14 May 2014

For Nakba Day

This isn’t meant to be a coherent essay so much as a collection of my status updates and my descriptions of and comments on various posts made to Facebook.  I wanted it all in one place to post for Nakba Day.

“Occupied Palestine” is that portion of the Levant east of Jordan, west of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Lebanon, and north of the Sinai. Everything within those parameters is Occupied Palestine.

We need to come up with a word stronger than apartheid for Israel's treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Apartheid is how they treat Palestinians (and Africans, and Maghrebic, Mizrahic, and Sephardic Jews) within the recognized borders of the State of Israel. How it treats Palestinians beyond that approaches how the Nazis treated Jews before the camps.

The "two-state solution" is not a solution but a mirror of the bantustans of apartheid South Africa, of which the State of Israel was the most staunch ally, to the extent of sharing nuclear weapons technology with it. The West Bank looks pretty much the same as the territory on the other side of the Apartheid Wall [carved up with Palestinians shoved into tiny corners], and Palestine's southwest is a de facto Gaza Ghetto equal in deprivation but twice the size of the one in Warsaw during occupation of Poland by the Nazis.

Saying, “There shouldn't be a ‘Jewish' State” is the same saying as “There shouldn’t be an ‘Aryan’ State” or There shouldn’t be an an ‘Anglo-American’ State” or There shouldn’t be a ‘Persian’ State’.  No nation-state has the right to exist for the purpose of elevating those of one ethnic group above all others inside its borders with the eventual goal of eliminating those other groups.

Imagine if 21st century Germany declared itself the homeland to all Germanic people and gave ethnic Germans outside its borders more rights than non-ethnic citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany.  Now, imagine that ethnic Germans had an automatic right-of-return to Germany with instant citizenship provided they were Lutheran or Catholic but required all those not of ethnic German descent and/or non-Lutheran, non-Catholic to go through an arduous approval process that lasts for years.  Furthermore, imagine the passports of the Federal Republic of Germany listing its citizens not simply as “German” but by nationality and/or ethnic-religious group, so that you get “German Lutheran”, “German Catholic”, “Jew”, “Turk”, “Irish”, “Druze”, “Ethiopian”, etc.  Outraged yet?  Welcome to the State of Israel, just switch the names “Jew” for “German” and “Orthodox” for “Lutheran” and “Catholic”.

Every time officials of the State of Israel whine about a two-sided story to the latest atrocity its government, military, or imperial colonists being condemned by governments and news organizations across the globe, I can't help thinking that I didn't realize there were two sides to ethnic-cleansing.  Were there two sides to the Holocaust?  Were there two sides to Jim Crow?

There are few things I despise more than pseudo-history. It's one of the reasons I have little respect for any religion's sacred scriptures as history.  None of them are history from that religion's POV as much as they are historical fantasy.

Using the Bible as a benchmark for studying the history of Palestine is like using the movie "Birth of a Nation" as a foundation for studying the history of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.

Xenophobic bigotry is not the same as true religion, though it too often passes for it, even in the eyes of religious adherents who despise it.  That's true whether you're talking about the Zionist Jewish State or the Muslim nation of Malaysia or Catholic Vatican City or Putin’s Orthodox Russian Federation or Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood or Turkey under Erdogan and the AKP or Buddhist Sri Lanka or Buddhist Burma or Hindu India or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Salafi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the Catholic Republic of Ireland or the Catholic Republic of El Salvador or the Catholic Republic of Spain or the Protestant State of Texas.

Since most Palestinians in the West Bank descend primarily from Samaritan forebearers, is it fair to say that Zionists are anti-Semtic?

One of the chief reasons European Jews began seeking a homeland of their own in the latter decades of the 19th century was that traditionally Jews in Europe were forbidden by law from owning land.  Thus the Zionist movement, which first set its sites on Uganda before turning to Ottoman-occupied Palestine.  Wanna guess how much land a non-Jew is allowed to own in the State of Israel under current law?  If you said zero, you are correct.

Palestinians of 2014 envy Catholics in Northeast Ulster of 1968.  Calling for a two-state solution in the Southern Levant is like calling for a two-state solution in Northeast Ulster.

In Israel, Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Jews have the same status roughly as Scottish Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and other Dissenters (non-Catholic non-Anglicans) had in Ireland prior to repeal of the Penal Laws.  Meaning, they don’t suffer under as many legal disabilities as Muslims and Christians (except, in the latter case, of visiting members of the rabid Christian Right who rabidly support the most extreme Zionism), but their marriages by their own rabbis aren’t recognized so their children are illegitimate under the law.  is a little funny since Zionism sprang from the Haskala and therefore shares a common origin with Reform Judaism.

Buying products from Israel, especially coming from Occupied Palestine, is the same as buying blood diamonds.

At the height of the Second World War, Raphael Lemkin, a Jewish Polish soldier who had evaded capture and made it to the USA in 1941 published a book in 1944 called Axis Rule in Occupied Europe describing what the Nazis were doing to the Jews, Roma, Poles, and other groups, which he defined as genocide.  In it he described genocide as:

“Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.

“Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor's own nationals.”

Both these passages describe exactly what the State of Israel has been doing to the people of Palestine since 1948.

While Lemkin was the driving force on the Convention and Punishment of Genocide in 1948, it was much watered down from his wishes.

Lemkin’s criticisms of the genocide of Ukraine carried out by Stalin in the 1930’s, suddenly very topical at the moment, are less well known than his criticisms of the Nazi Reich, but they are a subject for another essay.

Saya'ty yawmana.

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