This is simply a lie. For instance, on Jewish settlements in Judea-Samaria. These areas were part of the Jewish National Home set up by the San Remo Conference in 1920, and endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922. They are legal. Yet, United States policy is opposed to them and considers them an "obstacle to peace."
It is not the settlements that are illegal. What was illegal --according to the League's Permanent Mandates Commission-- was the British White Paper policy starting in 1939 that prevented Jews from buying real estate in most of the National Home despite the clear principles enunciated by the Mandate issued to Britain in 1922. As to settlements, US policy opposes them, although the US is not so ready to declare them illegal as the UK is.
It may be forgotten in 2007 that in the spring of 2002, President Bush, very vehemently opposed Israel's Defensive Shield
operation, aimed at overcoming the mass murderous terrorists operating out of the Arab cities controlled by the "Palestinian Authority." Bush demanded that Israel's army immediately turn around and leave those areas, this was after the Park Hotel bombing in Netanya, Israel, on the Jewish festival of Passover, that had slaughtered 29 Jews. Yet, Bush opposed necessary Israeli defensive actions. Indeed, many of the Bush Administrations policies toward Israel and the Arabs are harmful to Israel. Without providing a long list, I will mention the Bush State Department's plans for an "international conference" at Annapolis [see here
] which can do no good for Israel, plus the massive funds contributed to the Palestinian Authority.
As to funds unaccounted for, the Palestinian Authority --favored by the State Dept, the UK Foreign Office, the BBC, the EU, and in fact by President Bush-- is notorious for funds unaccounted for. Yet, it seems that walt-mearsheimer & Hastings are not concerned about how the PA spends or misplaces the huge sums donated to it.[It is curious that Hastings does not mention a charge against the so-called Israel Lobby made in walt-mearsheimer's original article on that subject in 2006 in the London Review of Books and in their book. They charge that the Israel lobby was behind the Iraq War. It is peculiar that Hastings doesn't mention the accusation. In any case, Mearsheimer admitted the truth, contradicting his own and Walt's lie about the Iraq War in an interview with a journalist on US National Public Radio. Camera picked up this interview in which Mearsheimer gainsaid one of the central claims in his book, that the Bush Administration made war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq in order to serve Israel.]
And many Israeli government actions, including the expansion of West Bank settlements and the invasion of Lebanon, reflect repressive policies that do not deserve Washington’s endorsement: “While there is no question that the Jews were victims in Europe, they were often the victimisers, not the victims, in the Middle East, and their main victims were and continue to be the Palestinians." [w-m's words]
Hastings packs a lot of smear into a fairly short paragraph. Why is it "repressive" [Hastings' word] for the Israeli government to allow Jews to live in Judea-Samaria, the heart of the ancient Jewish homeland? The League of Nations' palestine mandate states [Article 6]:
"The Administration of Palestine . . . shall facilitate Jewish immigration . . . and shall encourage. . . close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes."
This is what the Israel government has done and Hastings now smears it as "repressive." International law still recognizes Judea-Samaria & Gaza as parts of the Jewish National Home. The truly "repressive" action was that of the UK government in violation of the Mandate, as expressed in the 1939 White Paper policy and in various regulations to implement that policy. Some of these regulations forbid --in a racist manner-- land purchase by Jews in most of the country. And this on the eve of the Holocaust!
Furthermore, Israel was attacked from Lebanon by the Hizbullah in July 2006. The seizure of two wounded Israeli soldiers and the killing of several others was accompanied by a barrage of katyusha rockets on Israeli towns and villages along the northern border. The Hizbullah is an armed militia with a Judeophobic ideology containing Nazi-like elements. It operates independently of and in opposition to the parliamentary government of Lebanon. It is a protege of the Iranian and Syrian regimes, both of which make Nazi-like propaganda against Jews. Max Hastings, a respected British journalist, considers Israel's defensive actions in Lebanon to be "repressive." He has written an insidious, mendacious tract, using words for emotive purposes rather than rational meanings.
Hastings and walt-mearsheimer also reverse the historical relations between Jews and Arabs. Saying that the Jews were victims only in Europe but not in Arab-Muslim ruled lands is simply a lie. Jews in Arab-Muslim-ruled lands were subject to the oppressive dhimma
rules of Muslim law, described below in our comments on Jimmy Carter. The Arab-Muslims in the Land of Israel historically oppressed and exploited Jews, precisely in Israel, precisely in Jerusalem. See here
. As to the W-M claim about Jews being "victimisers" rather than victims of Arabs, Palestinian Arabs in particular, see the previous post about the role in the Holocaust of Haj Amin el-Husseini
, British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem [see here
too, etc]. It is curious that Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, utters similar falsehoods
about the Arab-Jewish relationship, comparing Arab terrorism with the civil rights movement of American blacks. This is evidence that the walt-mearsheimer article and book were meant to serve State Department purposes, also in view of the fact that Walt & Mearsheimer have been State Department consultants.
Hastings goes on to present a distorted picture of outside lobbying and political-financial pressures on American foreign policy in the Middle East.
The authors argue that American policy towards Israel is decisively and unhelpfully influenced by the power of a domestic lobby spearheaded by AIPAC (the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee). This organisation wields extraordinary power in raising funds for American political candidates whom it favours, and bringing down wrath upon those whom it deems insufficiently supportive.Comment
: The Saudi lobby is not mentioned in the review, although it is likely much more powerful than the pro-Israel lobby and closer to the heart of the Bush family with its ties to the oil industry, although it is backed by a much smaller constituency in American public opinion. How about the fat speakers fees paid to ex-presidents like Carter and Clinton who give lectures in the Persian Gulf emirates [UAE]? How do we know how much money Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates and other wealthy Arabs may be donating to presidential candidates? Changing the relative size of the pro-Israel community --the body of pro-Israel opinion-- in the US is one of the main purposes of the w-m book.
Jimmy Carter too seems to be propounding the same big lie as Walt-Mearsheimer, Rice, and Hastings about the Arabs as victims of the Jews, reversing historical and current reality.
Former president Jimmy Carter incurred not merely criticism but vilification when he published a book entitled Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid, likening Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians to that of the old white regime in South Africa towards its black majority.
When someone terribly slanders someone else, what should the reaction be? How should Jews react when an ex-president of the US makes hate propaganda against Israel? Applying the label "Apartheid" to Israel is very false and very sinister, since the charge embodies other charges, such as racism, whereas Jews suffered from racism in South Africa and from something much like apartheid in traditonal Arab-Muslim society. Arab/Muslims suppressed, exploited, humiliated, oppressed Jews for more than a thousand years in the status of dhimmi
s. Dhimmis were non-Muslims tolerated in the Muslim state. But they were tolerated only in the inferior status of dhimmis. This status involved such things as special taxation, originally conceived of as a form of tribute in the Quran [9:29]. Muslim law [shari`ah
] specifically aimed to humiliate
, as in how one of the special taxes on dhimmis, the jizya
, was to be paid. In some places, the dhimmi had to accept a blow on the back of the neck when he paid it. In other, milder cases, the dhimmi had to offer the Muslim official the coin with his hand open, palm upwards. The official would then lift up the coin from the dhimmi's hand. This was to prevent the dhimmi's hand from being above that of the official --as the case would be if the dhimmi dropped the coin into the official's hand-- which would constitute humiliation of a Muslim, in the eyes of Islamic law. In Muslim courts, the dhimmi's testimony was worth one-half that of the dhimmi, and a dhimmi woman's testimony was worth even less. For more on the dhimmi status, see here
and other posts on this blog.
One of the things that the Nazis did to ready their population and other Europeans and people elsewhere for the Holocaust was to constantly vilify the Jews. Carter vilifies the Jews --ostensibly only the state of Israel-- by libelling Israel as "apartheid," then Max Hastings claims that the Jews are vilifying Carter. For the record, in Israel, Arabs vote for the parliament, the Knesset, there is an Arab cabinet minister, Arab judges, including a supreme court judge. Arabs go to university with Jews. Arabs go to school with Jews, although most Arab parents prefer that their children get an Arab education with a Muslim religious component. Arabs ride buses with Jews [how else did the suicide bombers get on the buses?]. Arabs eat in the restaurants with Jews. Now in apartheid South Africa, this ethnic equality did not exist. I don't say "racial equality" since skin color is not the problem between Arabs and Jews. There is in fact a broad range of skin colors among both peoples, particularly among Jews and Arabs in Israel.
A major theme of the walt-mearsheimer tract is that Jews or the "Israel Lobby" dominate what the American media say about Israel. In my view, the Petro-Diplomatic Complex
has more influence over what the American media write about Israel than Israel's supporters do. Anyhow, here is Hastings:
The American media, claim the authors, even such mighty organs as The New York Times and The Washington Post, do less than justice to the Palestinians, much more than justice to the Israelis. . . There is no American counterpart to such notably Arabist British polemicists as Robert Fisk.
The problem is that the New York Times and Washington Post have often published false reports libelling Israel. Hastings, uncritically approving w-m's claim, turns the situation around to have it that the NYT and WaPo favor Israel over those Arabs, now fashionably called "Palestinians." Bear in mind that one hundred years ago, the Muslim-Arabs themselves did not speak of "Palestine" let alone a "Palestinian people." As late as 1946, Palestinian Arab spokesmen testifying before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, demanded that the Palestine mandated territory --set up to embody the Jewish National Home in international law in 1920 at San Remo, endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922 and so on, confirmed by the UN Charter [Article 80] after WW2-- be a part of Syria or Greater Syria, in conformity with the traditional Arab geographical concept of bilad ash-Sham
[Greater Syria, including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel, grosso modo
]. Few Americans, certainly not friends of Israel, would agree that the NYT or WaPo are friendly to Israel. Now, as to Robert Fisk, he is a notorious journalistic liar. Fisk has an aversion to facts that don't fit his anti-Israel arguments. Fisk shames the British people. One of his lies was published in an article that I read after Iraq's conquest of Kuwait, a fellow Arab state, in 1990. Fisk claimed that there had been a "Province of Palestine" in the Ottoman Empire before WW One. This is completely false. At that time, the country on both sides of the Jordan was divided between the province of Syria [vilayet
of Sham; also translated as "province of Damascus"], the province [vilayet
] of Beirut, and the mutesariflik
of Jerusalem [also called "independent sanjaq of Jerusalem"]. So when Robert Fisk claimed that there had been an Ottoman "province of Palestine," he was either lying or he was ignorant. Fisk's purpose was to project the "palestinian people" notion back into the past.
To be sure, Hastings criticizes the book's style.
Mearsheimer and Walt’s book argues its points at such ponderous length that it makes pretty leaden reading.
But this is a trivial point when he has uncritically accepted all of their political and historical claims. Then Hastings gets into high dudgeon about freedom of the press, etc.
. . . it is extraordinary that, in a free society, the legitimacy of the expression of their opinions should be called into question.
But is it legitimate to lie so grossly on important public issues?
Then Hastings quotes walt-mearsheimer wanting to have Israel downgraded as an ally of free, democratic countries besides Israel allegedly being immoral and oppressive to Arabs, in their terms.
“We show,” say the authors, “that although Israel may have been an asset during the cold war it is increasingly a strategic liability now that the cold war is over. Backing Israel so strongly helps fuel America’s terrorism problem and makes it harder for the United States to address the other problems it faces in the Middle East.”
Here Hastings, and w-m forget how US foreign policy --including in its so-called "realist" mode [walt & mearsheimer are supposed to be "realists" on foreign policy]-- has created problems in the Middle East which one may or not agree favor American interests but surely are harmful to Israel. For instance, was it good for the United States under President Carter --his foreign policy managed by Zbig Brzezinski-- to have supported the takeover of Iran by the Muslim fanatic Khomeini [1978-1979], whom Ahmadinejad obeyed at the time?? Does Hastings remember the Teheran hostage crisis, perpetrated by those whom the US had helped to take over Iran? Was it good for the United States to have favored the takeover of Lebanon by Syria, which it did under President Ford [in 1976, Kissinger was secretary of state] and under President Bush Senior [in 1990, James Baker was secretary of state, encouraging Syria to crush its last Lebanese opposition]?? Was it good for the United States to have helped Iraq, to have helped Saddam Hussein, in the 1980s, then having to fight Iraq in 1991 after it had conquered Kuwait and was threatening Saudi Arabia?
Americans ring-fence Israel from the normal sceptical processes of democracy, while arguments for the Palestinians are often denounced as pernicious as well as antisemitic.
Indeed, many arguments for the Arabs now called "palestinians" are "perncious as well as antisemitic." How about "the right of return"? The Palestine mandate and the Jewish National Home principle endorsed by the League of Nations stipulated a Jewish "right of return." However, the Arab political leadership of the Mufti Husseini and his Arab Higher Committee for Palestine called for cancelling that right, as the Nazis in Germany became more of a threat to the Jews. Precisely on the eve of the Holocaust, when the Jews needed a home more than ever, the British government accepted the Arab position and severely curtailed Jewish immigration into the internationally designated Jewish National Home, in violation of the Mandate, according to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission.
Mearsheimer and Walt conclude, weakly but inevitably, with a mere plea for more open debate in the US about Israel. “Because most Americans are only dimly aware of the crimes committed against the Palestinians,” they say, “they see their continued resistance as an irrational desire for vengeance. Or as evidence of unwarranted hatred of Jews akin to the antisemitism that was endemic in old Europe.
Here Hastings & walt-mearsheimer come close to the shrill tones used by the "left" against Israel's alleged "crimes." They repeat --by implication and insinuation-- the lie that, yes, there was "antisemitism . . . endemic in old Europe" but not in the Arab world. Hence, this line indicates a convergence
between the so-called "left" and Establishment foreign policy planners against Israel.
For Europeans, all this adds up to a bleak picture. Only America might be capable of inducing the government of Israel to moderate its behaviour, and it will not try. Washington gives Jerusalem a blank cheque, and all of us in some degree pay a price for Israel’s abuses of it.
After that remark, I shall be pleasantly surprised to escape an allegation from somebody that I belong in the same stable of antisemites as Walt and Mearsheimer.
So Hastings wants the USA to exert massive pressure on Israel's government, which is weak anyhow, in order to "moderate" Israel's behavior, whereas it is not considered that Arab behavior needs to be moderated, although Abu Mazen's Palestinian Authority has not fulfilled any of the requirements of the so-called Road Map, such as ending hostile propaganda against Israel and disarming terrorist militias. Yes, I consider Hastings to be an antisemite, or rather a Judeophobe. Another British scribbler, one Daniel Levy, treated the walt-mearsheimer tract favorably in a review in HaArets
[available in English]. This Daniel Levy is the son of Lord Levy, one of Tony Blair's major campaign contributors. Another British journalopropagandist, Gwyn Dyer, falsifies
the status of the 1949-1967 armistice lines, calling them Israel's "legal borders." This is of course par for the course in British journalism, although journalists elsewhere spread the same lie. If Hastings, Dyer, & Fisk are exemplars of British journalism, then it's simply a propaganda industry, although Britain can do much better.
Walt-Mearsheimer are political scientists, so their book can be considered political science fiction.
Coming: Condi and the false analogy between Abu Mazen and Dr Martin Luther King [a Zionist, in fact], Jews in the Land of Israel, Jerusalem and Hebron, peace follies, propaganda, war for order, etc.