Zionism and the United States Congress. By William James Martin

Art by Naji al-Ali

Via: CounterPunch.

The Locus of the Conflict in Palestine is in Washington DC

The ideology, or political project, of Zionism which underlies the creation of the State of Israel had, in fact, a Christian origin rather than a Jewish one, as writings can be found dating from the 1500’s, written by Christian clergymen in England advocating the migration of Jews to the Holy Land.

The migration of Jews to Palestine was also advocated by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The first Jewish presentations of Zionism were written by Moses Hess in 1862 and 20 years later by Leo Pinsker, both of the Russian Pale, with each writer advocated a separate state for Jews.

Twentieth century Zionism was initiated by Theodore Herzl who, likewise, advocated a separate state for Jews in his book in his book, Der Judenstaat, written in 1896. One year later he formed the World Zionist Congress which held its first meeting in Basel Switzerland in that same year.

What to do with the Arabs present in the prospective Jewish state dominated the thoughts of the founders of Israel from Herzl up until the actual expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.
Thus Herzl stated:

“[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”

Thus the concept of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was introduced.

It is not rocket science, if you want to create a state exclusively of Jews, mostly European, in the heart of the Middle East, then you must first get rid of the Arabs. Continue reading

Truths, Facts and Facts on the Ground. By Joseph Massad

With Obama’s visit to the Israeli apartheid state, it is important to point out the old lies about Palestine that Obama and Netanyahu insist are “facts”.

This article originally appeared on english.aljazeera.net on 27 October 2011.

Much of the international support that Israel receives is based on several lies it tells and re-tells as “facts”.

In 1991, negotiations started officially and unofficially between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (and the Palestinians associated with it) and the Israeli government. At the time, Israel had occupied the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip for the previous 24 years.

Today, 20 years later, Israel and President Obama insist that the only way to bring about peace, and presumably end the Occupation, is to continue with negotiations. It is unclear if what Obama and Israel are claiming is that Israel needs 24 years of negotiations in order to end its 24-year occupation of Palestinian land, so that by the time the occupation ends, it will have lasted for 48 years.

This of course is the optimistic reading of the Israeli and US positions; the reality of the negotiations and what they aim to achieve, however, is far more insidious.

The negotiations have been based on specific goals to end certain aspects of the Israeli relationship to the Palestinians, namely some of the parts introduced since the 1967 war and the occupation, and the beginning of exclusive Jewish colonial settlement of these territories.But what always remains outside the purview of negotiations is the very core of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, which the Palestinians are told cannot be part of any negotiations.

These off-limits core issues include what has happened since 1947-1948, including the expulsion of 760,000 Palestinians, the destruction of their cities and towns, the confiscation and destruction of their property, the introduction of discriminatory laws that legalise Jewish racial, colonial and religious privilege and deny Palestinian citizens of Israel equal rights and reject the right of the expelled refugees to return.

Yet, this core, which the Israelis summarise as Israel’s right to be, and to be recognised as, a “Jewish” state, is what is always invoked by the Israelis themselves as central to beginning and ending the negotiations successfully and which the Palestinians, the Israelis insist, refuse to discuss.

But the core issues of the question of the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis have always been based on the agonistic historical, geographic and political claims of the Palestinian people and the Zionist movement.

While the Palestinians have always based their claims on verifiable facts and truths that the international community agreed upon and recognised, Israel has always based its claims on facts on the ground that it created by force and which parts of the international community would only recognise as “legitimate”, retroactively.

How is one then to sift through these competing notions of truths and facts on the one hand, and facts on the ground, on the other? Continue reading

The Language of Zionism. By Joseph Massad

palestine loss land

Via: Al Ahram Weekly.

The reason for the ongoing “violence” in Israel and Palestine is not on account of Israeli colonialism at all but rather a direct result of mistranslation. Joseph Massad provides an abridged lexicon of Zionist terminology

“Colonialism is peace; anti-colonialism is war.” This is the unalterable equation that successive Israeli governments insist must determine the basis of all current and future relations between Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. Indeed, the deployment of the rhetoric of peace between Palestinians and Israeli Jews since the 1970s has been contingent on whether the Palestinians would acquiesce in this formula or insist on resisting it. The Oslo Accords were in large measure a ratification of this formula by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Nonetheless, Palestinian resistance, violent and non- violent, to understanding “colonialism as peace” never fully subsided, even as the Palestinian Authority insisted that it become the law of the land.

The deployment of the rhetoric of peace however was more than anything else a deployment of the rhetoric of the “peace process.” In his book about the peace process, William Quandt traces the history of this deployment:

“Sometime in the mid-1970s the term peace process began to be widely used to describe the American-led efforts to bring about a negotiated peace between Israel and its neighbors. The phrase stuck, and ever since it has been synonymous with the gradual, step-by-step approach to resolving one of the world’s most difficult conflicts. In the years since 1967 the emphasis in Washington has shifted from the spelling out of the ingredients of ‘peace’ to the ‘process’ of getting there… The United States has provided both a sense of direction and a mechanism. That, at its best, is what the peace process has been about. At worst, it has been little more than a slogan used to mask the marking of time.”

I disagree partly with Quandt’s conclusion, mostly because the “peace process” since 1993 has been a mask for nothing short of Israeli colonial settlement and attempts by the Palestinian people to resist it and by the Palestinian Authority to coexist with it. Continue reading