October 29, 2000
4:52 AM   Subscribe

On October 15thThe Guardian had for its editorial "If Palestinians were black, Israel would now be a pariah state subject to economic sanctions led by the United States. Its development and settlement of the West Bank would be seen as a system of apartheid, in which the indigenous population was allowed to live in a tiny fraction of its own country, in self-dministered 'bantustans', with 'whites' monopolising the supply of water and electricity. And just as the black population was allowed into South Africa's white areas in disgracefully under-resourced townships, so Israel's treatment of Israeli Arabs - flagrantly discriminating against them in housing and education spending - would be recognised as scandalous too.

Expanding on this description, Noam Chomsky gives an account of Israel's shift from coercive diplomacy to using direct force in implementing its "final status map". That is, the cantonization, containment and control of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
posted by lagado (23 comments total)
Nationhood and Jerusalem:

Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 B.C.E. the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 C.E. lasted no more than 22 years.

For more than 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital.

Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Most Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

Arab and Jewish Refugees:

In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory.

Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.

The Arab - Israeli Conflict:

The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation.

The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.

The P.L.O.'s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them with weapons.

Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship.

Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

The U.N. Record on Israel and the Arabs:

Of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

The U.N was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
posted by artanis at 7:26 AM on October 29, 2000

Apart from the far-too-common misidentification "Arab == Muslim", there are plenty of statements there, artanis, that are either distortions of fact or simply matters of opinion. For instance, is there more historical proof of David's rule at the founding of Jerusalem than of Muhammed's night-time ride up the Temple Mount? In fact, this essay on Jerusalem by a former Israeli ambassador shows the complexity and contentiousness of the city's history.
posted by holgate at 8:10 AM on October 29, 2000

Would you mind expanding on your comment, holgate? Plenty of statements ... that are either distortions of fact or simply matters of opinion -- I don't think you can make such a statement without backing it up with something of substance.
posted by attitude at 10:05 AM on October 29, 2000

So what if the statements are true or not?

Read the list above as many times as you want, then ask yourself: "does this justify discrimination, excessive use of force, and the massive killings of Palestinians (or whatever you care to call them) today?"

It's pretty darned hard to justify what the Israelis are doing, no matter what the context.

By the same account, Native Americans were living in North America for millenia before white settlers reduced their population to a small fraction of it's original size.

Is it ok for them to take back their land forcefully (perhaps with the help of a foreign power, as with Israel), fill it up with other indigenous peoples, and then relegate white people to various slums and negatively discriminate against them institutionally, then kill them indiscriminately when they get pissed off?

Their situation is no different from that of the Israelis', except that they got screwed over worse, and most importantly, they don't have a huge military and billions of US dollars backing them.
posted by queequeg at 10:22 AM on October 29, 2000

I'm a little annoyed that my tax dollars go to pay for the Israeli helicopter gunships which are subsequently used to fire ROCKETS into crowds if rock-throwing protesters. If the U.S. helped buy the chopper, don't we have SOME grounds for protest when it is used against un- or barely armed people, no matter their nationality or religion?
posted by Optamystic at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2000

for attitude's benefit: even without the issue of Jerusalem, there's plenty to support the argument that Israel wishes to create Palestinian Bantustans, including the allocation of water supplies, the road-building and settlement projects, and the restrictions on Palestinian movement.

With regard to the issue of Jerusalem, there are plenty of artanis's statements that are simply inflammatory, such as "Most Muslims pray with their backs towards Jerusalem". And to talk of "dominion" and "capitals" suggest a conflation of religious and political governance which simply hasn't been the case in that area of the Middle East for millenia. I don't see anyone arguing for Ottoman rule in Jerusalem, or Babylonian rule for that matter, though both regimes would have as legitimate a political (if not spiritual) claim to the area as the Israelis.

My point: there are no simple claims. Rights of ownership in the Holy Land aren't just based on two dimensions: they're stratified, layered in centuries of historical accretion.
posted by holgate at 11:54 AM on October 29, 2000

Well, one misstatement is that most Muslims pray with their backs to Jerusalem. Both Mecca and Jerusalem are to the West of Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago- which are the biggest concentrations of Muslims in the world.

Why can't everyone just get along? I could absolutely never justify an act of violence against someone based on their ethnicity (a pretty nebulous concept, I know). What's the deal with aggression anyway?
posted by kidsplateusa at 2:44 PM on October 29, 2000

artanis: Calm down and take a few deep breaths. Then I suggest you read you go and read some actual history.

attitude: the problem with artanis' post is that it contains so many half truths and bigoted assertions, that it would take me the whole morning just to write refutations to all of them. I don't see this is as a very productive use of my time, especially given that they are not even on topic.

However, if necessary, I am happy to discuss and refute any of artanis' points one at a time.

posted by lagado at 3:12 PM on October 29, 2000

sorry mangled that sentence, I meant to say "Then I suggest that you go and read some actual history"
posted by lagado at 3:18 PM on October 29, 2000

It should be noted that if there really were 97 Security Council resolutions passed against Israel, that's pretty impressive. The U.S. always has a veto on the Security Council, and is strikingly pro-Israel. So imagine what had to be in those resolutions for the U.S. not to use that veto.
posted by smackfu at 7:02 PM on October 29, 2000

However, if necessary, I am happy to discuss and refute any of artanis' points one at a time.

Lagado please spare us. Your inflamatory posts with all the endless quotes have very little to do with coming to a meeting of minds on these issues.
posted by leo at 7:58 PM on October 29, 2000

I have stayed out of this thread for as long as possible.

Leo, how excactly is any of lagado's posts inflamatory?

This seems to be a subject everyone has an opinion about and the recent violence in the middel east sure makes it worth talking about.
posted by Zool at 8:28 PM on October 29, 2000

Thanks Zool, although it was deserved. On rereading, I realize that the tone of my post was very patronizing and I apologize for it. Got up a little too early this morning.

I won't, however, be apologizing for posting the thread or my other "inflammatory" posts.

leo, if you're not interested in their content, I'm sure you know how to skip over them.
posted by lagado at 8:36 PM on October 29, 2000

Zoo, you mean comparing Israel to racist South Africa isn't inflamatory? Is such a comparison likely to lead to much agreement among the supporters of Israel and supporters of the Palestinians? Was the last round where the US was accused of waging a war of starvation against the people of Iraq and the "discussion" that ensued -- was that a model of peace and understanding among the nations? Has agreement or even a measure of rational discussion been the record so far in Metafilter on any of these page-long quotes of spleen from Zmag/commondreams/Chomsky?
posted by leo at 9:01 PM on October 29, 2000

You will find by artanis' post on nearly every discussion board in the world right now that is discussing this topic.

Put simply, it is propaganda. Looking deeper into it, it is a systematic propaganda war against the very identity of the Palestinian people.

Just about everything you read there is a half-truth, an outright lie, or a gross distortion.

people like artanis are unable to face up to the fact that Israel is one of the planet's worst offenders of basic human rights, so they try to use distorted and false history to justify the illegal and brutal occupation.

Turks often use such techniques when denying the Armenian genocide, neo-nazis do the same when denying the holocaust. Don't be fooled by this latest incarnation... and for god's sake, get some original material. Someone always trots this out when Israel is again guilty of flagrant human rights violations.

posted by chaz at 9:24 PM on October 29, 2000

Good night.
posted by leo at 9:32 PM on October 29, 2000

Good night.
posted by leo at 9:34 PM on October 29, 2000

Leo, it was The Guardian that made that statement and not lagado.

I am very interested in the conflict that exists in the middle east as it is a very likely starting point of WORLD WAR III, especially with it's highly charged fundamentalist population.

Disclaimer: Not everyone living in the middle east is a fundamentalist.

posted by Zool at 9:37 PM on October 29, 2000

"Quotes of spleen" seems a little harsh. The articles are hard hitting though, no question about it.

The quote about comparing Israel to South Africa was not mine nor Chomsky's but taken from a mainstream newpaper The Guardian's editorial. It may seem a little inflammatory to those who like to see this dispute as some kind of children's squabble in a sand pit.

That's certainly how the mainstream media normally likes to report it.

posted by lagado at 10:40 PM on October 29, 2000

leo: "you mean comparing Israel to racist South Africa isn't inflamatory?"

here are quotes from two sources:

from this page:

African Jews still face discrimination in Israel. An Israeli politician of North African origin complained European colleagues treats him like "a monkey who has just come out of the trees".


Not all European Jews are comfortable with the Ethiopian Jews. A fight broke out between some Russian Jews and Ethiopian Jews in Israel while both groups were in temporary housing awaiting resettlement. A Russian claimed the Israeli police unfairly assisted the Ethiopians. He said the conflict was not racial but concluded, "We cannot live together".


and from this article:

“A lot of Israelis don’t really identify with these people.”


While from a distance many Israelis regarded the Falashas as a romanticized ancient tribe, up close they seemed to see only the color of their skin. Discrimination against the black Jews became widespread, tainting even government policies toward the new immigrants.

Pent-up resentment in the Falasha community finally erupted in fury on Jan. 24, 1996, when it was learned that Falasha donations to Israel’s national blood bank were routinely thrown away. They were not pacified by the excuse given. Zvi Ben Yishai, chairman of the National AIDS Committee, said it was because the Falashas had fifty times the incidence of AIDS as other Israelis. He said the practice was “justified for the protection of the public.”

However, Yoram Lass, a member of parliament and former director general of the health ministry, described the policy as “racist and unfounded scientifically.” He said Americans had a much higher AIDS rate but Israel would never consider banning blood donations byAmerican Jews.

posted by tamim at 1:45 AM on October 30, 2000

lagado, I'm actually interested in seeing refutation of artanis' list. My first thought on seeing all of that was, "Wow, where did you copy-and-paste that load of propaganda from?!" I may be underinformed on this topic, but have a strong instinct for when I'm being bullshitted (nobody bothers with that much detail unless they are trying to obscure the fact that they aren't actually saying anything).
posted by m.polo at 7:10 AM on October 30, 2000

A fairly comprehensive view of the conflict between the Zionists/Israelis and the Palestinian/Arabs can be found here.

If you just want something to skim to get some perspective versus artanis' propaganda, leaf to the end of 1947 and beginning of 1948. Artanis' distortions on the refugee issue (They just left!! We swear we didn't force them out at gunpoint/blow up their houses/kill them) are what most need to be refuted.

posted by norm at 8:37 AM on October 30, 2000

that's a really great resource, norm. thanks for posting it.
posted by lagado at 3:52 AM on October 31, 2000

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