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Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama & Ethical Incomprehensibility

Some people find the topic of politics boring! Most people find politics boring beyond hope!! The problem is that we rarely believe anything our politicians tell us. It is not that our politicians start out to present themselves as dishonest brokers but we all live within a bubble of our own making.  We want a life that is predictable and comfortable and our politicians are expected to deliver this hope to us.  So they feed our expectations.

Expectations of President Obama’s second term of office may be significantly understated because if he and we have learned one thing from his first term, it is that he is a mortal, like all the presidents that preceded him, no different and no better than those in whose footsteps he followed.  History will decide on the quality of his legacy.

Politicians being an amorphous but dilatory breed tend to have a few showcase policies but spend the rest of the time protecting their territory rather than advancing great ideas or safeguarding principles.

The President delivered on Health Care Reform and his financial policies may or may not have contributed to the USA not being as badly damaged as Europe was by the Great Recession of 2008. But his Foreign Policy has fluctuated between uninspired and disastrous and his reforms at home have done nothing to make America a better place for the majority of Americans.  He has eroded civil liberties perhaps more than any President since the Second World War?

Perhaps the real issue is that leaders promise the earth and for the most part, they deliver hot air.  I repeat that this is partly down to our expectations.  We prefer to be courted by braggarts, most people would not vote for someone dressed in leathers and brandishing a whip and chains (even if anticipating the pain made for a more inspired campaign).

The issue that has always made me feel uncomfortable with President Obama is his past associations. Most people who aspire to high office are more careful with their friends.

If a republican candidate for the President had attended KKK rallies for 20 years and then you were asked to vote for him, would you? The Reverend Jeremiah Wright administered to President Obama and his family when the president was a civil rights lawyer, a professor of law and while he served as a senator; in fact he was a close and respected friend of the president for 20 years.  It was the reverends close racist associations and disunifying comments that forced Senator Obama to give him up prior to his election as President in November 2008.

Obama presumably remains a friend (albeit distant) of Reverend Jeremiah Wright who has stated, is on record as saying “God damn America” and also “the chicken has come home to roost” (when referring to 911). The Reverend was an advisor to Elijah Mohammad (who died in 1975) and remains an advisor to Louis Farrakhan (both leaders of the Nation of Islam).  They have allegedly, repeatedly expressed racist opinions and attitudes towards Whites as a race and Jews as a religious group. Wright has said that “Jesus was a black man in a country controlled by rich white men” (Rome and Italy). He honoured Louis Farrakhan as a man he had known for 37 years.  Louis Farrakhan is a shameless bigot. He is on record as declaring that” Hitler is a great man” and “Judaism is a gutter religion” (although in the latter case he accused the press of distorting what he said); and “the entire white race is a race of devils and will be exterminated by Allah”.

So I have said this before – you swim in a pool of excrement and you will not smell of roses.  And the President swam in the naughty preacher’s swimming pool for 20 years before he disowned him.  A willing association with prejudice is psychically damaging.   Since his election President Obama has courted and continues to court the most corrupt, racist and misogynistic regimes in the Muslim world.

  • He abandoned his Egyptian ally, paving the way for the election of the deeply racist and genocidal Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
  • He has supported Islamist opposition groups elsewhere, across the Muslim world.
  • He has abdicated all responsibility for defending minorities which, has resulted in a serious escalation in the persecution of women, Christians and other minorities across the Muslim world.

In summary, instead of leading the free world in nurturing democracy and the rule of law he has encouraged the forces of reactionary Islamism and acquiesced to tyranny.

I am neither Democrat nor Republican (nor American). But a moral chasm has opened up in the Free World into which bigots have poured their energies into redefining right and wrong.  

The attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi is universally acknowledged as having been carefully orchestrated by Islamists in a move that was unconnected to any other contemporary events.  As the American President embraces Islamists they have chosen to demonstrate their gratitude with hatred, contempt and the assassination of American ambassadors to the Muslim World.

If the President deliberately sacrificed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, in Benghazi, then the act of dissimulation that followed (the official line was that this was a spontaneous riot) is inexplicable.

President Obama’s doctrine of engagement with the Islamic World, at any cost, is an unmitigated failure.   Perhaps then, sacrificing his diplomats to violent Islamism is not quite so ethically incomprehensible. The lack of vision that ensured his election for a second term may yet extract a price from all of us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defence

I was discussing Hamas with some representatives of the Socialist Workers Party. The debate was going no-where so I stated that I was surprised people like them-selves embraced Hamas who as they will recognise, hold Nazis beliefs.  They were deeply offended by this. They said I must not use the word ‘Nazi.’  Hamas, they continued, are fascists – as if that excused their behaviour?  I responded that I have read both their literature and that of Hamas, which is why I called Hamas Nazis and them fascists.  It may be reductive to make the assumption but a supporter of fascism is usually a fascist.  The ladies stormed off.

My clarity received some interesting feedback.  It is not the truth that is at issue but how we present it.  So when I call HAMAS ‘Nazis’ for most Israelis these are words that have emotive intent that preclude discussion because the reaction is bound to be visceral.

What is important is to convey what HAMAS represents.  If we want to educate then we have to examine HAMAS from reason and not from our gut.

Hamas are Gaza’s government. But what is the purpose of Government? A simple answer is that governments preside over the day to day operations of state.  Government sets priorities and defines direction to which it allocates resources in the pursuance of its goals.

And here is the issue.  Hamas has a simple world view.  Once a country has been conquered by Muslims (as Israel was) that country must never be returned to non-Muslim (infidel) control.  An infidel (dhimmi) may only live under protected, separate but inferior status if they agree to a Muslim contract that legalises discrimination against them. If that religious contract is violated the penalty is death. It explains why a Jewish baby like the 3 month old Fogel baby, was decapitated by a proud Muslim fighter without the murderer displaying a moment of guilt either at the time or since his conviction.  Allah, the God of Hamas and Muhammad, the prophet of that same Muslim god, permit genocide in the pursuit of theologically based conquest. It explains why Hamas rejects any permanent peaceful settlement of the conflict and it explains the glorification of the most evil of murderers.  It explains this in the simplest way possible.

Hamas has welfare programs but these are primarily to attract foot soldiers to the cause and by reaching a critical mass of supporters, to take control of the state by which it then dominates every aspect of its people’s lives.  People, are incidental to the cause.  Their welfare is secondary if in fact it is anything other than tangential; a means to an end.

Hamas in Gaza has received billions of pounds (more in dollars) in foreign aid. The Gazan state has received more aid per person than any other special interest group in history. Money is available, as is material for construction and development. Similarly resources are available for feeding the population, educating the masses, for welfare and for health. So where is it all going wrong?

There is lots of evidence of great wealth in Gaza and not just in the housing and other construction projects completed.

At issue is where all the money is spent.  A military infrastructure is extraneous to the building and maintenance of statehood in the modern era. A police force undertakes to protect its people.  The military hardware that Hamas possesses is enormously expensive and intended solely as a provocation to destabilise the region.  Most of the aid that Hamas receives is now sent directly to NGO’s, bypassing the Government of Gaza because the international community has no faith in Hamas not to redirect funds and material to its favoured recipients and towards acts of terror and away from its intended projects.  This strategy fails however because Hamas controls the employment of UN and NGO staff. Perhaps the most famous example was the catastrophic accident that quickly disappeared from Western reporting once it was understood that Hamas was responsible for it.

The “walls of a cesspool in a northern Gaza village collapsed, flooding the village with sewage and killing 5 persons.  The angry residents chased away the Palestinian Minister of Interior, and Israel has since sent Hamas in Gaza 2 pumps to pump out the remaining sewage”. (Jan 1, 2010)

The funds had been embezzled by the major Gazan contractor.

Hamas carried out numerous ‘suicide’ bombings in order to derail the Oslo accords. It does not want Peace with its neighbour, Israel.  In fact Yunis al Astal, a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament, spelled out his organization's vision for the genocidal annihilation of the Jewish people. The interview was broadcast on Hamas Al Aqsa TV and monitored by incitement watchdog group MEMRI. 

Al Astal described the ingathering of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel in terms of a divine plan that would give the Arabs "the honor" of annihilating them.  In a few years' time, he predicted, the Zionists will understand that they were brought here for the purpose of being slaughtered in "a great massacre." (Arutz7, May 2011).

If we understand Hamas then we will appreciate that Palestine and Palestinian Arabs are a means to an end. They do not see them as anything but geopolitical pawns that must not be imbued with a vision for neighbourly peaceful co-existence.  They are a tool for manipulation and where required, death.

To quote Hamas in their charter:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (Hassan al-Banna, creator of the Muslim Brotherhood)

Article Two: The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.....”

Article Seven: “As a result of the fact that those Muslims who adhere to the ways of the Islamic Resistance Movement spread all over the world, rally support for it and its stands, strive towards enhancing its struggle, the Movement is a universal one.”

The Prophet said:  "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.

With the greatest of disrespect I know of no god and no just cause that actively advocates for genocide in the modern age except for the Muslim god and its prophet.  They are the exception to the rule and their peace is no more than a cover for conquest.

A patronising New York Times editorial published at the start of the latest war in Gaza stated: “No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza, most recently over the past four days. The question is how to stop them permanently”. From that promising start the editorial quickly deteriorates into a formulaic Western interpretation of the conflict that is both simplistic and naïve.  It is predicated on Israel making ‘peace’ with the Palestinian Authority while missiles continue to fall on its civilian population centres.  And on the 19th of November it was reported that Islamic Jihad promised a ‘truce’ if, amongst other conditions Israel “eased the passage between the Jewish state and the Strip.”

Simply stated this meant that Israel should open its borders to the Gazan population without Gaza renouncing terror, cancelling its odious Charter or ceasing its education of the local population towards religiously sanctified genocide.

There has never been a single poll taken in Gaza that accepted Jewish equality or long term peace with ‘the Jews’ so education towards co-existence is not even considered relevant.  With every cease-fire Hamas has used the relative peace to bring in large quantities of increasingly advanced weaponry. 

Gaza’s citizens voted into power a corrupt and racist party whose central plank is religious domination and mass murder.  Hamas has no interest in Peace, nor does it have any desire for co-existence.

This is the issue that defines the Palestinian Arab tragedy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defence - A Prelude

There has been lots of anti-Israel propaganda from Israel’s enemies (and many uninformed bystanders to the conflict) about what are euphemistically labelled as ‘provocations’ by Hamas and the other militant groups operating out of Gaza.  I have an analogy that I would like to share with you to counteract that line of thought:

Gazan activity against Israel may be compared to a thug throwing stones at your house:  If a thug threw 5 stones at your windows every day, are 5 stones too few for us to make a fuss about them? At what point would you involve the police, and if they failed to act, the local council? When would you become fed up with being ignored by your government institutions?  In the same vein, let me ask, what if they were not stones but bullets from a bb gun? Ok then, when does nuisance become threat? What defines deadly threat and what is a proportional response? This is important. From the outset, the reaction to the ‘occasional’ daily missile (or 10) launched at Israel has been far more subdued than what we should expect of rational human beings.

In the UK people have committed suicide because of police inactivity over bullying by thugs who just threw stones over an extended period of time. The events have made national news. This is important.... being teased/bullied until you can't take it any more is something that we should all understand. But it appears that the world is largely indifferent when the discussion concerns Israel and three and a half million Israeli’s living under constant threat of missile bombardment for almost 12 years.

The most immoral part of this whole warped debate occurs when we discuss proportionality and compare body counts. We should not have to apologise for the fact that Israel builds residential areas in such a way that the populace has where to run if necessary, such as stairwells, and yes.... bomb-shelters.  As of 10 years ago, each building no matter how big or small was/is obligated by law, to include a reinforced room. In Southern Israel every person must have access to protective shelter within a 15 second running radius of the sounding of Code Red sirens.  Those sirens warn the populace of incoming missiles, not rocks.

Israel has blessedly placed the protection of its people before its enemies. Its missile technology has protected the nation from hundreds if not thousands of casualties and that the casualty count is less than equal is something of which the State should be proud.  And its advanced missiles, which can be directed to the bull’s-eye, are minimising collateral damage to Gaza’s civilian population.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I wrote this two part article just under two years ago.  Unfortunately, nothing has occurred in the last two years to cause me to change anything that I wrote then.

Part 1

Israel is concerned that upgrading diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority will be but one step closer to full recognition of Palestinian statehood.  In fact UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) should be pre-empted by Israel declaring its full acceptance of one or even two Palestinian states.

Am I perhaps naïve, or even worse? I don’t understand why we beat ourselves up at every possible opportunity. Most people understand that some sort of peace will one day be made between Israelis and Palestinians. Of course terms are complicated. But we have allowed our enemies to take the centre stage and they are hogging the limelight. There is no counter-attack from the State of Israel to repudiate the lies and the half-truths that are thrown at us.  There is no consensus within the political classes, and therefore only the extremists are heard with anything approaching a coherent, if divisive, agenda.

George Orwell observed that whoever controls the past controls the future, and whoever controls the present controls the past. The Arab world with its buddies at the UN and friendly news media are doing an excellent job of controlling the lot.

So I have a plan!

Act 1. Bibi goes to the UN General Assembly. He proposes recognition of the State of Palestine and separate recognition of the independent entity ruled by Hamas in Gaza based on minimalist borders for both of the new states.

Act 2. Bibi proposes East Jerusalem be recognised as the capital of Palestine, and West Jerusalem be (finally) recognised as the capital of Israel.

Act 3. Bibi announces that The Old City of Jerusalem is to remain in Israeli hands (see Act 5) and after a reasonable period of peaceful co-existence a plebiscite will be held by all eligible (i.e. resident) citizens of the Old City, overseen by impartial observers in order to decide on its future allegiance.

Act 4. Bibi demands the consulates in West Jerusalem operating under the principle of extra-territoriality and non-recognition of Israel be immediately and permanently closed. [This should have been done years ago]

Act 5. Bibi provides a principled summary of the history of the Old City of Jerusalem through Jewish eyes i.e. the control by Muslims through the ages; Palestinian control between 1948 and 1967; the destruction of Jewish archaeology and cultural history, Jewish majority for most of the last 200 years.

Act 6. Bibi proposes the setting up of a special permanent committee to explain how Islamic cultural colonialism became acceptable in the UN.  This would be explained with reference to the refusal to recognise Jewish rights in any of the Islamic, Arab or Palestinian literature. The rewriting of history by this ‘Tripartite conspiracy’ is important. [Even if no-one is interested, history has shown that the fate of the Jews is a mirror to the fate that lies in wait for others.]

Act 7. Bibi, given his acute sensitivity to history, reminds the UN that historically the term “Judaisation” was used by fascist and racist regimes to justify the ethnic cleansing of Jews. Furthermore, after Palestinian forces had ethnically cleansed Jerusalem of its Jews in 1948, and in recognition of the ongoing destruction of Jewish archaeology on the Temple Mount, the term as applied to a Jewish return to Jerusalem is morally indefensible. Palestinian policy calls for the death penalty for anyone selling land to Jews in Palestine. This is racist.

Why should we do this? Because a nation must stake its claim to virtue before it fights for its honour. This is something that Israel has contemptuously ignored in its past dealings with the UN.  It is time to change tactics.

Part 2

Palestine and Gaza as separate, legally recognised states will not make a difference to the propaganda war waged against the Jewish Commonwealth.

Israel must focus its attention on the symbolic as well. It has never been ‘only’ a physical conflict. Moral recognition of 1,400 years of Islamic conquest and Arab persecution must be recognised as a counter weight to the tragedy of Palestinian dispossession.  Some form of restitution to the refugees of Palestine must have equal weight with recognition that Arab regimes ethnically cleansed their Jewish population throughout the Arab world, and that for universal justice to be seen to be done equal rights of reparation must apply.  As there is little chance that more than a handful of Jews would risk returning to live in the racist and undemocratic Arab world, this clearly precludes a refugee right of return.

On a similar note, it must be argued that equal application of refugee definitions are a pre-requisite for the promotion of historical reconciliation between the two peoples.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad’s plan to declare Palestinian statehood (now Mahmoud Abbas’s plan) should be encouraged, along with his recognition of the historic injustices that his people have carried out against the Jewish people. Similarly Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, can express contrition for Israel’s suffering under Arab racist propaganda. A difference between the Muslim and the Jewish world view is that most Israelis can agree to differ and still expect a minimum standard of behaviour from our citizens towards our enemy, even when the enemy presents an existential threat.  Propagandists for Palestine proclaim that they will respect us when we give them what they want. 1,400 years of interaction with the Arab world has taught us differently.

In 1986 I heard Dr Hanan Ashrawi declare that Palestinian racism and bigotry would disappear when Palestine came into being.  The problem I have with this is that it is Arab culture that speaks this nonsense, not Jewish civilisation. The government of Mahmoud Abbas named a Palestinian Square after Dalal Al-Mughrabi, a Palestinian ‘martyr’ who murdered 37 Israeli civilians, including 12 children, in a 1978 terror incident. It isn’t just conflict that encourages dehumanization. The glorification of mass murderers and the idealization of child killers is an act of barbarism that denies Civilization because it repudiates survival of the species. It is a microcosm of the act of genocide. There is a reason that normative Judaism sees only shame and despair in the killing of children, even in time of war, such as during the First Gaza War.

I don’t expect Palestinian Arabs or Christians living under Muslim threat to empathise with my Jewish historical narrative. 1,400 years of beating up your neighbours does not make you tolerant of their wish for self-determination. But I am no longer asking the world for the right to self-determination. Nor is my self-determination open to negotiation.  The State of Israel was a historically inevitable event that would have occurred even without the horrors of the Shoah. The State of Israel represents the Jewish Intifada against Arab aggression and the Jewish intifada against Islamic persecution.

It is why the narrative must be rewritten to reflect our reality and our demand for a priori recognition of the essential Jewishness of the State.

There is no rational response to denial. In order to create change we must have consensus. By denying Jewish history and dismissing Arab historical prejudice we cannot have the mutual recognition of our parallel traumas. We are two peoples refusing to recognise each others' suffering at the hands of the other, but therefore we are also two people shouting at each other while looking away in order to not recognise our mutual humanity.

Poverty, ignorance and war do not breed hero worship for child killers. A theological justification for genocide does.  Islam is replete with atrocities committed in the name of its prophet and in the name of its god. Popular support is underpinned theologically, politically and ideologically. When death is raised on a pedestal to be glorified as a cultural ideal, when superiority is understood to be a birthright, and slavery an obligation to be imposed on ones enemy, then and only then do we worship child killers.

One man’s terrorist cannot be another man’s freedom fighter. Intolerance, racist propaganda, a Nazi-style press, ethnic cleansing, and an Islamic racial agenda: these must all be brought up as final agenda items for inclusion in all future discussion at any national and international fora.

And UDI? Yes, let us welcome Palestine and Gaza as the world’s newest independent nations. You persuade the other side to discuss what they have always rejected by placing on the table that which is most uncomfortable for them and then repeating the truths they have rejected in every possible forum. Let us negotiate on all of the issues and not just the ones our enemies want us to discuss.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

McCarthyism in the British Press

The phone hacking scandal that rocked the News of the World led to the closure in 2011, of this 168 year old British national institution.  ITV1 and the BBC recklessly endangered our civil liberties, and our Society, and of course neither international news outlet will accept this judgement.  But let’s first examine their malignant and improprietous behaviour. For the national purpose they supposedly serve they will be excused any crimes, after that is, the requisite heads have rolled.

Senator Joseph McCarthy is infamous for the excesses of his anti-Communist witch-hunts.  His legacy, ‘McCarthyism’ denotes reckless and unsubstantiated accusation. It was not his anti-Communist stance per se that destroyed him but his intolerable methods.  His famous speech, delivered on February 9th 1950 “I have here in my hand a list” was repeated at different times and with different numbers of victims. His theatrical and demagogic tactics added to his popularity. But they also created dread amongst all classes of society. His witch-hunts had a devastating effect on the lives of those he hunted.  He destroyed the reputations of both the great as well as the anonymous good, inevitably based on hearsay. 

And now to return to publicly funded British TV.  Jimmy Savile's guilt seems to be beyond reproach. There are allegations of at least 300 cases of sexual abuse laid out against him after his death.  The lynch mob mentality that has gathered pace with the increasing magnitude of his alleged crimes was the first warning shot that the press was out of control if only because it removed compassion from public debate.  Without it we are all beasts of prey.  It will never justify events but without our compassion we become a mob and then the innocent are swept up in the melee. Without compassion, the mob rules and the victims become no more than an excuse for the terror that follows.  It may sound melodramatic but examine subsequent events that follow on from Jimmy Savile and it is difficult to fathom the incompetence of journalists whose blame is now being successfully reassigned to management even though in the first instance that culpability would have originated within their ranks.

Phillip Schofield interviewed Prime Minister David Cameron on ITV1’s hugely popular “This Morning” program on the 9th of November 2012.  He said to the Prime Minister on Prime Time Television “I Have a List”.  Senator McCarthy would have been proud.  Without proper regard to evidence he trawled the Internet and came up with a putative list of villain’s names.  This is no more than rumour masked as journalism and should never have been aired on national television. 

To his credit the PM warned Schofield "There is a danger, if we're not careful, that this could turn into a sort of witch-hunt.”

Fast forward to the BBC’s flagship “News Night” program and not to be outdone by Channel 4, the following day the BBC exposed the Conservative Party Fundraiser and former party treasurer Lord McAlpine as a serial pedophile. It seems that 20 years of unsubstantiated drivel filled out with layer upon layer of lies could not be removed from the Internet but provided the juice for a salacious tale which even though it was filled with more holes than Swiss cheese was nevertheless the grist for a momentous story baked up by the BBC and served up to the British public on national news.

With the allegations vigorously refuted by Lord McAlpine's family solicitor the reality is that his name is forever associated with pedophilia, his innocence is now irrelevant to the damage done to his reputation. Wealth is no cover for infamy.

Not wanting to be upstaged by its rival broadcaster, there was nevertheless sufficient doubt as to the veracity of the story to at least delay publication.  That the BBC did not is unacceptable.  To quote Edward R. Murrow (American Broadcast journalist who produced two programs that helped to bring McCarthy’s reign of terror to an end):

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty……accusation is not proof and conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law” (March 9, 1954)

This should be the first rule of law and the truth must not be relegated to an inconvenient shelf high up and out of reach, for the sake of fashion, prejudice or ratings.

The sad reality is that a significant section of the British Press has grown arrogant beyond belief. It has arrogated to itself the responsibilities that we assign to our elected government.  We can vote our members of parliament out of office.  Our unelected and largely unaccountable journalists now decide what is ‘truth’ and they define justice.

Society has been usurped by the press and is now in serious ethical trouble.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Myths Lies and Damn Lies (Part 1)

1)      Link between concessions and readiness to negotiate.

In fact the opposite applies – when Britain intervened in the Conflict in Northern Ireland against the Irish Republican Army it insisted that in order for negotiations on a peaceful settlement to begin there must first be a period of calm.  This meant not a single act of violence must be committed by the IRA during this time.  The resulting peace translated into 19 months without any sectarian violence in Northern Ireland before the agenda for a single meeting was set.  Only then would negotiations in good faith commence.  Israel offered to negotiate if the Palestinians could guarantee 12 months without violence and then 6 months without violence and then 2 months …eventually it was reduced to 2 weeks.  All these concessions to violence took place against a backdrop of public pressure by the USA on Israel to begin negotiation without any preconditions.  Let us be clear that it was Israel that was told to negotiate without pre-conditions.  Eventually, the ‘no violence clause’ was dropped.   There is a causal link between concessions and violence. 

2)      Link between settlements and negotiation.

The only period of progress in the conflict has been during periods in which expectations were low or non-existent and most important of all, the Palestinian side had something to lose by not negotiating.  If Palestinians perceived that they were negotiating from strength they became more belligerent, not less.   When Obama extracted 9 months of no settlement activity from Israel there was no negotiation between the two sides despite Israel’s acquiescence to the Presidents (and the Palestinians) demand.  The only benefit to either side was that the Palestinians felt more confident that a long term strategy of disengagement and violence worked in their favour.

3)                  Palestinians are victims of aggression.

The Guardian published a table that took past conflicts or tyrannies and recalibrated their death tolls so their scale could be directly compared with contemporary events.   For instance the death toll in WW2 was 55 million people (it ranges higher amongst some sources).   This is equivalent in 20th century terms to 55 million people.  The Middle Eastern Slave trade (controlled by the Islamic, mostly Arab world between the 7th Century CE and the 19th CE) cost 18 million deaths which in 20th century terms is 100 million dead.   It is the third greatest (continuous) act of carnage in recorded human history.  The Arab Israeli conflict saw 50,000 deaths between 1950 and the present or between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths between 1881 and 2012.

It is difficult to seriously consider the Palestinians as victims of ongoing aggression when as Arabs they persecuted both immigrant and indigenous Jews.  This was one of, if not the driving force behind a desire for Jewish self-determination.  Put simply:  Palestinians (Arabs) committed most of the acts of aggression against Palestinians (Jews) and Palestinians (Arabs) and Palestinians (not-Arab and not Jewish).   If you preach hate and incite others to violence then you cannot, except within a warped moral universe, claim to be the victim of aggression when the victim fights back and historically it is the Jews of Palestine who have been the victims of aggression who have indeed in less than the last century began to fight back.

4)                  Islam 632 CE (AD).

Many intelligent people assume that Islam is a faith at least as old as Hinduism or Judaism.  We may take the death of Muhammad in 632 CE as the date at which Islam became something greater than one man’s personal empire.  Islam may or may not have been the creation, in the 7th Century CE, of a man named Muhammad.  His followers fleshed out the narrative, the myths and ethos of the faith over the next couple of centuries.  But the theological genius was in stating that Islam preceded all human thought and that Allah was in every man’s soul from the beginning.  Therefore all acts of creation are Islamic and all acts of destruction either anti-Islamic or Allah’s punishment to the unworthy infidel.   It makes all culture and all civilisation products of Islamic thought.

This is cultural theft but also highly effective propaganda.  It creates the theological justification for imperialism because the Muslim may take by force what is Islamic by right.  Every act of cruelty or deception is mandated by God.  If the Law is the word of God it is unchangeable and as a consequence cannot be revised.  All of the racism and religious bigotry, all of the calls to ethnic cleansing and genocide cannot be set aside because they are the unalterable word of God.  But if Islam is no more than ‘a’ rather ‘the’ final phase in human development then logically we should all, including all the Arabs, become Mormons! (I am sure Mitt Romney would agree with that one).  It is not frivolous.  Theology is central to Islamic aggression and to Arab hostility.  Prove one to be invalid and you remove the justification for almost 1,500 years of Muslim conquest.
The Arab - Muslim / Liberal – Left propaganda machines have turned the Arab people into the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine; and all Jews, European (or American) into interlopers.  It may embarrass African American President Obama as he considers his victory today (and the start of his second term as President of the most powerful nation on the Earth) that the ruler of Palestine has told black Jews to ‘go back to where they came from’ (mainly Ethiopia and the USA).  Racism in the Arab world is never acknowledged but it is fundamental to a world view that places the Arab race above humanity.

5)                  Zionism is Racism

Zionism is no more and no less than the right to Jewish self-determination in the negotiable geographical area delineated by Biblical Israel.   Any nationalism will have its extremists.  I am British.  This does not make me a supporter of Combat 18 or the BNP (the former neo-Nazi, the latter extreme right-wing).  Nationalism is defined simply as identifying a group of people as having the characteristics of a common group that ties them (either spiritually or ‘physically’) to a specific geographical area.   Zionism does not have to be specifically Jewish but it does require Jewish political autonomy.  In a theoretical future the possibility of a non-Jewish majority having control over a Jewish state is not at variance with the principle of Zionism.   The necessity for a Jewish majority is not a requirement for political control of Israel as long as there is acceptance of a dominant Jewish political identity.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Colonialism Palestine & Israel

The period following on from the end of the First World War and until 1948 was the period of release from old colonial rule for all nations. Note: I exclude non-Arab Africa because their independence did not become effective until after the Second World War.

It is more than a curiosity of modern history that the two bookends of colonial independence were Christian Greece (1830) and Jewish Israel (1948), both having suffered under Ottoman (Turkish) misrule.  And yet, when we rage against colonialism it is understood to mean Western (usually Christian) colonialism and not Islamic colonialism. In another bizarre twist to the historical narrative, Israel came into existence within the same movement for change that all of the Arab nations did, has treated its minorities better than any one of the Arab (or Muslim) countries have, but is the only minority nation under incessant diplomatic (and military) attack.  While many minorities have yet to achieve ethnic self-determination the historical treatment of minorities in the Arab world and beyond leaves no doubt as to the necessity for independence from ongoing colonial rule.

The founding myths / ethos of the Arab world are inextricably entangled with the foundation myths / ethos of Islam.  It informs every aspect of Arab society.  And this is the problem. A seventh century CE event rules the hearts and minds of a huge swathe of twenty-first century humanity.

The relentless drive towards self-rule that overtook many colonial enterprises coincided with the rise of radical political thought (both Left and Right).  Neither saw the colonies as worthy of self-determination but because intellectuals within the colonies inevitably spoke the language of ‘the masters’ they read and absorbed the intellectual currents of the time.

The Arab world was infused with a mixture of fascist and fundamentalist streams of thought. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, had elements of both ideological currents as expressed by the Left and the Right. When the Ottoman Empire disintegrated towards the end of the First World War it was seen as an opportunity by rival Arab clans to carve out family empires. The Arab rulers were granted independent statehood with their borders randomly drawn up by Britain and France. Clans inevitably had competing imperial claims.  Israel was viewed as part of the fantasy Jordanian Hashemite Empire, the Ba’athist Greater Syrian Empire, the competing Ba’athist Greater Iraqi Empire and the fantasy empire of the Saudi kings.

A drive for Islamic renewal following centuries of dependency on non-Arab rulers manifested itself in an extremist position that sought conquest and domination.

Add Arab nationalism and fascism to the mix then the possibility that Jewish self-determination was ever going to be acceptable was frankly delusional.

The concept of an Arab dominated Islamic global empire has existed since the founding of the Islamic faith in the 7th Century CE. It is fundamental to a theologically based Arab world-view.  Arab nationalism expressed itself successfully within a pan-Arab framework because in its denial of individual national aspirations it neatly tied into the theological underpinnings of Arab racial supremacy. It created a platform that was enthusiastically embraced by Arabs everywhere as rival potentates vied for leadership of the Arab world.  Competing arguments were difficult to summon except in theological terms.  In fact it is by riding on a theological juggernaut that adversarial racial groups such as Turkey and Iran have been able to successfully re-invigorate their geopolitical ambitions.

Communism embraced Arab nationalism because it provided a competing ideology to Western Capitalism and which, through Arab adoption of communist rhetoric made it a useful ally against the West.

From the great destruction by the Romans in 135 CE through the cataclysmic events of the Crusades and until the 17th century when Jews again began a mass movement of return, historically, Jews continuously inhabited the Holy Land. They never left the country but their circumstances did change dramatically over almost two millennia. As a minority they were sometimes massacred but usually tolerated.  Romans, Arabs, Kurds, Ottoman Turks and finally, Britain ruled Israel with an iron fist or malevolent indifference to the plight of the local population. Because discrimination is persecution whether it is institutional or physical, Israeli self-rule was an inevitable concomitant reaction to the anti-colonial movement. But it was a complication that communism did not need. Nevertheless, it was first and foremost the USSR that presented Israel with de jure recognition.

Israel would have come into existence as a modern nation state with or without the Shoah. The means of its tumultuous birth was an issue for diplomatic recognition only. It does not detract from the need for and therefore the inevitability of Jewish independence that Israel achieved on May 15, 1948.

Is Israel a modern colonial outpost of Western imperialism? The answer is a resounding NO!