Citizen Action Monitor

Israel employs bogus mythologies to disguise its “get rid of them” policies and violence

These mythologies appear to have occupied the minds of some Ontario MPPs.

No 1924 Posted by fw, March 31, 2017

“I really think the biggest myth of all has to do with how each of these myths does not allow us to understand the real nature of Zionism and the project of Zionism, and the nature of Israel today…. The dehumanization that Israel is allowed to express through its discourse, through its policies, through its activities, is not different from any racist approach by any other group. In fact, settler colonialism is one of the most dangerous forms of modern racism…. We’re actually willing to give up some territory in order to keep demographic purity. Or we enclave, we incarcerate, we besiege the Palestinians in small Bantustans so that we’re demographically pure…. this is elevating anti-Semitism into supposedly a new phenomenon – the new anti-Semitism. To say that: ‘When you criticize the Israeli settler colonialism you’re not criticizing racism, you’re actually racist yourself.’ Like the indigenous issue. If the Palestinians claim that they are indigenous, we will say that we are the indigenous and they are the settlers. It’s really ‘Newspeak’.”Ilan Pappé

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On December 1, 2016, in an apparent display of wilful ignorance of the history of the unimaginable brutality characterizing Israel’s colonization, expansion and expulsion of Palestine’s inhabitants49 members of the Ontario Parliament passed a motion to “endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combatting antisemitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

At the end of this post is a small sample of comments that were exchanged by MPPs during that “Support for Israel” session.  To download the full discussion, click on this link: Private Members’ Public Business — Support for Israel — From Ontario Legislature, Hansard Transcript, December 1, 2016.

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But first, to place the MPPs comments in a context that counters the Israeli narrative that has informed their views, below is a repost of a 14:25-minute video interview of Ilan Pappé, Israeli historian and socialist activist, hosted by Max Blumenthal, American author, journalist, and blogger.

In this repost, Part 1 of 2, Pappé and Blumenthal expose Israel’s bogus mythologies used to disguise its “get rid of them”, anti-Palestinian policies and violence – the very mythologies that appear to have occupied the minds of some pro-Israeli Ontario MPPs.

My transcript, subheadings and text highlighting is featured in the repost. For those seeking a quick overview of the main points presented in the transcript of the video, read the italicized subheadings.

The video is also available by clicking on the following link to the Real News Network’s website. The transcript, not currently available on the website, may be added in the next few days.

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Ilan Pappe: The Myth of Israel (1/2) by The Real News Network, March 30, 2017

TRANSCRIPT

What is the biggest myth about Israel?

Max Blumenthal – We’re in Washington DC at the National Press Club for an event on the Israel lobby. And I’m here with Ilan Pappé, an Israeli revisionist scholar, I guess we could call you that? You’re coming out with two new books. I just got a galley of your latest which is called, Ten Myths About Israel.

What is the biggest myth about Israel?

The biggest myth is how each myth prevents understanding of Zionism’s and Israel’s true nature

Ilan Pappé – It’s very difficult to choose and that’s why I chose chronology, the main regulator for the myths. I began with the “land without people” and “people without land.” But I really think the biggest myth of all has to do with how each of these myths does not allow us to understand the real nature of Zionism and the project of Zionism, and the nature of Israel today.

Netanyahu denies Israel is a “settler colonial state”, promotes it as a “normal democracy”

Blumenthal – Yeah. I think when you listen to Netanyahu, he’s sort of this master of expounding on this myth that Israel’s not only not a settler colonial state but that it’s sort of a normal democracy that has flowered out of the Middle East almost organically because of the Jewish ancestral connection.

He talks about Jewish communities that pre-date founding of State of Israel but never explains their origin

And then when he talks about the conflict or – I wouldn’t even call it a conflict, I’d call it a crisis – he goes back to the Hebron riots, he goes back to these events that occurred before the State of Israel was founded, for example, attacks on Jewish communities in Yafah*, and never explains how those communities came there. And what the real story was. So, how did you challenge Netanyahu’s narrative of Jewish-Arab relations in historic Palestine? {*Unconfirmed spelling – could also be Yafa or Jaffa]

Netanyahu turns history on its head — Jews are “the indigenous people of Palestine”, Palestinians are “the settlers”

Pappé – I think it’s deeper than that. Netanyahu in this respect represents a very deep Israeli Jewish conviction that they [the Jews] are the indigenous people of Palestine. And the Palestinians are the settlers, now the aliens. And this is the starting point. The starting point is where the indigenous – yes we haven’t been there for a few hundreds of, maybe 2,000 years but we are the indigenous people of Palestine. And from there everything else emanates.

To counter Netanyahu’s denial of the facts, consider that it’s not uncommon for settler colonials to claim to be the indigenous people of the land they occupy

I think the way to challenge it is really by using this paradigm of settler colonialism because it’s not exceptional for a settler colonial movement to claim to be the indigenous people of the place that they occupy, colonize and often by genocide. It happened before in other places. And I think that’s something that allows people who either were victims of other settler colonial projects – of people who are part of settler colonial states like the United States but are very familiar nowadays with their own history and understand their own origins to understand that actually it’s not exceptional. The only exceptional part of it is the denial, not the very historical act itself.

A lot of Israeli myths are invented “by morons for the consumption of morons”

Blumenthal – A lot of these myths are just Hasbara arguments by, in may cases, morons for the consumption of morons. But I found that in our world there are a lot of it falls on fertile soil and the education system isn’t very good in the West.

Netanyahu contends that “settler colonialism” is not the same as “traditional colonialism” because Jews have no place to go back to

So, you have these Netanyahu – and I think this is kind of a common feature of Hasbara trying to draw a distinction between settler colonialism and traditional metropole* colonialism. You’ll hear them say: “You know we’re not the French colonizing Algeria. We have nowhere to go back to. This is our homeland, and we can’t go back anywhere.” [*metropole – colonial or imperial power]

How do you respond to that? And one of he things that we fail to do is explain how settler colonialism is in many ways more pernicious than traditional colonialism.

Pappé – Absolutely. The exceptional part of the story is that settler colonialism made certain connections, or made certain assumptions which were accepted in the 19th century but looked ridiculously inhuman and non-democratic in the 2oth century. And yet, in the particular case of Israel they still remain valid.

Liberal Zionists argue that Jews must be a majority in “their homeland” for democracy to be sustained in Palestine

For instance, they claim that the only way you can create a democracy in a country which has settlers and natives is if the settlers are always the majority, which is the argument of the liberal Zionists, not the rightwing Zionists. The liberal Zionist, the whole peace process is based on the idea that the only way democracy can be sustained in Palestine is if the Jews are a majority in their own homeland.

“This is a ridiculous assumption that in any other context would be rejected as racist”, but in Israel’s case is accepted for reasons we can only guess at

This is a ridiculous assumption that in any other context would be rejected as racist. But in the case of Israel is accepted. And I think that’s where the interesting part of the analysis comes into [unintelligible] – also in my book [unintelligible] — why educated, well-read people in the West did not see this. Or did they see it and decide to accept it for reasons of guilt, anti-Semitism, because they didn’t want the Jews to stay in Europe – God knows why. Everyone had their own reasons for that.

You can’t create a new settler nation if there is an existing indigenous population – so you have to get rid of them

For the second point that you were making, I think that it’s very important to highlight – when you talk about any settler colonial project – what Patrick Wolfe called “the logic of the elimination of the natives” — that you cannot create a new settler colonial society, or a settler nation state from the settler colonials’ perspective, as long as there is an indigenous native population. So you have to get rid of them.

Get rid of them — by genocide, Apartheid and Bantustan, or ethnic cleansing

Genocide, as you did in America. Or you have to impose Apartheid and Bantustan as you did in South Africa or ethnically cleanse them as you did in Palestine. The means vary from one case study to the other. The logic is the same logic.

What’s amazing in the “get rid of them” logic is still legitimized by Israel in the guise of bogus mythologies attached to the peace process

What is amazing is that this logic is still legitimized in the 21st century in the case of Israel under the guise of slogans such as “the only democracy in the Middle East”, “a country that wants peace but doesn’t find the right partner for it” and all the other mythologies that that are connected to the peace process.

Maintaining an ethnic overclass through various violent means is rarely questioned by media or academia

Blumenthal – I think that the logic of, the underlying logic of Zionism, of maintaining a demographic majority – a sort of ethnic overclass – through violent demographic social engineering is scarcely ever interrogated in our mainstream media, in academia it’s even very rare to see it. Would you say that that has fueled the rhetoric and politics of the far right in Western Europe and in the United States? — where you hear someone like Steve Bannon, who’s the chief counselor to Donald Trump the main intellectual force behind him say, at a major conference in Washington that the United States is not just an economy, it has to represent a culture.

Steve Bannon video clip — …we have wide and sometime divergent opinions but I think we, the center core of what we believe that we’re a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders. But we’re a nation a culture and a reason for being

Bannon’s mythological narrative is that America is white and Christian

Blumenthal – It’s this culturalist narrative which implies that the United States is white and Christian and it must maintain a white, Christian demographic majority. Do you think that has anything to do with the legitimization that Israel’s experienced?

Israel’s dehumanization of Palestinians is no different from any racist approach by any other group

Pappé – I do think so. I think if you are a member of a rightwing intellectual movement or ideological movement or political movement, you want Israel desperately, in a way – you say my ideas, my assumptions, my discourse that is regarded as fringe lunatic and dangerous is welcome when it is uttered by the spokespersons for the Israeli Jewish State or by Israel itself. It’s exactly that. The dehumanization that Israel is allowed to express through its discourse, through its policies, through its activities, is not different from any racist approach by any other group. In fact, settler colonialism is one of the most dangerous forms of modern racism.

Israel’s attempt to protect its exceptionalism is precarious because one day others will speak the truth

It’s not surprising that the two ways in which Israel was trying to challenge this, or protect this kind of exceptionalism — because it’s very precarious — one day the truth can be discovered. And we would say, “Wait a minute. You’re not different from an extreme right movement in America. You are [unintelligible] the same” — especially when the right wing becomes stronger.

So, there are two ways [Israel has] of trying to challenge it [its exceptionalism]

One way, used by liberal Zionists, is to proclaim “We don’t use violent means” to keep our “demographic purity”

One is by claiming – “Oh we don’t use violent means”, if you’re a liberal Zionist. We’re not looking for violent means of keeping demographic purity. We’re actually willing to give up some territory in order to keep demographic purity. Or we enclave, we incarcerate, we besiege the Palestinians in small Bantustans so that we’re demographically pure.

Blumenthal – In Israel it’s liberal saying…[crosstalk]

Pappé – Absolutely. Liberal. Of course because this means I don’t want to use supposedly means and no expending people…

Blumenthal – We’re not going to transfer… [crosstalk]

We’re just not going to let them leave – hard segregation

Pappé – Exactly. We’re just not going to let them leave.

Blumenthal – We’re just going to deal with it. It was Ehud Barack’s campaign slogan…

Pappé – We are here and they are there.

Blumenthal – It’s sort of segregation – hard segregation.

A second way Israel tries to disguise what it’s doing is by elevating anti-Semitism to “Newspeak”, a “new anti-Semitism”

Pappé – Absolutely. And the second means by which they try to sort of hide it is the one that Netanyahu prefers because we cannot say he’s willing to give up territory. And this is elevating anti-Semitism into supposedly a new phenomenon – the new anti-Semitism. To say that: “When you criticize the Israeli settler colonialism you’re not criticizing racism, you’re actually racist yourself.” Like the indigenous issue. If the Palestinians claim that they are indigenous, we will say that we are the indigenous and they are the settlers. It’s really “Newspeak”.

The new anti-Semitism conflates Zionism with Jews, thus holding all collectively responsible for Zionism’s crimes

Blumenthal – Which actually embraces the true logic of anti-Semitism that conflates Zionism with Jews and holds them responsible collectively for all of Zionism’s crimes.

Pappé – Absolutely. Above another layer of uniformity or connection between the idea that Jews should be settler colonialists in Asia or the Arab world and not live as communities in the West, which is another kind of joint platform for anti-Semitism.

Ironically, Israel’s strategic advisers are now advising rightwing fascist parties on how to control Muslim migrants

Blumenthal – Right. Which opens the door for this kind of alliance of convenience we’ve with parties like the National Front in France, the Jobbik party even in Hungary is moving away from its traditional anti-Semitism into a more pro-Zionist. We see the Austrian Freedom Party, [party leader Heinz-Christian] Strache was hosted by the Likud party. This was a party founded by Nazis in Austria. He was hosted for a visit at the Holocaust museum by the Likud party. You go across the board – all these far-right parties down to Trump in the Republican party and they’ve all become pro-Israel while holding on to this idea that Jews really belong somewhere else.

Pappé – And this is the whole notion of the Perseus [Greek?] immigrants. You have immigrants in Holland and you have all the right to vote for a rightwing party because they are really Muslim immigrants and they create all the problems. We also have Muslim immigrants in Israel and they’re [the rightwing parties] using the same message to identify themselves to operate politically and violently against our own culture, our own set of values. [Crosstalk] …very worrying connections nowadays between the Israeli strategic advisors and experts and their counterparts in France, Britain, Holland, Denmark… They advise them how to control immigrant societies in order to pre-empt the next loner, the next…

The assumption that Muslims do not fit in is a kind of Nazi propaganda that is so dangerous and so false

And it’s all built on this assumption we all have Muslim migrant societies that did not fit in to the host culture. That’s quite a challenge for us to… It’s so false. It’s almost like the kind of Nazi propaganda, that you have such a big lie – the bigger the lie is, the more difficult it is to defuse it. It’s such a big lie, I think at the beginning we’re a bit paralyzed when we try to challenge it because it’s so false.

The challenge is to “make sure people understand how ridiculous and dangerous it is”

And yet I think we have to be patient and unpack it again for the audiences and make sure people understand how ridiculous and dangerous it is for both case studies.

END OF PART 1  

Here is a small sample of selected, excerpted comments that were exchanged by MPPs during that “Support for Israel” session.

Mr. Sam Oosterhoff, PC At its root, the BDS movement is based in the dislike of a minority [Israelis] based on its nationality and ethnicity. At its root, this movement is steeped in anti-Semitic discrimination. This movement is not pro-Palestinian; it is anti-Israel, it is anti-Jewish and it is anti-Semitic. It poisons whatever potential for goodwill there exists between Israel and the Palestinian people, and promotes hatred…. We should be encouraging dialogue and trade between Israel and the Palestinian people, not vilifying Israel, a nation with a stellar human rights record.

Mrs. Julia Munro, PC — “Recent research shows that they [BDS] have been a strong predictor of anti-Semitic hostility, and today across campuses, our Jewish students fear for their safety.”

Mrs. Gila Martow, PC – “We would not be here supporting a Ku Klux Klan on our campuses, so why are we allowing BDS movements and other anti-Jewish communities and anti-Israel organizations to have demonstrations and use our campuses…”

Mr. Jagmeet Singh, NDP — “…it’s particularly important for us to name anti-Semitism, to acknowledge it and then to very repeatedly denounce it. If we can denounce it in this chamber—it’s not enough.”

Mrs. Julia Munro, PC – “BDS is discrimination. Just as boycotts have targeted Jews and other vulnerable minorities throughout history, today BDS activists call for a boycott of the citizens of the world’s only Jewish state and the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. The BDS movement isn’t pro-Palestinian, it’s simply anti-Israel. BDS threatens the livelihood of tens of thousands of Palestinians who work side by side with Israelis. Economic co-operation, not boycotts, will help foster peace.”

Mrs. Gila Martow, PC – “If you have any issues with any Israeli policies, that’s absolutely fine. Write your letters to the editor, contact Jewish agencies and ask, “Maybe I don’t have the facts straight. This is what I was told,” but don’t go about it by boycotting, divestment and sanctions. That’s not the positive way to address any issues that you have.”

Mr. Mike Colle, Lib “Students in my riding, grandsons and granddaughters of Holocaust survivors, are afraid to go to school—physically attacked, emotionally attacked on a daily basis. This is going on, folks. It’s not just happening in Israel. This kind of insidious attack of intolerance is being proposed and being exposed and promoted by BDS. That’s why this motion is a time to stand up and say no to this type of intolerance towards Israel and the Jewish people.”

END OF EXCERPTS

To download the full discussion, click on this link: Private Members’ Public Business — Support for Israel — From Ontario Legislature, Hansard Transcript, December 1, 2016.

FAIR USE NOTICE – For details click here

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