advice they give to religious soldiers.”


        “Since even the minimal interdiction against murdering a Gentile outright applies only to 'Gentiles with whom we [the Jews] are not at war', various rabbinical commentators in the past drew the logical conclusion that in wartime all Gentiles belonging to a hostile population may, or even should be killed. Since 1973 this doctrine is being publicly propagated for the guidance of religious Israeli soldiers. The first such official exhortation was included in a booklet published by the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army, whose area includes the West Bank. In this booklet the Command's Chief Chaplain writes:
        • When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed ... Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilised ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good.”

        “The same doctrine is expounded in the following exchange of letters between a young Israeli soldier and his rabbi, published in the yearbook of one of the country's most prestigious religious colleges, Midrashiyyat No'am, where many leaders and activists of the National Religious Party and Gush Emunim have been educated.”

        • Letter from the soldier Moshe to Rabbi Shim'on Weiser
          With God's help, to His Honour, my dear Rabbi,

          First I would like to ask how you and your family are. I hope all is well. I am, thank God, feeling well. A long time I have not written. Please forgive me. Sometimes I recall the verse “when shall I come and appear before God?” I hope, without being certain, that I shall come during one of the leaves. I must do so.

          In one of the discussions in our group, there was a debate about the "purity of weapons" and we discussed whether it is permitted to kill unarmed men - or women and children. Or perhaps we should take revenge on the Arabs? And then everyone answered according to his own understanding. I could not arrive at a clear decision, whether Arabs should be treated like the Amalekites, meaning that one is permitted to murder [sic] them until their remembrance is blotted out from under heaven, or perhaps one should do as in a just war, in which one kills only the soldiers.

          A second problem I have is whether I am permitted to put myself in danger by allowing a woman to stay alive? For there have been cases when women threw hand grenades. Or am I permitted to give water to an Arab who put his hand up? For there may be reason to fear that he only means to deceive me and will kill me, and such things have happened.

          I conclude with a warm greeting to the rabbi and all his family. -
          Moshe.”

        • Reply of R. Shim'on Weiser to Moshe
          With the help of Heaven. Dear Moshe, Greetings.

          I am starting this letter this evening although I know I cannot finish it this evening, both because I am busy and because I would like to make it a long letter, to answer your questions in full, for which purpose I shall have to copy out some of the sayings of our sages, of blessed memory, and interpret them.

          The non-Jewish nations have a custom according to which war has its own rules, like those of a game, like the rules of football or basketball. But according to the sayings of our sages, of blessed memory, ... war for us is not a game but a vital necessity, and only by this standard must we decide how to wage it. On the one hand ... we seem to learn that if a Jew murders a Gentile, he is regarded as a murderer and, except for the fact that no court has the right to punish him, the gravity of the deed is like that of any other murder. But we find in the very same authorities in another place ... that Rabbi Shim'on used to say: "The best of Gentiles - kill him; the best of snakes - dash out its brains."

          It might perhaps be argued that the expression "kill" in the saying of R. Shim'on is only figurative and should not be taken literally but as meaning "oppress" or some similar attitude, and in this way we also avoid a contradiction with the authorities quoted earlier. Or one might argue that this saying, though meant literally, is [merely] his own personal opinion, disputed by other sages [quoted earlier]. But we find the true explanation in the Tosafot. There ... we learn the following comment on the talmudic pronouncement that Gentiles who fall into a well should not be helped out, but neither should they be pushed into the well to be killed, which means that they should neither be saved from death nor killed directly. And the Tosafot write as follows: "And if it is queried [because] in another place it was said The best of Gentiles - kill him, then the answer is that this [saying] is meant for wartime." ...

          According to the commentators of the Tosafot, a distinction must be made between wartime and peace, so that although during peace time it is forbidden to kill Gentiles, in a case that occurs in wartime it is a mitzvah [imperative, religious duty] to kill them. ... “

          And this is the difference between a Jew and a Gentile: although the rule "Whoever comes to kill you, kill him first" applies to a Jew, as was said in Tractate Sanhedrin [of the Talmud], page 72a, still it only applies to him if there is [actual] ground to fear that he is coming to kill you. But a Gentile during wartime is usually to be presumed so, except when it is quite clear that he has no evil intent. This is the rule of "purity of weapons" according to the Halakhah - and not the alien conception which is now accepted in the Israeli army and which has been the cause of many [Jewish] casualties. I enclose a newspaper cutting with the speech made last week in the Knesset by Rabbi Kalman Kahana, which shows in a very lifelike - and also painful - way how this "purity of weapons" has caused deaths.

          I conclude here, hoping that you will not find the length of this letter irksome. This subject was being discussed even without your letter, but your letter caused me to write up the whole matter.

          Be in peace, you and all Jews, and [I hope to] see you soon, as you say.
          Yours - Shim'on.”

        • Reply of Moshe to R. Shim'on Weiser
          To His Honour, my dear Rabbi,

          First I hope that you and your family are in health and are all right.

          I have received your long letter and am grateful for your per¬sonal watch over me, for I assume that you write to many, and most of your time is taken up with your studies in your own programme.

          Therefore my thanks to you are doubly deep.

          As for the letter itself, I have understood it as follows:

          In wartime I am not merely permitted, but enjoined to kill every Arab man and woman whom I chance upon, if there is reason to fear that they help in the war against us, directly or indirectly. And as far as I am concerned I have to kill them even if that might result in an involvement with the military law. I think that this matter of the purity of weapons should be transmitted to educational institutions, at least the religious ones, so that they should have a position about this subject and so that they will not wander in the broad fields of "logic", especially on this subject; and the rule has to be explained as it should be followed in practice. For, I am sorry to say, I have seen different types of "logic" here even among the religious comrades. I do hope that you shall be active in this, so that our boys will know the line of their ancestors clearly and unambiguously.

          I conclude here, hoping that when the [training] course ends, in about a month, I shall be able to come to the yeshivah [talmudic college].
          Greetings - Moshe.”

        “Of course, this doctrine of the Halakhah on murder clashes, in principle, not only with Israel's criminal law but also - as hinted in the letters just quoted - with official military standing regula¬tions. However, there can be little doubt that in practice this doctrine does exert an influence on the administration of justice, especially by military authorities. The fact is that in all cases where Jews have, in a military or paramilitary context, murdered Arab non-combatants - including cases of mass murder such as that in Kafr Qasim in 1956 - the murderers, if not let off altogether, received extremely light sentences or won far-reaching remissions, reducing their punishment to next to nothing.”


        Saving of Life
        “This subject - the supreme value of human life and the obligation of every human being to do the outmost to save the life of a fellow human - is of obvious importance in itself. It is also of particular interest in a Jewish context, in view of the fact that since the second world war Jewish opinion has - in some cases justly, in others unjustly - condemned 'the whole world' or at least all Europe for standing by when Jews were being massacred. Let us therefore examine what the Halakhah has to say on this subject.”

        “According to the Halakhah, the duty to save the life of a fellow Jew is paramount. It supersedes all other religious obligations and interdictions, excepting only the prohibitions against the three most heinous sins of adultery (including in¬cest), murder and idolatry.”


        “As for Gentiles, the basic talmudic principle is that their lives must not be saved, although it is also forbidden to murder them outright. The Talmud itself expresses this in the maxim 'Gentiles are neither to be lifted [out of a well] nor hauled down [into it]'. Maimonides explains:
        • As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war ... their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: 'neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow - but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow.”

        “In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides - himself an illustrious physician - is quite explicit on this; in another passage he repeats the distinction between 'thy fellow' and a Gentile, and concludes: 'and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment ... ' ”

        “However, the refusal of a Jew - particularly a Jewish doctor - to save the life of a Gentile may, if it becomes known, antagonise powerful Gentiles and so put Jews in danger. Where such danger exists, the obligation to avert it supersedes the ban on helping the Gentile. Thus Maimonides continues: ' ... but if you fear him or his hostility, cure him for payment, though you are forbidden to do so without payment.' In fact, Maimonides himself was Saladin's personal physician. His insistence on demanding payment - presumably in order to make sure that the act is not one of human charity but an unavoidable duty - is however not absolute. For in another passage he allows Gentile whose hostility is feared to be treated 'even gratis, if it is unavoidable'. ”

        “The whole doctrine - the ban on saving a Gentile's life or healing him, and the suspension of this ban in cases where there is fear of hostility - is repeated (virtually verbatim) by other major authorities, including the 14th century Arba'ah Turim and Karo's Beyt Yosef and Shulhan ‘Arukh. Beyt Yosef adds, quoting Maimonides: 'And it is permissible to try out a drug on a heathen, if this serves a purpose'; and this is repeated also by the famous R. Moses Isserles.”


        “The consensus of halakhic authorities is that the term 'Gen¬tiles' in the above doctrine refers to all non-Jews. A lone voice of dissent is that of R. Moses Rivkes, author of a minor commentary on the Shulhan 'Arukh, who writes:
        • Our sages only said this about heathens, who in their day worshipped idols and did not believe in the Jewish Exodus from Egypt or in the creation of the world ex nihilo. But the Gentiles in whose [protective] shade we, the people of Israel, are exiled and among whom we are scattered do believe in the creation of the world ex nihilo and in the Exodus and in several principles of our own religion and they pray to the Creator of heaven and earth ... Not only is there no interdic¬tion against helping them, but we are even obliged to pray for their safety.”

        “This passage, dating from the second half of the 17th century, is a favourite quote of apologetic scholars. Actually, it does not go nearly as far as the apologetics pretend, for it advocates removing the ban on saving a Gentile's life, rather than making it mandatory as in the case of a Jew; and even this liberality extends only to Christians and Muslims but not the majority of human beings. Rather, what it does show is that there was a way in which the harsh doctrine of the Halakhah could have been progressively liberalised. But as a matter of fact the majority of later halakhic authorities, far from extending Rivkes' leniency to other human groups, have rejected it altogether.”


        Desecrating the Sabbath to Save Life
        “Desecrating the sabbath — that is, doing work that would other¬wise be banned on Saturday - becomes a duty when the need to save a Jew's life demands it.”

        “The problem of saving a Gentile's life on the sabbath is not raised in the Talmud as a main issue, since it is in any case forbidden even on a weekday; it does however enter as a complicating factor in two connections.”

        “First, there is a problem where a group of people are in danger, and it is possible (but not certain) that there is at least one Jew among them; should the sabbath be desecrated in order to save them? There is an extensive discussion of such cases. Following earlier authorities, including Maimonides and the Talmud itself, the Shulhan 'Arukh decides these matters according to the weight of probabilities. For example, suppose nine Gentiles and one Jew live in the same building. One Saturday the building collapses; one of the ten - it is not known which one - is away, but the other nine are trapped under the rubble. Should the rubble be cleared, thus desecrat¬ing the sabbath, seeing that the Jew may not be under it (he may have been the one that got away)? The Shulhan ‘Arukh says that it should, presumably because the odds that the Jew is under the rubble are high (nine to one). But now suppose that nine have got away and only one - again, it is not known which one - is trapped. Then there is no duty to clear the rubble, presumably because this time there are long odds (nine to one) against the Jew being the person trapped. Similarly: 'If a boat containing some Jews is seen to be in peril upon the sea, it is a duty incumbent upon all to desecrate the sabbath in order to save it.' However, the great R. 'Aqiva Eiger (died 1837) comments that this applies only 'when it is known that there are Jews on board. But ... if nothing at all is known about the identity of those on board, [the sabbath] must not be desecrated, for one acts according to [the weight of prob¬abilities, and] the majority of people in the world are Gen¬tiles.' Thus, since there are very long odds against any of the passengers being Jewish, they must be allowed to drown.”

        “Secondly, the provision that a Gentile may be saved or cared for in order to avert the danger of hostility is curtailed on the sabbath. A Jew called upon to help a Gentile on a weekday may have to comply because to admit that he is not allowed, in principle, to save the life of a non-Jew would be to invite hostility. But on Saturday the Jew can use sabbath observance as a plausible excuse. A paradigmatic case discussed at length in the Talmud is that of a Jewish midwife invited to help a Gentile woman in childbirth. The upshot is that the midwife is allowed to help on a weekday 'for fear of hostility', but on the sabbath she must not do so, because she can excuse herself by saying: 'We are allowed to desecrate the sabbath only for our own, who observe the sabbath, but for your people, who do not keep the sabbath, we are not allowed to desecrate it.' Is this explanation a genuine one or merely an excuse? Maimonides clearly thinks that it is just an excuse, which can be used even if the task that the midwife is invited to do does not actually involve any desecration of the sabbath. Presumably, the excuse will work just as well even in this case, because Gentiles are generally in the dark as to precisely which kinds of work are banned for Jews on the sabbath. At any rate, he decrees: 'A Gentile woman must not be helped in childbirth on the sabbath, even for payment; nor must one fear hostility, even when [such help involves] no desecration of the sabbath.' The Shulhan 'Arukh decrees likewise.”

        “Nevertheless, this sort of excuse could not always be relied upon to do the trick and avert Gentile hostility. Therefore certain important rabbinical authorities had to relax the rules to some extent and allowed Jewish doctors to treat Gentiles on the sabbath even if this involved doing certain types of work normally banned on that day. This partial relaxation applied particularly to rich and powerful Gentile patients, who could not be fobbed off so easily and whose hostility could be dangerous.”

        “Thus, R. Yo'el Sirkis, author of Bayit Hadash and one of the greatest rabbis of his time (Poland, 17th century), decided that 'mayors, petty nobles and aristocrats' should be treated on the sabbath, because of the fear of their hostility which in¬volves 'some danger'. But in other cases, especially when the Gentile can be fobbed off with an evasive excuse, a Jewish doctor would commit 'an unbearable sin' by treating him on the sabbath. Later in the same century, a similar verdict was given in the French city of Metz, whose two parts were connected by a pontoon bridge. Jews are not normally allowed to cross such a bridge on the sabbath, but the rabbi of Metz decided that a Jewish doctor may nevertheless do so 'if he is called to the great governor': since the doctor is known to cross the bridge for the sake of his Jewish patients, the gover¬nor's hostility could be aroused if the doctor refused to do so for his sake. Under the authoritarian rule of Louis XIV, it was evidently important to have the goodwill of his intendant; the feelings of lesser Gentiles were of little importance.”

        Hokhmat Shlomoh, a 19th century commentary on the Shulhan 'Arukh, mentions a similarly strict interpretation of the concept 'hostility' in connection with the Karaites, a small heretical Jewish sect. According to this view, their lives must not be saved if that would involve desecration of the sabbath, 'for "hostility" applies only to the heathen, who are many against us, and we are delivered into their hands ... But the Karaites are few and we are not delivered into their hands, [so] the fear of hostility does not apply to them at all.' In fact, the absolute ban on desecrating the sabbath in order to save the life of a Karaite is still in force today, as we shall see.”

        “The whole subject is extensively discussed in the responsa of R. Moshe Sofer - better known as 'Hatam Sofer' - the famous rabbi of Pressburg (Bratislava) who died in 1832. His conclusions are of more than historical interest, since in 1966 one of his responsa was publicly endorsed by the then Chief Rabbi of Israel as 'a basic institution of the Halakhah'. The particular question asked of Hatam Sofer concerned the situa-tion in Turkey, where it was decreed during one of the wars that in each township or village there should be midwives on call, ready to hire themselves out to any woman in labour. Some of these midwives were Jewish; should they hire them¬selves out to help Gentile women on weekdays and on the sabbath?”

        “In his responsum, Hatam Sofer first concludes, after care¬ful investigation, that the Gentiles concerned - that is, Otto¬man Christians and Muslims - are not only idolators 'who definitely worship other gods and thus should "neither be lifted [out of a well] nor hauled down",' but are likened by him to the Amalekites, so that the talmudic ruling 'it is forbidden to multiply the seed of Amalek' applies to them. In principle, therefore, they should not be helped even on week¬days. However, in practice it is 'permitted' to heal Gentiles and help them in labour, if they have doctors and midwives of their own, who could be called instead of the Jewish ones. For if Jewish doctors and midwives refused to attend to Gentiles, the only result would be loss of income to the former - which is of course undesirable. This applies equally on weekdays and on the sabbath, provided no desecration of the sabbath is involved. However, in the latter case the sabbath can serve as an excuse to 'mislead the heathen woman and say that it would involve desecration of the sabbath'. “

        “In connection with cases that do actually involve desecra¬tion of the sabbath, Hatam Sofer - like other authorities - makes a distinction between two categories of work banned on the sabbath. First, there is work banned by the Torah, the biblical text (as interpreted by the Talmud); such work may only be performed in very exceptional cases, if failing to do so would cause an extreme danger of hostility towards Jews. Then there are types of work which are only banned by the sages who extended the original law of the Torah; the attitude towards breaking such bans is generally more lenient.”

        “Another responsum of Hatam Sofer deals with the question whether it is permissible for a Jewish doctor to travel by carriage on the sabbath in order to heal a Gentile. After pointing out that under certain conditions travelling by horse-drawn carriage on the sabbath only violates a ban imposed 'by the sages' rather than by the Torah, he goes on to recall Maimonides' pronouncement that Gentile women in labour must not be helped on the sabbath, even if no desecration of the sabbath is involved, and states that the same principle applies to all medical practice, not just midwifery. But he then voices the fear that if this were put into practice, 'it would arouse undesirable hostility,' for 'the Gentiles would not accept the excuse of sabbath observance,' and 'would say that the blood of an idolator has little worth in our eyes'. Also, perhaps more importantly, Gentile doctors might take revenge on their Jewish patients. Better excuses must be found. He advises a Jewish doctor who is called to treat a Gentile patient out of town on the sabbath to excuse himself by saying that he is required to stay in town in order to look after his other patients, 'for he can use this in order to say, "I cannot move because of the danger to this or that patient, who needs a doctor first, and I may not desert my charge" ... With such an excuse there is no fear of danger, for it is a reasonable pretext, commonly given by doctors who are late in arriving because another patient needed them first.' Only 'if it is impossible to give any excuse' is the doctor permitted to travel by carriage on the sabbath in order to treat a Gentile.”

        “In the whole discussion, the main issue is the excuses that should be made, not the actual healing or the welfare of the patient. And throughout it is taken for granted that it is all right to deceive Gentiles rather than treat them, so long as 'hostility' can be averted.”

        “Of course, in modern times most Jewish doctors are not religious and do not even know of these rules. Moreover, it appears that even many who are religious prefer - to their credit - to abide by the Hippocratic oath rather than by the precepts of their fanatic rabbis. However, the rabbis' guidance cannot fail to have some influence on some doctors; and there are certainly many who, while not actually following that guid-ance, choose not to protest against it publicly.”

        “All this is far from being a dead issue. The most up-to-date halakhic position on these matters is contained in a recent concise and authoritative book published in English under the title Jewish Medical Law. This book, which bears the imprint of the prestigious Israeli foundation Mossad Harav Kook, is based on the responsa of R. Eli'ezer Yehuda Waldenberg, Chief Justice of the Rabbinical District Court of Jerusalem. A few passages of this work deserve special mention.”

        “First, 'it is forbidden to desecrate the sabbath ... for a Karaite.' This is stated bluntly, absolutely and without any further qualification. Presumably the hostility of this small sect makes no difference, so they should be allowed to die rather than be treated on the sabbath.”

        “As for Gentiles: 'According to the ruling stated in the Talmud and Codes of Jewish Law, it is forbidden to desecrate the Sabbath - whether violating Biblical or rabbinic law - in order to save the life of a dangerously ill gentile patient. It is also forbidden to deliver the baby of a gentile woman on the Sabbath.' ”

        “But this is qualified by a dispensation: 'However, today it is permitted to desecrate the Sabbath on behalf of a Gentile by performing actions prohibited by rabbinic law, for by so doing one prevents ill feelings from arising between Jew and Gentile.' ”

        “This does not go very far, because medical treatment very often involves acts banned on the sabbath by the Torah itself, which are not covered by this dispensation. There are, we are told, 'some' halakhic authorities who extend the dispensation to such acts as well - but this is just another way of saying that most halakhic authorities, and the ones that really count, take the opposite view. However, all is not lost. Jewish Medical Law has a truly breathtaking solution to this difficulty.”


        “The solution hangs upon a nice point of talmudic law. A ban imposed by the Torah on performing a given act on the sabbath is presumed to apply only when the primary intention in performing it is the actual outcome of the act. (For example, grinding wheat is presumed to be banned by the Torah only if the purpose is actually to obtain flour.) On the other hand, if the performance of the same act is merely incidental to some other purpose (melakhah seh'eynah tzrikhah legufah) then the act changes its status - it is still forbidden, to be sure, but only by the sages rather than by the Torah itself. Therefore:
        • In order to avoid any transgression of the law, there is a legally acceptable method of rendering treatment on behalf of a gentile patient even when dealing with violation of Biblical Law. It is suggested that at the time that the physician is providing the necessary care, his intentions should not primarily be to cure the patient, but to protect himself and the Jewish people from accusations of religious discrimination and severe retaliation that may endanger him in particular and the Jewish people in general. With this intention, any act on the physician's part becomes 'an act whose actual outcome is not its primary purpose' ... which is forbidden on Sabbath only by rabbinic law.”

        “This hypocritical substitute for the Hippocratic oath is also pro¬posed by a recent authoritative Hebrew book.”

        “Although the facts were mentioned at least twice in the Israeli press, the Israeli Medical Association has remained silent.”

        “Having treated in some detail the supremely important subject of the attitude of the Halakhah to a Gentile's very life, we shall deal much more briefly with other halakhic rules which discriminate against Gentiles. Since the number of such rules is very large, we shall mention only the more important ones.”



        Sexual Offences
        “Sexual intercourse between a married Jewish woman and any man other than her husband is a capital offence for both parties, and one of the three most heinous sins. The status of Gentile women is very different. The Halakhah presumes all Gentiles to be utterly promiscuous and the verse 'whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue [of semen] is like the issue of horses’ is applied to them. Whether a Gentile woman is married or not makes no difference, since as far as Jews are concerned the very concept of matrimony does not apply to Gentiles ('There is no matrimony for a heathen'). Therefore, the concept of adultery also does not apply to intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman; rather, the Talmud equates such intercourse to the sin of bestiality. (For the same reason, Gentiles are generally presumed not to have certain paternity.)”

        “According to the Talmudic Encyclopedia: 'He who has carnal knowledge of the wife of a Gentile is not liable to the death penalty, for it is written: "thy fellow's wife" rather than the alien's wife; and even the precept that a man "shall cleave unto his wife" which is addressed to the Gentiles does not apply to a Jew, just there is no matrimony for a heathen; and although a married Gentile woman is forbidden to the Gentiles, in any case a Jew is exempted.' ”

        “This does not imply that sexual intercourse between a Jewish man and a Gentile woman is permitted - quite the contrary. But the main punishment is inflicted on the Gentile woman; she must be executed, even if she was raped by the Jew: 'If a Jew has coitus with a Gentile woman, whether she be a child of three or an adult, whether married or unmar¬ried, and even if he is a minor aged only nine years and one day - because he had wilful coitus with her, she must be killed, as is the case with a beast, because through her a Jew got into trouble.' The Jew, however, must be flogged, and if he is a Kohen (member of the priestly tribe) he must receive double the number of lashes, because he has commit¬ted a double offence: a Kohen must not have intercourse with a prostitute, and all Gentile women are presumed to be prostitutes.”



        Status
        “According to the Halakhah, Jews must not (if they can help it) allow a Gentile to be appointed to any position of authority, however small, over Jews. (The two stock examples are 'com¬mander over ten soldiers in the Jewish army' and 'superintendent of an irrigation ditch'.) Significantly, this particular rule applies also to converts to Judaism and to their descendants (through the female line) for ten generations or 'so long as the descent is known'. ”

        “Gentiles are presumed to be congenital liars, and are disqualified from testifying in a rabbinical court. In this respect their position is, in theory, the same as that of Jewish women, slaves and minors; but in practice it is actually worse. A Jewish woman is nowadays admitted as a witness to certain matters of fact, when the rabbinical court 'believes' her; a Gentile - never.”

        “A problem therefore arises when a rabbinical court needs to establish a fact for which there are only Gentile witnesses. An important example of this is in cases concerning widows: by Jewish religious law, a woman can be declared a widow - and hence free to re-marry - only if the death of her husband is proven with certainty by means of a witness who saw him die or identified his corpse. However, the rabbinical court will accept the hearsay evidence of a Jew who testifies to having heard the fact in question mentioned by a Gentile eyewitness, provided the court is satisfied that the latter was speaking casually ('goy mesiah lefi tummo') rather than in reply to a direct question; for a Gentile's direct answer to a Jew's direct question is presumed to be a lie. If necessary, a Jew (prefer¬ably a rabbi) will actually undertake to chat up the Gentile eyewitness and, without asking a direct question, extract from him a casual statement of the fact at issue.”


        Money and Property
        Gifts.
        “The Talmud bluntly forbids giving a gift to a Gentile. However, classical rabbinical authorities bent this rule because it is customary among businessmen to give gifts to business con¬tacts. It was therefore laid down that a Jew may give a gift to a Gentile acquaintance, since this is regarded not as a true gift but as a sort of investment, for which some return is expected. Gifts to 'unfamiliar Gentiles' remain forbidden. A broadly similar rule applies to almsgiving. Giving alms to a Jewish beggar is an important religious duty. Alms to Gentile beggars are merely permitted for the sake of peace. However there are numerous rabbinical warnings against allowing the Gentile poor to become ‘accustomed' to receiving alms from Jews, so that it should be possible to withhold such alms without arousing undue hostility.”

        Taking of interest.
        “Anti-Gentile discrimination in this matter has become largely theoretical, in view of the dispensation [explained above] which in effect allows interest to be exacted even from a Jewish borrower. However, it is still the case that granting an interest-free loan to a Jew is recommended as an act of charity, but from a Gentile borrower it is mandatory to exact interest. In fact, many - though not all - rabbinical authorities, including Maimonides, consider it mandatory to exact as much usury as possible on a loan to a Gentile.”

        Lost property.
        “If a Jew finds property whose probable owner is Jewish, the finder is strictly enjoined to make a positive effort to return his find by advertising it publicly. In contrast, the Talmud and all the early rabbinical authorities not only allow a Jewish finder to appropriate an article lost by a Gentile, but actually forbid him or her to return it. In more recent times, when laws were passed in most countries making it mandatory to return lost articles, the rabbinical authorities instructed Jews to do what these laws say, as an act of civil obedience to the state - but not as a religious duty, that is without making a positive effort to discover the owner if it is not probable that he is Jewish.”

        Deception in business.
        “It is a grave sin to practice any kind of deception whatsoever against a Jew. Against a Gentile it is only forbidden to practice direct deception. Indirect deception is al¬lowed, unless it is likely to cause hostility towards Jews or insult to the Jewish religion. The paradigmatic example is mistaken calculation of the price during purchase. If a Jew makes a mistake unfavourable to himself, it is one's religious duty to correct him. If a Gentile is spotted making such a mistake, one need not let him know about it, but say 'I rely on your calcula¬tion', so as to forestall his hostility in case he subsequently discovers his own mistake. ”

        Fraud.
        “It is forbidden to defraud a Jew by selling or buying at an unreasonable price. However, 'Fraud does not apply to Gen¬tiles, for it is written: "Do not defraud each man his brother"; but a Gentile who defrauds a Jew should be compelled to make good the fraud, but should not be punished more severely than a Jew [in a similar case].' ”

        Theft and robbery.
        “Stealing (without violence) is absolutely forbidden - as the Shulhan 'Arukh so nicely puts it: 'even from a Gentile'. Robbery (with violence) is strictly forbidden if the victim is Jewish. However, robbery of a Gentile by a Jew is not forbidden outright but only under certain circumstances such as 'when the Gentiles are not under our rule', but is permitted 'when they are under our rule'. Rabbinical authorities differ among themselves as to the precise details of the circum¬stances under which a Jew may rob a Gentile, but the whole debate is concerned only with the relative power of Jews and Gentiles rather than with universal considerations of justice and humanity. This may explain why so very few rabbis have pro¬tested against the robbery of Palestinian property in Israel: it was backed by overwhelming Jewish power.”



        Gentiles in the Land of Israel
        “In addition to the general anti-Gentile laws, the Halakhah has special laws against Gentiles who live in the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisra'el) or, in some cases, merely pass through it. These laws are designed to promote Jewish supremacy in that country.”

        “The exact geographical definition of the term 'Land of Israel' is much disputed in the Talmud and the talmudic literature, and the debate has continued in modern times between the various shades of zionist opinion. According to the maximalist view, the Land of Israel includes (in addition to Palestine itself) not only the whole of Sinai, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, but also consider¬able parts of Turkey. The more prevalent 'minimalist' interpre¬tation puts the northern border 'only' about half way through Syria and Lebanon, at the latitude of Homs. This view was supported by Ben-Gurion. However, even those who thus exclude parts of Syria-Lebanon agree that certain special discriminatory laws (though less oppressive than in the Land of Israel proper) apply to the Gentiles of those parts, because that territory was included in David's kingdom. In all talmudic interpretations the Land of Israel includes Cyprus.”

        “I shall now list a few of the special laws concerning Gen¬tiles in the Land of Israel. Their connection with actual zionist practice will be quite apparent.”

        “The Halakhah forbids Jews to sell immovable property - fields and houses - in the Land of Israel to Gentiles. In Syria, the sale of houses (but not of fields) is permitted.”

        “Leasing a house in the Land of Israel to a Gentile is permit¬ted under two conditions. First, that the house shall not be used for habitation but for other purposes, such as storage. Second, that three or more adjoining houses shall not be so leased.”


        “These and several other rules are explained as follows: ... 'so that you shall not allow them to camp on the ground, for if they do not possess land, their sojourn there will be tempo¬rary.' Even temporary Gentile presence may only be tolerated 'when the Jews are in exile, or when the Gentiles are more powerful than the Jews,' but
        • When the Jews are more powerful than the Gentiles we are forbidden to let an idolator among us; even a temporary resident or itinerant trader shall not be allowed to pass through our land unless he accepts the seven Noahide pre¬cepts, for it is written: 'they shall not dwell in thy land,' that is, not even temporarily. If he accepts the seven Noahide precepts, he becomes a resident alien (ger toshav) but it is forbidden to grant the status of resident alien except at times when the Jubilee is held [that is, when the Temple stands and sacrifices are offered]. However, during times when Jubilees are not held it is forbidden to accept anyone who is not a full convert to Judaism (ger tzedeq).”

        “It is therefore clear that - exactly as the leaders and sympathisers of Gush Emunim say - the whole question to how the Palestinians ought to be treated is, according to the Halakhah, simply a question of Jewish power: if Jews have sufficient power, then it is their religious duty to expel the Palestinians.”

        “All these laws are often quoted by Israeli rabbis and their zealous followers. For example, the law forbidding the lease of three adjoining houses to Gentiles was solemnly quoted by a rabbinical conference held in 1979 to discuss the Camp David treaties. The conference also declared that according to the Halakhah even the 'autonomy' that Begin was ready to offer to the Palestinians is too liberal. Such pronouncements - which do in fact state correctly the position of the Halakhah - are rarely contested by the zionist 'left'.”

        “In addition to laws such as those mentioned so far, which are directed at all Gentiles in the Land of Israel, an even greater evil influence arises from special laws against the an¬cient Canaanites and other nations who lived in Palestine be¬fore its conquest by Joshua, as well as against the Amalekites. All those nations must be utterly exterminated, and the Talmud and talmudic literature reiterate the genocidal biblical exhorta¬tions with even greater vehemence. Influential rabbis, who have a considerable following among Israeli army officers, identify the Palestinians (or even all Arabs) with those ancient nations, so that commands like 'thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth' acquire a topical meaning. In fact, it is not uncom¬mon for reserve soldiers called up to do a tour of duty in the Gaza Strip to be given an 'educational lecture' in which they are told that the Palestinians of Gaza are 'like the Amalekites'.”

        “Biblical verses exhorting to genocide of the Midianites were solemnly quoted by an important Israeli rabbi in justification of the Qibbiya massacre, and this pronouncement has gained wide circulation in the Israeli army. There are many similar examples of bloodthirsty rabbinical pronouncements against the Palestinians, based on these laws.”


        Abuse
        “Under this heading I would like to discuss examples of halakhic laws whose most important effect is not so much to prescribe specific anti-Gentile discrimination as to inculcate an attitude of scorn and hatred towards Gentiles. Accordingly, in this section I shall not confine myself to quoting from the most authoritative halakhic sources (as I have done so far) but include also less fundamental works, which are however widely used in religious instruction.”

        “Let us begin with the text of some common prayers. In one of the first sections of the daily morning payer, every devout Jew blesses God for not making him a Gentile. The conclud¬ing section of the daily prayer (which is also used in the most solemn part of the service on New Year's day and on Yom Kippur) opens with the statement: 'We must praise the Lord of all ... for not making us like the nations of [all] lands ... for they bow down to vanity and nothingness and pray to a god that does not help.' The last clause was censored out of the prayer books, but in eastern Europe it was supplied orally, and has now been restored into many Israeli-printed prayer books. In the most important section of the weekday prayer - the 'eighteen blessings' - there is a special curse, originally directed against Christians, Jewish converts to Christianity and other Jewish heretics: 'And may the apostates have no hope, and all the Christians perish instantly'. This formula dates from the end of the 1st century, when Christianity was still a small persecuted sect. Some time before the 14th century it was softened into: 'And may the apostates have no hope, and all the heretics perish instantly', and after additional pressure into: 'And may the informers have no hope, and all the heretics perish instantly'. After the establishment of Israel, the process was reversed, and many newly printed prayer books reverted to the second formula, which was also prescribed by many teach¬ers in religious Israeli schools. After 1967, several congregations close to Gush Emunim have restored the first version (so far only verbally, not in print) and now pray daily that the Chris¬tians 'may perish instantly'. This process of reversion happened in the period when the Catholic Church (under Pope John XXIII) removed from its Good Friday service a prayer which asked the Lord to have mercy on Jews, heretics etc. This prayer was thought by most Jewish leaders to be offensive and even antisemitic.”

        “Apart from the fixed daily prayers, a devout Jew must utter special short blessings on various occasions, both good and bad (for example, while putting on a new piece of clothing, eating a seasonal fruit for the first time that year, seeing powerful lightning, hearing bad news, etc.) Some of these occasional prayers serve to inculcate hatred and scorn for all Gentiles. We have mentioned [above] the rule according to which a pious Jew must utter curse when passing near a Gentile cem¬etery, whereas he must bless God when passing near a Jewish cemetery. A similar rule applies to the living; thus, when seeing a large Jewish population a devout Jew must praise God, while upon seeing a large Gentile population he must utter a curse. Nor are buildings exempt: the Talmud lays down that a Jew who passes near an inhabited non-Jewish dwelling must ask God to destroy it, whereas if the building is in ruins he must thank the Lord of Vengeance. (Naturally, the rules are reversed for Jewish houses.) This rule was easy to keep for Jewish peasants who lived in their own villages or for small urban communities living in all-Jewish townships or quarters. Under the conditions of classical Judaism, however, it became imprac¬ticable and was therefore confined to churches and places of worship of other religions (except Islam). In this connection, the rule was further embroidered by custom: it became custom¬ary to spit (usually three times) upon seeing a church or a crucifix, as an embellishment to the obligatory formula of re¬gret. Sometimes insulting biblical verses were also added.”

        “There is also a series of rules forbidding any expression of praise for Gentiles or for their deeds, except where such praise implies an even greater praise of Jews and things Jewish. This rule is still observed by Orthodox Jews. For example, the writer Agnon, when interviewed on the Israeli radio upon his return from Stockholm, where he received the Nobel Prize for litera¬ture, praised the Swedish Academy, but hastened to add: 'I am not forgetting that it is forbidden to praise Gentiles, but here there is a special reason for my praise' - that is, that they awarded the prize to a Jew.”

        “Similarly, it is forbidden to join any manifestation of popular Gentile rejoicing, except where failing to join in might cause 'hostility towards Jews, in which case a 'minimal' show of joy is allowed.”

        “In addition to the rules mentioned so far, there are many others whose effect is to inhibit human friendship between Jew and Gentile. I shall mention two examples: the rule on 'libation wine' and that on preparing food for a Gentile on Jewish holy days.”

        “A religious Jew must not drink any wine in whose prepa¬ration a Gentile had any part whatsoever. Wine in an open bottle, even if prepared wholly by Jews, becomes banned if a Gentile so much as touches the bottle or passes a hand over it. The reason given by the rabbis is that all Gentiles are not only idolators but must be presumed to be malicious to boot, so that they are likely to dedicate (by a whisper, gesture or thought) as 'libation' to their idol any wine which a Jew is about to drink. This law applies in full force to all Christians, and in a slightly attenuated form also to Muslims. (An open bottle of wine touched by a Christian must be poured away, but if touched by a Muslim it can be sold or given away, although it may not be drunk by a Jew.) The law applies equally to Gentile atheists (how can one be sure that they are not merely pretending to be atheists?) but not to Jewish atheists.”

        “The laws against doing work on the Sabbath apply to a lesser extent on other holy days. In particular, on a holy day which does not happen to fall on a Saturday it is permitted to do any work required for preparing food to be eaten during the holy days or days. Legally, this is defined as preparing a 'soul's food' (okhel nefesh); but 'soul' is interpreted to mean 'Jew', and 'Gentiles and dogs' are explicitly excluded. There is, however, a dispensation in favour of powerful Gentiles, whose hostility can be dangerous: it is permitted to cook food on a holy day for a visitor belonging to this category, provided he is not actively encouraged to come and eat.”

        An important effect of all these laws - quite apart from their application in practice - is in the attitude created by their constant study which, as part of the study of the Halakhah, is regarded by classical Judaism as a supreme religious duty. Thus an Orthodox Jew learns from his earliest youth, as part of his sacred studies, that Gentiles are compared to dogs, that it is a sin to praise them, and so on and so forth. As a matter of fact, in this respect textbooks for beginners have a worse effect than the Talmud and the great talmudic codes. One reason for this is that such elementary texts give more detailed explana¬tions, phrased so as to influence young and uneducated minds. Out of a large number of such texts, I have chosen the one which is currently most popular in Israel and has been re¬printed in many cheap editions, heavily subsidised by the Israeli government. It is The Book of Education, written by an anony¬mous rabbi in early 14th century Spain. It explains the 613 religious obligations (mitzvot) of Judaism in the order in which they are supposed to be found in the Pentateuch according to the talmudic interpretation [discussed above]. It owes its lasting influence and popularity to the clear and easy Hebrew style in which it is written.”


        “A central didactic aim of this book is to emphasise the 'correct' meaning of the Bible with respect to such terms as 'fellow', 'friend' or 'man' (which we have referred to [above]). Thus 219, devoted to the religious obligation arising from the verse 'thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself’, is entitled: 'A religious obligation to love Jews', and explains:
        • To love every Jew strongly means that we should care for a Jew and his money just as one cares for oneself and one's own money, for it is written: 'thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself' and our sages of blessed memory said: 'what is hateful to you do not do to your friend' ... and many other religious obliga¬tions follow from this, because one who loves one's friend as oneself will not steal his money, or commit adultery with his wife, or defraud him of his money, or deceive him verbally, or steal his land, or harm him in any way. Also many other religious obligations depend on this, as is known to any reasonable man.”

        “In 322, dealing with the duty to keep a Gentile slave enslaved for ever (whereas a Jewish slave must be set free after seven years), the following explanation is given:
        • And at the root of this religious obligation [is the fact that] the Jewish people are the best of the human species, created to know their Creator and worship Him, and worthy of having slaves to serve them. And if they will not have slaves of other peoples, they would have to enslave their brothers, who would thus be unable to serve the Lord, blessed be He. Therefore we are commanded to possess those for our service, after they are prepared for this and after idolatory is removed from their speech so that there should not be danger in our houses, and this is the intention of the verse 'but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour', so that you will not have to enslave your brothers, who are all ready to worship God.”

        “In 545, dealing with the religious obligation to exact interest on money lent to Gentiles, the law is stated as follows: 'That we are commanded to demand interest from Gentiles when we lend money to them, and we must not lend to them without interest,' The explanation is:
        • And at the root of this religious obligation is that we should not do any act of mercy except to the people who know God and worship Him; and when we refrain from doing merciful deed to the rest of mankind and do so only to the former, we are being tested that the main part of love and mercy to them is because they follow the religion of God, blessed be He. Behold, with this intention our reward [from God] when we withhold mercy from the others is equal to that for doing [merciful deeds] to members of our own people.”

        “Similar distinctions are made in numerous other passages. In explaining the ban against delaying a worker's wage (238) the author is careful to point out that the sin is less serious if the worker is Gentile. The prohibition against cursing (239) is entitled 'Not to curse any Jew, whether man or woman'. Similarly, the prohibitions against giving misleading advice, hating other people, shaming them or taking revenge on them (240, 245, 246, 247) apply only to fellow-Jews.”

        “The ban against following Gentile customs (262) means that Jews must not only 'remove themselves' from Gentiles, but also 'speak ill of all their behaviour, even of their dress'.”

        “It must be emphasised that the explanations quoted above do represent correctly the teaching of the Halakhah. The rabbis and, even worse, the apologetic 'scholars of Judaism' know this very well and for this reason they do not try to argue against such views inside the Jewish community; and of course they never mention them outside it. Instead, they vilify any Jew who raises these matters within earshot of Gentiles, and they issue deceitful denials in which the art of equivocation reaches its summit. For example, they state, using general terms, the importance which Judaism attaches to mercy; but what they forget to point out is that according to the Halakhah 'mercy' means mercy towards Jews.”

        “Anyone who lives in Israel knows how deep and widespread these attitudes of hatred and cruelty … towards all Gentiles are among the majority of Israeli Jews. Normally these attitudes are disguised from the outside world, but since the establishment of the State of Israel, the 1967 war and the rise of Begin, a significant minority of Jews, both in Israel and abroad, have gradually become more open about such matters. In recent years the inhuman precepts according to which servitude is the 'natural' lot of Gentiles have been publicly quoted in Israel, even on TV, by Jewish farmers exploiting Arab labour, particularly child la¬bour. Gush Emunim leaders have quoted religious precepts which enjoin Jews to oppress Gentiles, as a justification of the at¬tempted assassination of Palestinian mayors and as divine author¬ity for their own plan to expel all the Arabs from Palestine.”

        “While many zionists reject these positions politically, their standard counter-arguments are based on considerations of ex¬pediency and Jewish self-interest, rather than on universally valid principles of humanism and ethics. For example, they argue that the exploitation and oppression of Palestinians by Israelis tends to corrupt Israeli society, or that the expulsion of the Palestinians is impracticable under present political condi¬tions, or that Israeli acts of terror against the Palestinians tend to isolate Israel internationally. In principle, however, virtually all zionists - and in particular 'left' zionists - share the deep anti-Gentile attitudes which Orthodox Judaism keenly promotes.”



        Attitudes to Christianity and Islam
        “In the foregoing, several examples of the rabbinical attitudes to these two religions were given in passing. But it will be useful to summarise these attitudes here.”

        “Judaism is imbued with a very deep hatred towards Chris¬tianity, combined with ignorance about it. This attitude was clearly aggravated by the Christian persecutions of Jews, but is largely independent of them. In fact, it dates from the time when Christianity was still weak and persecuted (not least by Jews), and it was shared by Jews who had never been persecuted by Christians or who were even helped by them. Thus, Maimonides was subjected to Muslim persecu¬tions by the regime of the Almohads and escaped from them first to the crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem, but this did not change his views in the least. This deeply negative attitude is based on two main elements.”


        “First, on hatred and malicious slanders against Jesus. The traditional view of Judaism on Jesus must of course be sharply distinguished from the nonsensical controversy between antisemites and Jewish apologists concerning the 'responsibility' for his execution. Most modern scholars of that period admit that due to the lack of original and contemporary accounts, the late composition of the Gospels and the contradictions between them, accurate historical knowledge of the circum¬stances of Jesus' execution is not available. In any case, the notion of collective and inherited guilt is both wicked and absurd. However, what is at issue here is not the actual facts about Jesus, but the inaccurate and even slanderous reports in the Talmud and post-talmudic literature - which is what Jews believed until the 19th century and many, especially in Israel, still believe. For these reports certainly played an important role in forming the Jewish attitude to Christianity.
        • According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources which mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.
        • The more popular accounts - which were nevertheless taken quite seriously - such as the notorious Toldot Yeshu are even worse, for in addition to the above crimes they accuse him of witchcraft. The very name 'Jesus' was for Jews a symbol of all that is abominable, and this popular tradition still persists. The Gospels are equally detested, and they are not allowed to be quoted (let alone taught) even in modern Israeli Jewish schools.”

        “Secondly, for theological reasons, mostly rooted in igno¬rance, Christianity as a religion is classed by rabbinical teaching as idolatry. This is based on a crude interpretation of the Christian doctrines on the Trinity and Incarnation. All the Christian emblems and pictorial representations are regarded as `idols' - even by those Jews who literally worship scrolls, stones or personal belongings of 'Holy Men'.”

        “The attitude of Judaism towards Islam is, in contrast, relatively mild. Although the stock epithet given to Muhammad is 'madman' ('meshugga'), this was not nearly as offensive as it may sound now, and in any case it pales before the abusive terms applied to Jesus. Similarly, the Qur'an - unlike the New Testament - is not condemned to burning. It is not honoured in the same way as Islamic law honours the Jewish sacred scrolls, but is treated as an ordinary book. Most rabbinical authorities agree that Islam is not idolatry (although some leaders of Gush Emunim now choose to ignore this). Therefore the Halakhah decrees that Muslims should not be treated by Jews any worse than 'ordinary' Gentiles. But also no better. Again, Maimonides can serve as an illustration. He explicitly states that Islam is not idolatry, and in his philo¬sophical works he quotes, with great respect, many Islamic philosophical authorities. He was, as I have mentioned before, personal physician to Saladin and his family, and by Saladin's order he was appointed Chief over all Egypt's Jews. Yet, the rules he lays down against saving a Gentile's life (except in order to avert danger to Jews) apply equally to Muslims.”







        APPENDIX D

        JEWISH DECEPTIONS ABOUT JUDAISM

        Historic deceptions about Judaism in detail
        “What”, says Shahak “were the detailed mechanisms (other than bribery) employed by Jewish communities … to ward off the attack on the Talmud and other religious literature? Several methods can be distinguished, all of them having important political consequences reflected in current Israeli policies [our italics].” He goes on:
        • “The first mechanism I shall discuss is that of surreptitious defiance, combined with outward compliance. As explained above, Talmudic passages directed against Christianity or against non-Jews had to go or to be modified – the pressure was too strong. This is what was done: a few of the most offensive passages were bodily removed from all editions printed in Europe after the mid-16th century. In all other passages, the expressions ‘Gentile’, ‘non-Jew’, ‘stranger’ (goy, eino yehudi, nokhri) – which appear in all early manuscripts and printings as well as all editions published in Islamic countries – were replaced by terms such as ‘idolator’, ‘heathen’ or even ‘Canaanite’ or ‘Samaritan’, terms which could be explained away but which a Jewish reader could recognise as euphemisms for the old expressions.”
        • “As the attack mounted, so the defence became more elaborate, sometimes with lasting tragic results. During certain periods the Tsarist Russian censorship became stricter and, seeing the above mentioned euphemisms for what they were, forbade them too. Thereupon the rabbinical authorities substituted the terms ‘Arab’ or ‘Muslim’ (in Hebrew, Yishma’eli – which means both) or occasionally ‘Egyptian’, correctly calculating that the Tsarist authorities would not object to this kind of abuse. At the same time, lists of Talmudic Omissions were circulated in manuscript form, which explained all the new terms and pointed out all the omissions. At times, a general disclaimer was printed before the title page of each volume of Talmudic literature, solemnly declaring, sometimes on oath, that all hostile expressions in that volume are intended only against the idolators of antiquity, or even against the long-vanished Canaanites, rather than against ‘the peoples in whose land we live’. After the British conquest of India, some rabbis hit on the subterfuge of claiming that any particularly outrageous derogatory expression used by them [was] only intended against the Indians. Occasionally the aborigines of Australia were also added as whipping-boys.”
        • “Needless to say, all this was a calculated lie from beginning to end; and following the establishment of the State of Israel, once the rabbis felt secure, all the offensive passages and expressions were restored without hesitation in all new editions. (Because of the enormous cost which a new edition involves, a considerable part of the Talmudic literature, including the Talmud itself, is still being reprinted from the old editions. For this reason, the above mentioned Talmudic Omissions have now been published in Israel in a cheap printed edition, under the title Hesronot Shas.) So now one can read quite freely – and Jewish children are actually taught – passages such as that which commands every Jew, whenever passing near a cemetery, to utter a blessing if the cemetery is Jewish, but to curse the mothers of the dead if it is non-Jewish. In the old editions the curse was omitted, or one of the euphemisms was substituted for ‘Gentiles’. But in the new Israeli edition of Rabbi Adin Steinsalz (complete with Hebrew explanations and glosses to the Aramaic parts of the text, so that schoolchildren should be in no doubt as to what they are supposed to say) the unambiguous words ‘Gentiles’ and ‘strangers’ have been restored.”
        • “Under external pressure, the rabbis deceptively eliminated or modified certain passages – but not the actual practices which are prescribed in them. It is a fact which must be remembered not least by Jews themselves, that for centuries our totalitarian society has employed barbaric and inhumane customs to poison the minds of its members, and it is still doing so. (These inhumane customs cannot be explained away as mere reaction to antisemitism or persecution of Jews; they are gratuitous barbarities directed against each and every human being. A pious Jew arriving for the first time in Australia, say, must – as an act of worship of ‘God’ – curse the mothers of the dead buried there.) Without facing this real social fact, we all become parties to the deception and accomplices to the process of poisoning the present and future generations, with all the consequences of this process.”

        Modern deceptions about Judaism in detail
        “Modern scholars of Judaism”, Shahak continues, “have not only continued the deception, but have actually improved upon the old rabbinical methods, both in impudence and in mendacity. I omit here the various histories of antisemitism as unworthy of serious consideration, and shall give just three particular examples and one general example of the more modern ‘scholarly’ deceptions.” He goes on:
        • “In 1962, a part of the Maimonidean Code referred to above, the so-called Book of Knowledge, which contains the most basic rules of Jewish faith and practice, was published in Jerusalem in a bilingual edition, with the English translation facing the Hebrew text. The latter has been restored to its original purity, and the command to exterminate Jewish infidels appears in it in full: ‘It is a duty to exterminate them with one’s own hands.’ In the English translation this is somewhat softened to: ‘It is a duty to take active measures to destroy them.’ But then the Hebrew text goes on to specify the prime examples of ‘infidels’ who must be exterminated: ‘Such as Jesus of Nazareth and his pupils, and Tzadoq and Baitos and their pupils, may the name of the wicked rot’. Not one word of this appears in the English text on the facing page (78a). And, even more significant, in spite of the wide circulation of this book among scholars in the English-speaking countries, not one of them has, as far as I know, protested against this glaring deception.”
        • “The second example comes from the USA, again from an English translation of a book by Maimonides. Apart from his work on the codification of the Talmud, he was also a philosopher and his Guide to the Perplexed is justly considered to be the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy and is widely read and used even today. Unfortunately, in addition to his attitude towards non-Jews generally, and Christians in particular, Maimonides was also an anti-Black racist. Towards the end of the Guide, in a crucial chapter (book III, chapter 51) he discusses how various sections of Humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God.” “Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are”, he says:
          • “Some of the Turks [i.e. the Mongol race] and the nomads in the North, and the Blacks and the nomads in the South, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does.” Shahak goes on:
            • “Now, what does one do with such a passage in a most important and necessary work of Judaism? Face the truth and its consequences? God forbid! Admit (as so many Christian scholars, for example, have done in similar circumstances) that a very important Jewish authority held also rabid anti-Black views, and by this admission make an attempt at self-education in real humanity? Perish the thought. I can almost imagine Jewish scholars in the USA consulting among themselves, ‘What is to be done? – for the book had to be translated, due to the decline in the knowledge of Hebrew among American Jews.”
            • “Whether by consultation or by individual inspiration, a happy ‘solution’ was found: in the popular American translation of the Guide by one Friedlander, first published as far back as 1925 and since then reprinted in many editions, including several in paperback, the Hebrew word Kushim, which means Blacks, was simply [mis-] transliterated and appears as ‘Kushites’, a word which means nothing to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew, or to whom an obliging rabbi will not give an oral explanation.”
            • “During all these years, not a word has been said to point out the initial deception or the social facts underlying its continuation – and this throughout the excitement of Martin Luther King’s campaigns, which were supported by so many rabbis, not to mention other Jewish figures, some of whom must have been aware of the anti-Black racist attitude which forms part of their Jewish heritage.”
            • “Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King’s rabbinical supporters were either anti-Black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of ‘Jewish interest’ (wishing to win Black support for American Jewry and for Israel’s policies) or were accomplished hypocrites to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle – and back – and back again.”
        • “The third example comes from a work which has far less serious scholarly intent – but is all the more popular for that: The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. This light-hearted work – first published in the USA in 1968, and reprinted in many editions, including several times as a Penguin paperback – is a kind of glossary of Yiddish words often used by Jews or even non-Jews in English-speaking countries. For each entry, in addition to a detailed definition and more or less amusing anecdotes illustrating its use, there is also an etymology stating (quite accurately on the whole) the language from which the word came into Yiddish and its meaning in that language. The entry Shaygets – whose main meaning is ‘a Gentile boy or young man’ – is an exception: there the etymology cryptically states ‘Hebrew origin’, without giving the form or meaning of the original Hebrew word. However, under the entry Shiksa – the feminine form of Shaygets – the author does give the original Hebrew word, sheqetz (or, in his transliteration, sheques) and defines its Hebrew meaning as ‘blemish’. This is a bare-faced lie, as every speaker of Hebrew knows. The Megiddo Modern Hebrew-English Dictionary, published in Israel, correctly defines sheqetz as follows: ‘unclean animal; loathsome creature, abomination (colloquial – pronounced shaygets) wretch, unruly youngster; Gentile youngster’.”
        • “My final, more general, example is, if possible, even more shocking than the others. It concerns the attitude of the Hassidic movement towards non-Jews.” Shahak continues:
          • “Hassidism – a continuation of (and debasement!) of Jewish mysticism – is still a living movement, with hundreds of thousands of active adherents who are fanatically devoted to their ‘holy rabbis’, some of whom have acquired a very considerable political influence in Israel, among the leaders of most parties and even more so in the higher echelons of the army.”
          • “What , then, are the views of this movement concerning non-Jews? As an example, let us take the famous Hatanya, fundamental book of the Habbad movement, one of the most important branches of Hassidism. According to this book, all non-Jews are totally satanic creatures ‘in whom there is absolutely nothing good’. Even a non-Jewish embryo is qualitatively different from a Jewish one. The very existence of a non-Jew is ‘inessential’, whereas all of creation was created solely for the sake of the Jews.”
          • “This book is circulated in countless editions, and its ideas are further propagated in the numerous ‘discourses’ of the present hereditary Feuhrer of Habbad, the so-called Lubavitcher rabbi, M.M. Schneurssohn, who leads this powerful world-wide organisation from his New York headquarters.”
          • “In Israel these ideas are widely disseminated among the public at large, in the schools and in the army. (According to the testimony of Shulamit Aloni, Member of the Knesset, this Habbad propaganda was particularly stepped up before Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in March 1978, in order to induce military doctors and nurses to withhold medical help from ‘Gentile wounded’. This Nazi-like advice did not refer specifically to Arabs or Palestinians, but simply to ‘Gentiles’, goyim.)”
          • “A former Israeli President, Shazar, was an ardent adherent of Habbad, and many top Israeli and American politicians – headed by [one-time] Prime Minister Begin – publicly courted and supported it. This, in spite of the considerable unpopularity of the Lubavitcher rabbi – in Israel he is widely criticised because he refuses to come to the Holy Land even for a visit and keeps himself in New York for obscure messianic reasons, while in New York his anti-Black attitude is notorious.”
          • “The fact that, despite these pragmatic difficulties, Habbad can be publicly supported by so many top political figures owes much to the thoroughly disingenuous and misleading treatment by almost all scholars who have written about the Hassidic movement and its Habbad branch. This applies particularly to all who have written or are writing about it in English. They suppress the glaring evidence of the old Hassidic texts as well as all the latter-day political implications that follow from them, which stare in the face of even a casual reader of the Israeli Hebrew press, in whose pages the Lubavitcher rabbi and other Hassidic leaders constantly publish the most rabid bloodthirsty statements and exhortations against all Arabs.”
          • “A chief deceiver in this case, and a good example of the power of the deception, was Martin Buber. His numerous works eulogising the whole Hassidic movement (including Habbad) never so much as hint at the real doctrines of Hassidism concerning non-Jews. The crime of deception is all the greater in view of the fact that Buber’s eulogies of Hassidism were first published in Germany during the period of the rise of German nationalism and the accession of Nazism to power. But while ostensibly opposing Nazism, Buber glorified a movement holding and actually teaching doctrines about non-Jews not unlike the Nazi doctrines about Jews.”
          • “One could of course argue that the Hassidic Jews of seventy or fifty years ago were the victims, and a ‘white lie’ favouring a victim is excusable. But the consequences of deception are incalculable. Buber’s works were translated into Hebrew, were made a powerful element of the Hebrew education in Israel, have greatly increased the power of the bloodthirsty Hassidic leaders, and have thus been an important factor in the rise of Israeli chauvinism and hate of all non-Jews.”
          • “If we think about the many human beings who died of their wounds because Israeli army nurses, incited by Hassidic propaganda, refused to tend them, then a heavy onus for their blood lies on the head of Martin Buber.”
          • “I must mention here that in his adulation of Hassidism Buber far surpassed other Jewish scholars, particularly those writing in Hebrew (or, formerly, in Yiddish) or even in European languages but purely for a Jewish audience. In questions of internal Jewish interest, there had once been a great deal of justified criticism of the Hassidic movement. Their mysogynism (much more extreme than that common to all Jewish Orthodoxy), their indulgence in alcohol, their fanatical cult of their hereditary ‘holy rabbis’ who extorted money from them, the numerous superstitions peculiar to them – these and many other negative traits were critically commented upon. But Buber’s sentimental and deceitful romanticism has won the day, especially in the USA and Israel, because it was in tune with the totalitarian admiration of anything ‘genuinely Jewish’ and because certain ‘left’ Jewish circles in which Buber had a particularly great influence have adopted this position.”
        • “Nor was Buber alone in his attitude, although in my opinion he was by far the worst in the evil he propagated and the influence he has left behind him. There was the very influential sociologist and biblical scholar, Yehezkiel Kaufman, an advocate of genocide on the model of the Book of Joshua, the idealist philosopher Hugo Shmuel Bergman, who, as far back as 1914-15 advocated the expulsion of all Palestinians to Iraq, and many others. All were outwardly ‘dovish’, but employed formulas which could be manipulated in the most extreme anti-Arab sense, all had tendencies to that religious mysticism which encourages the propagation of deceptions, and all seemed to be gentle persons who, even when advocating expulsion, racism, and genocide, seemed incapable of hurting a fly – and just for this reason the effect of their deceptions was the greater.”














        8
        South Tyneside Stop the War / A Brief History Of Modern Palestine
        « on: November 24, 2014, 05:45:47 PM »
          SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION



          A BRIEF HISTORY OF MODERN PALESTINE:
          A HISTORY OF ISRAEL AND THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

          Set out in the following pages is a brief history of modern Palestine, that is, a history of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The following sources were principally used to provide that history: Ilan Pappe’s A History Of Modern Palestine (second edition); John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective; Michael Neumann’s The Case Against Israel; Khaled Hroub’s Hamas; A Beginner’s Guide.

          The history is described in three sections:      
          The Zionist Project – Beginnings To The Creation Of The Israeli State
          From Israel’s Creation To Israel’s Expansion - 1948 War To 1967 War
          From 1967 War Of Expansion To The Present

          And there are two post-scripts:      
          Zionism
          A Summary Of The History




          THE ZIONIST PROJECT – BEGINNINGS TO THE CREATION OF THE ISRAELI STATE

          The Zionist Movement
          The Zionist movement arose in Europe in the latter half of the nineteenth century as a Jewish political response to persecution of Jews in Europe, especially eastern Europe. It's purpose was to secure a land for the Jewish people, and, at it's 1897 conference, it settled on Palestine (the Holy Land) as the desired land, because of it's historic and religious significance. (The original Jews of Palestine had been dispersed after their failed revolt against the Roman empire in the second century AD.)  In the late nineteenth century, the earliest Zionist immigrants set up agricultural settlements on purchased land.

          From the beginning, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. An element of the Zionist concept of land redemption was that the land should be worked by Jews – Arabs should not be hired as labourers – land purchase, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand. See the appendix.

          In 1917, towards the end of the first world war, the British Government, in response to Zionist lobbying, issued the now infamous Balfour Declaration in support of the Zionist project - to view “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The letter was actually drafted, at British foreign secretary Balfour’s request, by Zionist leader Chaim Weizman and Lord Rothschild, head of the Zionist Federation in Britain. A sympathetic Cabinet included two Jewish members and others sympathetic to the Zionist cause because they thought (having been encouraged by the Zionists to do so) that it would help British interests in the Middle East. For purely tactical reasons (because Jews were a small minority in Palestine), the Zionists employed the ambivalence of the term “National Home”. However, it is today not seriously disputed that, from the outset, the Zionist mainstream worked towards a Jewish state – it was never their intention, as Neumann puts it, for “a scattering of Jewish homes and farms” - rather “a Jewish country with its own army, police and government”. See the appendix. The Declaration was also vague as to the territory to which it applied, suggesting that it might perhaps encompass less than the entire territory of Palestine. In fact, the World Zionist Organisation delegation at the post-world-war peace conference at Versailles said that they wanted  a state in all of Palestine plus a strip of southern Lebanon and a strip east of the Jordan river.


          Mandate Palestine
          In 1918, the Ottoman empire, which included Palestine, was on the losing side in the world war, and disintegrated. A British census in that year gave an estimate of the Palestinian population as 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews. Thus, the population was more than 90% Arab, and they had lived there for more than 1,000 years, more or less harmoniously with the small Jewish element. Given this population split, if Palestine had then been made an independent state, there would have been no question of it's overwhelmingly Arab nature, and Israel would never have existed. Instead (such is the nature of imperialism), the lands formerly subject to the Turks were dismembered and shared out by two of the war victors, the colonial empires of Britain and France. Britain was given a mandate from the League of Nations to administer Palestine, and then governed it more or less as another colony, until 1948.

          Although Britain was required under the terms of the mandate to administer Palestine for the benefit of the population as a whole, the mandate also required it to execute the provisos of the Balfour Declaration - an impossible task given the near-absolute incompatibility of the two sets of requirements. In the period between the first and second world wars, Britain allowed, under the auspices of the Jewish Agency set up to liaise with the British administration on all matters relating to the ‘national home’, substantial Jewish immigration under the Zionist project to occur, and further substantial land purchases. This Jewish inflow and land purchase was exacerbated in the later years by the looming Nazi horror in Europe. Tracts of land were acquired by the Jewish National Fund in close proximity to each other, to create the geographic nucleus for a state. They became fortified enclaves. Jewish labour policy remained unchanged, requiring that only Jewish labour worked Fund land, leading to a large and growing class of landless, dispossessed Palestinian Arabs. All of this led to sporadic and increasing resistance and then open rebellion (in 1936) from the Palestinian Arabs, who rightly feared the ultimate goal of the Zionists as Jewish dispossession of their land, and Jewish domination. The Zionists built up the Haganah, their secret army (secret in the sense that, though known to the British, it's existence was tolerated but officially unacknowledged.)  British colonial motives were complex, and vacillated at times on such things as Jewish immigration, the creation of Jewish enclaves, Jewish land purchases with Zionist funds, and so on, but undoubtedly there were pro-Zionist factions in both the Westminster parliament and the local administration in Palestine. What is certain is that the outcome was objectively pro-Zionist, since by 1948, when Britain departed, the Jews had risen to around one-third of the population (and thus now constituted a serious, perhaps mortal, threat to the Arab Palestinians), though they owned only 6% of the land. The Jewish Agency, which began to look to the US as the new major power to back it, became a state within a state. Crucially, the armed Haganah forces were then estimated at around 60,000 – prior to the Arab revolt, they had been supplemented by arms imported clandestinely, and their own arms manufacturing facilities – after the revolt, the British allowed them to arm themselves legally. The Arabs, on the other hand, were disarmed by the British after the 1936 revolt (although Arab groups did stockpile weapons).


          The End Of The Mandate, And The Political Creation Of The Israeli State
          In 1947, Britain reviewed it's situation in Palestine. It was massively financially weakened through it's great effort in the second world war which had ended in 1945, financially dependent on an America which took a hard line towards it's wartime debts incurred to the US, and under insistent US pressure to allow large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine. It also faced terrorist atrocities in a campaign to drive it out of Palestine, waged by extreme Zionist groups such as Irgun and the Stern gang, though this was not a factor in it's decision to hand over the problem to the UN, the new international policeman dominated by the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union. This it did in February 1947.

          The UN set up the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). It's officials had no experience of the Middle East or the Palestine situation. They were undoubtedly influenced by the recent Holocaust in Europe, to the detriment of the Palestinian's cause, even though the Palestinians were, of course, entirely innocent and uninvolved. UNSCOP was assiduously courted by the Zionist leadership, and given a ready-made partition plan by the well-prepared Zionist representatives. In contrast, the Palestinian and Arab side, rejecting partition of what had, overwhelmingly, been their land, boycotted the Committee, and thus lost the opportunity to present any alternative. Nevertheless, Palestinian objections prevented a unanimous decision. In September 1947, UNSCOP presented its recommendations to the UN General Assembly. UNSCOP acknowledged that the self-determination rights of the Palestinian Arabs had been violated by the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the Mandate for Palestine, and further stated that the internationally recognized principle of self-determination was not applied to Palestine. Nevertheless, the majority report advocated partition into two states. “There was neither merit nor justice”, noted historian Arnold Toynbee, in “compensating victims at the expense of innocent third parties” … “An innocent, non-Western people’s territory could, it was held, legitimately be given away to the Jews by the victorious Western powers.”

          After receiving the Special Committee’s report, the UN General Assembly constituted an Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question to frame the Palestinian issue for plenary debate. On 25th November 1947, the Ad Hoc Committee voted to recommend partition to the General Assembly, but only after an Arab proposal to question the International Court Of Justice on the competence of the General Assembly to partition a country against the wishes of the majority of it's inhabitants (around 70% Arabs and 30% Jews) was narrowly defeated. The Ad Hoc Committee’s vote was 25 to 13, with 17 abstentions – sufficient to carry the partition plan in the committee, but short of the two-thirds majority that would be required for passage in the General Assembly.

          A two-thirds majority was required in the General Assembly. By this time, the United States, pressured by American Jewish and Zionist lobbying, had emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition – most European countries, including the Soviet union, supported it – most Third World countries viewed it as an infringement of Arab rights. The United States got the General Assembly to delay a vote “to gain time to bring certain Latin American republics into line with its own views.” US officials, “by direct order of the White House”, used “every form of pressure, direct and indirect”, to “make sure that the necessary majority” would be gained, according to former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. Members of the US Congress threatened curtailment of economic aid to several Third World countries. On November 29th 1947, the General Assembly proceeded to a vote on the partition plan as Resolution 181. The resolution narrowly gained the required majority of two-thirds – 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. Included in the countries that switched their votes between November 25th and November 29th to provide the two-thirds majority, were Liberia, the Philippines, and Haiti. All heavily dependent on the United States financially, they had been lobbied to change their votes. Some delegates charged US officials with “diplomatic intimidation.”

          Zionists welcomed partition because of it's recognition of a Jewish state covering 55% of a country where Jews were only around 30% of the population (and that only recently – 25 years beforehand they had been less than 10% of the population), and where Zionist landholdings still amounted to less than 8% of the land. In the envisaged  Jewish state, Jews and Arabs would be roughly equal in numbers – about half a million of each. In the proposed Arab state, there would have been less than ten thousand Jews. The plan thus gave much Arab-populated territory to the Jewish state, but little Jewish-populated territory to the Arab state. Ernest Bevin, Britain’s foreign secretary, noted the difficulty of drawing boundaries because of the sparseness of Jewish population: “It is impossible to find in all of Palestine, apart from Tel Aviv and its environs … any sizable area with a Jewish majority.” The Arabs were bitterly opposed and especially outraged because the proposed Jewish state would include almost as many Arabs as Jews. “The Arabs”, declared an Arab jurist, of Resolution 181, “have had to pay for and expiate the outrage committed against mankind at Treblinka, Auschwitz and elsewhere.” A Yugoslav jurist objected that Resolution 181 reflected the view that “so-called ‘civilised’ peoples were still entitled to determine the fate of the ‘uncivilised’, and that the territories of dependent nations were objects to be manipulated.” We might add that this is not likely to be the view of the working classes of the so-called ‘civilised’ people, but rather that part of the ruling elite which was imperialistic.


          The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - The UNSCOP Days
          Meanwhile, as this politicking at the UN went its course, events were happening on the ground. In the period between February 1947, when Britain announced its decision to hand over to the UN, and August 1947, when UNSCOP presented its report to the UN General Assembly, the Palestinian refusal to accept a UN solution caused the Zionist political elite to plan for a systematic expulsion of the Arab populations within the areas allocated for a Jewish state. The Zionists compiled detailed intelligence on Palestinian villages (these details were later given to the commanders of units attacking these villages, both in the civil war before the end of the Mandate, and the war after the Arab armies intervened.) The Zionists also centralised the military command. In contrast, Arab preparations were much less comprehensive.

          The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - Civil War And The Ethnic Cleansing Of Palestine
          The period between September 1947, when the British announced their intention to give up the Palestine Mandate on 15th April 1948, and the date on which the last British forces actually left – 14th May 1948 - marked a descent into a civil war which had the character of ethnic cleansing.

          Until March 1948, clashes between the Jewish and Arab communities were scattered, random, and not planned to the extent they were later:
          • There was communal fighting. The day after the UN General Assembly’s partition recommendation (resolution 181) was adopted, the Zionists mobilized. The Jewish Agency began purchasing arms in the United States. Local Arab irregulars loyal to the Arab Higher Committee (created in 1936 to voice Palestinian Arab interests) staged armed attacks on  transport convoys that carried supplies to Jewish settlements and towns. In December 1947, the expulsion of Palestinians began. The Haganah, the Irgun, and the Stern gang coordinated strategy. The Palmach (the shock force of the Haganah), the Irgun and the Stern gang carried out terrorist attacks. The Jewish Agency and the Haganah formally announced a policy of reprisals against Arab civilians. The Jews suffered mainly through sniping at their road convoys, and attacks on supply trains. The Arabs lost many lives through Jewish assaults on their villages. The Irgun began to direct its attacks at major Arab population centres. The first Palestinian village was wiped out by Jewish retaliation to a Palestinian attack on convoys and Jewish settlements. Arabs were beginning to flee from some rural areas and urban districts. The Haganah rocketed  Arab neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, causing many Arab residents to flee.
          • Many members of the local Palestinian elites left, hoping to return to a calmer Palestine – 70,000 left between September 1947 and March 1948. This exodus produced a collective sense of insecurity and fear among sections of the Palestinian urban population.

          These events caused second thoughts in the UN and Washington about the desirability, indeed the feasibility of the partition plan. But it was too late already for many Palestinians, evicted from their homes after early battles with the Jewish forces. Faced with this disaster, the US retreated and declared its opposition to forcible partition. In March 1948, the American delegation to the UN offered an alternative solution: an international trusteeship over Palestine for five years, followed by a review aimed at a permanent settlement. Strong lobbying by the Jewish community in the United States averted this change of policy, but it indicated the feebleness of the UN’s commitment to a Jewish state in Palestine. The Zionists, anxious about the American shift in policy, redoubled their efforts to establish their state..

          Fearing a change in the American mood, the Jewish leadership put Plan Dalet into full operation in April and May 1948. Plan Dalet was a military blueprint prepared by the Haganah in anticipation of combating the Arab forces in Palestine and any facing Arab armies. The plan was for the seizure of most of Palestine. In these operations, the Haganah now had the assistance of the extreme terrorist Irgun and the Stern gang, which were now collaborating with it. The nature of the conflict was transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation which resulted in the loss to Palestine of much of its indigenous Palestinian Arab population:

          • The first objective was to take swiftly and systematically any installation, military or civilian, evacuated by the British. The success of this goal depended on the sympathies of the British officers or officials in charge. Those with pro-Zionist affinities provided the necessary prior information to enable the Haganah to occupy headquarters of essential services and key military bases. The pro-Palestinian Britons, on the other hand, could not always locate those they wished to help.
          • The second, and far more important, objective of the plan was to cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible. The main military force was the Haganah, which had several brigades. Each brigade received a list of villages it was to occupy. Most of the villages were destined to be destroyed, and only in very exceptional cases were the soldiers ordered to leave them intact.
          • In addition, some of the brigades were to engage in the take-over of the mixed Arab-Jewish towns and their environs. This meant occupation and the expulsion of the Palestinian population. This was the fate of Jaffa, Haifa, Safad, and Tiberias.
          • In some historiographies, Haifa is singled out as a place where there was a genuine attempt by the Jewish leadership to persuade the local population to stay. The campaign for Haifa began on 20th April 1948. A few days earlier, the Jewish forces had committed the Deir Yassin massacre, a well-publicised bloodbath. The local people were terrorized and further intimidated by explosions set off by Jewish forces in Arab neighbourhoods and harassed by sniper fire all round. Very few Palestinians stayed in the city, and their leaders considered the Jewish offer to stay deceitful and hypocritical. Their fear for their lives was accentuated by massacres committed in Balad al-Shaykh, where in January 1948 scores of Palestinians were slaughtered in retaliation for a terrorist attack on Jewish workers in the nearby refinery.
          • Several massacres were committed near the mixed towns, sometimes in retaliation for Palestinian attacks on Jewish convoys, but quite often they were unmitigated acts of brutality. They may have been meant to, as they eventually did, force Palestinians living in areas falling into Jewish hands to flee under the threat of death or eviction. These atrocities were not randomly committed; they were part of a master plan to rid the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible.
          • Like many master plans, Plan Dalet was general, and in parts vague. No less important than the plan was the atmosphere created, which paved the way for ethnic cleansing operations in Palestine. Thus, while the actions of the Haganah were part of a master plan, it had no clear and specific local objectives. The plan was executed because the soldiers in the battlefield were oriented by a general attitude from above and motivated by remarks made by the their leaders to ‘clean’ the country. These remarks were translated into acts of depopulation by enthusiastic commanders on the ground who knew that their actions would be justified in retrospect by the political leadership.
          • When the British left in the middle of May, one-third of the Palestinian population had already been evicted - some 300,000-400,000 refugees fled in terror towards the neighbouring Arab countries.
          • The end of the Mandate signalled the end of the first phase of the 1948 war, which was akin to a civil war transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation.

          The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - The Palestine War
          On 14th May 1948, the day the British mandate ended and the last British troops had left with the high commissioner, the Jewish Agency proclaimed the state of Israel, and within hours they had received the de facto recognition of the US. The Arab League decided to intervene and on the following day units of the regular armies of Syria, Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq and Egypt crossed the frontiers of Palestine in support of the Palestinian Arabs. The second phase of the 1948 war had begun:
          • The overwhelming Arab superiority in population was not reflected on the battle field – a total of some 25,000 Arab troops compared with Jewish troops estimated at between 40,000 and 60,000.
          • Among the Jewish troops was a large number of fresh immigrants with no war experience, but the core of the army  was better prepared and more experienced.
          • The Jewish troops obtained important fresh arms supplies from the Eastern Bloc during the course of the fighting, while Britain, obeying a UN decree, imposed an embargo on three Arab armies that used only British-made ammunition: Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan.
          • The Arab forces scored initial successes, and the Egyptians linked up with the Arab League near Bethlehem. The Arab Legion had little problem taking what would later be called the West Bank.
          • However, the Jewish side, furnished with new weapons, and apprehensive lest the international community impose an unfavourable solution on them, made an effort to complete a takeover of most of Palestine. This they did.
          • In spite of the efforts of the UN, which had appointed a mediator with the task of recommending an alternative solution to partition (he was murdered by Jewish extremists), and which had arranged two truces during the fighting, the conflict did not stop until January 1949.
          • The conclusion of armistice agreements between Israel on the one hand, and Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, and Lebanon on the other, was not completed until July
          • Israel now comprised 79% of the area of the Palestine Mandate. Of the 21% of Palestine which remained in Arab hands, the semi-desert Gaza Strip was placed under Egyptian administration, and the substantial enclave on the West Bank of the Jordan, which included the old city of Jerusalem, was annexed by Transjordan in 1950, against strong opposition from the other Arab States.

          The Military Creation Of The Israeli State - Further Ethnic Cleansing During The Palestine War
          The Palestine war raged in several parts of Palestine – this conventional war occurred on the edges of what was to be the Jewish state and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. Within the proposed Jewish state, ethnic cleansing went on involving around 400 Palestinian villages.
          • In his book, A History Of Modern Palestine, Ilan Pappe focuses on the chronicles of 64 out of the 370 or so villages wiped out by Israel, in order to highlight a situation within the heart of rural Palestine that led to its almost complete disappearance.
            • These villages lay in the area between the coastal towns of Tel-Aviv and Haifa.
            • One of the Haganah’s brigades, the Alexandroni, was entrusted with the mission of Judaizing this part of Palestine.
            • From the end of April until the end of July 1948, a grim scene was repeated in almost every village. Armed Israeli soldiers surrounded each village on three sides, and put the inhabitants to flight through the fourth side. In many cases, if the people refused to leave, they were forced onto lorries and driven away to the West Bank. In some villages, there were Arab volunteers who resisted by force, and when the villages were conquered they were immediately blown up and destroyed.
            • By 14th May, the day the Jewish state was declared, 58 villages had already been wiped out. Six remained. Three would be obliterated in July. two are still there today – these two provided cheap labour to two nearby veteran Jewish settlements, and so were spared.
            • Tantura, the largest of the six remaining villages was caught in the middle of Jewish territory like ‘a bone in the throat’ according to the Alexandroni official history of the war. Its day came. Tantura was an old Palestinian village, large by the standards of that period, with around 1,500 inhabitants. Surrender terms were offered to the village notables – they rejected them, suspecting quite rightly that surrender would lead to expulsion. At first, the Jewish commander contemplated sending a van with a loudspeaker calling on people to surrender, but this did not happen. On the night of  22nd May, the village was attacked from four sides. This was uncommon, as we have seen. Lack of coordination led to a complete encirclement of the village, leaving a large number of villagers in the hands of the occupying forces. The captives were moved to the beach, and the men were separated from the women and children, who were expelled to nearby Fureidis. Two hundred men between the ages of thirteen and thirty were massacred. Both revenge and a calculated wish to kill men of fighting age motivated the bloodshed. There were similar incidents in many other locations; the details of which await the research of future scholars.
          • In Galilee and the Negev, as on the coastal plain, other Israeli brigades used similar strategies for Judaizing the new state. The Israeli operations in Galilee were based on a systematic plan of expulsion, of first terrorizing the population, executing a few to induce the others to leave, and then inviting an official committee to assess the value of land and property in the deserted village or neighbourhood.
          • By the winter of 1948, the second phase of the war had ended, the guns were silent, and with it, the second, but not the last, stage of ethnic cleansing was over. The third phase was to extend beyond the war, until 1954, and is covered below

          Thus:
          • Out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained on or nearby their land and homes. Those who remained became the Palestinian minority in Israel. The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres.
          • The rural heart of Palestine, with its picturesque villages, was ruined. Half of the villages had been destroyed, flattened by Israeli bulldozers, at work since the government had decided either to turn them into cultivated land, or build new Jewish settlements on their remains.
          • Urban Palestine was similarly crushed. The Palestinian neighbourhoods in mixed towns were destroyed, apart from a few quarters that were left empty, to be populated later by Jewish immigrants from Arab countries. The non-mixed towns suffered two very different fates. The people of Lydda, Ramleh, and Majdal were evicted by force, suffering massacres and humiliation in the process. Shafamru and Nazareth, on the other hand, remained intact, but were hopelessly overpopulated by streams of refugees fleeing from nearby villages.
          • Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees – almost 90% of those living in what was designated as the Jewish state.:
            • Those living in the Gaza strip were under Egyptian military rule, in a packed area that included the largest segment of the refugee community
            • Those in the West Bank who were still in their own homes carved out a new political and economic future for themselves. Those who found themselves as refugees there were crammed into tented camps, living off charity and solidarity.
          • The Jewish-cum-Israeli community of 660,000 suffered only 6,000 deaths, of which 2,000 were civilians: in all, 1% of the population.

          The catastrophe that befell the Palestinians would be remembered in the collective national memory as the Nakbah, the catastrophe, kindling the fire that would unite the Palestinians in a national movement.






          FROM ISRAEL’S CREATION TO ISRAEL’S EXPANSION - 1948 WAR TO 1967 WAR

          The Refugees
          About 2.5 million people now lived within the borders of what had been Mandate Palestine. In the newly created state of Israel, these included newcomers, the majority of them Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Arab countries, but also the 160,000 Palestinians who had not fled or been expelled. Nearly one million of Palestine’s indigenous population had been made refugees; many of these had been expelled to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, others to nearby Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

          The refugees came from all walks of life, but whether camp dwellers or not, rich or poor, their sense of identity centred on their lost homeland. Now, in 1948, expelled by force from that homeland, they were for the most part beggars who depended on United Nations hand-outs, living in the hope of soon returning to their homes. The main victims were the refugees in the camps. Their quality of life was determined by the regimes under which they were now living – it was the host countries’ official policies and economic resources that determined camp conditions, and what basic infrastructure there would be. No less important in the life of the refugees was the UN, which had established a single body to deal with the Palestinian refugee problem, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

          UNRWA proved unable to change the refugees’ status or well-being significantly. It had vowed to protect their rights under international law, but failed to do so, because of Israeli intransigence. Its main achievement consisted of moving them from tents into mud huts built within low-walled camps, with a few narrow lanes running through these shanty towns of the Middle East, with their lack of basic infrastructure – water, sewage, housing electricity, roads – a constant reminder to the world of the bitter harvest of the 1948 war. Although UN resolution 194 required the repatriation of the refugees, it never happened. For those who expected the liberation of Palestine by the guerrilla organisations vowing to defeat Zionism and Israel, or by international action, it never happened. The other two parts of the international agenda, the internationalisation of Jerusalem, and the partitioning of Mandate Palestine according to the distribution of the two populations, Arab and Jew, also never happened in the face of Israel’s inflexible position and wholly inadequate international action.

          Refugees in Jordan had occupational freedom, and could leave the camps, provided they showed loyalty to the regime – only those Palestinians who settled in the East Bank were able to normalise their existence over time. The Lebanese government employed an uncompromising policy of oppression and exclusion – they were treated as foreigners in terms of housing and employment – many occupations were closed to them – they were confined to miserable camps. The Syrian government was more relaxed, allowing small businesses, but it was as harsh as the Lebanese about unskilled work. The most favourable conditions awaited refugees in the Persian Gulf states, which became a coveted, if rarely reached, destination. For most, deprivation and a struggle for economic survival were their lot. In the camps, UNRWA became the principal employer– teachers, doctors, and social workers, working in impossible conditions, were all on the payroll.

          The Israelis were constantly on the alert lest the international community insist on implementing the commitment made in Resolution 194. To avert this, the Israeli government began, in August 1948, to execute an anti-repatriation policy, which resulted in the total destruction or full Jewish confiscation of every deserted Palestinian house and dwelling, in both rural village and urban neighbourhood. Legislation was passed in 1950 that allowed the government to go on confiscating Palestinian property and use it for public purposes. In 1953, the army too was authorised to make use of Palestinian villages and fields for ‘security’ purposes. These laws provided the constitutional basis for the continued depopulation of Palestinian villages in the name of ‘security’. In those early years after the 1948 war, the army occupied dozens of Arab villages in the north and coastal plain, and expelled their populations. In the south, the Bedouins were settled by force in a process of dispossession that robbed them of the vast tracts of land they had owned in the late Ottoman period, and of their nomadic culture.
          The continued depopulation was closely connected to Israel’s absorption and settlement policy. The government wished to settle Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders.

          Many of the Jewish immigrants sent by the Israeli central government in the 1950’s to new settlements on the border came from Arab countries. Locating them on the border, often on the ruins of deserted Palestinian villages, provided an easy solution for problems of accommodation and land – it also extended Judaization into geographical areas it had been unable to reach during the Mandate.

          The Israeli Foreign Ministry argued that this policy provided ‘natural justice’ – the Jewish immigrants had been expelled by the Arab world, and could now be given homes vacated by Palestinians. By explaining settlement policy this way, Israel sought to persuade the world that a kind of ‘population ‘transfer’ had taken place, so there was no need to search any longer for a solution to the refugee problem. This argument is refuted by the fact that Israeli expulsions of Palestinians, in the 1948 war and thereafter, came first, and that problems arose for Jewish communities in some Arab countries directly as a reaction to the 1948 war and would not have occurred but for that war (see below).

          This campaign of land and village confiscation continued from 1949 to 1954. Between 1949 and 1952, 40 Palestinian villages were depopulated, their inhabitants either moved en bloc to other villages, driven across the border, or dispersed within the country – ethnic cleansing. Those who lost their homes but remained within Israel joined the large community of internal refugees today numbering some 200,000 (2006).

          In addition to the above, there were the 370 Palestinian villages destroyed in the 1948 war – new Jewish settlements were hastily erected on top of their remains. There was also the land of those evicted after the war – for significant evictions took place after the war, Palestinians were being driven to the border and expelled, in the same way as had happened during the war - more ethnic cleansing.


          Palestinians Within The Jewish State
          Israeli leaders were unprepared, after the 1948 war, for a bi-national situation; they had counted on a purely Jewish state. The 160,000 Palestinians living within the Jewish state created by that war were put under military rule in 1948 – this was to last 18 years until 1966 and the memory of those dark times has played a formative role in the construction of Palestinian identity in Israel today, and strained to breaking point the relationship between Palestinian minority and Jewish majority – deep residues of bitterness and mistrust.

          The legal status of military rule was grounded in British emergency regulations which were ‘carried over’ by the new Israeli state and maintained in force – they gave military governors extended authority over the people under their rule. They became a pernicious tool in the hands of callous and sometimes sadistic military governors. Their cruel behaviour consisted mainly of harassing the population with a range of abuses not unlike those to which new army recruits were subjected. Political activists were expelled or imprisoned. There was particularly harsh military rule in those Palestinian areas close to borders.

          There was growing economic hardship – the Palestinian minority had the highest level of unemployment and underemployment. Peasants in unskilled and poorly-paid jobs had to return home daily as they were not allowed to stay overnight in Jewish areas. In the security-minded state, significant sections of industry were closed to Palestinians because of the ‘security’ problem

          The security-minded political and military elite who ran the new Israeli state maintained a harsh policy of expelling as many Palestinians as possible, and confining the rest in well-guarded enclaves. Land confiscation policy (see below) was able to continue in the name of security and ‘public interest’.

          The Palestinian minority were also discriminated against in the area of welfare benefits. Only people who have served in the Israeli army are eligible for important welfare benefits such as loans, mortgages, subsidised rents, child support payments, and reduced university fees – and the Jewish army is not filled with Palestinians. One wonders why eligibility for these benefits should depend on army service – unless the motive were discrimination by the back door.

          Basic laws passed in the 1950’s served to reinforce a discriminatory system against non-Jews that persists today.  Three laws in particular affected, and continue to affect, the Palestinian citizens of Israel:

          • The 1950 Law of Return gave “every Jew” a “right to come to this country” (whether they wanted to or not). This unrestricted right of immigration for Jews is deemed a basic aspect of the concept of a Jewish state. Palestine Arabs displaced in 1948 have no right under Israeli law to return.
          • The 1952 Nationality Law conferred Israeli citizenship automatically on every Jew who settles in Israel and does not reject it. As regards Palestinians, the Nationality Law grants citizenship to a person who maintained continuous residence in Israel from May 18th 1948 to July 14th 1952. or returned during that period and registered as an inhabitant. It was directed at Palestine Arabs who departed in the 1948 war, and therefore gave them no right to citizenship unless they returned by the specified date in 1952. The government, however, permitted only a few to legally return - the vast majority could not, and their land, as ‘absentee’ property, was controlled by the custodian of absentee property, who rented it to Jews – the rent money going to the government.
          • the law of the Jewish National Fund created an apartheid-style system of land transactions, used to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land (see above), the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. Most importantly, the laws defined most of the land for sale in Israel as the exclusive and perpetual property of the Jewish people. The result was that almost all of Palestinian-owned land was taken by the government and turned into state land to be sold or leased only to Jews. By the end of the confiscation policy and the formulation of the policy legalizing it, 92% of the country’s land had fallen into Jewish hands. Palestinian land, which on the eve of war amounted to about 4.6 million dunams within the territory that became Israel, was reduced by 1950 to half a million dunams. By 2000, even though the Palestinian population had grown tenfold, the amount of land available to them remained almost unchanged.

          Political activists among the Palestinians within the Jewish state who were even vaguely suspected of identifying with Palestinian nationalism, were expelled or imprisoned.

          Palestinian Resistance And The Israeli Response
          By the late 1950’s, the violence and despair produced by conditions in the refugee camps was channelled into guerrilla activity. This process was part of the re-emergence of the Palestinian national movement. The refugee community soon became politicised – political activity took time to crystallise, and was at first leaderless and individualistic, centring on the mythical figure of the Palestinian fighter, willing to sacrifice his life for the cause of Palestine.

          The area of operations of the Palestinian fighters was the guarded border between Israel and the rest of Palestine, and consisted of armed raids on isolated Jewish settlements close to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Later, there were raids against Israeli installations with the aim of sabotage. The Israelis reacted harshly from the beginning, attacking and killing civilians in reprisals, using special elite commando units of the Israeli army. Their shoot-to-kill policy resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians.

          Before long, political activism thrived not only in the camps, but also in the urban centres on the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Amman and Damascus. At the end of the 1950’s, two clear Palestinian political goals had emerged – the creation of a Palestinian state, and the return of the Palestinian refugees. As the state they envisioned was to replace Israel, the second goal would have been achieved by the success of the first. The core of activists perceived the need for an armed struggle to recapture Palestine,

          Fatah, a national group for the liberation of Palestine, sprang from the cadre of the Palestinian fighters. Fatah declared a no-ideology affiliation and a secular outlook. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was established as a national umbrella front for the Palestinian struggle, comprising Fatah and other, smaller leftist factions. Its aim was the liberation of Palestine - that is, the land that had been occupied in the war of 1948, and which had become known as Israel


          The Mizrachi Jews
          Jewish leaders saw the demographic potential of the million or so Jews living in the Arab world for consolidating the Jewish state. Significantly, this demographic consideration had played no role in Zionist thought before the Holocaust, when the Jewish state had been depicted as a European entity. After the loss of six million Jews, the Zionist project needed numbers to survive, even if they came from ‘underdeveloped and primitive’ areas of the world. A campaign was begun to convince Jews to come to Israel.

          Two processes, converging in 1948, generated the mass Jewish immigration from the Arab world. One was the growing identification in the minds of Arab governments of Jewish life with Zionism and the Palestine conflict. The other was the Zionist drive to import the Arab Jews to Israel. In other words, after the 1948 war, both Israel and the Arab regimes identified the Arab Jews as potential Zionists.

          The effects differed according to the particular Arab regime. In Iraq, Iraqi attitudes and legislation hardened against the Jewish community, until, in 1951, it ordered the expulsion of Jews who refused to sign a statement of anti-Zionism - almost all of the Iraqi Jews were forced to leave without their property. The Jewish Agency, before the expulsion, actually sought ways to contribute to the instability of that community, to the extent of sending agents who planted bombs near synagogues in Baghdad, in order to create additional terror and insecurity. This did much to bring this ancient community back to Zion. In Egypt, the government demanded pledged of anti-Zionism of Jews in the community – though the treatment did not amount to expulsion, life was transformed, and eventually most of Egypt’s Jews would leave the country, either for Israel or other destinations. The Moroccan Jewish community was the largest group of Arab Jewish immigrants. They lived in Morocco in poorer conditions than any of the other communities in the Arab world, but had their own economic and social elite. The struggle for liberation from France motivated the elite among them to move to Europe and Canada. The community had been protected by Morocco’s king when endangered by the Nazi invasion of North Africa, and he had also protected them from the Vichy government. Jewish agents had therefore to work hard to persuade Moroccan Jews to leave such a safe haven for the insecurity of the new Jewish state. Those less well-to-do sections of the community were more easily tempted to leave now independent Morocco for a new future in Israel.

          When Mizrachi (Arab Jewish) immigrants arrived in Israel, they were greeted in a manner devised to show them that they had left a primitive traditional existence for a modern one, and ought to be grateful. In fact, they were needed for their (cheap) labour. They lacked financial means, which made them hostages to the power of the Israeli state absorption apparatus, which was run by East European Jews harbouring racist and condescending views about Arabs in general, and Arab Jews in particular.

          North African Jews were mainly unskilled workers who were pushed into the development towns the government had erected on the borders. The intention was to expand the Jewish community, which tended to prefer the urban centres on the coast, into those areas. Some were asked to repopulate the deserted and abandoned Arab neighbourhoods in what had been the mixed towns of Palestine - the choicest part of refugee spoils having already been taken by public bodies and then the Kibbutz movement – what was left was turned into crowded slums for North African Jews. But they did not just suffer from poor-quality housing, of which they were the main recipients. Mizrachi Jews did not receive the same services and benefits as other unemployed (the Histradut union was not immune from Ashkenazi racist attitudes), nor did they enjoy the union’s help in their demand for equal pay for equal work The speaking of Arabic was forbidden, as were their customs and costumes. Immigrants were offered a second-rate education, full of Zionist indoctrination, but inadequate in preparing them for social mobility and progress. The Mizrachi Jews were also needed in order to expand agricultural production. They were not invited to join the Ashkenazi kibbutzim, except for young children, who were admitted without their parents (these children, unlike their parents, gained the privilege of an exceptional mobility and integration). In general, Mizrachi Jews were thrust into collective cultivation of the land in areas not desired by the kibbutz movement. The economic advantage from the low wages paid to Mizrachi Jews was an incentive to ignore the situation.

          Even after many years, the Mizrachi Jews have not escaped the lower social stratum their new state assigned to them. In contrast to the prosperity of the Ashkenazim, they remain stuck in the same unskilled, underpaid and low-status rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
           
           
          War - The Suez Campaign
          Israeli society was becoming increasingly militarised – the hawkish and uncompromising Ben-Gurion, and others like him, pushed aside more moderate, dovish statesmen. They dreamed of a Greater Israel expanding to the north, east, and south. Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and their ilk believed in an aggressive policy, Many among the Jewish population agreed, and were equally far removed from reconciliation or peace. There was fierce rhetoric on the Arab side about revenge for the 1948 defeat, which contributed to an ‘eve of war’ atmosphere, and aggressive actions on the part of the Egyptians, but they in fact merely provided the Israelis with a welcome pretext. Ben-Gurion was looking for war. (In 1954, according to former Prime minister Moshe Sharett, the Israeli army sought a way to initiate a war with Egypt in order to take the Gaza Strip. In 1955, Ben-Gurion asked the cabinet to approve an invasion of the Gaza Strip [they rejected the proposal, concerned over US reaction]). He found one by aligning Israel to the Anglo-French plot to overthrow Nasser. The ex-colonial powers had their own colonialist agenda, which involved bringing down Nasser in Egypt. Israel’s military victory, in conjunction with the British and French, was swift – the Israelis penetrated into the Gaza Strip, and most of the Sinai Peninsula. But the political consequences were less impressive – Israel withdrew from both the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula after a concentrated effort by both the USA and the USSR (in those days, the Israel lobby was not the factor in American politics which it became later). (The British and French, too, were forced to withdraw.) The UN put an emergency force (UNEF) on the Egyptian side of the 1949 armistice line to assure there were no further hostilities.

          For Ilan Pappe, in his book A History of Modern Palestine, the lasting effect was that “it deepened the involvement of the army in Israeli life to unprecedented levels. As I see it, the militarization of Israeli society that had begun with the victory of 1948 was completed by the 1956 Sinai victory.”


          The 6-Day War In 1967
          After the Israelis, in April/May 1967, had threatened the Syrians over border incidents, Syria sought help from Egypt, with which it had a mutual defence agreement, in a period of increasing tension between Arab forces and the Israelis. Egypt’s President Nasser became convinced that an Israeli attack on Syria was imminent. On May 18th, Egypt asked the UN to totally withdraw UNEF forces (which were on the Egyptian side of the 1949 armistice line between Egypt and Israel) – according to the UN commander, Egypt gave as its reason that it contemplated “action against Israel, the moment it might carry out any aggressive action against any Arab country.” UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the UN arrange a settlement. Egypt accepted the idea, but Israel rejected it. Thant then asked Israel to accept UNEF on its side of the 1949 armistice line. Israel declined – the probable inference is that Israel was not concerned about an Egyptian attack, and that UNEF withdrawal did not constitute a serious threat to Israel’s security.

          Israel mobilised, Egypt announced it would close the Straits of Tiran to any vessels carrying strategic goods to Israel, and moved troops toward the Israel-Egypt armistice line, it’s aim, it declared, being to deter Israel from attacking Syria. Israel’s General Rabin reported to Israel’s cabinet that the Egyptian forces were in a defensive posture, that they were not being deployed for an attack. The Israeli army concluded that Nasser meant to intervene in case of an Israeli attack on Syria. US intelligence likewise did not expect Egypt to attack in the absence of an Israeli invasion of Syria, and, on May 26th, communicated that assessment to Israel. On June 3rd, Egypt withdrew some troops from the Israel-Egypt armistice line.

          On June 4th, the Israeli cabinet authorised an invasion of Egypt. On the morning of 5th June, Israel’s air force destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground at their bases, and at the same time sent ground troops through the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s attack, which took Egypt by surprise, followed a long and well-rehearsed plan. “Sixteen years planning had gone into these initial 80 minutes”, said Brigadier Mordechai Hod, commander of Israel’s air force. “We lived with the plan, we slept on the plan, we ate the plan. Constantly, we perfected it.”

          On June 5th, the United States sent Israel ammunition and jet fighters. Although the US did not acknowledge a direct role in the fighting, it sent reconnaissance aircraft that traced the night-time movement of Egypt’s ground troops to facilitate day-time Israeli air attacks on them. The Egyptian troops were forced to move at night because, with their air force destroyed, they had no protection against air strikes. The air strikes were important to Israel’s rapid victory. Israel’s air force attacked Jordan’s and Syria’s aircraft in the manner it had done to Egypt’s, and by the evening of 5th June it had destroyed the air warfare capacity of all three. By the time a cease-fire was effected on June 8th, Israel had taken the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. (Egypt eventually recovered the Sinai after a bilateral peace with Israel in 1979.) On June 9th, Israel attacked Syria, which had shelled Israeli targets from June 5th to June 8th, but had not otherwise engaged in the war. After occupying Syria’s Golan Heights, Israel stopped its attack on June 10th, under pressure from the United States.
           
          In the Security Council on June 5th, Egypt and the USSR charged Israel with aggression. Israel claimed that Egypt had struck first. In fact, Egypt had not attacked by land or air and none of its aircraft had approached Israel. The United States, according to President Lyndon Johnson, was aware that Israel had initiated the hostilities, but it supported Israel’s claim that Egypt had attacked it. On July 7th, Eshkol acknowledged that Israel had struck first, abandoning Israel’s initial position that Egypt had initiated the hostilities. Eshkol now said that Israel’s attack had been a “legitimate defence”, in anticipation of an Egyptian attack on Israel. However, various Israeli officials said later that Israel had not in fact anticipated an imminent attack by Egypt when it struck on 5th June:

          • General Rabin, consistent with his cabinet reports, said, “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14th would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.” Rabin said Nasser massed troops to deter an attack by Israel on Syria to appear as “the saviour of Syria and thus win great sympathy in the Arab world.” Rabin said the forces Nasser sent into Sinai on May 20th-22nd were not planning an offensive against Israel.
          • General Matitiahu Peled, a member of Israel’s general staff during the 1967 war, said that “the thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in June 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence is only a bluff born and developed after the war.” Peled confirmed that Rabin had told the cabinet Egypt had not planned to attack. “Our General Staff”, he said, “never told the government that the Egyptian military threat represented any danger to Israel.”
          • Ezer Weizman, chief of the general staff branch, said that had Egypt attacked, Israel would have defeated it – “maybe thirteen hours would have been needed instead of only three – that Jordan had offered little opposition, and that Syria posed no “real threat”, which is why Israel waited “three days before attacking it.” Weizman said that “a country does not go to war only when the immediate threat of destruction is hovering.” Explaining Israel’s decision to strike, he said, “We entered the Six-Day War in order to secure a situation in which we can manage our lives as we see fit without external pressures.” He called the 1967 war  “a direct continuation” of the 1948 war.
          • Menachem Begin, when prime minister, said that “the Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” Begin gave an analysis similar to Weizman’s of Israeli motive. He said Israel’s aim was to “take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.”
          Thus, at the end of the 1967 war, Israel existed on 79% of what had been Palestine. It now occupied the remaining 21%, consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories.






          FROM 1967 WAR OF EXPANSION TO THE PRESENT

          The Occupation
          For years, Israeli rulers tended to talk about ‘an enlightened occupation’ when assessing the first decade of Israeli rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. From its beginning, however, when 590,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 380,000 in the Gaza Strip fell under Israeli hegemony in 1967, there was little that could be described as ‘enlightened’ about the harsh and brutal occupation. The inhabitants of the Occupied Territories were, and still are today, under the sovereignty of a Jewish state, with power of life and death over them. They don't even have the second-rate rights that Israel granted, on sufferance, to the Arabs within Israel, whose rights have already been described, see above.

          The pragmatic leadership of the Jewish state, although exhilarated by its sudden acquisition of the whole of ex-Mandate Palestine, was nonetheless nervous about absorbing such a large number of Palestinians. Expulsion was neither an alien concept nor an unfamiliar practice to the Zionist movement. Mass expulsions began immediately after the 1967 war (the first began among Palestinians living within the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem), and took place at intervals, so that the threat of expulsion and relocation was one of the many burdens imposed by the occupation on the Palestinians. Israeli settlements (see below) always involved the expulsion of the Palestinians.


          The Settlements
          The building of Israeli settlements within the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip represented a decisive rejection of peace, because it signalled to the Palestinians that there was a threat even to the remaining (occupied) territories from which they might some day achieve an independent state – settlement represented a Judaization of the area settled, and continuing settlement represented an increasing Judaization of more and more of the Occupied Territories. Very quickly after the 1967 war, the settlement movement and settlement policy began to take shape. Neumann quotes Chomsky: “settlements in the Occupied Territories began immediately after the war, sometimes without government authorisation, though this regularly came later … by December 1969, the Meir government had established as one of it's ‘essential goals’ the ‘acceleration of the installation of military settlements and permanent and agricultural and urban settlements in the territory of the homeland’ (the official wording).”

          The development of the settler movement and the policies that sheltered it did not even leave the Palestinians with anything remotely resembling a secure and tolerable existence. By the mid-1970’s, both the settler movement and the settlers themselves had become increasingly terrifying forces. Their messianic notions of racial destiny have been amply documented – see some examples in the appendix. For those interested in greater detail, refer to Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion. Neumann states that “what matters is that settler ideology, as described, is well known, widespread, and rightly perceived to have real influence on Israeli politics. It would be irrational for any Palestinian not to perceive this as a menace and to react accordingly.

          Jerusalem was the first ‘pilot project’ of Jewish settlement on occupied territory. In early 1968, the Israeli authorities appropriated vast areas of East Jerusalem, a third of which were private property, and re-zoned them as Jewish neighbourhoods. Settlement has continued apace for the last 40 years, and there are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, housing over 500,000 settlers.

          The settlement enterprise was accompanied by a mass confiscation of land. This was begun by the army, seeking land for its camps and installations, but afterwards most of the coveted land was allocated to the settlers. The judicial authority in Israel enabled the confiscation of Palestinian land and registration of the new settlements as state land. This, too, has already been described above. In one rare decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled against this procedure in the case of the 1975 settlement Elon Moreh, near Nablus – both the government and the settlers ignored the ruling.

          Settlements were not, and were not perceived to be, a security requirement. The settlers, and the ideologues behind them testified, in the clearest possible fashion, to an intention to displace the occupied population, in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment, leading to an inexorable degradation of Palestinian living conditions and opportunities. This was the result not only of actions by the settlers themselves, but of their support, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes grudging, by the Israeli state. Settlements are built on previously confiscated land (for a fuller description of the process, see Neumann, page 115). Once there is a new settlement, this is just the beginning. It needs room to grow, reserves of land, an abundance of cheap water, which the Israeli state will provide, often by using resources denied to the Palestinians nearby. A settlement needs access, a road to connect it with other settlements - roads are another reason for confiscating Palestinian property - roads are long and wide and their route can be shifted to achieve maximum impact in terms of houses demolished, orchards uprooted, and so on. Every road that connects two Jewish settlements is also a road which separates two Palestinian towns – Palestinians cannot use “Jewish” roads. There are also the consequences of industrial pollution and settler sewage.

          It is beyond the scope of a short history to describe in full detail how the daily lives of Palestinians are affected by the settlement process. Neumann, in his book, gives one short description, and refers the reader to the work of Israeli journalist Amira Hass, Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege.

          Settlers have little fear of government intervention, and can take matters into their own hands. This normally consists of harassment at a fairly low level, physical attacks, destruction of trees, and so on, though occasionally there are more serious attacks. Israeli army forces are primarily in the area to protect Israelis from attacks by Palestinians (that is, they will not normally feel the need to protect Palestinians). In addition, every settlement has its own heavily-armed native militia, often imbued with the settler attitude of mind referred to above, though settler violence does not normally compare with Israeli military incursions.

          All in all, the continually-increasing settlements constitute a mortal threat to the Palestinians. They caused and justified an increasingly bitter resistance, with increasingly vicious attempts to repress it, resulting in more and more damage to Palestinian lands, cities, and livelihoods. Border closures stifled employment opportunities in Israel, tanks broke up roads and sewer lines beneath them. Curfews and, above all, checkpoints made anything resembling normal economic life impossible – thus, unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty, especially in the Gaza Strip. To the direct harm of the settlements must be added the indirect harm resulting from the violence they spawned. For the Palestinians, it all represented dispossession, humiliation, lack of opportunity. Their lives, and the lives of their families, are constantly in real danger, and it is entirely reasonable to respond with violence. (Israelis responded to Palestinian violence with considerable savagery and questionable methods, including collective punishment).

          Finally, the occupation itself, coupled with the ‘creeping annexation’ of Palestinian land through the building of more and more Israeli settlements, and the relentless processes of deprivation described above, have had socio-economic implications that, taken together, amount to a kind of neo-colonialist relationship of Palestinian dependence:

          • Continuing settlement, each new settlement being linked by ‘Jewish-only’ roads led the effective break-up of the Occupied territories into a series of  ‘Bantustans’
          • the absorption of a good part of the Palestinian workforce into the Israeli economy, as cheap labour
          • the integration of the Palestinian economy into the Israeli economy
          • a fall in savings and investment in the Palestinian economy
          • the dumping of Israeli products on the Territories, undercutting local producers

          Refugees
          When it was over, the June 1967 Six Day War found the Palestinians, like most of the Arab world, in shock, and almost completely paralysed. Although the dichotomy between refugees and non-refugees remained intact, communities in the West Bank, Gaza strip, and Israel were united by the sheer fact of being under the control of Israel.

          The camps and other Palestinian refugee communities were swollen by a new wave of displaced people, fleeing or expelled by force from the territories newly occupied by Israel. Around 400,000 of the population of the Occupied Territories became refugees, almost half of them for a second time. This was a smaller demographic shift than in 1948 but nonetheless added to the burden of an already oppressed community. In 1972, 1.5 million refugees were registered, of whom 650,000 lived in thirteen large camps in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The number of refugees would increase to about 2 million by 1982.

          There was little that UNWRA could do, once it had almost completely given up its original commitments (repatriation and resettlement) laid down in UN resolutions. After the UN and the United States stopped insisting that Israel agree to repatriation, UNWRA might have had the chance to promote assimilation had its resettlement schemes been connected to long-term development projects in areas inhabited by refugees. However, the UN lost interest in such projects and became content to be simply a relief agency. In any case resettlement was an unsatisfactory solution for the refugee problem, as most refugees clung to the hope of being unconditionally repatriated, as the UN had promised them in Resolution 194.

          After the 1967 war, UNWRA’s policy changed little, as did the attitudes of the host countries. The dismal economic and social conditions did not improve – refugees were still living in dwellings unfit for human habitation: cellars, crumbling tenements, others in overcrowded barracks and shacks. Nearly all the camps were overcrowded with five or more people living in one room. They lack adequate roads and pathways and many camps are deep in mud in winter and dust in summer. UNWRA’s spending per head was so small that it meant life without meat, fruit, or vegetables, with totally inadequate spending on health and education. Life was difficult due to economic deprivation, but it was also marred by hostility from the local host societies. The refugees became the landless proletariat of Palestinian society. Life was governed by finding work, perhaps in the fields of a local landlord during harvest, or in the workshops and offices of relief organisations in the camps. Some worked as street vendors. Survival depended on the economies of the host countries or on temporary labour, with earnings usually insufficient to keep an average family.

          Unofficial Israeli policy was not to allow refugees to return to the Occupied Territories. After 1977, when Likud came to power, this policy became official. The Likud government adhered to a Greater Israel ideology: any decrease in the number of Palestinians, or increase in the number of Jewish settlers, in the Occupied Territories was seen as likely to help make the dream become a reality. (Many in the Labour Party also supported this stance.)


          Palestinians Within The Jewish State
          The Palestinian minority in Israel continued to exist as second-class citizens, as described above. While the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories focused on liberation from Israeli occupation, the Palestinian minority in Israel, while supporting this cause, stressed as their priority the struggle for equality within the Jewish state.

          There was further Judaization involving land expropriation in Galilee. “Judaizing the Galilee” was a clandestine programme until 1976, when it became an open slogan of the Housing Ministry. Jews were asked to settle in Galilee in every possible way: new towns, new kibbutzim, new community centres. The emergency regulations from the British mandate were used again to expropriate land without compensation or the right of protest. The land was used for new Jewish towns (no new Arab town has ever been built in Israel) and community centres to attract upwardly mobile people from Tel-Aviv. Land was also expropriated for the Israeli army, which seemed to be in constant need of more training grounds. Thousands of Galilean Arabs had their land and houses taken from them by force. Six Israeli Arabs lost their lives in a protest, in clashes with trigger-happy Israeli police.

          The Palestinians in Israel supported the 1987 intifada (see below), organising strikes and demonstrations – it was the first time political action was coordinated between Palestinians on both sides of the green line.


          Palestinian Political And Armed Resistance, And The Israeli Response - 1967 To 1987
          In 1968, Fatah, took over the leadership of the PLO, installed Yasser Arafat as its head, and restructured it so that power emanated from above – the executive committee selected the central committee, which then supervised the PNC (Palestine National Council), the parliament. There was a political department, an army (the PLA, originally founded by the Arab League), a welfare service (Samed), and its own Red Crescent society. Samed dealt with welfare and unemployment, weakening UNRWA’s role as principal employer in the refugee camps, and its welfare work did much to help the PLO enhance its standing among the refugees. The PLO regarded the refugees in the camps as potential recruits for its liberation struggle.

          The Palestinian fighters continued with their guerrilla warfare against Israel. Jordan became a base for guerrilla attacks. In 1967, there were about 100 attacks on military installations and bases, and this had risen to more than 2,000 by 1970. Fatah led the way. Israeli retaliation was prompt.

          Though Fatah remained the most significant, fighter organisations other than Fatah existed, such as the PFLP and the PDFLP – it was they who began a terrorist campaign outside Israel (followed a few years later by Fatah) – the PFLP was the first to hijack aeroplanes as a means of attracting international attention to the Palestinian’s plight, and there were several such hijackings.

          In 1970, the PLO suffered a major setback when Jordan’s king Hussein, fearful of Palestinian power in the country, attempted to disarm it; this ended in a bloodbath and the evacuation of the PLO to Lebanon. The move from Jordan and the consequent shift in guerrilla activity to Lebanon and Israel’s northern border weakened the ties of the PLO with the Palestinian community in the Occupied Territories – without the PLO, the different Palestinian groups in the Occupied Territories failed to find common ground, and this situation lasted until the outbreak of the first intifada in the late 1980’s.

          The PLO established itself in Lebanon, both in Beirut and in southern Lebanon, from where it conducted military operations against Israel. There were bombings and attacks on military installations as before, but some attacks were carried out by missiles on Israeli settlements, others through the taking of hostages. South Lebanon became a battlefield. Israel launched large-scale retaliations.

          In 1972, the Fatah group Black September killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, in another bid to obtain international attention. Most of Black September’s members were later assassinated by the Israeli Mossad, in revenge.

          In 1974, the PLO changed its policy, stating that the liberation of the Occupied Territories had priority over the dream of redeeming Palestine as a whole, and led to gradual abandonment of the armed struggle in favour of diplomacy.

          In 1982, in the first Lebanon war (see below), the PLO was forced out of Beirut. Arafat and PLO headquarters was moved to Tunisia – the Palestinian hub was now even further away from Palestine itself - in Tunis, the PLO was more restricted in its ability to formulate a consensual policy, and spent more time healing internal rifts.

          PLO/Fatah, in the 1980’s, reduced its objective from the liberation of the whole of Palestine to the liberation of the Occupied Territories and a recognition of Israel’s right to exist. This, together with its gradual switch from armed conflict to diplomacy, its failure to achieve anything concrete, and the increasing perception of it as corrupt by many Palestinians, led to considerable fall in it’s popularity and prestige. This, in turn, led to the creation, and the rise, of Hamas (see below).


          Other Palestinian Resistance, And The Israeli Response – 1967 to 1987
          The Israeli government declared from the very onset of its occupation that these areas were ‘territories under custody’ in which military rule would apply. This meant that, in practice, the people living in the Occupied Territories were deprived of all basic human and civic rights. At the same time, the government did all it could to avoid being limited by international law guidelines on the administration of occupied areas – guidelines that were systematically violated by the Israelis.

          From the beginning of the occupation, international jurists commented on the illegitimacy of the Israeli resolution to maintain the territories as an occupied area without adhering to the requirements sanctioned by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of such areas. Israel violated almost every clause of that convention by settling Jews there, expelling Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment.

          The legal basis for the occupation regime was the notorious mandatory regulations of 1945, which have already been mentioned. The Israelis now added a new regulation allowing the army to expel from anywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories anyone suspected of being a security risk. It was used extensively against Palestinian activists, both within the Israeli state, as well as in the Occupied Territories.

          ‘Resistance’ was, in the eyes of the Israelis, very liberally defined. Any show of opposition to the occupation, such as a rally, a strike, distribution of petitions or the waving of the Palestinian flag, was met with severe brutality.

          In July 1967, the Israeli defence minister was told of armed resistance in the west Bank town of Qalqilya, and immediately ordered the destruction of the town. Half of Qalqilya’s houses were demolished in this operation. This was the first act of collective punishment in a long series of such acts in the first decade after the 1967 war, for any gesture that was regarded as subversive or resistant to occupation. Destruction of houses, expulsion, and arrest without trial were the most common uses of the regulations.

          Time after time, the Palestinian youth, and some middle-aged men and women, took up arms, and used stones, Molotov cocktails, and whatever they could find, in a show of resistance to the occupation. They were quashed under the firepower of tanks and heavy guns employed indiscriminately against the local civilian population. It was not until the 1987 intifada, and then the second intifada in the autumn of 2000, that the Israeli army resorted again to such destructive retaliation against a popular uprising.

          There was restriction of movement. Movement between any destinations in the occupied territories has remained the exclusive right of Jewish settlers. The Palestinians require special permission to do so. The restrictions on freedom of movement were, and still are, harsher on those wishing to leave the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.. This hardship was particularly acute in the case of Palestinian workers who were invited to join, as unskilled cheap labour, the Israeli economy. The workers were allowed to enter Israel at dawn, but had to leave at dusk. The daily routine of these workers was humiliating – daily commuting – Israeli checkpoints where they were quite often subjected to maltreatment and harassment. By the beginning of the 1980’s, about 150,000 Palestinians were living this way.


          Palestinian Resistance And Israeli Response During The First Intifada
          The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted in December 1987 in Gaza’s refugee camps because Palestinians in the Occupied territories gave up hope that any external forces could, in the face of Israeli inflexibility and intransigence, extricate them from their harsh situation:
          • At Arab summits, the Palestinian issue was last on the list of priorities – even when these leaders considered the Palestinians, they had little to offer in the way of solutions
          • The PLO produced no solutions – it appeared resigned to the loss of its homeland and to the Palestinians failure to achieve self-determination
          • As for the rest of the world, the developing world was sympathetic but powerless, and the developed world, perhaps sympathetic, in the main did not wish to antagonise America, which was manifestly pro-Israeli
          The intifada was fomented by these factors, and by the realisation that Israeli settlement was a ‘creeping annexation’ – the intifada was a universal outburst of suppressed dismay, frustration and anger at Jewish settlements and land expropriation, economic exploitation, daily harassment and the sense of no escape from a long-endured, harsh occupation. Hard living conditions for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which had been created by the Israeli occupation, reached an unprecedented state. The refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank at the beginning of the intifada held about 1,500,000 people. A third of this population were children under fifteen. Those men who could not find work made a living as hired labourers, mainly in Israel. On the eve of the intifada, 35% were unemployed. They were the most politicised sector of Palestinian society, and had borne the brunt of Israel’s collective punishment policy in the two years preceding the uprising. Poverty combined with feelings of oppression and humiliation charged the Palestinian atmosphere; conditions were ripe for a revolt against the occupation.

          At the outbreak of the intifada, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood established Hamas as an adjunct organisation, with a mission to confront the Israeli occupation. Although the Palestinian Muslin Brotherhood had been set up in Jerusalem in 1946, until 1987 it had concentrated on attempting to Islamise the Palestinians, arguing that only a devoted and religiously committed force could successfully confront Israel. The Brotherhood consistently used this ideology to justify their non-confrontation policy against the Israeli occupation throughout the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's and until 1987, against mounting accusations by other Palestinian nationalist and leftist organisations of cowardice or even of being indirectly in the service of the Israeli occupation. After the 1967 war, the Brotherhood amassed strength and established footholds in all major Palestinian cities. Leftist and nationalist ideology had been outpacing and outpowering the Muslim Brotherhood up to the 1980’s. In particular, the Fatah movement and the PLO dominated Palestinian politics over those decades. The 1980’s witnessed the rapid growth in the power of the Brotherhood against the decline of Fatah. It represented the turning away from a secular leftist/Marxist ideology as a means of supporting the Palestinians in their conflict, and a return to the ancient Islamic fold for their inspiration.

          The decision by the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leadership to establish the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) was taken on the day following the start of the intifada. Hamas was formed following an internal debate within the Brotherhood concerning its formerly passive approach to the Israeli occupation. A faction pushed for a change in policy towards confrontation with the occupation, thus bypassing the old and traditional ways whose focus was on the Islamisation of society first. When the intifada erupted, the exponents of the confrontational policy gained the upper hand, arguing that Islamists would suffer a great loss if they decided not to take part in the intifada with all the other participating Palestinian factions. It was the opportunity for the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, through Hamas, to heed (and to be seen to lead) the uprising.

          The first intifada was mostly a weaponless confrontation – Palestinian stone-throwers against the Israeli army. The Israelis responded with various measures:

          • the sealing off of houses, and house demolitions
          • the use of collaborators
          • mass arrests without trial
          • torture during interrogation
          • assembling all the men in reoccupied villages and in some instances subjecting them to merciless beatings
          • cordoning off villages as ‘secure military areas’, preventing entry and exit for days on end – to keep out the international media
          • Towards the end of the intifada, the Israeli army resorted to an economic clampdown as a last resort, cutting off electricity and water, and preventing olive-picking during the height of the season
          The intifada started in the West Bank, and spread to the Gaza Strip. In the first year of the intifada, 400 Palestinians were killed in clashes with the Israeli army – thousands were wounded. Most of the wounded were women and children. The wounded were not only victims of live ammunition or rubber bullets, but also of systematic beatings by Israeli soldiers and border police.

          While the refugees started the uprising, the burden of keeping it alive rested on the rural population: the farmers were the most significant factor, demonstrating, directing the riots, stoning the occupiers. Half of the intifada’s deaths came from the villages – most of the houses demolished were located in the rural areas – the worst acts of retaliation were committed in the villages.

          The Israelis did not resort to mass expulsions during the intifada – they would do so in 1993

          Although Hamas was created in 1987, its trademark suicide attacks did not begin until 1994 in response to an Israeli atrocity in Hebron. Hamas has been careful to link any suicide bombings of civilians to specific Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians. Over the years, Hamas has geared up its use of suicide operations, because of the aura of strength and popularity accorded to it by the desperate Palestinian population, despite the adverse effect on international opinion.

          Erratically waxing and waning, the intifada lasted until roughly 1993, when the Oslo accords (see below) were signed between Israel and the PLO, resulting for the first time in a Palestinian form of authority (the Palestinian Authority) in the Occupied Territories.

          In the mid-1990’s, the Israelis built a huge wall in the Gaza Strip, with electric fences, and guard towers, which turned the Strip into a kind of huge prison camp.


          Palestinian Resistance And Israeli Response During The Second Intifada
          The second intifada broke out in October 2000, as a result of the failure, after several years of negotiations, of the Oslo peace process - the Palestinian public rightly (see below) lost confidence in the process, and became frustrated. The immediate cause was the extremely provocative visit of Ariel Sharon to Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, which infuriated Muslims. (Against much advice, the war criminal Sharon decided to make a political point in Israeli politics by demonstrating that even the holiest of Muslim places in Jerusalem were under full Israeli control and jurisdiction.)

          All the frustrations that were there at the start of the first intifada were exacerbated because settlements continued to be built. Contrary to all hopes aroused by the peace process, the Israeli occupation was actually tightening its grip on the ground. The size and population of Israeli settlements almost doubled during the years following the Oslo agreement, and by the year 2000 there were about 350,000 Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories. By the eve of the second intifada, the peace process brought about by the Oslo Accords was witnessing the first signs of its own demise.

          Although it started as a popular uprising with no use of weapons, the second intifada quickly turned into an armed confrontation. Palestinians across the political spectrum supported the intifada: the ruling PA organisations, such as Fatah and other PLO factions, stood side by side with Hamas and other opposition factions. Suicide bombings were among the measures of resistance that the Palestinians used.

          The Israelis responded by a harsh re-occupation of all of the West Bank cities and villages, resisted by force, most courageously in the refugee camp at Jenin (in April 2002) – the Palestinians claimed that a massacre took place there. In Ramallah, Arafat’s compound was demolished, and he was put under siege. (After being under siege for two years, Arafat died in November 2004 [some suspected poisoned by the Israelis], after being taken to a hospital in France.)

          After the horrific events in Jenin became public knowledge, the Bush administration resumed peace efforts, not having previously been interested. In the winter of 2002, these culminated in a plan called the ‘Road Map’. In May 2003, the ‘road map’ was endorsed by the ‘quartet’ of the US, the EU, Russia and the UN. They have since gone nowhere. American and Israeli attempt to impose a new leader, Mahmoud Abbas, totally failed. After a few weeks as the first ever Prime Minister of Palestine, he resigned, admitting he could not control the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation.

          Israel started, in June 2002, construction of a wall to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, with large inroads to ensure that some of the major Jewish settlements would be on the Israeli side of the divide. Construction continued despite international condemnation and the denunciation of the wall as illegal by the International Court of Justice. It directly affects the lives of 200,000 nearby Palestinians who were moved from their houses or barred from reaching their fields, and affects many more because of its barrier. Every now and then, Israeli politicians and generals hinted that its prime objective was really to annex more territory.


          Israel’s Other Wars
          The 1973 War

          The 1973 joint Syrian-Egyptian attack caught Israeli intelligence unprepared, and the near-defeat on the battlefield sent shock waves through the Israeli political system as a whole.

          This round of fighting was not focused on the Palestinian question – it is one of the more curious twists in this narrative of conflict that the bloodiest of all Arab-Israeli confrontations was fought over issues not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It shat