Saturday, July 30, 2005

Confessions of a Once-Hopeful Leftist - Part II

by Jared Israel
Jul 28, '05 / 21 Tammuz 5765

Arabs live in Gaza; so do Jews. Gaza Jews live in towns and villages built on what was previously considered un-farmable land. Junk land. Before 1967, when Israel seized Gaza from Egypt, that land was inhabited by nobody. These are indisputable facts.

Arab leaders tell the world that their struggle is not against Jews per se, but against a supposedly expansionist Israel. All they want is a state for the Palestinians; so, national liberation.

As a recovering Hopeful Leftist, I remember believing this. I began recovering from my Hopeful condition when I began testing this belief against reality. For example, if Arab organizations were really for a state (and not against Jews) what would be their attitude towards Jews living in Gaza?

The answer is, they would welcome Jewish individuals to stay. The Palestinian Authority would publish official documents guaranteeing protection of the rights of what would be, upon the departure of Israeli forces, a Jewish minority. And they would guarantee that attacks on Jewish people, prior to the proposed pullout, were punished as sharply as possible, thus making an international statement. This would be a brilliant stroke, creating the impression that Arab leaders were anti-racist. It would weaken the opposition to turning Gaza over to full Arab control among Israeli Jews.

Why don't Arab leaders take this politically shrewd stand?

There is a substantial Arab minority in Israel, with normal rights; indeed, Israeli Arabs enjoy more rights than those in any Arab state. For example, in what Arab state can Arabs organize and campaign for state officials without fear of police repression?

Israeli Jews who physically assault Israeli Muslims are subject to the extreme penalties of the law. In Israel it is a hate crime, and one that is actively prosecuted, to call for physical attacks on Muslims or make remarks considered insulting to Muslims.

So, even if the Arab Palestinian movement is based on hatred of Jews, it would seem smart to welcome Gaza Jews to remain, thus telling the world that Arab leaders are just as humane as Jews.

What is the reality?

No such pledge has been made. Instead, every Palestinian Arab faction attacks the Sharon government's plan to evict Jews from Gaza as insincere, inadequate, or both. Not only does no Arab faction say Jews should be invited to stay, none denounces attempts to kill Gaza Jews, except by sometimes saying that such attacks should be temporarily halted lest they prevent the planned Israeli pullout.

On Saturday, June 18th, CNN reported that Mahmoud Abbas, alias Abu Mazen, President of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, held a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. For months, Arab terrorists had been shooting and launching rockets at Gaza Jews. For example:

"Earlier Saturday (i.e., the day of the press conference - JI) two Palestinian militants opened fire at Israeli troops guarding an Israeli settlement in Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. One militant was killed and another was wounded when the soldiers opened fire, Palestinian officials said." -- CNN, June 18, 2005 (4)

And after the press conference ended:

"Shortly after Rice spoke, a blast was heard in Gaza. Palestinian militants said they had launched two rockets toward an Israeli settlement in southern Gaza." -- CNN, June 19, 2005 (4)

Notice that in one case, the attack was directed at settlements, meaning towns where Jews live. In the other case, the Arabs tried to kill troops protecting Jews from murder. So, both attacks told Jews that their presence in Gaza was an offense punishable by death.

How did Secretary Rice and President Abbas react?

Ms. Rice reported on her meetings with Palestinian Arab officials and spoke of the need for "peaceful withdrawal", not mentioning that rockets were targeting Jews and that Arabs were trying to kill soldiers protecting the Jews. These were non-events.

As for President Abbas, he was Orwellian:

"We discussed with Dr Rice the issue of the calm in general and the Palestinian factions' commitment to this calm. We will continue to maintain the calm to reach a favorable result, whereby everybody will be committed so as to move to other steps after the withdrawal." -- Transcript of June 18th press conference. (5)

Notice that Abbas spoke of "continu(ing) to maintain calm." Three times in two sentences he called the assembled world media's attention to the "calm" in Gaza. So: War is Peace; Murdering Jews is Calm.

The world writes this off on the grounds that the attacks are supposedly the work of Hamas, supposedly the fringe of Arab politics. The idea is that if supposed moderates, like Abbas, fight Hamas they'll isolate themselves.

If this 'defense' were accurate, it would mean that much of the Palestinian Arab population was won to such extreme hatred of Jews that even when Israel plans to pull State forces out, no Arab politician dares to declare killing Jews to be wrong, let alone welcome Jews to stay in Gaza as people. And this, despite the international political gain of making such statements, even if they are lies.

However, it wasn't Hamas that tried to murder those soldiers trying to protect Jews from murder: "Two Palestinian militant groups, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Islamic Jihad, claimed joint responsibility for the failed attack."

And what is Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? A military branch of Fatah, whose candidate in the Arab election was Abu Mazen, alias Mahmoud Abbas, now president of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. The guy who spoke alongside Secretary Rice at the June 18th press conference.

(Here are photos of Abbas enthusiastically campaigning with leaders of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: http://www.balatacamp.net/website/pics/youngjournalists/abumazen; the above page is backed up at: http://www.tenc.net/abbas-aqsa.htm.)

O National Liberation, what Crimes are Committed in thy Name

The world has been conditioned to think it is perfectly acceptable for the Arab "liberation" movement to enthusiastically support killing Jews, even though it would be a political coup for them to pretend that they morally oppose such killings.

Thus has the once honorable idea of national liberation been transformed into its opposite - a license for race hate, the very thing national liberation was supposed to combat.

By way of contrast, consider the 19th century nationalist struggle to unify Italy.

Prior to unification, the Italian territories included, and include today, a large French-speaking minority and a large German-speaking minority, as well as Jews, Albanians, Greeks, Slovenians and Croats. Jews in the then-Papal State were confined to ghettos whose gates were locked at night to prevent them from mingling with Gentiles, or otherwise escaping.

Not only did the Italian liberation movement give full rights to minorities, it tore down the walls of the Jewish ghettos, declaring the Jews free and equal (much to the fury of the Vatican...).

Similarly, after World War I, when Serbs led in creating a united state of the South Slavs (Yugoslavia), they did so in conjunction with Croats and Bosnian Muslims, even though many members of the latter groups had participated in anti-Serb atrocities as soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Or consider this. On April 28, 1948, the Haifa (Jewish) Workers' Council published a declaration calling on Arab workers not to respond to the demand, broadcast by Haj Amin Al-Husseini's Arab Higher Committee, to leave Haifa. Instead, the Arabs were urged to stay and build Israel for Jews and Muslims alike. (You may read the declaration in full at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/haifa.htm.)

That's how real national liberation movements work. In liberating themselves, they embrace potential brothers, rather than organizing the murder of Jews.

Footnotes:

(4) Rice on Israel troop withdrawal: "'There is no more time'", CNN.com, June 18, 2005 Saturday, 2:33 AM EST, WORLD, 748 words, RAMALLAH, West Bank

(5) "Palestinian leader affirms commitment to Gaza coordination, Rice urges progress", BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, June 19, 2005, Sunday, 2949 words

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