Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Carlill vs Rundle: Ahmadinejad, Palestine and Israel
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Policy Analyst Bren Carlill writes:

It must be frustrating to be Guy Rundle. Imagine having such erudite analytical skills, but finding that the only person of influence who actually agrees with you is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a crackpot political leader who threw a note down a well (where his messiah is hiding), telling him to hurry the hell up and kill those pesky Jews.

Imagine knowing, as Rundle apparently does and somehow the rest of us don’t, that Israeli settlements are actually preventing Palestinian procreation! After citing a definition of genocide that read, "the attempt to destroy the capacity of a people to reproduce itself as a distinct entity," he claimed Israel’s settlement policy "has been a pretty good go at that."

Oh! I get it! (Blush!) He’s not talking about the capacity of Palestinians to reproduce (because that would be stupid, since they’re reproducing faster than Israelis, and faster than the surrounding -- non-occupied -- Arab populations. Indeed, it seems Israeli occupation has been a boon for Palestinian reproductive systems), but rather of their capacity to reproduce as a distinct entity.

Let’s analyse that, shall we? Are we talking about statehood? Palestinians ain’t never had a state. Not in antiquity. Not when the Turks owned what Palestinians (and Rundle) call their land (from 1516). Not when the British controlled that land (from 1916). Not when Egypt, Israel and Jordan shared that land between them (funny that there were no UN resolutions condemning Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem...), and not, since 1967, when Israel took over the job itself. You can’t reproduce something that was never produced in the first place, Mr Rundle.

Maybe he doesn’t mean statehood, but, rather, national identity? Is Rundle suggesting that Israel is genociding the Palestinians by not allowing their identity to continue? Seriously?! Does he truly believe that Palestinian identity is in danger of disappearing? The Palestinians are one of the best known identities in the world! The Palestinians have entire wings of the UN dedicated to their identity -- the only people group in the world to have that privilege. Ask the Sahrawi, long stateless and under foreign occupation, what they think about that. Oh! Never heard of them? What about the Arabs of Khuzestan? How are their attempts at national identity reproduction going? Frankly, there’s a lot of truth in the argument that if it weren’t for the fact that they’re in conflict with the Jews, no one would have even heard of the Palestinians.

Somehow Mr Rundle believes the settlements are the fault of all this (well, I’m still unsure of the fault of what, but never mind). If settlements are to blame for whatever they are to blame for, how does Rundle begin to explain away the fact that successive Israeli offers to the Palestinians (all rejected without counter-offer) have been of more and more West Bank land. It pretty much destroys the argument that Israeli "settlement expansion" is preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. What’s really preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state is a mixture of Palestinian rejectionism, Palestinian corruption and Palestinian incompetence.

Rundle’s spray was problematic in many other areas, and space precludes me from fully debunking it (which is a shame, because doing so would be both cathartic and as easy as shooting fish in a barrel).

One more example will have to suffice. Rundle cited Ahmadinejad describing the US invasion of Iraq as racist (with which Rundle agreed). But he chose to ignore Ahmadinejad saying it was the Jews that caused America to start the war. That’s good, honest analysis you’ve got going there, Mr Rundle!

Since I’ve no idea whether or not Rundle would agree with such a racist argument, it’s worth pointing out that anyone with even the slightest knowledge of international affairs should know that pre-2003, Iraq was militarily weak, contained and stable -- meaning it was no threat whatsoever to Israel. Invading Iraq was always going to (and did) produce dangerous destabilisation, an unknown Iraqi future, and open the door to increasing Iranian regional hegemony, which would (and did) increase threats against Israel. That is why senior Israeli figures, from the prime minister down, actually advised America against entering Iraq, to no avail.

But to get to the heart of the matter; the diplomats that walked out during Ahmadinejad’s speech did not do so out of subservience to the Elders of Zion. They did so because they were participating in an anti-racist forum. To listen to someone a) being racist himself and b) hypocritically singling out one country while ignoring racism around the world (I bring to your attention Iran’s treatment of its own Khuzestani Arabs) not only goes against the point of the forum, but actually helps racists, by shielding them from scrutiny.

If Israel has racist individuals, groups or policies, these can and should be investigated. But if you (and here I mean Ahmadinejad, Rundle and a few others) only or disproportionately investigate Israel’s alleged racism while ignoring that of others, you are guilty of using double standards. Using double standards is hypocritical and, when applied to ethnic groups, racist.

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