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Fw: Is Israel singled out - and why?

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  • Frank Fisher
    ... From: The Other Israel To: otherisr@actcom.co.il Sent: Sunday, 1 August, 2010 19:47:17 Subject: Is Israel singled out - and why?
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 1, 2010
      ----- Forwarded Message ----
      From: The Other Israel <otherisr@...>
      To: otherisr@...
      Sent: Sunday, 1 August, 2010 19:47:17
      Subject: Is Israel singled out - and why?


      Until the end of August no TOI-Billboard. For news, visit Occupation Magazine
      Is Israel singled out – and why?By Adam Keller
      The Other Israel - August 1, 2010
      http://toibillboard.info/Is_Israel_singled_out.htmGoogling
      In a way, this is a second line of defense. There had been a time when this kind
      of people took the line that Israel can do no wrong. That it is an utterly
      wonderful place, little short of an utopia, a vibrant democracy and the only one
      in the Middle East, the home of tireless and dauntless pioneers who made the
      desert bloom. But this way of looking at things had become increasingly
      difficult to sustain. There have been too many unsavory TV footages of Israeli
      soldiers broadcast into every home around the globe, too many nasty revelations,
      quite a few of them by Israel's own dissident citizens...

      It is far easier to freely admit that Israel is not blameless, that some of its
      actions and policies do deserve criticism - but as a matter of fact, "everybody
      does it". Many others all over the world also violate human rights and/or
      international law, others discriminate against ethnic or religious minorities,
      others launch military offensives which claim the lives of innocent civilians.
      Muslims, it is quite true, have been killed by other Muslims as well as by
      Israel. So, why pick on Israel, specifically? Why, if not out of anti-Semitism?
      "Anti-Israelism is the New anti-Semitism", period.

      True, as far as formal international diplomacy is concerned, it is easy to show
      that - if Israel is singled out at all - it is singled out for a rather lenient
      treatment.

      Should Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir land in any European country, he is
      bound to be arrested by the local police and extradited to the International
      Criminal Court in the Hague to stand trial for the misdeeds of his army, and of
      militias backed by his army; in Darfur. Binyamin Netanyahu need fear nothing of
      the kind. When private groups attempted to start criminal proceedings against
      Israeli civil or military officials, the governments of Belgium and Spain
      enacted legislation to make this impossible, and the British government is about
      to follow suit.
      Iran is facing increasingly tough international sanctions - and increasingly
      vocal threats of war - for its attempts to produce a nuclear bomb. Israel faced
      nothing of the kind for its own highly successful enterprise in the same field.
      (Instead, the Government of Germany provided to Israel, free of charge, several
      submarines so modified that nuclear-tipped missiles could be installed on them
      and create a "second-strike capacity".
      Many countries violate human rights in one way or another - but few have the
      consistent backing a Permanent Member in the UN Security Council. Most proposed
      resolutions condemning acts by the government of Israel get aborted by the US
      veto. And even when a resolution gets past this barrier (invariably, after
      having been considerably watered down), the Government of Israel can (and often
      does) ignore it brazenly and with complete impunity. Non-compliance by Israel
      would never entail a second Security Council Resolution, and a third and fourth
      and a fifth each tougher than its predecessor - such as heralded the end of
      Saddam Hussein's regime, and eventually the end of Saddam's own life.

      Still, even if baseless when directed at diplomats and ministers and heads of
      state, the charge of "singling out Israel" cannot be dismissed out of hand when
      much of civil society in the world today is concerned. It is a fact - which can
      be easily proven statistically - that there are intellectuals and university
      lecturers who write more articles condemning Israeli actions than they write
      against comparable actions in other countries. It is an easily proven fact that
      a considerable number of activist groups, and student organizations, and
      militant trade unionists, and a host of others, are busy passing sharply worded
      resolutions, and holding protests, and sometimes calling for a boycott against
      Israel - while falling short of acting as vehemently against each and every
      culpable country around the world.for "Israel singled out" + "anti-Semitism"
      would immediately get you many thousands of results. All over the world,
      supporters of the policies enacted by the government of Israel are busily
      churning out article after article, repeating with minor variations the same
      message - Israel is being unfairly singled out, harshly criticized for the kind
      of acts which others are allowed to get away with, and the motive is
      anti-Semitism. For the likes of

      In practice, of course, the government of Israel and its adherents are well
      aware that public campaigns, to achieve any result, must be focused on a
      specific issue - which necessarily means that somebody in "singled out". To cite
      one prominent example, the eminently successful worldwide campaign of the 1970's
      and 1980's, conducted under the slogan "Let My People Go!" was based on singling
      out the Soviet Union as against all other countries violating the Human Rights
      of their citizens; and on singling out Soviet Jews as against all other
      oppressed Soviet citizens; and singling out Soviet Jews wanting to leave their
      country as against those wanting to stay and have their rights respected at
      home; and on singling out Soviet Jews wanting to go to Israel as against those
      wanting to go somewhere else (the latter were the target of a particularly
      vituperative campaign...).

      The result of all these forms of singling out is that Russian has become
      Israel's de-facto second language, with Russian-speakers comprising some 20% of
      its population (a large part of them not being recognized as Jews, and not being
      able to get married in Israel - but this is a subject for another article...) An
      unfocused general campaign , against all forms of injustice everywhere, singling
      out nobody, would hardly have achieved this (or any) result.

      Still, granted that focusing on a specific issue is the indispensable
      precondition of a successful campaign, the reason why it is particularly Israel
      which has become the target of such a campaign still needs to be looked at. It
      is my contention that the singling out of Israel for a special consideration and
      a treatment different from that given to anybody else is nothing new, nor has it
      always been directed against Israel. In fact, it has been actively initiated and
      promoted by Israel itself, or rather by the Zionist movement at the very
      inception of the project which would culminate in the creation of Israel.
      Zionism very specifically and explicitly asked the international community to be
      singled out for a very specific and very unique privilege, which was never ever
      granted to any other group anywhere else. Namely, the right to claim a land as
      its "National Home" on the basis of ancestors having lived in this land 2000
      years ago.

      ***
      In 1897, when Theodore Herzl and his fellows held the First Zionist Congress in
      Basle, national movements have already been a regular feature on the
      international agenda for about a century. Zionism has taken up many of the
      tenets and practices of European Nationalism - in particular East European
      Nationalism.

      After all, many of the founders of Zionism had started out as patriotic Poles,
      or patriotic Magyars, or patriotic Germans, people who had wanted nothing more
      than to be accepted as equal citizens of the country where they lived - and who,
      faced with a painful and humiliating anti-Semitic rejection, recoiled into
      forming a national movement of their own. And naturally enough, it was modelled
      on the kind of nationalism they had known. And still, there was a major
      difference.

      It is all too common for national movements to gain widespread international
      sympathy for the plight of the oppressed ethnic group they seek to represent -
      and once gaining state power, to engage in discrimination and oppression of
      other groups. And it is common for national movements to make sweeping
      territorial claims, often based on the narrative (historical or mythical) of
      some ancient warrior king. The Biblical King David, whom ardent Zionists cited,
      was far from the first such.

      Still, the essential aim of all other national movements I ever heard of was to
      get control of a core area where their own ethnic group constituted the whole of
      the population, or at least an overwhelming majority. None but Zionists had ever
      put forward a claim for a country in whose entirety its ethnic group constituted
      at the time less than ten percent of the population, making implementation of
      its aspirations dependent upon a radical change of the status quo in that
      country.

      Many factors converged to make possible the Zionist success in getting such a
      claim endorsed by the international community.- utterly unique, and sharply
      singling out Zionism and Israel from everybody else in the world.

      There was a widespread, genuine sympathy for the persecuted Jews and horror at
      the Russian pogroms in the early days of Zionism, later dwarfed by the Nazi
      genocide. But side by side with this was the frankly racist wish to "get rid" of
      what were often portrayed as "the flood of East European Jewish hordes", - and
      Zionism seemed to offer a convenient way of getting these "hordes" as far away
      as possible, out of sight and out of mind for respectable Europeans.

      Even so, it would have likely been impossible but for the fact that the land
      claimed by Zionists was the well-known "Holy Land", a land whose Biblical past
      was widely seen as far more important than its present. For centuries, Christian
      pilgrims had gone there to look for the shades of the past, "to walk in the
      footsteps of Jesus Christ". Often, they regarded present-day inhabitants of the
      land as an unimportant appendage, shadows fleeting through the ruins of past
      glory.

      Such was the mind-set of Christian Zionism which preceded and heralded the
      Jewish one. A mind-set which made plausible for this one specific country an
      idea that would have seemed the strangest of lunacies anywhere else: to turn the
      clock back two or three thousand years and restore the land to remote
      descendants of those who lived in it in past millennia. And in turn, the idea
      became plausible to mainstream opinion makers and decision makers in key Western
      countries, not all of them devout Christians themselves.

      For all that, the Zionist movement never gained an unconditional international
      endorsement for its demands and aspirations. Throughout his career, Herzl
      dreamed of gaining for Zionism an International Charter. By considerable effort
      and quite a bit of luck, later Zionists got two of them - both of crucial
      importance, but neither providing an unrestricted license to dispossess and
      displace the people which Zionism found in the land, who would become known as
      Palestinians.

      In the 1917 Balfour Declaration, His Majesty's Government declared that it would
      "view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the
      Jewish people" - but "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done
      which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish
      communities in Palestine". Thirty years later, the United Nations at last
      explicitly authorized fulfillment of the Zionist dream by the creation of a
      Jewish State in Palestine - but with an Arab State at its side. In effect,
      Zionism can be seen to have signed a contract with the international community.
      Fair treatment of the Palestinians and respect of (at least some of) their
      rights as the clear condition for the recognition of its own national
      aspirations.

      It took very long before Zionism would be seriously accused of defaulting on its
      part of this deal. In 1948, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the young Israel
      was internationally applauded as a plucky David defeating a vicious Goliath. It
      is hardly remembered that at this time Zionism and the young Israel had been a
      progressive cause, supported worldwide by much the same kind of people who would
      nowadays support the Palestinians, and for much the same reason - sympathy for
      the underdog.

      In 1949 Israel was accepted as a member of the UN without being asked to give up
      the territory which was not assigned to it in the partition plan, and the
      Palestinian refugees were regarded mainly as a humanitarian problem to be given
      a humanitarian solution. The Israeli position - that what the Palestinians lost
      in 1948 was forfeited due to their intransigence - was generally accepted on the
      international arena (and is in fact still so accepted). It was only after 1967
      that Israel started to be seen as a Goliath rather than a David.

      It is now 2010 - 113 years after the First Zionist Congress, 93 years after the
      Balfour Declaration, 63 years after the UN Partition Resolution, 43 years after
      the beginning of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It would be
      very difficult for even the most brilliant lawyer to seriously assert that the
      leaders of Zionism and of the State of Israel had kept their part of the deal
      made with the International Community. By every possible standard, the civil and
      religious rights of the non-Jewish communities which existed in Palestine in
      1917 have been grossly prejudiced, over and over again. The Jewish State in
      Palestine was created in 1948 and greatly overstepped the boundaries set for it
      by the United Nations, while the Arab State in Palestine is yet to come.

      And thus, to go back to the question posed at the beginning of this article: Is
      Israel singled out, by international civil society if not (yet?) by
      international diplomacy? Yes, it is. Is it unfair and biased? To my view, it is
      not. It is but a quite fair demand upon Israel to pay at least part of a
      long-overdue debt, and keep their part of a contract which Israel's Founding
      Fathers solemnly signed.

      Yes, there are many countries whose conduct fully deserves condemnation - but
      none was given such a unique privilege as the Zionist movement was given, none
      had made such a binding obligation in return for being given such a privilege,
      and which it failed to keep.
      In recent years the State of Israel has been vociferously criticized for
      planting settlers in the occupied territories - which it can be argued that
      China is also doing in Tibet; and for killing civilians in the bombings of Gaza,
      which it can shown that Americans and Europeans are also doing in Iraq and
      Afghanistan; and for lethally raiding the Gaza Aid Flotilla, for which some
      apologists also tried to find various precedents and parallels. Yet Israel is
      singled out because it, and it alone, is in obvious default of a fundamental
      obligation, an obligation which was the condition for Israel coming into being
      in the first place.

      The plan which is now on offer - and had been on offer for quite a long time -
      gives Israel the possibility of settling this debt on quite comfortable
      conditions. The West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are to be given up and become
      the State of Palestine, are after all little more than 22% of what was Mandatory
      Palestine, and by giving them up Israel would be intentionally recognized as
      having at last discharged its debt and kept its obligation. But continued
      persistence in refusing to pay the debt - continuing it until the international
      balance of power has fundamentally changed, some years or decades from now -
      might put Israel at the risk of what happens to those who fail to pay their
      debts: going into liquidation.

       Until the end of August there will be no TOI-Billboard. For occupation news you
      are invited to visit Occupation Magazine at http://www.kibush.co.il/Alan
      Dershowitz and Nathan Sharansky and Ben Dror Yemini, this is a clear and
      sufficient proof of anti-Semitism. The proper course for a genuine upholder and
      defender of Human Rights should be to compile a full and comprehensive list of
      all violators (Amnesty International used to be a fairly reliable source for
      such, except that nowadays Amnesty has also become stained with "singling out
      Israel"). Then, a rota of pickets should be set up in front of all relevant
      embassies, with the Israeli one visited for three-quarters of an hour every
      third Monday, and anyone overstaying this quota by more than ten minutes would
      stand condemned as an anti-Semite (or a self-hater if a Jew oneself, or a
      traitor if an Israeli citizen, or all three combined...)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Frank Fisher
      The link and 1st para of this article became garbled in transmission. Should read: http://toibillboard.info/Is_Israel_singled_out.htm   Googlingfor Israel
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 1, 2010
        The link and 1st para of this article became garbled in transmission. Should
        read:

        http://toibillboard.info/Is_Israel_singled_out.htm

         
        Googlingfor "Israel singled out" + "anti-Semitism" would immediately get you
        many thousands of results. All over the world, supporters of the policies
        enacted by the government of Israel are busily churning out article after
        article, repeating with minor variations the same message - Israel is being
        unfairly singled out, harshly criticized for the kind of acts which others are
        allowed to get away with, and the motive is anti-Semitism.

         
        In a way,........


         




        ________________________________
        From: Frank Fisher <frankf@...>
        To: JustPeaceUK <JustPeaceUK@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, 1 August, 2010 10:36:28
        Subject: [JustPeaceUK] Fw: Is Israel singled out - and why?

         


        ----- Forwarded Message ----
        From: The Other Israel <otherisr@...>
        To: otherisr@...
        Sent: Sunday, 1 August, 2010 19:47:17
        Subject: Is Israel singled out - and why?

        Until the end of August no TOI-Billboard. For news, visit Occupation Magazine
        Is Israel singled out – and why?By Adam Keller
        The Other Israel - August 1, 2010
        http://toibillboard.info/Is_Israel_singled_out.htmGoogling
        In a way, this is a second line of defense. There had been a time when this kind
        .........

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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