Gaza

Intimidation on the streets of Manchester

The British city of Manchester is currently under siege from a pro-Palestinian mob protesting the existence of an Anglo-Israeli shop on one of the city’s most upmarket streets.

The shop under siege is Kedem, a store that sells cosmetics made from minerals extracted from the Israeli side of the Dead Sea. Kedem is not a political shop. It is a registered British company, paying British taxes. Nonetheless, Kedem is now the focus of the malignant boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The pro-Palestinians have declared Kedem an “easy target.”

For two weeks Kedem has been subjected to a daily eight-hour-long siege. But Kedem’s products have nothing to do with Gaza or even with the “settlements” in the so-called West Bank. It is just a shop selling soap and exfoliating cream. When the protests first started, the shop was forced to shut for four days. But a large contingent of Israel supporters has come to the rescue. Day after day, Manchester’s Jewish community have turned out to support the shop and to oppose the pro-Palestinian protesters.

The pro-Palestinian contingent is mixed. There are Islamic fundamentalists (including one man who claims to be Hamas’ leader in Britain), anarchists, hardcore leftists, self-styled peace activists, Pakistani gangsters, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and even Druids. Many of these people are already known to Greater Manchester Police, who have seen the same faces at anti-fracking demonstrations.

The protesters love to chant anti-Israel slogans. “One, two, three, four, occupation no more” is a particular favourite. “Palestine will be free, from the river to sea” is another. Pro-Israel supporters are regularly subjected to accusations of murder, baby killing, genocide, ethnic cleansing. One of my Jewish friends was told he was “not a Jew but a Nazi.”

Insults like “dirty Jewish pig” and “ZioNazi thugs” are commonplace. And yet the protesters continue to insist they are not anti-Semitic.

According to the BDS fanatics, it is not anti-Semitic to boycott a Jewish-owned shop. But we remind them that Jewish shops were targeted in the 1930s. But they don’t listen. They don’t care that Jews in Britain are genuinely afraid of where this situation is heading. For example, five cars full of men drove through a Jewish residential district in Manchester waving Palestinian banners and shouting anti-Semitic remarks including “Heil Hitler.”

Despite the hatred emanating from the pro-Palestinians, the Jewish community has been galvanized. Jews of all creeds – from atheists to Hasids – have come together to support Kedem and the State of Israel. On some days we have managed to outnumber the opposition. Plus, our speakers are much more eloquent (and often louder). Many Jews and non-Jews have stepped up to the microphone to make the case for Israel. Our arguments are cogent, intelligent and respectful. On many occasions we have drowned out the opposition. Indeed, the pro-Palestinian side seems to have been taken aback by the strength of Jewish support for both Kedem and Israel.

A former film maker from Canada is lending his support to the Israeli contingent. His name is David Semple and he is currently writing a book about Jerusalem. David is a righteous gentile. He is passionate about Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people. He has a thorough knowledge of Middle East affairs and history. David’s speeches are utterly brilliant and they seem to have had a demoralising effect on the opposition.  One policewoman told me she had learnt a lot about Israel’s history thanks to David.

Another encouraging factor is the support of the public. I’ve had Jews and gentiles who work and/or shop in Manchester offering their support. American tourists have congratulated us for our efforts. On the other hand, some members of the public have accused us of “having blood on our hands.” One man called us “animals” and “scum.”

As well as making the case for Israel, we try very hard to highlight the hypocrisy of the boycotters. It is all too easy to boycott an innocent shop that sells soap but why don’t the protestors discard their USB flash drives and instant messaging software which were both invented in Israel? Why don’t they throw away their laptops and computers which are powered by Israeli Intel processors? Why continue to use Microsoft Office, Windows XP and Windows Vista when they were invented by Microsoft Israel? We tell them to stop using Google because Google uses an advanced text search algorithm invented by an Israeli student.

We remind them that mobile phones, voice mail and the mobile camera function were all invented in Israel. But the BDS fanatics either don’t believe us or don’t care. One protester said he didn’t want to throw away his Smart phone because he needed it to ring his mum and dad. Do such people know the meaning of the word hypocrisy?

We ask them why they single out Israel for criticism whilst ignoring the fact that Israel is a democracy where one in five citizens are Arabs who have the right to vote and sit in the Israeli parliament. We ask them why they support Hamas when they use their own people as human shields and spend millions of dollars of aid money building terror tunnels. Their response: outright denial.

We admit that Israel isn’t perfect, just like the UK or France isn’t perfect. But constantly demonizing Israel –whilst ignoring the massacres in Iraq and Syria or the exploitation of workers in India and China – isn’t constructive criticism. It is racism.

Kedem is tired of being an easy target. The Jewish people are sick of being intimidated and abused. But after thousands of years of persecution, Jews are no longer prepared to be led like lambs to the slaughter. And as long as this horrible situation continues we will do all we can to support Kedem and the State of Israel, even if it means standing outside a soap shop for eight hours a day.

 

 

 

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Palestinianism: the condition of the “idiot-fanatic”

“Elementary Israeli logic, which insisted that history, reality and facts will effortlessly trump even the most sophisticated adversarial PR campaigns, does not hold water in a post-modern age.” – Avi Zimmerman

israeltarget

What is Palestinianism?

Palestinianism is an international anti-Zionist campaign advanced by a strange coalition of radical Islamists and Arab nationalists; some Christian denominations; left-wing academics, journalists and politicians; anarchists; ultra-conservatives and Far Right groups; various NGOS and charities; the UN; and a selection of media outlets such as Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

Palestinianism has grown to be the biggest fraud in modern history and is an unfortunate blemish on post-Holocaust humanity. The notion of an indigenous Arab populace belonging to a place called Palestine is a politically-motivated fabrication designed to undermine the moral, economic, diplomatic, historical, legal and cultural foundations of the world’s only Jewish state. In other words, Palestinianism is anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitism denies the Jewish people the right to political, religious and cultural self-determination. Likewise, Palestinianism falsifies, denies and delegitimizes the Jewish people’s historical, cultural, legal ties to the land of Israel.

The proponents of Palestinianism unashamedly use anti-Jewish rhetoric, images, tropes and propaganda to advance the fraudulent claim that Israel is a colonial state and that Palestinian Arabs are stateless and living under apartheid. Palestinianists apply double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. They use particular symbols, images and tropes (e.g. Jews as vampires, Christ-killers). Palestinianists draw comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

The anti-Semitic roots of Palestinianism are manifold and include: the dhimmi (second-class) status of Jews in Arab lands before the creation of the State of Israel; the shared history and mutual influences of the Nazis and the Muslim world in the 1930s and 1940s; anti-Jewish themes in the Quran and Islamic literature; anti-Jewish themes in Christian texts; the rejection of Jewish nationalism within Marxist and other left-wing ideologies; and neo-Nazi conspiracy theories about “Jewish power.”

Another telling sign that Palestinianism is anti-Semitic is the level of animosity directed at Israel – animosity that is irrational, disproportionate, hysterical and graphically explicit. This is strange when one considers that Israel is a democracy, with equal rights for women, gays and ethnic minorities like Arabs and Druze, and is a world-leader in the innovation of medicine, irrigation and green technology.

In a sensible world, the clash between Israelis and Arabs would be seen for what it is: a relatively minor dispute over a small piece of land. But the fact that Israel is a Jewish state has provoked a level of racial hostility not seen since the days of the Third Reich. A number of academics, thinkers and journalists, alarmed at the rise in Judeophobia around the world, describe the intense and irrational hatred of the Jewish state as “the new anti-Semitism” or even “Israelophobia.”

Whatever one calls it, it is a sickness, the condition of the “idiot-fanatic” (to quote Nietzsche). Despite being advanced by so-called progressive thinkers, Palestinianism is alarmingly stupid and reactionary. It is an ideology that enthuses hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy. It is amazing how many on the Left in Europe campaign on behalf of minorities but want to see the only Jewish state in the world dismantled. It is amazing how many so-called progressives campaign for a Palestinian state, which if it ever happens, is likely to be another failed state which crushes opposition and oppresses women and gays. It is amazing how many writers call for a boycott of the only country in the Middle East with a free press. So it no surprise to find a group called Queers for Palestine campaigning on behalf of Muslim fundamentalists; we have Stephen Hawking – who relies heavily on Israeli technology to communicate – refusing to appear at a science conference in the Jewish state; we have political activists delivering weapons to Gaza under the banner of humanitarianism while Israel pours aid and food into the territory; we have radical Islamists condemning Israel as a “terrorist state” for assassinating a terrorist chief, while Islamist terrorists slaughter Muslim civilians on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, Palestinianism is less about the creation of a viable Palestinian state or peaceful co-existence with Jews and more about the dismantling or destruction of the world’s only Jewish state – for the sole that it is run by Jews for Jews. Throughout its short history, Palestinianism has shown itself to be a nihilist ideology that encapsulates and advances violence, rupture, ahistoricity, instability and relativism, all of which are in conflict with liberal and Hebraic notions of time, history, truth, democracy and development.

It is ironic, then, that Palestinianism is inspired by Zionism. Palestinianism is actually a crude pastiche of the 2,000-year-old Jewish desire to re-establish a homeland in the Middle East. The Palestinian Arabs did not seek to establish a homeland until after the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, and even then they were more concerned with destroying the Jewish state than actually focusing on how to build their own democratic institutions. Once it was clear that the Arab states could not defeat Israel in the wars of 1947-8 and 1967, the Arabs had no choice but to invent a Palestinian nationalism, which involved the appropriation of Israeli land, especially Jerusalem and the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria. The invention of Palestinianism – which is symbolized by the invention of the Nakba and the ambition to divide Jerusalem – is a political tool designed to undermine Israel’s existence and security.

Before the creation of Israel, the word “Palestinian” usually denoted the Jewish occupants of the Land of Israel. (That is why The Jerusalem Post used to be called The Palestine Post.) In a 1939 essay, George Orwell referred to the “Arabs” on the one hand and “Palestine Jews” on the other. All of which helps explain why Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: “There is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented.”

In a sense, he was right. Never in history has there been a country called Palestine. As Arab historian Philip Hitti told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946, “there is no such thing as Palestine in history.” In the years and decades preceding the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab riots and pogroms against British rule were not directed towards the creation of a Palestinian state. And the Arab massacres of Jews in the 1920s and 1930s were inspired by anti-Semitism, not by a desire for an independent Palestinian state.

In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria. Indeed, before the 1960s, many Arab yearned for a “Greater Syria.” There was no Palestinian nation at the time of Israel’s independence and there was no demand for Palestinian statehood when Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) from 1948 to 1967.

The words “Palestinian” and “Palestine” were only appropriated by a number of Arabs when it became clear that the Jewish state was a fact. Since the 1960s, the word “Palestinian” has been invested with a political significance designed to undermine Israel’s legitimacy.

Yasser Arafat, the icon of the Palestinianist movement, admitted that “the Palestinian people have no national identity.” And he went on to boast that he, as a “man of destiny,” will provide that identity “through conflict with Israel.”

And in an interview with a Dutch newspaper in 1977, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein stated: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.”

One of the enduring myths of the Arab-Israeli crisis is that the Palestinians are an indigenous people. Palestinians are not an ethnic sub-group. There is no such thing as an ethnic Palestinian. Arabs in Israel and the West Bank are ethnically identical to Arabs living in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt. The population in Gaza is largely Bedouin Arab in origin.

Furthermore, many of the Palestinian Arabs living in Israel in 1948 were themselves immigrants who came to the land in the wake of successful Zionist enterprises. The Zionists offered a better standard of living and higher wages than neighboring Arab employers. Before the earliest Zionist settlers arrived at the end of the 19th century, the land was sparsely populated and desolate.

Palestinianism, then, is a recent invention. It was born out of the Arab defeat of the Six-Day War in 1967. The realization that the Jews would not be “driven into the sea” meant that the Arabs had to find another way of liquidating the Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land. The sudden desire for a Palestinian state was – and still is – a tool to delegitimize and destabilize the State of Israel. But deploying the twin engines of terror and politics were not enough. For how can a state be built on a lie? There is neither an authentic Palestinian culture or history to build on. This may explain why Palestinians are unable to establish functioning institutions, despite the countless opportunities to establish their own state. Instead, the Palestinians had to invent an ideology – Palestinianism – which could be exported around the world, garnering the support of Far Left groups and radical Islamists.

Palestinianism and the “death of the real”

According to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, contemporary society is alienated from “the real” due to an “ecstasy” of information. Media consumers, he points out, live in a “hyper-real” universe where reality is simulated. Indeed, many people (in the West and in the Muslim world) are alienated from the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict due to an overload of disinformation, pseudo-historical posturing and faked news footage emanating from the Palestinianists. Truth and historical facts are relegated and replaced by a fabricated “reality” that is mediated by television, newspapers, films and the internet.

The derealization of the Arab-Israeli conflict is fought by Palestinianists with the weapons of delegitimization, defamation, disinformation, anti-Semitic propaganda, pseudo-history, faked news footage and boycotts. This Kulturkampf (“culture war”) is advanced in several arenas, notably the media, on campuses, among trade unions and especially the internet. Indeed, Israel’s critics and enemies are very adept at using the internet as a tool for spreading propaganda and conspiracy theories. The internet is a kind of electronic intifada in which falsehoods are routinely – and easily – produced.

The fact that Palestinianism has found such a willing audience around the world strongly suggests the idea of the “real” or objective reality has been well and truly shattered. As far as the global media is concerned, faked events and pseudo-facts are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be more real because they serve a “higher cause”, which is the demonization of Israel. The best example of the “death of the real” is the phenomenon known as Pallywood.

Pallywood, a portmanteau of Palestinian and Hollywood, is a coinage used by some media watchdogs to describe doctored and fake media footage produced by the Palestinians to illustrate their false but lethal narratives about Israel. Calev Ben-David, writing in The Jerusalem Post, describes Pallywood as “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public relations war against Israel.”

Canadian columnist Paul Schneidereit writes: “We’ve seen cases where the bodies of Palestinian martyrs carried on stretchers are inadvertently dropped, then, of their own volition, climb back on again. We’ve seen reports of massacres, as in Jenin in 2002, that turned out, after independent investigation, to have been greatly exaggerated. Needless to say, such episodes don’t instill an abiding trust in subsequent Palestinian claims, at least until they’re verified.”

The methods used by the Palestinian disinformation industry include:

1. Using visual media to construct fake stories of Israeli atrocities. This involves editing media footage and staging events. For example, directing Palestinian civilians, ambulance drivers, doctors and police to “act out” roles such as the “injured man”, the “dead child”, the “concerned medic”, the “brave freedom fighter.” Palestinian journalists and cameraman are complicit in this theatre of propaganda.

2. Luring Israeli soldiers into schools, shelters and hospitals and using civilians as human shields in order to increase the casualty rate. For example, in 2009 Hamas militants fired mortar shells from a school in Gaza. The IDF returned fire, resulting in 40 civilian fatalities.

3. Ignoring or downplaying attacks on Israeli civilians, and omitting to mention the oppression and murder of fellow Palestinians by Hamas and Fatah.

4. Repeating the claim that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestine in 1947-48, despite the fact that Palestinian leaders deliberately spread false rumors of rape and massacres in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf.

5. Repeating the claim that Israel is a colonialist occupier of a country called Palestine, despite the fact that there has never been a Palestinian nation and that Jews have lived in the Holy Land for the past three thousand years.

6. Claiming that Jerusalem is the capital of a country called Palestine despite the fact that Jerusalem has never been the capital of an Arab or Muslim entity.

7. Depicting the Israelis as Nazis and claiming the Jews faked or exaggerated the Holocaust.

8. Masking the prosperity of the Gaza Strip by focusing on isolated examples of hardship.

9. Disseminating faked reports of massacres, deaths of children, atrocities and privations to the Western media. e.g. claiming the Israelis had carried out a massacre in Jenin in 2002.

10. Appealing to the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Western media and NGOs for help and/or aid, despite the fact that Israel provides aid and/or allows passage for humanitarian assistance.

Untruth, it seems, is the currency of Palestinianism, but sadly it is a currency that buys a lot of media coverage. Israel, perhaps because of its higher ethical standards and commitment to authentic narratives, has not resorted to the tactics of disinformation and faked news footage. But as a result, Israel is facing a severe crisis of representation because traditional modes of understanding – i.e. the relation between fact and reportage – are no longer be considered useful or even valid.

The apartheid fantasy

Another aspect of the Palestinianist delegitimization and disinformation campaign is the pernicious comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa. It is a claim which has no basis in fact.

There are many instances where Israelis and Arabs work and play together in peace, and there are frequently stories in the newspapers about Israeli hospitals treating Palestinian children or Israeli medics rushing to help injured Palestinians. In fact, over 100,000 Palestinians received medical care in Israel during 2011. In the same year, more than 100 Palestinian doctors were interns at Israeli hospitals. Even in times of conflict, Israeli army policy is as follows: “The treatment of the Palestinian population is first and foremost a moral and professional obligation for every one of us.”

As Benjamin Pogrund, the South African-born author, observes: “Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, with the same facilities, attended by the same doctors and nurses, with the mothers recovering in adjoining beds in a ward.” He also observed that Jews and Arabs share meals in restaurants and travel on the same trains, buses and taxis, and visit each other’s homes. “Could any of this possibly have happened under apartheid,” he asked. “Of course not.”

There are numerous other examples that explode the apartheid myth. For instance, following the 5.3 tremor in the Middle East in May 2012, it was reported that Israel had already set up a mechanism to channel aid to the Palestinians in the event of an earthquake. And if Israel was an apartheid state, why would Israelis and Palestinians work together in the Jordan Valley to produce agricultural goods that are sold abroad? If Israel was prejudiced against Palestinians, why would it bother to establish a Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce?

Apartheid in South Africa was based on color separation of “white” and “non-white”. The white population in South Africa was a minority. But the State of Israel (excluding the West Bank, which I address below) is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial democratic state. It is teeming with Jews from Europe, Ethiopia, Russia, America and the Middle East. A fifth of the Israeli population are Arabs, the majority of whom are Muslims. There is a host of tiny minorities, such as the Druze and the Bedouin. (It is also worth mentioning that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where there is religious freedom.)

All citizens of Israel have access to state services. Arabs sit in the parliament and on the Supreme Court. There are several Arab representatives in the parliament. Arabic is an official language in Israel. Even Miss Israel of 1999 was an Arab. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population.

Everybody in Israel is equal before the law. Racial discrimination/segregation is outlawed. Inevitably, there are cases of low level cases of discrimination as there are in the UK, Canada, France etc. In South Africa, inequality was enshrined in law.

Doctor Mohammed Wattad, an Arab citizen of Israel and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, has this to say: “In an apartheid regime, there is no possibility of judicial review, because the judges are appointed by the regime and all serve one ideology. This is not the case in Israel … There is a very strong, independent Supreme Court in Israel. In an apartheid regime, there is no place to go to argue against the government.”

As things stand, the West Bank (historically known as Judea and Samaria) is not part of sovereign Israel. During the 1993 Oslo Peace process, it was mutually agreed to divide the West Bank into regions – A, B and C. 98% of Palestinian live in Palestinian-governed areas, A and B.

Arabs who live on the West Bank are allowed to work in Israel, and attend schools and universities. In contrast, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has said that not a single Jew will be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state on the West Bank.

The security barrier, erected to keep out terrorists, is 95 per cent fence and 5 per cent wall. The sections of concrete wall are only erected to prevent terrorist and sniper attacks on Israelis. The barrier corresponds roughly with 1949 Armistice line. Restrictions are only imposed because of the very real threat of terrorism. There is no racial motive in the application of checkpoints.

In East Jerusalem, Palestinian residents have permanent residency rights in the city. They carry Palestinian identity cards issued by the Palestinian Authority and elect members of the Palestinian Authority. They are entitled to social and health benefits, and are eligible for Israeli citizenship. Those that become Israeli citizens can vote in municipal elections.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are under the full civil and security control of Hamas, which governs the area as an autonomous entity. Israel dismantled all the Gaza settlements in 2005 but maintained the blockade because of the election of Hamas and rocket attacks on southern Israel. Despite the blockade, Gazans are able to produce their own vegetables, olives, citrus, beef and dairy products. Primary exports from Gaza are cut flowers and fruit. Gaza’s real GDP grew by more than 25% during the first three quarters of 2011 and exports are expanding. Since withdrawing from the Gaza in 2005, Israel supplies Gaza with 50% of its electricity, and provides 49,610 tons of cooking gas and 136,097,330 liters of fuel a year. In addition, it provides one million tons of aid a year. This includes 160,000 tons of wheat , 14,000 tons of rice, 8,000 tons of clothes and footwear, and 2,000 tons of milk powder and baby food, and equipment for Gaza’s flower industry. There is not a single civilian good that cannot enter Gaza. Israel even supplies LCD televisions, Mercedes cars, Hyundai jeeps, Jacuzzi tubs and frost-free refrigerators. Gaza has a five-star hotel, fancy restaurants, a luxury shopping mall, vibrant markets, and a thriving beach community.

Israel is not an apartheid state. The level of freedom exercised by Arabs in Israel is head and shoulders above the treatment of Arabs in neighboring countries. Indeed, most surveys show that Israeli Arabs are happy to live in the Jewish and would not want to move to an independent Palestine.

Palestinian rejectionism

On the subject of an independent Palestine, it is worth pointing out that Palestinian Arabs have had numerous opportunities to establish an independent state. But the Palestinian Arabs have an unfortunate history of rejectionism. It is often said that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Under the UN partition plan of 1947, the Palestinians Arabs were given the opportunity to create a state on what is now the West Bank and parts of current-day Israel. Between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan ruled Judea and Samaria and Egypt ruled Gaza, there were no attempts to establish a Palestinian homeland.

Even in the past 13 years or so, the Palestinian leadership has been given at least three major opportunities to establish an independent state. Yasser Arafat walked away from the Camp David talks in 2000 despite being promised 92% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza and east Jerusalem. Talks held in Taba in 2001 also broke down due to Arafat’s insistence that the Palestinians control the Western Wall. A resolution was also put forward by Ehud Olmert in 2008, in which the Palestinians would receive Gaza, the majority of the West Bank, parts of east Jerusalem, safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, and the dismantling of settlements in the Jordan Valley and eastern Samaria. Unfortunately, Mahmoud Abbas did not give a final response on the matter and negotiations ended.

And in September 2012 when defense minister Ehud Barak floated the idea of a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, Palestinian leaders begged the Israeli government not to leave the territory. Nabil Abu Rudineh, chief aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians “object” to any unilateral action that will lead to “the formation of a Palestinian state in temporary borders.”

Instead of agreeing to any of these proposals, the Palestinian leaders have carried out – or sponsored – terror attacks against Israeli civilians. They have repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state and have manipulated Western guilt over the Holocaust by casting themselves as the “new Jews” who deserve sympathy and foreign aid. Instead of planning for the future by educating their children properly, Palestinian schoolteachers teach kids to hate Jews, while Gaza militants fire rockets into southern Israel.

If this is how the Palestinian Arabs behave now, what would they be like if they had all the trappings of a state, including an army and a secret service? Many Israelis fear that a Palestinian state would simply be a launching pad for the destruction of Israel and would serve as a base for terror groups. Israel would no longer have control of the Jordan valley, which serves as a natural defensive border against hostile Arab regimes. Moreover, a Palestinian state would leave Israel with a ‘narrow waist’ of only nine or ten miles, which means the Jewish state could easily be cut in two by Arab armies.

The legality of the settlements

Palestinianists are very fond of repeating the claim that the Jewish settlements are an obstacle to peace. This claim is both misleading and ignores the fact that international law says Jews are entitled to build settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank).

In 1920, the San Remo Conference instructed Britain to establish a Jewish national home on territory covering what would become Israel, Jordan and part of the Golan Heights. In early 1921, Britain made a distinction between “Palestine” as a national home for the Jewish people, and Transjordan as a home for the Arabs. Already, the Jews had to accept a territorial compromise in order to appease Arab interests.

The 1922 Mandate of Palestine formalized the creation of a Jewish homeland, as well as Transjordan for the Arabs. The entire League of Nations unanimously declared that “recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The Mandate not only legalized the immigration of Jews to Palestine, it encouraged close settlement of the land. Moreover, the notion of internationalizing or dividing Jerusalem was never part of the Mandate.

Two years after the Second World War, the British handed the Mandate to the UN, which recommended (rather than enforced) the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Jews accepted the partition but the Arab states rejected it and declared war on the Jewish homeland, which resulted in the Jordanian annexation of the “West Bank.” At the insistence of the Arabs, the 1949 armistice line was “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.”
In 1967, Israel won control of the West Bank after a war of self-defense. To speak of Israeli occupation implies that Israel fought an aggressive war in order capture the West Bank, which was not the case.

UN Security Council Resolution 242 recommended Israeli withdrawal from territories in return for the right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” At a conference in Khartoum the Arabs refused to negotiate or make peace with Israel. In fact, they refused to recognize Israel at all. (Resolution 242 did not mention the Palestinians, although it did refer to “a just settlement of the refugee problem” in acknowledgment that both sides had their share of refugees.)

It is also worth pointing out that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to Judea and Samaria because it pertains only to cases of occupation of a sovereign entity. The “West Bank” has never been the legal territory of any sovereign entity. Or to put it in plain English, territories are only “occupied” if they are captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign. Jordan was never an established or recognized sovereign of the West Bank. Therefore, Israel is not an occupier and the “West Bank” is not occupied land.

Technically, Judea and Samaria is unclaimed Mandate land and should therefore be referred to as “disputed” territory. Israel’s capture of the West Bank in 1967 merely restored the territory to its legal status under the Mandate of 1922, which has never been superseded in law, not even by the 1947 partition plan. The settlers are simply enacting the Mandate and they should be allowed to continue with this enterprise.

Moreover, the fact that the Palestinians and the Arab states collaborated with Hitler before and during Second World War, and then proceeded to invade Israel on three occasions between 1948 and 1973, seriously undermines any moral claim to establish a state on the “West Bank.” Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on such matters, has stated that because of the attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as other belligerent acts, Arab states have “flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members.”

There are also moral and cultural reasons why the Jewish settlements are legitimate. Judea and Samaria is historically and religiously Jewish. The territory formed a major part of ancient Israel and is home to several sacred sites, including Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. It is only recently that Arabs have expressed an interest in Jerusalem. At no time between 634 CE (when Muslims overran “Palestine”) and 1967 did any Muslim entity ever declare Jerusalem as their capital. During the Jordan occupation, not a single foreign Arab leader came to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Besides, non-Jewish powers cannot be trusted to protect either Jews or Jewish sites. During the 1920 Jerusalem riots, an Arab mob ransacked the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, attacking pedestrians and looting shops and homes. On 24th August 1929, 67 Palestinian Jews were massacred in Hebron. Dozens were wounded. Some of the victims were raped, tortured and mutilated. Jewish homes and synagogues, as well as a hospital, were ransacked. During the Jordanian occupation, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and many synagogues in the Old City were destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1967, there was not a single settlement in Gaza or the “West Bank.” But this did not stop Arab states terrorizing Israel. Nor did the Arab states attempt to establish a Palestinian state. Furthermore, the dismantling of the settlements in Gaza actually destabilized the region because the withdrawal allowed Hamas to take control of the Strip, with devastating consequences.

The Palestinian claim that statehood is an unassailable right should not be taken at face value. Arab hatred of Israel has never been about the settlements or even about land. The primary obstacle is an ideological refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s deep-rooted historic, cultural and legal connections to the land of Israel. Until the Arabs accept that the Jewish people have an inalienable right to Judea and Samaria, there will never be peace.

Nakba – Arab or Jewish?

One of the big successes of the Palestinianist propaganda machine is Nakba Day, which occurs every May. Nakba, which is an Arabic word for “catastrophe” is a deliberately provocative term and refers to the 600,000 refugees who were created as a consequence of the Arab rejection of the Jewish state and the ensuing assault on the newly-born State of Israel. Nakba Day is often marked by speeches and rallies by Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and in other places around the world, including London and New York.

The trouble with commemorating the Nakba is that it overlooks some inconvenient facts, which do not fit the overheated narrative of Palestinian-as-victim. During the Israeli War of Independence in 1947-48, Arab leaders deliberately spread false rumors that women were being raped in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf. The Arab armies encouraged the Palestinian to evacuate while they fought their war against the Israelis. The refugee crisis was not engineered by Israel, nor did Israel deliberately expel the Palestinians. According to the Institute for Palestine Studies, 68% of refugees “left without seeing an Israeli soldier.”

UN Resolution 194, which was passed on December 11, 1948, recommended that refugees wishing to return home and live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to do so. This resolution was never applied. Not because of Israeli opposition but due to the unanimous rejection of the Arab governments. If the Arabs had accepted the resolution it would have meant the implicit recognition of Israel and the laying down of arms and compensation for Jewish refugees.

Israel’s neighbors refused to incorporate the displaced Palestinian Arabs, preferring to keep them in camps in the hope that the Zionist entity would soon be destroyed. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas has accused the Arab armies of forcing the Palestinians to emigrate and then putting them into ghettos. The United Nations aggravated the problem by creating a unique category for the Palestinian Arab refugees.

The UN recognized that many of the refugees who fled their villages had not lived in Israel/Palestine for very long. But nonetheless it decided to establish a unique criterion for the Arab refugees. This meant that any Arab who had lived in Israel for only two years before fleeing was classed as a refugee. Moreover, their descendants are also classed as refugees. As such, there was a sevenfold increase in the Palestinian population between 1967 and 2002. (Arafat said that the wombs of Palestinian women were the “secret weapon” of his cause.)

The UN has perpetuated the crisis by maintaining Palestinian refugee camps and handing out aid money. Strangely, since 1971 and for nearly ten years, the UN General Assembly annually condemned Israel for trying to rehabilitate the refugees. This condemnation always had one requirement: “Send the refuges to the camps.”

The true Nakba, which few people talk about, is the Jewish refugee problem. Not the refugee crisis caused by the war in Europe but the one which was caused by a wave of Arab-led pogroms and expulsions in the late 1940s and 1950s. Around 900,000 Jews were kicked out of Arab lands in the wake of Israel’s independence. Many of the expelled Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East dated back 2,500 years. That’s around two millennia before the rise of Islam. Today, there are fewer than 9,000 Jews in the Arab and Muslim world. In Libya, for example, the Jewish community no longer exists.

The newly-born State of Israel, which was already coping with Jewish migrants fleeing war-torn Europe, assimilated the new Jewish refugees. Today, about 50% of Jews in Israel have Arabic ancestry because of the exodus. (Not surprisingly, Jews who have experienced Arab violence and Muslim anti-Semitism are hostile to the idea of a Palestinian state. As such, they tend to vote for Likud, the major right-wing party in Israel.)

At least 120 UN resolutions deal with the 600,000 Palestinian refugees. But not one resolution refers to the Jewish Nakba.

The violence against Arab Jews was deliberate and vicious. Massacres, mutilations, rape, property confiscation and deportations were commonplace. Millions of Jews had no choice but to seek shelter in Israel or elsewhere. There is evidence that shows the Jewish Nakba was a deliberate and planned act of ethnic cleansing. According to the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, the Jewish exodus was a policy decision taken by the Arab League. This view has been endorsed by the Jewish advocacy group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

Even before the UN vote in 1947, the Arab League had endorsed the persecution of Jews. The fact that riots and massacres broke out across the Arab world on the same day (30th November 1947) also suggests a degree of planning.

Indeed, the Arab League met in Syria in 1946 and Lebanon in 1947, and agreed a draft plan to rob their Jews of their property, threaten them with imprisonment and expel the impoverished Jews.
In May 1948, the Arab League drafted a series of recommendations for all Arab and Muslim countries on how to take action against their Jewish populations. The New York Times of 16th May 1948 contained details of an Arab plan based on Nuremberg laws to ‘ethnically cleanse’ their Jews.

Conclusion: the way forward

To sum up, Palestinianists are anti-realists for the sole reason that the edifice of Palestinianism has been constructed out of a contradiction to “the actual.” Palestinianists are unable or unwilling to differentiate between a conviction and a lie. Palestinianism, to quote Nietzsche for a second time, is a “moral-optical illusion.” Palestinianism is a radical falsification of history and international law, and an inversion of Zionism, morality and truth. Palestinianism has had such an effect that even non-political institutions like the BBC repeat Palestinian propaganda, while otherwise sensible individuals such as British foreign secretary William Hague condemn the Jewish settlements.

Luckily, because Palestinianism contains so many conflicting elements – the secular Left, radical Islam, the Methodist Church to name but a few – it is inherently unstable and liable to fracture over time. Some of the factions within the movement cannot even agree on how to undermine Israel’s existence, hence the mutual loathing between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. The way things are going, there will never be a viable Palestinian state – not because of Israeli obstinacy but because the advocates of Palestinianists squander their time and resources on denigrating the only democracy in the Middle East rather than facing up to their own shortcomings and failures – both past and present.

So what is the way forward?

The truth is, the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel is not realistic or feasible. The only credible option is for Israel to officially annex Judea and Samaria and for the international community to recognize Jordan as the de facto Palestinian state.

The main obstacle to solving the Israeli-Arab conflict is the fraudulent claim that the Palestinians are a nation without a land. But the Palestinian Arabs were actually given their own state, i.e. Jordan, nearly a century ago. Jordan’s population is already 70 per cent Palestinian. The Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are not ethnically or culturally different from the Palestinian Arabs living in Jordan.

According to Jordanian writer Mudar Zahran, “despite decades of official imposition of a Bedouin image on the country, and even Bedouin accents on state television, the Palestinian identity is still the most dominant—to the point where the Jordanian capital, Amman, is the largest and most populated, Palestinian city anywhere. Palestinians view it as a symbol of their economic success and ability to excel.”

As things stand, the Palestinian majority in Jordan is discriminated against by the ruling Hashemite dynasty, which favors the Bedouin minority. The US and Europe have been silent about this because it does not want the Western-friendly Hashemites removed from power. But removing the ruling Hashemite dynasty in Jordan and developing democratic institutions for the Palestinian majority is surely a better option than the status quo.

Once this has been achieved, Israel can formally annex Judea and Samaria and give the Palestinian Arabs living there the option of either swearing an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or giving them Jordanian citizenship. Those Palestinians who wish to leave Judea and Samaria would be free to move to Jordan. Those who wish to hold Jordanian citizenship but want to stay in their homes should be allowed to do so. In short, there should be no expulsions. However, Arabs who claim refugee status from 1947-48 and 1967 should be naturalized in their host countries or rehoused in Jordan.

Developing democratic institutions in Jordan and uniting the land of Israel under Jerusalem would not only ensure Israel’s security, it would enable the Palestinian Arabs to establish sovereignty in the heart of the Middle East and put an end to this decades-old conflict over the status of the so-called occupied territories.

This is not so far-fetched. In 1965, the king of Jordan said, “Palestine has become Jordan, and Jordan Palestine.” And in 1971, the Palestine Liberation Organization asserted: “What links Jordan to Palestine is a national bond and a national unity formed, since time immemorial, by history and culture. The establishment of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine is illegal.”

What about Gaza?

The disengagement from Gaza in 2005 has not brought peace. After Israel withdrew its troops and uprooted Jewish residents in 2005, the Arab population immediately destroyed Israeli infrastructure, thereby ruining their own economy. Within a year, terrorist group Hamas had taken over the territory, murdered its rivals and started a campaign of rocket attacks on Israel.

The best Gaza can hope for is a takeover by an international body, such as the UN or an EU-led group, with the view that one day it will be a self-reliant mini-state. Given that the UK, the EU, the US, Japan and Canada all classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, it is incumbent on these nations to neutralize Hamas by isolating it diplomatically, cutting off its funding and ultimately removing its personnel and confiscating its weapons through military means.

Gaza, if managed properly, has a lot going for it. It has a very young population who desperately need employment and a sense of purpose. In time, Gaza may become an attractive Mediterranean tourist resort. After all, it has a fine beach, a five-star hotel, good restaurants, shopping malls, several universities, a zoo, a number of important religious landmarks, a cultural center and an archaeology museum, all of which would attract holidaymakers and foreign investors.

When Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, there were hopes that Gaza would be transformed into the Hong Kong or the Singapore of the Middle East. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Instead of state building, Hamas roused the population into believing that the 2005 withdrawal was the first step towards the ultimate defeat of the “Zionist entity.” But with proper handling by the international community and the ousting of Hamas, dreams of a Middle East Singapore may come true.

BBC’s mid-east reporting requires shake-up

At a time when the BBC is under intense scrutiny following revelations about its shoddy journalism and serious errors of judgment, it is disconcerting to discover that the broadcaster has once again breached its own guidelines concerning impartiality and honesty.

Within twenty-four hours of the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the BBC had been caught out by media watchdog Honest Reporting for broadcasting footage that shows an apparently injured Palestinian man being carried away by his neighbors. Thirty seconds later, the footage shows the same man walking around in a state of complete health. A miraculous recovery or yet another example of a Western news company broadcasting Palestinian propaganda?

The footage broadcast by the BBC on the evening of November 14 is, of course, in the grand tradition of Pallywood in which Palestinians on stretchers suddenly come back to life and children in the so-called West Bank leap in front of moving cars for the cameras. Such deception is promoted in the Quran and Islamic literature. Taqiyya (saying something that isn’t true) and kitman (lying by omission) are acceptable methods of deceiving non-Muslims.

The Palestinians are well aware that news consumers in the West are lost in a nebulous realm of doctored photos and contrived news stories. Far from being concrete or objective, “reality” is mediated by television, newspapers, films and especially the internet. As far as the BBC and other media outlets are concerned, faked events are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be more real because they serve a “higher cause,” i.e. the demonization of Israel.

The manipulation of the media is not the BBC’s only problem. Even when it attempts to be fair-minded, the BBC is actually legitimizing terrorism. Switch on BBC News 24 (or any other news channel in the UK) and you will see Hamas representatives being given just as much – sometimes more – air time than Israeli spokespersons. War criminals like Hamas should not be allowed to justify their actions on the BBC or Sky. Giving Hamas a platform to espouse their absurd rhetoric only legitimizes their genocidal hatred. Would the BBC have allowed the Nazis to air their revolting views on BBC Radio during the Second World War?

Actually, the Nazi comparison is not that far-fetched. In the past few days it has come to light that the BBC’s Hungarian Service during War World War chose to withhold information about the mass extermination of Jews in Europe. During the dark days of 1942, the BBC broadcast news to the people of Hungary but omitted to mention news of the unfolding Holocaust in case it upset Hungarian anti-Semites who were needed to fight alongside the Allies. In fact, there is a disturbing BBC memo from 1942 that states: “We shouldn’t mention the Jews at all.”

Fast forward to the 21st century and we find the BBC focusing rather too much on “the Jews.” Earlier this month, the BBC’s Washington correspondent Katty Kay said that “no one running for President [of the USA] wants to alienate the power and money of the Jewish lobby.” Despite complaints, the BBC refused to acknowledge there was anything wrong with Kay’s statement, which perhaps speaks volumes about the BBC’s innate bias against “the Jews” and Israel.

For years, the BBC has favored the Palestinian narrative, even when that narrative is driven by Hamas. Although the page no longer exists, the BBC News’ online profile of Hamas failed to mention the terrorist group’s genocidal intentions toward Israel. More famously, the Balen Report (2004), which contains the findings of a report into alleged bias against Israel, continues to be suppressed. A request by Honest Reporting to publish the findings has been turned down by the BBC on the grounds that the information requested is excluded from the Freedom of Information Act because it is held “for the purposes of journalism.”

Last year, British politician Louise Bagshawe berated the BBC for failing to cover the brutal murders of the Fogel family in Itamar, accusing the broadcaster of a “lack of care.” Writing in the Telegraph, she said, “Horrified, I went to the BBC website to find out more. There I discovered only two stories: one a cursory description of the incident in Itamar […] and another focusing on Israel’s decision to build more settlements, which mentioned the killings in passing.” Obviously, the construction of houses was more important to the BBC than the horrific murder of an entire Jewish family by a pair of deranged Palestinians.

The BBC’s journalistic standards have been below par for many years, which is why the broadcaster is in so much trouble at the moment. In the past few weeks, the BBC has been embroiled in an embarrassing series of scandals, including the suppression of an in-house report that revealed systemic child abuse by one of its most famous presenters. The BBC’s former director-general, George Entwistle, has admitted there have been “unacceptable journalistic standards.” It would be nice if the BBC also acknowledged – and amended – its poor-quality Middle East reporting.

To its credit, the BBC has occasionally come down hard on journalists who unfairly criticize Israel. In 2009, Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen was censured by the broadcaster for breaching its rules on accuracy and impartiality in two reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict. An inquiry found that a reference to “Zionism’s innate instinct to push out the frontier” breached guidelines, while the suggestion that Israel was “in defiance of everyone’s interpretation of international law except its own” was said to have been “imprecise.”

According to the BBC’s six core values, “trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.” If the BBC cannot be trusted to be these three things, then the organization no longer deserves its yearly income of £3.6 billion from the millions of British license payers who have no option but to fund the BBC’s newsrooms. As the BBC ponders its future, now is a good time for it to come clean about the Balen Report and radically improve its Middle East reporting. Deciding to ditch the pro-Palestinian narrative in favor of something more fair and balanced would be welcome news indeed and may go some way in restoring trust.

In the meantime, the BBC ought to be more careful about broadcasting footage sourced from Gaza. The BBC, along with Sky and other news outlets, must check and re-check every bit of footage before broadcasting it to the world. And instead of wasting air time on Hamas spokesmen, the BBC and others may want to spend more time exploring what life is like for Israelis who live under constant threat of missiles, which are now falling on the suburbs of Tel Aviv.

BBC goes to Pallywood

Last night (November 14th, 2012), BBC News 24 broadcast footage that appeared to show a Palestinian “casualty” in Gaza Half a minute later, the “casualty” has fully recovered. Divine intervention or just another example of Palestinian perfidy? See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-Vms2eAeUU to decide for yourself. Of course, Hamas and its supporters are not interested in a fair or balanced media. But why is the BBC using dubious footage and not checking its sources properly?

The BBC’s journalistic standards have been below par for many years, which is why the broadcaster is in so much trouble at the moment. Unfortunately, most media organizations – both broadcast and print – are just as lazy and corrupt, so the BBC is not alone in its use of untrustworthy sources and biased reporting. What is particularly distressing is that Israel is always on the receiving end of such bad journalism. It’s almost as if the western media is working on behalf of the Palestinian propaganda machine, often dubbed “Pallywood.”

Pallywood, a portmanteau word of Palestinian and Hollywood, is a coinage used by some media watchdogs to describe doctored and fake media footage produced by the Palestinians to illustrate their false but lethal narratives about Israel. Calev Ben-David, writing in The Jerusalem Post, described Pallywood as “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public relations war against Israel.”

Canadian columnist Paul Schneidereit says: “We’ve seen cases where the bodies of Palestinian martyrs carried on stretchers are inadvertently dropped, then, of their own volition, climb back on again. We’ve seen reports of massacres, as in Jenin in 2002, that turned out, after independent investigation, to have been greatly exaggerated. Needless to say, such episodes don’t instill an abiding trust in subsequent Palestinian claims, at least until they’re verified.”

The methods used by the Palestinian disinformation industry include:

1. Using visual media to construct fake stories of Israeli atrocities. This involves editing media footage and staging events. For example, directing Palestinian civilians, ambulance drivers, doctors and police to “act out” roles such as the “injured man,” the “dead child,” the “concerned medic,” the “brave freedom fighter.” Palestinian journalists and cameraman are complicit in this theater of propaganda.
2. Luring Israeli soldiers into schools, shelters and hospitals and using civilians as human shields in order to increase the casualty rate. For example, in 2009 Hamas militants fired mortar shells from a school in Gaza. The IDF returned fire, resulting in 40 civilian fatalities.
3. Ignoring or downplaying attacks on Israeli civilians, and omitting to mention the oppression and murder of fellow Palestinians by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
4. Repeating the claim that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestine in 1948, despite the fact that Palestinian leaders deliberately spread false rumors of rape and massacres in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf.
5. Repeating the claim that Israel is a colonialist occupier of a country called Palestine, despite the fact that there has never been a Palestinian nation and that Jews have lived in the Holy Land for the past three thousand years.
6. Depicting the Israelis as Nazis and claiming the Jews faked or exaggerated the Holocaust.
7. Masking the prosperity of the Gaza Strip by focusing on isolated examples of hardship.
8. Disseminating faked reports of massacres, deaths of children, atrocities and privations to the Western media. e.g. claiming the Israelis had carried out a massacre in Jenin in 2002.
9. Appealing to the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Western media and NGOs for help and/or aid, despite the fact that Israel provides aid and/or allows passage for humanitarian assistance.

According to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, contemporary society is alienated from “the real” due to an “ecstasy” of information. Reality is no longer objective but mediated by television, newspapers, films and the internet. Media consumers live in a “hyper-real” universe where reality is simulated. Baudrillard’s theory of the hyperreal helps explain why Pallywood is so successful. Although the Palestinians are no match for the Israeli Defense Forces, they are winning the Arab-Israeli conflict in the hyperreal realm.

The fact that Pallywood has found such a willing audience in the West strongly suggests the idea of the “real” has been shattered. As far as the Western media is concerned, faked events are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be more real because they serve a “higher cause”, which is the demonization of Israel.