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Sunday, April 20, 2014

BDS and Israel, a study in Hypocrisy

We are always being asked why this noxious poison of antisemitism refuses to wither?  The commitment within Liberal and Socialist traditions of adherence to human rights and ‘equality’ has always carried within this promise the germ of antisemitism. Though antisemitism transmogrified into anti-Zionism a denial of the connection between the two ideologies was always an essential element of the propaganda war against the Jews both as an identifiable religious group and as individuals that enabled the racist to exist so comfortably within a human rights skin.

The reason is an original sin of prejudice born out of a time of radical change that engendered fear and a search for the comfort of familiarity.  Acquaintance with chauvinism and narrow-mindedness encouraged the inclusion of a prejudiced narrative in the founding traditions of the radical movements. It was simple and when required it explained away the failure to attract sufficient followers needed to seize power.  Marx would have made a good Nazi.  Much of what he wrote was a new way of thinking but he peppered his narratives with bigotry and prejudice so that his acolytes could take comfort from the familiarity offered by the poisoned pen of other nineteenth century writings.  Some of the most prominent and enthusiastic supporters of twentieth century liberal tradition lacked the intuitive abhorrence of violence which their desire for liberal Nazism quite unsurprisingly failed to inoculate them against.

Both pre-Shoah Christianity and Islam were founded on a mission to conquer the globe for their adherents and history has shown us that unfortunately, people in power will justify any atrocity and every abomination if provided with the excuse.  Civilizing the world pacified the heretofore unconquered natives but it allowed those who controlled the forces of conquest and colonization to reap enormous profits from the suffering of those same natives. And Islam was no different to Christianity in this respect, in many ways it was far worse because it provided the means by which the international slave trade prospered.  While Christianity continues to grapple with its malevolent past, Islam has not even recognized that its past is toxic. Theologically, it is not possible for it to even begin on that journey.

There are those within the Muslim world such as Omar Barghouti who are intellectually as well as emotionally incapable of granting Jews equality of any kind.  I will return to him later. A hate industry from which the intellectual bully and the thug profit equally is seductive to the thinking hypocrite because it mobilizes militant foot soldiers as well as some within the academic community.  We live in a world that is divided between western civilization and the rest. The “West” has deified freedom of speech (even when it only selectively applies it in Europe) while those that oppose Western civilization worship selective censorship. There is no middle ground to protect all communities from its abusers.

It is a simple issue that far too many people are happy to ignore. Israel is a state that would have come into existence as a predominantly Jewish state without the added burden of European history because it was an act of self determination made inevitable by historic Arab persecution against non-Arabs, and by Muslims maltreatment of non-Muslims. The denial of a Jewish right to self-determination is therefore an act of racism.

And Israel is a state like any other state. It has a Right of Return; so do at least 37 other nations in the world. No one judges that right, or declares that it is racism, except when Israel practices that sovereign right.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13 is controversially recognized as referring to the Right of Return. Repatriation is viewed internationally as creating a safe haven for Diaspora populations living under threat. We in Britain also have such an Act of Sanctuary which was enacted to protect “our own” from the threat of persecution.

Any nation or organization or individual working to overturn that right must prove it does so with equal vigour against all other political, racial, religious or national entities. Otherwise it is antisemitic.  It really is that simple. Israel has allowed its enemies to hijack the debate over the nature of the conflict.

There can be no resolution of the conflict while the Arab and greater Muslim world views the right to rule over and to terrorize ‘its’ Jews as theological or racial holy writ. The same applies to Christians who throughout the Muslim world are a persecuted minority but who continue to support a Muslim-Arab anti-Jewish narrative.

Christians no longer fulfill the ethnic cleansers dictum “First the Saturday people (Jews) and then the Sunday people (Christians)” uttered by Yasser Arafat.  Before the Arab Spring it was easy to blame persecution of Christians on Israel because a willing Western audience would accept whatever lies were easiest to understand. It is much easier than an alternative explanation that we are at war with Islamists who happily torture and murder adults as well as children, for their faith. But al Qaeda and Salafist groups everywhere have rarely hidden their animosity towards Christians as well as Jews and everyone else not like them.  That includes the wrong kind of Muslim. They have hurt far more Muslims than they have infidels.  This prejudice is why President Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority will not recognize the validity of a Jewish state even as he creates one more Muslim state based on Arab apartheid principles.

The global Muslim nation has attempted on numerous occasions to criminalise the defamation of religion. But to be more specific, the ‘legitimate’ criticism they attempt to outlaw applies only to Islam. When Muslims refer to the pantheism of Hinduism as abomination, or the Christian trinity as idolatry, or to Judaism as corrupted by interpretation, their derision may be theological but scorn remains abusive and it leads to incitement. Intellectual or academic debate must be without limits or those limits must be equally, tenaciously applied, or it is no more than selective censorship harnessed as targeted provocation.  It is the responsibility of society to manage what is permissible because without restriction, society will fall. But equally dangerous is discrimination. It erodes the law.  The Islamic faithful call this subversion of debate ‘justified’ criticism but selective bigotry is a weapon of cultural conquest.  By owning or controlling the narrative, history becomes no more than strings of words subject to manipulation by those willing to abuse it.  In the attempt to stifle debate it is cultural colonialism and it is as dangerous as any physical act of conquest enacted in the past. It represents the slavery of the mind - as pernicious as any physical act of slavery because without the former the latter is not possible.

Like all conflicts, there are conflicting truths and conflicting narratives. And here is the problem. To the racist, conflict resolution is an exercise in futility unless the inherent superiority of one side over the other is acknowledged and therefore there can only ever be one truth and one narrative (or set of truths).

Omar Barghouti is one of the leaders of BDS (the Movement for the Boycott, Divestment and Slander [Sanction] of Israel).  As explained by The Institute for National Security Studies (TAU) the BDS campaign was initiated at the First Durban Conference (the "World Conference against Racism"), held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. BDS is an integral part of the global campaign to delegitimize Israel currently being waged (mainly in the West) and led by networks and activists affiliated with the far left and radical Islam. The ultimate goal of BDS is to cause the collapse of the State of Israel.

Omar Barghouti is very eloquent, so much so, his anti-Zionism sounds rational. His honeyed tongue and unassuming personal demeanour does not however, hide an uncompromising antipathy towards Jewish rights in the greater (fascist) Arab world.   

I have taken a section of speech by Omar Barghouti in which he sets out his vision for a post-Jewish Palestine and rephrased it to express the only possible hope for a future unencumbered by conflict and strife.

Please emphasise that it is in the spirit of our non-violent response to BDS that we borrow Omar’s finely crafted words (and re-craft them to express the Jewish vision for a peaceful Middle East):

“The post oppression identity of the indigenous Israelis and the indigenized Arab settlers who have acquired rights by their conquest over time must be rebalanced through a process of ethical decolonisation also known as de-Arabisation. All Arab colonial privileges must be abolished.  Not just in Israel, but also across the Near-East, where the regions legitimate refugees have lost their  ancestral homes to the racist Arab colonialist entity, ethical co-existence has to be re-established with all the  marginalised non-Arab nations.”

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Israeli Sovereignty and the Three Noes

Sovereignty gives a nation supreme power within its borders.  It involves: independence of action, control over borders and the right to enact legislation that affects the people residing within those borders. It is the renunciation of those rights that we find difficult to accept and sometimes it is with good reason, because the laws that are made represent a standard that is far too often abused. For example, the European Union defines human rights as a standard and it does create issues of gross abuse.

Racists too often aspire to deny those of us who disagree with them our rights to defend ourselves against them. Too many Muslim preachers have disproportionate influence and use that influence to peddle their hate and to incite their followers to commit murder on their behalf.

Violence is a legitimate instrument of intimidation both for the fascist who believes in divine right and, to their political acolytes on the extremes of left and right.

The prerogative to commit violence (up to and including the taking of life) is the prerogative of the state. It is the ultimate symbol of the abuse of sovereign power for those that oppose its use.  But we inadvertently (perhaps) assign that right to groups and individuals when we fail to protect other groups and other individuals from those that knowingly choose to abuse our laws.

Example: it took eleven years for the Muslim Nazi Abu Qatada to be deported back to Jordan during which time he was able to continue to spread the cancer of his ideas far and wide. “According to the British case against him, in October 1999 he made a speech in which "he effectively issued a fatwa authorizing the killing of Jews, including Jewish children". He told his congregation that Americans should be attacked, wherever they were; that in his view they were no better than Jews; and that there was no difference between English, Jewish and American people."   (Robert Booth, Prosecutor)

Freedom of speech is not an absolute unless we provide the legal instrument for the ordinary citizen who feels threatened by that speech to fight back with equal ferocity. If physical violence is a blunt tool for the everyman or woman, then we must question the academic justification for verbal and written incitement which is far more damaging to the fabric of society.  It is meant to intimidate and by its coercive nature its intent is to instill fear and through dread to create a regime of manipulation and control.

The Abu Qatada’s of this world, through their foul and poisonous words encourage those people who see nothing inherently immoral in slitting the throats of children, flying airplanes into buildings or torturing their enemies.  Where is the duty to protect their victims?  Abu Qatada described the 9/11 attacks as part of a wider battle between Christianity and Islam while Osama bin-Laden was only expressing what many ordinary folk in the West felt about the attacks and that was that the murder of 3,000 people on 9/11 was a divine celebration of sovereign Islamic power.

Sovereignty.  The Islamic republic of Turkey exercised its sovereign right to determine who and what could enter and leave from its borders when it permitted the Mavi Marmara to sail from Antalya Port in May 2010. The IHH is an Islamist and therefore religiously racist organization that is banned in Holland and Germany. It is now under investigation in Turkey also. Key members of its board were supporters of the Turkish government at the time of the Mavi Marmara incident.  The Islamist government of Turkey needed a provocation by a local group against the State of Israel as a means of repudiating Jewish sovereignty. At best, Turkey, by permitting the Mavi Marmara to sail from its shores was dictating to Israel that its right to self-defense was circumscribed by Turkey.  This is consistent with statements made by Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto─člu warning Turks against integration into European society and, statements he has made on Israel. Simply stated, a nation either has the right to defend its borders, to identify hostile elements and either silence or remove any threats to its security or it consciously acquiesces to a diminution of its sovereign status.

Another example of sovereignty is that the State determines the laws of the land.  A person who spies for another nation must bear the consequences of their actions.  Israel would like to see Jonathon Pollard freed from his 28 year incarceration, however many Americans would take comfort from his death in prison. American law will decide Pollard’s fate when he becomes eligible for parole towards the end of 2015.   Israel may be unhappy with his long years in solitary confinement and compare his punishment unfavorably to those of Robert Hanssen, Aldrich Ames, Jerry Whitworth, and John Walker but so what? He broke the law and he was caught doing it.  This finally, leads us neatly into the 3 Noes of Mahmoud Abbas.

But first, let us begin with a brief history of genocide.  Prior to World War 2 a states citizens were the property of the state.  Post 1945 the world recognized, largely as a result of the work of one man, Raphael Lemkin, that the world could no longer be governed by the existing paradigm of the state verses the individual where the fate of the individual was solely determined by the state.  This shift in political will involved a lessening of national sovereignty for the greater good. People retained individual rights as an absolute (at least in the Western World they did).

If sovereignty is the ability to determine the fate of ones own citizens then those that commit murder are legally and morally the responsibility of the State.  Any crime may be labeled a ‘political’ crime.  There can be no ethical justification for differentiating between a crime committed from political belief and any other crime.

But something else unwelcome also changed.

For a brief period the dividing line between what constituted terrorist and freedom fighter was that the latter attacked agents of government such as the police and the military while the former sowed fear in the population in order to force them to submit to their will.  The terrorist did this by committing ‘random’ terror against civilians.  It was an interpretation by the extreme Left that all people in society were agents of society (i.e. there were no innocents in a revolutionary struggle) that returned us to an age of fear. This once more redefined the concept of warfare. In less than a single generation, post World War 2, we returned to the barbarism of pre-1945 concepts of human conflict.  Except of course that where a political struggle is defined as ‘just’ the right to commit any atrocity is justified while the target of the struggle is constrained by legal virtue to uphold the ‘rules of war.’ But this requires control of both the media and the narrative as an essential tool in the propagandist’s arsenal of weapons because without both there can be no justification for terrorism.

Mahmoud Abbas has stated his three noes as follows:

1)       He rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that
Palestine recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

2)       He refuses to abandon the Palestinian “right of return” for millions of descendants of those who lived in Israel prior to June 1948. The unique definition of a Palestinian “refugee” is any one who resided in Palestine during a two year period that encompassed the years 1946 to 1948.

3)       He refused to commit to an “end of conflict” under which a peace deal would represent the termination of any further Palestinian demands on Israel.  Without it there would never be a peace treaty but a series of escalating demands, any of which, the failure to achieve, would result in the abrogation of the period of ‘peaceful co-existence’ between the two states.  This is an Islamic concept and it refers to a staged conquest.  It is called “Dar al-Hudna” and its sole purpose is to serve as a respite between wars.  Early Islamic jurists created different categories of interaction in order to legally justify Islamic conquest.

The Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash stated towards the end of March 2014 that the Western Wall was part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and that Jews had no right to pray there.  Again, this is an issue of sovereignty.

But more than that, if I am denied my own history then I can be erased from history.

Having erased Jewish history in East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 the Palestinian leadership continues to insist, as a matter of political strategy and religious theology that East Jerusalem, is in its entirety, the capital of the Palestinian state.  History as propaganda and narrative justification for the armed struggle against every man, woman and child in the Yishuv (The State of Israel) begins, but does not end with Jerusalem. But if history teaches us anything, it is that cultural genocide is a common weapon within Muslim colonial enterprises.

And last, if the fourth phase of the prisoner release, consisting of 26 long term prisoners (all of them with murder convictions) was agreed by Israel, the release is unacceptable, only, if among that number are Israeli Arabs.  We are told that 14 of them were Israeli Arabs. We are being told that Secretary of State Kerry agreed this arrangement with Mahmoud Abbas without consulting Prime Minister Netanyahu.  It is unbelievable if it is true and I have not read any Western account that disputes this.

As an issue of national sovereignty Israeli Arabs are not and can never be subject to negotiation.  Unless of course. President Abbas wants to swap land and Israeli Arabs as part of any final status peace deal. Separate sovereignty between warring nations is inviolate. A person from within the nation who kills for the other side is a traitor.  Their beliefs are their personal identity but they live under the laws of the State. It is not possible that Kerry was unaware of this fact – it is of enormous concern that he could assume anything else. If it is correct, it creates huge issues of trust.

There is no debate that the issue of prisoner releases is emotive for Israel but it is also an inseparable part of the Palestinian ethos. This is the problem. If the murderer has social status, financial benefit and a guaranteed “get out of jail ‘free’ card” then violence rather than a path to reconciliation becomes a perverse expression of Palestinian sovereignty and one that will always take precedence over Jewish (Israeli) rights. The idea that Palestinians have control over Israeli citizens is to imply that Israel has limited sovereign rights.

Could anyone imagine the President of France demanding a declaration of war by French Canadians on the USA? Or as a consequence, that the “revolutionaries” be granted immunity from prosecution for any crimes they committed against either the USA or Canada?

If there is to be any chance of a peace settlement then Israel must declare its red lines in terms of its sovereignty. The strength of the Palestinian National Movement is in its Arab-Muslim narrative that defines the absolute rights of Palestinians in contradistinction to the obligations of Jews (Israelis).  Consistent with this Palestinian-Arab colonialist movement is an idea that has plagued the Near-East for far too many centuries. It is inherent within Muslim theology that non-Muslims cannot be other than second class citizens, inferior in law and society, dependent always on the good will of Muslim ‘munificence’.

Simon Shiffer in Ynet news on the 3rd of March 2014 (Proposed Pollard deal: The victory of reason) stated that “the possible release of an Israeli spy in exchange for Israeli Arab murderers proves there are no sacred  principles binding decision makers….but it appears that Abbas himself will not budge on his ‘principles’ and yes, that is the problem.” Israel must thank Mahmoud Abbas for reminding us that principles are important for us also.  Israel has disregarded too many sacred truths for no reciprocal benefit.  It is time that Israel’s diplomats pushed back.