The Root of the Mid-East Conflict and the Reason Our Government Supports Israel’s Government
The Root of the Mid-East Conflict and the Reason Our Government Supports Israel’s Government
A. Virtually every American politician, Jewish or not, supports the Israeli government virtually unconditionally. On his recent trip to Israel, Vice President Biden referred to Israel as “his home.” Secretary of State Clinton in her March 22 speech to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) said, “We are committed to Israel and its security.” Whenever there is a UN resolution critical of Israel, our government vetoes it. When Judge Richard Goldstone, a pro-Israel South African Jewish judge who headed a UN fact-finding commission concluded from a thorough investigation of the Israeli attack on Gaza 18 months ago that Israel and Hamas had both committed “war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law, which may amount to crimes against humanity” the U.S. House of Representatives condemned the report as “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy” and President Obama dismissed it as ‘one-sided and flawed.” But no American politician has ever identified a false statement in the report.
B. According to a Congressional Research Report for Congress, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. In the past, Israel also had received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel’s receiving benefits not available to other countries. For example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, all U.S. foreign assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year. Most other recipients normally receive aid in installments. Congress also appropriates funds for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs.”
C. Why are all U.S. politicians and mainstream media so pro-Israel?
i. The pro-establishment explanation goes like this: Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, it is the only haven for the survivors of the Holocaust, it is surrounded by anti-Semitic enemies who want to drive the Jews into the sea, and the reason all American politicians support Israel even though they may disagree about everything else is because only a nasty anti-Semitic bigot would not support Israel.
ii. You may not have ever heard the anti-establishment explanation. It goes like this: The Israeli government has the virtual unconditional support of all American politicians because they are all beholden to the American billionaire upper class. The upper class uses Israel to strengthen their control over ordinary Americans. It works like this. Israel unjustly attacks Palestinians in ways I will discuss shortly. This makes the Palestinians angry, some of them even violent. The American media then tell Americans that we must defend Israel and that Arabs and Muslims all hate Israel and America because they are hate-filled anti-Semitic terrorists. An Orwellian “war on terror” mentality is created. Then our leaders tell us, “You need to obey us because no matter how much we enrich the upper class at your expense, we are, after all, the only ones protecting you from the real enemy—Muslim terrorists. Now please take off your shoes at the airport and, by the way, we’re tapping your phone—national security, you understand.”
iii. Which explanation is right? You be the judge. But to make an informed decision one needs to understand what is the root of the conflict in the Middle East.
D. The root of the conflict is the establishment, by Jews calling themselves Zionists, of a Jewish state—Israel--in 78% of Palestine in 1948. To establish this state, Zionist leaders ethnically cleansed it of non-Jews, by which I mean they forcibly removed at least 750,000 of the approximately 900,000 non-Jews—Palestinians—from their villages inside the new Jewish state between 1947 and 1949. They removed them simply because they were not Jewish. Zionist leaders confiscated the land and all movable property of these Palestinians. The Israeli government continues to this day to deny these refugees their right to return to their country (i.e. inside Israel) and their right to receive compensation for the land and other property that the state of Israel stole from them—the same rights that the German government and the entire world does not dare deny to Jews who suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The Palestinian refugees and their descendants, many who are living in refugee camps in places like Lebanon and Gaza, now number at least 4 million. 75% of the people in Gaza are refugees, many of whom still have the keys to their former houses inside Israel.
Zionists claim that no refugees were violently forced to flee, that they all did so voluntarily, and that they thereby forfeited their right of return. The “voluntariness” of the flight of the refugees is factually untrue, as even Israeli (including pro-Zionist) historians (such as the anti-Zionist, Ilan Pappe and the notoriously pro-Zionist, Benny Morris) have documented. But Zionists who use this argument to justify denying the Palestinian refugees’ right of return would never dare suggest that, by exactly the same reasoning, an American Jew who voluntarily travels to Europe for vacation, or who emigrates to Israel, thereby forfeits his right to return to the United States. This selective application of their “logic” reveals the utter racism of anybody using this argument to justify denying Palestinians’ right of return. The argument is inherently racist regardless of whether the Palestinians left voluntarily or were, as was the case, driven out with violence.
The Palestine/Israel conflict is framed in our mass media as a conflict between peace-desiring Jews and hate-filled anti-Semitic Arabs, but that is wrong; it is a conflict between those who support inequality—specifically Israeli governmental discrimination against people simply because they are not Jewish—and those who support equality.
The notion that the current conflict is just a continuation of centuries of hatred between Arabs and Jews is just plain historically untrue. Before Zionist Jews began immigrating to and colonizing Palestine at the end of the 19th century with the aim of turning it into an exclusively Jewish state, relations between Muslims and Jews in that part of the world were, in comparison with Europe, very peaceful and harmonious. Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, for example, fled to the Muslim Ottoman Empire where they were welcomed and prospered.
Yes, the Palestinian so-called leader—Amin el Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, was a reactionary nationalist who allied with Hitler against Britain, but this hardly proves that the conflict is between anti-Semitic Arabs and Jews, as two facts alone demonstrate:
Fact #1. One of the Zionist militias itself—the National Military Organization (“Stern Gang”)—sought an alliance with Hitler in 1941, sending a document to the Nazis that said:
“The NMO [the [Zionist] National Military Organization], which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion that:
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a New Order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed volkish-national Hebrium would be possible and
3. The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East.”
Fact #2. The British Foreign Office, not Palestinians, installed Amin el Husseini as the Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921 precisely because he was so reactionary. The majority of Palestine Arabs never took part in this decision, nor were they even allowed to vote in elections at this time.
The Palestinian’s unelected so-called leader was pro-Nazi, but the Germans’ unelected leader was Adolph Hitler, himself. We don’t say that the German people are therefore all anti-Semites who should be evicted from most of Germany to make it a Jewish State, so why should we demand it of the Palestinian people, whom nobody accuses of being responsible for the Holocaust?
Many Jews who oppose inequality everywhere else, who opposed South Africa’s apartheid and the Jim Crow laws that existed in the American South for example, and who would never support a White State or a Black State or a Christian State or a Muslim State or an Aryan State, nonetheless make an exception for a Jewish State. If there is time later, I will discuss their reasons for making this exception, and why these reasons are based on false beliefs.
But let’s start by looking at what a Jewish State actually means.
E. A Jewish state is:
i. A state of the “Jewish people” and not a state of all its citizens
a. A state in which the sovereign authority is the Jewish people [Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel], and not all of its citizens (as is the case with normal states.).
b. A state in which (according to section 7A(1) of the Basic law of Israel: "A candidates' list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if among its goals or deeds, either expressly or impliedly, are one of the following: (1) The negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish People.…"
c. A state based on both de jure and de facto discrimination against non-Jews:
o Israel’s Law of Return allows any Jew to automatically immigrate to Israel, but Palestinian refugees who were driven out of Israel are not allowed to return.
o Israel’s State Education Law says the purpose of elementary education for all citizens, including non-Jewish citizens, is to teach “the values of Jewish culture” and “loyalty to the State and the Jewish people”. The law does not recognize any other religion or culture.
o Every resident over 16 years old must carry an identification card that indicates whether Jewish or not (only Jews have their birth date as a Hebrew calendar date.)
o Only Jews (and a tiny Druze minority) are drafted into the military, but many important state welfare and housing benefits are only for those who served in the military or orthodox Jews who are exempted from such service.
o Palestinian Israelis have been ghettoized in small sections of Israel. Israel controls the land and permits for building on it. While Jewish neighborhoods grow unchecked, segregated Palestinian communities have not been allowed to expand. No new Arab areas have been created while hundreds of Jewish areas have been.
o Arab families living in houses built without permits (which are seldom granted to Arabs) are deprived of basic services by the state such as water and electricity, and face eviction and demolition.
o The Absentee Property Law of 1950 categorizes any Arab who never left what is now Israel but who, at any time between November 29, 1947 and 1950, left their own village (typically to seek safety in a neighboring village during the fighting) and who went to “a place in Palestine held at the time by forces which fought to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel” as a “present absentee.” Present absentees remain such forever, and their homes and property remain in the possession of the Custodian of Absentee Property, who puts the property at the disposal of Jews. There are about 250,000 present absentees.
o Laws in Israel discriminate against non-Jews in ways designed to make the discrimination less obvious than South African apartheid laws. For example, the Specified Goods Tax and Luxury Tax Law authorizes the Minister of Finance to designate classes of persons for favorable treatment when they bring goods into Israel after residence abroad. Under this authorization, the minister issued the Purchase Tax Order (Exemption), which called for a lower import duty to be collected from a returning national than from a returning resident. The order defined ‘returning national’ to include only a person who, ‘if the person were not an Israeli national the Law of Return would apply to him.’ Thus, only a Jewish citizen of Israel is a returning national. An Arab citizen of Israel is a returning resident and pays a higher customs duty. By making eligibility under the Law of Return the criterion, the minister used an explicitly ethnic basis of distinction without using the word “Jew” at all. This is typical of many Israeli laws and regulations.
ii. A Jewish state is a state whose population must always be at least 80% Jewish.
a. As early as the end of the 19th century, Zionist leaders knew that Palestine was not “a land without a people for a people without a land” as Zionist propaganda for ordinary Jews claimed. A 19th century Zionist conference in Vienna sent a couple of rabbis to Palestine and they said, “Let us know if this is a suitable place for a Jewish state.” The rabbis went, they had a look, and they sent back this message to Vienna: they said, “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.”
b. Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe's, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, page 48 of the hardcover edition, provides the following quotation from a speech by David Ben-Gurion (later Israel's first prime minister) given on December 3, 1947 in front of senior members of his Mapai party (the Eretz Israel Workers Party), in which he said (referring to the UN partition resolution): "There are 40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state. This composition is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. And we have to face this new reality with all of its severity and distinctness. Such a demographic balance questions our ability to maintain Jewish sovereignty...Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state."
c. Before Israel declared itself an independent state in 1948 only 38% of its population was Jewish.
d. Zionist militias in 1947-9 violently expelled 75% of the non-Jews (Palestinians) from the 78% of Palestine that is now called Israel.
e. Benny Morris, in a famous interview with Ha’aretz newspaper, discusses how David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, deliberately "transferred" the Arab population out of Israel's new borders:
BM: "Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."
Ha'aretz: "I don't hear you condemning him."
BM: "Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."
o This uprooting of the Palestinians is a crime against humanity under international law.
o Forcible expulsion of people from their country because they are the wrong ethnicity is ethnic cleansing.
f. All the land and other property of the expelled Palestinians was confiscated by the Zionists and never returned or paid for.
o The UN Conciliation Commission estimated that about 80% of the land in what is now Israel is property formerly owned by Palestinians that was confiscated by Jewish organizations like the Jewish Agency. Palestinians are forbidden by Israeli law from owning it. The (Jewish) Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs describes the Jewish Agency as “a quasi-public, voluntary institution sharing many, often overlapping functional jurisdictions with government.” Of all the land in Israel that may be legally sold, 67% of it may not legally be sold to non-Jews, but can be sold to Jews.
iii. The Jewish state considers a fifth of its population who are not Jewish to be a problem.
a. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, advocates redrawing Israel’s vaguely defined border to include Jews living outside the current border and to exclude most of its non-Jewish citizens who live inside the current border.
iv. The Jewish state was conceived as a state of the conquerors of the native peoples:
a. Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, in his 1897 book, The Jewish State, wrote: “Will people say, again, that our enterprise is hopeless, because even if we obtained the land with supremacy over it, [only] the [economically] poor [Jews] would go with us? It is precisely the poorest whom we need at first. Only the desperate make good conquerors” [pg. 155].
v. Is Israel a democracy? True, Israeli politicians are elected. True, non-Jewish citizens of Israel can vote and even hold office, like the Palestinian, Azmi Bishara, who was a member of the Knesset but then was charged with treason and is now a fugitive, because he advocated that Israel be a state of all its citizens, not a state of the Jewish people. But here’s the elephant in the living room: more than 4 million people who, were it not for Zionist ethnic cleansing, would live inside Israel and vote in Israeli elections, cannot vote in those elections or even live in Israel. In a democracy the people choose the government. But in Israel, the government chooses the people—the Jewish people. Holding an election, after you’ve driven almost all of the “wrong” people out of the country, does not a democracy make!