Tuesday, July 29, 2008

THE PUBLIC RELATIONS WAR IN AMES, IOWA Truth-Lying --Trying to get to the Truth

(on and on it goes)

How to Lie While Telling the Truth
Published in the Ames Tribune
July 1, 2008
By: Betsy Mayfield

I do not like to directly respond to the opposition's whines about how terrible the Palestinians and the Arabs are, but I have to bite the carrot that Pnina Luban dangled in her letter, "60 years of Israel," (Trib., June 10) about the position Vladimir, "Zev", Jabotinsky expressed in his infamous 1923 letter/s that helped create Revisionist Zionism. Published for the pro-Zionist rank and file on November 4, 1923 in the publication Rasswyet, among other places, Jabotinsky began to twist Zionism from a relatively benign religious movement initiated by rabbis who sought to keep their members from assimilating and putting nationalism above religiosity to a political entity that has kept a violent winner-take-all mentality going for 60-years, officially, and another 85-years dating from Jabotinsky's demand. (No, this conflict is not 2,000 years old.) Yes, Jabotinsky did start his prospectus to his fellows with a rational paragraph quoted by Luban. Before going on to explain to his compatriots that crushing the Palestinians was the only way to assure lasting success for Zionism (forget Judaism), he eased into his ugly rhetoric saying, "we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights (for Christian and Muslim Arabs & Jews) and we shall never try to eject anyone." Luban spoke the truth in quoting this line; but since it is only a slice of the truth, she hides what Jabotinsky goes on to say about a crime against humanity that has caused unimaginable pain for the Arabs involved not to forget Israelis who went to the Middle East hoping for safer, fuller lives without the guile essential to violently taking another people's land and destroying an entire culture.

In spite of promising words, Jabotinsky was decidedly Machiavellian in his consequential 1923 decree. Being candid is an understatement when it comes to Jabotinsky. The guy said what he meant; no holds barred. "My emotional relationship to the Arabs is the same as it is to all other people - polite indifference," he tells us. Today, we've been taught that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. Jabotinsky didn't hate the Arabs or the Palestinians; he just didn't care what Zionism did to them.

Next Jabotinsky explained what we all know, "Any native people. . .view their country as their national home. . .And so it is for the Arabs." (Note the recognition of Palestine as country and Arabs as indigenous people, a comment which belies Golda Meir and other's famous lie, "Palestine is a land without a people for a people without a land.") In 1923, Jewish immigration, as such, was viewed with concern by the local Arab population. Then, a justifiable fear of a land grab led to clashes and the beginning of serious violence. Zionists went to Israel well aware that it would take war to get the land they wanted, and the US and Britain knew this, too.

Consider the advice in the rest of Jabotinsky's 1923 open letter: "Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. . . This does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible. . . The only path. . .is an iron wall, that is to say the strengthening in Palestine of a government without any kind of Arab influence, that is to say one against which the Arabs will fight. . .For us the only path to an agreement in the future is an absolute refusal of any attempts at an agreement now" (. . .or ever). After the initial statement, Zabotinsky continued his rant in fevered favor of a Zionist occupation of the Holy Land and this had nothing at all to do with God or the Old Testament or Revelations, a wish for peaceful co-existence or a just peace. Jabotinsky and a whole lot of nationalists just wanted to take everything and they didn't care a hoot about the implications of their plan on the Middle East or the world. Unfortunately, this selfishness continues to prevail. As for Jabotinsky, he got tired of having to urge his compatriots on. He wrote, "Zionism is a colonizing adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew (an issue of the 1920s), but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot - or else I am through with playing at 'colonialization'."

When David Ben Gurion became Israel's first prime minister, it is said that his first act was to hang a picture of Jev Zabotinsky above his desk. Today, we are drawn into an endless war of wills that began long before the Holocaust was a mere twinkle in an evil eye. The hostilities have continued from Ben Gurion to Olmert with Sharon finally having the essential ruthlessness to actually raise Zabotinsky's iron wall, an act that infringes on peace for Israel and for the Middle East as well as on the United States, especially if Israel's supporters continue to influence our government as they have for the last 60 years. To read the whole story from Luban's start to my finish, check http://www.cactus48.com/verses.html or google Vladimir Jabotinsky. The Israeli-Palestine debacle may not intrigue you as much as local news, but it is a story for our times, perverted with as much conspiracy and adventure as a story from Tolkien or CS Lewis or the realities of WWI or WWII.

Elizabeth S. Mayfield
Published: Ames Tribune, July 1, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Luban's response to my Truth-Lying Letter

Obama is a Zionist
By Pnina Luban

To the Editor:

A recent speech by Barack Obama (June 4) provides a thoughtful, intelligent and factual rebuttal to the ideas repeated in scores of virulent anti-Israel, anti-Zionism letters published over the last several years in The Tribune chiefly by two letter writers (most recently "A story for our times," Elizabeth Mayfield, July 6).

Their fixation with besmirching and seeking to delegitimize one country, Israel, should be contrasted with Obama's warm song of praise.

In his speech, Obama stated "I learned of the long journey and the steady determination of the Jewish people to preserve their identity through faith, family and culture. Century after century, Jews carried on their traditions and their dreams of a homeland in the face of impossible odds ... I understood the Zionist idea that there is always a homeland at the center of our story ... We know that the establishment of Israel was just and necessary, rooted in centuries of struggle and decades of patient work. But 60 years later, we know we cannot relent ... Not when there are still voices that deny the Holocaust, not when there are terrorist groups and political leaders committed to Israel's destruction, not when there are maps across the Middle East that don't even acknowledge Israel's existence and government funded textbooks filled with hatred towards Jews ... And then there are those who would lay all the problems of the Middle East at the doorsteps of Israel and its supporters as if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the root of all trouble in the region. These voices blame the Middle East's only democracy for the region's extremism. They offer the false promise that abandoning a stalwart ally is somehow the path to strength. It is not; it has never been and it will never be. Our alliance is based on shared interests and shared values. Those who threaten Israel threaten us ... Just look at what Israel has accomplished in 60 years, from decades of struggle in the terrible wake of the Holocaust, a nation was forced to provide a home for Jews from all corners of the world ... In the face of constant peril, Israel has prospered. In a state of constant insecurity, Israel has maintained a vibrant and open discourse and a resilient commitment to the Rule of Law."

The historical context for Sen. Obama's remarks is highly relevant. The land of Israel became the home of a Jewish state 3,200 years ago. Two hundred years later, Jerusalem became its capital, and the Jewish state continued until its ruthless conquest by the Roman Empire in 70 CE.

Although the majority of the citizens were forcibly and cruelly exiled, Jewish life in the Holy Land continued uninterrupted for 1,900 years and often flourished. Meanwhile, against all odds, the strong bond of Diaspora Jews to their ancestral homeland was never broken, and often when circumstances allowed, they made determined efforts to return.

A successful large-scale effort got underway toward the end of the 19th century, when fewer than 250,000 people (Muslims, Christians and Jews) inhabited the desolate land, ultimately leading to the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.

The Holy Land has the capacity to sustain more than 10 million inhabitants, easily accommodating two states for two peoples: Israel, the state for the Jewish people, and Palestine, the state for the Palestinian people.

Note though that democratic Israel has a large Arab minority (20 percent) whose equal rights are guaranteed by law. Whether the Palestinians will agree to tolerate and ensure equal rights and essential freedoms to a comparable Jewish minority in their future state, if and when it is established, remains to be seen.

Historically, Jews always have been second-class citizens (Dhimmis) in the many authoritarian Arab countries they inhabited for millennia. These Jews were denied many rights and opportunities and were required to pay special taxes, until essentially all of them, nearly one million, fled in the wake of pogroms (1940-50) organized by the Arab governments and the street crowds.

The two-state solution could have become reality already 60 years ago if not for the Palestinian vehement rejection of a Jewish state next to their proposed state. The two-state solution can still become reality once the Palestinians agree, as does Israel, to share the Holy Land and make it a home for two countries, allowing two nations to live in peace and security alongside each other.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rebuttal to Lyban's Piece on "Two Writers"

Submitted to the Ames, Tribune, July 30, 2008
Dear Editor,

Sure, Obama's a Zionist [July 27, Letters]. You bet. Vote for him. I will. Thank you.

Obama speaks with far more nuance that either his admirers or detractors can fathom, and my hope in his presidency is that he is an anti-fascist (like most decent, intelligent human beings). Anti-this or anti-that is usually in the eye of the beholder; the name-calling is not working anymore. Let me illustrate why I am an anti-fascist. In one day (yesterday) I read these articles in the international press:

1. "Palestinian Child Shot Dead by Israeli Soldiers", The Times, London (UK).

2. "Palestinians Capture Violence of Israeli Occupation on Video", The Guardian, London (UK)

3. "Soldiers Seldom Punished for Attacks on Palestinians: Report", Agence France Presse, Paris (France)

4. "Where is Our Jerusalem", The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem (Israel)

5. "How Can a Boy Threaten Soldiers?", Ynetnews, (Israel)

6. "Naalin Photographer's Father Kept in Custody", Ynetnews (Israel)

7. "US Says Settlements are a 'Problem' ", Ha'aretz (Israel)

Item 2 is an article on "Shooting Back" organized by B'Tsalem the Israeli human rights organization the gives video cameras to Palestinian civilians in danger of being murdered by Israeli fascist settlers. About 100 defenseless civilians are killed or wounded by Israelis each week.

Item 4 chronicles the demolition of another Palestinian home in East Jerusalem, the eviction of the family onto the streets, and turning this stolen private property over to a Jewish group, and argues that "Jewish sovereignty" can be strengthened if Palestinians are treated like real citizens.

Item 6 reports on the arrest of the father of a young girl who accidentally video taped an Israeli
soldier shooting a bound and blindfolded Palestinian boy. No charges filed, of course.

The whole world knows these things, but Americans are completely in the dark about the realities of what is happening in militarily occupied Palestine. I will say it again: if the Israeli press were printed in the US press, i would be happy and never write another letter to the newspaper.

But the happy-talk propaganda that Israel is a democracy and the nasty Palestinians don't want
peace is a complete fiction. In the first instance, Israel is hardly a democracy. Every democracy on Earth has a constitution that both defines and protects the rights of its citizens. Israel does not have a constitution. No such thing exists. Instead, there is a complicated set of "rules" that justifies throwing Palestinian families onto the streets and turning their homes over to Jewish groups. No constitution on Earth could justify this; it is not possible to write the words.

I hope that Obama can force the Israeli government to accept the two-state solution with East
Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and the green line its internationally recognized border.
This is the legal border under international law. In addition to not having a constitution, Israel
has never defined its border. In this sense, the Israeli government itself "de-legitimizes" Israel.

I believe that only Obama can do it, and that only this can save the US, Israel and the Middle
East from 100 years of war.

Many in the Israeli press argue for exactly this. Exactly. It is not just two people in Ames, Iowa. Don't be fooled.

John Hauptman