Pro-Palestinianism: A Movement of Hate, Pt. III


[Editor’s note: This is the third installment of a four-part series. To read earlier segments of “Pro-Palestinianism: A Movement of Hate,” click: Part I and Part II. For the next installment, click: Part IV.]

Israel has been subjected to forceful criticism for decades. When those criticisms are hysterical, irrational and/or do not address Israel’s concerns to the slightest extent, are we not obliged to query why these frequent criticisms seem so unbalanced. If any commentator treats a serious topic in an unbalanced fashion it is quite right to be concerned. Such a viewpoint could cause genuine harm if it gains currency. The questions, “Why is person or movement ‘X’ so extreme? why do they turn the facts upside down and ignore everything not in their favor?” are perfectly legitimate, especially if there was extensive hatred and oppression of the group historically that is now the subject of their ire.

The response is typically an approximation of “Oh, we are only concerned about Zionists not the Jews who we really like an awful lot, I like Dylan, Seinfeld etc.” This argument seems a little suspect since Israel is the only state in existence populated principally by Jews. The only state in existence where Jews can live without being subject to the censure of hostile non-Jews in host nations. Of course it is quite feasible that many Palestinian supporters aren’t anti-Semitic. The motivations of an individual can be difficult to establish: even if they make unjustifiable remarks, spread untruths and flatly refuse to accept opposing views no matter how well justified, they may not be driven by hatred even if that is likely to be the case. Ignorance, stubbornness and even stupidity can be alternatives. However, this is not simply an observation relating to individuals but rather a movement. If we were to accept the “concern of Zionism only” line we would have to ignore the dishonesty, usual methods of criticism and belligerent manner that defines the movement and which gives rise to concerns about anti-Semitism. If many pro-Palestinian groups are not anti-Semitic it is extremely unlikely they would then collectively resort to such forms of criticism and behaviour.

There are some curious similarities between the language use of the anti-Semitic far-Right and the pro-Palestinian movement. This can be seen in their related texts, articles, and on many Internet forums where one could easily mistake pro-Palestinians for far-right activists raging on about “Zionism.” The traditional anti-Semitic anti-Zionism that the far-Right espouses has its roots in the fantasy that Jews are bent on World domination, where the fabricated Russian text “The Protocols of the [Learned] Elders of Zion” is their bible. Pro-Palestinians would of course reject these links. However, many of the armed Islamic terrorist groups they espouse subscribe to the very same far-Right theories! Indeed, the connection between traditional anti-Semitic “anti-Zionism” and the newer politically correct pro-Palestinian “anti-Zionism” can easily be seen on very popular hate sites like Jew Watch that often attack Israel.

In order to accept that pro-Palestinian groups do not hate Jewish people, the possibility that numerous conventional anti-Semites jumped on this populist bandwagon would also have to be rejected. How likely is this to be the case? It stands to reason obsessive Jew-haters would find the Jewish State a prime target for attack, especially as they do not have to endure much censure. Dyed-in-the-wool Holocaust denier and vocal anti-Semite David Irving has expressed much sympathy for the Palestinians. High profile Holocaust denier Mark Weber has actually decided to change tack by siding with the Palestinians in order to fight Jewish power. Even fascistic websites like Storm Front occasionally express sympathy for Arabs whilst remaining unrelentingly anti-Semitic. As a simple gauge of the popularity of traditional anti-Semitic belief, Jew Watch was at the top of Google’s listings and continues to be near the top for number of hits when common words like “Jew” are typed into its search engine. With traditional anti-Semitic belief far from uncommon, today pro-Palestinians cannot believably assert that few of these people are among their ranks.

A feature of the pro-Palestinian movement is the prolific use of Jewish critics to publicly attack Israel, including victims of the Holocaust. While some Jews (particularly leftists) attack Israel on their own steam, there seems to be a ploy of promoting Jewish critics in the movement because although related to the issue, they appear to be greatly over-represented given population size. It seems likely that this is done to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism and possibly to undermine understanding of why Israel (as a Jewish state) ought to exist. Many pro-Palestinians criticise opponents who state that certain Jewish critics are self-hating. Not all Jewish critics of Israel are likely to be self-hating but of course self-hatred is apparent among minorities. Such people internalise certain oppressive views and dislike their identity. Amongst Jewish people this phenomenon is entirely feasible given Western cultural antipathy.

It is apparent that a pre-emptive form of the anti-Semitism argument is actually used by the anti-Israeli movement to their advantage. They frequently pre-empt any possible accusation of anti-Semitism by bringing it up first. This is done to help deflect any eventual accusation of anti-Semitism no matter how warranted it would be. Thus, if and when such an accusation is finally made the accuser actually falls into a trap as if such a comment is below the belt. This move is intended to make those who defend Israel against extreme criticism appear dishonest or unreasonable. This approach is used repeatedly in the media and Internet. The accusation is often ascribed by pro-Palestinians as being part of a Zionist conspiracy to deflect criticism of Israel. It is another example of their intellectual dishonesty.

Why do pro-Palestinians obsess about Israel while largely ignoring other conflicts in the world? This is a common question. On occasion, when well known pro-Palestinian campaigners were asked why they exclusively focus on the alleged human rights abuses of Israel, the usual reply was that they care about other cases of human rights abuse too! Yet the efforts of such people do focus vastly more so on Israel. Of course we are selective with regard to the issues we care about at a personal level. However, if human rights issues concern such people generally, and chiefly motivates them to attack Israel, why don’t they campaign even a fraction as forcefully about other serious conflicts?

The intensive unceasing anti-Israel mass movement compares with no other internationally. Its scale compared to other single-issue movements is unprecedented, even exceeding the international campaign against Apartheid South Africa. One would think Israel is the only region where serious conflict occurs. There appears to be very little being done for Darfur, the Congo etc. where the contrasting scale of death and suffering makes Israel Vs. the Palestinians look like a fairly minor conflict. This point also lends credence to the view that the pro-Palestinian movement is not generally motivated by a concern for human rights. If the many do-gooders driving the Palestinian movement were truly concerned about human rights, the result would be a pro-Palestinian movement that was merely one of many highly active movements, and if scale was broadly a factor in their sympathies it would be quite a minor one at that.

People like journalist Khaled Abu Toameh have said so-called “pro-Palestinians” only care about alleged abuses to Palestinians involving Israel. Why are they not campaigning about the financial corruption and human rights abuses by Fatah and Hamas that are at times severe? While Israel’s Christian population has never been higher, Palestinian Christians are fleeing from increasingly Islamicist Palestinian run territory. Why no regard for these Palestinians? Women have been subjected to poor treatment especially by Hamas. Yet feminist supporters have little to say about the issue. Sizeable Arab states refused to accept Palestinian refugees, while Israel took in a larger number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab nations. They refused in order to achieve a continuous belligerence against Israel. The Palestinians became an agent to assist in Israel’s destruction. A similar attitude is evident amongst pro-Palestinians.

A typical pro-Palestinian strategy is to strip the events of this conflict from their context. Isolating such facts will only mislead and indeed this is clearly the intention. For example, assertions that Israel was founded through ethnic cleansing require highly selective interpretations of decontextualised historic facts. Violent intolerance toward Jews existed long before Israel was established. Israel’s foundation should be viewed in the context of a nascent state fighting for its survival, where both sides had been divided by violent sectarian tensions for a long time. Assertions that Israel was assisted by British colonialism could not be further from the truth. The British ceded 78 % of the mandated territory to Trans-Jordan, helped create a violent pogrom-like environment, and issued successive rulings designed to impede the establishment of a Jewish state. Profoundly distorted maps that attribute vast public lands to Palestinian ownership are used to compare Jewish vs. Palestinian settlement before and after the establishment of Israel, and selective historic quotes, often very dubiously interpreted, are produced to “prove” the very worst intent.

Many act as if Israel alone prevents a Palestinian state. The Palestinian’s rejected every opportunity from the 1947 UN Partition resolution to the recent offer by Ehud Olmert who acceded to virtually all the territory they demanded. In any serious conflict both parties require a modicum of good faith before there is any possibility of achieving peace. While the Israeli electorate has backed peace-makers repeatedly, the Palestinians often choose the opposite such as with the election of the Islamicist group Hamas in Gaza after Israel withdrew from the region. At best such talks are an exercise to please the international community and at worst an attempt to cash in propagandistically.

The reality is that Israel will not be secure even if it achieves an improbable peace with the Palestinians. The negotiations between Egypt and Jordan were successful in terms of avoiding further military conflict but relations have not been truly normalised at state level and the majority of Egyptians and Jordanians are still extremely hostile to Israel decades after peace was made. Syria’s leaders have indicated that normalised relations are not an option even if Israel returns the Golan Heights. Turkey has become increasingly hostile and its small Jewish population treated as ungrateful guests. Notwithstanding the apocalyptic utterances of its leaders, Iran is funding Hamas’ and Hizbullah’s assaults on Israel. It should be clear this conflict is an intermittent Islamic/pan-Arab war with Israel where the Palestinian’s became a proxy. Despite the precarious situation Western leaders at times aggressively encourage this state to take risks for peace and it has done so repeatedly. Yet when peace efforts almost inevitably go wrong there is typically a one-sided condemnation of Israel whilst ignoring common Palestinian intransigence.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GaryRumain Gary Rumain

    Isn't it about time we all paid more attention to the anti-semitism of arselifters and their relationship with Nazis?

  • Ron Grant

    "so-called “pro-Palestinians” only care about alleged abuses to Palestinians involving Israel."

    Let's be clear.The central issue in the Israel-Palestine debate is the occupation, colonization,ethnic cleansing and continued oppression of the Palestinian people by Jews.Essentially we are talking land once settled by Palestinians and now occupied by Jews.Our focus is on the colonizer ,occupier and oppressor,the Israeli Jew.It was not the Arabs who occupied and colonized Palestine.It was European Jews.There are tens of thousands of Palestinian refuges in Arab states,many in camps.The moral onus of re-settlement and the right of return is on Israel,not the surrounding Arab states.Yet another red herring.And Israel accepted Jewish refugees.Clever strategy.Get rid of the Palestinians while replacing them with Jews,be they Russian,French, Ethiopian,American,etc.Criminal, unconscionable.

    " The Palestinians became an agent to assist in Israel’s destruction. A similar attitude is evident amongst pro-Palestinians."

    Imagine,the Palestinians wanting to assist in the destruction of the Zionist state that robbed them of their birthright and homeland.And that their supporters would want the same thing.What is the world coming to?And many supporters of the Palestinians and Palestinians themselves do not seek the destruction of Israel but a fair settlement leading to a viable Palestinian state.

    " assertions that Israel was founded through ethnic cleansing require highly selective interpretations of decontextualised historic facts"

    In other words,if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is ethnic cleansing.The facts are that tens and hundreds of thousands of European Jews, many refugees fleeing the Holocaust and antisemitism, settled and occupied Palestine and in the process displaced equal numbers of Palestinians.The obvious and more subtle analogies and comparisons to other colonial situations e.g.South Africa and Rhodesia are telling and informative.In many ways Israel can be seen as a special case of neo-colonialism i.e.recreation of a biblical Jewish state.On the hand,the re-creation of Israel is in many ways an example of the worse excesses of colonialism i.e. large scale ethnic cleansing of the indigenous settlers.

    "The reality is that Israel will not be secure even if it achieves an improbable peace with the Palestinians"

    You may be right.But there will always be a home for Jews in the West.Your welcomed as my neighbor,banker,dentist,etc.There is no better citizen then a Jew.Too bad the same can't be said for a Jewish state.Just thankful Israel is not on Canada's borders.

    " The Palestinian’s rejected every opportunity from the 1947 UN Partition"

    Again,imagine the Palestinians rejecting the Partition of their homeland to accommodate a Zionist state and re-created Israel.Imagine Palestinians rejecting the occupation of their homeland by European Jews.Imagine!

    • Stern

      Grant, you said:
      "And Israel accepted Jewish refugees.Clever strategy.Get rid of the Palestinians while replacing them with Jews,be they Russian,French, Ethiopian,American,etc.Criminal, unconscionable. "

      What utter BS!!!! It was the Arab countries that ethnically cleansed THEIR Jews. And more than 50% of the Jewish population of Israel is comprised of these Jews, not the European Jews that you accuse of "stealing" Palestinian land. You are so highly selective in your arguments, that it's easy to disprove everything you say.

    • Stern

      Grant, you said:
      "But there will always be a home for Jews in the West.Your welcomed as my neighbor,banker,dentist,etc"

      Gee thanks. Only problem is, that's what the German Jews thought in the 1930s

    • Stern

      "In other words,if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is ethnic cleansing.The facts are that tens and hundreds of thousands of European Jews, many refugees fleeing the Holocaust and antisemitism, settled and occupied Palestine and in the process displaced equal numbers of Palestinians."

      Man, you are just so full of it! The facts are not as you stated. The facts are that Jews arrived in small numbers to begin with, were prevented from coming in larger numbers by the British, when the slaughter started in Europe, and only arrived in significant numbers AFTER Israel had already been attacked by 7 Arab nations.

      The further facts are that the Palestinians were encouraged by their leaders to leave while those armies "pushed the Jews into the sea". Only in a very few cases – and then only for strategic military purposes – were Arabs actually forced to leave by Jews.

      As the article says, it takes a very selective reading of the evidence to reach the conclusions you have reached. And you are very selective – choosing only the "facts" that support your anti-Semitic biases.

  • tanstaafl jw

    I disagree. The central issue of the conflict is jihad. If it ceased or never existed, would there even be a conflict in the Middle East?

    • Duncan Druhl

      My thesis is that if it didn't exist, it would be invented. I believe that in order to find the roots of the conflict, you need to follow the money trail. That vein of thinking was not readily apparent until Yassar Arafat's widow bought a huge Parisian apartment after his death and still lives there for all I know. The large cost of such things are not likely covered by the widow's benefit from the PLO.

      I believe the Muslim people are mere objects manipulated by people who profit from this pattern of Dark Ages ignorance and superstition, encouraged by those, whomever they are, who profit from the length and breadth of this conflict. There is a long list of those who profit in both money and power terms. It is nothing more. At the top I believe it is an attitude of "Allah, Shmallah, where are the sheckels, dinar, or whatever currency?" as these people envision a future for themselves wholly external to this conflict. It is cheap to inflame the masses as they are a captive and ignorant group who are trained from early childhood to be mere troops of Allah and are, therefore, easily led.

      The travelled and educated Muslims I've met and known are peaceful and civilised people, by and large. Even a few former Palestinians I've known merely shrug their shoulders and continue their work and normal human relationships in circumstances outside the zone of manipulation. On the other hand, I've also known a few Palestinian transplants to the west who become very "foaming at the mouth" whenever Jews are mentioned. While "fun" to play with in a cruel sense, the inculcation of hatred warps what might be an otherwise pleasant personality and productive life.

    • Ron Grant

      "The central issue of the conflict is jihad."

      Do you think the Palestinians would have accepted unconditionally and without resisting the takeover of their homeland? Would you? Muchiboy

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

        The land was purchased, and the state created; at lease 60 more countries have been created since. The violence is not so much against a new state; Arabs welcomed Jordanian rule, this is about Muslim bigotry and violence against infidels; of which you are possibly one. Would you like second class status or death as a choice.

        Palestinians have no problem with Muslim control; it is Jewish control they hate. They are the bigots.

        Enjoy being a second-class citizen? Go to the Middle-East and see how your beliefs are tolerated.

  • PAthena

    Duncan Druhl is right about the origin of the name "Palestine." The Roman Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea, then a Roman province, to "Palestina" in 135 A.D. to forever eradicate all memory of Judea and the Jews (and he outlawed Judaism). From that time, "Palestine" meant "land of the Jews" or "the Holy Land," and "Palestinian" was synonymous with "Jew." That is why the Zionists wanted the "Palestine Mandate" and Great Britain was awarded the "Palestine Mandate" as homeland for the Jews.
    It is Soviet propaganda that has led to calling Arabs "Palestinians:" in 1964, the Soviet Union and Gamal Nasser of Egypt in 1964 founded the "Palestine Liberation Organization," and the phony history rewrite followed – see the comments of Ron Grant above. The Arabs oppose Israel for religious reasons because they hate Jews, and the Soviet Union (and with it the "Left") because of the historical hatred of Jews in Russia – note that Yasir Arafat was an agent of the Soviet Union, training terrorists from all over the world in southern Lebanon until the fall of the Soviet Union.

    • PW Virginia

      PAthena…also calling Judea and Samaria "the West Bank" was also cooked up by the KGB and their friends in Jordan to remove any reference to Jews. I never use the terminology "West Bank" if if I have to use it because I'm talking to the unschooled I will mention the background of the term.

  • Ron Grant

    A very worthwhile series and still more to come.It is beneficial for all to be challenged on such an important and contentious issue.So much at stake for so many people.Such a shame that so good and worthwhile a people i.e.the Jews should have such a tortuous history of suffering and persecution at our hands.Such a shame that the Palestinians should suffer so at the hands of another victimized people with their backs to the wall.
    If the Jews could only recognize and acknowledge how the Palestinians have been wronged and suffer.If the Palestinians could only recognize the opportunity for prosperity and peace and the need for Jewish assurance ,refuge and sanctuary .If both could only recognize the benefits and fruits of magnanimity.Muchiboy

    • Stern

      Why should the Jews "recognize and acknowledge" Palestinian suffering, when 99% of it has been caused by the leaders the Palestinians keep electing?

  • USMCSniper

    1) There never was a Palestinian state or a Palestinian nation. There are no Palestinian people, per se. Rather, these are Arabs living in a region that historically has been called many things, including "Palestine."

    2) Israel did not go to war against a Palestinian state and occupy its land. Rather, Israel was attacked by six Arab countries at once. She defended herself, defeated her attackers, and won the so-called territories, not from the Palestinians, but from Jordan and Egypt.

    3) Jerusalem was never the capital of any state but Israel. It was certainly never the capital of a country that never existed. Why should the Palestinians get any part of it? Because they want it? Because they have terrorists?

    4) Jerusalem, under the current Israeli control, is a free and open city. Israel, as a democracy, guarantees freedom of religion within its borders. Contrast this fact with areas that have come under Palestinian occupation. What percentage of Christians have left in recent years because they cannot stand the harassment and persecution?

  • UCSPanther

    Whenever I see Israel Apartheid week public speakers, I can't help but wonder when they are going to cut the nonsense and invite David Duke to speak at their rallies.

    When that happens, we will know for sure what their true colors are with zero uncertainty.

    • LIbby

      I like David Horowitz' term: "Hitler Youth Week.

      Speaking of "colors," I'm surpirsed the attendees fo these meeting haven't agreed on their color of shirt. Brown Shirts and Black Shirts have already tbeen taken…

      Well, maybe Brown Shirts is appropriate.

  • Marty

    Here are some other questions that could use answers from anti-semites: 1. How is it that the only muslims in the middle east that vote in free elections reside in Israel? 2. When will the Jews who were uncermonious expelled from arab states during 1949-1951 and their property confiscated receive compensation from the sociopathic thugs in syria, egypt, tunisia, and yemen? 3. When can we look forward to hamas and hizbullah announce that they have changed their minds and don't want to slaughter every Jewish man, woman, and child? 4. When do the muslims in egypt plan to return to arabia and leave the rightful Coptic inhabitants, the original egyptians, to have their land back? 5. Of 60 or so conflicts in the world today, 90 percent are between muslims and non-muslims or even between muslims and muslims as in sudan. How can this be when we are told that islam is a peaceful religion? 6. When will it be possible to build a church or synagogue in saudi arabia? There are plenty of mosquest in Christian coutries and in Israel.

    • To the ignorant

      1. Because Israel is a democracy ad the rest of the the middle east are dictatorship.
      2. Never, they do not even exist in the conversation.
      3. Never, they are instructed by their koran to do just that!.
      4. Never. As they say they want the whole world. They just abut finished with Europe!
      5. Because you and we all know, Islam mean violent and murder!
      6. How many mosques do you think are in Jerusalem the JEWISH capital of the jewish
      state? there is one even on top of the holiest site for the jews people already, THE
      TEMPLE MOUNT!!!!!

      I am sure you know all these answers I was just being facetious!

  • Ron Grant

    A very worthwhile series and still more to come.It is beneficial for all to be challenged on such an important and contentious issue.So much at stake for so many people.Such a shame that so good and worthwhile a people i.e.the Jews should have such a tortuous history of suffering and persecution at our hands.Such a shame that the Palestinians should suffer so at the hands of another victimized people i.e.Jews with their backs to the wall.Whether both or either peoples are capable of the needed trust and magnanimity to achieve a lasting resolution is unclear.There are examples of this happening in other conflicts e.g.N.Ireland,Rwanda.Other conflicts,e.g.Zimbabwe may not be good examples of a just resolution where trust and magnanimity were lacking.Either way,the conflict cannot be allowed to persist.It may not even be a matter of justice and fairness anymore as I had hoped.The Israeli practice of creating facts on the ground is not based on either fairness nor justice,but rather power and arrogance.The idea of a God given right is equally arrogant.Clearly Israel is not welcomed in the region and with reason.But the presence of Israel or a state with millions of Jews can be a blessing to the region e.g.political,economic,technology,cultural,etc.Paradoxically,the onus may lie with the Palestinian people themselves and their leadership to provide Jews with the assurances of security and sanctuary within a new kind of political entity apart from a Zionist state.Perhaps we need to revisit Partition.Muchiboy

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

      God given right? Nope. It is about a Jewish Homeland where Jews are free from persecution. Remember, many Jews do not follow Judaism. They fight to freely live.

  • Emman Chehade

    I am a proud Jordanian("Palestinian"???) mama and all I have to say is who cares about 90,000,000 dead Hindus when one of my 350 pound "Palestinian" sisters had her feelings hurt???

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/aspacia aspacia

      LOL, tongue in cheek

  • http://www.articleme4.com petty

    Why is person or movement ‘X’ so extreme? why do they turn the facts upside down and ignore everything not in their favor?” are perfectly legitimate, especially if there was extensive hatred and oppression of the group historically that is now the subject of their ire.

  • tanstaafl jw

    What (exactly) is a Palestinian? Do "Palestinains" exist before 1966? Did anyone call them "Palestinians" before that time?

    As far as ethinic cleansing goes, who would you describe the policies of Islam over the last 1400 years?

    Are the actions of Muslims towards the state of Israel simply part of the continuous Islamic jihad?

  • Stern

    Grant, you simply prove the author's arguments. You've obviously read your Ilan Pappe and completely ignore the fact that he has even admitted taking facts out of context to suit his own ideology. You, like him, have bought the Palestinian narrative lock, stock and barrel – and completely uncritically. No doubt you will scream loudly and clearly, but you are an obvious anti-Semite (and yes, I know Palestinians are semites, so you can't really be – but you know exactly what I mean). You've chosen the wrong forum here. I suggest you go back to The Guardian and Comment is Free, where your revisionist garbage is welcome.

  • ajnn

    Over 100,000 Arabs retrurned to Israel in 1949-50. That is 1/7 of the total who left.

    Zero of the Jews forced from the West bank were able to return – and then another 800,000 Jews from North Africa and elsewhaere in the Muslim world were ethnically cleansed from their homes.

    What 'ethnic cleansing' ? Were they not mostly guest workers from Syria returning home in times of war?

  • Duncan Druhl

    Actually, in order to erase the embarrassment of the Roman Empire being virtually defeated by a comparative handful of Jews, three times (!), the Emperor Hadrian renamed Judea, Samaria and all Israel lands: Syria Palestrina. Thus was the name Palestine born, but it has no context outside of being a Roman Empire epithet. Israel was there for over a Millennium before this happened, soundly defeating the immediate locals, but falling to the might of Alexander and Persia as they were global (at the time) conquerers. Oh, yeah, Abyssinia had a shot too, but eventually lost to the Hebrews.