Daily Archives: July 10, 2012

Review of Peter Fritzsche’s Germans Into Nazis, by Robert John

Repost from the old site.

I am proud to present a book review by a new guest author, Robert John. His biography is at the end of the piece. In this piece, he reviews a book by Peter Fritzsche, Germans into Nazis. This book takes on, in part, a thesis by a best-selling book by Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners.

Goldhagen’s book was wildly controversial, to say the least. His thesis was that Nazism was a normal evolution of the virulent anti-Semitism inherent in German society for decades, if not centuries. An anti-Semitism spanning all of society, from top to bottom, urban to rural.

Goldhagen gives examples of how ordinary Germans knew full well the nature of the Nazi Holocaust against Jews, but either did nothing about it, or cheered it on. He cites postcards sent back by German soldiers to family at home, telling gleefully about how the soldiers were massacring Jews on the Front.

The reaction to Goldhagen’s book was ferocious, much of it coming from conservative Catholics, anti-Semites and German nationalists but also from serious scholars.

To this day, Goldhagen is a favorite whipping boy of anti-Semites and Holocaust revisionists and deniers, except that their own behavior seems to prove Goldhagen correct. So those who hate Jews take exception to Goldhagen saying that Germany was a nation of Jew-haters. One would think they would cheer this assertion on?

Regarding this review, here are some facts for those lacking background in this matter:

After World War 1, Germany was hobbled at the Treaty of Versailles with horrible reparations that were essentially unpayable and ruined the economy. John points out correctly that Versailles led logically to the rise of Nazism.

Immediately afterwards, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, German Communists attempted to overthrow the state. They were defeated. German anti-Communists, including most of the middle class, noted that many of the leaders of the Communist revolutions in Russia and Germany were Jewish.

History is not kind to losers. For better or worse, German Jews were blamed for a few of them having led the failed German revolution.

In the 1920’s, Germany had a series of very unstable governments known as the Weimar Republic. At the same time, there was widespread political violence in the streets, often between Communists and socialists on one side and nationalists and proto-fascists on the other. The economy was devastated and it took a wheelbarrow full of worthless money to buy a loaf of bread.

At the same time, a wealthy and decadent class lived it up in the nightclubs of Berlin. Many of this decadent artist class were Jewish and many were also homosexuals and bisexuals. The movie, Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli, about the life of gay author Christopher Isherwood, was set in Weimar Berlin.

Comedians and artists, many of whom were Jewish, ridiculed German nationalism and the things that patriotic Germans held dear to their hearts. This nationalism, along with traditional German culture, was held by these artists as having led to the war and the disastrous defeat. Enraged German nationalists saw only decadent urbanites, many of them Jewish, attacking German culture and values.

Further, the decadent lifestyle in Berlin enraged traditional elements in Germany. The wild life of the rich in the cities aroused rage amongst the immiserated poor, workers and middle classes.

While German Gentiles were being economically ruined, many German Jews had avoided economic destruction by stashing their money outside the country early in the crisis. No doubt this led to charges that the Jews were failing to invest in Germany.

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, as German property values plummeted, German Jews were able to return bring their money back and buy up much of the country for 10 cents on the dollar. By 1932, German Jews, 1% of the country, owned 32% of the wealth of Germany.

After quotas on Jews in government jobs, the professions and universities were lifted in the 1920’s, the ranks of attorneys, doctors, judges and law professors were quickly filled by high-IQ Jews. 1/2 of German law professors and Berlin attorneys were Jewish. 1/3 to 1/2 of Berlin doctors were Jewish. 20% of German judges were Jewish. Berlin gained a Jewish police chief, the first in the history of the city.

Many Germans were outraged at the overnight Jewish success and implied humiliation of German Gentiles and insisted that the Jews must have cheated to get these positions.

Just before they seized power, Nazi propagandists made much use of these figures. They also claimed that most politicians and civil servants were Jews, which was not true. Only a few high-ranking civil servants were Jewish. There were few Jewish politicians – during the entire Weimar Period, there were only 8 Jewish members of the Reichstag from Berlin. After 1922, there were almost no Jewish Cabinet ministers.

Similar claims that most pickpockets were Jewish and that German prisoners were filled with Jews were also false. Looking at figures from 1925, only 1.05% of Prussian prisoners were Jewish. Likewise with claims that the German Communist Party leadership was mostly Jewish. In 1932, there were 100 Communist deputies in the Reichstag and not a single one was Jewish.

As you can see, the Nazis were engaging in some scapegoating and out and out lying about German Jews.

The Weimar Regimes (republican democracy) seemed to be powerless to remedy any of these problems. Democracy came to be seen as symbolic with ineffectual government that fiddled while the nation burned, with decadent intellectuals and artists who attacked beloved German culture and values, with an outrageous gap between rich and poor, and with a disastrous economy.

So the Nazis ran on a platform of “the Hell with democracy”.

At the same time, similar fascist movements were spreading across Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, where most nations had fascist governments during this period. Even Finland and the Baltics had fascist governments.

Fritzsche’s book points out that the Nazis succeeded due to good old politics, Karl Rove style. They appealed to workers, women and liberals, though their program was secretly hostile to all three. They attacked social conservatism and the rich while hiding the fact that support for these elements was an essential nature of their project.

Even the name “National Socialists” was chosen along the same lines, to co-opt the rising Socialist and Communist movements in Germany.

By playing such dishonest political games, they gained support of socialists, Communists, liberals and even some Jews. While the socialists and Communists seemed boring or dangerous, the Nazis were all about getting Germans to feel good about themselves and have fun at the same time. Instead of Reagan’s “Morning in America”, it was “Morning in Germany”.

After they seized power, no German socialist or Communist was fooled by the Nazi lies about being a socialist party. In fact, at its core, Nazism was hostile first and foremost to liberals, union members, socialists and Communists. Communists, socialists and union members were the first to go the concentration camps, Dachau being the most famous. The Jews were number four on the list, after these three!

After they seized power, at the Night of the Long Knives, the Left Nazis were all killed or driven out of the party. Through the 1930’s, most of the German Left went to ground, fled the country or took up arms against the government. The German Communist Party declared war on the Nazi regime during this period.

The name “National Socialists” has confused many people, including rightwing ideologues. There is much more to the refutation of the disgusting rightwing lie, “Nazis were a leftwing, socialist movement” but I will save it for another post.

I realize that a quick, ignorant, emotional read of this piece could lead one to the conclusion that it is some defense of Nazism. If you read it closely, intelligently and soberly, you should notice that it is nothing of the kind.

I hope you enjoy John’s piece.

Those Abnormal Germans?

Understanding Goldhagen

Robert John*

Germans into Nazis
Peter Fritzsche
Harvard University Press, 1998
269 pages. ISBN 0-674-35091-X

The history of this century has been dominated by the horrors that came from the inferno of World War I. The rise of Nazism in Germany is only comprehensible by taking into account the national hardships and frustration provoked by defeat and the harsh and punitive treaty of Versailles, in which President Wilson played the leading role.

Peter Fritzsche, professor of history, University of Illinois, and the author of Reading Berlin 1900 (Harvard), gives an account of what gave the German National Socialists their electoral victories in 1932 and why.

Why were 37.4 percent of German votes cast for the Nazis in the July 1932 legislative elections, when for the first time they became the largest party; the SPD was second with 21.6 percent?

Half a century after their destruction, new accounts of German National Socialism, and its leader, still contend for space on bookstore shelves.

Many seek to explain German support for a leader portrayed as the most dangerous archfiend of recorded history, or to analyze the dynamics of that leader himself. Daniel Goldhagen, in his best-selling book Hitler’s Willing Executioners, suggested that Hitler was little more than a midwife in a German war against the Jews.

Goldhagen blamed successful appeal to widespread German anti-Jewish prejudice for the Nazi victories. He alleged that by the time Hitler came to power in 1933, racial anti-Semitism had already made Germany “pregnant with murder.”

Fritzsche gives an account of some of the confusion of patriotism and social turbulence from 1918 to 1933. He quotes the Berliner Tageblatt of 10 November 1918:

Yesterday morning . . .everything was still there – the Kaiser, the chancellor, the police chief – yesterday afternoon nothing of all that existed any longer.

The March 1917 Menshevik Revolution in Russia was being re-enacted in Germany, with Friedrich Ebert playing the role that Kerensky had played in Russia the year before. With knowledge of the red terror the Bolsheviks were waging in Russia, and some awareness that the majority of their leaders were Jewish, gave grounds for the development of a counterrevolution with anti-Semitic elements.

Like most other historians of the Allied Powers, Fritzsche omits significant reference to Allied failure to honor President Wilson’s Fourteen Points for peace which were announced by him on 8th January 1918.

It was on their basis, and Wilson’s declaration a month later: that there were to be no annexations, no contributions, and no punitive damages, that General Ludendorff had recommended to Field-Marshall Hindenburg that Germany ask for an Armistice.

Diplomatic exchanges followed until 23rd of October. On that day, Wilson informed the German government that, were he compelled to negotiate with the military rulers and monarchist autocrats, he would demand not peace negotiations but a general surrender. The Kaiser abdicated.

In his haste to present the circumstances and appeal of National Socialist policies to the German people at the beginning of the 1930’s, Fritzsche also skips reference to the continued Allied food blockade of Germany for nearly six months after the war had ended. Even the German Baltic fishing fleet, which had augmented German food supplies during the war, was prevented from putting to sea.

(See The Politics of Hunger: The Allied blockade of Germany, 1915-1919, Vincent, C. Paul, Ohio Univ. Press, 1985, and the Kathë Kollwitz lithograph Deutschlands Kinder hungern – Germany’s Children are Starving.)

In the spring of 1919, both the putting down of Communist insurrections in Berlin, Bremen, and Munich and breaking of general strikes in Halle, Magdeberg and Braunschweig by a Freikorps of nationalist volunteers, temporarily suspended the threat of a repetition of the Bolsheviks’ October revolution in Russia.

When the Freikorps finally disbanded, they left behind a loose confederacy of secret organizations, veterans’ groups, and rifle clubs.

Organization by both the Left and the Right seems to have satisfied a popular need for feelings of solidarity and renewal. By 1924 there were signs that this social activity was taking a more coherent political form.

New organizations were also distinctive for being more open to women, who established their own auxiliaries, and attended patriotic celebrations. Activities for women, common in international socialist organizations, were included in nationalist events in community life. Brass bands and choral societies joined in what looked more like a family celebration than a wartime field service.

The wife of an engineer described a new look in her city streets: groups of young people passing by, singing patriotic songs. In midsummer her daughter Irmgard, living in Nordheim, looked forward to Sunday’s flag consecration and dance.

Everywhere there is great excitement . . . all the regimental associations are coming, even the riflery clubs. (p. 134)

Fritzsche chooses such illustrations of entertainment and excitement, rather than negative appeals, that drew many of the young and others away from the blandness of the Social Democrats, and the preaching of international revolution, “Workers of the world: Unite,” of the Communists. ‘For good reasons or bad, Germans turned indifferent to the Weimar Republic, but they did not remain inactive or apathetic.

The real consequence of the revolution was not so much the parliamentary government it secured as the organization and activism of thousands of constituents it made possible. The new Germany can best be found in the humdrum mobilization of interest groups, veterans’ associations, and party branches and in the self-authorization of a hundred voices, libelous, illiberal, and chauvinistic as they may have been.

It is a sad but compelling paradox that the hostile defamations of the president of the republic were as indicative of democratization as the presidency of good-willed Fritz Ebert himself’ (p.136).

In the hard economic times of 1930,when the social welfare programs of the state were being cut back, the Nazis erected a “rudimentary shadow welfare state” for their supporters, responding to the crisis in a concrete way.

They never made the mistake of Hugenberg’s German Nationalists of holding political meetings in the best hotel in town. During a metalworkers strike, striking party members were fed three times daily in Nazi pubs.

Womens’ groups associated with the party were particularly active. National Socialist speeches and propaganda repudiated the narrow politics on the “reactionary” bourgeois parliamentarians and the proliferating interest groups and splinter parties.

In speech after speech at mass rallies, Hitler and his followers tended to address voters as citizens, rather than as blocs or constituents, and repeated again and again the need to solve local problems by liberating the entire nation from republican misrule. (In Britain a National Government was set up in 1931 with slogans of unification, patriotism, insulation, planning, etc.)

The National Socialist message brought to the people in town after town was not the class consciousness of Hindenberg’s upper class, nor its representation in the primacy of ‘the class struggle’ of the Communists and Socialists; instead, national solidarity was the answer to Germany’s vexing problems: social reform, economic productivity, the shameful peace.

There was a deliberate attempt to enroll Germans in a collective destiny and to present Hitler as a national savior rather than a solicitous politician (Fritzsche, p. 195).

Nazi propaganda very effectively portrayed political choices in Utopian terms: here was a party that opposed the present “system” and, once in power, would rebuild the nation. It was not just the modern methods of political campaigning that the Nazis used that brought them success; it was their message.

With Hitler as Chancellor, workers who had watched the Social Democrats fight long and hard and always unsuccessfully to persuade the Reichstag to recognize 1 May as an official holiday, looked or listened to the Leader’s May Day speech to a disciplined mass at Tempelhof in 1933. All day the radio played the songs of “miners, farmers, and soldiers.”

A “symphony of work” composed by Hans-Jurgen Nierentz and Herbert Windt, featured interviews with a dock worker from Hamburg, an agricultural laborer from East Prussia, a steel worker from the Saar, a miner from the Ruhr, and a vintner from the Mosel Valley. The crowd drank beer, ate sausages, and, in the evening, marveled at the fireworks.

Should one wonder why many former Communist and international Socialists who joined the Nazis, came to be called “underdone beef:” —brown on the outside, still red on the inside?

The Nazis distanced themselves from liberal state administrators, social conservatives, and traditional authoritarians. They were as dismissive of the Kaiserreich as they were of the Weimar Republic. ‘In short, the Nazis were ideological innovators.’

They met popular demands for political sovereignty and social recognition and insisted that these could only be achieved through national union, which would provide Germans with an embracing sense of collective identity and a strong role in international politics.

It was this far-reaching program of renovation that made the Nazis stand out and made them attractive to a plurality of voters.

If Hitler and his followers had simply recirculated the anti-Semitism of Anton Drexler’s German Workers’ Party or blustered on about the shameless Treaty of Versailles or devoted all their energies to combating the Social Democrats and other treasonous “November criminals,” the movement would have stalled completely.

This is exactly what happened to Wolfgang Kappa and the Freikorpsmen of 1919-1920 and also explains the demise of Alfred Hugenberg and the German Nationalists in 1924-1930. Instead, attacks on conservatives as well as Marxists, denunciations of local power arrangements as well as the national parliament, and an affirmative vision of a prosperous, technologically advanced nation gave the Nazis a sharp ideological edge.

At a time when so much civic strife is defined in terms of cultural affinities it is all the more important, if sometimes difficult, to recall the force of ideology.

Long-standing ethnic hatreds, religious fundamentalisms, and transnational “civilizations” dominate contemporary discussions about instability and unrest, which are frequently understood in terms of the friction between basically essential cultural qualities that have come into contact with one another.

However, the Nazi phenomenon was not a hyperventilated expression of German values, even as it pronounced the allegedly superior quality of the German people.

Nor was it the pathological result of economic hard times, instead National Socialism comprised a program of cultural and social regeneration premised on the superordination of the nation and the Volk and modeled very much on the public spirit and collective militancy of the nation at war.

Fritzsche concludes:

even as the Nazis upheld an integral, almost redemptive nationalism, they created new categories of outsiders, enemies, and victims. That system was neither accidental nor unanimous’ (p.235).

Some Jewish historians have noted almost marginally that National Socialist election material did not directly appeal to anti-Jewish sentiment (for example, Avraham Barkai’s From Boycott to Annihilation, Brandeis Univ. Press, 1987, 11, Saul Friedländer’s Nazi Germany and the Jews, Harper-Collins, 1997, 4), or Finkelstein and Birns’ A Nation On Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis, Henry Holt 1998).

So why is the Goldhagen account and conclusion so different from that of Fritzsche? The parsimonious explanation is the ‘Zoom syndrome.’ This is a tendency to magnify items supporting the prejudices of the observer. Goldhagen focuses on German critics of Jews or practices associated with them, and projects these as anti-Semitism leading to a program of Jewish extermination.

His premise is—unchecked criticism of Jews leads to a ‘Holocaust.’ With this ‘tunnel vision,’ he is deprived of depth and width of perspective. Leading Jewish academics are stressing the importance of incorporating the Jewish ‘experience of the Holocaust’ into the perspective of Jewish studies programs. This would help Jewish scholars to regain or maintain historical perspective.

In his review of A Nation On Trial in the New York Times Book Review, Max Frankel, a former executive editor of the paper, recorded his mother’s experience in wartime Berlin in 1940 as an enemy alien Polish Jew. A commissioner of police gave her the name and location of the Gestapo chief who would give the family an exit permit.

As she thanked him and turned to leave, the commissioner suddenly asked,

“Where did you say you want to go?”

“To America.”

“If you get there, will you tell them we’ re not all bad?”

To her last day, she did.

The facts cited by both Fritzsche and Goldhagen, and other previous writers, are explained as never before, using evolutionary and social identity theory, by Professor Kevin MacDonald’s analyses of anti-Semitism published in the Praeger Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence series, in 1998 “Separation and Its Discontents: Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism and The Culture of Critique, and in his previously published A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Strategy, 1994.

*Dr. John is a diplomatic historian, policy analyst, and a former professor of psychiatric education. He is the author of The Palestine Diary: British, American and United Nations Intervention 1914-1948, 3rd. ed. 2006, 2 volumes, with a foreword by Arnold Toynbee, and Behind the Balfour Declaration: The Hidden Origins of Today’s Mideast Crisis, 1988.

He has been a U.S. correspondent for the monthly Middle East International and adviser on international affairs to the Council on American Affairs. He was presented with the 1997 Freedom Award by the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Systems Analysis in Baden-Baden “for his outstanding work and contributions towards the fight for human rights, justice and liberty.”

15 Comments

Filed under Anti-Semitism, Conservatism, Culture, Economics, Eurasia, Europe, European, Europeans, Fascism, Germany, History, Jews, Labor, Left, Marxism, National Socialism, Nationalism, Nazism, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, Russia, Socialism, The Jewish Question, War, World War 1, World War 2

Countering Lies About Hezbollah

Repost from the old site.

Ever since the Lebanon War last summer between Hezbollah and Israel, much nonsense has been written about this organization, much of it from Zionists and US imperialists in the press. It is time for a rational overview.

Lie: Hezbollah is the puppet of Iran and Syria.

Not true! Is Israel the puppet of the US? Well, the US supports Israel, right? Despite the US support, Israel is not the puppet of the US. Israel does what it damned well wants. Well, yes, Hezbollah gets support from Syria and Iran, but they don’t take orders from them anymore than Israel takes orders from America.

In truth, Hezbollah does what it wants. Iran was probably informed before Hezbollah started this war, but that’s about it. And Hezbollah’s autonomy from Syria is well-documented. Syria uses Hezbollah to keep up the pressure on Israel, not because they want to kill all the Jews, like insane Zionists insist, but because they want the Golan Heights back.

Iran supports Hezbollah in order to support Shia power in the region, and because Hezbollah’s leadership supports the Iranian revolution and because Iran hates Israel.

Lie: The Lebanon War was started by Iran to take the heat off its nuclear program.

Not true! It looks like Hezbollah started the war on its own in order to try to win back some Lebanese that Israel has been holding captive for a long time.

But they had no idea that the war would go this way. They thought it would just be a few days of shelling back and forth and then they would get down to some hard bargaining. They were totally taken by surprise by Israel’s response.

Lie: Hezbollah “started the war”.

Well, yes, Hezbollah conducted a cross-border raid, killed and wounded some Israelis, then grabbed some captives and took them back to Lebanon.

But to place all of the responsibility for the resulting war in which Israel destroyed Lebanon is insane. Israel’s wild response was part of a war that they had been planning for over a year, in concert with the US, and the war was conducted by both the US and Israel.

In fact, Ehud Olmert has recently given testimony in Israel that he had been planning this war for months along with the neocons in the Bush Administration. The Israeli military already had advanced plans for this war that they had developed with Ariel Sharon.

The neocons were trying to use the war against Hezbollah as an excuse to attack Syria, but Israel would not take the bait. They wanted to go after Hezbollah’s main backer, Iran. Since Iran could not be hit itself, the second best option was to go after Syria. The apparent purpose was to weaken Iran’s allies Syria and Hezbollah prior to an attack on Iran itself.

This explains why both the US and Israel have been refusing to deal with Syria’s increasingly desperate efforts to negotiate a settlement on the Golan Heights (Syria is even willing to turn the Golan into a “peace park” and give Israelis free access to visit it.

Since this war, logically, Syria has been edgy, and has been building up its forces along the border with Israel. But in the crazy paranoid Israeli mindset, this is seen as Syria preparing for a (in my opinion, an obviously suicidal) war with Israel. Even the distinguished Martin Van Creveld, Israel’s top military historian, has bought into this nonsense.

What will stop the upcoming Syrian war? Let’s ask Van Creveld. Only a US attack on Iran. What will hasten it? A US withdrawal from Iraq and a US refusal to attack Iran. We can see the twisted Israeli thinking. If the US does what Israel wants, the nonexistent war can be prevented. If the US acts against Israel’s wishes in the region, the fake war can be prevented.

Lie: Hezbollah is an insane terrorist group that is dedicated to killing all the Jews.

Jews just love this one, since so many of them are afflicted with a paranoid-masochistic character that just eats this stuff up. It’s not true.

Hezbollah is not opposed to a Jewish state, they just don’t like that Jews stole Palestine, which they did. Lebanon is a Lebanese nationalist organization. They mobilized to fight Israel when Israel annexed South Lebanon. Ten years of guerrilla war won it back for Hezbollah and Lebanon and Hezbollah were the heroes of Lebanese nationalists.

Hezbollah is now fighting to get back the Shebaa Farms, Lebanese land that Israel occupies and refuses to give back to Lebanon on some very phony grounds. They have also made some noises about three or four Lebanese Shia villages that Israel conquered, ethnically cleansed and annexed in the 1948 War.

Many of the people in the South, where many Palestinians live in refugee camps, and people have lived through numerous conflicts with Israel, really hate Israel, and understandably so. So here for an overview of the people’s views of Israel.

Hezbollah has said that if the Palestinians accept Israel for a Palestinian state, Hezbollah will stand by that. Unfortunately, Hezbollah’s leaders have made some lamentable anti-Semitic remarks and it is disgusting that they call one of their missiles “Khaibar” in reference to the Khaibar tribe of Jews who had their men killed and their women enslaved by Mohammad.

Lie: Hezbollah are radical fundamentalist Muslims, like Al Qaeda.

Not so! At the beginning, Hezbollah laid down Islamic Law in south Lebanon but over time they found that it was not going over well, so since 1990 or so, they have lifted most of their restrictions.

At the time, Hezbollah banned alcohol and forced women to wear headcovers. Both of those bans have now been lifted by Nasrallah. However, Hezbollah still arrests homosexuals and turns them over the Lebanese police, since I believe that homosexuality is illegal in Lebanon. They may beat some of them too.

The Shia in particular seem to take a hard line against homosexuality, as the Iranian regime and the Iraq Shia have really persecuted gay men. The Iranians mostly beat them up, harass them and send them to jail for short stays. The Iraqi Shia have also been beating them, but apparently they have also killed quite a few gay men.

The Shia doing this include the Dawa and SCIRI parties that the US supports in Iraq. Hezbollah’s supporters include many liberated females, I saw a video on Youtube of Lebanese women without hijabs driving a car and smoking cigarettes, then doing a belly dance, all the while saying how they supported Hezbollah.

Hezbollah rallies have included quite a few beautiful young women without hijabs, and many have been dressed racily. Josh Landis tells of how during the Lebanese Civil War, when Hezbollah took over a district, they imposed Islamic Law, but it went over so poorly that they soon rescinded most of it.

Lie: Well, at least Iran is a radical fundamentalist state like Al Qaeda.

Nor is Iran. Women have many more rights in Iran than they do in the Gulf. The dress code is loosely adhered to and the religious police no longer bother mixed couples. Fredericks of Hollywood stores dot Tehran.

Middle class and upper middle class young people are engaging in lots of promiscuous sex and not much is being done to stop them. One of Iran’s top race car drivers is a woman. There are many women in Parliament and most or all professions are open to women. Compare to Saudi Arabia where only 5% or so of women are even employed.

Alcohol, marijuana and especially opium are widely consumed at parties and not much is done about that. Prostitution is widespread, especially in the religious city of Qom, where they serve the religious students. There, throngs of young women meet men and go before mullahs to get a temporary marriage in order to have sex.

The temporary marriage is merely a cover for prostitution. There is so much prostitution in Tehran that the religious leadership has suggested having official houses for them, all under the banner of temporary marriage. The religious leadership has also recognized transsexualism and one of the top mullahs is a transsexual.

Temporary marriage is widespread, and a famous Iranian female parliamentarian has had sexual relationships with many men, including top mullahs, under this rubric and has written about it. Also, Iran is much more democratic than most of the Sunni regimes, and this is one of the things that the Sunni regimes fear most about Iran.

Supporters of this theory can always come up with this or that atrocity to demonstrate how Iran is an Al Qaeda-like state, but the truth is more complicated than that.

Lie: Hezbollah has savagely persecuted the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army.

After Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, most people expected that there would be widespread paybacks for the South Lebanese Army (most of whom were Shia, not Maronites as it is commonly thought.

In fact, after Israel withdrew, Hezbollah issued a directive forbidding any attacks on the South Lebanon Army members, many of whom just went home. Quite a few others defected over to Israel.

That’s pretty amazing, considering that the French Resistance executed 10,000 “traitors” during World War 2. It’s also highly untypical behavior for a “terrorist” group.

Lie: Hezbollah is a terrorist group.

Well, for the most part it is a Lebanese resistance organization, and the vast majority of its attacks are against Israeli military targets.

It’s true that during the war, they fired rockets at Israeli cities and killed some civilians, but many of those attacks were actually aimed at strategic targets like arms factories and military bases that Israel cynically put right in the middle of Arab towns, so that if they enemy attacked, they would kill a lot of Arabs by accident.

On the other hand, Israel killed far more civilians in this war, and somehow avoided the “terrorist” label. Isn’t that kind of unfair?

Lie: Hezbollah and Iran are out to kill or convert all the Sunnis and then attack and kill or convert all the infidels in a world war, after which everyone will be a Shia Muslim.

I could not believe that people actually believed that one, but I heard a number of (mostly) Zionists and US imperialists repeating this bit of Sunni paranoia.

On the Sunni conversion, see here. On the rest of it, forget it. Shia is the nigger of the (Muslim) World. The relationship between Sunni and Shia is similar to that between Whites and Blacks during the Jim Crow South, with the Sunnis being the Whites and Shia being the Blacks.

The notion of Shia takeover is similar to fantasies of poor downtrodden Blacks taking over the South, or America. In Lebanon, the Shia say that the Sunnis used to only let them work as garbage collectors. Shia youngsters were routinely taunted and attacked by Sunni gangs in Beirut in the 1970’s.

Lie: Hezbollah gets Iranian money for schools and hospitals to brainwash Lebanese into supporting the terrorists.

No! The reason they do this is because to this day, the bigoted Lebanese government that the US supports provides almost zero money whatsoever for any kind of development whatsoever in South Lebanon.

This is the reality of Lebanon, and its always been this way. Someone has to do it, the government won’t, so Hezbollah steps in. Good for them!

Lie: Hezbollah is trying to take over Lebanon to make a fundamentalist Islamic state there.

Well, that is their stated intention. In the early days, they may have believed it.

In recent statements, Nasrallah has said that an Islamic state is only possible in Lebanon if the “vast majority”, meaning over 80% or so, or people support it. That is not likely any time in the near future, so the project is all but written off. Hezbollah is reckoning itself to Lebanese reality.

Lie: Lebanese Christians are poor, downtrodden and horribly persecuted by Muslims.

Nonsense. In fact, they have always run the country! This lie is spread by some of the Maronite fascists. In the late 1950’s, Marines landed in Lebanon to help preserve an election that the Christians stole.

The real cause of the Civil War was the Muslims wanting a fairer share of the pie that the Christians had unfairly dominated for far too long. The Christians are being forced to concede some of their excess power in Lebanon (though they still have most of the money and much of the political power) and this is why some of the Maronites are wailing so much about “persecution”.

Lie: The Lebanon War last year was between Israel and a group of terrorists called Hezbollah. Most other Lebanese were not involved or opposed Hezbollah.

As you can see here, Israel was fighting much more than Hezbollah in South Lebanon.

In the Battle of Aita Al Shaab, most of the village fought against Israel, under the leadership of Hezbollah, true, but most fighters were just “local militia” who were not actually Hezbollah fighters. Further, there was quite a bit of fighting from members of the Lebanese Communist Party. The Amal militia fought against Israel too.

Truth is, Israel was essentially fighting a war against the people of South Lebanon. It’s true that a certain amount of that resistance was Hezbollah, but much of it was just local militia fighting for their homes and towns.

In the town of Marjayoun, during the Civil War the headquarters of the pro-Israeli South Lebanon Army, Israel came under attack soon after they entered the town by members of Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). Most of the members of this party are Greek Orthodox.

In fact, it may be the most popular political party among Lebanese Greek Orthodox. In the Sunni villages, the local Muslim Brotherhood and another fundamentalist group organized an armed resistance.

Furthermore, 80-90% of Lebanese supported Hezbollah during the war, including 80% of Christians. The sickening US media deliberately lied about this, making much of the tiny minority of Lebanese who opposed Hezbollah, acting like they were the majority, and trying to portray the country as “divided”.

Lie: Hezbollah forces salute using “Nazi salutes”, so that means that Hezbollah idolizes and Nazis and wants to kill all the Jews just like Nazis did.

Much is made of this on Zionist and rightwing blogs and even in the mainstream press. See here and here for two examples. For more examples, see here, here and here.

In the last example, written by a militant Jewish Zionist named Lewis Loflin, although the photo on the right is of Hezbollah forces giving a “Nazi salute”, the photo on the right, which he states is of a Hamas fighter giving the Nazi salute, is actually of a PFLP fighter.

You can tell it is a PFLP fighter by the characteristic red headband and the poster and Ahmed Sa’adat, the present leader of the PFLP. Many people say that the PFLP is dead, but it is interesting how a dead organization could afford full uniforms, headbands, posters and automatic weapons.

This blog strongly supports the PFLP, and as leftists, I assure you that the mainstream PFLP does not like Nazis one bit.

The fact is that the “Nazi salutes used by Hezbollah fighters” is propaganda.

This is a type of salute which was originally known as the “Roman salute”. It has a fascinating history, and was widely used by many countries before World War II. Under the name “Bellamy salute” or “flag salute”, it used to be usual salute used when saying the US Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States. A photo of the Bellamy salute is here.

From Wikipedia:

Because of the similarity between the Bellamy salute and the Nazi salute, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute.

The association with Nazism has been so strong that the salute has rarely been used by non-Nazi organizations since the end of World War II. There are several exceptions; one is the Republic of China (Taiwan), where the salute is still used during the swearing of oaths in inaugurations.

The salute is also still used by some Palestinian militant groups. It is also known to be used by the Tamil separatist organization, the LTTE, while saluting their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Lie: Hezbollah does not support Israel’s right to exist and therefore they want to wipe it off and map and kill all 5.1 million Jews there in the process.

Embedded in this clever argument is the notion that any nation or regime has any kind of inherent right to exist.

Did colonies and empires and occupied territories have a right to exist too? The very notion that any nation-state on Earth has some kind of a rock-solid “right” to exist is strange and counter-intuitive.

Sure, humans have a right to get together and make nations out of mapped out geographical parcels, but why does that mean that that nation has some kind of a laid in tone specific right to exist?

The fact is that throughout history, nations, empires and colonies have come and gone. The ones that no longer exist had no greater or lesser right to exist than any existing state does.
*****

Meanwhile, the US has initiated a very controversial plan to counter Shia influence in the region. The plan is being coordinated with Saudi Arabia, specifically Prince Bandar, who has a longstanding relationship with US Administrations, and possibly the Jordanian government, especially Jordanian intelligence.

They are working to arm and build up the pro-US Siniora government and stoke sectarianism in Lebanon.

Part of this plan, outrageously, has involved money given by the US, via the Siniora regime, to three Sunni Salafist groups who are pro-Al Qaeda. These groups are being armed in order to fight Hezbollah (since they loathe Shiites). If push comes to shove between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, these groups will be used to battle it out with Hezbollah.

Outrageously, the US is once again funding Al Qaeda, which shows that imperialism truly has no morals at all. See The Seymour Hersch’s The Redirection in the latest New Yorker magazine (video here).

The Saudis are racists who hate the Shia and want to keep them down. In fact, most of the Sunni Arab regimes are like this. They all look to the Ottoman Empire when the Sunnis ruled the roost and the Shia were kept down by force. This is the Sunni Jim Crow era that they long for.

It is outrageous that the US is supporting Sunni Jim Crow racism against the downtrodden Shia and it is particularly despicable that the Israeli Jews, considering the history of the Jews, are supporting the oppressor against the oppressed. Or maybe that is what Israel is all about?

35 Comments

Filed under Arab Racism, Asia, Christianity, Conservatism, Fascism, Imperialism, Iran, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, National Socialism, Nazism, Neoconservatism, Political Science, Politics, Racism, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Reposts From The Old Site, Saudi Arabia, Sex, Shiism, South Asia, Sunnism, Syria, Terrorism, US Politics, War, Women, Zionism

From Jew to Jew: Why We Should Oppose the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza

Repost from the old site.

Here is a document I received from a progressive Jewish colleague who is associated with the group that published this document, A Jewish Voice For Peace. The group is located in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.

In this struggle, we need all the allies we can get. A real 2-state solution, described below, would, for all its deficiencies, be light years better than the hardline Zionist horrorshow that has America in a death grip. The single-state solution preferred by so many anti-Zionists lacks international support at this time and thus is little more than a pipe dream, whatever moral weight it may throw.

While Hamas was surely the democratic choice of the people, so was Hitler. So was George Bush. So was Ariel Sharon. So what? Many Hamas members are racist anti-Semitic bigots who have no interest in sharing Palestine with Jews.

They have helped spread backwards Islamic fundamentalism in Palestine, which has encouraged abuse and terrorization of secular Muslims and especially of Palestinian Christians. The emigration of Palestinian Christians is to a large degree due to the increasing fundamentalism in Palestine. But see here for some recent commendable positive moves by Hamas towards Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem.

This blog condemns fundamentalism in all forms and all religions everywhere on Earth, from Afghanistan to India to America to Palestine. While Hamas is not Al Qaeda at all, there is much to criticize there.

Furthermore, the activists described above would attack the essay below for “being directed only at Jews” and for being “Jewish-centric”. Yet politics is the art of the possible, and with the region in flames and the conflagration threatening to spread to new lands, the sane people need all the friends we can get at this point.

Those who know quite about the Middle East conflict will find this essay, which is somewhat dated, to be old hat and may wish to skip it.

Those who know little about the Middle East (only 15% of Americans realize that Bethlehem is a mixed Muslim-Christian city in the Occupied West Bank of Palestine) will find it an excellent primer to the conflict, with good, moderate, sensible advice that may be palatable to many politically moderate Americans.

Along similar lines as this article, see Christopher Hedges, Get Carter, in the January 7, 2007 issue of The Nation. Although the 2-state solution may seem like a shameless sellout to the fringe anti-Zionists described above, in the US right now, sentiments like we see both this and Hedges article are regarded by the Israeli Lobby as ultraradical and are attacked with animal-like ferocity.

Note: This publication is seriously dated, dating back possibly to 2002. Nevertheless, it is still quite relevant.

From Jew to Jew:

Why We Should Oppose the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza

Written by Jews for Fellow Jews

A Jewish Voice For Peace Publication

Download the PDF file here

Introduction

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, A Jewish Voice For Peace is the oldest and largest of a growing number of Jewish groups that are convinced that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory must end. There are two compelling reasons for this.

First, we wish to preserve the best part of our Jewish heritage -a deeply-ingrained sense of morality – and pass it on to the next generation, unsullied by the mistreatment of another people. We were brought up to believe that, as Jews, we are obligated to always take the moral high road and we can’t imagine letting this proud ethical tradition die now.

Second, as we will show in this paper, we are convinced that the only way to ensure the security of the people of Israel is for their government to conclude a just peace with the Palestinians. Without some reasonable version of justice being done, there will never be peace, and so we oppose any Israeli government policy that denies the Palestinians their legitimate rights. What those are will be examined shortly.

Is this position “anti-Jewish”? No, it is not (any more than criticizing U.S. government policies is anti-American.) Even as we love all of humanity, we have a special love for the Jewish people and for the warm and compassionate side of Jewish culture. We share with all Jews the trauma of the genocide of our people by the Nazis and our long history of periodic persecution.

We understand the instinct to “circle the wagons” when our people face danger, and we long for the day when Jews in Israel, as everywhere, will be able to lead normal, secure, productive lives. The question is how will that happy day come about? By blindly supporting the Israeli government’s self-destructive path to war and more war? We don’t think so.

We feel that these crucial issues need more discussion within the American Jewish community, not less. They certainly are debated at length in Israel itself, as evidenced by a recent Ma’ariv poll showing that 52% of Israelis support the 2002 Saudi peace plan calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories in exchange for peace with the Arab world—in total opposition to the Israeli government’s policy.

It’s time for us to join the debate as well, and help formulate a more reasonable solution to the conflict.

Unfortunately, the ongoing violence in Palestine and Israel has led too many people, on both sides, to adopt blanket stereotypes of one another, turning them into something “less-than-human”. This process of dehumanization then allows people to justify the violence committed by their own side, starting the cycle all over again. This is a classic “lose-lose” situation that can continue on forever.

Is there a way out of this mess? Yes, we think so, but only if we suspend our understandable reaction of automatically blaming the other side. Only then can we objectively assess the root causes of the conflict and the realistic choices there are for resolving it. So, in the interest of peace, and with an open heart and mind, please consider the following facts.

1. THE OCCUPATION

The international community, through the United Nations and other forums, has made it clear that virtually the entire world considers the Israeli occupation of territories it captured in the 1967 war to be wrong and contrary to basic principles of international law.

Every year since 1967 (up until the Oslo Process started), the UN General Assembly passed the same resolution (usually by lopsided votes like 150-2), stating that Israel is obligated to vacate the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, in exchange for security guaranteed by the international community, in accordance with UN Resolution 242.

While the circumstances were much different, the legal basis of these resolutions is the same principle used to force Iraq out of Kuwait—i.e., a country cannot annex or indefinitely occupy territory gained by force of arms.

The only reason that Israel is able to maintain its occupation of Palestinian land is that the US routinely vetoes every Security Council resolution that would insist that Israel live up to its obligations under international law.

One of the original goals of Zionism was to create a Jewish state that would be just another normal country. If that is what Israel wants (and that is a reasonable goal), then it must be held to the same standards as any other country, including the prohibition against annexing territory captured by force of arms.

2. THE SETTLEMENTS

Similarly, all Jewish settlements, every single one, in territories outside Israel’s 1967 boundaries, are a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions, which Israel has signed and is obligated to abide by, as well as UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465.

As John Quigley, a professor of international law at Ohio State has written,

The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to change the existing order as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the people it finds there. It may not bring its own people to populate the country.

This prohibition is found in the Convention’s Article 49, which states:

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies

Here’s what former President Jimmy Carter wrote in the Washington Post at the beginning of the current intifada:

An underlying reason that years of US diplomacy have failed and violence in the Middle East persists is that some Israeli leaders continue to create facts by building settlements in occupied territory…it is unlikely that real progress can be made…as long as Israel insists on its settlement policy, illegal under international laws that are supported by the United States and all other nations.

In fact, on December 5, 2001, Switzerland convened a conference of 114 nations that have signed the Fourth Geneva Convention (a conference boycotted by the US and Israel).

The assembled nations decided unanimously that the Convention did indeed apply to the occupied territories, that Israel was in gross violation of their obligations under that Convention, that Jewish-only settlements in those territories were illegal under the rules of the Convention, and that it was the responsibility of the other contracting parties to stop these violations of international law.

To be in such flagrant violation of the norms of international behavior is bad for Israel’s standing in the world, bad for the Jewish people as a whole and, as we shall see, totally unnecessary.

3. ISRAEL’S SECURITY

It is sometimes argued that the settlements are necessary for Israel’s security, to protect Israel from terrorism and the threat of violence. But the reality is that the settlements are a major cause of Israel’s current security problems, not the cure for them.

New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis pointed out the aggressive nature of the settlements as follows:

It is false to see the settlements as ordinary villages or towns where Israelis only want to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. They are in fact imposed by force—superior Israeli military force—on Palestinian territory.

Many have been built precisely to assert Israeli power and ownership. They are not peaceful villages but militarized encampments. . .The settlement policy is not just a political but a moral danger to the character of the state.

“But wouldn’t the Palestinians use their own state as a base for even more attacks against Israel?”, it might be asked. For one, the Palestinians have long agreed that their future state would be non-militarized, no foreign forces hostile to Israel would be allowed in, and international monitors could be stationed on Palestinian land in order to verify these conditions.

As for individual acts of terrorism, there is an historical precedent that gives a realistic answer to this question. During the first years after the Oslo agreements were signed, Hamas tried to disrupt the peace process but, because of the prevailing optimism, their influence in Palestinian society diminished and their armed attacks fell off sharply.

What that means for the future is that if the Palestinian people feel that even a rough version of justice has been done, they will not support the more extreme elements in their political spectrum. This is not just guesswork; it already happened with just the hope of justice being done.

Another aspect of this is that if Israel had internationally recognized borders, then they could be defended much more easily than the current situation where every hill in Palestine is a potential bone of contention because of Jewish settlements encroaching on Palestinian land.

If the settlements and their settlers and the military apparatus they require were gone, and the Palestinians were given enough aid by the international community to create a viable economy in their own state, they would naturally be overjoyed and a positive turn of events would be the inevitable result.

4. “BUT DON’T THEY JUST WANT TO DRIVE THE JEWS INTO THE SEA?”

Officially since 1988, and unofficially for years before that, the Palestinian position has been that they recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security within their 1967 borders. Period. At the same time, they expect to be allowed to establish a truly independent, viable, contiguous, non-militarized state in all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

This is what UN Resolution 242 says: “Land for Peace” – and the Palestinian Authority has stated repeatedly that UN Resolution 242 has to be the basis for any long-lasting solution to the conflict.

It is true that some Palestinians advocate that all of historic Palestine should be under Arab control, but there is no support for this position, either in the international community, nor among most Palestinians. Statements to that effect are just hyperbole and do not represent the official Palestinian position.

Similarly, statements by some Palestinians inciting people to violence against Israelis can easily be matched by statements from Orthodox rabbis and fundamentalist settlers calling for death to the Arabs. There are meshuganahs aplenty on both sides.

But since the Palestinians’ official position is clear, why shouldn’t Israel take the Palestinians up on this offer and withdraw from the occupied territories?

Israel is far stronger militarily than all the Arab armies combined and would face no credible military threat from a Palestinian state. And the threat of individual terrorist acts would, of necessity, be much less once the Palestinians felt that they had received a modicum of justice.

What would Israel lose by this obvious solution of just ending the occupation, which they could do tomorrow if they wanted to (or if the US insisted that they do)? The only thing it would “lose” is the dream of some of its citizens for a “Greater Israel”, where Israel’s boundaries are expanded to its biblical borders.

The problem with that dream is that it totally ignores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the will of virtually the entire international community. As long as the right-wing settlers and their supporters in the Israeli government insist on pursuing this dream, there will be nothing but bloodshed forever.

The Palestinian people have lived in Palestine for thousands of years and they are not going away. Israel must conclude a just peace with them or innocent blood will continue to be shed indefinitely.

5. NEGOTIATIONS LEADING UP TO THE CURRENT INTIFADA

It has often been asked, “But didn’t Barak offer 95% of the Occupied Territories to Arafat at Camp David and doesn’t his rejection of that offer mean that they don’t want peace?” There are several crucial things to understand here. First, prisoners may occupy 95% of a prison’s space, but it is the other 5% that determines who is in control.

Similarly, the offer Barak made at Camp David II would have left the main settlement blocks and their Jewish-only bypass roads in place.

Along with the extensive areas Israel planned on retaining indefinitely for its military use, this would have dissected Palestinian territory into separate bantustans (“native reservations”), isolated from each other, each surrounded by Israeli-controlled territory and having no common borders with each other or other Arab nations.

The territories would have had no control over their own air space; their main water aquifers (underneath the settlement blocs) would have been taken by Israel; and the Israeli military would have able to surround and blockade each enclave at will.

See this map courtesy of the Foundation for Middle East Peace for a bird’s eye view of the problems of Barak’s plan.

Jerusalem would have been similarly dissected so that each Palestinian island would be surrounded by an Israeli sea. This wouldn’t be an acceptable “end of the conflict” if you were Palestinian, would it? (Israel actually presented no maps at Camp David itself, but this was their offer of two months previous, and only marginal additional territory was theoretically offered at Camp David.)

The other important question here is 95% of what? “Greater Jerusalem” was unilaterally annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, so it was not included as West Bank territory in Barak’s offer, even though it takes up a large chunk of the West Bank, most of it having no municipal connection with the actual city of Jerusalem.

The international community has never recognized Israeli sovereignty over “Greater Jerusalem” and has repeatedly declared that Israel should withdraw from this and all territories it conquered by force of arms in 1967. Barak’s offer also excluded large swaths of the Jordan Valley which the Israeli military would control indefinitely.

Thus the Foundation for Middle East Peace estimates that the actual percentage of occupied land offered to the Palestinians was more like 80%, not 95%.

After the Camp David talks ended without an agreement, did Arafat refuse to negotiate? In a word, no. At the end of Camp David, it was Barak who said that his offers there would not be the basis for further discussions, that they were now “null and void”, and that Camp David was an “all or nothing” summit.

The Palestinians were willing to continue serious negotiations, and did at Taba, even after the current intifada had started.

According to Ron Pundak, an Israeli diplomat who was a key architect of the Oslo Accords:

The negotiations in Taba, which took place moments before Barak’s government lost the elections, proved that a permanent status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians was within reach. (It) led to dramatic progress on all issues on the agenda.

But meanwhile, Sharon had gone to the Temple Mount with 1000 Israeli soldiers in tow, followed the next day by a demonstration of Palestinians (who had no firearms), which was met with totally unnecessary lethal force by the Israeli police, resulting in at least four Palestinians being shot and killed.

This demonstration, which could have been contained by nonlethal means if the Israeli government had wanted to, was the beginning of the current cycle of violence.

6. LOOKING AT CAUSE AND EFFECT

“What about Palestinian crimes? Why don’t you lay equal blame on them?” Certainly, Palestinians have committed grave crimes, and in any process of reconciliation, both sides will have much to answer for. But as Jews, we are responsible to look at Israel objectively, and not just when Israelis are victims of violence.

In order to understand why there is the level of violence we see today, it is necessary to understand how we got to this point.

a) Before the 1967 war. Before the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there was little organized Palestinian resistance. The majority of the tension was between Israel and the neighboring states. For the most part, violence between Israel and the Palestinians was limited to isolated Palestinian “infiltrations”, as Israel generally referred to them.

The Israeli population may certainly have believed that they were in mortal danger from the armies of their Arab neighbors. But by the mid-1960s, Israeli leaders had a good deal of confidence that they could defeat a combination of Arab forces similar to what they accomplished in 1948, and with greater ease.

History, of course, proved them correct, which calls into question the myth that Israel was fighting a self-defensive war for its very existence in 1967.

b) The 1967 war itself. The myth that the 1967 war was a purely defensive one is further weakened by statements of Israeli leaders themselves.

For example, the New York Times published an article on May 11, 1997 quoting Moshe Dayan’s own diaries, in which he admits that the kibbutz residents who pressed the Government to take the Golan Heights in 1967 did so less for security than for the farmland. Dayan wrote:

They didn’t even try to hide their greed for that land…The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us.

Or again from Prof. John Quigley’s landmark book, Palestine And Israel:

Mordecai Bentov, a cabinet minister who attended the June 4 (1967) cabinet meeting and supported the decision to invade Egypt, said Israel’s ‘entire story’ about ‘the danger of extermination’ was ‘invented of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories’.

Even Menachem Begin said:

The Egyptian army concentrations in 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.

In short, the argument of self-defense does not stand up to a close examination of the historical record.

c) Peace Proposals after the 1967 war. In 1969, Nixon’s Secretary of State, William Rogers, proposed a peace plan based on UN Resolution 242, which would have guaranteed Israel’s security within her pre-1967 borders. Israel rejected it out-of-hand. In 1971, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat offered Israel a similar proposal (which did not mention Palestinian rights at all). This was also rejected by Israel.

In 1976, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the PLO supported a resolution in the UN Security Council affirming Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, as in UN Resolution 242, but with a Palestinian state created alongside Israel. Israel opposed it and the US vetoed it.

Arafat personally reaffirmed his support of a two-state solution in statements made to Senator Adlai Stevenson in 1976, and Rep. Paul Findley and New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis in 1978. The Saudis made similar proposals in 1979 and 1981, which were reiterated in their 2002 peace proposal, adopted by the entire Arab League.

Yet Israel rejected all these peace proposals, and more, even though Israel’s security was guaranteed in each one of them. Why? The historical record is clear that Israel’s desire for additional land has been the single most important factor behind its expansionist policies.

As David Ben-Gurion said in 1938:

I favor partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.

In sum, the 1967 war was not a purely defensive war on Israel’s part, as Begin told us.

The Israeli army met very little Palestinian resistance during the early years of the occupation. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, most Palestinian violence came from groups outside of the Occupied Territories. It is the Israeli desire to retain control over the West Bank, its expanding settlements and land appropriations that have sown the seeds of the situation we have today.

d) The Israeli occupation as the root cause of the violence. The main hallmark of the Israeli occupation has been the forcible expropriation of over half of the West Bank and Gaza for Jewish-only settlements, Jewish-only by-pass roads and Israeli closed military areas.

These expropriations are possible only because of overwhelming Israeli military might and are, in and of themselves, acts of violence—just as armed robbery is an act of violence, even if no one is hurt. Can we really expect that no violent reaction to it would have occurred?

Israel’s former Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair stated point-blank in Ha’aretz (3/3/02):

We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. . . In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.

e) How did the current level of violence come about? Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians are well documented in our own media. And, while major Israeli incursions have gotten a good deal of attention, day-to-day excesses of the Israeli military have not been so widely reported. To get an accurate picture of the chain of events, let’s look at the reports issued by human rights groups near the beginning of the current intifada.

Human Rights Watch, for example, stated:

Israeli security forces have committed by far the most serious and systematic violations. We documented excessive and indiscriminate use of lethal force, arbitrary killings, and collective punishment, including willful destruction of property and severe restrictions on movement that far exceed any possible military necessity.

B’Tselem is Israel’s leading human rights group and their detailed analyses of the current intifada can be found at their website.

They concluded early on:

In spite of claims to the contrary, Israel has not adopted a policy of restraint in its response to events in the Occupied Territories…Israel uses excessive and disproportionate force in dispersing demonstrations of unarmed Palestinians…Collective punishment, in the form of Israel’s severe restrictions on Palestinians’ movement in the Occupied Territories, makes life unbearable for hundreds of thousands with no justification.

Collective punishment is illegal under international law.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights reported the following:

There is considerable evidence of indiscriminate firing at civilians in the proximity of demonstrations and elsewhere (by Israeli troops)…The live ammunition employed includes high-velocity bullets which splinter on impact and cause the maximum harm.

Equally disturbing is the evidence that many of the deaths and injuries inflicted were the result of head wounds and wounds to the upper body, which suggests an intention to cause serious bodily injury rather than restrain demonstrations…The measures of closure, curfew or destruction of property constitute violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and human rights obligations binding upon Israel.

Amnesty International has also made numerous statements on the current intifada, including the following:

Amnesty International reiterated its long-standing calls to Israel to end its policy of liquidations and other arbitrary killings and urged the international community to send international observers…In these state assassinations the Israeli authorities offer no proof of guilt, no right to defense. Extrajudicial executions are absolutely prohibited by international law.

This attitude of the disposability of Palestinian life has now filtered down to the ordinary soldier. An IDF reservist interviewed on prime-time First Channel Israeli TV (12/14/01) stated:

Nowadays, there is much less of a dilemma. We more or less got a clearance from both the military and the political echelons. Nowadays, we shoot them in the head and no questions asked.

Is this what we want our Jewish legacy to be?

The overwhelming consensus of these reports means that Israeli demands for the Palestinians to “stop the violence” turn reality on its head. The Palestinians have suffered almost four times the fatalities that Israel has in the current fighting, as well as tens of thousands of serious injuries.

Furthermore, answering stone throwing with M-16 military weapons designed for battlefield use, or responding to ineffective Molotov cocktails with very effective armored tanks and attack helicopters is simply not morally justifiable.

It is also important to keep in mind that many of Israel’s current actions have been going on, in various degrees, for the last 35 years – systematic torture of Palestinians in Israeli jails, the forcible and illegal appropriation of over half the West Bank and Gaza by Israel for Jewish-only uses, daily humiliations and abuse at Israeli military checkpoints all over Palestinian land—these have combined to bring Palestinian anger to a boiling point.

In sum, we have seen that Israeli actions have served to seriously escalate the violence, and that Israel’s stubborn refusal to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, even to the extent of just stopping its settlement activity, has been a major obstacle to any progress towards peace.

To be sure, Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians have also been major obstacles towards such progress. Occupation and repression can never justify terrorism against civilians, but neither do terrorist acts by a few negate the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

The best way to address these crimes is to end the occupation which inspires the Palestinians to commit them. Recent history has demonstrated clearly that support for such crimes, and the number of Palestinians willing to commit them, drops precipitously when the Palestinians have had hope for independence, and risen sharply in response to the intensifying occupation and expansion of settlements.

We must also bear in mind that we are not morally responsible for Palestinian crimes, although we must work to prevent them. But we are morally responsible for Israeli actions taken in our name and with our tax dollars.

7. THE JEWISH PEACE MOVEMENT

One’s opinion on the Israel/Palestine conflict need not be a black or white question; you can support the Israeli people but still criticize their government’s illegal and ultimately self-destructive policies.

We believe that the Jewish peace movement, both in Israel and around the world, has a far better plan to ensure Israel’s security. That plan is to create real peace as a consequence of real justice being done, not a “peace” of victor and vanquished. We recommend that you go to Gush Shalom, Btselem, and Batshalom and read for yourself what thinking Israelis demand of their own government.

Thousands of Israelis, including hundreds of Israel’s top university professors, are convinced their government is committing unpardonable acts and have taken public stands against them.

For example, over 400 reserve combat officers and soldiers in the IDF have publicly stated their moral opposition to Sharon’s increasingly brutal use of force during the current intifada. These “refuseniks” have the sympathy of a growing portion of the Israeli public, now up to 26% of those surveyed in a February 2002 poll. Their statement reads, in part:

We, who sensed how the commands issued to us in the Territories destroy all the values we had absorbed while growing up in this country… hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight in this War of the Settlements.

We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel’s defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose—and we shall take no part in them.

Even Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Shin Bet (Israel’s equivalent to the FBI), recently stated in Le Monde:

I favor unconditional withdrawal from the Territories, preferably in the context of an agreement, but not necessarily. What needs to be done, urgently, is to withdraw from the Territories, a true withdrawal which gives the Palestinians territorial continuity.

So if disagreement with the Israeli government is kosher in Israel, shouldn’t it also be a topic of discussion among American Jews? For just one example, a recent survey of American Jewish attitudes showed that 35% of us think that sharing Jerusalem would be an acceptable outcome of peace talks, in total contradiction to the views expressed by the major American Jewish organizations that claim to speak in our name.

Our community does not, and should not, have just one opinion on these questions. What is needed is more discussion, not less, on these crucial matters.

The intifada is not primarily the result of the religious fanaticism, the blind anti-Semitism or the “inherent violent tendencies” of the Arabs. Rather, in our view, it is the inevitable result of the most basic human emotions – their need to be free and to live with dignity in the land of their ancestors.

A Palestinian child who is awakened at dawn by Israeli soldiers demolishing his home and uprooting the family’s olive grove does not need anyone to tell him to hate.

The Israeli Occupation has seriously eroded the Jewish people’s proud moral heritage, developed over the centuries; and, in any case, we are convinced it will never work, even in the most pragmatic terms.

The Palestinians will always resist being under military occupation, and have the right, under international law, to do so. As a result, there will never be real security for Israel until there is a reasonable version of justice for the Palestinians. How could it be otherwise?

8. ISRAEL’S SECURITY – Continued

“But doesn’t Israel have to do something to stop the suicide bombers?” A reasonable question, and here is a most reasonable answer from Gush Shalom’s founder, Uri Avnery:

When tanks run amok in the center of a town, crushing cars and destroying walls, tearing up roads, shooting indiscriminately in all directions, causing panic to a whole population —it induces helpless rage.

When soldiers crush through a wall into the living room of a family, causing shock to children and adults, ransacking their belongings, destroying the fruits of a life of hard work, and then break the wall to the next apartment to wreck havoc there—it induces helpless rage.

When officers order to shoot at ambulances, killing doctors and paramedics engaged in saving the lives of the wounded, bleeding to death—it induces helpless rage. And then it appears that the rage is not helpless after all. The suicide bombers go forward to avenge…

Anyone who believes that Arafat can push a button and stop this is living in a dream world…At best, the pressure cooker can cool off slowly, if the majority of the people are persuaded that their honor has been restored and their liberation guaranteed. Then public support for the ‘terrorists’ will diminish, they will be isolated and wither away. That was what happened in the past.

9. SOURCES OF INFORMATION

A major cause of misunderstanding between the Jewish peace movement and other American Jews is that we rely on different sources of information. If what you know about Israel and Palestine comes from the US corporate press, TV news and/or the mainstream US Jewish press, then your perception of events will be determined by their worldview.

As Jewish media critic Norman Solomon wrote in 2001:

Searching the Nexis database of U.S. media coverage during the first 100 days of this year, I found several dozen stories using the phrase ‘Israeli retaliation’ or ‘Israel retaliated.’

During the same period, how many stories used the phrase ‘Palestinian retaliation’ or ‘Palestinians retaliated’? One. Both sides of the conflict, of course, describe their violence as retaliatory. But only one side routinely benefits from having its violent moves depicted that way by major American media.

If, however, you supplement your information by reading the Israeli press, progressive magazines like Tikkun or The Nation, internet sites like Common Dreams and radio stations of the Pacifica network, then a very different picture of what is going on emerges.

In particular, we suggest that you sign up for our free email news service, the Jewish Peace News , which gives you the latest news and most cogent analyses of Middle East events, much of it from the Israeli press. You can subscribe by sending an e-mail to: jewishpeacenews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

10. SHARON’S CURRENT POLICIES

Ariel Sharon has always opposed real negotiations with the Palestinians, preferring instead to try to defeat them militarily. He has vehemently opposed all Palestinian/Israel agreements and has repeatedly stated that he has no intention of returning a single settlement to Palestinian rule.

Even the editors of the Washington Post (2/22/02) wrote:

During lulls in the conflict, Mr. Sharon frequently has been the first to renew the fight; during three weeks in December (2001) and early January (2002) when the Palestinians responded to a call from Mr. Arafat and stopped almost all attacks, Israeli forces killed a dozen Palestinians.

The obvious conclusion to draw is that Sharon does not want peace or real negotiations, just a vanquishing of his sworn enemies.

Indeed, if Sharon really wanted Arafat to arrest Palestinian militants, then why has he systematically destroyed the Palestinian Authority’s ability to do so? According to the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom:

The Palestinian police and security services have hardly any premises or prisons left in which to put terrorists, even if the decision was taken to arrest them; the bombardments were all too thorough.

Most crucially, in the spring of 2002, Israel commenced its most severe armed attacks yet in the West Bank, involving the following “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions— some of them rising to the level of war crimes, according to Human Rights Watch and other monitoring groups.

  • Israeli snipers on the tops of buildings, shooting anything that moves.
  • Ambulances shot at, medical personnel unable to evacuate the wounded, who have then died needlessly from their wounds.
  • Civilian neighborhoods bombed by U.S.-supplied helicopter gunships, F-16 fighter jets and Israeli tanks, causing widespread devastation and, inevitably, many civilian casualties.
  • Palestinian homes crushed by military bulldozers—sometimes, as in Jenin, with the occupants still inside.
  • Wanton destruction of the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society—water pipes and pumping stations, electrical power poles and plants, medical facilities, schools, hospitals, mosques and churches, public buildings, etc., in addition to massive looting and gratuitous vandalization of homes, businesses and governmental offices.
  • The use of “human shields” for Israeli military actions.
  • Journalists shot at who try to document the above gross violations of international law.

And Israel is now constructing a “buffer zone” that will de facto annex about 15% of the West Bank to Israel and break it up into eight separate bantustans, each surrounded by concrete barricades, hi-tech barbed-wire and electric fences, canals, guard towers, etc.

In other words, eight big open-air prisons, which Palestinians cannot get out of, except at the whim of the Israeli authorities. Again, this kind of collective punishment is specifically outlawed by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

A joint statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists (4/07/02) stated:

We strongly deplore actions by the state of Israel that harm persons protected by international humanitarian law. . . Such actions violate international standards and transcend any justification of military necessity.

Even in practical terms, these Israeli actions are counterproductive. As Gush Shalom writes:

The retaliatory and punitive raids by the army do manage to intercept some potential suicide bombers—but the very same raids and incursions, by demonstrating the brutality of the Occupation, also increase on the Palestinian side, the motivation for retribution, and help the recruitment of new suicide bombers.

Only an end to the Occupation by political means, allowing a fair expression of the basic Palestinian aspirations, can dry up the suicide bombing phenomenon at its source, and provide new hope to the desperate young Palestinians from whose ranks the bombers are recruited.

The recent upsurge in anti-Semitism worldwide is clearly connected with escalated Israeli aggression. As Israel has succeeded in convincing many people that it represents World Jewry, many supporters of Palestinians have directed their anger at Israeli actions against Jewish institutions in their own countries.

Right-wing white supremacist forces have also seized this opportunity to give their anti-Semitic venom legitimacy. Thus all Jews have a stake in seeing the sorts of human rights violations we have just described stopped.

CONCLUSION

Any country has the right and the responsibility to protect its citizens, and Israel is no exception. But its policies for the last 35 years, and especially during the current intifada, have been based on the old adage, “The best defense is a good offense”.

While that’s OK in football, in Israel that has translated into systematic torture or ill-treatment of literally hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, according to B’Tselem and other reputable groups. It means wanton cruelty being inflicted every day at military checkpoints, wanton destruction of Palestinian homes, and illegal strangling of Palestinian economic life, leading to extreme deprivation.

And there is no other phrase than “war crimes” to accurately describe many of the actions of the IDF during the attacks against the Palestinian civilian population in the spring of 2002. In short, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is simply wrong—brutal, illegal and unnecessary.

We do agree that both sides have done poorly in advancing the cause of peace. As Jews, however, it is incumbent upon us to put our own house in order, above all else. As Americans, our responsibility is doubled.

Our government has, through unprecedented financial and political support, allowed Israel to maintain its occupation and commit human rights violations with complete impunity. Thus, we are both responsible for the escalation and in a unique position to do something about it.

In the long-run, the only hope for a normal, peaceful life for the people of Israel is for their government to end their occupation of Palestinian land, allow the creation of a viable Palestinian state, and live and let live. The only other alternative is the current situation of endless bloodshed, which our silence, among other things, makes possible.

HOW TO DO YOUR PART FOR PEACE

If you have found this paper enlightening, please join A Jewish Voice For Peace and help us in our work. We have been organizing and educating people about the real causes of the unrest in Israel and Palestine since 1996.

Among our many useful projects, we make available to people, free of charge, an e-news service that delivers daily to its readers the best articles on the current conflict, largely from the Israeli press. To sign up for the Jewish Peace News, simply send an e-mail to jewishpeacenewssubscribe@yahoogroups.com.

A Jewish Voice For Peace has made great strides in the past year. In order for us to continue to grow and expand our services and our reach, we need your help. Your donations will make it possible for us to hire new staff members, increase our educational services and vastly expand our media reach. All contributions are tax-deductible.

To get in touch with us, write us at P.O. Box 13286, Berkeley, CA.

7 Comments

Filed under Africa, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Arabs, Christianity, Egypt, Europeans, Islam, Israel, Israel-Palestine Conflict, Jews, Law, Left, Middle East, North Africa, Palestine, Palestinians, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Reposts From The Old Site, Terrorism, US Politics, War, Zionism

Leonard Cohen, “First We Take Manhattan”

Here.

Incredibly great music by one of the most underrated musicians of the rock era. Hardly anyone has ever heard of him here in the US, and he’s never had a big hit, but he’s a glorious poet and a singer-songwriter. I always thought he was American, but it turns out he’s Canadian, and he’s quite famous in Canada, though certainly not in the US.

Sort of an aging beatnik type. Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen – two great Jewish singer-songwriters of the rock era. But Cohen is much darker than Dylan. Not that Dylan can’t be dark. “Desolation Row” is virtually punk rock already in 1965!

Dig the Black chicks in the background, LOL. Check him out live. Old guy in fedora, he could be William S. Burroughs. He belongs in a Paris hotel full of Beat painters are writers. In the afternoons, after he wakes at noon, he’s lounging in Paris cafes on the sidewalk. In the evening, there’s always a bar in Paris if you have two legs and an extra five minutes.

11 Comments

Filed under Music, Rock

Natural Born Killers

Here.

With “Future” by Leonard Cohen as the soundtrack. It was very hard to watch this sequence, but I do love Leonard Cohen! I had to admit that this was some great artistic work that Oliver Stone did in this movie, like he does in nearly all of his fantastic movies. There is beauty here amidst all the horror. Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino.

What was the point of this movie anyway? Was he trying to make some sort of a point? Apparently Stone was making some sort of a statement about the media glorifying violence for marketing purposes.

After this movie came out, a disturbing number of copycat crimes were committed by various maniacs. Some of these were famous incidents like the Columbine Massacre and the Heath School Shootings. 30 people were killed and 27 wounded in these incidents in total. A number of lawsuits were brought against Stone for provoking the crimes with his movie but all were tossed on free speech grounds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cinema, Crime, Law, Music

Debate Forum for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker

Here.

Absolutely fascinating. I have been there for days now, and I have already read 100’s of pages. Sometime maybe I will work up an article based on what I have read.

This guy was like the ultimate master criminal or criminal genius.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Serial Killers

India Is Hell: A Dust Over India

Here.

Excellent article by a good writer who is peripherally part of the manosphere. This guy has traveled all over the world, and he says India is by far the worst place on Earth he has ever been to.

I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, it’s filthy. It’s the filthiest country he’s ever been to. Worse, no one seems to care about the filth – no one gives a damn.

It’s also horrifically polluted, and no one cares about this either.

The poverty is simply insane. It has to be seen to be believed. It’s the worst poverty he’s ever seen in any land he’s ever been to. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Boys covered in shit try to pry open a closed store to grab hot dog scraps. Kids covered in shit play in massive garbage heaps as big as houses. A beggar lies on the sidewalk, half his leg eaten off, maggots visibly gnawing on the rest. Emaciated old people with sunken, hopeless eyes sit on the sidewalk and beg for food. People frantically dig through garbage to try to get food to eat.

There are people everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. It’s worse than New York, Mexico City or Hong Kong. You take off outside the city and the masses of humans don’t lessen, nor does the incessant filth.

He goes to eat in a Pizza Hut and the Indian middle class is in there, fat and happy. Outside kids covered in shit wallow on the sidewalk and the bourgeois don’t give two flying fucks.

Everywhere he goes, Indians try to steal from him. Even his own taxi driver tries to rip him off, and threatens to call the police when he doesn’t go along with the attempted theft.

Cons and scams are everywhere. He falls for an elaborate scam to buy a fancy rug and have it shipped to his mother in the US. There are fake shops, fake businesses, fake travel agencies, fake everything, everywhere, all run by scammers, all set up to rip you off. One man on his tour is ripped off for $2,000 by a fake travel agency.

As you walk along the sidewalk, Indians swarm alongside you, begging for this or that, trying to sell you this or that, or trying to scam you in some way. After a while, you resolve to speak to as few Indians as possible.

He meets Western hippies at tourist hangouts, some to indulge in the solipsism of Hinduism and Buddhism, but they don’t see that these solipsistic religions may have created the very Hell of the India they are visiting.

Charity seems hopeless. Where would you even begin. The beggars are ingrates. You give them food, and they don’t even care. And if Indians see you giving to a beggar, they swarm all over you begging for themselves. Better to give to no one.

He tries to come up with a meaning for India, but can come up with none. India is meaningless; nothing has any meaning or value there. It’s an entropic panorama of Chaos Theory in action.

The comments are interesting. I read them all. Mostly the usual Indian nationalist and Hindutva fanboys ranting on and on about shining India, and “just give us time.” And others attacking the “racist” article.

64 Comments

Filed under Asia, Culture, India, Regional, Social Problems, Sociology, South Asia