Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Big Lie

When I went to the movies as a kid, I always rooted for the cowboys. When I grew up I rooted for the Indians. Why? Because I read a little history and realized that the movies had lied to me.

If all we know about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is what we learn by watching The EXODUS by Leon Uris, or by listening to Fox News, or following the Republican Presidential debates, then we will root for the Jews. On the other hand, read any reliable historian and we will pull, work for, and pray for the Palestinians.

Now Newt Gingrich perpetuates the lie, portraying Israel as the victim. I wonder if he has ever read any of the many Jewish historians such as Gershom Gorenberg, Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein, Marc Ellis, Mark Braverman, Jeff Halper, Sarah Roy or Rachelle Marshall, among many others. If so, he would have never declared the Palestinians an “invented people.” Of course, he did not just make up this little bit of propaganda. When she was Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir declared:

It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine … and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.[1]

Even as she said it, she knew that she was ignoring history. What she denied was exactly what Israel had done and she later admitted it. Alan Hart, one of the few reporters Golda Meir publically respected and referred to as her good friend writes that Golda had sent Lou Kaddar, her most trusted confidant to visit him with a message:

“Do you remember the TV interview in which Golda told you that there was no such thing as a Palestinian and that Palestinians did not exist?”

“My dear Lou” I replied, “not only do I remember, the whole world remembers and will never forget.”

Lou continued, “Golda told me to give you a message, but she made me promise I would not deliver it until she was dead. She told me to tell you that as soon as those words left her mouth, she knew they were the silliest damn thing she had ever said.”

She was right. In writing of that time period, historian Arnold Toynbee declared:

The treatment of Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis … Though not comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.[3]

Newt Gingrich is an historian, but he is also a politician and he knows how the system works. He knows that 76 percent of American Jewry is concentrated in six states – New York California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Florida. These states control 181 of the 270 electoral votes needed to elect the next president. Alan Hart writes, “Politicians have been mesmerized by fear of the ‘Jewish vote’ and by those who claim they can deliver the ‘swing vote’ in a hotly contested state.”[4] You just can’t be elected president without those swing votes

Of course, Mitt Romney also knows this. So we hear him saying such things as, “I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?”

Could it be that presidential candidates are willing to put aside their sense of justice and feelings of compassion for votes?

I fear that until promoting such a lie and licking the boots of Bibi Netanyahu costs them as many votes as it generates, some candidates will say anything even if it is contrary to history, morality and the teachings of their own faith.

However, just for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Republican politicians are right and that there has never been a people called Palestinians. There is one now. Does that in any way justify Israel’s aggression?

The question is:

Who is occupying whose land?
Who is stealing whose water?
Who is killing whose children and bombing their schools?
Who is assassinating whose elected leaders?
Who is pushing who into the sea?
Who, in reality, is denying whose right to exist?

Palestinians now live on 22 percent of what used to be their land and have offered peace with Israel just to allow them to survive on what is left to them. Who sabotages peace talks by increasing settlements and who gets punished with blockades and roadblocks for democratically electing their own government?

To portray Israel as the victim may get votes, but it’s a lie and any reader of history should know it, including Newt.

Thomas Are
December 18, 2011

[1] Naim Ateek, Justice and Only Justice, (Orbis Press, 1989) p.36.
[2] Alan Hart, Zionism, The Real Enemy of the Jews, Volume One, (Clarity Press, 2009) p. 61.
[3] Ibid. p.32.
[4] Ibid., p. 192 Hart goes on to say, “The inordinate Israelist influence over the White House, the Congress and other elected officials, stems principally from the ability to pander to the alleged ‘Jewish vote’ as well as fill the campaign coffers of both parties with timely contributions on a national as well as local level, while taking advantage of the anachronistic system by which American Presidents are elected. p. 193.