Unmasking the Myths

Israel has spent an enormous amount of time and energy on its public relations image, especially in America.  For instance, the story that Israel was a land without a...

Israel has spent an enormous amount of time and energy on its public relations image, especially in America.  For instance, the story that Israel was a land without a people for a people without a land. When Israel was established in 1949 there were over 700,000 Palestinians living there.

These people have always been fighting each other and there’s nothing you can do about it. Starting in the late 19th Century, European Zionists began laying the ground work for an exclusively Jewish state. Palestinian Jews had lived in peace with their Christian and Muslim neighbors for centuries.

Israel has always been the eternal home of the Jews.  Hebrew rule in the region lasted during the kingdoms of David and Solomon, around 73 years.  If we measure from David’s conquest of Canaan in 1000 BC to the fall of Judah in 586 BC we get 414 years of Jewish rule. This region went through many hands over the years.  So much for the eternal home.

The Jews made the desert blossom.  No, the land had been productive before 1949. In fact, British commissioner for Palestine, John Chancellor said, “all cultivatable land was occupied; that no cultivated land now in possession of the indigenous population could be sold to Jews without creating a class of landless Arab cultivators.”

Israel never intended to exist within the legal 1948 or even the expanded 1967 borders.   Said David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders of Israel, in 1938, “after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.”  In 1948, Menachem Begin announced: “The partition of the Homeland is illegal.  It will never be recognized.  The signature of institutions and individuals of the parting agreement is invalid.  It will not bind the Jewish people.  Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital.  Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) will be restored to the people of Israel.  All of it. And forever.”

On December 11, 1948, the UN passed Resolution 194, affirming the right of displaced Palestinians to return home in peace. Israel refused to recognize this resolution and in 1950, passed their own law excluding Palestinians from returning to homes in Israel or Palestine called the Law of Return.  Jews from all over the world can “return” to Israel, even if they’ve never been there before while Palestinians, some of whom still have the keys to their front doors, are denied this same right.

In 1967, US corporate media told Americans that Israel had responded to a surprise attack from all sides. The Six Days War would go down in American history as a defensive war.  Here’s what former Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin said.  “In June 1967, we again had a choice.  The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us.  We must be honest with ourselves.  We decided to attack him.”  Thus began the war that would result in Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.  There was never any intent of leaving any land for the Palestinians.   Begin: “No Zionist politician has ever repudiated Ben-Gurion’s idea that Israeli policies must be based on the restoration of the Biblical borders as the borders of the Jewish state.”

Corporate media presents the illegal occupation of Palestine as a war between equals.  This is a war of occupation with all the power dynamics that implies. For example, when Israel attacked Gaza during Operation Cast Led they sealed the borders then attacked civilians with fighter jets, white phosphors, depleted uranium and DIME weapons.

Palestine was offered a state, but Yasser Arafat turned it down. Ever wonder why?

What he was offered was Bantustans of unconnected lands, overlooked by Israeli settlements in the surrounding hills.  The Oslo Accords of 1995 divided Palestine into three zones.  Zone A, 3% of the land, is theoretically under Palestinians control. This includes Hebron, where Israeli settlers are currently displacing Palestinian families and building illegal settlements, all under the protective eyes of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The IDF is there to protect the settlers, not the homeowners.  Zone B, 25% of the land, is under mixed control with Israel in charge of all police, check points and military activities.  Zone C, 72% of the land, is under Israeli control.

Israel is the only democracy in the region. Yeah, if you’re Jewish. While non-Jews carry Israeli citizenship, they are denied Israeli nationality. It is this division that creates two sets of laws, or what the UN defines as an apartheid state. This is to be expected in a state that has placed being a Jewish state above being a democracy.  They also do not have a constitution.

“The abstention from formulating a constitution was no accident …. All this land then would have necessarily been declared unconstitutional, null and void, by the Supreme Court, being expressly discriminatory against one part of the citizenry, whereas a democratic constitution obligates the state to treat all its citizens equally.” Thus spoke Boas Evron in his book Jewish State or Israeli Nation.

Israel is a civilizing force in the region. Let’s see what the current Israeli Cabinet has to say for themselves. Deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben Dahan called bi-religious marriages “a silent holocaust “and stated that “a Jews always has a much higher soul than a goy”. He further went on to tell the Knesset (Israeli legislature) that Palestinians “are beasts, not human.”  Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked told her Facebook readers that all Palestinians deserve death.  “The entire Palestinian people is the enemy … they are all enemy combatants and their blood shall be on their heads.  Now this also includes the mothers…otherwise, more little snakes will be raised.”  Culture Minister Miri Regev called African asylum seekers a cancer, then apologized to cancer victims for comparing them to Africans.  She told a T.V. interviewer that she was “happy to be a fascist.” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel promotes the Prawer Plan, a plan to round up all the Bedouins living in the Negev Desert for relocation on reservations. Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has redesigned Israel’s curriculum in accordance with religious ultra-nationalist to make Israeli students even more racist than they are now. In 2013, Bennett said, “I’ve killed many Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that.”

Is Israel a civilizing force? Learn the facts then you decide.

Sources: John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice; Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle; Boas Evron, Jewish State or Israeli Nation? The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict by Jews for Justice in the Middle East, Goliath © 2013, Max Blumenthal, Democracy Now 8/13/15

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Op-Ed

Rebel Fagin is a writer who has been politically active in Sonoma County since the 1970’s. He writes regularly for the Sonoma County Peace Press and the Global Critical Media Literacy Project (gcml.org). He has a book documenting nearly forty years of street activism in Sonoma County called Tales from the Perpetual Oppositional Culture – a Journey into Resistance. He lives in Santa Rosa, California and is active with many activists’ organizations.

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