Friday, 26 February 2010

Post#142 "Teach Yourself The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (Zionism, our response to it and USS Liberty)

I started writing this in 2008 and was prompted to rescue it from draft limbo by the discovery that Australian passports were forged by Mossad and used as cover in the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai.

I noticed the book with the title referred to above on the library shelf and couldn't resist it. It provoked some wry thoughts along the lines of; "Does it come with bomb designs or toy tanks?"

Stewart Ross, the author, appears to me to have made a sincere effort to achieve the balance he promises in the book's introduction but I'm sure he'll attract the fury of many nonetheless. There's nothing that can be said about this topic that doesn't vex somebody. As I was reading it I could see where various statements that seem perfectly reasonable to me would have some of the partisans frothing at the mouth. In fact, the words "Israel" or "Palestine" alone will provoke some to deny that one or the other of those places even exist. "There is no Israel! It is a false state!"; "Palestine is a fiction of history!", and so on.

That reminded me of what I felt when reading the Wikipedia article on the USS Liberty incident. In this episode Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked and severely damaged a US Navy intelligence-gathering vessel in June 1967. This was during the Six Day War and the dispute about it has become a forty-one year war of words. The two combatant factions are those who accept the Israeli claim that the attack was erroneous and that the Liberty was misidentified as an Egyptian ship and those who believe that the attack was deliberate and intended to prevent the US passing intelligence about Israel's deployments to the Egyptians, either deliberately or through falling victim to Soviet intercepts. I had seen some TV documentaries about this matter but didn't take a strong interest until I read James Ennes' book, Assault on the Liberty*. It convinced me that the attack was deliberate and that was good enough for me to settle for. (I don't really buy that the Israelis are as incompetent as they would need to be to make such a mistake.) One day, out of idle interest, I looked at the article on Wikipedia. The version at the time (several months ago) was so frantically pro-Israeli that it offended me. I felt like adding a flashing banner header to the article, saying "Shalom! This article is brought to you by Mossad! Enjoy!" On the talk page I found the edit war in full blast. The Zionists and their nemeses had been slugging it out for quite a while and were expending millions of keystrokes and were (and are) apparently happy to continue until Doomsday with it.

I am in earnest about Mossad skewing the Wikipedia article. It would be the height of naivety to think that the intelligence agencies of the world don't prowl the Internet putting the case for their nation's interests. As the most commonly-accessed research site, Wikipedia is probably a high priority target in the propaganda wars. I don't have a problem in principle with agencies of governments contributing to websites. They probably correct a lot of errors and provide information that would otherwise be omitted. However, they don't confine themselves to defending the truth. Nor even the truth as they perceive it. They tell downright lies. As do their opponents.

This ruthlessness is what exasperates me about the so-called "Middle-East conflict". I've seen the same film footage used to illustrate television documentaries about the subject which have utterly opposing messages. One is pro-Israel, the other anti-Israel. The footage is cut and voiced-over to give a completely different significance to it, according to the purpose of the propagandist. Another manifestation of this is in the letters pages of the newspapers. In The Australian last year I read a letter from a person purporting to be a professor at an Eastern States university. I hadn't read the letter which he was responding to but it apparently had contained an argument against those who refer to the "Holocaust" as a justification of the existence of Irsael. The writer had apparently made the fairly obvious and well-worn argument that two wrongs don't make a right and that the Palestinian Arabs had nowt to do with killing Jews in Europe, etc. The professor set out to show that the Palestinians were complicit in the genocide of Jews in Europe because...the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a confrere of Hitler and had conspired with the Nazis against the Jews. Now that's the sort of thing that jacks me off. This professor is obviously a Zionist partisan and is using sophistic argument of the most tawdry kind. Here's a perfect comparator for this allegation: I know of a country whose leader admired Hitler and was prepared to make a deal with him. He visited Hitler both in a private and official capacity to build the relationship. He was fully aware of Hitler's anti-Jewish ferocity and obviously found it no obstacle to friendship. Think about that for a few moments. Think hard, then read on...

That country was Australia. Its head of state was King Edward VIII, later abdicated to the Duchy of Windsor. He was also Emperor of all British dominions, including the UK itself. So much for that type of reasoning.

Another example of this Zionist hard-heading is the response to any attempt to point out the fact that there is a Zionist lobby group. The recent publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy has provoked the typical attacks on the authors as anti-semites and dupes of terrorists. I'm not going to attempt an analysis of the work; I haven't yet read it and I doubt that I could improve on what's in the Wikipedia article or the discussion page that goes with it. My interest is in the fact that plenty of people who also hadn't read it, or had only apparently skimmed it, pitched in with boots and all to attack the authors. They neither knew nor cared about the facts. The authors weren't wholeheartedly on Israel's side so they were legitimate targets. This is the Zionist pattern: You are with us or you are a Nazi, Jew-hating, anti-semitic, terrorist-loving, etc. If you claim to be a Jew, you must also be a "self-loathing Jew" or not really a Jew at all.

By now, any Zionist reading this will be shouting, "What about the terrorists? Why does this Retarius not care about the terrorists? He's obviously a Nazi, Jew-hating, anti..."

Not that the Zionists will care about my credentials. I'm not with them so they won't give a damn about my motives. For those with remotely open minds I'll specify that I am an Australian of British Isles descent (some of my Irish cousins would take violent exception to that phrase, "British" Isles) . My great-grandparents all arrived in this country in the 1850's. All of my antecedents at that point and a couple of people I know of further back don't include any Jews or Muslims. My religious position is agnostic.

I once accepted the commitment of Australia to the cause of Zionism without a second thought. It was simple; the Israelis were the good guys and whatever they did was right. I'm amazed and ashamed now to remember that, even as a teenager, I had no idea of the circumstances in which Israel was created or the fate of the Arabs who had occupied that land for millennia. Trawling my memory of the early 1970's, I can't remember myself having more than a very simplistic and ill-informed view on the issue. To go back to those terrorists; at that time the PLO and PFLP were emerging into the consciousness of the international community with their various attacks, particularly the 1972 Olympics incident. Palestinian militants were abandoning talk and trying to make the supporters of Israel feel some pain. Talk hadn't gotten them anywhere; terrorism wasn't going to either, but they didn't know that yet. As for many Australians, these gutless murders were my introduction to the fact of the existence of a Palestinian national movement. My first reaction, formed by the ignorance of anything but the terrorism, was that they were thoroughly vicious and deserved whatever they got. It's very hard now, looking back on childish or teenaged perceptions to remember exactly what I did know or think. I don't suppose I thought much about it at all. It's really only in the past twenty years that I've revisited and rethought the matter. A long-held opinion is like a forgotten item in a stored trunk. It can be very surprising to unpack it and look at it. It's like that with old clothes you haven't looked at for a while. You see them with fresh eyes and wonder at how they ever fitted you or that you wore something like that in public. When I looked again at my opinions filed under "Israel" I received a rude shock. I realised that I'd never given the matter any careful adult thought. Like so many others, I'd accepted the necessity of Israel's existence as a response to the "Holocaust". With older, more skeptical eyes, I saw that the acceptance of this belief was a propaganda victory for the most obnoxious kind of Zionist.

I keep putting that word "Holocaust" in those quotation marks for a good reason. That reason is not a disbelief in the genocidal campaigns carried out against Jews during the Second World War. Anyone in this age who thinks that the great pogroms of the Nazis and their collaborators are fictional is either the supreme fool or a lunatic. My dispute with its usage is that it is a melodramatic term which has been conscripted to unethical ends. The history of European animosity towards Semitic peoples is a very long one. I believe that it can be traced to origins in the Punic Wars. It probably didn't escape the attention of the Romans that the sacred language and script of the Jews were identical to the everyday language and script of their ancient foes, the Phoenicians/Carthaginians.

The term "Holocaust" excessively particularises the matter. There is an implication that the persecution of Jews in Europe is a phenomenon of Nazism and its collaborators in occupied countries. This is very convenient for other nations such as Britain and Spain which have deep histories in this field. It obscures the escalation in anti-Judaic activity which occurred throughout Europe in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Australia's official position has been one of relentless sycophancy towards Israel. "Official" in that sentence means the political class, not the citizenry. More and more of us are wearying of the Zionist intransigents. Perhaps even the politicians are beginning to wonder. I have with me the edition of  The Australian for Friday, 26 February, 2010. Above the banner headline "Aussies caught in Israeli spy hit" is a quote from Stephen Smith, Australia's Foreign Minister:

"If ... the abuse of Australian passports was in any way sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend."

This is his response to the discovery that a Mossad hit squad used forged Australian passports as part of their cover for the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai. For the Australian government, in the context of Israel doing a naughty, that's tough talk.

One of the things that delayed my writing this post was that I didn't want to add another dead blowfish of opinion to the massive pile that's been dredged up on this topic over the past 62 years. They usually boil down to "Drive the Jews into the sea!" or "Drive the Arabs into the desert!" These entrenched diametrics are so worn out that you'd have to be mad to bother writing in support of either. I finally came up with an innovative solution. It's about as likely to come to fruition as all the others..not at no harm done in indulging in this flight of fancy.

My plan to solve the Israel-Palestine problem: Wind the place up. The Western countries that supported this lunacy can take the Israelis into their lands. I'll even suspend my support for zero immigration and suggest that Australia could take a few hundred thousand.

Like I said, no chance. However, the fact that the problem will never be solved doesn't mean it won't be
resolved. What the Zionists can't see is that final victory for them will be the removal of the last restraint upon the most fanatical of Palestinians. When all hope is extinguished for them they will  have no reason to refrain from the detonation of  nuclear weapons in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Yes, even Jerusalem. And the rest of us shall sit and watch. In  that regard we shall enjoy the judgement of history that we were consistent if nothing else.


KGS said...

I can't help but notice your over simplistic review of the Arabs' war against the Jewish state.

No other state jas its existence questioned than Israel's. Not even Pakistan, whose own founding can be reasonably compared to the division of Palestine, is ever questioned, ...but yet Israel has to endure such nonsense.

Yes the USS Liberty attack was deliberate one, otherwise the combined forces of the IAF and its navy would have left it alone.

To believe an evil intent on hte behalf of the Israelis, is to dismiss an umpteenth number of US commission reports and results from fact finding missions that have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the action was a combination of bad intelliengence, incompetence and competition between the Israeli armed forces.

In other words, a friendly fire mishap, to believe otherwise is foolishness.

Also, your call for the removal of the Jewish state rests on the myth that it alone underwtires all the ill will in the ME, when in fact it has nothing to do with any arab on arab violence.

Retarius said...

I'm perfectly willing to publish dissenting comment if it's civil in tone...I won't bother to dispute with Zionists for the reasons given in the's futile.

Dina said...

I personally don't feel Americans or Australians have the right to talk about Israel and Zionism...not after what they did to the Native Americans, Africans, and Aborigines.

The Holocaust may be overused as a melodramatic excuse for needing that tiny sliver of land. But I think it beats the excuses of America and Australia. "Oh, our prisons are too crowded! Let's send the people away." "Oh we need religious freedom. Let's take this chunk of land, and let's go get some slaves while we're at it."

We can sit here and weep for what the Palestinians have gone through, but it's probably wiser to look at our own backyard.

I agree with KGS. What other country has its existence questioned as much as Israel? If Israel shouldn't exist, neither should Australia or America? How about Mexico? The Spanish stole that land violently from the Aztecs,Mayans, etc.

What about New Zealand? Didn't that piece of land belong to someone else?


I'm sure there are MANY others.

The world is full of conquered lands and displaced people.

I think the thing that makes Israel stand out is that the displaced people there react with violence.

What if the Native Americans started bombing buses in America? What if the Aborigines started doing it in Australia?

Would the world by sympathetic towards the white Americans and white Australians, or would people start thinking we deserve what we're getting?


What is so shocking and unique about Australians?

Oh and I think it's sad that you say you won't dispute with Zionists because it's futile. Nice of you to lump all Zionists together that way. Prejudice is one thing (we all do it) but what you're saying is actually discrimination. Well, at least in my opinion.

I DO agree it's annoying when certain Jews label any criticism of Israel as being "anti-semitic." But I think it's equally annoying when people fail to realize that SOME criticism of Israel IS anti-semitic.

Dina said...

I agree with you here:

"The term "Holocaust" excessively particularises the matter. There is an implication that the persecution of Jews in Europe is a phenomenon of Nazism and its collaborators in occupied countries. This is very convenient for other nations such as Britain and Spain which have deep histories in this field. It obscures the escalation in anti-Judaic activity which occurred throughout Europe in the 19th and early 20th Centuries."

That's true. But what is your argument? If the Holocaust was a unique freak incidence of anti-semitism, I think there'd be less of a need for a Jewish state. Since anti-semitism has been going on for a LONG time, and continues to go on, I can't blame Jewish people for wanting a land of their own.

I don't consider myself a Zionist though because I don't feel Israel needs to be the place.

I wish other countries did what you talk about....welcomed more Jews into their land, so there didn't need to be an Israel.

What would have happened if Curtin had allowed the thousands of Jews to settle in The Kimberley?

So what would you do if there was a mass extermination of Agnostic and Atheist Australians of British descent? How would you protect yourself? Where would you go? What if other countries around the world decided they didn't want a whole bunch of you folks invading their country as well? What if they put in immigration quotas?

What would you do to protect yourself, your friends, and your family? What could the world do to help and protect you...and to make sure your people aren't in danger again?

I can agree that the Palestinians have gotten a really raw deal. And I can agree that the Israel thing might have been a bad choice. What I'd like to know is...what would be a good alternative?

Retarius said...

Dina, KGS made a couple of further comments which were nothing but uncivil sarcasm so I didn't publish them.

The Australian government has taken a position on Israel and every Australian citizen is represented in that position as far as the world at large is concerned. I and millions of others in this country don't agree with it.

Unfortunately, the response on this issue tends to derive from a commitment to established positions. I meant what I said..the international community, which created Israel, should offer refuge to the Israelis..including in Australia. That's a new viewpoint!