August 2 2014

One should resist jumping on bandwagons, even the current anti-Israel one. But the five posts preceding this one have links to posts by Robin Yassin-Kassab that are worth reading and thinking about.

“Eighty percent of people in Gaza are descendants of refugees ethnically cleansed from their villages and towns by Zionist militias in 1947 and 1948.” Gaza is five miles wide and twenty-seven miles long and contains nearly two million people. “The settlers of southern Israel do not have the right to live without fear of attack while the original inhabitants of southern Israel are herded into refugee camps.” Source.

“Whatever the Western media calls them, the illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank are very far from being outposts. They are connected to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by fast, Jews-only motorways. Their villas have swimming pools and lawns (a settler is allocated eight times more water than a Palestinian). Even the most recent and far-flung of settlements are tooled-up enough to intimidate the Arabs on whose land they encroach.” Source.

Unless Jordan (or a lot more than Jordan) is redefined, the solution is one state. What an inspiring idea that is. All partitions are miserable failures. There is no realistically possible two-state solution in the occupied areas. And one state is impossible while religious fundamentalists rule in the US and in Israel. But there is hope, because Israel, now an ethnocracy, is a remarkable society. Y-K: “Jews and Arabs could be friends again, and more than friends.”

I know only two things about Palestinians from my personal experience, and if this wasn’t from personal experience it wouldn’t be worth repeating. They are careful about distinguishing between the Zionist state and Jews. They are not natural haters. This is not Ireland or the Balkans. Hamas is committed to the destruction of the Zionist state, not to exterminating Jews. And they do not incline towards religious extremism. But all slogans can be forgotten when a situation normalises.

This despite the pictures we had of them joyfully celebrating 9/11, and all their other signs of political immaturity, such as the love of conspiracy theories.

Israel needs to revise its propaganda manuals: the same words are used by every spokesman. They like to kill, we do not. Human shields.

Y-K hasn’t written much on Palestine recently. More on Syria and Iraq. He’s an Orwell. I once called his blog a university of the middle east. The best thing about it is that it often reminds us that Islam has sources of reform and renewal within its own past and in its present. (Jettisoning some of the dead weight of hadith might be a start.) It will not be hijacked forever, and isn’t being hijacked everywhere now, by barbarians who exploit the world’s ignorant and disoriented.

Reform and renewal not only of itself. It can offer the rest of us much too.

But this is a long way away. Why did I instinctively react against Simon Sebag Montefiore’s intermittently impressive Jerusalem, The Biography? The whole two-state camp loved it.

First, though I constantly praise (albeit with my slightly retro bias) intelligent popularising history, the book had a Time magazine feel. He is simply not qualified to write the whole story. Arnold Toynbee might have been. Few others. But good to have tried.

The problem was the readership. The readers were not qualified to read a book by a man not qualified to write it. The Clintons and Blairs, who took it as pretend, photo-op reading on their summer holidays, rejoiced to discover that the “region” had been the scene of massacres from the beginning.

Perhaps Y-K can recommend a better book. Montefiore seems not to notice, when quoting Stephen Graham, that Kyrie eleison does not mean Christ is risen.

4 Responses to “Bandwagons”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Glenn Greenwald:

    “‘There’s no question that the way that the American media covers this conflict is based on the principle that Israeli lives are just inherently more valuable than Palestinian lives,’ he told HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill in an interview Monday. ‘It takes probably 50 Palestinians being killed to get anywhere near the attention of, say, an elderly Israeli woman being frightened in her home and having some kind of a medical problem because of the trauma.’

    According to Greenwald, almost as many Palestinians have been killed as Americans on 9/11, and the media has remained ‘essentially calm about it.’

    ‘I think there’s a racist element to it. I think there’s an ethnocentric element to [the media coverage],’ he said. ‘There’s definitely an anti-Muslim strain that runs throughout how this coverage is conducted.’”

  2. davidderrick Says:

    My point here is that the criticism of Israel is justified, but there will still be an ugly bandwagon. As there has been against Islam.

    The resignation of Warsi (who is apparently not as talented as she thinks she is) is a sign of something to come: more indigenous Muslim pressure on the West’s foreign policy.

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