Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind

One of the saddest things that I perpetually come across as I read the I-P conversation in various places is what I am calling the Palestinian colonization of the Jewish mind. This colonization is a matter of degree. It depends on just how much the individual Jew has absorbed the so-called "Palestinian narrative."

The Palestinian narrative, of course, is a fantasy of pure Palestinian victimhood in the face of vicious Israeli-Jewish aggression going back to 1948.  It is, in fact, a manichean story of Good versus Evil.  It posits that an ancient people, and a contemporary icon of pure victim-hood, the Palestinians, is in righteous conflict with a brutal, militaristic enemy, the Jews.

The story is manichean, apocalyptic, and absolute.

Generally, the more one speaks in anti-Israel talking points the more one has absorbed the Palestinian narrative. Jews who have most absorbed this narrative are anti-Zionist Jews. If a Jew describes Israel as colonialist, imperialist, racist country born from the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, his mind has been entirely colonized by the Palestinian narrative, a narrative derived from PLO strategizing with the Soviet Union in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

These are people so blinkered by this ideology of hatred toward the Jewish state that they have ceased thinking entirely. What is there to think about? They already know the truth, or think that they do, so there is nothing to think about. If a news report comes in from the west bank of the Jordan river that Israelis were mean to Palestinians by, say, ripping up Palestinian olive groves, the colonized mind of the anti-Zionist Jew already knows that the "settlers" are evil thugs who should not be allowed to live where they live. He accepts the story on face value because he has already been told, and has come to believe, that Jews who live in the area that many of them call Judea and Samaria are evil people, violent religious fanatics who want nothing more than to terrorize perfectly innocent, bunny-like Palestinians.

But that's the worst case scenario. Those people are lost to both reason and to their fellow Jews. What worries me a little more is the way in which many well-meaning liberal Jewish Zionists have also absorbed elements of the Palestinian narrative. The evidence is in the language used. If one speaks of "Occupation," with the "O" capitalized, as if it is the Mother of All Occupations, and without ever really describing what this word is intended to mean, than one has absorbed an important element of the Palestinian narrative and may have done so unconsciously.  God knows I had for many years.

These things are important to keep in mind, because the language that we use often predetermines the conclusions that we draw. If, for example, we think of Israel as "an apartheid state" then it goes without saying that Israel is an institutionally racist country, much like the former apartheid South Africa, and it must therefore be eliminated as a Jewish state. The word "apartheid" predetermines the conclusion.

What I recommend to all my fellow Jews, if I may be so bold, is to rid oneself of all elements of the Palestinian narrative. Just root it out entirely and examine the elements. Remember, those who project the Palestinian narrative do not have an interest in Jewish well-being and the narrative, itself, is largely an ideological construct, a fantasy. It certainly doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny, not unless you think that Jews fleeing the pogroms of late 19th century Russia came to Palestine as the vanguard of some expanding empire, which of course they did not.

This being the case, it is worthwhile to reexamine the language that we use in regards I-P and the assumptions that we may bring to the table. The question to ask when we examine that language and those assumptions is whether or not they form a part of the Palestinian narrative? If so, it should be held up to serious inquiry and deleted if found to be just more anti-Israel propaganda that has snuck into the minds of well-meaning liberal Jews.

Let's take, for example, the term "West Bank." At this point we take it for granted that liberals talk about the "West Bank" while conservatives, Likudniks, who desire the annexation of Greater Israel, talk about "Judea and Samaria." So? How did this particular usage come about?

The truth is that prior to the Jordanian annexation of the "West Bank" that area was, in fact, called Judea and Samaria and had been for millenia. The Jordanians called it the West Bank because they sure weren't about to call Judea Judea, for obvious reasons.

This being the case, why should Jews not refer to Judea as Judea? Just because someone like myself adopts that language it doesn't automatically mean that I support the annexation of the west bank of the Jordan river and I don't.

I say that we rid ourselves of rhetorical conventions that were created by those who are acting in opposition to Jewish well-being. Let us avoid ideology in order to come to understandings that resemble the truth. And let us free ourselves from any and all vestiges of the "Palestinian narrative."

The narrative is a lie, a weapon, and its intent is malicious.

I say we root it out of ourselves.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Can No One Answer The Question?

For a long time, now, I have been asking the question, just why is it that the Palestinians, and before them the Arabs of the British mandate in Palestine, have perpetually refused to accept a state for themselves next to the Jewish one?

No supporter of the Palestinian cause has ever adequately answered that question, not on Daily Kos, not on My Left Wing, not anywhere that I have seen.  The most anyone has said, within progressive-left activist circles, is that none of the offers were ever good enough.  None of them.

Let's lay it out, yet again. I am not going to bother with links because everything that I am about to say is readily verifiable through Google and elsewhere and I have provided that verification innumerable times in the past.

So, in 1937, the British offered to divide what was left of the mandate, after forking over two-thirds of it to the Hashemites in Jordan. (The Hashemites being an exceedingly important group of Arabs that no one had ever heard of before.) This was under the Peel Commission and it offered the Jews a tiny rump state in what is about one-fourth of today's Israel.

The Jews accepted and the Arabs said "no."

In 1947, of course, under UN 181, the United Nations proposed to divide the mandate between a Jewish state and an Arab state.

The Jews again accepted and the Arabs again said "no."

Between 1948 and 1967, the Gaza strip was ruled by Egypt and the west bank of the Jordan River was ruled by Jordan. During that entire period there was virtually no talk of a Palestinian people and thus no talk of a "Palestinian" state on that land.

How is it that if the Palestinians represent a distinct ethnicity, or nation, that has lived on that land from time immemorial that they refused to even acknowledge themselves as a people and demand their sovereignty prior to 1967?  From 1948 through 1967 the "Palestinians" did not call themselves Palestinians, and thus did not think of themselves as a distinct people and did not, therefore, demand a state.

{Mentioning this is entirely taboo within the western Left, but despite their righteous indignation, it remains the case.}

After the 6 Day War in 1967, the Jews agreed to offer up the west bank to Jordan and the Gaza to Egypt but were met with the infamous "3 Nos" of the Arab League at Khartoum.

No negotiations. No recognition. No peace.   (Which pretty much says it all, I think.)

In 1979, the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, between Begin and Sadat, contained a provision for Palestinian autonomy.

The Arabs, again, said "no."

In 2000, under the Oslo process, Ehud Barak offered Yassir Arafat 100 percent of the Gaza, well over 90 percent of the west bank in a contiguous area with land swaps, along with the Arab sections of eastern Jerusalem.

The Arabs (surprise, surprise) said "no" and Arafat refused to even make a counter-offer.

In 2008, Ehud Olmert offered Mahmoud Abbas pretty much the same deal, which he also refused.

In 2010, the Palestinians refused to even negotiate peace so long as Jews dared to live, and thus build recreation centers and swimming pools in Judea and Samaria, the so-called "West Bank."

And to this day the conflict goes on and on and on and on.

And, furthermore, we are supposed to believe that not only do the Palestinians want a state of their own, but that they deserve one... yet for some never-stated reason that have always, and perpetually, refused to accept such a state.

They have refused offer after offer after offer, yet somehow we are supposed to believe that what they always refuse is what they actually want.

What horrendous nonsense this all is.

The whole thing is little more than the continued harassment of the Jews, a project that has been ongoing now for about 2,000 years.

If the "Palestinians" want a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one than all they need to do is agree to it. That they have never agreed to this should tell us that this is quite clearly not what they want. They do not want peace and potential prosperity for themselves and their children in a state next to the Jewish one. If they actually wanted that they could have had it time and time again, yet they have always refused.

Acknowledge the obvious.

The Palestinians want something else and they have made very clear what it is that they want. They've stated it in plain terms in the charters of both the PLO and Hamas.  The Hamas charter calls for the genocide of the Jews and the PLO charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

That is what they want.

We have got to recognize that "no means no." And we need to base our understanding of the conflict on that fact.

This is what my former compadres on the Left simply cannot face.

They desperately want to believe that the Palestinians are actually misunderstood people of good will... despite their tendency to name sporting arenas after mass murderers... who if the Israelis would simply get together as a group and hop up and down on one foot, while simultaneously playing the kazoo as they face toward Mecca... then there would be peace.

The Israelis must do this, that, or the other thing.

And that is why Israel has moved to the right.  They understand that they are the victims of a cruel game that has been going on for almost 100 years, now.  The violence against them started with the Arab riots of the 1920s, well before there even was a country called Israel, and it has yet to cease.  The truth of the matter is that for religious and racist reasons the Arabs have, for centuries, considered the Jews an inferior people, the children of apes and pigs, and therefore Jewish sovereignty on land once controlled by Muslims is considered an affront, an unacceptable humiliation that must be redressed.

In fact, it is still considered an affront and a humiliation because the Arab and Muslim people continue to teach their children that it is so and therefore Jewish self-determination and self-defense in the traditional homeland of the Jewish people must, by all necessary means, be opposed.  This is true, apparently, even if it means the ongoing poverty and misery of the Palestinians.

This is the ugly truth that the Left will not face.  It is so much easier to think that if only the Israelis would do this, that, or the other.

It is a delusion born from desperation.

{It's also a sucker's game.}

Friday, March 18, 2011

The New Jews and The New Nazis

anneEvery once in a while someone will say something to the effect of "the Palestinians are the new Jews."

What's meant by this is that if the Jewish people in the past deserved some sympathy for being an oppressed people, today it is the Palestinians, not the Jews, that deserve that sympathy.

It is the Palestinians who are now the icon of oppression and thus in need of our sympathy. In this way, they are "the new Jews."

Leaving aside the truthfulness of this notion, it is interesting to me the many ways in which the Palestinians, and their supporters, often seek to undermine and appropriate Jewish history, identity, and imagery.

For example, here is an image of Jewish icon Anne Frank wearing a keffiyah. It is an image that projects the same idea. Anne Frank with keffiyah is Anne Frank as Palestinian and thus Palestinian as the new Jew.  The inversion also suggests that if Anne Frank was a victim of the Nazis, this means that if the Palestinians are the new Jews than the Jews are the new Nazis.

In this way the artist uses Anne Frank as club to beat the Jews and robs us of a cherished image, giving that image over to the Palestinian Arabs.

One might call it cultural theft and it is one of the unacknowledged weapons used against the Jewish people in the long Arab / Muslim war.

Another example of this is the claiming of Jewish historical or religious figures for Islam. Thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, religious figures who lived millenia before the birth of Mohommed somehow become Islamic religious figures... this despite the fact that Islam had yet to be invented. And therefore the Cave of the Patriarchs, where these figures are allegedly buried, gets transformed from a Jewish holy place to a mosque.

Another example, of course, is when a Palestinian will refer to Jesus as the first Muslim shaheed or martyr. This takes the figure of Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, and transforms him into the equivalent of a Palestinian suicide bomber, a shaheed, a martyr for the cause.

This cultural theft, or transference, of Jewish history, identity, and imagery has been going on for many centuries and includes, as another example, the building of the Dome of the Rock directly on top of the remains of the Second Temple. None of this is accidental. It is one of the primary methods designed to undermine the Jews and to strip us of our history and identity.

In a certain kind of way, it is pathetic, however. Do the Palestinians, or those Arabs or Muslims who are intent on driving the Jews out of our traditional homeland along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, have so little regard for their own history and identity that they must seek to appropriate ours?

It's Pathetic.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Long Arab-Jewish War (1920 to the Present)

{I originally wrote and published this in October of last year, but I am republishing it because it is worthwhile and something that I want to chew on going forward. This version is only slightly edited from the original.}

One way of looking at the conflict in the Middle East is as a single ongoing war between Arabs and Jews. If we think of it this way we can then break it down into its various overlapping phases and trends. It is, by the way, an Arab-Jewish war. It is not merely an Israeli-Palestinian conflict because the Arab combatants are not limited to the Palestinians. Nor is it merely an Arab-Israeli conflict because neither the combatants, nor the victims, on the Jewish side are limited to Israelis.

I thus conceive of it as an Arab-Jewish war, despite the fact that Iran is a combatant and Iran is not an Arab country. In the broader scope of things, however, and until fairly recently, Iran was only a minor combatant. We could call it a Muslim-Jewish War, but that would be too broad a characterization.

The Phases of the Long War:

Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort

This last phase, the delegitimization phase, has overtaken the Terror War as the primary means of combating the Jews of the Middle East. This delegitimization process takes several interconnected forms including the attempts by Palestinians to negate Jewish history in the region (for example, Arafat's claim that the Jews never had their Temple in Jerusalem). The BDS movement seeks to delegitimize Israel in preparation for its eventual dissolution.

The "progressive" political blogs, like Daily Kos and the Huffington Post, spread hatred. The United Nations, of course, is united in nothing so much as its efforts to perpetually condemn Israel while ignoring human rights violations the world over. Jewish students are regularly berated as "racist" on American and European college campuses if they dare to speak up for Jewish self-determination. The NGOs use lawfare in an effort to criminalize Jewish self-defense. And let's not forget Pallywood, of course.

So, the Delegitimization Phase is the current phase of this long war. One thing to note is that some western leftists have actually joined in the fight against the Jews of the Middle East. In fact, the western "progressive" component of the Delegitimization Phase is probably more significant even than Arab efforts. People disagree, however, on how effective the Delegitimization Phase will be. The Divest This! blog does an excellent job of tracking BDS efforts and shows that the BDS movement has been rather feeble, thankfully.

In any case, thinking about the conflict as the Long War helps to keep things in context. When we think about the I-P conflict it is absolutely necessary to hold this larger context in mind so that we can better understand the behavior of both sides. For example, the reason that the Palestinians continually refuse to accept a state next to Israel is because a state next to Israel is not their war aim. That much should be obvious by now.

By the way, I date the Delegitimization Phase from 1975 because it was in that year that the UN passed the "Zionism Equals Racism" resolution, which was the opening salvo. It should also be noted, tho I need to look further into this, that it was the Soviets who probably did the most for laying the propagandistic groundwork for this latest phase of the war.

And, make no mistake, propaganda (and thus hyperbole) is the poison arrow of delegitimization... a poison arrow aimed at the hearts and minds of the ignorant and the malicious.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Palestinians Celebrate the Murder of Jews

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.

Oh, I'm sorry. Am I supposed to NOT notice this kind of thing?

Palestinian adults were handing out candy to children today in a celebration of the murder of 5 Jews, including a month-old baby girl who was stabbed to death by their hero.

One thing is certain, on the progressive blogs they will maintain silence in the face of this ferocious hatred toward the Jewish people.

That's why I have essentially left the Left. It's not that the progressive-left, as I have repeatedly affirmed, is crawling with anti-Semites. That is most emphatically not the case.

The problem is that the Left nonetheless provides venues, such as Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian, for anti-Zionists, Israel Haters, and semi-shrouded anti-Semites, to spread hatred toward the Jewish state and thus, inevitably, toward the Jewish people.

The problem with the Left is not anti-Semitism, per se, but indifference toward anti-Semitism combined with an almost total inability to recognize Radical Islam as a genocidal movement that must be opposed.

As for just why the Left fails to oppose Radical Islam (or Islamism) there are any number of possible reasons.  I suspect that one of those reasons is a tension within the liberal soul between a commitment toward Universal Human Rights and the Multicultural Ideal.

The latter is winning and thus the former gets trashed.  The Left seems to be in the process of giving up on universal human rights because it is largely incompatible with multiculturalism.  Universal human rights is a western notion that derives from the Enlightenment, but as such, there is an inherent tension between it and multiculturalism because multiculturalism recognizes no hierarchy of cultures and therefore it is not considered proper to impose that western notion onto non-Western peoples... like most Jihadis.

The thinking might go something like this:

Who are we to impose our notions of justice onto non-Westerners?  Who are we, with our monstrous history of imperialism and colonialism around the world, to tell Jihadis that murdering Jews, and other non-Muslims, is wrong?

Sadly, those who think like this, such as many, many people on the political left stand for nothing whatsoever, which is why they cannot bring themselves to oppose Radical Islam.

Just because Radical Islam is a long-standing political movement with roots, via the Brotherhood, in Nazi Germany and that seeks to impose Sharia on Israel and the west through violent means, how can we as good progressives possibly object?

And so they do not object.

This leads me to understand that if Radical Jihadis want to kill Jews, the progressive-left will not stand in their way. In fact, as we saw with the Mavi Marmara incident, some on the progressive-left will actually join with Jihadis and help them in their efforts.

{By the way, you should also know that if you mention any of this to Leftists they get very, very upset. They seem not to want to hear it, for some reason. Shocking, I know.}