Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Games We Play.

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by Marc Prowisor

One of the great game boards of the world is and always has been the Middle East, Israel especially. Since the time of Abraham, when he was given some insights regarding the Real Estate of the region, this area has been coveted by every power in the world. It seems that just because it was promised to the Jewish people, every one wants a piece of it.

Israel has no great amounts of natural resources, no oil, no water or great natural gas deposits. Our only and most valuable resource that we have is the Jewish people, and the only time the land of Israel flourishes is when we are there, en masse.

The amount of good and knowledge that comes out of Israel and the Jewish people in Israel is not proportionate to the size of the people and land, the numbers of Nobel Prizes, Awards, Technological and Medical Advances, to name a few categories is renown and amazing. This happens most when there is an Israel with Jews in it, and the most advances for our people and the world have occurred since 1967, since we have been back in our land, all of our land.

This is not a coincidence it is a simple fact.

In fact, if we look back at history, when did the Arab world start taking a renewed interest in Israel? Only since the Jewish people started returning to their land.

The early Jewish returnees had no choice but to revive the land and by doing this, more jobs and opportunities became available. Suddenly a flower bloomed in the desert, and this caught the eyes not just of the world, but of course the Arabs of the region, from Syria, the Eastern region of then Palestine, today called Jordan and Egypt. Simply out of seeking a better life for themselves from amidst the squalor they were (and are) used to, they came to Israel to be near the Jews, to take advantage of work and opportunities, to make things better for themselves. No illusions, straight up, they were not looking for a homeland, a spiritual renewal, they were simple opportunists, seeing the possibilities of a better life they came to the Jews and to Israel (which was by the way called Palestine at the time).

Of course over a short time they decided that instead of living peacefully with the Jewish people in Israel, it would be best to throw them out, big mistake.

I am sure everyone remembers the story of the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs, well, who says that was just a story.

It seems that today everyone is trying to get at the "guts" of Israel, our Heartland, they figure that's where the gold is, to do that you have to kill the Goose, right?

They are right, that is where the gold is, but what they do not understand is that it is the joining of the Jewish people to their heartland, heritage and Birthright that creates the gold.

In their greed and hatred of Israel and the Jewish people, the Arabs and other enemies of the Jewish people and of a Jewish State, refuse to notice this main ingredient, this win-win combination, and they will attempt to cut apart the Goose to get the gold, big mistake.

This wonderful and winning combination of the Jewish people in their Heartland is being kept from a majority of our people, mostly those overseas. They have been mislead into thinking that the Jews from Judea and Samaria are not part of the State of Israel and that Judea and Samaria are not part of the country. This common error has spread like a globetrotting virus, infecting the non-inoculated ignorant masses.

Judea and Samaria are an integral part of Israel, and have always been, look it up. Besides being historically important to us as a people, many supporters of Israel and those Israelis that support Leftist views tend to forget the strategic and security importance this land holds for us.

As I view Ben Gurion Airport from Haresha or Maale Levona, I often wonder what it would look like through a gunners or Rocket Site. How would the "Left" act when our main Airport gets shut down due to Kassam or Katusha fire? What would the US State Department say when Israel's infrastructure comes under attack? What would they say after the same mistakes of the Gaza expulsion are (Gd forbid) made?

I'm sorry, I can't seem to hear you through the cheers of the Arabs and Islamic world, yell louder!

Too Late! They Left couldn't say anything, the world wouldn't say anything, the Jews living outside of Israel, who would support such madness would just Tsk, Tsk away. Who would bare the responsibility? Who would rush to our side? Who will comfort us and help us bury our dead? Who?

Sorry again, the cheers of our enemies are just too loud…. maybe you can sign your answer to me, or better yet, send me a SMS.

I know that Israel's PR is pretty much non-existent and our reputation regarding Judea and Samaria has been violated and perverted. Never the less, all efforts should be made to reintroduce our heartland and heritage to our people, at least come out to see for yourselves, but be warned, do not be led by someone who wants you to leave, but by someone who loves our people and who loves our land for what it is, a part of our people.

We as a world only stand to benefit from this combination - we all share in this gold. This combination of the Jewish People in their Homeland is the winning combo and it is we who are responsible to the world to keep this combination together, yes we Jews are responsible.

Do not let fear decide who you are, do not let deceit be your guide.

We are seeing a renewed and stronger effort by the Arab nations to cleanse us from our land. The double-edged standard will be wielded with a wider arc in the name of peace. It will be aimed, as usual towards the Jewish people and their continued existence in their land.

The threats will and are coming from all directions - our strength will and does come from within.

The results of giving into these ridiculous claims and desires of our enemies will wreak havoc and this will affect not just us in Israel, but the world, all of the world. Guess who will be first to suffer?

This is something that can and must be avoided. The way to start and fight this threat of havoc is by renewing and strengthening our connection to our homeland, to the places we read about in our history, in our Torah. Just to coin a phrase, our Birthright, but I mean our real Birthright, the places our forefathers walked and lived, you know the places most trips don't show you, start in the beginning.

 

Marc Prowisor

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Israel in the Hot Seat Again — for Building Homes.

 

Vice President Joe Biden condemns a new Israeli settlement plan.

 

by P. David Hornik

 

Here we go again. What has Israel done now? With Vice President Joe Biden here for a visit, the Israeli Interior Ministry "announced that approval had been granted to build new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox community of 20,000 north of downtown Jerusalem, which borders the Palestinian village of Shuafat." Biden reacted to the shocking news with: "I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of [Israeli-Palestinian] proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel."

Other condemnations followed like clockwork. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman made known that "the secretary-general condemns the approval of plans for the building of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem." Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that "it is now clear that the Israeli government is not interested in negotiating, nor is it interested in peace." He added that "massive American pressure is required in order to compel Israel to abandon its peace-destroying behavior."

There were even condemnations — and apologies — from within Israel itself. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was reported to be "angry" at the Interior Ministry's announcement, and his office called it "damaging" to negotiations with the Palestinians. Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog called it a "big error in government bureaucracy that should never have happened."

Indeed, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: "If I'd have known, I would have postponed the authorization by a week or two since we had no intention of provoking anyone. It is definitely unpleasant that this happened during Biden's visit. … I apologize for the distress this matter caused."

Israel, though, seems unable to keep itself out of hot water of this kind. Last November President Obama said Israel's intention to build 900 apartments in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo "makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous." And in February Israel's announcement that it was including the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in a list of "heritage sites" touched off condemnations by the U.S., the UN, the EU, and others — and a week of violent Palestinian rioting ensued.

In all this period there was — as usual — a total absence of public criticism of the Palestinian Authority from these same sources. Why? Was it because, in contrast to Israel's constant alleged breaches of propriety, the PA's behavior was without blemish?

Not exactly. In December an Israeli father of seven was murdered in a drive-by shooting by terrorists belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, part of PA president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. After Israeli forces found and killed three of the terrorists, Abbas called them shahids (martyrs) and sent his personal emissary to visit their families. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad went further, visiting the families himself and "condemn[ing] the Israeli military operation" — not the terrorists, whom the Fatah movement called "brave heroes and fighters."

In February an EU-trained Palestinian policeman stabbed an Israeli soldier to death at a checkpoint. Hardly an isolated incident, it was part of a "trend" of fatal terror attacks by American- and European-trained Palestinian security personnel. Condemnations? A rethink of the policy of training and empowering Palestinian security forces for the future Palestinian state that would nestle right up against Israel's population centers? Of course not.

In January the PA announced that it was naming a square in Ramallah after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the female Palestinian terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, the worse terror attack in Israeli history. Israel registered official complaints with the U.S. The formal dedication of the square is set to occur on Thursday — on the 32nd anniversary of the attack. The Israeli Foreign Ministry states: "There has been no public comment from the Obama administration about the PA's honoring of the terrorist."

This picture is skewed — badly. Are Israeli actions like building homes for Jews in Jerusalem, or refurbishing shrines for the good of both Jews and Muslims who pray in them, really objectionable in themselves? Of course not. They're "objectionable" because they make Palestinians angry — as a vanguard of the Arab/Muslim world, which is much larger and wields much more economic power than Israel.

If that explanation doesn't seem right, then how could it be that truly objectionable actions by the Palestinians — committing murder, glorifying the murderers, dedicating a public site to a massacre — evoke nary a peep from the same parties that rush to condemn Israel?

That international bodies like the UN and the EU are deeply in the thrall of dhimmitude before Muslim power is probably an irremediable situation. One can still hope that the United States, with its far stronger moral credentials, can one day stop the charade of hectoring its ally Israel and excusing true outrages.

 

P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature. Part I

 

by Irwin J. Mansdorf

 

1st part of 2

  • Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire Middle East, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
  • What is not popularly recognized is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it served the Arab world in their nationalist goals and helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France.
  • Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial," with the term "settler-colonialist" applied to the Zionist enterprise
  • This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "setters" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. The notion of "settler" dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.
  • Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948. The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological denial of any Jewish connection to the ancient Land of Israel.

 

Psychological factors often play a role in the development of political views. In the Israel-Arab conflict, one of the ways in which psychological factors operate is in the formation of "mantras" that do not necessarily reflect either the historical record or applicable international law.1 Examples include the use of descriptions of occupation as "illegal"2 and the determination that there is a "right" of resistance3 or a "right" of return.4 When used over and over again, these descriptions, despite their questionable legitimacy, can alter perceptions. Once perceptions change, attitudes and behavior change as well, leading to partial and ultimately biased views of historical and political reality.

Language thus becomes an important psychological tool both in correctly describing events and in perpetuating beliefs based on narratives that do not accurately reflect history. Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad is among those that have portrayed Israel as a colonial entity based on an illegitimate and racist movement, namely Zionism.5 In the eyes of many, it is a foreign element implanted into the Middle East where organizations such as the United Nations6 and political activists such as Chomsky7 describe Arabs as "indigenous" and Jews as "immigrants." The charge of colonialism has become a major theme in criticizing Israel throughout the academic world and is part of the language of the discourse.8 The language of "colonialism" and its related terms (e.g., ethnic cleansing) have been incorporated into academic coursework even in Israel.9 An examination of the actual history and events related to the Middle East, in general, and Palestine, in particular, however, fails to confirm the reality behind the "colonial Israel" moniker. Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire area, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.


The Beginning of the End of Colonialism in the Middle East: The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration is historically viewed as the document that first recognized the rights of Jews to a national home and independence in Palestine. Accordingly, it is perceived in the Arab world as a document that began what was seen as an illegitimate process of dispossessing Arabs from their lands. What is not popularly recognized, however, is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France. Nowhere is this made clearer than in the Peel Commission Report of 1937, which stated:

The fact that the Balfour Declaration was issued in order to enlist Jewish support for the Allies and the fact that this support was forthcoming are not sufficiently appreciated in Palestine. The Arabs do not appear to realize in the first place that the present position of the Arab world as a whole is mainly due to the great sacrifices made by the Allied and Associated Powers in the War and, secondly, that, insofar as the Balfour Declaration helped to bring about the Allies' victory, it helped to bring about the emancipation of all the Arab countries from Turkish rule. If the Turks and their German allies had won the War, it is improbable that all the Arab countries, except Palestine, would now have become or be about to become independent states.10

The Balfour Declaration, thus, not only served as the stimulus for Jewish independence, but, curiously enough, served the Arab world in their nationalist goals as well. This was largely seen outside of Palestine, but insofar as Palestine is concerned, there was initially an absence of nationalism with a distinct "Palestinian" identity. The Peel Report notes, "The Arabs had always regarded Palestine as included in Syria."11 The plan, under an agreement between Emir Feisal and Chaim Weizmann (the Feisal-Weizmann agreement), was that the Arabs would recognize Jewish rights and independence over Western Palestine as called for in the Balfour Declaration, while Feisal's family would retain control of Syria and the area known as Trans-Jordan. The failure of this agreement, and the resultant conflict that ensued, was a result of the French refusal to relinquish their colonial control and recognize the rights of Emir Feisal in Syria.12


Arab Denial of Jewish Rights and History in Palestine

The breakdown of the Feisal-Weizmann agreement and the reversal on Arab acceptance of the Balfour Declaration launched a period of Arab nationalism accompanied by violence between Jews and Arabs. Today, despite the documented history of the Jewish people in the area that was known as Palestine and Feisal's acceptance of the Jewish presence there, the Arab world continues to deny this history, both in official policy and in popular media. The U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report of 2009 notes that Palestinian Authority textbooks "often ignored historical Jewish connections to Israel and Jerusalem."13

This thinking is reflected in the charters of both leading Palestinian movements. The Palestinian National Charter of 1968 declared the Balfour Declaration null and void and said: "Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood."14 The issue of recognizing Jewish as opposed to Israeli rights remains a sticking point between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.15 The Hamas Covenant makes several statements expressing Islamic hegemony over the area known as Palestine, along with several references to the Jews usurping Palestine and challenging Islam.16

Academic circles in Palestinian Arab society also subscribe to these notions. Al-Quds University posts a "History of Jerusalem"17 that repeatedly implies that the Jewish "narrative" is a "myth"; that King David, whose very existence is questioned, was probably part of an "idealized" community of "Israelites" that had no connection to Jerusalem; that those "Israelites" never experienced an exodus from Egypt (Al-Quds claims this "story" was "appropriated" from a Canaanite legend); that Joshua's conquest never took place; that Solomon's Temple was actually a center of pagan worship; and that the Western Wall was probably just part of a Roman fortress. In the Al-Quds rendition of the "conquests" of Palestine, Jews are not even mentioned, although ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Mamlukes, Ottomans and British are. Jews are nowhere to be found in the history of the land and have nothing to do with its past.

In popular Palestinian media, the notion of lack of historical connection between the Jews and Palestine has also been promoted, such as with television broadcasts denying any Jewish connection to the Western Wall.18 This belief is so pervasive that even Israeli-funded institutions have been exposed to it. In Jerusalem, the Tower of David Museum's head Arabic-speaking guide was dismissed19 after implying that there were no Jewish roots in Jerusalem, stating, in a Palestinian television interview, that the museum's documentary film was "full of historical lies and historical deceptions."20


The Connection between the Charge of Colonial Israel and Denial of Rights

The concerted effort in Arab circles to deny Jewish roots in Palestine/Israel is critical to claims of Jewish colonialism in Palestine. Palestinian spokespersons claim that since Jews are members of a religion and not a nation, any nationalistic aspirations based on a specific territory are invalid.21 The notion of Jews as a foreign entity in Palestine was advanced and popularized through the work of the late Edward Said in his seminal work, Orientalism,22 which continues to be seen as a foundation for post-colonial thinking in academia today.

The historical reality is quite different from what the Arab narrative, which has been adopted by many in academic and intellectual circles, presents.


The Colonial Background of the Entire Middle East 

As a result of their colonial conquests, much of the Middle East area was under the control of the Ottoman Turks from 1516 through 1917. British colonial history includes their gaining control of the Gulf area between 1861 and 1899, turning the area into what one source called "a British lake."23 British officials would decide which of the prominent tribal families in the Gulf region would eventually become the rulers of the states that would eventually emerge. French colonialists took over Algeria in 1830, conquered Tunisia in 1881, and took control of Morocco in 1912. 

Neither Jews nor Arabs enjoyed any modern independence in the area, which, by the end of World War I, had been under colonial control for many years. As a result of the mandate system that developed after the war and the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916, British and French colonial interests were drawn and defined. 
 

Decolonialization Following the Ottoman Defeat 

Starting around the period of World War I, the entire Middle East underwent a process of decolonialization with the emergence of national movements. Jewish nationalism was consistent with the Balfour Declaration, which, after being incorporated into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, uniquely called for settlement of Jews in Palestine as part of the Jewish National Home, without reference to their place of origin. Just as the British supported the Jewish national claims to Palestine, a number of source documents show that they also encouraged Arab nationalism as a tool in their own conflict against the Ottomans.24

The mechanism for the transformation from colonial independence for the majority of new states was the mandate system. Both the British and French mandates eventually yielded sovereignty to the populations of the Middle East as multiple independent states came into being. With Israel, the Jewish state was reconstituted, while the various tribal Arab populations that stemmed from the invasion of the seventh century25 now began carving out areas of influence and sovereignty. The Jews, far from being colonialists, were the beneficiaries of a national movement that aimed to renew Jewish sovereignty, but also which, along with Arab national movements, ended colonial control by forces that had no historical or indigenous roots in the region. 

Indeed, it is an error to assume that Britain, as the mandatory power, gave the Jewish people their rights to claim Palestine. The 1922 Palestine Mandate specifically refers to the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." Rather than creating a new right, the Mandate recognized a pre-existing right that clearly pre-dated the colonial powers.

The Mandate also calls for the Jewish people to begin "reconstituting of their national home," essentially stating that they were going to rebuild a national home that had been there before. Many of the Arab states, in contrast, were modern fabrications of the British and the French. 

 

Irwin J. Mansdorf

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

       ./..

Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature. Part II

 

by Irwin J. Mansdorf

 

2nd part of 2

 

The Process of Independence 

A look at a map of the Middle East will show that national movements eventually became national entities, with tribal factors largely accounting for the division of the area into independent countries. North Yemen became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The Hashemite monarchy in Iraq was granted independence in 1932 from England. Saudi Arabia (originally Hejaz and Nejd), although never colonized after World War I, became an independent kingdom in 1932 as well. Egypt, occupied by England since 1882, gained full independence in 1952. Lebanon and Syria became independent from the French Mandate in 1943 and 1946, respectively. Another Hashemite family in Jordan was granted independence in 1946 in territory originally a part of the Palestine Mandate. Independence also was eventually achieved by the British protectorates of Oman (1951), Kuwait (1961), South Yemen (1967), the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar (1971).

In addition to the formation of the various Arab states noted above, Jewish national self-determination was obtained in Palestine with the independence of Israel in 1948. While the dispute with the Arab residents of Palestine continues, the colonial entity, namely Britain, relinquished control in 1948. Prior to Israel's legal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza following the hostilities of 1967, Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank, while Gaza was administered by Egypt.

The fact of the matter was that in 1948, during its war of independence, Israel acted as an anti-colonial force. The troops of the Arab Legion of Transjordan fought under a British commander, and had British as well as Arab officers.26 The British, clearly a colonial power, had treaty obligations to both Egypt and Jordan. At one point Hector McNeil, British Minister of State, threatened to "defend Aqaba if necessary."27 British units were stationed in Egypt near the Suez Canal, the British were suspected of supplying sensitive intelligence information to Egypt, and the Israeli Air Force even clashed with a RAF squadron based in Egypt, downing five planes in 1949.28 While Israeli weapons came mostly by way of Czechoslovakia, the Arab states were equipped with weapons from the old colonial powers, Britain and France.29

Indeed, at the United Nations in 1949, when Britain and Italy submitted a draft resolution to put Libya under UN trusteeship, and deny it independence, Israel refused to go along with the colonial powers. By Israel abstaining, the British-Italian resolution did not get the required two-thirds support and was defeated.30 In short, both militarily and diplomatically, Israel served as an anti-colonial force during its early years. 
 

Language and Perception: "Settler-Colonialism"

Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial." The accusation of colonialism against Israel is not without difficulty. Since the traditional definition of colonialists exploiting the native population and resources does not broadly apply to Jews and Zionism, how then, to continue the narrative of Israeli colonialism? The answer was the application of another type of colonialism, that of the "settler-colonialist," to the Zionist enterprise.31

This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "settlers" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another use of language to shape perceptions and another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. Unlike any other "settler-colonial" state in history, Israel stands alone in that there is no identifiable foreign power that can be identified as the colonial entity. It goes without saying that the notion of "settler" also dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.

The notion of Israeli colonialism, however, is so established in certain academic and political circles that its colonial identity is never questioned, and "settlers" are automatically considered agents of a colonial effort.32

Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, despite the impression of some that the term applies only to those Israelis who have established communities in disputed territory after 1967, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948.33 In fact, many contemporary Palestinian activists blithely and routinely assume, in their writing, that all Israelis are colonialists and all of "historic" Palestine has been occupied (e.g., Qumsiyeh,34 Abunimah35). 
 

Reestablishing Accuracy: Cognitive Dissonance and Confirmation Bias

The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological and cognitive denial of any Jewish connection to Palestine and the ancient Land of Israel. This can be either through a belief that the connection is weak because of the passage of time,36 or, as has been the case in Arab circles and in some revisionist Israeli ones,37 by flatly denying Jewish roots in the area. 

Cognitive dissonance is the phenomenon whereby established beliefs are challenged by new, conflicting information that arouses a challenge to those core beliefs. Confirmation bias, on the other hand, is the term applied to seeking evidence that validates prior attitudes and beliefs. When confronted with dissonance, some may alter their beliefs to conform to the new information, but many, especially those that are ideologically invested with and committed to a particular view, continue in their established attitudes by adding justifications or interpretations that support or "confirm" the original cognition.

Just as committed Zionists would not accept a colonial narrative, presenting facts and arguments in response to accusations against Israel would not change attitudes for anti-Zionists, even when their core beliefs or attitudes feeding that position are challenged. In practice, ideologues seem to respond to challenges through "confirmation bias," seeking information consistent with their ideology that supports their core beliefs when dissonance is aroused.38 Attempting to change attitudes, thus, would appear to have a chance for success only when these attempts target those who are not predispositioned or biased towards particular political ideologies and when the information is accurate, not tendentious, and based on solid data. 

The mechanism of dissonance reduction that is most central to the "settler-colonialist" argument is the notion that Jews do not constitute a national entity and thus cannot possibly have legitimate rights to what was known as Palestine. For those who are familiar with Jewish history and traditions, such as the specifics of the Jewish legal system applicable only in Israel or the role of the "Land of Israel" in Jewish liturgy, the speciousness of these notions is self-evident. For many others, however, this is either not recognized or not relevant.39 Challenging these beliefs involves two overlapping mechanisms: First, a firm recognition of the reality of Jewish roots and historical sovereignty in the area, and second, an acknowledgment that the modern reconstitution of Jewish nationalism was achieved through a legitimate process consistent with international law and the right to self-determination. Both tenets are taboo and are not even subject to discussion for many anti-Zionist ideologues.

Ideology, when unyielding and unbending, will be resistant to any cognitive dissonance.40 That is why, despite the historical record, the core notion of Israel as a "settler-colonialist" nation will continue to resonate in circles where nationalism is frowned upon, where religious history is irrelevant, where post-modern ideologies are entrenched and philosophically embraced, and where the notion of Jews as a people is not recognized.

 

 

Notes

1. I.J. Mansdorf, "The Political Psychology of Postcolonial Ideology in the Arab World: An Analysis of ‘Occupation' and the ‘Right of Return'," Israel Studies, vol. 13, no. 4 (October 2007):899-915.

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/21/opinion/annan-s-careless-language.html?scp=5&sq=George%20P%20Fletcher&st=cse

3. http://www.nysun.com/editorials/right-of-resistance/10510/

4. R. Lapidoth, "Legal Aspects of the Palestinian Refugee Question, Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, no. 485, September 1, 2002.

5. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6679.shtml

6. Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Israel: Overview, 2007, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4954ce50c.html

7. http://www.chomsky.info/books/dissent01.htm

8. R. Aharonson, "Settlement in Eretz Israel - A Colonialist Enterprise? ‘Critical' Scholarship and Historical Geography," Israel Studies, 1(2) (Fall 1996):214-229.

9. http://hsf.bgu.ac.il/mapmes/uploadDocs/Syllabus-_Yftachel_-_Cohen_2008-9.doc

10. http://unispal.un.org/pdfs/Cmd5479.pdf (ch. II, para. 19, p. 24).

11. Op. cit., para. 23, p. 2.5

12. Op. cit., para. 25-28, pp. 26-28.

13. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127349.htm

14. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/plocov.asp

15. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1099520.html

16. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

17. http://www.alquds.edu/gen_info/index.php?page=jerusalem_history

18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wVJviDcVBc

19. P. Cidor, "Obliterated in Translation," Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2010.

20. PA TV (Fatah), November 13, 2009.

21. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-11-16/news/0711160197_1_islamic-erekat-jewish-state

22. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

23. Y. Tareq,  J.S. Ismael, and K.A.J. Ismael, Politics and Government in the Middle East and North Africa (University Press of Florida, 1991), p. 453.

24. "British Imperial Connexions to the Arab National Movement," in G.P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds., The Last Years of Peace - British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, Vol. X, Part II (1938), pp. 824-838.

25. W.I. Saadeh, "The Three Phases of Arab History, Excerpt from ‘History of Arab Thought'," Arab-American Affairs, vol. 32, no. 211 (June-July 2004), http://www.arab-american-affairs.net/archives/arab-history.htm

26. T.N. Dupuy, Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974 (New York: Harper Collins, 1978), p. 121.

27. N. Aridan, Britain, Israel and Anglo-Jewry 1949-1957 (London: Taylor and Francis, 2004), p. 8.

28. Z. Tzahor, "The 1949 Air Clash between the Israeli Air Force and the RAF," Journal of Contemporary History, 28 (1)(1993):75-101.

29. Zach Levey, "Arms and Armaments in the Middle East," Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, 2004, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3424600327.html.

30. Gideon Rafael, Destination Peace: Three Decades of Israeli Foreign Policy (New York: Stein and Day, 1981), pp. 21-22.

31. M. Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? (Pathfinder Press, 1973). http://www.alternativenews.org/michael-warschawski/2187-israel-colonial-states-and-racism-.html

32. http://www.borderlands.net.au/vol6no2_2007/veracini_settler.htm

33. Op. cit., 20, 21.

34. http://www.projo.com/opinion/contributors/content/projo_20050821_21gaza.31eacd0.html

35. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article7012.shtml

36. http://www.jewishpress.com/pageroute.do/41215

37. S. Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso, 2009).

38. C.S. Taber and M. Lodge, "Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs," American Journal of Political Science, 50(3) (2006):755-769.

39. F.M. Perko, "Contemporary American Christian Attitudes to Israel Based on the Scriptures," Israel Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, (Summer 2003):1-17, http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/israel_studies/v008/8.2perko.html

40. B. Nyhan and J. Reifler, "When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions, in Political Behavior, in press. J. Bullock, "The Enduring Importance of False Political Beliefs," paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 17, 2006.

 

 

Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD, is an Israeli psychologist who has published widely on the subject of political psychology as it relates to the Israel-Arab conflict.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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The march of the Red-Green brigades.

 

by Caroline B. Glick

The Red-Green alliance is on the march.

On Wednesday, the leftist-controlled European Parliament in Strasbourg passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone Report. That report, it will be recalled, denies Israel's right to self-defense by alleging that Israel's actions to defend itself from illegal Palestinian aggression during the course of Operation Cast Lead were war crimes.

The resolution did more than accept the Goldstone report's baseless claims. It sought to silence those who are trying to make the Red portion of the Red-Green alliance pay a price for its abetment of jihad. The resolution, "expresses its concern about pressure placed on NGOs involved in the preparation of the Goldstone report and in follow-up investigations, and calls on authorities on all sides to refrain from any measures restricting the activities of these organizations."

This statement was inserted to defend the EU-supported Israeli organizations — overwhelmingly associated with the far-Left New Israel Fund — that took a lead role in providing Richard Goldstone and his associates with false allegations of illegal actions by IDF forces. Those organizations — and the New Israel Fund — have rightly been the subject of scrutiny in Israel after their role in compiling the Goldstone Report was revealed in January by the Israeli student organization Im Tirzu.

Israel is not the only target of the Red-Green alliance. Its operations span the globe. Sometimes, as in the case of the Goldstone report, the Left leads the charge. Sometimes, as with the case of the Hamas-led missile offensive against Israel that preceded Cast Lead, the jihadists move first. In general, jihadists are motivated to attack non-Muslims by their religious belief that Islam must dominate the world. And in general, the Left's justification of jihadist aggression stems from its neo-Marxist faith that the liberal nation-state is the root of all evil. Whether the Left recognizes that if successful, its collusion with jihadists will lead to the destruction of human freedom is subject to debate. But whether or not the Left understands the consequences of its actions, they have played a key role in abetting this goal.

In Nigeria on Sunday night, the jihadists led the charge. With the apparent collaboration of the Muslim-dominated Nigerian army, Muslim gangs entered three predominantly Christian villages around the city of Jos and killed innocent civilians, including children with machetes, axes, and daggers.

According to eyewitness reports, some victims were scalped and many were raped. Most had their hands and feet chopped off. Infants and children were among the butchered.

The massacre was premeditated. According to government spokesmen, Muslim residents were tipped off two days prior to the attack. So too, to ensure their victims were Christians, the jihadists addressed them in Fulani, the local language spoken by Muslims. If the victims responded in Fulani they were saved. Otherwise they were hacked to death. Sunday's massacre could have been expected to lead the news worldwide. But it didn't. Indeed, it was barely noted.

That scant coverage the barbarous events received was itself plagued by obscurity and vagueness. Commentators and reporters alike hid the identities of the aggressors and the victims, characterizing the jihadist butchery as "sectarian violence." They also sought to obfuscate its significance claiming that the Muslim gangs decapitated infants in response to tribal property disputes.

Jessica Olien at the Atlantic, not only made these claims, but brushed off the dimensions of the atrocity writing, "It's worth noting that police have confirmed only 109 dead."

After minimizing the death toll, Olien turned her literary daggers on the victims claiming that they had it coming. As she put it, "It's hard not to compare the weekend's attack with one in January in which 150 people from the same Muslim community responsible for Sunday's attack were brutally killed. The attack on March 7th drew considerably more international attention the previous incident."

Ah, so unfair. The over-reported atrocity unfairly portrays murdered Christians as victims. But Olien knows better. The Muslims were simply retaliating for the attacks they suffered. Apparently Olien would kill babies too if she were in their shoes.


Sadly for Olien and her erudite justification of barbarism, it is far from clear that the victims of January's violence were Muslims. Writing in the London Times on Thursday, British Baroness Caroline Cox claimed that the primary victims of January's slaughter were Christians, not Muslims.

According to Cox, eyewitnesses to the events in January "indicated that the killings began when Muslim youths attacked Christians on a Sunday morning on their way to church. Muslims were also killed as those under attack began to fight back."

Cox continued that Sunday's attack followed a now familiar pattern. Attacks "are initiated by well-armed Muslim extremists, chanting militant slogans, attacking and killing Christian and other non-Muslim citizens and destroying homes and places of worship."

"In the early stages of the attack, the Muslim militants take corpses to mosques, where they are photographed and released to the media, creating the impression that these are Muslim victims."

The international media are only too willing to accept these false accusations of Muslim victimization at the hands of their actual victims at face value. And so are their leftist comrades in international governing circles.

In the wake of Sunday's massacre, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, both issued statements making no distinction whatsoever between the victims and the aggressors. Both called for "both sides" to act with "restraint."

In the Left's apparent willingness to hide the nature of January's attacks and then underplay Sunday's massacre, we have an example of Leftist facilitation of jihadist violence. In Nigeria of course, the jihadists are the main actors and the Left are merely their help-mates.

In Israel the roles are generally reversed. Here it is the Left that leads the jihadists by the hand. Take the Left's campaign against Jewish property rights in Jerusalem. In the Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood in Jerusalem, buildings owned by Jews were seized by Jordan in 1948 after the Jordanian conquest of the city. For the past decade Jewish property owners have been working through the courts to assert their rights to their buildings and remove the Arab squatters who took them over.

Court after court upheld their rights to their property. And, indeed, more than a decade ago, the squatters reached a settlement in which they acknowledged the owners' property rights and the owners agreed to let the squatters stay so long as they paid rent. But when the squatters stopped paying rent, the Left pushed them to refuse to vacate the premises and try to relitigate the old settlement. Finally, the case made it to the Supreme Court which also recognized the rights of the Jewish owners and ordered the police to enforce their ruling and remove the illegal squatters.

The police removed the squatters last month and within hours, Jewish residents moved in, in accordance with an agreement with the buildings' lawful owners. Since they moved in, the Jews have been under constant attack from their Arab neighbors. They have been beaten and threatened with murder.

In the meantime, the Left has turned the case of the illegal Arab squatters into a cause celebre. Last week, thousands of leftists staged an anti-Semitic demonstration outside the compound demanding that the Jews be removed from their homes. The argument, of course, is that allowing Jews to exercise their legal property rights by peacefully residing in a predominantly Arab neighborhood is an unacceptable "provocation." The Arab squatters attempting to steal the property, on the other hand, are "victims."

Rather than characterize the protestors as anti-Semites who are stoking violence against innocent Jews for their crime of lawfully living where they choose, the local and international media have described the demonstrators as "peace activists," and "human rights activists." For turning reality on its head and championing the cause of jihadists against the human rights of their victims, these leftist demonstrators are lionized by their comrades in the media and in the chanceries of the Western world. The State Department said it was "unacceptable," that Jews moved into their homes.

So too, the UN raced to accept the Left's claim that human rights demand the denial of Jews' property rights due to their ethnicity. Its peace process boss Richard Miron said, "I deeply deplore the totally unacceptable actions by Israel in which Israeli security forces evicted Palestinian refugee families… to allow settlers to take possession of their properties."

It is a depressing commentary on our times that spokesmen of democracies and supposed champions of human rights are willing to state publicly that granting Jews the equal protection of the law is an unacceptable imposition on their bigoted neighbors. But the notion that Jews have an equal right to buy and own property in areas of Jerusalem from which they were illegally ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians in 1948 is now a great cause of the Left. And one can only assume that the jihadists will soon make their move — to the gratification of their leftist comrades — against the innocent Jews of Jerusalem.

This brings us to the events surrounding US Vice President Joseph Biden's visit to Israel this week. On the first day of his visit, as a matter of routine governance, the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee approved plans to build 1,600 housing units in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood. Ramat Shlomo is a neighborhood with over 20,000 residents located between the even more populous Ramot and Sanhedriya neighborhoods. From an Israeli perspective, it is just as uncontroversial as Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv or Hadar in Haifa.

But not from a Red perspective. Just moments after the decision was announced, the Left used it as proof of Israeli venality. For approving the construction of new homes in its capital, the government was condemned again and again. The Palestinians and the Arab League jumped on the bandwagon. And now, owing to the Left's anti-Israel onslaught, anyone murdered in Jerusalem — or anywhere else for that matter — will be dismissed as a product of fully justified Muslim anger.

Observing the Leftist charge, led in this case by the frothing-at-the-mouth Israeli media, Biden moved swiftly. The man who came to Israel on a charm offensive could no longer hide the truth about where the Obama administration's true sympathies lay. After declaring his undying love and fidelity to Israel just hours before, Biden switched gears and condemned Israel for "undermining," prospects for peace.

Wednesday morning as he referred to his condemnation of Israel's decision to build homes in its capital, Biden said, "Sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth." And at least in this case, he is correct.

And so, in the spirit of that sentiment, it must be said: When those who purport to support peace and human rights join forces with the Red-Green alliance what they are actually supporting is bigotry, violence, murder and ultimately, the destruction of human freedom. Whether the Left recognizes the significance of its actions or not, it is time that it be held as accountable for its defense of jihad as the jihadists are for carrying it out.


Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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