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Origins of Israel’s Anti-Arab Racism

By Lawrence Davidson | Consortium News | November 28, 2012

By the middle of the 19th Century, the multi-ethnic empire was on its way out as the dominant political paradigm in Europe. Replacing it was the nation-state, a political form which allowed the concentration of ethnic groups within their own political borders.

This, in turn, formed cultural and “racial” incubators for an “us (superior) vs. them (inferior)” nationalism that would underpin most of the West’s future wars. Many of these nation states were also imperial powers expanding across the globe and, of course, their state-based chauvinistic outlook went with them.

Zionism was born in this milieu of nationalism and imperialism, both of which left an indelible mark on the character and ambitions of the Israeli state. The conviction of Theodor Herzl, modern Zionism’s founding father, was that the centuries of anti-Semitism were proof positive that Europe’s Jews could not be assimilated into mainstream Western society. They could only be safe if they possessed a nation state of their own.

This conviction also reflected the European imperial sentiments of the day. The founders of modern Zionism were both Jews and Europeans, and (as such) had acquired the West’s cultural sense of superiority in relation to non-Europeans.

This sense of superiority would play an important role when a deal (the Balfour Declaration) was struck in 1917 between the World Zionist Organization and the British Government. The deal stipulated that, in exchange for Zionist support for the British war effort (World War I was in progress), the British would (assuming victory) help create a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. It was no oversight that neither side in this bargain gave much thought to the Palestinian native population.

Years later, beginning in 1945 (at the end of World War II), the British were forced to officially give up the imperial point of view. They came out of the war with a population burdened by extraordinary high war taxes.

Retaining the empire would keep those taxes high and so the British voters elected politicians who would transform the empire into a commonwealth, granting independence to just about all of Britain’s overseas territories. One of those territories was Palestine.

It is interesting to note that in other European colonies, where large numbers of Europeans resided, the era following World War II saw their eventual evacuation as power shifted over to the natives. Kenya and Algeria are examples which show that this process was hard and bloody, but it happened.

And when it did happen, the official imperial mind set was defeated. That does not mean that all Europeans (or Westerners) saw the light and ceased to be racists, but that their governments eventually saw the necessity to stop acting that way.

Some Consequences

Unfortunately, in the case of Palestine, this process of de-colonization never occurred.  In this case the European colonists did not want the imperial mother country to stay and protect them. They wanted them out so they could set up shop on their own. They got their chance after the British evacuated in 1947.

Soon thereafter, the Zionists began executing a prepared plan to conquer the “Holy Land” and chase away or subjugate the native population. And what of that imperial point of view which saw the European as superior and the native as inferior? This became institutionalized in the practices of the new Israeli state.

That made Israel one of the very few (the other being apartheid South Africa) self-identified “Western” nation states to continue to implement old-style imperial policies:  they discriminated against the Palestinian population in every way imaginable, pushed them into enclosed areas of concentration and sought to control their lives in great detail.

If one wants to know what this meant for the evolving character of Israel’s citizenry who now would live out the colonial drama as an imperial power in their own right, one might take a look at a book by Sven Lindqvist entitled Exterminate All The Brutes (New Press 1996). This work convincingly shows that lording it over often resisting native peoples, debasing and humiliating them, regularly killing or otherwise punishing them when they protest, leads the colonials to develop genocidal yearnings.

There is evidence that the Zionists who created and now sustain Israel suffer from this process. For a long time Israeli government officials tried genocide via a thought experiment. They went about asserting that the Palestinians did not exist.

The most famous case of this was Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who on June 15, 1969, claimed that “there were no such thing as Palestinians. … They do not exist.”  One of the reasons she gave for this opinion was that the Arabs of Palestine never had their own nation state.

Others took a different approach by denying not so much the existence of Palestinians, but rather their humanity. At various times and in various contexts, usually in response to acts of  resistance against occupation, Israeli leaders have referred to the Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs” (Menachem Begin); “grasshoppers” (Yitzhaq Shamir); “crocodiles” (Ehud Barak); and “cockroaches” (Rafael Eitan).

Of course, these sentiments were not confined to the Israeli leadership. They soon pervaded most of the Zionist population because the old imperial superiority-inferiority propaganda had become a core element of their basic education. The Israelis have taught their children the imperial point of view, augmented it with biased media reporting, labeled the inevitable resistance offered by the Palestinians as anti-Semitism and took it as proof of the need to suppress and control this population of “Others.”

And, from the Zionist standpoint, this entire process has worked remarkably well.  Today all but a handful of Israeli Jews dislike and fear the people they conquered and displaced. They wish they would go away. And, when their resistance gets just a bit too much to bear, they are now quite willing to see them put out of the way.

Thus, during the latest round of resistance rocket fire from Gaza and the vengeful killing that came from the Israeli side, we heard the following: “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water” (Eli Yishai, present Deputy Prime Minister); “There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. … We need to flatten entire neighborhoods … flatten all of Gaza” (journalist Gilad Sharon in the Jerusalem Post); “There are no innocents in Gaza. Mow them down … kill the Gazans without thought or mercy.”  (Michael Ben-Ari, member of the Knesset); Gaza should be “bombed so hard the population has to flee into Egypt” (Israel Katz, present Minister of Transportation); Gaza should be “wiped clean with bombs” (Avi Dichter, present Minister of Home Front Defense); Israeli soldiers must “learn from the Syrians how to slaughter the enemy” (prominent Israeli Rabbi Yaakov Yosef).

Finally, there were the numerous, spontaneous demonstrations of ordinary Israeli citizens, both in the north and south of the country, where could be heard chants and shouts such as “They don’t deserve to live. They need to die. May your children die. Kick out all the Arabs.”

If it wasn’t for the fact that the outside world was watching, there can be little doubt that the famed Israeli armed forces would have been tempted to do all that these ministers, clerics and citizens wished. After Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a cease-fire, a group of Israeli soldiers showed their frustration by using their bodies to spell out (in Hebrew) the words “Bibi Loser” (Bibi is a nickname for Netanyahu).

It was a pre-arranged photo-op and the picture can now easily be found on the Web. What seems to really irk the Israeli citizenry is not that Bibi killed and maimed too many innocent Palestinian civilians, but rather that he did not kill and maim enough of them to grant Israelis “safety and security.”

Throughout history it has been standard operating procedure to demonize those you fight and demote to inferior status those you conquer. But as Lindqvist’s work shows, there was something different about the way Europeans went about this business. The deeply racist outlook that underlay modern imperialism made it particularly perverse.

Now that apartheid South Africa is no more, the Israelis are the last surviving heirs to that dreadful heritage. So much for a “light unto the nations.” That proposition has quite failed. Wherever the Israelis and their Zionist cohorts are leading us, it is not into the light, it is to someplace very very dark.

~

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

November 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 7 Comments

Top 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the #Nakba

Permission To Narrate

1.       Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe. It is used to describe the Palestinian loss of land and property during the depopulation of Palestine from 1947-1949 and does not refer simply to the declaration of a state of Israel.

2.       212 localities depopulated and at least half of the refugees created during the Nakba were created prior to May 15th, which is, prior to the entry of armies of other Arab states. The largest Palestinian cities at the time, Yaffa and Haifa, were emptied of the vast majority of their inhabitants before May 15th, 1948. The idea that refugee creation happened only after, or only as a result of, the mobilization of Arab armies is patently false.

3.      At every stage of the war, the Yishuv/Israeli forces were superior in training, equipment and numbers to the combined Arab armies.

4.       The Zionists prepared extensive data collection efforts to map out intelligence relating to the Palestinian villages for a decade prior to the war. Detailed information about each village was kept including information on the number of inhabitants, the village’s resources, the potential activists that resided within it and what its political affiliations were.

5.     Of the over 500 Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba, 303 were depopulated as a result of either direct expulsion  carried out by Yishuv/Israeli forces or as a result of attack by Yishuv/Israel forces.

6.     Of the depopulated villages, 81 have been completely obliterated which means there is no traceable sign of their existence. Rubble was identified at the site of another 140 villages. Some standing walls were apparent at another 60 villages while 74 more had few houses intact. Other villages had houses intact and occupied by Israelis.

7.     Golda Meir struck a secret agreement with the King of Jordan before the war. Even though Jordan’s Arab Legion was the most formidable of the Arab armies, and even though the massacre at Deir Yassin tested this agreement, the Jordanian forces didn’t cross into territory that was designated for the Jewish State under the UN partition plan.

8.      After the depopulation of towns and villages, rampant looting of personal property took place. Israeli civilians and soldiers took part in stealing from vacated Palestinian homes and shops. Israeli historian Tom Segev notes that 1,800 trucks were taken from the town of Lydda alone.

9.      While 700-800,000 Palestinians were made refugees and not permitted to return by the state of Israel, 150,000 did remain inside Israel and many became internally displaced persons who still lost their property and were subjected to martial law until 1966 and various discriminatory laws since then.

10.   Yitzhak Rabin, an officer during the 1948 war, included a description of orders to forcibly expel tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in his memoirs. The State of Israel prevented this description from being printed when his memoirs were published and, as far as I am aware, continues to prevent it today.*

*UPDATE: The censored passage from Rabin’s memoirs was published in the appendix of a 1996 English version published after Rabin’s death. It is unclear if the passage is permitted for inclusion within the text of the memoirs themselves or in versions published in Hebrew or in Israel.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Response to Scheindlin: Erasing Palestinian history

By Omar Rahman | +972 | February 28 2012

A response to Dahlia Scheindlin’s piece about Mahmoud Abbas’ comments on ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

I am going to have to totally disagree with my colleague Dahlia Scheindlin on her piece, Response to Abbas: we’ll be together in Jerusalem forever. Although I am also ignorant of the speech Abu Mazen gave in Qatar, except for what I read in the papers, Abbas was saying that Israel is instituting a policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, which the Israeli media framed as an attempt to deny ANY Jewish connection to the holy city.

Dahlia’s contention is that Israelis and Palestinians are fighting on the same side in a war between moderates and extremists, and that no matter what happens we will be in Jerusalem together, forever and ever.

Despite being a comforting sentiment, it is simply not true. ‘Extremist’ and ‘moderate’ alike in Israeli politics have equally perpetrated the crimes of the occupation, and it is often the most leftist among Israelis who refuse to admit that what happened in the post 1948 Israel is in complete continuity with what is taking place in the ‘occupied territories’ today. Indeed, it was the Israeli secular moderates who governed Israel uninterrupted from 1948 until 1977.

It is foolhardy to say that despite efforts at ‘Judaization’ in Jerusalem, there will always be strong Muslim and Christian links to the city. What about the 500 plus villages and towns that were wiped off the map in what is now Israel, and whose memory has been pretty much erased from history? We don’t only want a historical legacy, we want a living memory.

Shepherd Hotel in final stages of demolition. (Photo: Justin Randle)

It is always best to show instead of tell, so I will give an example. A friend of mine, originally from Nazareth, related a story to me a few years back from when she was a college student in the United States studying archaeology. She went home for a summer and was working on a dig in Israel. Her name is one of those ambiguous ones that could superficially pass as Jewish and she said that everyone assumed she was. At one point she was in the office of the head of the dig, who was examining a beautiful piece of Ottoman glasswork that had been dug up the day before. He turned to her and said: “Do you see this? This is not history,” at which point he tossed it over his shoulder into a pile of rubbish.

Today, Palestinian artifacts sit in Israeli museums and private homes. Books taken during the 1948 war are in Israeli libraries, while we have a resurgence of the “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” in public Western discourse. This was something that leftists like Golda Meir, and not right-wingers like Ze’ev Jabotinsky, actively pushed.

Palestine and Palestinians came very close to being wiped off the map and out of history by a deliberate campaign, in which the historical legacy of Palestinians was seen as a threat to the emergence of Israeli and Jewish claims.

As much as it is unpleasant to recognize, the longer this conflict continues the erasure of history, of buildings, of people and of memory are steadily realized and supplanted.

We can say times have changed. That today’s moderates and extremists are different from the past. But this defies reality.
“Let’s cast off the notion of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians already, which I sometimes feel is a brilliant decoy of the far right.” says my colleague.

What kind of wishful thinking this is? Go tell that to the Palestinians in Nabi Saleh, who have their homes raided in the middle of the night, and their young children taken out of bed to have their identities checked.

This is precisely the problem. There are those Israelis who want to dismiss what is happening as a fantasy, all while the bulldozers are rolling in the background.

Those Israelis don’t like that they are being fought on both sides, from Palestinians and from the right-wingers who are steadily gaining power. So, we Palestinians should stand back, or better yet, cheer you on while you go up against them and lose, all the while our land is confiscated and our history erased. I think its time those Israelis joined the Palestinian side, and not the other way around. Forget the self-aggrandized intellectual discourse that takes place in the cafes of Tel Aviv, and immerse yourself in the reality of what is being done in your name.

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Response to Scheindlin: Erasing Palestinian history

IN MEMORIAM: LIBYAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 114

Mathaba.net

At 10:30 a.m. on 21 February 1973, Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 took off on its regularly-scheduled flight from Tripoli to Cairo.

The plane, a Boeing 727, was being piloted by a French crew under a contractual arrangement between Air France and the Libyan national airline. After a brief stop at the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya, Flight 114 continued en route to Cairo with 113 persons on board.

As the airliner flew over northern Egypt on its approach to Cairo, it suddenly encountered a blinding sandstorm which forced the crew to switch to instrument control because the geographic features which ordinarily served as landmarks could not be discerned in the swirling tempest. A short time later, the pilot discovered that he had made a navigational error because of a compass malfunction: the plane had missed an air traffic beacon, and he could not ascertain its current location. He radioed the Cairo air control tower with an urgent plea for assistance. The Egyptian flight controllers radioed back, giving him the information necessary to correct the plane’s course and warning that it appeared that the plane might have strayed over the Sinai peninsula, which at that time was occupied by Israeli forces.

The pilot immediately corrected the course, and LN 114 was heading back to Cairo when the crew noticed two military jets approaching. The crew members expressed relief, for they believed that the jets were Egyptian fighters sent to escort their plane to safety at the Cairo airport. Such, however, proved not to be the case: the two jets were in fact Israeli Phantoms, and, before the pilot of LN 114 had been able to make out the “Star of David” markings on their wings, they had directed three bursts of cannon fire into the Boeing 727, blasting it from the sky.

Flight 114 smashed into the Sinai desert only one minute’s flying time from Egyptian-controlled territory, killing 106 men, women and children aboard.

At first, Israel attempted to deny its culpability for the tragedy. However, after 24 February when the Boeing’s “black box” which had recorded the pilot’s conversations with the Cairo control tower was recovered, such denial was no longer possible. The Israeli government then did a volte-face and revealed that LN 114 had been shot down with the personal authorization of Dado Elazar, the Israeli Chief of Staff. Commenting on the decision to blow up the civilian airliner, Golda Meir, then Prime Minister of Israel, showered Elazar with praise, and exulted, “I want to tell you that I don’t just appreciate you, I admire you!”

The United Nations failed to take any action against Israel for its destruction of the Libyan passenger plane, and when the 30 member nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization voted to censure Israel for the attack, the U.S. abstained.

February 21, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 9 Comments

Israel Threatens Holocaust in Damascus

Israel Releases 1973 War Minutes To Send Syria, Hezbollah, “Strong Warning”

Al-Manar – 07/10/2010

The Israeli intelligence Website Debkafile quoted “military and intelligence sources” as saying that PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak have decided to release the minutes of the deliberations on an air blitz against Damascus – held in Jerusalem before and during the 1973 war – “as a strong warning” to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Then, a decision to take out Damascus to halt the Syrian offensive was overruled. This time could be different: Bashar Assad regime’s own centers of power could be at risk if Syria and Hizballah go through with their plan to overpower Beirut and topple Saad Hariri’s sovereign government,” the sources told Debkafile.

The Website said that in the hours leading up to Oct. 6, 1973, Lt. Gen. David Elazar told PM Golda Meir that the Israeli forces can wipe out the entire Syrian air force by noon that day, and that they need another 30 hours to destroy Syrian missiles.

“Then, if they go on the offensive at 5 pm, our air force will be free to strike the Syrian army. To me, this operational option is attractive.” Three days later, on Oct. 9, catastrophe stared Israel in the face: The IDF was in a bad way and taking casualties in the realm of hundreds dead and thousands injured; their defense lines in Sinai and the Golan had fallen and there was nothing in the way of the Syrian army going all the way to the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias.

In a closed meeting with Golda Meir, the iconic defense minister Moshe Dayan asked for permission to bomb Damascus. “Inside the city?” she asked. “Inside the city and its environs,” he replied. “We have to break the Syrians,” Dayan explained that he proposed to strike the Syrian General Command and infrastructure in Damascus. “We’ve done enough going around the fields (a reference to targets outside the Syrian capital). There are no more key targets left. Damascus is the only one. We can’t promise the population won’t be hurt,” Debkafile reported.

It added that “Golda’s permission was withheld.”

The Israeli military and intelligence sources told Debkafile that the decision to release the documents and the section relating to Syria was taken in Jerusalem “after the Obama administration failed to prevent the two-day state visit to Lebanon by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking place on Oct. 13.”

According to the Israeli site, the message “goes beyond uncovering secret operational and intelligence decision-making and is unusually wide-ranging.”

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 8 Comments