2010-07-25

Redemption or Conquest: Zionist Yishuv plans for transfer of Palestinian Arabs in the British Mandate period

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by Neil Godfrey

British Mandate of Palestine, 1920s. Created b...
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Yishuv refers to the Jewish community in Palestine. The British Mandate period was from 1922 to 1948.

This post continues from the same reference (Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians) as in my previous post, and looks at a Palestinian historian’s discussion of the fate of the Palestinian people as planned by the Zionist movement from “the beginning”. Some readers may accuse me of stirring up hatred against the Jews by posting this sort of research. I deny any such charge. The ill-feeling and tensions that have resulted from the events and attitudes described in this and in the previous post don’t have to be “stirred up”. But many people in the West certainly do need to be “waked up” to the other side of the story. Obscenely, one is often accused of “antisemitism” for even daring to raise the Palestinian voice, or even any voice mildly critical of Zionist or Israeli state policies.

The world, and Palestinians and Israelis in particular, are living today with the legacy of the past. Justice, the precondition for peace, can only emerge after all the facts — from both parties — are laid out for all to see. Hiding one side’s story under the rocks of the desert will never extinguish injustice and hatred.  We have lauded Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and National Apologies in cases of other ethnic horror stories. They could never have happened unless both sides — especially that of the defeated — were fully aired.

The General Approach toward the Palestinians in the Mandatory Period

I had not realized until I read this section of Masalha’s account that the current practice of the Israeli government relying on third parties such as the US today (formerly Britain), and other Arab leaders, to facilitate discussions with (or without) Palestinian Arabs, originated in this period. Masalha’s explanation for this is:

At the root of this notion — that Palestinians did not have to be dealt with directly — was the denial of a distinct Palestinian identity or any semblance of Palestinian nationalism. This was unquestionably grounded in the dismissive attitude that had always attended anything relating to Palestinians or Palestinian culture. (p.17)

Population shifts and Arab protests

Jewish population in Palestine, 1917-1940:

  • 1917 = 10% of population; own 2% of the land.
  • 1931 = 17% of population
  • 1940 = 33% of population
  • (1948 Jews owned only 6% of the land — via purchase)

Growing Arab awareness of Zionist aims in Palestine, reinforced by Zionist calls for unrestricted Jewish immigration and unhindered transfer of Arab lands to exclusive Jewish control, triggered escalating protests and resistance that were eventually to culminate in the peasant-based great Arab Rebellion of 1936-39.

So two forces were beginning to collide:

  1. On the one hand it was increasingly clear that a Jewish state was an eventual likelihood (Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate offered real hope for this);
  2. but on the other hand it was becoming increasingly clear that the Palestinian Arab population were intent on keeping their land.

Predictable result: early 1920s saw the first indigenous demonstrations against Jewish immigration.

Problem

The Balfour Declaration had not only promised a national home for the Jews; it had also promised that the Palestinian Arabs would not lose any of their rights as a result. Continue reading “Redemption or Conquest: Zionist Yishuv plans for transfer of Palestinian Arabs in the British Mandate period”


2010-07-20

Zionist Founding Fathers’ Plans for Transfer of the Palestinian Arabs

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by Neil Godfrey

The following quotations by early Zionist leaders are from Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 by Nur Masalha, published by the Institute for Palestinian Studies.

Nur Masalha opens his book with

When in the late nineteenth century Zionism arose as a political force calling for the colonization of Palestine and the “gathering of all Jews,” little attention was paid to the fact that Palestine was already populated. Indeed, the Basle Program adopted at the First Zionist Congress, which launched political Zionism in 1897, made no mention of a Palestinian population when it spelled out the movement’s objective: “the establishment of a publicly and legally secured home in Palestine for the Jewish people.” (p.5)

It was in order to secure support for their enterprise that “the Zionists propagated in the West the idea of ‘a land without a people for a people without a land,’ a slogan coined by Israel Zangwill” (who is quoted a number of times in this post).

Even as late as 1914 Chaim Weizmann (one of the founding fathers of political Zionism) stated:

Chaim Weizmann
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In its initial stage, Zionism was conceived by its pioneers as a movement wholly depending on mechanical factors: there is a country which happens to be called Palestine, a country without a people, and, on the other hand, there exists the Jewish people, and it has no country. What else is necessary, then, than to fit the gem into the ring to unite this people with this country?

But “neither Zangwell nor Weizmann intended these demographic assessments in a literal fashion. They did not mean that there were no people in Palestine, but that there were no people worth considering within the framework of the notions of European supremacy that then held sway.” (p.6)

20 May 1936, according to Arthur Ruppin, head of the colonizing department of the Jewish Agency, Chaim Weizman (to become the first president of Israel) replied, when asked about the Palestinian Arabs

“The British told us that there are there some hundred thousands negroes [Kushim] and for those there is no value.”

Zangwell made the meaning of his slogan clear in 1920:

Israel Zangwill
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If Lord Shaftesbury was literally inexact in describing Palestine as a country without a people, he was essentially correct , for there is no Arab people living in intimate fusion with the country, utilising its resources and stamping it with a characteristic impress: there is at best an Arab encampment.

But Zangwell and other Zionists also were very well aware that far from being an empty land, the Palestinians were there in very large numbers. Zangwell had visited Palestine in 1897 and in a speech in 1905 said:

Palestine proper has already its inhabitants. The pashalik of Jerusalem is already twice as thickly populated as the United States, having fifty-two souls to the square mile, and not 25 per cent of them Jews.

Early Zionist texts do indeed show that its leaders were concerned about what to do with the “Arab problem” or “Arab question.”

As an example of the attitudes of Zionist groups and settlers concerning the indigenous Palestinian population, Zionist author and Labor leader who immigrated to Palestine in 1890, Moshe Smilansky, wrote:

“Let us not be too familiar with the Arab fellahin lest our children adopt their ways and learn from their ugly deeds. Let all those who are loyal to the Torah avoid ugliness and that which resembles it and keep their distance from the fellahin and their base attributes.”

Minority Jewish voices against racist attitudes

Some Jews spoke out against these attitudes. One was Ahad Ha’Am (Asher Zvi Ginzberg), a liberal Russian thinker who visited Palestine in 1891. He published a series of articles criticizing the “ethnocentricity of political Zionism as well as the exploitation of Palestinian peasantry by Zionist colonists.” He wrote that Zionist “pioneers” believed that

“the only language that the Arabs understand is that of force…. [They] behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly upon their boundaries, beat them shamefully without reason and even brag about it, and nobody stands to check this contemptible and dangerous tendency.”

He suggested that this aggressive attitude of the colonists stemmed from their anger

“towards those who reminded them that there is still another people in the land of Israel that have been living there and does not intend to leave.”

Another early settler (he arrived from Russia in 1886) who spoke out against such attitudes, Yitzhaq Epstein, warned that the methods of Zionist land purchases and dispossession of Arabs in the Galilee were stirring up resentment such that a future political confrontation was inevitable.

Early Transfer Proposals of the Founding Fathers

Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, recorded in his diary in 1895: Continue reading “Zionist Founding Fathers’ Plans for Transfer of the Palestinian Arabs”


2010-05-31

End the levity of the previous post. These are my comrades.

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by Neil Godfrey

Israeli Butchery at Sea by Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:58AM Gilad Atzmon

As I write this piece the scale of the Israeli lethal slaughter at sea is yet to be clear. However we already know that at around 4am Gaza time, hundreds of IDF commandos stormed the Free Gaza international humanitarian fleet. We learn from the Arab press that at least 16 peace activists have been murdered and more than 50 were injured.  Once again it is devastatingly obvious that Israel is not trying to hide its true nature: an inhuman murderous collective fuelled by a psychosis and driven by paranoia.

For days the Israeli government  prepared the Israeli society for the massacre at sea. It said that the Flotilla carried weapons, it had ‘terrorists’ on board. Only yesterday evening it occurred to me that this Israeli malicious media spin was there to prepare the Israeli public for a full scale Israeli deadly military operation in international waters.  Make no mistake. If I knew exactly where Israel was heading and the possible consequences, the Israeli cabinet and military elite were fully aware of it all the way along.  What happened yesterday wasn’t just a pirate terrorist  attack. It was actually murder in broad day light even though it happened in the dark.

Yesterday at 10 pm I contacted Free Gaza and shared with them everything I knew. I obviously grasped that hundreds of peace activists most of them elders, had very little chance against the Israeli killing machine. I was praying all night for our brothers and sisters.  At 5am GMT the news broke to the world. In international waters Israel raided an innocent international convoy of boats carrying cement, paper and medical aid to the besieged Gazans. The Israelis were using live ammunition murdering and injuring everything around them.

Today we will see demonstrations around the world, we will see many events mourning our dead.  We may even see some of Israel’s friends ‘posturing’ against the slaughter. Clearly this is not enough.

The massacre that took place yesterday was a premeditated Israeli operation. Israel wanted blood because it believes that its ‘power of deterrence’  expands with the more dead it leaves behind. The Israeli decision to use hundreds of commando soldiers against civilians was taken by the Israeli cabinet together with the Israeli top military commanders. What we saw yesterday wasn’t just a failure on the ground. It was actually an institutional failure of a morbid society that a long time ago lost touch with humanity.

It is no secret that Palestinians are living in a siege for years. But it is now down to the nations to move on and mount the ultimate pressure on Israel and its citizens. Since the massacre yesterday was committed by a popular army that followed instructions given by a ‘democratically elected’ government, from now on, every Israeli  should be considered as a  suspicious war criminal unless proved different.

Considering the fact that Israel stormed naval vessels sailing under Irish, Turkish and Greek flags. Both NATO  members and EU countries must immediately cease their  relationships with  Israel  and close their airspace to Israeli airplanes.

Considering yesterday’s news about Israeli nuclear submarines being stationed in the Gulf, the world must react quickly and severely.  Israel is now officially mad and deadly. The Jewish State is not just careless about human life,  as we have been following  the Israeli press campaign leading to the slaughter,  Israel actually  seeks pleasure in inflicting pain and devastation on others.

(I have posted this in full. Previous correspondence with Gilad assures me that he would wholeheartedly approve of my copying this in full.)


2009-02-01

The irony

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by Neil Godfrey

I know of many Jews (Israeli and non-Israeli) who label their fellow Jews who are critical of Zionism and the ethnic cleansing and expansionist policies of successive Israeli governments as self-hating Jews. That charge would seem a bit hard to sustain in this instance.  The irony is twisted even further when one learns that the founders of Zionism (who flourished alongside other racially based nationalisms in their most rabid late nineteenth and early twentieth century phase) were in many cases nonbelievers who nonetheless openly proclaimed that they found their mandate forceful expulsion of Palestinians and ever expanding takeover of their lands in the Bible.

Why post this? Because I am appalled at the outrageous bias in mainstream western media reporting and anything that might graphically help expose its one sidedness is not a bad thing. Imagine the western media addressing the Palestinians in Gaza as the product of documented ethnic cleansing and expulsion policies, represented by a democratically elected government that had offered to recognize Israel’s existence along the terms of the Saudi peace plan, and whose citizens and leaders are routinely kidnapped and jailed in a foreign country, and that has been imprisoned by land, sea and air to the point of humanitarian catostrophe. . . .  But that will never be said in the mainstream western media. At least not unless it is callously hidden behind the pseudo-impartiality that insists on giving equal time to state sanctioned official lies and half truths.


2009-01-19

Latter day biblical genocide against wicked canaanite surrogates

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by Neil Godfrey

May last year a reader took strong exception to my use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli policies towards Palestinian Arabs since 1948 (the original post and comments where the word arose are here) — comparable to the policies of whites towards American and Australian aboriginal peoples in earlier generations. My use of the word was carefully chosen to conform to the Geneva Convention and UN definitions of this term that emerged out of the many atrocities of World War 2.

Article II of the Genocide Convention defines the international crime of genocide in relevant part as follows:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

(a)  Killing members of the group;

(b)  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

Anyone who finds the use of the word “genocide” extreme or in any sense racist I would invite to read / view and think through two recent web articles / videos:

One by Professor Francis Anthony Boyle.

A second by British Jewish MP Gerald Kaufman who said:

“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed,” said Kaufman, who added that he had friends and family in Israel and had been there “more times than I can count.”

“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.”

. . . .

He said the claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants

“was the reply of the Nazi” and added: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

and that the Israeli government has

“ruthlessly and cynically exploiting the continuing guilt from gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.”

Successive Israeli governments (left and right wing) have all consistently pursued the goals of Zionist founding fathers in expanding their “living space” to eventual biblical proportions (since 1967 this has been done with the ongoing creep and expulsions of Palestinians from their West Bank homes to make way for Jewish “settlements”) and to declare the indigenous inhabitants a non-people. (Edward Said nailed it when he showed that antisemitism has since WW2 flipped and bifurcated into Jews unrealistically good, Arabs — the other semitic wing — unrealistically bad). The Israeli beseiging and blockading of Gaza, along with continual terrorizing low flying (with sonic boom) war planes over the population, not to mention regular bombings called “targeted killings” that more often than not killed more than their so-called intended targets, and rejections of Hama offers to end rocket attacks in return for a lifting of this blockade, have not managed to cower the Palestinians — they still prefer to die standing on their feet than live crawling on their knees before those who expelled them to that barren overcrowded Gaza strip.

And the myth of vulnerable David facing ever present threats of total extermination from swarthy Goliaths is continually recycled. I hope in future to cite the evidence that shatters this myth as so falsely applied to the wars of 1948 and 1967 — evidence that few American in particular have had opportunities to see.


2008-11-06

“Their whole civilisation has been destroyed”

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by Neil Godfrey

When will the Palestinians be acknowledged as a people again? How can we accept such a total inversion of the anti-semitism that plagued earlier centuries to dehumanize both Jew and Arab in Palestine today — By dehumanize, I mean perceiving others as either somehow purer and more deserving than the rest of us, or worse than the rest of us.

Mary Robinson has visited Gaza and speaks from first hand observation: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7708670.stm

“Their whole civilisation has been destroyed, I’m not exaggerating,” said Mrs Robinson.

“It’s almost unbelievable that the world doesn’t care while this is happening.”

Why it’s important to take on board what Mary Robinson says, and to explore it further:

” . . . ordinary Israelis did not understand the situation as they “couldn’t possibly support it if they really did”.

Of course the news is quick to broadcast Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel — http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-11/05/content_10312060.htm [link now dead: neil godfrey, 21st July 2019]

And so the black and white perceptions are reinforced.

Compare, for example, the less publicized Palestinian news story that started the recent attacks:
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9937.shtml

If what has been happening to the Palestinians since the 1940’s is not just another form of anti-semitism against the other branch of semites, or is not ethnic cleansing pure and simple, even genocide on a par with the generational genocide of American and Australian aboriginal populations, I don’t know what is.


2008-10-19

Modern day Joshuas and Calebs

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by Neil Godfrey

Jewish settlers punched and kicked two news photographers and a British woman helping Palestinians pick olives in a West Bank town, and Israeli police responded by stopping the harvest.

The scuffle in the town of Hebron on Saturday was the latest of a series of efforts by settlers living in the occupied land to disrupt an annual harvest critical to many Palestinians’ livelihoods.

The rest of this Reuters story — one all too common and becoming significantly increasingly common yet all too under-reported in mainstream English speaking media — can be read here.

Pogroms 21st century style  — Death to Arabs!

See journalist Jonathan Cook’s report on the recent Acre riots.


2008-05-11

Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis

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by Neil Godfrey

I was about to do a search for a list of these when I see the work has already been done! Fantastic! I have had the good fortune to have met Jews from some of these organizations and we have organized local community public dinners where they can speak and demonstrate what they are doing in Israel and Palestine.

What they are doing is hard, very hard, with incredible obstacles, which makes them all the more modern day heroes.

Please check out this Wikipedia site. It is really a fantastic breath of hope in a very dark beast:


Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis


2007-09-23

When Popeye David beat flabby Goliath and called it a ‘miracle’

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by Neil Godfrey

Since we’re the good guys we’ve done nothing so bad as to deserve all the headaches we have to put up with from Islamic terrorists and the bad guys in the Middle East. When the bad guys wearing the dark skins and having the wrong religion say that the root cause of all the strife in the Middle East – at least till the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – is “the Palestinian question” and the occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza since 1967, we can be sure that that is just as fatuous as an armed bank robber appealing for sympathy by telling the judge that he needed the money to pay for his gun and getaway car. Continue reading “When Popeye David beat flabby Goliath and called it a ‘miracle’”