Category Archives: Jewish homeland

The End Game – Deliberations on the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict – Part III

In Parts I and II I posited that, through reference to the literature, the remaining vestiges of the 100 year Arab Israeli conflict, the Israeli Palestinian conflict, has effectively reverted to a religious struggle overlaid with a nebulous and varying Arab notion of “Palestinian” nationalism. In Part II I argued that both Hamas and Fatah/PLO/PA were waging antisemitic or Judeophobic jihad based on both documented Koranic traditions as well as later, more modern European National Socialist dogma such as The Protocols and showed the nexus between the extremist fundamental Islamism of Hamas, the national socialist inspiration of Fatah/PLO/PA and white right wing supremacists which championed violence to gain the goals of religious/cultural hegemony (Hamas/Fatah) or racial purity (white supremacists) no matter the cost to others.

In the third section of this series, Part III, I will look at the tactic of demonization of the Jew as a part strategy in the propaganda war to neutralise Jewish claim to historic Jewish lands and delegitimise modern Israel as a sovereign state in the Middle East.

However, and this is over-imprinted over all three parts of this article, my position in the case against “Palestinian” Arab violence against Jews is not based on a denial of the right of Arab existence on the land or the principle of two states for two peoples.

What it does mean is that, in any future creation of a neighbouring Muslim Arab sovereign state called Palestine to exist in peace and security, that Arab state must likewise accept the right of a sovereign Jewish national state to exist in peace and security.

All else is negotiable.

This condition is based on the principle that it is the Jews who are indigenous to the area despite Arab invasion(s) and colonisation and that, in addition to the unopposed validity of four Muslim majority nation states created by the Mandate out of the defeated Ottoman lands, the creation of a single Jewish majority state is just as valid a creation, the convenient man-made Muslim concept of conquered lands remaining “an Islamic endowment in perpetuity” (the waqf) notwithstanding.

This concept of a Muslim “endowment in perpetuity” didn’t apply to India after the Moghul invasions, it didn’t apply to Spain after the Moorish invasions, and it does not apply to the State of Israel after the Muslim Arab invasions.

All the same, the historical track record of demonizing one’s adversary goes far back in history. It has evolved over time, mutating from a once literal belief in demonic possession to a now figurative—and more politically charged—accusation against one’s adversary.

The process of demonization of one’s enemy highlights the intimate historical relationship between religion and politics: how the Devil – an ancient religious character – is used in historic and modern political discourse in international conflict situations.

Thus, today, in the fevered discourse of some Muslim states, America is the “Big Satan” and Israel is the “Little Satan”, and Jews are designated “Sons of the Devil” if they are not dehumanised as the “offspring of pigs and apes”. No change here, showing that demonization is one particular narrative-based and psychological dimension of conflict framing a polarizing identity of “us” as good and “them” as evil. As an example, the 1988 Hamas Charter uses the word “evil” seven times to describe Jews and Israel.

But, when all is said and done, it makes absolutely no difference to the facts on the ground: Israel exists, there is as yet no viable Palestinian state, and an Arab demonization and dehumanisation of Jews and Israel will not produce an additional Arab state called Palestine. Nor will BDS, Iranian cartoon competitions on the Holocaust nor the tsunami of interest-based pro-Palestinian academic articles decrying what they term Israeli apartheid, Israeli abuse of human rights, stating that Jerusalem is not the core of Jewish life and spirituality these past 3000 years, that the Temple Mount is a Muslim construct, that the Holocaust didn’t really happen, that Israeli Arabs are not equal in Israeli law, that Israel itself is a colonialist construct, that Jews are foreign interlopers on Muslim soil, that Gaza is occupied by Israel, that the IDF gargets civilians and that Jesus was a Palestinian to name but a few of the gross historical fallacies which inculcate Jew-hate in a new generation of millions of non-Jews a lifetime removed from the realities on the ground of Israeli life.

Rebutting these and other deliberately antisemitic and clichéd propaganda untruths will be the basis of the remainder of this article.

  1. The Jews do not have national rights in Mandated Palestine

Jews are a religion and a nation, with cultural and ethnic characteristics, a documented truism as true before Israel was established as it is true today. By being a nation, Jews are entitled to national rights, not only to religious and cultural rights which include the right to state-level self-determination. Just like Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. That some commentators might argue that world Jewry never saw their Judaism as justification for a Jewish nation state despite identifying as Jewish, has its corollary in the fact that fundamentalist Islamic Hamas and the (mostly) secular PLO do not differently view their Palestinian state as Muslim.

That is to say, in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, if religious Muslims and secular Muslims believe in the right of a Muslim state called Palestine as their national right, then that same principle may also be applied to Jew, Judaism and the sovereign state of Israel.

Any future Palestinian self-determination is not an excuse to delegitimise Jewish self-determination.

  1. The “Zionist entity” is a foreign colonial aberration on Muslim soil

Framing Israel as a ‘settler colonial state’ is now routine in academia and the U.S. and EU media, a disheartening signal of the primacy of political activism over critical inquiry – and inconvenient facts; a deliberately pointed charge, part of an ongoing campaign to undermine Israel by challenging its very founding.

The Muslim law of a permanent endowment in perpetuity is a man-made law of Muslim colonialism subservient to a Caliph in Baghdad or Saudi Arabia. It never existed in other colonial enterprises like the Belgians in the Congo, the French in Lebanon, Cambodia or Niger, the British in India or the Dutch in Indonesia. There is, then, no overarching historical logic in Muslim exceptionalism.

Besides, several Muslim scholars such as Sheikh Dr Muhammad Al-Husseini make the case that this claim has no basis in the Koran: not only that, but the foundation text of Islam, in fact, recognises the special link between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. “You will find very clearly,” says, “that the traditional commentators from the eighth and ninth century onwards have uniformly interpreted the Koran to say explicitly that Eretz Yisrael has been given by God to the Jewish people as a perpetual covenant. There is no Islamic counterclaim to the Land anywhere in the traditional corpus of commentary…. Nobody can go to the text and just freely interpret the text for their own purposes.” (Jewish Chronicle, 18 March, 2009, What the Koran says about the Land of Israel)

The term “settler colonialism” conjures historical memories of exploitative white European empires militarily invading lands in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In actual fact, just this terminology is perfectly well suited to the Arab Islamicisation of the Levant and Middle East where various Caliphs and Muslim brought in hundreds of thousands of soldier slaves loyal to their pay masters. The Tulunides brought in Turks and Negroes. The Fatamids introduced Berbers, Slavs, Greeks, Kurds. The Mamelukes imported legions of Georgians and Circassians. Saladin brought in 150,000 Persians who were given lands in Galilee and the Sidon district for their services. In the fourteenth century, 18,000 Yurate Tartars from the Euphrates were brought in, soon followed by 20,000 Ashiri and 4,000 Mongols who occupied the Jordan Valley and settled from Jerusalem south.

This was population transfer on a grand scale and accounts today for the great variety biological markers in the Arabs (now Palestinians) of Palestine.

“From the time that Athens established an outpost at Ephesus, colonies have related to a metropole, or a mother country. The Puritans saw themselves as English, Afrikaaners as Dutch, Muslim conquerors as Arabs, Algerian Pied-Noirs as French. They spoke the mother country’s language and attempted to transfer its culture to their new land… The early, pre-state Zionists, however, sought to escape Europe, not to replicate it. They rejected Yiddish and adopted an old Middle East language – Hebrew – which they updated for modern purposes, while changing their German or Russian-sounding names. They created no “New Odessas” in the Holy Land.” (Lubet and Zasloff, Jul 5 2021, “Is Israel Really a Settler Colonial State?” Haaretz)

For the Jews, the only country in which they had ever exercised political sovereignty was Zion, the Land of Israel.

The Land of Israel was/is integral to the Jewish religion and culture, the connection between Jews and the land is embedded throughout Jewish rituals and texts. There is no “motherland” to which the Jewish population in the land of Israel may otherwise return, unlike Dutch, French and British colonialists. And, prior to 1948, Jews immigrated to the Land of Israel of their own volition, not directed nor overseen by any state or military power like colonialists.  They came, and still come to Israel escaping antisemitism and other forms of persecution. Typically, the European settler colonists were not escaping persecution or bigotry.

The oft-claimed cliché that Zionism is nefarious because it promoted Jewish return is no more nefarious than “Palestinianism” which demands a return of Arab refugees who fled Mandated Palestine at the outbreak of a war initiated by 5 Arab armies in 1948 fixated on the goal of destroying a nascent and legal sovereign Jewish state.

Thus, if the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict is justified and validated by the Arabs as “Palestinian” nationalism  (Palestinianism), in lands conquered by Muslim invaders, then how is Zionism not justifiable as a Jewish nationalism in a section of the southern Levant, home to the only remaining indigenes who had an unbroken existence in the region centred on Jerusalem for 1700 years before Islam was created 1400kms away in the Saudi Arabian Hejaz?

Ironically, and apropos the allegation of “Jewish colonisation”, the Arabs (now Palestinians) chose a national nomenclature granted by another colonising force, the Romans, and now “…use an English word, based on a Latin one that in turn has its roots in a Greek one… [where] somewhere in-between it was adopted in Arabic…” and localised to “Filasteen” (Adir Bar Yohanan, Oct 1, 2022,“Palestine:A story of Colonialism through the ages, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/360614)

3. Israel as a Jewish state is biased against its Arab citizens

Israel does not have a written Constitution; it has a Proclamation of Independence.

This document

  • guarantees equal citizenship rights to all the inhabitants of the country without discrimination and assures the cultural and religious rights of all communities. Israel has 2.1 million Arab Muslim and Chrisitian citizens with complete freedom of worship
  • enshrined the Law of Return, which guaranteed the right of immigration and citizenship to every Jewish person willing to immigrate to Israel.
  • ensured Arabic was declared the second official language of the Jewish state as is evident from the bilingual inscriptions on its stamps and currency; a requirement NOT demanded by the stipulations of the UN partition plan.
  • gave Israeli Arabs the right to send their children to state schools which teach in Arabic, with the curriculum tailored to the cultural differences involved.
  • extended voting rights to those Arabs who had remained in the country and the participated in the elections on an equal basis despite the fact that Israel was still at war.

That the nascent state of Israel enshrined democratic liberal pluralism in those early uncertain and violent days of 1948 is to Israel’s credit that on this issue, the newly established country, despite having been attacked and besieged, did not adopt a harsher policy. It remains an unwavering testament to the values which continue, despite all difficulties, to guide the moral compass of the Jewish state.

4. Jews are not indigenous to the Middle East

Jews and Jewish communities have lived in parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region for more than 2,500 years.

Historical records verify Jewish communities in Iraq, 6th century BCE;

Lebanon,1st century BCE;  Libya, 3rd century BCE;  Yemen, 3rd century BCE; Syria,1st century CE;  Morocco, 1st century CE;  Algeria,1st-2nd century CE; and Tunisia, 3rd century CE; i.e several centuries before the Islamisication  and Arabisation of the Levant.

The allegation that Israel is made up solely of latter-day immigrants is therefore a distortion of history because Jews were resident in the region over one thousand three hundred years before the advent of Islam. Their descendants make up a significant portion of Israel’s population and their presence there demonstrates the historical connection of Jews to Israel, for thousands of years, as the homeland of the Jewish people.

With the beginning of Islam in the seventh century CE, Jews were ruled under the legal status of dhimmi, a “protected” people (IF they paid the Muslim jizya tax…), a status assigned to Christians and Jews. Dhimmis were extended some degree of legal protection, while relegated to being second-class citizens in line with Islamic law. And this is an exact inversion of the Arab (now Palestinian) allegation that Jews treat Arabs as second class citizens where, as outlined above, Israel’s Proclamation of Independence enshrines the exact opposite.

5. The Israeli Occupation and the Settlements are illegal

“These general and all-embracing terms have become the “lingua franca” of the United Nations – accepted phrases that neither generate nor attract any thought or discussion as to their legal, historical, or political accuracy.” (Alan Baker, 2011:65,  “Israel’s Rights regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community, JCPA)

  • Israel’s presence in the West Bank areas of Judea and Samaria stems from the historical rights granted in Palestine to the Jewish people by the Balfour Declaration and affirmed by resolution of the League of Nations in 1922, granting to the Jewish people a national home in all parts of Mandatory Palestine and enabling “close settlement on the land.”
  • This validity is today maintained by Article 80 of the UN Charter, according to which rights granted to peoples by international instruments remain unaltered, and hence still valid ( Martin Gilbert, “‘An Overwhelmingly Jewish State’ from the Balfour Declaration to the Palestine Mandate.”).
  • The Oslo Accords critically changed the legal and political nature of Gaza and the West Bank per the signature by Israel and the Palestinian leadership of the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement of 1995, signed and witnessed by the United States, the European Union, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Norway, and the status of each of the parties to the agreement vis-à-vis the territory changed as well. In Area A, all political and security responsibility passed to the PA, in Area B, all responsibilities and power except for security, passed to the PA, Area C, including the Israeli settlements and military installations remain under Israeli jurisdiction pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.   This means, with signed PLO approval, Israel’s presence in the territory of the West Bank is with the full approval of the Palestinian leadership composing the PLO.
  • Per a mutually agreed-upon component of the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, the PLO/PA now under Abbas, accepted and committed to the fact that it does not exercise jurisdiction regarding permanent status issues settlements included, in Area C pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiation.
  • The Palestinian leadership cannot therefore present Israeli presence in Area C in the EU or the UN or even in the ICC, as an alleged violation by Israel of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, in order to bypass their acceptance of the rights and responsibilities pursuant to the 1995 Interim Agreement as well as the international community’s acknowledgment of the articles of the 1995 Interim Agreement’s relevance and continued validity.
  • The Oslo Accords, as signed by the PLO, contain no requirement that prohibits, limits, or freezes construction by Israel in Area C.
  • Any invoking of Article 49 IVGC by the Arab (now Palestinian) leadership in studied ignorance of the scope, relevance and original intent of the article can find absolutely no basis or criterion in the attempt to link it and Israeli settlement policy as illegal.
  • During the negotiation on the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Arab states initiated an alteration in the text of the court’s statute listing as a serious violation of the laws of armed conflict the war crime of “transferring, directly or indirectly, parts of the civil population into the occupied territory.”

The deliberate addition of the phrase “directly or indirectlyalmost 50 years later to the original 1949 text was intended by them to adapt the original 1949 Geneva Convention language in order to render it applicable to Israel’s settlement policy. This in itself is indicative of the proponents’ and the international community’s acknowledgment of the fact that Article 49(6) as drafted in 1949 was simply not relevant to the circumstances of Israel’s settlements. (Alan Baker, 2011:72, “Israel’s Rights regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community, JCPA). In other words, devising tailor-made rules of international law for application only where Israel is concerned undermines international law.

6. The Apartheid Wall is but one symbol of an apartheid Jewish state

  • A border fence serves to separate areas and, for so long as Israel has to face terrorist acts, it is legitimate for it, as it is for other states, to erect a barrier to prevent terrorist attacks and illegal crossings. For its part, the International Court of Justice on the issue makes no reference whatsoever to “apartheid” or analogy with “apartheid” and has been careful not to deny Israel’s right in principle to build such a security fence.
  • As mentioned before, devising tailor-made rules of international law for application only where Israel is concerned smacks only of considered bias against the Jewish state. This because, no allegations of apartheid are made for other countries with border fences and security walls. These include the Egypt-Gaza barrier, the Saudi Arabia- Iraq border wall, the Algeria-Libya border wall, the Iran-Pakistan border barrier, the Korean Peninsula’s demilitarised zone, the India-Bangladesh border fence, the Russian constructed Crimea-Ukraine border wall, the Spain-Morocco border fence, the Greek-Turkey border fence, the Kenya-Somalia border wall, and the Turkey-Syria border wall to name but a few.
  • ·       The Arab and Muslim world’s oft-repeated accusation that the very fact that Israel is a Jewish state proves that there is an “apartheid-like” situation. This allegation conveniently ignores the fact that there are 51 Muslim majority states and 3 Islamic republics that are, apparently, not apartheid entities. Amnesty International claims that merely identifying as a “nation state” of a particular people is an apartheid practice—but only when it comes to Israel.

“The defining characteristic of apartheid—what distinguishes it from generic racial discrimination—is the rigid separation of groups in public spaces and positions of power. This is the apart in apartheid…. What makes the “Israel apartheid” meme particularly despicable is that is not just a lie, it is an inversion of the truth.” (Kontorovich, 8 Feb, 2022, There’s Apartheid in the Holy Land, but Not in Israel, WSJ).

Kontorovich continues “…a sign of apartheid could be a government policy that bans real-estate sales or transactions to the disfavored group. Apartheid is suggested by policies that carve out massive zones where the disfavored group cannot live or work, create ethnically homogenous zones, and restrict the disfavored group to ghettos. One might consider it apartheid if a government enforced a policy of extrajudicial execution of members of a disfavored group….All these policies are practiced in the West Bank and Gaza—by the Palestinian Authority government against Jews.” (Kontorovich, Ibid.)

Thus,

  • Palestinian law makes selling land to Jews a crime punishable by death.
  • The PLO/PA does not recognize any Jewish titles to private property.
  •  In all the territories controlled by the Palestinian government, Jews are prevented from worshipping at their holy sites, despite explicit provisions in the Oslo Accords requiring the Palestinian Authority to protect such worship.
  • The Palestinian Constitution defines the territory of what was Palestine under the Mandate including the sovereign state of Israel as an exclusively “Arab nation,” with Islam the official religion and Arabic the sole official language.
  •  Palestinian officials and educators deny any Jewish history or connection to Israel.
  • Where the apartheid South African government used death squads against blacks, the Palestinian government pays terrorists for killing Jews—the more people killed, the bigger the bounty.
  • The PA regularly imprisons and beats to death the few Palestinians who speak out against its policies and leadership as was the case of PA Chairman critic Nizar Banat who died in a Ramallah prison as a result of the beating he was given by the PA’s security forces on 24 June, 2021.

Clearly, then, by Amnesty’s own standards, the PA is itself guilty of apartheid.

And, as Stevens points out,

The accusation of apartheid is, however, absurd and obscene. Arab citizens of Israel have full rights under Israeli law, including the right to vote. No fewer than 13 Arab citizens of Israel serve in the Knesset today, most in parties that are openly and harshly critical of Israeli policies (including a party that is a member of the current government coalition).

In Israel today, there is a Muslim Arab judge serving on Israel’s highest court. Sixteen percent of university students are Arabs. Seventeen percent of doctors in Israeli hospitals and 48 percent of pharmacists are Arab-Israelis. What kind of apartheid state is that?” (Michael Stevens, 18 May, 2022, Israel is not an Apartheid State, Inside Sources)

7. The “Judaisation” of Jerusalem is an offence to Islam/ The Temple Mount was never Jewish

On 20 July, at Camp David, PLO leader Yasser Arafat subjected then US President Bill Clinton to “…a lecture of staggering historical revisionism. His central argument was that the biblical temples never existed on the Temple Mount or even in Jerusalem. Arafat baldly asserted that “There is nothing there [i.e., no trace of a temple on the Temple Mount],” further insisting that “Solomon’s Temple was not in Jerusalem, but Nablus.”

As a Christian, a shocked Clinton responded that “not only the Jews but I, too, believe that under the surface there are remains of Solomon’s temple.”

Arafat changed his story two years later to further distance the Temple from Jerusalem, telling the London-based Arabic daily al- Hayat, “They found not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there, because historically the Temple was not in Palestine [at all].” (Dore Gold, 2007: 22, The Fight for Jerusalem)

The Arab (now Palestinian) battle for the dominant narrative over Jerusalem was/is a planned campaign to completely delegitimise the Israeli Jewish claim to the city, a doctrine Gold describes as “Temple Denial” and which was initiated at Camp David by Arafat.

In essence today, and in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, is yet another facet of inherent Islamic supremacism and negation of other I referred to in earlier parts of this series.

1700 years after documented Jewish veneration of, and at, the Temple Mount, site of Judaism’s First and Second Temples, the new rulers in the southern Levant, the victorious Muslim Arab Caliphs re-named it al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf. Until that time, there were no mosques in Jerusalem in 632AD when the prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam died… Jerusalem was (then) a Christian city.

The Muslim “claim” to Jerusalem is based on what is written in the Koran, even though Jerusalem is not mentioned even once, and particularly if we bear in mind that the Koran, originally an oral text, did not exist in an Arabic compilation for another 20-40 years after the death of Mohammad.

Jerusalem was captured from the Byzantines by the invading Arab Muslim armies by Umaayad Caliph Omar in 638 CE, six years after Mohammed’s death and construction of Qubbat as- Sakhrah, the shrine on the Dome of the Rock was constructed to proclaim Islam’s supremacy over Christianity and its most important shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

In essence, the current battle over the narrative on Jerusalem aose out of the political and religious rivalries between the Damascus based Umaayad Caliphs who controlled Jerusalem  and the Caliphs  of the Hejaz who controlled Mecca, Omar  wanted to establish an alternative holy site if their rivals blocked access to Mecca and the  Haj. As a result, they built what became known as the Dome of the Rock shrine (the Qubbat as- Sakhrah) and the adjacent mosque.

This mosque was named al Aqsa in an attempt to make the link that the Dome of the Rock was the very spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, thus tying Jerusalem to divine revelation in Islamic belief as compiled in the completed Koran.

However, this political sleight of hand flies in the face of early Arab historians al- Waqidi, Ishaq al-Fakihi and others who point out that the actual al Aqsa mosque referred to by Muhammad in Qur’an 17:1 was the mosque in Jiranah, a village just outside of Masjid-al- Haram in Saudi Arabia. The Masjid-al-Haram, according to the inscription near Mecca, was built there in 697-78CE making it difficult to accept that the Jerusalem al-Aqsa mosque, built some sixty years after Islam began, was the same al-Aqsa mosque referred to by the Umaayad Caliph in Jerusalem.

This is about the extent of the importance and sanctity of the al Aqsa compound built some 1700 years after Solomon’s Temple on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site: a political monument for then inter-Muslim rivalries, now used as a political flashpoint today in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, riven with a revised history to suit political purposes. This is especially so when one considers that in 1300 years of Muslim rule/governance of Jerusalem, not a single Islamic dynasty or Muslim state ever made Jerusalem its capital, physical or spiritual, unlike the Jews of Israel for whom it was its religious, spiritual and cultural core for 2000 years.

Because bringing one’s religion into battle demonstrated that both their armies and their religion were superior to those of their victims when they won, The Dome of the Rock, which was built in 691-692CE by Khalif Abd El Malik of Syria in a first effort to turn Muslim prayers toward his structure, was effectively a victory monument. Eighty years after the death of Mohammad, who had never been to Jerusalem, el Malik’s son Abdel Wahd completed the al Aqsa mosque in 712 CE in Jerusalem to demonstrate Islam’s superiority over the Christians and Jews they had driven from Jerusalem. Thus, together with the recorded chronology that Mohammed died in 632 AD, four years before the first Muslim army reached Jerusalem in 636 AD, five years before it took the city in 637 AD after a siege, and 73 years before the first Al Aqsa Mosque was completed in 705 AD,  there was no possibility that the Prophet Muhammad prayed at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on his nocturnal journey because the mosque did not yet exist in 632, the generally accepted year of Muhammad’s death, making the crux of the argument of a millennia of Arab antipathy to Jews on the “Muslim” Temple Mount just a exercise in Islamic religious supremacism not anchored in any historical chronology.

8. Jesus was a Palestinian

Not much point in devoting too much space to this here.

Jesus was not a Palestinian when he was born circa 6-4 BCE.

Jesus was not a Palestinian (Hail King of the……??) when he was crucified circa 30-36 CE

And he is not a Palestinian in 2022.

Neither are the Pope, Martin Luther and Xi Jin Ping.

The final article in the series, Part IV, will look at possible “solutions” or alternatives to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and consider the merits of each including accepting that the conflict might never be resolved, only ameliorated.

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Shalom Dublin?? – viewing Irish anti-Israeli sentiment through the lens of the IRA’s former Nazi collaboration

I write this blog to layout for myself, the antecedents to what many puzzled Israelis and Jews see as an uncalled-for Irish antipathy to the Jewish state, and to say again that peace will only come when the current pro-Palestinian orthodoxy and exhortation to violence and martyrdom is challenged everywhere and always. I hope you find it of interest.                   (h/t: @clairefinn54)

Israel has been demonized by an Irish media slavishly dancing to the Palestinian drumbeat for decades… – [yet] Israel has a far better and more progressive record on human rights than any of its neighbors…The truth must be told.” Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan., 2014.

In his article “Why Are the Irish Increasingly Siding With Palestine Over Israel?” written for the New Republic in May 2014, Jason Walsh recounts the time he wrote a feature article for the Irish Times on Ireland’s Jewry. He interviewed retired Belfast businessman Adrian Levey, who is Jewish. Levey was “…keen to point out that anti-Semitism as such is not a problem, even on the divided streets of Belfast.
“Northern Protestants support Israel and Catholics support Palestine, it doesn’t really play out on the streets,” he said.
When you understand that Protestant and Catholic are not actually religious terms, but stand-ins for pro-British unionists and pro-Irish republicans the statement makes perfect sense. For Irish republicans have long felt they were, as much as Palestinians, living in occupied territory. Hearing Northern Ireland described as the “Occupied Six Counties” was not uncommon in my youth during the 1990s. “

What Walsh is saying is embedded in an Irish take on the colonial antecedents of Ireland, Israel, and a would-be “Palestinian” Muslim state.

He explains that Israel’s struggle against the British during the Mandate years resonated with an Irish (Roman Catholic) public subjugated for centuries by brutal British domination of their national aspirations and what they called “colonisation” and “occupation” of the six Counties which make up (Protestant) Northern Ireland today.

But as Israel became more successful, the Irish psyche projected its experience of (essentially Protestant) Britain onto Israel’s failure to decide the “Palestinian” question definitively, and the narrative of a “dispossessed” and “disenfranchised” “Palestinian” struggle for “freedom” blossomed. Israel thus began to function as a surrogate for Britain because it was too “imperial, imperious and, above all, modern.” This view, together with Brian Hanley’s exploration of the IRA’s collaboration with Nazi Germany in the Republic’s struggles against Britain form the core of this piece.

The ongoing support and collaboration between Hamas and Sinn Fein, Irish Republic politicians and the Palestinian Authority, and historical ideological and notional links between the PLO, Arafat and the Republic of Ireland are well documented, if not always in the public eye.

Certainly the links between the IRA and Arafat’s PLO have been well documented. This connection is due to historic circumstance, where the British were wrongly perceived as pro-Jewish. And this affinity went north of the border with Northern Ireland and infused the culture and politics of both the Republic of Ireland and the positions held by the IRA in Northern Ireland and its political wing Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing, which has elected representatives in the Irish and British parliaments and shares power in Northern Ireland, has continued to be a virulent critic of Israel. In 2006, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, then the party’s international affairs and human rights spokesperson in the Dublin parliament, described Israel as “one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” In May 2014, he was one of three Irish politicians prevented by authorities from leaving Cyprus to join the Gaza-bound flotilla headed by the Mavi Marmara….

Arthur Griffith, who founded the original Sinn Fein movement in 1905, used the pages of his newspaper to rail against “Jew Swindledom” (9/10ths of all Jews were, he proclaimed, “usurers and parasites“) and the Dreyfusards.

There were similar prejudices commonplace in all the political parties which broke off from his organization, but only the eponymous rump which remained after the splits of 1921 and 1926 habitually preached Jew-hatred, culminating in a demand for an Irish-German alliance in 1939.

The newly formed “new” IRA, itself soaked in anti-Semitism, took a similar view and attempted to forge, as we will see, a working relationship with the Germans.

As noted in the republican newspaper The United Irishman of October 1951, Seán Russell, the then IRA chief of staff and a registered representative of the Irish Republic, spent the summer of 1940 in a ‘very large’ villa in the leafy Grunewald, near Berlin, surrounded by extensive grounds and parks, enjoying all the privileges of a diplomat with regard to access to food, petrol and other rationed goods.

Russell met leading Nazis such as Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. Following the fall of France, Russell urged that the German high command make use of the IRA to strike at British forces in Northern Ireland as part of a general attack on Britain. His plans were accepted and incorporated into Operation Sealion (the plan for the invasion of Britain) as a mark of the ‘respect and esteem’ in which Russell was held by the German military leadership.

The IRA’s main publication, War News, became increasingly pro-Nazi in tone, but more worryingly, it began to ape anti-Semitic arguments. The paper expressed satisfaction that the ‘cleansing fire’ of the German armies was driving the Jews from Europe. British war minister Hore Belisha was described as a ‘wealthy Jew’ only interested in ‘profits’. War News condemned the arrival in Ireland of ‘so-called Jewish refugees’.

Even though pre-war Ireland was united in its dislike of the British, there were at least four discernible factions in the IRA.

The majority leadership grouping was sympathetic to social radicalism but primarily concerned with developing the IRA as a military force. An important section of the leadership was socialist, while a third section—of which Russell was probably the best example—were committed entirely to armed force and uninterested in political debate.

A fourth smaller group was attracted to Sinn Féin’s espousal of right-wing ‘Christian social’ policies even as further differences existed over the relationship between the IRA in Northern Ireland and its much larger and more influential southern counterpart.

Much of the northern IRA together with Sinn Fein, their political arm, were attracted to Russell’s position, because they felt marginalised and ignored by their southern comrades, even as Russell’s own isolation in, and disillusionment with, the Republic led him to forge now-embarrassing ties with the Nazis.

Putting the efforts of IRA leaders like Russell into context, Brian Hanley notes that “…the IRA in 1940 was under severe pressure and in decline. Hundreds of its members were jailed or interned in the Curragh camp. Undoubtedly a measure of desperation contributed to its thinking. Similarly, …much of what was written in the [War News] was fantasy, especially the claims that the IRA was playing a major role in the German war effort….Furthermore, War News was illegal and therefore written and distributed surreptitiously. [Only a] small number of people were responsible for its content and only a few IRA members could have had any input into it. Despite the violence of some of the anti-Jewish rhetoric in War News the IRA did not attempt to physically attack Irish Jews.”

Even so, with the partition of Ireland by the British into the (Catholic) Republic of Ireland and (largely Protestant Ulster ‘Loyalist’) Northern Ireland in 1921, the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland imported a deep hostility towards partition as a solution to territorial conflict.

This in turn led to consistent support for the Palestinian cause some fifty years later. The “Provos” received weapons and training from Arafat’s PLO around the early 1970s; today, the IRA allegedly provides sophisticated bomb-making materials and know-how to terror group Hamas in war-ravaged Gaza.

And so, because the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein made common anti-colonialist cause with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with the PLO allegedly providing arms and training for the IRA as early as the 1970s, Irish Protestant leaders, for their part, allied themselves with the Israelis and their struggle against a genocidal Muslim enemy.

Ironically, in March 1945, a correspondent for The Bell, a leading Irish magazine, raged about current events in Mandated Palestine: “Never let it be forgotten that the Irish people … have experienced all that the Jewish people in Palestine are suffering from the trained ‘thugs’ ‘gunning tarzans’ and British ‘terrorists’ that the Mandatory power have imposed upon the country.

But once the Zionist movement accepted the partition of Palestine, the Irish began to draw unflattering parallels between Israeli policies and their own divided existence.

To many, the Jewish state now looked less like a besieged religious-national community struggling valiantly for its natural rights and more like a colony illegitimately established by British force of arms and intent on imposing itself on an “indigenous” population.

As a result, Ireland only extended de jure recognition to Israel in 1963, 15 years after its declaration of independence.

After Ireland joined the European Union in 1973, successive governments in Dublin took the lead in championing the Palestinian cause within Europe.

In February 1980, Ireland was the first EU member to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It was also the last to allow Israel to open a residential embassy, in December 1993.

Throughout the Oslo Accords era and the post-Oslo era a decade later, Irish governments continued to provide the Palestinian cause with valuable, if not unlimited, support.

Thus, in June 2003, Brian Cowen, then Ireland’s foreign minister, visited Yasir Arafat during the height of the Second Intifada.

It was during the Second Intifada that 887 (78%) of the 1,137 Israelis killed in Arab terrorist attacks from September 2000 – 2005 were civilian casualties. Another 8,341 Israelis were wounded during this period, of which 5,676 were civilians while 2,665 were security forces.

The majority of Jewish casualties during Cowen’s visit and lauding of Arafat were caused by suicide bombings, bombs, shootings, stonings, stabbings, lynchings, rockets on civilian population centres, and other methods of attack.

And, inexplicably, Cowen spoke for many in Ireland when he described Arafat as “the symbol of the hope of self-determination of the Palestinian people” and praised him for his “outstanding work … tenacity, and persistence.”

This feting and legitimising of terror and destruction still continues in an unbroken line and the words of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who, in 1983, laid down a blueprint which remains the playbook for the PA and Hamas in the international arena.

Back in a May 1983 interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, Adams’ stated aim was “…to confront the British with an ongoing armed struggle which is enjoying popular support and a principled political party which refuses to compromise on the basic issue of British involvement in Northern Ireland.”

The aim of such a policy of confrontation, he added, was so that the British “…would be unable to govern.”

Thus, as Adams put it, the political role of Sinn Fein was merely to “broaden and popularise the struggle. For in the end the movement will have to depend on whatever armed pressure the IRA can bring.

If that sounds eerily familiar today, it is only because, if Hamas/PA is substituted for IRA, we have a copybook re-enactment of Sinn Fein strategy being perniciously played out by Hamas against Israel forty years later.

The parallels with the actions of Hamas are too striking to be ignored: continued confrontation, no negotiations, active endangering of civilian populations, an internationally supported political wing in Ramallah and no compromise on borders or choice of capital.

This ongoing tacit Irish apologism for Palestinian wrongdoing, together with a disdainful disregard of the Jews’ unbroken connection with the country going back to one thousand years before the Arab conquest of an indigenous Jewish peoples and land, is an inversion of Orwellian proportions, the scale of which the British author himself did not envision.

It is, therefore, this peculiar Irish post-colonialist pathology which continues to nurture to a recurrent Arab psychology of intransigence, intolerance and a refusal to take responsibility for actions, which lethally endanger a new generation of Jew and Arab alike.

And, as with all dictatorships of the mind, distrust and fear of other feed periodic outbursts of pointless, near gratuitous, violence.

In Belfast in 2014, upon his arrest for alleged involvement in the grisly 1972 IRA murder of widowed mother of ten, Jean McConville, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said “….I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will…”

In Israel in 2014, Jews today continue to pay the price, through murder and wanton destruction, for a frightening foreign ideology of hate and segregation whose time we thought had long passed.