Sunday, May 31, 2009
Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem?
Frankly, given a choice, I prefer the skinheads and other brutes who express their anti-Semitism openly. In such places, we know the enemy.
But please spare me the pieties and the righteous indignation of those "goodpeople" protesting throughout Europe against Israel's defensive operation inGaza. True, thousands have taken up banners in support of Israel. At thesame time, however, the streets of Europe (and even some in America) are inan uproar. These are the "humanitarians" - the good, the noble, the refined,who chant "peace."
Now you're up and about? Now you speak? Where were you when, throughout theyears, thousands of jihadist bombs fell on Israel? The streets of Europe were empty. There were no pictures in the newspapers of grieving Jewish mothers and fathers. You called it "peace" as long as the Arabs were doing the killing and the Jews were doing the dying. All was well with the world.
Suddenly, as Israel answered back, you found your Cause; and how self-righteous you are in your Cause.
You are the best and the brightest of Europe. You are educated. You attended the finest schools. You care for the birds, the bees, the bears, the trees. You favor free speech and freedom of religion. Strange it is that the one and only place in the Middle East that shares your world-view is Israel, and it is Israel that you slander.
Israel is a Jewish State. Is that your problem? At the first hint of Jewish self-defense, how quickly you show your true colors.
I've seen the photos of your candlelight vigils along the streets and boulevards of Europe, all of it; all these tears in the service of those terrorists whom you call your brothers. Indeed you are related to Hamas (and Fatah) as once before, a mere generation ago, you were related to Hitler's storm troopers. Your angelic faces are touching - and disgusting. Your hypocrisy is transparent and nauseating.
You speak of disproportion. You want proportion? Give Israel a population of 300 million residing in 22 countries, similar to the Arab Muslims who surround and ambush Israel - instead of five and a half million Jews in one single country. There's plenty of "proportion" coming from your BBC, which delights in presenting one side of the story and picks up where Der Sturmer left off. Now, with this type of "news", we know how Europe was conditioned for a Holocaust.
Already we see Nights of Broken Glass. Thank you, Europe, for reminding us why America was discovered just in time (and why Israel was redeemed many generations too late). You dare judge Israel? In your deportations, your expulsions, your forced conversions, your inquisitions, your pogroms, you have no moral authority over Israel or even within your own borders. You gave all that up from 1492 to 1942.
To those on the Left who sought peace, well, dear peace-lovers, peace brought this on. "Land for Peace" made this happen, as Land for Peace became Land for Jihad. "Painful Concessions" caused this war. "Goodwill Gestures" backfired. Want more "peace"? Give up the Golan Heights. Give up the entire West Bank. Give up Jerusalem. Imagine the "peace." As for those "innocent civilians" in Gaza, they were given a choice and they chose Hamas. They chos e this pestilence.
As for those "refugee camps" - why are they "refugee camps" when Israel handed over all that territory for a nation to be built in peace and security alongside Israel? Why are all Palestinians automatically refugees even after they've been given a home? The only true refugees are the thousands of Israelis who were driven from Gaza and still live in trailer parks. No tears for them in this world that still dreams of Auschwitz.
On this day, in response to a column I wrote about Theresienstadt, someoneresponded that I was incorrect; that Theresienstadt was not a prelude to Auschwitz, but rather "a vacation resort." I wrote back wishing this person a lifetime in such vacation resorts. I wish the same lifetime vacation resorts to all those parading throughout the streets of Europe with banners crying, "Death to Israel."
God bless the IDF! Go Israel!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
State was on offer
ALI Kazak makes some misrepresentations as to Israel's founding (Letters, 28/5). Claims about the supposedly evil Plan Dalet are based on the work of Israeli historian Benny Morris. However, Morris himself has written, "Plan Dalet (Plan D) of 10 March 1948 was not a plan of the Haganah, the main Jewish militia, to ethnically cleanse Arab cities and villages but the master plan for securing the area of the Jewish state-to-be in face of the impending pan-Arab invasion."
The truth is that while the Jews accepted the UN plan partitioning the Palestinian Mandate into a Jewish state where the Jews were in the majority and an Arab state where the Arabs were in the majority, the Arabs rejected it and launched a war designed to kill or expel all the Jews. They could have had their state but they refused, and that's the real Palestinian catastrophe.
Jamie Hyams, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, South Melbourne
Friday, May 29, 2009
This article follows another interesting item from the same writer who described his experiences when visiting U.S campuses - On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda. You can get the feel from Toameh's description of his visit to several university campuses that they were not unlike the Australians for Palestine rally/play reading attended and supported by a small number of naive and misguided Jewish appeasers.
They'll never learn.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
However, the editor who approved its publication has probably kept his job because the story also doesn't mention the Palestinian cross border rocket attacks on the citizens of Sderot or the racism and incitement to violence coming from the Palestinian media and repeated ad nauseum in the mosques of Gaza and Ramallah.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
It's interesting to note that even the Arab Lobby which is vicious in its criticism of anything to do with the Jewish State (including its existence even though it claims to support a two state solution - I'll leave that one to you to work out) was invited along and refused to attend for the most tenuous of reasons.
A spokesman for Australians for Palestine, Moamar Mashni, said he was invited by Mr Dadon to accompany the tour as a non-participating observer.
However, he declined because "I was happy to participate as long as it was meaningful, but not to sit in an audience and hear others speak."
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Working with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, a French Catholic priest named Father Patrice Desbois has been excavating grave sites in which masses of as yet uncounted and unidentified Jews who were shot by Nazis and local accomplices across the Ukraine during World War II. Desbois has already identified 800 such random cemeteries, and he estimates that there are possibly 1200 others in the Ukraine alone. This was reported in the Times of London and retold in Sunday's New York Post.
... Desbois also seems to be animated to do a historical reckoning. The new discoveries, he suggests, means that many more than six million Jews were erased from life during the catastrophe.
Monday, May 25, 2009
"Classified information from UN tribunal investigation obtained by German daily 'Der Spiegel' indicates Shiite terror group behind assassination of former Lebanese prime minister due to Nasrallah's envy of latter's power."
From Report: Evidence links Hizbullah to Hariri death. But why am I not surprised?
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The first of the two Miriams in my fictional play is Miriam Farhat, a Palestinian mother who has a proclivity for sending her sons out on suicide missions with the aim of murdering and maiming as many Jews as possible. This Miriam is extremely popular with her people and gets elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Hamas ticket (at the same time as a character called "Hitler" is elected on the opposition Fatah list). She is of course, strongly supportive of suicide bombers and the ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli towns across the border from her home town of Gaza.
My second Miriam is a Jewish actor, Miriam Margolem who doesn't much like the idea that the Israelis, whose schools and kindergartens are being attacked by the ever increasingly sopisticated missiles being imported from Iran via smuggling tunnels, should defend themselves forcibly against such attacks. If only Jews delivered lots of food and goodies to the Gazans, they would stop hating them and return the compliment by sending over felafels instead of Grad rockets. Miriam's only line in the play is, "I love Israel but not an Israel that kills people. Now will someone please pass the chopped liver? I'm hungry!"
My play examines the nature of evil and asks which of the two Miriams is the more evil and which of them has the worst breath.
On a similar note I now reproduce the script from another relatively new short play Seven Muslim Children but before you read the play, it would be instructive if you went to Blue Truth to get an understanding of why the play was written and the motives behind it - Seven Muslim Children.
SEVEN MUSLIM CHILDREN
1 (circa 900)
Tell him how wonderful it is
Tell him that we won
Tell him about the swords and the rivers of blood
Don’t tell him about the swords and the blood
Tell him we’re doing it in the Name of the Prophet
Tell him they will all convert or be dhimmis
Don’t tell him about dhimmis
Tell him this will all be ours forever
Tell him al-Andalus is Dar al-Islam
2 (circa 1800)
Tell him how we used to rule
Tell him how the world changed
Tell him it was the Europeans’ fault
Don’t tell him it was the Europeans’ fault
Tell him we will go back to al-Andalus and all the other lands one day
Don’t tell him about al-Andalus
3 (circa 1900)
Tell him the Jews are coming back
Don’t tell him the Jews are coming back
Don’t tell him they were ever here
Tell him they’ve always been here
Don’t tell him they’ve always been here
Tell him they want to live as a free people
Tell him they are buying the land
Don’t tell him they’re buying the land
Tell him they’re stealing our land
Tell him they love the land and are draining the swamps
Tell him we want to live where they have built hospitals and schools and roads
Don’t tell him that we didn’t build anything
Don’t tell him they love the land
Don't tell him they have prayed every day for hundreds of years to return to the land
Tell him to get his gun
Tell him to shoot the Jews
Tell him to block the road
Tell him to shoot the convoys
Tell him they can’t have a country here
Tell him we were going to have a country too
Don’t tell him we were going to have a country too
Tell him the Jews will slaughter him
Tell him about Deir Yassin
Tell him about Deir Yassin
Tell him about Deir Yassin
Don’t tell him about Kfar Etzion
Don’t tell him about Latrun
Don’t tell him about “itbach-al-Yahud”
Tell him “itbach-al-Yahud”
Tell him we will drive them into the sea
Tell him we’re going to go back
Tell him we’re going back to Jaffa one day
Don’t tell him we’re never going back to Jaffa
Tell him our Arab brothers will help us
Don’t tell him our Arab brothers refuse to help us
Tell him how our Arab brothers kicked out all their Jews
Don’t tell him that the Zionists took in their Jews
Don’t tell him why we can’t leave the camp
Don’t tell him why we can’t live in Cairo, or Beirut, or Damascus
Don’t tell him that it's because they hate us
Tell him they are doing this for our own good
Tell him they will help us go back to Jaffa
Tell him we’re going to go home soon
Tell him Nasser will take us home
Tell him the armies are ready
Tell him the Jews are scared
Tell him we will slaughter all of them
Don’t tell him we will slaughter all of them, even the children
Don’t tell him…..that we lost again
Don’t tell him that they’ll give it all back for peace
Tell him “no, no, no”
Tell him to put on the bomb belt
Tell him he will have 72 virgins
Don’t tell him that he must die
Don’t tell him that he must kill children
Tell him the Jews aren’t human
Tell him they’re the sons of apes and pigs
Tell him they are infidels in Dar al-Islam
Tell him they let their women be free
Tell him their gays are free
Don’t tell him their gays are free (just in case…)
Tell him Allah will bless him
Tell him we will call him a hero
Don’t tell him how they will die
Don’t tell him how they will be scarred
Don’t tell him they have parents too
Don’t tell him they offered us a country again
Tell him they have no right to a country
Tell him it’s better to die than to admit it
Tell him how we danced in the streets on 9/11
Don’t tell him we danced in the streets on 9/11
Tell him it’s better to kill them than live with them
Tell him to launch the rockets
Tell him to use the school yard
Don’t tell him to use the school yard
Tell him they’re afraid to fire back because the world will hate them
Don’t tell him they might fire back anyway
Tell him they must all die
Don’t tell him they might attack
Tell him we’re living in the Warsaw Ghetto
Tell him what the Warsaw Ghetto was
Don’t tell him what really happened in the Warsaw Ghetto
Don’t tell him about Auschwitz and Treblinka
Tell him they’re afraid of us and won’t attack us
Tell him we can shoot off rockets forever.
Tell him if he’s lucky the rocket will hit a kindergarten
Tell him “itbach-al-Yahud”
Tell him “Filastin hi arduna, Wa al-Yahud kilabuna”
Tell him we will go back to al-Andalus
In the Name of the Prophet
All definitions, unless otherwise hyperlinked, are from mideastweb.org
Andalus: Al Andalus (Spain), and other former Muslim conquests are considered by radical Islamists to be Islamic lands lost to the infidels.
Dar al-Islam: Dar al Islam (Arabic: دار الإسلا) is the area of the world under the rule of Islam , literally, "the home of Islam" or "the home of submission." This is often used by extremists to include areas that used to be part of the Muslim world such as Al-Andalus (Spain) as well as the Muslim world.
Deir Yassin a village near Jerusalem, site of a massacre by Jewish Irgun/Lehi forces (April 9, 1948)
Dhimmi: (Arabic: ذمي) (often pronounced "Zimmi") are Christians, Jews, and sometimes Zoroastrians and people of other faiths living in a Muslim state and enjoying special protection not afforded to other non-Muslims. Dhimmi are supposed to wear special dress and pay the jizyah tax. They are exempt (or rather forbidden) from fighting and from paying the Muslim Zakah tax. The dhimmi were often forced to wear special dress. A dhimmi could not testify against a Muslim in a court of law, meaning that non-Muslims had virtually no legal relief against injustice by Muslims. Many Dhimmi converted, usually because of the social pressure, but also because of forced conversions under various Muslim rulers.
“Filastin hi arduna, Wa al-Yahud kilabuna”: Arabic for "Palestine is our land, and the Jews are our dogs."
Itbach-al-Yahud: Arabic for “slaughter the Jews”;
Both were chanted by Arabs during the 1920 Nebi Musa pogrom and on many occasions since then, including at anti-Israel demonstrations in the US
Kfar Etzion site of a massacre of surrendered Jewish defenders by Palestinians on May 14, 1948
Latrun is the site of a fort and monastery. The position was controlled by the Jordan Legion in 1948, and enforced the blockade of Jewish Jerusalem by the Arab forces.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Here's an item from elderofziyon about another Palestinian PR scam about Palestinian Arabs holding what are allegdly the deeds and keys to a house, presumably inside Israel.
The Elder points out that while he's not a locksmith, "if old Palestinian keys looked like that, it looks like anyone could get into anyone else's house. No grooves or teeth in the key?
And if the key is fake...what does that say about the deed?"
The Palestinians have collected a very effective array of PR scams - even operas and plays which are clearly offensive to Jews and totally depraved but which manage to get the endorsement of people who claim they're Jewish. The same PR machine is working out ways to sell the message to the public that the murder of Daniel Pearl and the victims in Mumbai's chabad were not the result of anti-Semitic acts and that pigs can fly. Oy vey!
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Jewish Nakba: Expulsions, Massacres and Forced Conversions
Each year, the Palestinians mark Nakba Day, the catastrophe that befell them with the establishment of the State of Israel. But the Jews in Arab countries also suffered catastrophe and it was many times worse.
They say that she was stunningly beautiful. Sol (Suleika) Hatuel was 17 years old when she was beheaded. A Muslim friend claimed that she had succeeded in converting her. When Sol denied the claim, she was accused of renouncing Islam and was condemned to death. Her case reached the sultan.
In order to prevent her death, the community elders tried to persuade her to live as a Muslim. She refused and said, "I was born as a Jew, I will die as a Jew." Her fate was sealed. It happened in 1834. She was from Tangier and was executed in Fez. Many make pilgrimages to her grave. Despite the fact that the incident was immortalized in eyewitness testimony, in a famous painting and in a play, her story has been forgotten. The following article is dedicated to her and to the victims of the Jewish Nakba.
Every year on the 15th of May, the Palestinians - and many others around the world along with them - "celebrate" Nakba Day. For them, this is the day that marks the great catastrophe that befell them as result of the establishment of the State of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs became refugees. Some fled, some were deported. The Nakba grew to such enormous proportions that it is preventing a solution to the dispute.
We must remember that in the 1940s, population exchanges and deportations for the purpose of creating national states were the accepted norm. Tens of millions of people experienced it, but only the Palestinians (and they are not alone in this) have been inflating the myth of the Nakba.
However, there is another Nakba: the Jewish Nakba. During those same years, there was a long line of slaughters, of pogroms, of property confiscation and of deportations against Jews in Islamic countries. This chapter of history has been left in the shadows. The Jewish Nakba was worse than the Palestinian Nakba. The only difference is that the Jews did not turn that Nakba into their founding ethos. To the contrary.
Like tens of millions of other refugees around the world, they preferred to heal the wound. Not to scratch it and not to open it and not to make it bleed even more. The Palestinians, in contrast, preferred bleeding to rehabilitation. And now they are also paying the price.
The industry of lies has intensified the myth of the Nakba and turned it into the ultimate crime. The Nakba has spawned innumerable publications and conferences, to the point of completely distorting the actual historical process. The Deir Yassin massacre has become one of the milestones in the Palestinian Nakba. There is no need to hide what occurred there (even though the issue of the massacre is in dispute). Innocent people were killed.
There were a few other instances of behavior that should be exposed and condemned.
Extermination War against the Jews
A long series of massacres was perpetrated against the Jews in Arab countries. They did not declare war on the countries in which they lived. They were loyal citizens. That did not help them. Their suffering was erased. Their story is never told. The Palestinian narrative has taken over history. There is no need for a Palestinian narrative versus a Zionist narrative. We need to shake off narratives in favor of the truth. And the truth is the number of Jews murdered was greater, their dispossession was greater, and their suffering greater.
A stunning testimonial from those years, which actually comes from the Arab side, sheds light on the issue. In 1936, Alawite notables sent a letter to the French Foreign Minister in which they expressed their concern for the future of the region. They also referred to the Jewish question: "The Jews brought civilization and peace to the Arab Muslims, and they dispersed gold and prosperity over Palestine without damage to anyone or taking anything by force. Despite this, the Muslims declared holy war against them and didn't hesitate to massacre their children and women ... Thus, a black fate awaits the Jews in case the Mandates are cancelled and Muslim Syria united with Muslim Palestine." The interesting thing is that one of the letter's signatories was none other than the great grandfather of Bashar Al Assad, the president of Syria.
We must remember that Nakba Day is the date of the declaration of Israel's independence, May 15th . We must remember what happened just a few hours after that declaration. The Secretary of the Arab League, Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzamaha, announced the declaration of war against Israel: "This war will be a war of annihilation and the story of the slaughter will be told like the campaigns of the Mongols and the Crusaders."
The Mufti, Haj Amin Al Husseini, who was close to Hitler during the Second World War, added his own bit: "I am declaring a holy war. My brother Muslims! Slaughter the Jews! Kill them all!" The mini-Holocaust of the Jews in Arab countries.
Various documents, some of them discovered only in recent years, show that the declaration of war was far broader. It was actually a declaration of war on the Jews.
Research that was conducted, among others, by Prof. Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice of Canada, shows that the Arab League formulated a bill that would place a series of sanctions on the Jews, including confiscation of property, bank accounts and more. The preamble to the bill states that "All Jews will be considered members of the Jewish minority in the State of Palestine." And if the fate of the Jews of Palestine was sealed, the fate of the Jews in Arab countries was clear.
The bill was indeed the background to the sanctions against the Jews in Arab countries - sometimes by way of legislation, as happened in Iraq and later in Egypt, and sometimes by taking those measures without the need for any legislation. According to the industry of lies, the Jews in Arab countries lived peacefully in their environment, under the protection of the government, and it was only because of the Zionist movement and the harm done to the Arabs in Palestine that the Jews began to suffer.
This lie has been repeated innumerable times. Most of the Jews in Arab countries did not undergo the horrors of the Holocaust. But, even before the advent of Zionism, their situation was not any better. There were periods in which the Jews enjoyed relative peace under Muslim rule, but those periods were the exceptions. Throughout Jewish history in Muslim lands there were humiliations, expulsions, pogroms and a systematic deprivation of rights.
Series of Pogroms
We can, of course, start with the conflict between Muhammad and the Jews. Muhammad undertook social reforms, bringing the Arabs out of the Jahaliya period, and borrowed the concept of monotheism - primarily, perhaps, from the Jews. Many motifs from the Jewish religion appear in the Koran, for example, circumcision and the prohibition on eating pork. But Muhammad wanted to convert the Jews, they, of course, refused. The result was a confrontation that ended in the expulsion and slaughter of hundreds.
The Jews, as the "People of the Book," were given the right to live under the protection of Islam and to practice their religion. From time to time, from generation to generation, the conditions underwent changes. In many cases, the Jews lived under the covenant of Khalif Omar.
This covenant enabled them to live as protected people ("Dhimmis"), albeit with inferior status. But many times, under Muslim rule, they were not even allowed a life of inferior status.
The Golden Age: One of the proofs of the coexistence of Jews and Muslims is Jewish prosperity under Muslim rule in Spain and the Golden Age. The reality, however, was different.
It encompassed a series of violence events against the Jews. In 1011 in Cordoba, Spain, under Muslim rule, there were pogroms in which, according to various estimates, from hundreds to thousands were murdered. In 1066 in Granada, Yosef Hanagid was executed, along with between 4,000 and 6,000 other Jews. One of the worst periods of all began in 1148, when the Almohad dynasty came to power (al Muwahhidūn), and ruled Spain and North Africa during the 12th and 13th centuries.
Morocco: The country that suffered from the worst series of massacres. In the 8th century whole communities were wiped out by Idris the First. In 1033, in the city of Fez, 6,000 Jews were murdered by a Muslim mob. The rise of the Almohad dynasty caused waves of mass murders. According to testimony from that time, 100,000 Jews were slaughtered in Fez and about 120,000 in Marrakesh (this testimony should be viewed with caution). In 1465, another massacre took place in Fez, which spread to other cities in Morocco.
There were pogroms in Tetuan in 1790 and 1792, in which children were murdered, women were raped and property was looted. Between 1864 and 1880, there were a series of pogroms against the Jews of Marrakesh, in which hundreds were slaughtered. In 1903, there were pogroms in two cities - Taza and Settat, in which over 40 Jews were killed.
In 1907, there was a pogrom in Casablanca in which 30 Jews were killed and many women were raped. In 1912, there was another massacre in Fez in which 60 Jews were killed and about 10,000 were left homeless. In 1948, another series of pogroms began against the Jews which led to the slaughter of 42 in the cities of Oujda and Jrada.
Algeria: A series of massacres occurred in 1805, 1815 and 1830. The situation of the Jews improved with the start of the French conquest in 1830, but that did nor prevent anti-Jewish outbursts in the 1880s. The situation deteriorated again with the rise of the Vichy government. Even before 1934, the country was permeated by Nazi influences, which led to the slaughter of 25 Jews in the city of Constantine. When it achieved independence in 1962, laws were passed against citizenship for anyone who was not a Muslim and their property was effectively confiscated. Most of the Jews left, usually completely penniless, together with the French ("pieds noirs").
Libya: In 1785, hundreds of Jews were murdered by Burza Pasha. Under Nazi influence, harassment of the Jews intensified. Jewish property in Benghazi was plundered, thousands were sent to camps and about 500 Jews were killed. In 1945, at the end of World War II, a program against the Jews began and the number of murdered reached 140. The New York Times reported the horrible scenes of babies and old people who had been beaten to death. In the riots that broke out in 1948, the Jews were more prepared, so only 14 were killed. Following the Six Day War, riots broke out once again and 17 Jews were slaughtered.
Iraq: a massacre occurred in Basra in 1776. The situation of the Jews improved under British rule in 1917, but this improvement ended with Iraq's independence in 1932. German influences increased and reached a peak in 1941 in the pogrom known as Farhud, in which 182 Jews were slaughtered (according to historian Elie Kedourie, 600 people were actually murdered) and thousands of houses were pillaged.
Those were the days of Haj Amin al Husseini, who preached violence against the Jews. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Iraqi parliament acted according to the Arab League bill and in 1950 and froze the assets of Jews. Sanctions were imposed on those who remained in Iraq. The Farhud massacre and the harassment from 1946 to 1949 to all intents and purposes turned the Iraqi Jews into exiles and refugees. The few thousand who remained in Iraq suffered from harsh edicts. In 1967, 14 Iraqis were sentenced to death on trumped up charges of espionage. Among them were 11 Jews. Radio Iraq invited the masses to the hanging festivities.
Syria: The first blood libel in a Muslim country occurred in 1840, and led to the kidnapping and torture of dozens of Jewish children, sometimes to the point of death, and a pogrom against the Jews. In 1986, the Syrian Minister of Defense, Mustafa Talas, published a book, "The Matzah of Zion," in which he claims that the Jews did, indeed, use the blood of a Christian monk to bake matzah. Same old anti-Semitism, new edition. Other pogroms occurred in Aleppo in 1850 and in 1875, in Damascus in 1848 and in 1890, in Beirut in 1862 and in 1874, and in Dir al Kamar there was another blood libel which also led to a pogrom in 1847. That year, there was a pogrom against the Jews of Jerusalem, which was the result of that blood libel. In 1945, the Jews of Aleppo suffered severe pogroms. 75 Jews were murdered and the community was destroyed. There was a resurgence of the violence in 1947, which turned most of the Syrian Jews into refugees. Those who remained there lived for many years as hostages.
Iran: There was a pogrom against the Jews of Mashhad in 1839. A mob was incited to attack Jews, and slaughtered almost 40. The rest were forced to convert. That is how the Marranos of Mashhad came into being. In 1910, there was a blood libel in Shiraz in which 30 Jews were murdered and all Jewish homes were pillaged.
Yemen: There were fluctuations in relations that ranged between tolerance and inferior subsistence, between harassment and pogroms. The Rambam's Letter to Yemen was sent following a letter he received from the leader of the Yemeni Jews, describing edicts of forced conversion issued against the Jews (1173). There were further waves of apostasy edicts which cannot be detailed here for lack of space.
One of the worst milestones was the Mawza exile. Three years after Imam Al Mahdi took power in 1676, he drove the Jews into one of the most arid districts of Yemen. According to various accounts, 60 - 75% of the Jews died as a result of the exile. Many and varied edicts were imposed on the Jews, differing only in severity. One of the harshest was the Orphans' Edict, which ordered the forced conversion of orphaned children to Islam. In nearby Aden, which was under British rule, pogroms occurred in 1947 which took the lives of 82 Jews. 106 of the 170 shops that were owned by Jews were completely destroyed. Hundreds of houses and all the community's buildings were burned down.
Egypt: As in the other Arab countries, the Jews of Egypt also suffered inferior status for hundreds of years. A significant improvement occurred when Muhammad Ali came to power in 1805. The testimony of French diplomat, Edmond Combes, leaves nothing in doubt: "To the Muslims, no race is more worthy of contempt than the Jewish race." Another diplomat added, "The Muslims do not hate any other religion the way they hate that of the Jews."
Following the blood libel in Damascus, similar libels began to spread in Egypt as well and incited mobs to carry out a series of attacks: in Cairo in 1844, 1890, and in 1901-1902; and Alexandria in 1870, 1882 and in 1901-1907. Similar attacks also occurred in Port Said and in Damanhur.
Later on, there were riots against the Jews at the end of World War II, in 1945, in which 10 were killed and hundreds were injured. In 1947, the Companies Law was passed, which severely damaged Jewish businesses and led to the confiscation of property. In 1948, following the UN resolution on partition, riots began in Cairo and Alexandria. The dead numbered between 80 and 180. Tens of thousands were forced to leave, many fleeing and abandoning their property. The lot of those who remained did not improve. In 1956, a law was passed in Egypt which effectively denied the Jews citizenship, forcing them to leave the country with no property. This was an act of pure expulsion and mass property confiscation.
The above is just a partial list out of a long series of massacres in Muslim countries. It happened before the Zionist endeavor. It continued with the Zionist endeavor. We are talking about a succession of events. Tens of thousands were murdered simply because they were Jewish. So the fairytale of coexistence and blaming Zionism for undermining that coexistence is yet another completely baseless myth.
Before the UN vote on partition in November 1947, Egypt's ambassador to the UN, Heykal Pasha, warned that "The lives of a million Jews in Muslim countries will be in danger if the vote is for partition... if Arab blood is spilled in Palestine, Jewish blood will be spilled elsewhere in the world."
Four days afterwards, the Iraqi foreign minister, Muhammad Fadil al Jamali said that "We will not be able to restrain the masses in the Arab countries, after the harmony in which Jews and Arabs lived together." There was no harmony. There had been a massacre of Jews just a few years earlier. El Jamali lied, of course. The very same Iraqi government had encouraged the harassment of Jews and issued orders to confiscate all Jewish property.
Additionally, the Iraqi leader of the time, Nuri Said, had already presented a plan for expelling the Jews in 1949, even before the hasty - actually forced - exit of the Jews from Iraq. He also explained that "The Jews are a source of trouble in Iraq. They have no place among us. We must get rid of them as best we were able." Said even presented a plan to lead the Jews via Jordan in order to coerce them into passage to Israel. Jordan objected, but the expulsion was implemented anyway. Said even admitted that this entailed a type of population exchange.
So the massacres, the pogroms and the great expulsion of the Jews was a continuation of their suffering under Muslim rule. There have always been Muslims who came out in defense of the Jews. They are also worthy of mention. That were also periods of prosperity, but it appears that most of the Jewish prosperity, as in Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s, in Algeria in the 19th and 20th centuries, in Iraq in the 1920s - was under colonial rule. In most cases, the situation of the Jews was bad before the European invasion and worsened once again with the end of the colonial era.
* * *
Throughout the relations between Jews and Arabs, in Arab countries or in the course of the Zionist enterprise, there was not one case of a pogrom against Muslims of the type committed by the Arabs against the Jews. Even in the worst cases, which must be condemned, such as Deir Yassin, they occurred as part of a military confrontation.
Those are cases that should be condemned, but we need to put things in perspective. The Arabs slaughtered the Jews without any hostilities and without any military excuse, just because they were Jews. And those few Arabs who were killed, were killed as part of a military campaign. Despite this, any injury inflicted on the Arab population resulted in innumerable investigations and references. The worst abuse of all, the abuse of Jews by Arabs, was erased and forgotten.
Let's return to Deir Yassin, the ultimate symbol of the Nakba. We have called it an indecent act and we will repeat that. But we must note that it was preceded by a series of murderous terrorist attacks against the civilian population. Waves of incidents, which to all intents and purposes were actual pogroms, by an incited mob that attacked the civilian population. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered - women, children and the elderly. The Palestinians even murdered their own people. In the great Arab Revolt in the 1930s, 400 Jews and 5,000 Arabs were killed, most of them at the hands of their brethren.
The months before Deir Yassin were the worst of all. 39 workers were murdered at the Haifa refineries, 50 Jews were killed by car bombs in Jerusalem, and on and on. In total, in the four months between the vote on partition and the declaration of establishment of the State of Israel, 815 Jews were murdered, most of them before the Deir Yassin incident (on April 9, 1948), some afterward (the slaughter of the Hadassah hospital convoy, 79 killed, April 13, 1948). Most were civilians. Most died in massacres and terrorist attacks. And that is the real background. Far more murdered Jews. But they have all been forgotten. They should be mentioned. That is the Jewish Nakba, whose victims, in Israel and around the world, are mentioned less and less.
The Palestinians paid the price
Close to a million Jews lived in Arab countries at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel. Just a few live there today. Most left because they suffered from pogroms and the threat to their lives. It was a crueler expulsion than the one suffered by the Arabs of Palestine, who paid the price for the declarations of war and annihilation made by their leaders. Even the Jewish property that was confiscated or abandoned as a result of the expulsion is more valuable than the Arab property that remained in Israel.
Various investigators have tried to estimate the value of the confiscated Jewish property following the forced departure of the Jews from Arab countries, compared with the Arab property left in Israel following the forced departure of the Arabs. Economist Sidney Zabludoff, an international expert in the field, estimates that the value of the Arab property is $3.9 billion, compared with the value of the Jewish property which is $6 billion (at 2007 values).
So even in this area, the Palestinians' claims are refuted. They dragged the Arab countries into war. They paid the price. And they are the ones who caused the Jews to pay an even higher price. Both in property and in blood.
This article is not intended to cultivate the Jewish Nakba, and it by no means includes all the cases of pogroms, property confiscations, forced conversions and other harassment. The purpose is precisely the opposite. When they understand, in the Arab world in general, and the Palestinians in particular, that suffering, expulsion, loss of property, the cost in lives, is not the monopoly of one side, they may, perhaps, have the sense to understand that this past is a matter for history lessons. Because if we start to perform a political accounting, they have an overdraft. The Jewish Nakba was far greater. The suffering was enormous. But it is the suffering of many nations, Jews and Arabs among them, who went through the experience as part of the creation of new nation states.
It is therefore worth presenting the story of the Jewish Nakba. Not for the purpose of increasing the hostility, but for the purpose of presenting the truth, and for the purpose of reconciliation between the nations. Inshallah.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The TULIP initiative is a practical way of moving the peace process forward and stands in stark contrast to the movement to delegitimize and dehumanize Israel through any means possible fostered by groups such as Independent Australian Jewish Voices and Australians for Palestine which brought Caryl Churchill’s execrable piece of hatred soaked agitprop “Seven Jewish Children” to Melbourne this week. The AFP which promotes boycotts of Israeli products and Israeli academics has been effective enough to fool one Jewish academic who describes himself a “Zionist” and others who claim they love Israel into sharing its podium in a one sided discussion after the play reading.
Perhaps they might be interested their friends at AFP where it stands in terms of its preparedness to lend its support to TULIP or any other like practical initiatives that involve a positive approach rather than the destructive approach inherent in their constant propaganda onslaught against the Jewish State.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Here's what Jacobson says about the work:
Rhetoric is precisely what has warped report and analysis these past months, and in the process made life fraught for most English Jews who, like me, do not differentiate between the worth of Jewish and Palestinian lives, though the imputation – loud and clear in a new hate-fuelled little chamber-piece by Caryl Churchill – is that Jews do. “Massacre” and “Slaughter” are rhetorical terms. They determine the issue before it can begin to be discussed. Are you for massacre or are you not? When did you stop slaughtering your wife?
I watched demonstrators approach members of the public with their petitions. “Do you want an end to the slaughter in Gaza?” What were those approached expected to reply? – “No, I want it to continue unabated.” If “Massacre” presumes indiscriminate, “Slaughter” presumes innocence. There is no dodging the second of those. In Gaza the innocent have suffered unbearably.
Quite simply, in this wantonly inflammatory piece, the Jews drop in on somewhere they have no right to be, despise, conquer, and at last revel in the spilling of Palestinian blood. There is a one-line equivocal mention of a suicide bomber, and ditto of rockets, both compromised by the “Tell her” device, otherwise no Arab lifts a finger against a Jew. “Tell her about Jerusalem,” but no one tells her, for example, that the Jewish population of East Jersusalem was expelled at about the time our survivors turn up, that it was cleansed from the city and its sacred places desecrated or destroyed. Only in the crazed brains of Israelis can the motives for any of their subsequent actions be found.
Thus lie follows lie, omission follows omission, until, in the tenth and final minute, we have a stage populated by monsters who kill babies by design – “Tell her we killed the babies by mistake,” one says, meaning don’t tell her what we really did – who laugh when they see a dead Palestinian policeman (“Tell her they’re animals... Tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out”), who consider themselves the “chosen people”, and who admit to feeling happy when they see Palestinian “children covered in blood”.
Anti-Semitic? No, no. Just criticism of Israel.
Only imagine this as Seven Muslim Children and we know that the Royal Court would never have had the courage or the foolhardiness to stage it. I say that with no malice towards Muslims. I do not approve of censorship but I admire their unwillingness to be traduced. It would seem that we Jews, however, for all our ingrained brutality – we English Jews at least – are considered a soft touch. You can say what you like about us, safe in the knowledge that while we slaughter babies and laugh at murdered policemen (“Tell her we’re the iron fist now”) we will squeak no louder than a mouse when we are abused.
Caryl Churchill will argue that her play is about Israelis not Jews, but once you venture on to “chosen people” territory – feeding all the ancient prejudice against that miscomprehended phrase – once you repeat in another form the medieval blood-libel of Jews rejoicing in the murder of little children, you have crossed over. This is the old stuff. Jew-hating pure and simple – Jew-hating which the haters don’t even recognise in themselves, so acculturated is it – the Jew-hating which many of us have always suspected was the only explanation for the disgust that contorts and disfigures faces when the mere word Israel crops up in conversation. So for that we are grateful. At last that mystery is solved and that lie finally nailed. No, you don’t have to be an anti-Semite to criticise Israel. It just so happens that you are.
If one could simply leave them to it one would. It’s a hell of its own making, hating Jews for a living. Only think of the company you must keep. But these things are catching. Take Michael Billington’s somnolent review of the play in the Guardian. I would imagine that any accusation of anti-Semitism would horrify Michael Billington. And I certainly don’t make it. But if you wanted an example of how language itself can sleepwalk the most innocent towards racism, then here it is. “Churchill shows us,” he writes, “how Jewish children are bred to believe in the ‘otherness’ of
It is not just the adopted elision of Israeli children into Jewish children that is alarming, or the unquestioning acceptance of Caryl Churchill’s offered insider knowledge of Israeli child-rearing, what’s most chilling is that lazy use of the word “bred”, so rich in eugenic and bestial connotations, but inadvertently slipped back into the conversation now, as truth. Fact: Jews breed children in order to deny Palestinians their humanity. Watching another play in the same week, Billington complains about its manipulation of racial stereotypes. He doesn’t, you see, even notice the inconsistency.
And so it happens. Without one’s being aware of it, it happens. A gradual habituation to the language of loathing. Passed from the culpable to the unwary and back again. And soon, before you know it...
Not here, though. Not in cosy old lazy old easy-come easy-go England.
Jacobson wrote this in February. It's almost as if he saw three months into the future and looked at Melbourne, Australia.
The writer of the email was criticising the recipient of the email for the mere mention in correspondence of the connection between Hitler and the wartime Palestinian leader and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al Husseini (pictured above in Berlin).
According to him, if you mentioned this fact you were committing an act of racism against the Palestinian people.
I never quite understood why telling the truth and stating undisputed historical facts was so wrong, particularly in view of the admiration Yasser Arafat later had of al Husseini (he even lied that they were related) and of the fact that the philosophies of the Grand Mufti's Moslem Brotherhood inspired the birth of Hamas in the 1980's.
Al Husseini spent the war years assisting the Nazis in plotting their final solution for the Jews, a solution he had in mind for export to the British Mandate of Palestine but for the defeat of fascism.
So it's not only verboten to speak the truth about such evil monsters lest we offend the Palestinians but its also racist and yet when a playwright yells lies in a work of art and makes the obscene comparison between Nazis and Jews defending their children's lives, some people - even some Jews - think it's kosher.
I am grateful for the many people who come out in support of the Jewish people in the face of the travesty we had to witness inside our own State Library when the play “Seven Jewish Children” was staged while some in the crowd outside chanted in unison "Free Palestine, from the river to the sea".
On hearing about this, I thought it was so ironical that the Australians for Palestine are doing such a particularly good job in infusing their followers with hatred, a belief in the contents of the Hamas Charter and the cause of destroying Israel while, inside, a few stupid Jews are sitting smugly believing they are doing something good.
Monday, May 18, 2009
The play is being performed at Melbourne's State Library this evening under the aegis of Australians for Palestine.What follows is the wording from a pamphlet critical of the play and prepared initially for distribution outside London's Royal Court Theatre, which recently promoted Churchill's play. The same theatre refused to accept a production of Richard Stirling's "Seven Other Children" - a response to Churchill that looked at how the history of the conflict was being distorted by the Palestinian side and of the damage being done to their children by this indoctrination. The associate director of the Royal Court, told Stirling that he would "think twice" about staging a play critical of Islam:
Just like any other open Western democracy, Israel should not be immune to valid criticisms of its government and their policies.
Legitimate criticism of Israel is NOT anti-Semitic.
What is anti-Semitic though is Caryl Churchill’s play “Seven Jewish Children”.
Although apparently about Israel, ‘Seven Jewish Children’ is in fact a direct attack on Jews.
It tells them in effect that they are to be held responsible for the fact that in Israel Jews have supposedly turned into Nazis. Indeed, the title ‘Seven Jewish children’ makes that explicit.
There are seven scenes in which notional adults are said to be explaining to seven Jewish children, in an oblique fashion, seminal episodes in modern Jewish and Israeli history – the Holocaust, its aftermath in Europe, the creation of the State of Israel, the Six-Day War, theSecond Intifada and operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The underlying message is that the Jews who started out as victims of the Nazis – when they were Good, apparently, because they were Victims and even better were Dead Victims – then claimed the land of Israel out of a sense of their own superiority, dispossessed its rightful Arab inhabitants and ever since have set about killing them out of instincts of rapacious colonialism, hatred and blood-lust.
There is of course no acknowledgement of Jewish history before the Holocaust. No acknowledgement of the unique and historic Jewish claim to the land of Israel, which ledthe great powers in 1920 to commit themselves to re-establishing within it the Jewish national home. Instead:
Tell her, of course tell her, tell her everyone was driven out and the country is waiting for us to come home
Don’t tell her she doesn’t belong here
Tell her of course she likes it here but she’ll like it there even more.
Tell her it’s an adventure
Tell her no-one will tease her
Tell her she’ll have new friends
Tell her she can take her toys
Tell her she’s a special girl
Tell her about Jerusalem.
Note that ‘special’. It’s still the giveaway, isn’t it -- the old, old resentment at ‘the chosen people’. That’s the only reason, apparently, why the Jews feel entitled to claim this land and dispossess its ‘rightful’ inhabitants:
Tell her this wasn’t their home...
Don’t tell her who used to live in this house
No but don’t tell her her great great grandfather used to live in this house
No but don’t tell her Arabs used to sleep in the bedroom
No acknowledgement – indeed, apparently a denial even – of the fact that Jews did indeed maintain an unbroken inhabitation of pre-Israel Palestine, with a Jewish majority in Jerusalem from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. No acknowledgement that many of the Arabs living in Israel when the State was established in 1948 had only arrived there in the preceding decades on the back of the Jewish immigrants -- who had started to arrive not after the Holocaust, as Churchill suggests, but from the late 19th century onwards – and who were bringing new prosperity with them.
No mention of the fact that in the vast majority of cases until that point, those formerly Arab houses subsequently inhabited by Jews had been sold to them, legally and openly, by largely absentee Arab landlords. No acknowledgement of the fact that – as some Arabs have candidly admitted – the reason why Arabs no longer slept in some of those bedroomsafter 1948 was that they were told by the Arab states to leave their homes while the Arab armies destroyed the State of Israel at birth.
Don’t tell her she can’t play with the children
Don’t tell her she can have them in the house...
No acknowledgement of the equal civil and political rights for Arabs within Israel. No acknowledgement of the fact that there are Arab members of the Knesset, Arab students in Israeli universities and Arabs – including those from Gaza -- receiving equal treatment in Israeli hospitals. Instead, the big lie of institutionalised Jewish prejudice.
Tell her again this is our promised land
Don’t tell her they said it was a land without people
But no-one ever did say this.
What was said was ‘a people without a land for a land without a people’. The indefinite article is crucial. No-one ever denied there were people in the (sparsely populated) land when the Jews started to return at the end of the nineteenth century. No-one ever denied the majority of those were Arabs. But these Arabs were not a people particular to Palestine. They had no specific Palestinian nationality, culture, language or religion – because there wasn’t one. They regarded themselves variously as belonging to a generic Arab people, or to Syria or Egypt or from wherever they came in later years. Indeed, ‘Palestinian’ was the adjective then applied to the Jews who were living there.
It was the Jews who were a people who were without a land. The Arabs of Palestine were not a people. That’s why the saying sometimes took the form: ‘a nation without a land for a land without a nation’.
From the fifth scene, apparently about the Six-Day War, this evil travesty steadily ratchets up the scale of the lies and the consequent incitement to hatred.
Tell her we won
Tell her her brother’s a hero
Tell her how the tanks rolled in
Tell her how big their armies are
Tell her we turned them back Tell her we’re fighters
Tell her we’ve got new land
No acknowledgement that the Six-Day War was a defensive war. No acknowledgement that, after it was over, Israel offered to return virtually all the territories it had conquered in return for peace – an offer rejected in August 1967 at Khartoum, where the Arab leaders issued their ‘three noes’ response: no peace with Israel, no negotiation with Israel, and no recognition of Israel. Instead, the wicked suggestion that Israel was not the prospective victim of annihilation but the aggressor.
And of course, no mention that the occupation has ended in Gaza – and the outcome has been more than 6000 Arab rockets fired at Jewish families in order to kill them. And so it follows that ‘the occupation’ is presented as the big lie: a regime of unbridled aggression and malice by the Jews towards the Arabs.
Don’t tell her the trouble about the swimming pool
Tell her it’s our water, we have the right
Tell her it’s not the water for their fields...
Don’t tell her not to look at the bulldozer
Don’t tell her it was knocking the house down
Tell her it’s a building site...
Don’t tell her about the queues at the checkpoint...
Don’t tell her they throw stones
Tell her they’re not much good against tanks
Don’t tell her that
Don’t tell her they set off bombs in cafes
Tell her, tell her they set off bombs in cafes...
Tell her they want to drive us into the sea
Tell her we kill far more of them...
Tell her we’re stronger
Tell her we’re entitled
Tell her they don’t understand anything except violence
Tell her we want peace
Tell her we’re going swimming
No acknowledgement of the aid and facilities provided by the Jews to the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, even while their inhabitants are trying to commit human bomb attacks or firing rockets against Jews; instead the lie that the Jews are maliciously depriving the Arabs of the means to sustain life. No acknowledgement that house demolition (taught to the Jews by the British as an anti-Arab terror tactic) is used against terrorists who use their houses as bomb factories and its purpose is solely as a deterrent against terrorism; instead the lie that the Jews are maliciously destroying Arab homes. No acknowledgement that the checkpoints exist solely because of Arab murder attacks against Jews; instead the lie that the Jews are gratuitously causing hardship to the Arabs.
And then, more disgustingly still, the suggestion that the Jews kill and persecute the Arabs out of some kind of strutting power complex, and that while they pay lip-service to peace they idle away their time in their swimming pools.
Thus the Jewish state, desperate for peace and institutionally traumatised from six decades of exterminatory attrition directed at it solely for the crime of existing, has its victimisation not only erased but turned against it in a systematic inversion of truth and lies.
Thus the stage is now set for the spigot of hatred against the Jews to be fully opened in the seventh and final scene:
Tell her the Hamas fighters have been killed
Tell her they’re terrorists
Tell her they’re filth...
Tell her we killed the babies by mistake
Don’t tell her anything about the army
Tell her, tell her about the army, tell her to be proud of the army.
Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her their names why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldn’t she know? tell her there’s dead babies, did she see babies?
Tell her she’s got nothing to be ashamed of.
Tell her they did it to themselves.
Tell her they want their children killed to make people sorry for them, tell her I’m not sorry for them, tell her not to be sorry for them, tell her we’re the ones to be sorry for, tell her they can’t talk suffering to us.
Tell her we’re the iron fist now, tell her it’s the fog of war, tell her we won’t stop killing them till we’re safe, tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policeman, tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I don’t care if the world hates us,
tell her we’re better haters,tell her we’re chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in bloodand what do I feel?
Tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her.
So here we have the blood libel finally out in the open. With no acknowledgement of Israel’s claim that the vast majority killed in Gaza were male terrorists, and with the suggestion that the Jews are lying when they say that Hamas used their own children as bomb fodder, the inflammatory focus instead is solely upon dead babies. The Jews are presented as literally dehumanised, with the claim that they feel no pity or sorrow for the babies they have killed because they assert they have a monopoly on suffering; indeed, they supposedly laugh at those they have killed. And the portrayal of Jews as not only monstrous child-killers but‘better haters’ because they are the ‘chosen people’ is straight out of the hallucinatory lexicons of medieval Jew-hatred.
This is an open vilification of the Jewish people, not merely repeatedly perpetrating incendiary lies about Israel but demonstrably and openly drawing upon an atavistic hatred of the Jews.
It is sickening and dreadful beyond measure that the Royal Court theatre is staging this. It is not a contribution to a necessarily polarised and emotional debate. It is open incitement to hatred. In the Middle Ages, ‘mystery plays’ which portrayed the Jews as the demonic killers of Christ helped fuel the murderous pogroms against the Jews ofEurope. With this piece by Caryl Churchill, the Royal Court is staging a modern ‘mystery play’.
It is a despicable act.
Friday, May 15, 2009
It's refreshing to read something from the progressive side of politics that makes sense and puts forward some positive thoughts on achieving peace and reconciliation in the torubled Middle East.
What makes it so refreshing is that it stands out starkly in constrast to the rantings of the extremists and the Arab Lobby involved in the naqba charade which seeks to force feed an unsuspecting public with lies and distortions aimed at demonisating and dehumanising the Israeli people and the great majority of Jews with them and doing nothing to help the Palestinians who are suffering under the jackboot of Hamas and a corrupt PA.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The author didn't quite get it right because Jewish Care cancelled a performance by actor Miriam Margoyles but not of the so-called play which it was never going to put on in the first place. However, Ingrid Weinberg has captured the spirit of the issue in a nutshell.
Australians for Palestine, to which the actor and a small band of others have given their imprimatur by associating with this calumny is involved in various programmes seeking to deligitimise the Jewish State including boycotts of Israeli products and academics so why the uproar when Jewish Care exercises its right to have nothing to do with someone who collaborates with such a nefarious cause?
Congratulations to Ingrid Weinberg for producing this week's brilliant gold plated letter of the week and to the Age letters editor for allowing it to see the light of day in the newpaper.
This kind of 'debate' is not helpful
AMID the anger over Jewish Care's decision to cancel the performance of Seven Jewish Children, I feel facts have been neglected in the debate. The performance was sponsored by Australians for Palestine, a virulently anti-Israel lobbying group, to commemorate "al-Nakba", or the "catastrophe", of Israel's creation in 1948.
There is a reason that pro-Israel voices declined to participate in the panel discussion. I speak from experience. Attending an Australians for Palestine-sponsored talk at the University of Melbourne by Palestinian academic Ghada Karmi in 2007, I and some fellow Zionist students attempted to make our voices heard at the end of her speech. We were shouted down, booed and abused by the audience, before being asked to leave the venue. Is this the kind of "debate" Miriam Margolyes and others participating in the play were hoping to provoke?
Australians for Palestine, and the producers of Seven Jewish Children, are only seeking to further delegitimise and demonise Israel to a wider audience than normally received. I see no reason for Jewish Care to assist them in doing so.
Ingrid Weinberg, North Caulfield
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Perhaps the Jewish hangers on to the Australians for Palestine Israel bash to take place on Naqba Day next Monday ("naqba" means catastrophe or failure to carry out a momentous massacre of Jews as threatened in 1948) would do well to read what this group and their friends over there really have in store for the six million Jewish citizens of Israel should they ever get their way.
... the idea of a "secular democratic Palestine" is as much a nonstarter today as it was three decades ago. It is a nonstarter primarily because the Palestinian Arabs, like the world's other Muslim Arab communities, are deeply religious and have no respect for democratic values and no tradition of democratic governance.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Given that Sheik Tayseer Rajab Tamimi is a representative of the Palestine Authority - Israel's supposed "peace partner" - one can only ask what chances are there of the Pontiff's repeated pleas for Middle Eastern peace coming to fruition.
Monday, May 11, 2009
In late February, I could hardly ignore the headlines over the Royal Court Theatre's production of Caryl Churchill's eight-minute play Seven Jewish Children. Seeing it, I found the production immaculate but the content dangerously one-sided to anyone not convinced of its political or even humanitarian premise.
In less than ten minutes, Ms Churchill conflated criticism of the government of Israel with polemic about Jews in general. The play, after all, was called Seven Jewish Children, not Seven Israeli Children. And the connection between pre-WWII Jews as victims of the Nazis and present day Israelis as outright oppressors of the Middle East was one that I, a non-Jew, was not prepared to make without a great deal more debate.
I questioned the Royal Court Theatre's mounting of this show at its own expense, without any hope of income (tickets were free), to benefit a charity of Caryl Churchill's choosing. In the light of Ms Churchill's statement that the piece was "a political event, not just a theatre event", the management was lining up behind her activism as well as her artistry. So be it. Ms Churchill, whose work I generally find illuminating, has a right to her opinion. However, it seemed iniquitous that the Royal Court should then define the parameters of the debate. When I wrote to Dominic Cooke, asking him to programme a response, I had a letter (from which I am not allowed to quote) citing works by Shakespeare and Ibsen as examples of how theatre cannot stand on rules of balance. This is an argument with which I normally agree, but which I do not accept can be sustained over Ms Churchill's eight-minute polemic.
There was also the suggestion that Seven Jewish Children was challenging in its own right. But when I attended the Royal Court, it was to sit among members of an audience who, from their comments in the foyer afterwards, were there not to have their minds stretched but their prejudices confirmed. And that's not good enough.
The associate director of the Royal Court, Ramin Gray, has said he would "think twice" about staging a play critical of Islam, adding: "You'd worry that if you cause offence then the whole enterprise would become buried in a sea of controversy." Quite what else the theatre has done with Ms Churchill's play is difficult to see.
I'm sick of this. I'm sick that we, as predominately white Westernised theatre practitioners, continue to feel so adventurous about attacking undoubted problems within the Christian and Jewish traditions, yet remain so supine about the issue of the day, the elephant in the room: anything that relates to zealous ferment within other religious communities.
The Royal Court imagines it has addressed this matter by programming the very charming comedy Shades by the gifted young Alia Bano. This hardly constitutes the multi-cultural balance Mr Cooke suggests it does, even when elsewhere he has, as previously mentioned, denied such balance is needed at all.
My eight-minute play Seven Other Children is currently running at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. A theatrical response to Caryl Churchill and the Royal Court Theatre, it has a splendid cast of nine international actors, of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular backgrounds. My response may not be to everyone's liking, or indeed anyone's. But it will have to do until a better one comes along.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
And on cue, the Hamas hugging promoters found a willing helper with Jewish heritage doing her best to persuade the Lobby's friends at the Age that allegations about the play being anti-Semitic are "bollocks".
Miriam Margolyes thinks "it's very important that Jewish people who think as I do should say, 'Look, we're Jews, and we want Israel to survive, but not like this, not by killing other people.'"
It is being promoted by the lobby group Australians for Palestine whose record on whether Israel should survive is clear. AFP does not support a two state solution. In fact, it condemns all attempts to bring about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians: witness its vicious attacks on the Peace Team - an Australian Rules team made up of Israelis and Palestinians which competed in a world football carnival in Melbourne last year.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Whenever Abdel-Fattah and Rundle opened their mouths pigs flew out in swarms. The former came up with a ripper when asked about Durban 2 and Ahmedinejad's keynote speech at that forum. She thought it wasn’t too bad ... "leaving aside the Holocaust denial". Let's face it Randa, this wasn't your finest moment but thanks for proving the Australian government's decision correct without its mouthpiece having to even open his ... well, mouth. Your comment was tantamount to saying that Hitler's policies weren't bad either ... "leaving aside his racism".
Rundle had no clue whatsoever and was virtually in denial about the years of constant Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli citizens. Nobody from the Arab lobby either on the panel or in the audience was ready to concede that the attacks on Israeli towns like Sderot are a war crime. Clueless Rundle simply repeated the lie that Israel broke the ceasefire (alluding to the appalling and discredited claim that an Israeli operation to put an end to a Palestinian tunnel into Israel proper on 4 November broke the ceasefire).
Sheridan was at his best in dealing with the smug Aryan type asked why the 20th century worst genocide should be used to justify the 21st Century's worst genocide. He had to explain that he meant the alleged genocide of Palestinians which is simply another of those phoney inventions from the fertile mind of Arab lobbyists.
Even Abdel-Fattah was embarrassed at the suggestion which might receive currency at a rally of froth at the mouth undergrad Socialist Alliance members but it wasn't going to wash on national television. She'd already been caught out lying when she tried to misquote Sheridan and he had told her so. Abdel-Fattah might not have been comfortable with the word "genocide" but she was happier with "ethnic cleansing". However, even that's a bit of a stretch for the Palestinians whose actual population has increased by 30% in the last generation. Some genocide, some ethnic cleansing!
The young Aryan who was insistent on the use of the word "genocide" when it came to Israel's defence of its people against terror groups who really do want to commit genocide and say so in their charters and constitutions, would of course, be fully cognisant of the amount of discussion (virtually nil) at the Durban conference on, ... er racism ... and in particular, about some of the early 21st Century's real genocides such as that of Arab Sudan's black minority where hundreds of thousands have died in the past half decade. But the Aryan didn't care, nor did the Arab Lobby panellists and the ABC didn't plant anyone in the audience to ask the question anyway..
As usual, it was left to Sheridan to deliver the best line of the programme when he advised the Aryan to visit a psychiatrist.
Friday, May 08, 2009
On 7 January 2009 the Age published a report sourced from AFP and entitled "Israeli strikes kill 48 in school refuges"
The report opened as follows:
The report was false - founded on fabrications provided to AFP reporters who simply repeated them and made their story available to media outlets like the Age which gleefully accepted the story and allowed it to sit as the main news item of its on line edition for the whole day.
Israeli forces blazed into towns across Gaza today, striking Hamas targets but also hitting three United Nations-run schools in attacks that killed up to 48 people and led to urgent new calls for a ceasefire.
This was despite conflicting reports coming in from elsewhere throughout that day and, by the following day, it was clear that the IDF did not fire at any schools but rather, that it returned fire at Hamas fighters. It has subsequently been proved that 12 died outside the school including just three civilians who were unlucky enough to have been in the vicinity when Hamas attacked IDF troops. The rest were Hamas terrorists using their own people as human shields.
The Age never produced an apology or a retraction for publishing a story cram packed with lies, a story which was one of many unsubstantiated claims of IDF "war crimes", most of which have been debunked.
Yet, the Age had the indecency to yesterday publish another unbalanced AFP item titled - UN chief seeks compensation from Israel. The more decent Australian newspaper published Israel savages UN report on Gaza attacks in which a number of subtle ommisions from the Age report are brought to light including the fact that the UN's Ban Ki-moon is uncomfortable with several aspects of his own organisation's report.
Robbie Sabel in the Guardian (a source often used by the Age) The UN on Gaza: partial and partisan gets right down to the point:
There is an asymmetry peculiar to the laws of armed conflict. Hamas knowingly and deliberately targeted civilians and civilian targets in Israel and based itself in civilian areas, but this does not exempt Israel from having to apply the rules of war to its hostilities with Hamas. Israel accepted this obligation and has never shirked from it. It is also absolutely right that the damage done to UN facilities should be fully
investigated, along with all other serious accusations of misconduct in war.
But the report the UN has produced does little to bring understanding or justice to the conflict in Gaza. The UN secretary general appears to have realised this and has tried to distance himself from it.
The report's underlying premise is that UN property enjoys absolute immunity. Of course, that is right, but the report should surely have explored why a military force needed to take action against an enemy in a built-up area at all. The undisputed fact – that Hamas was deliberately operating from such areas to launch attacks on Israeli civilian targets – is simply ignored.
The Age probably gets this but, on the evidence of the past four or five months doesn't want its readers to see this side of the story. It routinely airbrushes out of existence much of the bad side of Hamas and the PA, just as it routinely questions everything that the Jewish State does and even publishes articles including accusations that Israel lied. Even when it knows it has published lies and blood libels against Israel which, when proven untrue, are still not retracted.
That's sheer hypocrisy and utter indecency. The Palestine Lobby at the Age is working well and doing as good a job for its dark cause as the editors who published the offensive cartoon above.