On their way to church last Sunday (June 5th) in New York City, some friends of mine passed through a parade on Fifth Avenue. Thousands from the Jewish community, in fact more than 30,000 according to the New York Times, celebrated Israel’s expansionist war of 1967.
My Jewish friend Larry would have joined the march with pride. To him the war of 1967 proved not only Israel’s superior courage and valor, but also God’s endorsement of Israel’s occupation of the Sinai, West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Larry sees the Six Day War as a “miracle” which established Israel as the dominant force in the Middle East. And it was all a gift from Nasser who gave Israel no choice but to defend itself. According to Larry’s article to our neighborhood paper, the taking of all this Arab land by force was justified because “Israel’s neighbors threatened Israel’s existence threatening to drive them into the sea.”
This is a myth and I have written about this previously and even listed the following quotes. I do not like repeating myself. However, this history needs to be known and repeated. Larry’s defense of the Six Day War is not only a distortion of the facts, his version is almost universally believed. I feel compelled to respond to it again.
One of the biggest myths imposed upon the American people is Larry’s claim that the Six Day War of 1967 was begun by Egypt and Israel only defended itself. But, not so according to some of Israel’s leaders:
Yitzhak Rabin - “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”[i]
Mattiyahu Peled - Israeli General Staff - To pretend that the Egyptian forces massed on our frontiers were in a position to threaten the existence of Israel constitutes an insult not only to the intelligence of anyone capable of analyzing this sort of situation, but above all an insult to the Israeli Army.”[ii]
Mortecai Bentov - Israeli Cabinet - 1972 - “Israel’s “entire story” about the “dangers of extermination” was “invented” of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories.” [iii]
Menachem Begin - 1982 - “The Egyptian army concentrated on the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” [iv]
Moshe Sharett - Former Prime Minister, years before the six Day War said- “Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any insuperable Arab dangers to Israel. They sought to maneuver and force Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”[v]
King Abdullah II of Jordan has been dealing with Israel’s aggression since he was five years old. I think he gets it just about right when he says:
One of Israel’s greatest talents has been exaggerating the threat posed by countries it considers strategic enemies, perpetrating the story of it being a tiny nation, surrounded by hostile powers. This myth has allowed the Israelis to portray their own calculated acts of aggression as self-defense and, in some cases, to persuade other nations to attack its enemies in its stead.[vi]
No sooner than Israel declared itself to be a state than its expansion goals were announced. When asked about borders, David Ben-Gurion said,
As for setting borders, it’s an open ended matter. In the Bible as well as in our history, there are all kinds of definitions of the countries borders. There is no real limit. No border is absolute. If it is a desert, it could just as well be the other side. If it is a sea, it could also be across the sea.[vii]
To this day, after 62 years of statehood, and 44 years of occupying Palestinian lands, Israel has yet to declare its borders. It seems obvious to anyone willing to see that 1967 was not a defensive war, but a part of a larger master plan to claim Arab lands. Either Larry knows something that all of these leaders of Israel missed, or the truth is just too hard for him. I guess its almost impossible to understand something if your self image is dependent upon your not understanding it.
June 14, 2011
[i].Paul Finley, Deliberate Deceptions, Facing the Facts about the U.S., Israeli Relationship, (Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago,. 1993.) p. 36.
[ii]. Clifford A. Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Kegan Paul International, New York, 1989.) p.132.
[iii].Paul Finley, Deliberate Deceptions, Facing the Facts about the U.S., Israeli Relationship, (Lawrence Hill Books, Chicago,. 1993.) p. 36.
[iv].Clifford A. Wright, Facts and Fables: The Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Kegan Paul International, New York, 1989.) p.132.
[v].Ralph Schoenman, The Hidden History of Zionism, (Veritas Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1988) p.59.
[vi] King Abdullah II, Our Last Best Chance, (Viking Penguin, 2011) p. 17
[vii].Knowledge Products audio Cassette on The Middle East, narrated by Harry Reasoner. 1991., (Carmichael and Carmichael, Nashville, Tennessee.)