Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Zionism, Jihad, and Nakba: The Rebirth of Israel and the Palestinian Catastrophe

By Michael Kaplan

The Mufti and the Führer. Haj Amin al-Husseini, leader of the Palestinian nationalist movement, with Adolf Hitler,  November 28, 1941.
Heinrich Hoffman/ Wikipedia.

The Palestinian Arab movement has been committed to the elimination of the Jews from its earliest days. Palestinian Arab nationalism was born in opposition to Zionism and remains defined by its uncompromising hostility to the idea and the reality of a Jewish state. Filastin hi arduna, Wa al-Yahud kilabuna! (“Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs!”) This has been the rallying cry for Palestinian Arabs ever since the Nebi Musa riots in Jerusalem in April 1920. On this point it made no difference whether Palestinians saw themselves as a distinct people or as part of the larger Arab nation. As early as 1905 the pioneer Arab nationalist Najib Azuri, a Lebanese Christian, warned that Arab nationalism and Zionism were irreconcilable. The two movements were destined to clash in a zero-sum struggle until one achieved a complete triumph over the other:
Two important phenomena, similar in nature and yet opposed to each other, which have not yet attracted the attention of anybody, are now manifesting themselves in Asiatic Turkey, namely the awakening of the Arab nation and the concealed effort of the Jews to reestablish the ancient monarchy of Israel on a grand scale. These two movements are destined to a continuous struggle, until one of the two prevails over the other. On the final outcome of this struggle between these two peoples, representing two opposing principles, will depend the destiny of the entire world.
By 1914, if not earlier, politically engaged Arab nationalists in Greater Syria agreed with Azuri that no accommodation with Zionism was possible. Any further Jewish settlement and nation-building, they concluded, would be harmful to the prospects of an Arab Muslim Palestine. One of these leaders, Haqqi Bey al-Azm, argued that “by employing means of threats and persecutions and it is this last method which we must employ by prodding the Arab population into destroying their farms and setting fire to their colonies, by forming gangs to execute these projects, the Zionists could be compelled to leave Palestine. One hundred years later this logic still shapes the strategies and tactics of Fatah, Hamas, and the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1935. Jabotinsky Institute.

That the Arabs were determined to oppose Jewish nation-building and preserve the Arab character of Palestine as part of the dar-al-Islam, should not have come as a surprise to the Zionists. No people have ever voluntarily consented to sharing their land with another people, even one with deep historical and religious ties to it. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist (right-wing) Zionism, unlike the Labor (left-wing) Zionists, had no illusions about this. “Any native people,” Jabotinsky insisted, “views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner.” Jabotinsky warned that Zionism could succeed only by confronting and pushing back against the opposition of the Palestinian Arabs.
We cannot offer any adequate compensation to the Palestinian Arabs in return for Palestine. And therefore, there is no likelihood of any voluntary agreement being reached. So that all those who regard such an agreement as a condition sine qua non for Zionism may as well say “non” and withdraw from Zionism.
Jabotinsky’s assessment was confirmed by Awni Bey Abd al-Hadi, who told the Peel Commission:
There is not one nation in the world that would accept voluntarily and of its own desire that its position should be changed in a manner which will have an effect on its rights and prejudice its interests. . . . We as a nation are human beings with our own culture and civilization and we feel as any other nation would feel. It will have to be imposed on us by force.
Since the Palestinian Arabs would violently resist the Jewish return to Zion, the Zionist halutzim (pioneers) would have to respond with “an iron wall of Jewish bayonets.”

Britain’s Peel Commission, the first body to recommend a two-state solution, showed great insight when it explained the intractable nature of the conflict in words that apply just as much in 2016 as they did in 1937:
An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. About 1,000,000 Arabs are in strife, open or latent, with some 400,000 Jews. There is no common ground between them. The Arab community is predominantly Asiatic in character, the Jewish community predominantly European. They differ in religion and in language. Their cultural and social life, their ways of thought and conduct, are as incompatible as their national aspirations. These last are the greatest bar to peace. Arabs and Jews might possibly learn to live and work together in Palestine if they would make a genuine effort to reconcile and combine their national ideals and so build up in time a joint or dual nationality. But this they cannot do. The War and its sequel have inspired all Arabs with the hope of reviving in a free and united Arab world the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews similarly are inspired by their historic past. They mean to show what the Jewish nation can achieve when restored to the land of its birth. National assimilation between Arabs and Jews is thus ruled out. In the Arab picture the Jews could only occupy the place they occupied in Arab Egypt or Arab Spain. The Arabs would be as much outside the Jewish picture as the Canaanites in the old land of Israel. The National Home, as we have said before, cannot be half-national. In these circumstances to maintain that Palestinian citizenship has any moral meaning is a mischievous pretence. Neither Arab nor Jew has any sense of service to a single State.
The commissioners concluded that “this conflict was inherent in the situation from the outset.” And for both internal and external reasons – the intensification of Jewish and Arab nationalism in Palestine, the rise of Nazi Germany and the persecution of Jews in Europe – it would only get worse. “The conflict will go on, the gulf between Arabs and Jews will widen.” 

The 130-year war between Israelis and Arab Palestinians has always been a war of identity, a a war of blood and faith, an existential clash between irreconcilable national and religious aspirations.

Nobody understood this better than the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Seeking victory in their war of blood and faith against the Jews, Palestinian Arab nationalists led by Husseini forged an alliance with Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, and were complicit in the Holocaust. (See the detailed articles by Joseph Spoerl and Jeffrey Herf at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.) One can even argue, as Caroline Glick does, that the very idea of a Palestinian nation is the invention of Haj Amin al-Husseini.

[Transcript in English here.]

As early as 1918, two years before he orchestrated the Nebi Musa riots, Husseini had committed himself to the subjugation and genocide of the Jews. “This was and will remain an Arab land,” Husseini told I. A. Abbady, a Jewish co-worker in the British Mandate government. “[T]he Zionists will be massacred to the last man. . . . Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country.” From the beginning Husseini had pan-Arab and pan-Islamic rather than narrowly Palestinian aspirations. Meeda Elias, a young Iraqi Jewish woman who met Husseini at a Baghdad dinner party, recalled listening in horror as he put forth his plans to annihilate all the Jews of Palestine and the Middle East to the approval of the high society guests. Husseini (and later jihadists like Hamas) was inspired by the Battle of Khaybar, where in 628 AD the Prophet Muhammad exterminated or expelled the Jewish tribes of Arabia. In 1937 Husseini issued a proclamation of jihad against the Jews, which was translated into German and published by the Nazis. Drawing on the Quran and other traditional sources of Islamic Jew-hatred, Husseini declared,
that the Jews are on the point of reaching out their hands toward the holy places which are sacred for each Muslim and each Christian. The Islamic world and the friends of Islam shall be shown how the Jews truly are in their innermost being. Usually, one only sees the Jews with the veneer of civilization, but the Arabs have learned best how they really are, that is, as they are described in the Koran and in the sacred scriptures. Then the agonies to which the Arabs in Palestine have been subjected can be understood. And one can imagine how these agonies will increase to the monstrous when the Jews have fully and completely laid their hands on Palestine.
I present to my Muslim brothers in the entire world the history and the true experience which the Jews cannot deny. The verses from the Koran and hadith prove to you that the Jews have been the bitterest enemies of Islam and continue to try to destroy it. Do not believe them. They know only hypocrisy and guile. Hold together, fight for Islamic thought, fight for your religion and your existence! Do not rest until your land is free of the Jews. Do not tolerate the plan of division, for Palestine has been an Arabic land for centuries and shall remain Arabic.
Fleeing to Berlin in 1941, Husseini spent the World War II years as Hitler’s honored guest and liaison to the Arab Muslim world. Historian Jeffrey Herf writes that Hitler found in Husseini “a true comrade in arms and ideological soul mate.” And while the Mufti did not give Hitler the idea for the Final Solution, Herf points out that the genocide of the Jews was a goal they shared: “The meeting between them on November 28, 1941, was not a clash of civilizations but a meeting of hearts and minds, and a convergence from different starting points.

Husseini presented himself to Hitler as a pan-Arab, rather than a Palestinian, nationalist. He asked for German support to achieve his ultimate goal: an independent, unified, and Judenrein Arab state of Syria, Iraq, and Palestine. On his arrival, the Führer greeted the Mufti with assurances that Germany would support his plans to exterminate the Jews in Palestine and throughout the Muslim world:
Germany stands for an uncompromising struggle against the Jews. It is self-evident that the struggle against the Jewish national homeland in Palestine forms part of this struggle, since such a national homeland would be nothing other than a political base for the destructive influence of Jewish interests. Germany also knows that the claim that Jewry plays the role of an economic pioneer in Palestine is a lie. Only the Arabs work there, not the Jews. Germany is determined to call on the European nations one by one to solve the Jewish problem and, at the proper moment, to address the same appeal to non-European peoples.
Please note that to solve the Jewish problem was Hitlers euphemism for genocide. He added that once German armies reached the southern Caucasus “the Führer will himself give the Arab world his assurance that the hour of liberation has arrived. At this point, the sole German aim will be the destruction of the Jews living in the Arab space under the protection of British power.” In his own memoirs, Husseini wrote:
Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: “The Jews are yours.”
In return the Mufti produced Arabic-language propaganda broadcasts for his hosts calling on Arabs to make common cause with the Nazis. “Arabs!” Husseini called out over Radio Berlin’s airwaves. “Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This serves your honor. God is with you” (emphasis in the original). He also organized Muslim units to serve in the S.S. and blocked efforts that would have saved several thousand Jewish children from the Nazi death camps by allowing them to go to Palestine. Testimony from the Nuremberg Trials named the Mufti as a collaborator with Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler in the execution of the Final Solution. Husseini also confirmed to Hitler’s foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop his belief that a German victory “will undoubtedly destroy the Jewish nation and will accordingly help to maintain the freedom and independence of Palestine and the Arab countries.” Husseini even drew up secret plans to build an Auschwitz-like death camp near Nablus once German victory had been secured. Faiz Bay Idrisi, a senior Arab officer in the British Mandatory police, would recall to journalist Haviv Canaan years later:
Today, a chill runs through my body when I remember what was said in police circles and among supporters of the Mufti in those months [when German Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel was poised to invade Egypt in the summer of 1942]. Haj Amin al-Husseini was set to enter Jerusalem at the head of his aides, the soldiers of the Arab legion, which was formed out of Muslim soldiers in the German army. The [Mufti’s] master plan was to establish in the Dothan Valley, close to Shechem, giant crematoriums like Auschwitz, into which would be brought the Jews of Palestine, and the Jews of Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and even North Africa, in order to slaughter them with the methods of the S.S. who operated in the death camps in Europe.
Only the defeat of Field Marshal Erwin Rommels Afrika Korps at El Alamein, which is still lamented by Arab Palestinians, saved the Jews of Palestine and the Middle East from Husseinis planned genocide. Israel’s enemies, Melanie Phillips writes“react with fury to evidence of the grand mufti’s Nazi enthusiasm because this destroys the fiction that the Palestinian cause so dear to their hearts is noble.” In fact, Phillips goes on, the Palestinian cause “is the direct heir to a genocidal project. Through his words and deeds Haj Amin al-Husseini was the original Islamo-Nazi,who by integrating Nazism with modern jihadism, became the progenitor of Al Qaeda, ISIS, Fatah, and Hamas.

Preparing for jihad, 1936. Palestine Arabs at Abu Ghosh taking the oath of allegiance to the Arab cause, to fight Jewish immigration. Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress.

True to his word, Husseini launched jihads against the Jews in 1936 and 1948 with the intent of perpetrating Nazi-like genocide. Only the grim determination of the Jews to fight and survive, embodied in the newly formed Israel Defense Forces (IDF), turned what could have been a second Holocaust into one of the great miracles of history, the rebirth of Israel. Palestinian apologists (Joseph Massad and Ali Abunimah for example) seek to whitewash Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis, and relieve him of responsibility for his war crimes, by portraying him as a victim of British persecution and Zionist machinations. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership still honor Husseini as the founding father of the Palestinian nation. To this day the Palestinians have refused to accept any responsibility for the actions that led to their nakba, preferring to wrap themselves in the mantle of victimhood. 

I have spent some time talking about the Mufti’s collaboration with the Nazis to set the record straight. “Holocaust inversion,” the anti-Semitic blood libel perpetrated by the Israel Outrage Industry, says that the Israelis are the new Nazis and the Palestinians are the new Jews; that Gaza = Auschwitz.” Omar Barghouti, supreme leader of the anti-Semitic BDS movement, a part of the Israel Outrage Industry, declares that
Palestinians—and Arabs more generally—bear no responsibility whatsoever for the Holocaust, a European genocide committed against mostly European Jews, Roma, and Slavs, among others. It is therefore not incumbent upon Palestinians to pay in our lives, lands, and livelihoods the price for relieving Europe’s conscience of its collective guilt over the Holocaust. Holocaust guilt should never be used as a means to justify or tolerate Israel’s horrific injustices against the people of Palestine.
This is a bald-faced lie. In the real history of the 1930s and 1940s the Arab Palestinians and the larger Arab Muslim world gave their support to the Nazis and the Nazi Final Solution to annihilate the Jewish people. Haj Amin al-Husseini played a direct role in the Holocaust. The Palestinian Arab public, by using violence to block Jewish immigration to Palestine when it was literally a matter of life and death, were indirectly complicit in the Holocaust. No amount of disinformation, blood libels, and Orwellian rewriting of history by Barghouti and the propagandists of the Israel Outrage Industry can change those facts.

Now in all fairness it must be said that Palestinian support for Nazism and fascism was not monolithic. There were voices among the Palestinians and throughout the Arab world that rejected the Mufti and spoke out against Nazism and the genocide of the Jews. And there were righteous Arabs” who tried to save North African, Middle Eastern, and European Jews from the Nazis and their Vichy French and Arab collaborators. But these voices were a small dissenting minority from the overall Arab consensus in support of Hitlers regime and the extermination of the Jews. Farouk Qaddumi, who along with Yasser Arafat founded Fatah, recently told an interviewer, quite matter-of-factly, “that we were enthusiastic supporters of Germany. . . . This was common among the Palestinians, especially since our enemy was Zionism, and we saw that Zionism was hostile to Germany, and vice versa. Historian Yaacov Lozowick gives this damning assessment:
We now know that the Jews who didn’t get out in the 1930s were mostly dead by 1945. Every single Jew who wanted to immigrate to Palestine but was denied the chance by the growing restrictions can be laid to the account of Palestinian violence and British appeasement; the number probably runs to the hundreds of thousands. Even this small fraction of Jewish dead exceeds all of the subsequent losses of Palestinian lives in their conflict with Zionism. This, Palestinian apologists might reasonably say, is hindsight. Yet what was obvious at the time was that there were violently antisemitic governments or political movements in almost all of the European countries in which there were significant Jewish communities; anti-Jewish legislation or agitation or both were the norm. The Palestinian decision at the time was to join this anti-Jewish camp at its violent edge. Let this be kept in mind when Palestinian propagandists decry their victimization by the victims of the Nazis.
The Israel Outrage Industry cries that the Palestinians are being made to pay for the sins of Christian Europe. As we have seen with the Arab-Nazi collaboration, and as I discussed in my previous post, the Arab Muslim world has its own long history of anti-Semitism to account for.

The Israel Outrage Industry, the newest incarnation of Jew-hatred, is built on a foundation of lies. Its primary argument, derived from postcolonial theory, that Israeli Jews are “settler-colonialists” and that Israel is an “apartheid state” are demonstrably false. (As noted in my previous post, both Israelis and Palestinians are descended from small indigenous populations that expanded through large-scale immigration since the mid-19th century. For a collection of essays on postcolonialism and the Arab-Israeli conflict, click here. For a typically unreadable, jargon-laden example of postcolonialist writing, click here.)

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is a spearhead of the Israel Outrage Industry. (See Dan Diker’s excellent article at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.) Richard Behar of Forbes characterizes BDS as “a movement without even a pretense of intellectual honesty, one that relies on the most dreary kind of politically radical hivemind, an ideological conformity that is, in its most extreme aspects, downright scary.” And Cornell University’s William Jacobson calls BDS “the modern mother’s milk of anti-Semitism” The tactics of the Israel Outrage Industry come straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook: it uses lies, disinformation, character assassination, and intimidation to advance its agenda. Anger and indignation, not reason and intellect, are the marks of the Israel Outrage Industry. It adheres to an Orwellian view of the world where black is white, night is day, Zionism is racism, jihadists are freedom fighters, and tyranny is liberty. Indeed in a suitably Orwellian twist, the Israel Outrage Industry smears anyone who stands up and exposes its lies as being part of an “Islamophobia Industry.” British blogger David Collier adds that “BDS is an anti-democratic, anti-Semitic movement that has wrapped itself up as a peace movement, artificially softening its image where necessary to further its extremist goal.” While French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy concludes:
The truth is that the BDS movement is nothing more than a sinister caricature of the anti-totalitarian and anti-apartheid struggles. It is a campaign whose instigators have no aim other than to discriminate against, delegitimize, and vilify an Israel that in their mind never stopped wearing its yellow star.
Walter Russell Mead (who coined the term) identifies five main sources of support for the Israel Outrage Industry in left-wing academic and activist circles: liberal and progressive Jews in the United States (“the lost tribe of America), Europe, and Israel who believe Israel has failed to live up to the political standards of liberalism and the moral standards of Judaism (one writer calls this “the failure of the Jewish intelligentsia”); Westerners who are ignorant of Israel’s historical and cultural roots in the Middle East; Palestinians, and Americans and Europeans of Palestinian background; Arabs and Muslims both in the Middle East and the West; left-wing scholars and activists educated in and committed to postcolonialism, who believe Israel is an outpost of Western colonialism in the Arab Middle East and Israelis are colonial exploiters of dark-skinned indigenous people, much like the pieds-noirs of Algeria and Afrikaners of South Africa were. As Mead observes, “to the degree that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come to serve as a symbolic stand-in for colonialism and resistance to it, across the developing world and on trendy western campuses, there’s a sincerely felt if often poorly reasoned sense that to pass anti-Israel resolutions today is like passing anti-apartheid resolutions a generation ago.”

Public confrontations between supporters of Israel and enemies of Israel in the Israel Outrage Industry are so nasty and vitriolic because the two sides operate in alternate moral universes. They start from completely different first principles and premises, and their worldviews are hostile and irreconcilable. Nor do they agree on basic facts of history or contemporary events. The issue in a nutshell is, to quote Vladimir Jabotinsky: “either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust.” The positions taken by each side are logically consistent with their response to Jabotinsky’s proposition.

Supporters of Israel, shaped by the traditional Judeo-Christian worldview and classical liberalism, start from the assumption that Zionism is moral and just, that for reasons of history and religion the Jewish people have the right to self-determination in a sovereign state in Eretz Yisrael, the land of its birth. Enemies of Israel, supporters of the Palestinian cause, shaped by radical-Left “Jesus-was-a-Palestinian” Christian, post-Christian, postcolonialist, Arab nationalist, or Islamic supremacist worldviews, start from the assumption that Zionism is immoral and unjust, that Jews are not a people and do not have a right to a state in Palestine, that Israel is a colonial imposition on an indigenous Arab people and must therefore be uprooted and destroyed. This is why the Israel Outrage Industry keeps coming back to the “original sin” of 1948. (These are the same postcolonialist leftists who speak of the “original sin” of America’s founding.) As Columbia University anthropologist and anti-Zionist BDS supporter Nadia Abu El-Haj explains, the very idea of a Jewish people and nation is a Zionist fabrication. In any event the truth or falsity of Jewish history is irrelevant:

Why? Because even if the biblical story were entirely true, it wouldn’t change the problem of the injustice that founding the State of Israel brought into being in 1948. It wouldn’t change the fact that Israel is a settler-nation, that is, a project of European colonial settlement that imagined and believed itself to be a project of national return.

Controversial “scholar” and radical Left BDS polemicist Steven Salaita adds that “Zionists stole Palestine from its original inhabitants.” He adds further that “Zionism’s claims to an ancient Jewish past in Palestine are largely mythological.” Or, as Palestinian-Canadian activist Hanna Kawas states bluntly: “there is no legitimacy (not ancient nor modern) for Zionist claims to a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Period.” Salaita’s and Kawas’s statements make it crystal clear that dialogue between supporters of Israel and the Israel Outrage Industry is a nonstarter.

It’s no coincidence that those who hate Israel also hate America. As political scientist Andrei Markovits points out, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism have become the defining litmus-test issues of post-Cold War progressive politics in both Europe and the United States. The postcolonialist agenda is all that unifies an otherwise fragmented and divided Left. “If one is not at least a serious doubter of the legitimacy of the state of Israel,” Markovits writes, “and if one does not dismiss everything American as a priori vile and reactionary, one runs the risk of being excluded from the entity called ‘the left.’” He adds that “the hegemonic discourse of the left on both sides of the Atlantic features America and Israel as identity-defining issues that are largely nonnegotiable.” Similarly, Greg Gutfeld of Fox News observes that radical campus ideologues, immersed in postcolonialism, will always be opposed to Israel: “Israel is a proxy for the United States and they like poking it in the eye.”

Political scientist Donna Robinson Divine concludes that the postcolonialist Left has made the Palestinians the archetype of all the helpless, powerless victims of Western imperialism:
Palestinians have become almost universal political and cultural symbols of the stateless victim. Movements inspired by postcolonial theorizing use the pain and strife of Palestinians as part of what they perceive to be a revolutionary struggle against a country that wields its military power not to hold back terror but rather presumably and primarily in order to humiliate a population already on the edge. Accountability for the ongoing conflict, then, belongs not to the powerless Palestinians, deprived of their dignity, but rather to the Israelis whose policies have presumably squeezed these people between violence and oppression. The charge is not that Palestinians have made bad strategic choices, but rather that Israel and its policies are evil.
Again, Zionism and the creation of a Jewish state are prima facie either right or wrong. This dynamic drives the entire Arab-Israeli conflict; it is a chasm that cannot be bridged. Neither Israelis nor Arabs (nor their respective supporters in the West) have changed their core beliefs on the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty over the past 130 years. “The people of Israel are not occupiers in the Land of Israel.” This statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, self-evident truth to Israel’s supporters, sends the Israel Outrage Industry into foaming-at-the-mouth fits of fury. “No,” the Israel-haters shout, “you stole their land! The Jews are invaders and occupiers of Arab land!” To which my Yeshiva students would respond: “No, they stole our land! The Arabs are invaders and trespassers on Jewish land!” Postcolonialist godfather and intellectual fraud Edward Said got it right when he grimly acknowledged at the start of the second intifada that no common ground could be found between the Israeli and Palestinian worldviews:

The most demoralising aspect of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict is the almost total opposition between mainstream Israeli and Palestinian points of view. We were dispossessed and uprooted in 1948, they think they won independence and that the means were just. We recall that the land we left and the territories we are trying to liberate from military occupation are all part of our national patrimony; they think it is theirs by Biblical fiat and diasporic affiliation. Today, by any conceivable standards, we are the victims of the violence; they think they are. There is simply no common ground, no common narrative, no possible area for genuine reconciliation. Our claims are mutually exclusive. Even the notion of a common life shared in the same small piece of land is unthinkable. Each of us thinks of separation, perhaps even of isolating and forgetting the other.

For once I agree with Said. Since neither side accepts the premises of the other, outside the realm of realpolitik (where a different set of assumptions prevail) there is no basis for any rational discourse between them. They can only talk, or shout, past each other, and call each other vile names in the unbounded spaces of the blogosphere and the Twitterverse. (The same holds true in the ivory tower. An attempt to find common ground between historians Benny Morris and Joseph Massad ended in mutual accusations of racism. See also: Steven Salaita.) Yaacov Lozowick, talking about the anti-Semitic website Mondoweiss, a leading voice of the Israel Outrage Industry, adds: “There is no possibility for discourse between them and us, only invective from their side, and head-shaking from ours.” In the foreseeable future words will not be able to effect a reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, or their American and European advocates.

Leading the fight against jihad. Soldiers of the Haganah/IDF, June 1948. Frank Scherschel, Life.

If you listen to the propaganda of the Israel Outrage Industry long enough, after all its twists and turns you keep coming back to the same point: the original sin of 1948, “the original sin of Israel’s creation (to quote Rania Khalek). Or as Ahmad Samih Khalidi put it, “Israel could not have been built as a Jewish state except on the ruins of Arab Palestine.” Or in the words of postcolonialist historian Walter Hixson“Israel . . . has persisted in violating international law and destroying the lives of Palestinians for some 60 years. The process began with an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by Zionist extremists in 1948.” Or, to quote radical Left writer Ben Norton“In this war, Zionist militias systematically ethnically cleansed large portions of historic Palestine . . . expelling more than 750,000 people – around two-thirds of the indigenous Arab population. Richard Falk, Gideon Levy, Rashid Khalidi, and Edward Said have each proclaimed that Israel must humbly atone for the original sin of its morally tainted birth and apologize with genuine remorse for the injustice it perpetrated against the Palestinians as the sine qua non for any possible peace accord. As Said told Ari Shavit at the start of the second intifada in 2000:
Until the time comes when Israel assumes moral responsibility for what it has done to the Palestinian people, there can be no end to the conflict. . . . What is needed, at the very least, is an acknowledgment of the destruction of Palestinian society, of the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the confiscation of their land. And also of the deprivation and the suffering over the last 52 years. . . . I believe that the conflict can only end when Israel assumes the burden of all that. I think an attempt should be made to say “this is what happened.” This is the narrative. . . . No one gets absolute justice, but there are steps that must be taken, like the ones taken at the end of apartheid. . . . the only way to deal with a complex history of antagonism based on ethnicity is to look at it, understand it and then move on.
In January 2001, Said added that “like it or not, Israel can only have peace when the Palestinian right is first acknowledged to have been violated, and when there is apology and remorse where there is now arrogance and rhetorical bluster.” In other words, Said was saying that Jews must return to their proper role as humble and submissive dhimmis as the price of peace. Rashid Khalidi likewise argues that atonement requires Israelis to concede that their historical narrative is a lie and embrace the Palestinian narrative as historical truth:
the key requirement for a resolution is not so much compensation (important though that is) as acceptance of responsibility and some form of moral atonement. A gross injustice was done to the Palestinians, half of whom lost their homes and property and all of whom lost their homeland. It is difficult for Israelis to accept that this was in large measure Israel’s doing; such an admission requires substantial revisions in their self-image as victims, both of the Holocaust and of Arab aggression, and in their national narrative in which a blameless Israel was attacked without provocation by the Arab states in May 1948.
For Khalidi, like his late mentor Said, the conflict can only end with Israel’s intellectual and moral surrender to the Palestinians. (Khalidi would do better to advise Palestinians to apologize and make atonement to Israel for collaborating with the Nazis and launching their jihad against the Jewish people.)

Of course what Khalek, both Khalidis, Hixson, Norton, Falk, Levy, Said, and the rest of the Israel Outrage Industry fail to say, and refuse to acknowledge, as they relitigate the history of 1948, is that the Palestinians were victims of their own choices and actions: victims of a war of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Jews that they started.

The flight or expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948 was tragic and perhaps unavoidable. It is one of the harsh realities of history that a triumph of liberation for one people became a nakba (catastrophe) for another. The creation of a Jewish state was a historical necessity for the survival of the Jewish people and the renewal of the Jewish nation. The Jewish people would not have survived as a people after the Holocaust without the rebirth of the Jewish state. But as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, realized, the creation of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority, which the Arab Palestinians would never accept and actively fought against, would be secured by their flight from the lands that became Israel, just as the creation of the United States was secured by the dispossession of the native American Indians. Since the war in 1948 was a war for survival – the Palestinians and their Arab allies were determined to exterminate the Jews, to push them into the sea – harsh measures, in some cases the expulsion of the enemy population, were acts of self-defense dictated by military necessity.

This is the view of Benny Morris, the preeminent historian of 1948, who writes“The expulsions, where they occurred  and most of the 700,000 Arabs who were uprooted in that war were not expelled, but simply fled in the face of the flail of war – were acts of self-defense. When facing the choice between expelling your attacker or being slaughtered – my preference remains expelling the other. This was what happened at Lydda (July 11-13, 1948), the most oft-cited example, after a hard-fought battle in the most desperate days of the war. Months later (October 29, 1948) IDF soldiers killed between 100 and 200 Arab villagers at Dawayima, near the ruins of Lachish (the Judahite town conquered and destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 701 BC), in retaliation for the massacres of Jews at Hebron in 1929 and Kefar Etzion in May 1948. One IDF commander, Avraham Vered, wrote“We remembered 1929 and the Etzion Bloc. The houses of Dawayima, Vered went on,
were filled with the loot of the Etzion Bloc . . . The Jewish fighters who attacked Dawayima knew that . . . the blood of those slaughtered cries out for revenge; and that the men of Dawayima were among those who took part in the massacre . . . [in] the Etzion Bloc.
Benny Morris chalks up the Dawayima massacre to to the Middle East’s tragic cycle of massacre, counter-massacre, and vengeance, “a basic value and fact of life.” But for some Israeli soldiers, neither vengeance nor retaliation, nor military necessity, could justify the killing of unarmed civilians. Such actions undermined the moral integrity of the IDF, violating its doctrine of “purity of arms” which prohibited the harming of noncombatants. Shabtai Kaplan, a soldier and journalist, wrote a letter about the terrible events at Dawayima, the details of which had been related to him by another soldier. Kaplan’s informant told him “what was in his heart because of a psychological need to unburden his soul of the horrific awareness that our cultured and educated people are capable of achieving this level of barbarism.” It was not just the heat of battle or a desire for vengeance, but, in this soldier’s opinion, political and military policy which led cultured and educated men to commit acts of barbarism:
The soldier relates that their cultured, polite commanders, who are considered upstanding members of society, turned into base murderers, and not in the heat and passion of battle but in a system of expulsion and destruction. The fewer Arabs that will remain, the better. That principle is the political driving force of the expulsions and atrocities, to which no one objects, either in the operational command or in high command.
This is the tragedy of war and the dark side of nation building. It speaks to Israel’s nature as an open and self-critical society (unlike Arab Muslim societies), that Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris and Yair Auron, have embraced the task of researching and placing before the public the ugliest and most controversial parts of their nation’s complex past. (Of course the propagandists of the Israel Outrage Industry, British BDS smear merchant Jonathan Cook for example, charge that Israel is perpetrating a massive cover up of its war crimes.” Those devious, conspiratorial Jews! Give me a break.)

In 1779 as America was fighting a long and bloody war to win its independence, George Washington ordered the “total destruction and devastation” of the British-allied Iroquois. “Our future security,” Washington declared, “will be in their inability to injure us, the distance to which they are driven, and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them. Peace without this would be fallacious and temporary.” “How lamentable it is,” Andrew Jackson told his Tennessee troops after their victory over the Creek nation in 1814, “that the path to peace should lead through blood & over the carcases of the slain!! But Jackson understood that America’s enemies “must be made to know . . . that our strength is mighty & will prevail. Then & not till then may we hope for a lasting & beneficial peace. Nation building can be a messy and ugly business. David Ben-Gurion, the “George Washington” of Israel, took the same decisive action for Israel’s survival in its War of Independence that Washington and Jackson took for America’s survival.

Benny Morris

Benny Morris, after extensive research, concludes that the Palestinians and their Arab allies were in fact waging a jihad against the Jews:
What I discovered in the documentation relating to the war, at least from the Arab side, was that the war had a religious character, that the central element in the war was an imperative to launch jihad. There were other imperatives of course, political and others—but the most important from the enemy’s perspective was the element of the infidels who had the nerve to take control over sacred Muslim lands and the need to uproot them from there. The decisive majority in the Arab world saw the war first and foremost as a holy war, but until today historians have not examined the documentation that proves this. In my view, they have also ignored Arab rhetoric of the day, which universally included religious hatred against the Jews, because they thought the Arabs adopted this as normal speech that did not emanate from deep mental resources. They thought this was something superficial, that everyone talked like this. But I am positive the Arab spokesmen in 1948 did go beyond this and clearly and explicitly talked about jihad.
And Joseph Spoerl offers this assessment of Palestinian complicity in both the Nazi and Arab wars to exterminate the Jews:
[T]he claim that Palestinians and Arabs had nothing to do with the Holocaust is false. In fact, Arab and Palestinian leaders played a significant role in aiding and abetting the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews in Europe and they hoped to implement the genocide in the Middle East. A growing number of publications, including extensive original, high-quality archival scholarship, proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. . . . A careful examination of this history shows that it is neither fair nor accurate to portray the Arab-Israel War of 1947–9 as an unprovoked war of aggression by Zionists bent on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs. In fact, it was a war of self-defense against a ruthless, pro-Nazi, and openly genocidal Palestinian leadership that enjoyed enormous popularity among the Arab and Palestinian masses.
The refusal of many Palestinians to face their moral and political failings honestly contrasts with their lip-service to achieving “peace with justice” in the Middle East. If they cared about justice, they would apportion a substantial share of the blame for the nakba or “catastrophe” of 1948 to themselves and would admit the existence of widespread Jew-hatred in the Arab and Islamic world and its role in undermining peace between Jews and Arabs from the 1920s to the present.
Anthropologist Philip Carl Salzman, who spent his career studying the tribal roots of Middle Eastern cultures, concludes that the Palestinians were victims of a “self-induced Nakba”:
Narratives of victimization, such as the Palestinian one, neglect to account for the active Arab response to the Jews and to Jewish immigration. . . . Arab opposition to the Jews, expressed in riots and pogroms, was ratchetted up in the face of Jewish desires for national autonomy and independence. After all, it was believed that any part of the Dar al-Islam must remain under Muslim dominance forevermore. And for a thousand years, Jews under Islam had been a subservient and despised minority, cowering under the power of their Muslim masters. The Arabs in Palestine thought that the Jews could not and would not stand up to them, and they acted on that well established cultural principle. Honor would allow nothing less.

The Arabs acted according to their tradition, according to their lights. They refused compromise with inferiors; they refused to divide and share, rejecting a UN settlement. Instead, they strove for complete victory, as their ancestors had. However, the thousand-year-old conditions did not obtain. The Jews they faced were not dhimma, and they did not cower; against the odds, and with little outside help, they fought and won. The Arab states answered the call, but were ineffectual, and failed. The “Nakba” was self-induced by the Arabs. They demanded all or nothing, and got nothing. But they have continued to hold to the rejectionist position, taking an annihilationist stance toward Israel and the Jews. So in reality the self-induced “Nakba” is self-perpetuating. The successful agitprop that obscures this both to the world and to themselves is also a result of Arab agency.
The entire Palestinian narrative is a denial of history and a denial of truth; a refusal by Arab Palestinians to acknowledge any responsibility for the actions that led to their catastrophe. The Israel Outrage Industry rejects the realities of history to perpetrate a mendacious postcolonialist fantasy and indulge an ahistorical Arab mythology of innocence and victimhood. There was no original sin in the creation of Israel in 1948. Israel has nothing to atone for. The Palestinian leadership chose to reject the United Nations partition of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Had they chosen otherwise there would have been no nakba. They chose to launch a jihad against Israel with the support of five Arab states. They assumed they would win their holy war and, in a reenactment of the Battle of Khaybar, wipe out the Jews in an orgy of religious hatred. But the Israelis of 1948 were not dhimmis. They fought back against the jihad and they won. There would be no Khaybar in 1948. There would be no second Holocaust. The Arab forces lost and their people suffered the consequences.

To quote Martin Sherman“In the final analysis, between the River and the Sea there will exist either exclusive Jewish sovereignty or exclusive Arab sovereignty. The side that will prevail is the side whose national will is the stronger, and whose political vision is the sharper.” And to quote Tony Judt“What the Jews were seeking in Palestine, he [Vladimir Jabotinsky] used to say, was not progress but a state. When you build a state you make a revolution. And in a revolution there can only ever be winners and losers. This time around we Jews are going to be the winners.” Historian H.W. Brands adds that “life is full of unearned gifts and undeserved costs. There is no justice in history, just winners and losers.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not the result of a misunderstanding or a failure to communicate or flawed tactics and strategies or of good intentions gone awry. This 130-year war, as both sides see it, is an existential conflict, a war of blood and faith, a zero-sum battle over land, national, tribal, and religious identity, and historical legitimacy. So it has been since the beginnings of Zionism in the 1880s. The distinguished Israeli author and longtime peace activist Amos Oz believes, as does Fareed Zakaria, that the threat of Iran and ISIS make this the most promising moment for ending the conflict in the past 100 years. Sadly they are wrong. It will not be resolved in the foreseeable future. The original sin of Zionism, writes the blogger Elder of Ziyon, is that Jews are asserting their rights to live in their own ancestral homeland in peace and security. And that sin is too much for hundreds of millions of Arabs to bear. It is now clear that the Arab assault on Israel in 1948 was the opening round of the larger Islamist jihad against the West that was brought home to the United States on September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, Michael Lumish writes as the Arab world seethes with a crude and genocidal Medieval anti-Semitism, their western-left apologists condemn Israel as a violent, racist, apartheid, colonial, imperial monstrosity.” Yes, Israel is a flawed and imperfect nation that has not always lived up to its ideals. The same can be said of all the nations of the Earth. Yet radical Left academics and activists demand of Israel a level of moral purity and social perfection that no human society has attained – not the United States, not Europe, and certainly not the Arab Muslim nations championed by the Left – as the price of its legitimacy and its very right to exist. If that is not anti-Semitism then I don’t know what is. It certainly speaks to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of an academic Left, theorizing in its ivory tower, mired in postcolonialist narcissism, utterly disconnected from reality.

In the summer of 2001, at the height of the second intifada and just before 9/11, David Brooks wrote a prescient essay on “The Death of Compromise” in Middle East. The prime strategy of the Palestinians and their supporters, Brooks discovered, was to undermine the moral legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state in the eyes of the world as a first step toward its actual destruction. This was no longer a war of tangibles like land and security. It had become a war over rival historical, moral, and mythopoetic narratives that could continue for generations. Even those Palestinians who were willing to accept a two-state solution wanted, in Brooks’s words, “for the Israelis to capitulate intellectually and morally; for the Israelis to admit that their state was founded on a crime; for them to apologize for what their existence has done to the Palestinians.” This is what is really behind the Palestinian demand for a right of return. (See this recent statement by Saeb Erekat.) “In other words,” Brooks concluded,
the Middle East conflict has been polarized and simplified. The whole dispute hangs on a simple question: Is Israel a criminal state? Arab populations have swung behind the idea that it is, and the Jewish population has swung behind the idea that it isn’t. Not since 1948 has the issue been so stark and each side so unified. There is simply no middle position on this central question, and so all those who were trying to span the divide between the two peoples – the businessmen who want to trade with the other side, as well as the peace activists who want to build bridges – have found that the ground has vanished from under their feet.
Brooks’s analysis still holds true. Israel’s ideological enemies – in academia, the media, the blogosphere, the religious left, NGOs, and leftist activist groups like BDS, along with their Jewish and Israeli fellow travelers and enablers – agree that Israel is a criminal state. They are truly outraged that the Jewish people, who they don’t consider a real people, have attained self-determination, empowerment, and political sovereignty. As left-wing postcolonialist ideologues, they would prefer Jews to be disempowered victims unable to shape their own destiny. They seek to delegitimize the very concept of a Jewish state – an ethnonationalist anachronism which they claim has no place in the multicultural world of the twenty-first century – as a prelude to replacing Israel with a “secular democratic” (i.e. Arab Islamic) Palestinian state. And like all on the radical Left, they use lies, disinformation, slander and intimidation to advance their agenda.

These denizens of the Israel Outrage Industry are implacable foes who bear nothing but malice and ill-will toward the Jewish people. And they don’t much like the American people either. There is simply no common intellectual and moral ground to be had between those of us who see in Israel the fulfillment of the 2000-year-old dream of Jewish national liberation and renewal, and those who by demonizing Israel as a racist-settler-colonial-apartheid regime seek her destruction. They cannot be reasoned with and cannot be compromised with. They must be engaged and defeated on the battlefield of ideas.

© 2016 Michael Kaplan