How should the Palestinians be supported to resist against Israeli atrocities?


…by Jonas E. Alexis and Real Progress Front


Real Progressive Front is a progressive NGO that aims to support people’s movements for freedom, peace and justice, reaffirm civil rights and reduce the influence of money in politics – among other things – through a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Real Progress Front: How should the Palestinians be supported to resist against Israeli atrocities?

Jonas E. Alexis: I asked my dear friend and colleague E. Michael Jones the same question, and here’s what he said: “The Palestinians need more accurate missiles. They need the kind that Hesbollah used to take out Israeli tanks during their 2006 invasion of Lebanon.”

Let’s reflect on some of these issues here. We all know that virtually no government in the West is using the moral and political order to challenge the Israeli regime. And we know that Israel has a history of using double standards, wiping out entire villages and towns at will, and justifying their criminal activity under the guise of self-defense.[1]

But this crazy “self-defense” explanation can never be upheld on a moral and historical ground largely because it ignores a crucial fact: Israel stole Palestinian lands in 1948 and continues to do the same thing through the settlements. To his credit, John Kerry provided a devastating critique of the settlements right before he left office.[2] Even Israeli scholar and professor Ze’ev Maoz does not hesitate to write:

“In 1993 there were about 110,000 settlers in the occupied territories. In 2001 there were 195,000 (Note that the number of settlers increased by 18 percent during the Al Aqsa Intifada). This was an increase of 73 percent.”[3]

Baylis Thomas, a professor at Yeshiva University/Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Hospital, writes: “Settlement building and roads for Jewish settlers proceeded at a frenetic pace under [Ehud] Barak – the classic Zionist maneuver of creating of facts on the ground to preclude a Palestinian state.”[4]

The international community has universally condemned the settlements as well. Oxford scholar and expert Robert Adams writes:

“The international community has taken a critical view of both deportations and settlements as being contrary to international law. General Assembly resolutions have condemned the deportations since 1969, and have done so by overwhelming majorities in recent years.

“Likewise, they have consistently deplored the establishment of settlements, and have done so by overwhelming majorities throughout the period (since the end of 1976) of the rapid expansion in their numbers. The Security Council has also been critical of deportations and settlements; and other bodies have viewed them as an obstacle to peace, and illegal under international law.”[5]

Israeli legal scholar and former Supreme Court of Israel Daphne Barak-Erez writes:

“The international community, for its part, has viewed [the settlements] as patently illegal, based on the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention that prohibit moving populations to or from territories under occupation.”[6]

Catriona Drew, professor of international law in the School of Law and the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London, says:

“It can thus clearly be concluded that the transfer of Israeli settlers into the occupied territories violates not only the laws of belligerent occupation but the Palestinian right of self-determination under international law.”[7]

In short, scholars actually agree that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law,[8] despite the fact that some flaming Zionist and Israeli scholars have desperately and incoherently tried to justify them.[9] And even the United States, France, Denmark, and other countries condemned “three West Bank outposts” in 2012.[10]

But the settlements have grown astronomically over the years. In 2011 alone, “The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew by more than 15,000…to reach a total that exceeds 350,000 for the first time and has almost doubled in the past 12 years.”[11]

Will any Western nation accept this essentially diabolical activity? Will Israel accept this activity? As a corollary, can this activity be universalized? The answers to those questions are no, no, and no. Yet this has been going on since the founding of the nation of Israel itself. This is again Israeli historian Benny Morris:

“A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.”[12]

It was necessary to uproot 700,000 men, women and children from their precious homes and separate them from their livelihood and human dignity? What are we talking about here? Did they actually deserve this? Were they terrorists? You see, Morris cannot justify that ideology from the moral and political order at all. He is operating with a wicked premise which basically says that Jewish or Israeli lives are more valuable than Palestinian or Muslim lives. According to Morris, in 1948

“There were also many cases of rape. In the months of April-May 1948, units of the Haganah [the pre-state defense force that was the precursor of the IDF] were given operational orders that stated explicitly that they were to uproot the villagers, expel them and destroy the villages themselves.”

When asked the question, “How many cases of Israeli rape were there in 1948?,” Morris responded:

“About a dozen. In Acre four soldiers raped a girl and murdered her and her father. In Jaffa, soldiers of the Kiryati Brigade raped one girl and tried to rape several more. At Hunin, which is in the Galilee, two girls were raped and then murdered. There were one or two cases of rape at Tantura, south of Haifa. There was one case of rape at Qula, in the center of the country. At the village of Abu Shusha, near Kibbutz Gezer [in the Ramle area] there were four female prisoners, one of whom was raped a number of times.

“And there were other cases. Usually more than one soldier was involved. Usually there were one or two Palestinian girls. In a large proportion of the cases the event ended with murder. Because neither the victims nor the rapists liked to report these events, we have to assume that the dozen cases of rape that were reported, which I found, are not the whole story. They are just the tip of the iceberg.”[13]

But how does Morris justify these criminal activities? This is Morris at his best: “In certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don’t think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands.” The interviewer seemed to have been shocked by Morris’ answer. “You do not condemn them morally?,” he asked. To which Morris replied, “No.” The interviewer moved on to ask: “They perpetrated ethnic cleansing.” Morris:

“There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide—the annihilation of your people—I prefer ethnic cleansing.”[14]

Again, Morris could not flesh out why there was ethnic cleansing in Palestine in 1948. Morris is not an obscure Israeli historian. Interestingly enough, he describes similar things in his book The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, published by Cambridge University Press.[15] Other Israeli historians and scholars such as Ilan Pappe have documented the same thing.[16]

Pappe even goes so far as to say that there were numerous documents which Morris did not discuss in his studies precisely because those documents would have obviously ruined the prevailing vision that Israel “waged a ‘moral’ war in 1948 against a ‘primitive’ and hostile Arab world…”

In response to Morris’ The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, Israeli historian Avi Shlaim wrote:

“His 1988 book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, drove a coach and horses through the claim that the Palestinians left Palestine of their own accord or on orders from their leaders. With a great wealth of recently declassified material, he analysed the role that Israel played in precipitating the Palestinian exodus. …

“The hallmark of his approach was to stick as closely as possible to the documentary evidence, to record rather than to evaluate. While his findings were original and arresting, he upheld the highest standards of historical scholarship, and he wrote with almost clinical detachment. …

“The message, pithily summed up in a long interview that Benny gave to Yediot Aharonot about his highly publicised conversion, is that ‘the Arabs are responsible.’ Where no evidence is available to sustain the argument of Arab intransigence, Benny makes it up by drawing on his fertile imagination. … His post-conversion interpretation of history is old history with a vengeance. It is indistinguishable from the propaganda of the victors.”[17]

As Ban Ki-moon himself declared last year with respect to Israel’s criminal activity in the Middle East, “As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism. So-called facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank are steadily chipping away the viability of a Palestinian state and the ability of Palestinian people to live in dignity.”[18]

If it is human nature to react to occupation, then the Palestinians have every right to defend themselves against Israel’s crimes against humanity in the Middle East.

But I must say that the Palestinians must be very careful. They must not allow their enemies to turn them into something that they are not. In that sense, the Palestinians should always apply the moral order even when they are defending themselves.

Moreover, the Palestinians should never give up on reaching out to the West and people of good will. I give the Iranians credit for following that rational path for decades, even after the Anglo-American perpetrated an unnecessary coup in 1953.[19]

Finally, the Palestinians must know that truth will prevail. I am an admirer of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Friedrich Hegel. Both men came to the conclusion that lies cannot triumph forever. The enemy, of course, fears that and gets panicked whenever a person tries to detail the truth. To be honest with you, I was quite astonished that the B’nai Brith Canada “has garned nearly 2,000 signatures” in order to stop my colleague Kevin Barrett from speaking in Toronto.[20]

The entire organization, with all its power and influence, is afraid of just one man! What they could have done is to get one of their finest representatives and ask Barrett to engage in a spirited debate. They obviously didn’t want to take that route. This should tell people of reason that truth will eventually triumph. It may not happen in our lifetime, but it takes moral courage and intellectual honesty to debunk New World Order myths and (Zionist) old wives tales.

I remember when I started writing about these issues, one of my dear friends, Dr. Fredrick Toben, told me:

“Be wise, Jonas. This can cost you everything. It may even cost you your own life. I spent months in prison for simply questioning or challenging an idea. My training was in philosophy and philosophers are taught to be skeptical, to follow logic, and to draw conclusions from rational premises.

“But I simply cannot do that with the issues surrounding Nazi Germany without getting into trouble with the powers that be. Just read the newspapers and see how they deliberately misconstrue and diabolically mischaracterize what I am trying to say. Pick up any newspaper that talks about me, and they will almost certainly start with things like, ‘Holocaust denier,’ as if I deny that Jews suffered in Nazi Germany.”[21]

It is indeed an intolerable situation. Asking metaphysical questions regarding any issue is part of the Western intellectual patrimony. Were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle alive today, they wouldn’t be able to question the central thesis of the Holocaust without being crucified. The Holocaust establishment was asking Toben to drop his critical thinking skills, lower his intellectual standard, and embrace an ideology which is essentially anti-reason and anti-Western. Töben, after much reflection, refused. This was an unpardonable sin, and Töben ended up spending months in jail. Toben told me:

“I am a Holocaust questioner because that is what my philosophical training was all about – to question the veracity of what Holocaust historians have constructed in their narrative.

“Throughout these past seventy years this narrative has constantly changed while being fixed in legal concrete, and I object to such mechanism that has often protected outright lies at the expense of truth emerging, which directly impacts on our free expression – the hallmark of our civilization.”

This is indeed a rational and defendable position. An idea should be defended and refuted by evidence and rational inquiry, not by threat or persecution. The irony is that the state of Israel does not even recognize the Armenian genocide. Jewish historian Bernard Lewis spent his entire academic career at Princeton perpetuating that the Armenian genocide never happened, and not a single Jewish organization has ever said that Lewis ought to be sent to jail.

We are certainly living in a world where truth is really costly, and it will take both the Muslim world and reasonable people to confront those who are not of the truth. This is why I told Fredrick Toben: “I have nothing to lose, my brother. Besides, who will stand up for the truth if we all lay down our weapons and allow the enemy to go wild?”

Put simply, the Palestinians should always apply the moral order or practical reason when challenging Israeli atrocities. Practical reason is our only defense against warmongers, Zionist puppets and marionettes, and the Israeli regime. If Solzhenitsyn and Hegel are right, then truth will triumph in the end. Resist the lies, fabrications, and hoaxes, and truth will work itself out.

[1] See for example Norman Finkelstein, Method and Madness: The Hidden Story of Israel’s Assaults on Gaza (New York: OR Books, 2014). For similar studies, see also Sara Roy, Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

[2] For studies on these issues, see Anthony H. Cordesman, The Israeli-Palestinian War: Escalating to Nowhere (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005).

[3] Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel’s Security and Foreign Policy (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2006 and 2009), 472.

[4] Baylis Thomas, The Dark Side of Zionism: Israel’s Quest for Security Through Dominance (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009), 137.

[5] Robert Adams, “Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories Since 1967,” American Journal of International Law, Vol. 84, No. 1 (January, 1990), pp. 44-103.

[6] Daphne Barak-Erez, “Israel: The security barrier—between international law, constitutional law, and domestic judicial review,” International Journal of Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press), July 1, 2006.

[7] Stephen Bowen, ed., Human Rights, Self-Determination and Political Change in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Boston and London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1997), 151-152.

[8] See also Marco Pertile, “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’: A Missed Opportunity for International Humanitarian Law?,” The Italian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. XiV, 2004: pp. 121-161.

[9] One Israeli scholar that comes to mind is Gadi Taub. Gadi Taub, The Settlers and the Struggle over the Meaning of Zionism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). “Taub’s maternal grandparents were Zionist pioneers who came from Poland to Palestine, in the 1920s when the country was still under the British Mandate, to participate in the creation of a Jewish state.”

[10] Michal Shmulovich, “World leaders blast legalization of three West Bank outposts,” Times of Israel, April 24, 2012.

[11] Harriet Sherwood, “Population of Jewish settlements in West Bank up 15,000 in a year,” Guardian, July 26, 2012.

[12] Ari Shavit, “Survival of the Fittest? an Interview with Benny Morris,” Haaretz, January 9, 2004.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 210-249.

[16] Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: One World, 2006), kindle edition.

[17] Avi Shlaim, “A betrayal of history,” Guardian, February 22, 2002.

[18] Jonas E. Alexis, “Ban Ki-moon: It’s Time to Confront the Israeli Gangsters and Hoodlums,” Veterans Today, January 27, 2017.

[19] See Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003 and 2008); Christopher de Bellaigue, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup (New York: Harper Perennial, 2012); Ervand Abrahamian, The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations (New York: The New Press, 2013); Mark Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2004).

[20] “Nearly 2,000 sign online petition to keep Holocaust denier out of Canada,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 22, 2017.

[21] See “Fredrick Toben denied day in court to deny Holocaust,” Australian, November 15, 2016; “Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben jailed in Australia,” Telegraph, August 14, 2009; “Toben sues for being called a Holocaust denier,” Australian Jewish News, July 19, 2013; “Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben wants a show trial, says Christine Milne,” Australian, June 19, 2014; “Holocaust denier Frederick Toben backs George Brandis’ plans for discrimination law,” Sydney Morning Herald, May 13, 2014.

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