An Israeli Response to Irish Invective
To Professor John Kelly,
I have just read your communication with the Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) in which you state that you would strongly endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions if you believed it would be effective; and your accompanying 2006 article in the Irish Times
Both are deeply offensive documents. Indeed, it is difficult to decide which is more outrageous:
(a) Your wildly biased and partisan account of realities in the Palestinian areas; or
(b) Your highly unpersuasive and pompous attempt to establish the authenticity of your humanitarian credentials, by the self-righteous and condescending remark to the effect that "some of your best friends are Jewish".
Criticism the Jewish State or Demonization of the Jewish People?
You admit that, "I am oft times condemned to being anti-Semitic…" Indeed, on reading your diatribes this is not difficult to understand.
For while it is undoubtedly true that criticism of Israel is not in itself evidence of anti-Semitism, the pervasive and enduring application of double standards against the nation-state of the Jewish people makes anti-Semitism an increasingly plausible explanation which cannot be perfunctorily dismissed.
This observation is highly pertinent to the attitude you adopt and the animosity you express – despite your protestations to the contrary.
You claim that you are, "passionately sympathetic to the plight of the people of Palestine". Sadly however, your evident empathy for the Palestinians to seems to reflect your enduring enmity for the Jews; your compassion for them matched only by your callousness for us
Thus, you portray the plight of the Palestinians as the incomprehensible consequence of mindless malice on the part ofIsrael, and all security measures undertaken by Israel as acts of arbitrary aggression against a peaceful, passive population.
Conspicuous by its absence is any reference to the brutality of Palestinian terror against Israeli civilians. You make no mention of the Arab assault on the Jewish state which began long before Israel held a square inch of territory now presented as "Palestinian".
The worst kind of anti Semitism
Can such omissions be anything but deliberate distortions?
Indeed, perhaps the worst kind of anti-Semitism is the expectation – as appears to be the case on your part - that Jews consent to die meekly.
The worst kind of anti-Semitism is to portray – which you appear to do - every coercive measure undertaken by the IDF to protect the lives of Jews against those striving to kill them, just because they are Jews, as "disproportionate war crimes".
The worst kind of anti Semitism is to consider – as you appear to do – that preventing Palestinian inconveniencefar more important than preventing the loss of Jewish lives (or limbs)
The worst kind of anti-Semitism is to decry, dismiss and delegitimize – which you appear to do - as callous cruelty or mindless malevolence, any action taken by Israel to defend itself and its civilians against manifestly Judeocidal assaults – whether these actions be defensive responses or offensive initiatives; whether preventative strikes or punitive retaliation.
The worst kind of anti-Semitism is to demand – as you seem to be suggesting - that the Jews should allow their attackers to assault them with absolute immunity from any reprisal, with total impunity from all retribution, and unhindered by any fear of unpleasant consequences at all.
Throughout history, defeated aggressors have suffered the consequence of their defeated aggression.
By way of illustration:
- Would you have expressed the same "passionate sympathy" for the plight of destitute Germans at the end of World War II?
- Would you accuse the Allies of treating the starving German civilians – whose plight was immeasurably more desperate than that of the Palestinians today (see below) – "with utter contempt as lesser mortals, and as prisoners in their own lands"?
- Would it be appropriate to describe their terrible tribulations without any mention of what precipitated the destruction and devastation they suffered?
- Would you blithely gloss over any reference to German aggression and brutality that predicated the Allied response?
- Would any account of the post-War realities on the ground in Germany, be even vaguely accurate in terms of their historical context, without a single word regarding that antecedent aggression and brutality?
To depict the current Palestinian predicament as anything other than a consequence of their failed attempt to eliminate the Jews and their state, is to disingenuously distort the truth.
Indeed, when you declare that, "The treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government is very difficult to understand. It makes no sense, except if the aim is the annihilation of the Palestinian people", one can only shake ones head in bewilderment and wonder whether you are woefully misinformed or willfully misleading.
Overtly Declared Judeophobia, and Actively Pursued Judeocide
In fact, the plight of the Palestinians, which you so bewail, is demonstrably the consequence of overtly declaredJudeophobia, and actively pursued Judeocide on the part of both Palestinians and the wider Arab world – ostensibly on behalf, and in the name of, the Palestinian cause.
Should you doubt the veracity of this assertion – or the aptness of the allusions to the Germans - kindly click here to view a comparison of the portrayal of the Jews in the Arab press today and Nazi press in the past.
Should you doubt the Palestinians' Judeophobic intentions, kindly refer to the Hamas Charter which unabashedly states (Article 7) that:
The hour [of redemption] would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and the stone or the tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him
It was of course interesting to note that you describe the Hamas as a "so-called terrorist party" leaving the reader to wonder what would, in your eyes, qualify an organization as a genuine bone fide terrorist group
Should you believe that the, "more moderate Fatah party" – to use your words - has significantly more peaceable aspirations, kindly refer to the organization's constitution which stipulates its goal (Article 12) and the method (Article 19) by which this goal is to be achieved:
Goal: Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence lsic]
Method: Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
Significantly, this document was compiled in 1964, years before Israel held a square inch of what today is referred to as "Occupied Territory", leaving one to ponder on what "Palestine" they were thinking of "liberating" by means of "the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution".
Should you believe that the written letter no longer reflects the views of the current leaders, here is a quote fromMuhammad Dahlan, a senior Fatah leader, on Palestinian Authority TV (March, 16, 2009)
I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today.
This echoes precisely the sentiments expressed previously by Mahmoud Abbas who you describe as, "the very moderate president of the Palestinian Authority", on Al-Arabiya, Dubai & Palestinian TV (Oct. 3, 2006):
Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize Israel... It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel…
Both Dahlan and Abbas admitted that the Palestinian Authority, as distinct from the Fatah, was compelled to feign recognition of Israel in order to obtain financial benefits.
Should you, however, still have any doubt as to what the Palestinians mean when they refer to "Palestine", kindly click here for the Fatah emblem and those of the other Palestinian organizations – whether Islamist or not – including the PLO itself, which as you will see, all depict the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea as Arab Palestine – clearly implying a denial of any semblance of political sovereignty for the Jews.
Should you still be plagued by lingering doubts that this reflects an obdurate refusal to recognize the establishment of a Jewish state within any borders whatsoever, kindly refer to the Palestinian National Covenant formulated in 1968, and currently available on the PLO UN website , which in Article 19 states that:
The partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal,regardless of the passage of time…[sic]
Interestingly enough this is virtually a verbatim restatement of Article 17 of the 1964 version of the Covenant, which clearly was not motivated by the post-1967 "Occupation", the "separation barrier" or the check-points you so berate.
However, the Palestinians' enmity towards Israel and Jews is not limited merely to rhetoric and symbolism. Their bloodcurdling declarations have translated into equally bloody deeds – stretching back for decades –see for example Terrorism deaths in Israel- 1920-1999. Indeed, in this regard allow me – somewhat immodestly - to refer you to The Israel-Arab Conflict: "Root Causes" and "Red Herrings"
To Illustrate the point, allow me one citation from this article - from Ahmed Shukairy, Arafat's predecessor, as Chairman of the PLO, on June 1, 1967 before Israel had any presence in the territories now claimed by the Palestinians:
This is a fight for the homeland. It is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews ofPalestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old PalestineJewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive....We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors - if there are any - the boats are ready to deport them.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions
Trivializing the Value of Israeli Lives
The Oslo Accords, and Israel's willingness to terminate its control over the Palestinians, served only to fuel their attacks – see Fatal Terrorist Attacks in Israel Since the DOP (Sept 1993) and Victims of Palestinian Terror - in which Palestinian terror resulted in almost 1,500 fatalities (equivalent to 60,000 dead in the USA – or over twenty "9/11"s).
Almost 1200 of these (equivalent to almost 50,000 US deaths) occurred since Ehud's Barak’s unprecedented offer to Arafat for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian response was a massive wave of violence – including a dramatic surge in suicide bombings (see Fig 1 below) that culminated in the 2002 Passover massacre , triggering the public outcry which resulted, among other things, in the construction of the separation barrier in 2003.
The construction of the barrier brought about a steep decline in terror attacks which have in effect been halted almost completely – saving the lives (and limbs) of hundreds of Israeli citizens – both Jews and Arabs, who you will recall, also fell victim to indiscriminate Palestinian terror.
These figures make a mockery of your baseless claim that "…the election of the Hamas government has been the wall's major achievement to date…" unless of course you consider the saving of Israeli lives a minor achievement.
Conflating Cause and Consequence
So quite contrary to your distasteful suggestion, Israeli policy – which admittedly may not always be without fault or be yond criticism – is clearly a response to Palestinian attempts to annihilate Israelis, rather than an unprovoked Israeli initiative to annihilate Palestinians. Indeed, your statement that :
The wall is a bizarre and absurd course of action and has succeeded only in being the prime and very effective recruitment strategy for Hamas, thereby getting them elected and replacing the more moderate Fatah party.
exudes intellectual dishonesty. For any informed and impartial observer of events can readily discern, it was Hamas terror that brought about the "Wall", not the "Wall" that brought about Hamas terror. Only the hopelessly biased and partisan would dare to suggest such a reversal of causality and deny that Israeli actions (including the construction of the security barrier) are the result of, rather than the reason, for Palestinian enmity,
You complain that often "no reason is given" when Palestinians are stopped at check points and conclude that, "It would appear that the instructions given to the Israeli guards on these checkpoints are simply to humiliate the Palestinians and make life as awkward for them as they can." Surely even you must be aware these checkpoints have led to the apprehension of hundreds of potential terrorists, including suicide bombers and weapons smugglers, not infrequently masquerading as those in need of medical attention. Likewise, ambulances, vehicle belonging to international organizations and even unwitting children have been used in attempts by terror groups to smuggle in both personnel and matériel. Closures are typically imposed on the basis of intelligence – admittedly not always accurate - regarding possible action by terrorist groups. When you protest that "no reason" is given for closures, are you seriously suggesting that the soldiers at the checkpoints share this intelligence regarding such impending action – assuming they themselves are even apprised of it - with the general Palestinian public?? And given the deadly consequences of terror, would you advise Israel to err on the side of caution, or on the side of cavalier abandon?
It would be one thing if you were to acknowledge Israel's dire security exigencies and focus your criticism on how to make them less onerous for the Palestinians. It is quite another to brand Israeli security measures as needless and deliberate malevolence whose only purpose is to torment the Palestinians.
Detached from Reality or Determined to Distort It?
Moreover your expression of concern loses any vestige of moral authority when you allege:
It is extraordinary that Israel has the policy of treating its Palestinian neighbours as less than human and giving them lesser privileges than they give to their domestic animals.
This is of course a statement so preposterous that it totally eliminates any claim to credibility on your part.
For the hard facts are that from the late 60s to the early 90s, Israel lifted Palestinian living standards from the virtually medieval levels under the Hashemite regime into those of the 20th century. Under Israeli administration:
· GDP per capita soared by over 10-fold to overtake nearly all non-oil producing Arab countries.
· Life expectancy climbed from barely 40 to over 70,
· Infant morality (deaths per 1000 births) plummeted from 60 to 15 (18 for Gaza) - far better than nearly all African nations including South Africa, many South & Central American countries including Mexico & Brazil, several European countries such as Romania and Bulgaria, many Arab and Muslim states such as Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, numerous Asian countries including India, China and Indonesia – and far better than the World average of over 40.
- Access to safe water grew by 500% with only 50 villages connected to running water in 1967 compared to 260 by 1991, while the percentage of households with safe water grew by from 15% in 1970 to 80% in 1996
· Supply of electricity grew by a similar rate from about 20% to about 90%.
Similarly, Palestinians were given access to due process within the Israeli judicial system, which arguably more often than not ruled in their favor, including on many issues relating to the location of the security barrier.
Your reference to the ravages wrought on Palestinian agriculture shows you are either completely detached from realityor determined to distort it. Indeed, even B'Tselem (who you quote) acknowledges that almost 95% of Palestinian agriculture is unaffected by the security barrier. And while it is true that a small percentage of Palestinian farmers have been adversely impacted by the barrier, which has at times forces them to make time consuming detours, one cannot help wondering how long a detour by a Palestinian olive grower is – in your mind – commensurate with the loss of one Israeli life (or limb).
In fact, the Israeli administration brought about huge advances in Palestinian agriculture. As one well known expert pointed out:
The Israeli occupation changed local agriculture profoundly. It introduced modern technology, including mechanization, precision tillage, pest control, plastic covering of crops for temperature control, high yielding varieties, postharvest processing of produce, marketing, and export outlets. It also introduced efficient methods of irrigation, including sprinkler and especially drip irrigation. Consequently, output increased greatly, and farming was transformed from a subsistence enterprise to a commercial industry.
Daniel Hillel, Rivers of Eden: (Oxford University Press, 1994)
Ah – those dastardly Israelis!! Totally undermining the traditional way of life of the Palestinians. Can't seem to do anything right – damned if the do and damned if they don't.
Let me conclude with a quotation from Israel's former Foreign Minister Abba Eban:
…the Jewish nation seeks an authentic fulfillment of itself… The question is at what point Arab nationalism, with its prodigious glut of advantage, wealth and opportunity, will come to terms with the modest but equal rights of another Middle Eastern nation to pursue its life in security and peace.
If you understand this, perhaps you too will understand the events that comprise the history of the Arab Israel conflict – including its Palestinian component. Perhaps then, you will desist from your diabolical, distorted and deceitful diatribes against the Jewish nation state.