Sunday, August 29, 2004

Palestine in the eyes of an aware American

Heraclius writes in a comment on a DailyRnR post

The author of the comment had earlier said that Palestine was a Roman invention. Even the Old Testament in the form preserved by the Jewish world talks of a continuous non-Jewish presence in the land. Who was the priest at Jerusalem who greeted Abraham. The population of Jericho, Moses's midiani wife. The non-Roman gentiles in Maimonides (spelling?) record of the time of Jesus? A small number of Jews who converted to Christianity or Islam. They are the Palestinians. Neither them, nor their land is a Roman creation.

I quote Heraclius:


Now, does this mean Palestinians need to be shunted aside? No. Does this mean they have to resign themselves to their fate? No. But it does mean they have to be realistic about it. Thomas Friedman, Michael Oren, Edward Said, and Said K Aburish have all made the same points in their various books...namely, that the Palestinians have been used as pawns by successive decrepit Arab regimes as an excuse...a distraction for their populations. Hafez Assad was brilliant at this! Everytime a crisis came, let's fight for the Golan Heights. Arafat is the same way, overplays his hand, overstays his welcome in an Arab capital, then starts the cycle over again.
This is the essence of the misunderstanding between the the non-Jewish, thinking, but still pro-Zionist/pro-Establishment world and the Arab/pro-Justice Third World. Whie it is recognised that Palestinians do need a solution, the acceptable form of it is weak and distorted and even that form is unrealisable in the real world. I heard a similar remark from a slightly pro-peace Jewish professor a couple of months ago.

You see, 'realism' is a relative concept. While I am all for moderation, understanding, and a sense of compromise, I am not so sure what is being asked of me here. The way I see it, it means you've got to expect these crumbs because I am weak. I am also supposed to be emotionally and mentally weak because I can not labor under oppression the way the Jews did. Being mostly brown and non-european, a lower position is natural for us. If the world says that the a 70-year Israeli kingdom can be re-established after a gap of 2,000 years on Palestinian corpses, why is the Palestinian supposed to surrender and love his oppressor, while he represents a pluralistic tradition including pre-Abrahamic populations, the local Christian kingdoms, the Caliphic and Ottoman province of Palestine, and now, an Arab, Islamic, Socialist, and Orthodox Christian identity - a heritage of thousands of years. The Jewish claim of the land has nothing to do with what the world believes or supports. The reasons lie elsewhere.

The fact is, that Palestinians do not have money, might, military, corporations. The Palestinian 'elite', if there remains one, is not married into the business and political aristocracy of the West. There are no Rothschilds, no Einstein, no Leo Strauss from Palestine. Palestine does not have kids devoting their life and education to make WMDs, or be spies. There are no blonde haired American Palestinians to make Mordechai Vanunu go to Italy with them so he can be kidnapped. For a Palestinian academic, we have Edward Said - honest and powerless, rather than an illiberal Leo Strauss subverting american liberalism for his own ends. For committed women, there is Laila Khaled who rather let her Nicaraguan comrade get killed than fire a shot. This is the weakness, and lack of vigour that Palestinians are to suffer for.

The Palestinian will either look up to the world if the world believes in a sense of justice, or will look up to his oppressor and learn from him. The second is what horrifies me. Not just Palestinians, but many other nationalities and people actually look up to the Zionist enterprise as something to learn from and emulate. I was one of them. And I'll tell you what I 'learnt', when I believed in the Zionist enterprise.

* There is no such thing as morality, just a facade that you have to build. It doesn't matter how many Palestinians Haganah massacres, you just have to make the right noises about American and Jewish lives.

* There are no friends, it is ok to use and abuse the West and Europe, as long as you keep their elite friendly to yourself. Who cares about German and Russian victims of the War, but make sure there are Holocaust museums everywhere.

* Duplicity, racism, and sexism - display an image of intelligence, brilliance, and victimhood to blend in, and make the white European population love you inspite of your Khazar or Asian self. But make sure there are enough noises against black, arab, or socialist/catholic latino minorities.

* Tribal identity.

I am sorry if I sound too anti-Jewish. That is not my point, I do not believe that all or however many Jews actually do the above. My point is, that these are the reasons that speak for the Israeli success. And the rest of the world is learning from it, just like Strauss learnt from the Nazi party.

Non-assimilationist, and nationalist Jews need a home. The question today is whether the "world powers", as Herzl called them - will make other stateless and minority populations adopt the practices of the Haganah, Stern, Irgun, and Jewish Agency. No, I hear - because what Muslims experience is nothing like what Jews experienced. But Harzl wrote before anyone had heard of Hitler. No again, I hear - because you are weak, stupid, megalomanic, lazy, cammle jockey, brown, and incapable of it.

The palestinian has no choice but to fight, and keep on fighting, adopt Straussianism or something different, because there is no alternative. Herzl believed what he wrote can be fulfilled. If the Palestinian believes he cannot fulfill his destiny, he has lost the battle before it starts. Palestine and Israel are only names. The question is whether the world believes in justice or not. Do we have legal and moral questions or political and military issues. The issue is not legal, but political, I heard the professor say.

I refuse. I refuse to surrender to their Zionism. And I refuse to adopt my own Zionism and tribalism.

No racism, no inhumanism. We will prove Strauss wrong. There will be peace of the living, rather than peace by getting rid of the people you don't like.

I don't accuse Heraclius of actually being racist, or dishonest. But I am saying that many people do not understand the Palestinian situation, give too little importance to justice, or fail to see how they would react in the same shoes.

7 Comments:

Blogger Heraclius said...

I am afraid that I would love to comment on this post, but I fear you come at this problem from a point of view that I think is rooted in a perpetual sense of injustice and oppression, namely, Socialism. A Godless ideology that has helped no one in Europe, and has done more to harm the Arab and Islamic world after Russian, French, and British colonization. But I will address a few of your points.

I will address your last part first: "The palestinian has no choice but to fight, and keep on fighting, adopt Straussianism or something different, because there is no alternative."

Agreed. I, and others, do not begrudge the Palestinians the fight. (As I made clear in my other comments). But, I do begrudge them the manner, just as I begrudge the Haganah and Herzl the British civilians they killed. One, the morality of the killing of civilians has been thrown out the window by both parties. So the question is moot. But, is it effective, or do you just want a perpetual struggle? If you want it to be effective, to "reclaim" land, then the intifada and the Palestianian "fight" has been an abysmal failure. Tunis, Lebanon, Jordan, Nablus, etc...all Palestinian losses. Why? because they have targeted that which causes a society to fight its hardest without mercy...noncombatants. Number two, and most importantly, you assert the fundamental right for Palestinians to fight - albeit using an neo-marxist approach of the lack of Palestinian corporate and world giants (money, might, corporations, etc) - but you deny the right of defense to Israel. Whether you like it or not, anyone being fought has a right to fight back. Just because Israel is, in your mind, the "opressor", does not mean they have no right to defend themselves. And, if that is true and you accept that all people fought have a right to defend, then don't complain when they come out victorious. It seems extremely illogical to assert that one party has a right to fight, but that the other party must accept that and not react.

Your next point: "Duplicity, racism, and sexism - display an image of intelligence, brilliance, and victimhood to blend in, and make the white European population love you inspite of your Khazar or Asian self. But make sure there are enough noises against black, arab, or socialist/catholic latino minorities."

Persistant victimhood perpetually keeps a population subjugated because you do not believe you have any right to be free. ALl these socialist buzzwords "sexism, racism, etc" are just that, buzzwords. They are present in large enough quantities only in the world you choose to see. The fact that Palestinians are "brown" has about as much to do with their success or lack thereof in removing Israel as the fact that they have two legs and two arms. With all the "minorities" you named, you have named majorities. Besides, it is white Europe that sympathizes with Palestinians for the most part...mostly out of colonizers guilt. I argue that tribal identity and religious solidarity worked far greater for the populations of north Africa, Arabia, and Mesopotamia, prior to WWI than the British and French attempts at "civilizing" Arabs. But, after socialism arrived via the Soviet Union, and "oppressed" people were indoctrinated to believe that they were always being oppressed, it wasnt fact...it was an easy way for Soviets to pass the blame. It is very similar to what the PA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, etc. do today. They blame Israel for the fact that they have 20, 30, 40% unemployment rates...it is not based on "reality."

"The author of the comment had earlier said that Palestine was a Roman invention. Even the Old Testament in the form preserved by the Jewish world talks of a continuous non-Jewish presence in the land. Who was the priest at Jerusalem who greeted Abraham. The population of Jericho, Moses's midiani wife. The non-Roman gentiles in Maimonides (spelling?) record of the time of Jesus? A small number of Jews who converted to Christianity or Islam. They are the Palestinians. Neither them, nor their land is a Roman creation."

This is where your bias forces you to come to a conclusion that is untendable. "Palestine" is a Roman invention. There were no such thing as "Palestinians" prior to 135 AD. Under your argument, we should find all the Hittites or Sumarians and give them their land back, even though there are 10 of them left in the world. Palestine was created by Rome...that is a fact. But, taking your logic, lets explore. Prior to the Jewish arrival, roughly 2000 years before Christ, there were undoubtedly people populating the area of Palestine. After the Pharoahs and the Greeks, there came the Romans. Now, at this time, were those people in "Palestine" Palestinians? No. Were they Christian? No. Were they Muslim? No. They were Roman, Egyptian, Syrian, etc. After the advent of Christianity, most of the Roman provinces adopted the faith. So, the people, the actual individuals never changed, they adopted a new faith. So does that mean the land belongs to Christians? No, because then came the Muslim conquests. So does that mean the land belongs to Muslims? No. It is the greatest fallacy in the Pro Palestinian camp to think that 5000 years ago, Palestinians lived in Palestine, they didnt. People and beliefs long since dead to all but history lived there. The longest continual presence in "Palestine" has been Jewish. But, this idea that the land "belongs" to anyone, is a very 20th and 21st Century notion. The land anywhere, throughout history, has belonged to those strong enough to take it...that was true 5000 years ago, it was true when Muslim armies rampaged through north Africa and Europe, and yes, it is true when Israeli armies defeated Arab armies in 1967. Whoever claims the historical "land deed" can make claims on both sides...but the fact is, neither one is leaving anytime soon...so either learn to live, or fight to the death.

Having said ALL this, let me say one or two more things. I think that the presistent victimization in the Arab world is very sad. It denies to a people who once gave the world great things, their right to choose their own destiny. Instead, they are put in a perpetual sense of servitude and resignation, not by imperialist white, western civilization, but by their own people. Number two, to point out a bias on one person, but not admit it yourself is the one of the greatest deficiencies in arguing. I come at this from a bias of not caring how it rurns out. I dont care who occupies the land...because it doesnt matter to me, I have no stake in it. I do not know your bias, but I am sure there is one.

Lastly, I think that terror, beit done by Jews in 1944, or by Palestianians today, regardless of its moral complexities, is ineffective. This is the greatest tragedy for Palestinians. They have sacrified thousands of their sons (In Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and other places), sons who could have grown up to find cures for AIDS or Cancer, or put a man on Mars...instead, they have been fighting over a piece of land their forefathers sold....and land that they have lost wars trying to get back. There comes a time when, like you said, you resign yourself to your fate, or you keep fighitng. No one begrudges the Palestinians their fight...but from someone who know the area militarily, you will not like the outcome. Even the prophet knew when to cut his losses and make a deal and there was no shame in it...God works in mysterious ways.

This was probably a bit rambling because I have to get to bed..early day at work...but I will check back at Dailyrnr and maybe here to see what you think.

August 29, 2004 9:15 PM  
Blogger Heraclius said...

P.S. if I am mistaken about your point of view in my first setence..my apologies.

August 29, 2004 9:44 PM  
Blogger Knightmare said...

"I dont care who occupies the land...because it doesnt matter to me, I have no stake in it."

If "you" don't care who occupies the land then why did "you" butt in the conflict? Sold weapons and aid to Israel, took sides and made "yourself" part of the problem?

"Lastly, I think that terror, beit done by Jews in 1944, or by Palestianians today, regardless of its moral complexities, is ineffective."

What the hell do you mean by "terror was ineffective in 1944" Mr. Heraclius? The terror plots carried out by the Irgoon against the British in 1944 were very effective I have to say. It drove out the British didn't it? Although it might have not been the only reason but one of the major reasons never the less.

August 30, 2004 2:50 AM  
Blogger qawukzi said...

I will moderate knightmare a little. Heraclius was stating his (supposed lack of) personal bias in the conflict. The official US position, of course has been a little different. Usually partial and biased, and even Heraclius admits that.

The Irgun actions - well, I guess the British were leaving anyways, and they had decided pre-WW I that a Jewish state will be established. What Irgun did however, was to drive out the Palestinian population so a state could be formed. This was terrorism, and Heraclius agrees. While it may be debated as to how effective it was for the better of Zionist Israel, clearly it was effective in helping to produce conditons where the new state could be formed in the shape of a supremacist state. The world powers certainly made it look effective. That is what I understand when I read history. Kill and drive out the local population, and live happily ever after - in those areas. Thats what became the 1948 Israel that everyone wants to respect, right?

Usually, we read stuff into people even when they are not saying it based on our personal and collective experiences. I would like to give Heraclius the benefit of doubt, and I guess I'm probably right. For without that, we cannot have a discussion. Heraclius's honesty should be welcome.

August 30, 2004 3:55 AM  
Blogger Heraclius said...

Must appreciated and yes, you are correct. "I" didn't butt into the issue, but since the US is involved, there is very little we can do to extricate ourselves from the issue...as much as many of us would like to be rid of it altogether...even those who would be classified as more "pro-Israel"..like me. Yes, I freely admit that US policy is not even-handed. No argument there.

I also agree with qawkuzi in saying that the actions of the Irgun, I think, had little to do with the British leaving Palestine. I think they were on their way out anyway and amazingly enough, and as funny as it may sound, the Irgun gave them an excuse to wash their hands of the issue. I also believe that they thought that the Arab governments would reassert control over the area. No one believed the Jewish population could defeat the combined Arab armies.

Now, the issue of xenophobia on the part of Israelis is an intersting one. Because it mainly prevents a single state solution in which an elected government still maintains a "Jewish" nation. Since that is impossible in 1967 borders and especially in post-67 borders, Israelis are naturally skeptical.

My question is, do you think that there could be a Lebanese style power sharing agreement in a single state or is that utterly unacceptable to Palestinians? I know from my time with the State Dept. that the Israelis are not open to a Single State solution on principle, but could be persuaded...I do think that economically and politically, Palestinians would be better off embracing the Democratic and pseudo capitalist state of Israel...no matter what it was called after the agreement...but I have been known to be wrong in the past...it happens...rarely..but it does happen.

August 30, 2004 10:02 AM  
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November 16, 2005 4:09 PM  
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November 17, 2005 2:37 AM  

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