Archive for April, 2012

Who created the state of Israel?

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Jews dance in the streets of Tel Aviv, November 30, 1947 (the partition resolution had been approved on the evening of the 29th)

Jews dance in the streets of Tel Aviv, November 30, 1947 (the partition resolution had been approved on the evening of the 29th)

In a NY Times obituary for Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israel’s PM, who died today (Monday) at the age of 102, this sentence appears:

Ultimately, Israel was created as a result of the partition the revisionists opposed.

The “revisionists,” of course, are the followers of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinski, who believed that the state of Israel should comprise all of historical Eretz Yisrael, which includes all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan (plus some parts east of the Jordan that were given to the Arabs by the British in 1922). They saw the proposed partition, which gave the Jews only a sliver of the original Mandate, as unacceptable.

Much can be written about revisionist Benzion Netanyahu (who once served as Jabotinsky’s secretary) and his son, including the true but trivial remark of an unfriendly commentator that “to understand Bibi you must understand the father.” This is true for all of us that have fathers, but the PM has certainly taken a different political path than his father.

But I digress. I want to talk about the sentence from the obituary that I quoted above. Was the state of Israel created as a result of the 1947 partition resolution?

That is what I was taught as a child: that the throng of Palestinian Jews in the photograph above were celebrating the creation of the state. But what was passed at the UN in New York was a non-binding resolution of the General Assembly, and while the ‘official’ representatives of the Zionist movement — the Jewish Agency, controlled by Jabotinsky’s ideological opponent, David Ben Gurion  — accepted the proposal, both the leadership of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab nations vehemently rejected it. As a result, it was not implemented and did not create the envisioned Jewish and Arab states.

The British retained control until May 14, 1948. During this time they refused to assist in implementing the plan (they had abstained from voting on the resolution), because they hoped to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. Arthur Koestler (Promise and Fulfilment – Palestine 1917-1949, p. 163) wrote,

And indeed war, between the Jewish forces (primarily the Hagana) and the Palestinian Arab militias, along with Arab ‘volunteers’ from other countries, continued. After the declaration of the state of Israel, several surrounding Arab nations invaded Palestine, hoping to grab territory for themselves as well as to finally put an end to the threat of Jewish sovereignty in their midst. The war left the Jews in physical possession of the land up to the ‘Green Line’, the 1949 armistice line between the armies.

The partition resolution, therefore, had little to do with the creation of the state of Israel and nothing to do with its boundaries (its eastern border is still undefined in international law). Its only function may have been to provide a pretext for British withdrawal.

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence, and the state was recognized immediately by the US and shortly thereafter by the USSR. Other nations soon followed suit. On March 4, 1949, the UN Security Council recommended that Israel be admitted to the UN and on May 11 the GA voted her its 59th member. Thus the international community recognized the Jewish state. But who or what created it?

In the 19th Century, Theodor Herzl recognized the truth that the Jewish people could only be secure as a sovereign state, and inspired the Zionist movement to bring Jews back to the land of Israel. In 1922, the League of Nations accepted the principle of a Jewish home in Palestine and wrote the text of the Balfour Declaration into the Palestine Mandate. The Mandate entrusted the creation of this home to the British.

The British, unfortunately, did their best to subvert the intent of the Mandate, in the process dooming countless Jews to death in the Holocaust. But the Jews of Palestine worked to create the structure of a Jewish state during the Mandate period, building institutions of governance, security, education, communications, health care, etc. They waged an anti-colonialist struggle against the British, while protecting themselves against terrorism (even then) from Arabs opposed to Jewish sovereignty.

When the British left, they were prepared to establish a state. Since then, Israel has defended her sovereignty in several wars.

So the answer to the question posed by the title to this post is simple: Zionist Jews in the Land of Israel created the state, and not any UN resolution.

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Edward R. Murrow wouldn’t be pleased

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Edward R. Murrow at Sde Boker, Israel in 1956 (l-r: Murrow, Itzhak Navon, Moshe Pearlman, David Ben Gurion).

Edward R. Murrow at Sde Boker, Israel in 1956 (l-r: Murrow, Itzhak Navon, Moshe Pearlman, David Ben Gurion).

Like Hassan Nasrallah in 2006, Bob Simon and CBS were shocked at the response to the vicious little slander against Israel they perpetrated on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday.

“All we did was grab a couple of yahud and they’re bombing the crap out of us!” said Nasrallah (or something similar). “Don’t they understand the rules of the game?”

Well, Bob, we don’t have to play by your rules. We don’t have to accept your incessant attacks on Israel and consistently dishonest reporting any more than we do Hassan’s kidnapping and murder on the Lebanese border.

We are not going to let this slide anymore — not the pro-Israel community of Jews and Christians in the US, and not the Israeli government:

“The interview not only confirmed my concerns about the segment but deepened them,” [Amb. Michael Oren] wrote, calling Simon’s approach “a feebly disguised attempt to exploit Christians—and inflame religious tensions” without any “historical or diplomatic context.”

Oren blasted “Mr. Simon’s lack of understanding of – or genuine interest in – the basic facts regarding Christians in the Holy Land,” and anticipated the segment “would be irresponsible, unfair, and beneath the standards of your program.”

Rather than blaming Israel, he wrote, CBS should have blamed the local Palestinian administration, which has control of major West Bank cities, and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Israel’s critics respond that the Palestinian authorities are under ultimate Israeli control, and Palestinian Christian voices in the “60 Minutes” segment blamed Israel for their hardship.

Maybe CBS, like NPR, sees itself as a soldier in the information army of the Obama Administration. Or maybe Simon and his pretend “investigative journalists” are just too fat and lazy to actually go out and investigate anything, and find it easier to recycle the usual tired Palestinian line. After all, the rules of the game say that you never go wrong by bashing Israel.

One pro-Israel Christian group sent 29,000 emails of protest to CBS in a single day. And mainstream Jewish groups like Hadassah, the Jewish Federations, the ADL, etc. are also expressing their displeasure.

Not this will appear to have any effect on CBS, which claims to have gotten only “a few hundred” comments on the program, pro and con. They stand by their words. Courageous journalists, not afraid of The Lobby.

But things are changing. Just as the Second Lebanon War — despite Israel’s admitted failures of strategy and execution — taught Hizballah that they could not continue to act against Israel with impunity, CBS will see that they their information attacks won’t continue to go down quietly either.

Their lies and deceptions are being exposed and dissected in numerous places (for example, here). The monolithic media mouthpieces for the Obama Administration– CBS, NPR, the NY Times, AP, etc. — are now so predictably, and laughably, wrong on anything touching on Israel or, indeed, anything in the Middle East, that nobody who isn’t entirely ignorant pays attention to them. And the implication of this is that they cannot be trusted about other issues as well.

My father liked to say (usually right before an election) that “the American people are not as dumb as they look.” And he was right, although sometimes it took them longer than he’d hoped to understand how they had been fooled.

More and more people are beginning to understand that the mainstream media’s posturing about professionalism, freedom from bias and fact checking, are often precisely that.

Edward R. Murrow, who as a matter of fact was quite pro-Israel, was obsessed with professionalism, with getting the details and the story right, as well as presenting it compellingly. He had nothing but contempt for those who would slant a news story for political purposes.

Murrow wouldn’t be pleased by his network today.

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Paul Krugman’s “what must be said”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Krugman: Beinart is a brave man

Krugman: Beinart is a brave man

The universal concealment of these facts,
To which my silence subordinated itself,
I sense as incriminating lies
And force–the punishment is promised
As soon as it is ignored;
The verdict of “anti-Semitism” is familiar.

Günter Grass, explaining how he will be punished for his ‘courage’ in saying “what must be said.”

This could be the stupidest conceit of today’s Israel-haters: that they are breaking the silence, speaking out in a fresh and original way, daring to say things that others may be thinking but fear to put into words because of the terrible retribution of the Zionist conspiracy, which will destroy them by branding them as antisemites.

The latest expression of this idiotic meme comes from the economist Paul Krugman, someone I have always admired despite his left-of-center politics. I will quote in full his remark, published today in the NY Times:

Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism.

The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.

But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better. [my emphasis]

I’m actually embarrassed for Krugman. It seems to me that the industry of bashing Israel is alive and well in many places, especially his own NY Times, home also to such ‘brave’ men as Thomas Friedman, Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof, etc. who face the Zionist buzzsaw without flinching week in and week out.

It’s not as much brave to pick on Israel as it is profitable. Who ever heard of Peter Beinart before he adopted the persona of Brave Jew Standing Up to Powerful Zionist Establishment?

Maybe Krugman should spend some time thinking about where Israel is going, because an honest effort to do so would require that he learn something about it. Beinart’s work of fantasy won’t be much help there.

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Vandals spit on Jewish sovereignty

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
"Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs?

"Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs?"

News item:

One of the Six-Day War’s most famous landmarks, Ammunition Hill, was vandalized early Monday morning. This is the fourth related incident in less than a week, just days before Israel marks its Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.

According to Army Radio, the vandals spray-painted anti-Israel slogans, including “Günter Grass was right,” [referring to the German Nobel laureate’s recently published poem in which the former SS officer said Israel was a danger to world peace] and “Zionism — the root of all evil” as well as “lame Zionists.”

Here is an excerpt from a description of the battle of Ammunition Hill by Yaakov Lozowick:

Between 1949 and 1967, while Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan, there was an Israeli enclave about a mile to the east of the border, in the Jordanian part of town. This was Mount Scopus, with the campus of the Hebrew university and Haddassh hospital. There was an agreement whereby every two weeks 200 Israelis would cross Jordanian territory to the enclave, and sit there until the next group replaced them two weeks later.

Throughout the whole period everyone knew that sooner or later the war would resume, and that when that happened Israel would try to reconnect the mountain with the city. To prevent this the Jordanians built a series of fortifications in that mile, and its centerpiece was Ammunition Hill, an apt name borrowed from the days after the British conquered the city in 1917 and General Allenby stored his army’s ammunition there…

On the night between June 5th and 6th 1967 the paratroopers, backed by a few tanks, made their attack, directly on the Jordanian fortifications. The section of the battle on Ammunition Hill raged from about 2am to 5:30, early next morning. It was face to face combat, between the best forces each side had. 71 Jordanians were killed, and 35 Israelis: most of the defenders died, as did a quarter of the attackers.

A story I heard not long afterward told that in the early morning the IDF troops gathered the fallen Jordanians into a pit and covered it, with a makeshift sign that read “Here lie 71 brave Jordanian soldiers”.

A few hours later the paratroopers were at the Kotel.

The perpetrators of the vandalism could have been anti-Zionist Haredim, Arabs or left-wing extremists. Judging by the content of the literate Hebrew graffiti, my guess is that in this case they are the former.

For example, the message in the photo above reads: “Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs? Zionism — mother of sin!”

It is simply impossible for me to imagine what would motivate Israeli Jews to desecrate a monument to men who died defending the Jewish state that protects and, in many cases, feeds them.

I would like to see the vandals, who spit on Jewish sovereignty, banished to a place where it doesn’t exist. They have made their statement, let them live by it.

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Not letting a monster go to waste

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Anders Behring Breivik gives "right-wing salute" in court

Anders Behring Breivik gives "right-wing salute" in court

As the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is about to go into its second week, some have asked why he has been given a public platform to air his grievances for almost a week, and to describe, in excruciatingly horrible detail, precisely how he murdered 77 people last July 22.

The much-discussed question of his sanity is paramount to determine what to do with him, whether to imprison him — the maximum penalty for his crimes is a surprisingly short 21 years — or institutionalize him. But while practically important, it depends on the Norwegian legal system’s conception of what is a legitimate insanity defense and is not interesting from a moral or political standpoint.

Mass murder to draw attention to a political issue — this is what Breivik himself claims to have been doing — is not common in Western society. And the effects of his actions — at which he ‘succeeded’ far beyond his own expectations — will be the exact opposite of his objective. Rather than mobilizing opposition to multiculturalism and unrestricted immigration, his point of view is discredited by association with his terrible crime.

Breivik is a social deviant, and highly irrational to boot. And if ‘evil’ has any meaning, it certainly includes causing pointless death and suffering to the degree that he did. Insane or not, it’s easy to characterize him: he is a monster.

So why was a monster allowed to speak at length? Here are some explanations:

Norwegian legal experts say it’s crucial that every part of the proceedings is conducted by the book so that Breivik cannot claim he didn’t get a fair trial. Many say it’s also important that the gruesome details are documented to make sure that Breivik is kept away from society for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.

“When Behring Breivik at some point in the future goes to court and demands to be released — whether from a prison or from a psychiatric hospital — the judgment will the be most central document in that evaluation,” Inge D. Hanssen, one of Norway’s most experienced crime reporters wrote in newspaper Aftenposten.

But certainly his crime is well documented in the words of the police, etc. Wouldn’t a simple confession have been enough? Couldn’t he have signed a written statement?

To some foreign observers, Norway’s desire to do right has gone overboard, allowing the confessed mass killer just what he wants: a platform to promote his extreme political ideology. Print media can cover all parts of the trial. Norwegian TV broadcasts much of it live, including when he enters court, but isn’t allowed to show his testimony.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the answer lies here. Breivik is a monster, but he is a right-wing monster. And although he is a social deviant and ‘crazy’ in some sense, some are taking the opportunity to place the blame for his actions on those who oppose multiculturalism or worry about the effect of mass immigration of Muslims to European countries. For example,

BRUSSELS — Security services in Europe have neglected the kind of right-wing extremism which inspired Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik to commit mass murder, a UK-based rights group has warned.

“Post-911, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took their eye off the ball on the radicalisation of Europeans,” Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver on Monday (16 April).

“EU authorities have been lagging on radicalisation in Europe. They’ve been slow to grasp the power of the Internet and social media that encourages and helps co-ordinate the activities of the groups,” he added.

Hope Not Hate in a report out on Sunday said the ‘counter-jihad’ movement has become the new face of the far right in Europe and North America. The survey identifies some 300 disparate groups and individuals behind the trend.

Many of them say Muslims are a threat to Western cultural identity or values because old-fashioned racist language is no longer acceptable in mainstream politics and media. They also profess sympathy toward gay people and Jews…

Breivik – who is today standing trial in Oslo for killing 77 people on 22 July 2011 in two separate attacks — drew inspiration from some of the people cited in the Hope Not Hate study for his own 1,500-page manifesto. [my emphasis]

The article goes on to name names, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center, cited as financing counter-jihad groups, and various right-wing bloggers. The “Hope not Hate” website has a list of dangerous organizations, websites and individuals; the USA section includes such ‘extremists’ as Daniel Pipes, Brigitte Gabriel, M. Zuhdi Jasser, etc.

Of course no one in the Norwegian establishment, which is committed to multiculturalism, will admit that Breivik did them a favor by associating right-wing positions with vicious mass murder. But I believe that they are not letting the monster go to waste, and that is why he is allowed to speak so freely. This, they wish to imply, is the true face of the Right.

I am sure there are right-wing extremists that are capable of murder, although the only incident that I can think of that compares to Breivik’s act is the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. But murderousness does not characterize right-wing culture in general any more than it does the moderate Left, and far less than radical Islam. And it certainly is not legitimate to use Breivik to smear anyone who is not pro-Islam.

Need I add that there is one culture in which people like Breivik are considered heroes, in which they enjoy the approval of a majority of the population, and in which the leadership pays stipends to imprisoned Breiviks?

Of course that would be the Palestinian Arabs, whom Norway proudly supports!

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