The neocon press is not merely confined to the United States. It flourishes in the money-losing Canadian newspaper National Post. The paper rabidly supports Zionism, which means that it supports the dispossession of Palestinians who are indigenous to historical Palestine.
A recent editorial screed (it makes no effort to hide itself as such) was written by a Canadian version of American right-winger Ann Coulter (in regressivism but not glamor), Barbara Kay.1 Kay describes Israel as a “literal phoenix risen from the ashes…” Ashes? What she didn’t mentioned was that, if there were any ashes, the ashes were of Palestinians who inhabited the territory.
If, indeed, Palestine was a land without people, then by all means, Jews (or any other people) migrating to the land, working it, and making a living there would make for a great success story. No one should have a problem with this.
Despite deceptive protestations by erstwhile Israeli politicians, such as Golda Meir,2 the land was not empty, and most people, nowadays at least, regard the dispossession of an indigenous people as morally reprehensible.
Since the fact of Palestinians being massacred and forcibly expelled from the Jewish state is established,3 it would seem to any reasonable observer that the Palestinian people have a legitimate grievance for being resentful. Yet, Kay gallingly describes Arab resentment of the crimes that they have and are facing as a “cancer”: “anti-Semitism.” If Kay’s logic is sound, then by the same logic, Jewish resentment of crimes against them by Nazis would be anti-Teutonism on the part of Jews. This is patently absurd, as is Kay’s nonsense.
Kay writes, “The new Jew-hatred isn’t characterized by brutal government-sponsored Kristallnachts.” Kay attempts to wipe out the historical context here, to erase Deir Yassin among other massacres, to elide the wiping of over 500 Palestinian villages off the map.3
Kay proffers, “It should go without saying that criticism of Israel is, in itself, not tantamount to anti-Semitism. Clearheaded critics treat Israel as a country like any other, including their own. They judge Israel’s actions by the single standard they apply to everyone else, and speak of Israel in language appropriate to truthful exchange.”
This sounds fine. This is the principle I will apply. I will start from the principle that dispossession of indigenous peoples from their land is wrong. I asked Kay:
“Do you deny that an indigenous people — the Palestinians — were forcibly transferred from their land so that Israel might ‘rise like a phoenix from the ashes’?
“Just as the expulsion of Jews from European countries was wrong, was it not wrong to expel Arabs from their land?”
Kay’s email response is telling in how it avoided the questions, placed the blame on the victims, and regurgitated discredited Zionist propaganda.
The great majority of the Palestinians would not have left the land if they had not been told to by their leaders, who expected that the combined might of the attack by 7 Arab countries would soon settle the issue of Israel altogether. Those who stayed have Israeli citizenship and are very happy in israel. If Iisrael [sic] was so bent on ethnic cleansing, how is it that they did not kick out those who did not leave voluntarily? The answer is that apart from a few unsavory incidents, the Palestinians left to be out of the way of the coming war, and fully expected to return when the war was won by their side. Too bad, they bet on the wrong horse. Those are the fortunes of war, and there are so many other cases of that in history, but somehow it is only Israel that gets flak for what all other countries have done when wars are won. Since Israel did not start that war, the losers have only themselves to blame. The Jews who were kicked out of Arab lands were welcomed into Israel, just as the Palestinians should have been welcomed into Jordan and Lebanon, and the books would have been nicely balanced. They were left to rot in refugee camps by their “brothers” as political pawns and to arouse the sympathy of people like you. But they should not be Israel;s problem. History has moved on. the moral of the story is that if you want to live in peace with your neighbours, don;t start wars with them, as you may not be happy with the result. They should be offered monetary restitution for their homes and then let them make their peace with their bad gamble. Barbara
Kay makes assertions. Where does she base her claim that Palestinians are happy with Israeli citizenship?4 Is she referring to the happiness felt by Bedouins whose homes and crops are demolished in the Negev?5 Is she referring to the happiness Palestinians feel at being unable to buy land from the Jewish National Fund — an embarrassment to Jews?6
As for the notion of a voluntary efflux of Palestinians, Jewish Israeli historian Ilan Pappe refuted this propaganda.3 Kay’s question about an incomplete “ethnic cleansing”7 is glaring in its presumptions. She is unaware or ignores polls that indicate a plurality of Israeli Jews are bent on “ethnic cleansing.”8 Moreover, the Jewish state does not function in a sealed domestic vacuum. Flagrant violations of human rights and crimes against humanity are likely to heighten the international opprobrium directed at Israel, and no state willingly courts pariah state status.
The Right of Return is a universal right. It is the same right that Jews lay claim to in migrating to Israel and deny to indigenous and refugee Palestinians. The double standards here are stark.
The disinformation is so dense, it astounds. It disingenuously plays into Jewish victimhood. The easy refutation of Kay’s many assertions, speaks compellingly of the invalidity of the bulk of assertions she has made.
Complains Kay, “But you know Israel critics have become Israel haters when: they are obsessed with Israel’s moral failures and ignore others’; they respond compassionately to Arab war victims, but not to Israel’s terror victims…”
Kay invokes an egalitarian principle that criticism must not be focused exclusively on the “moral failures” of one group. This is fair. To have any legitimacy in denouncing crimes committed against people elsewhere, one must first acknowledge and denounce the crimes committed by one’s own country.
The hallmark of any authentic journalist must be to present a coherent, well-written story that is backed by solid facts. An authentic journalist will scrutinize any sources cited and verify their statements for accuracy. Second, an authentic journalist will avoid assertions and unsubstantiated opinions, to protect the verisimilitude of their journalism and the integrity of their person. Third, an authentic journalist will never stoop to the gutter tactic of name-calling. The quality of Kay’s journalism will be self-evident when one reads it and checks for factual accuracy, assertions, and ad hominem:
Point 1: “Israel haters maliciously appropriate the discourse of Jewish victimhood to promote hate in others through outright historical lies.” No examples are provided by Kay, so, presumably readers are expected to believe this based on Kay’s authority.
Point 2: “They label Israel an apartheid state.” She never identifies who “they” are, but presumably former president Jimmy Carter is one of “they,” an Israel-hater.
Point 3: “[They] call Israeli soldiers Nazis.” The comparison may be apt or not. Kay does not deal with this. When behaviors are similar, people often resort to comparisons. That Jews base their claim to historical Palestine, partially based on the crimes perpetrated against them by Nazis; it, therefore, seems fair to compare Nazis with Zionists when the behaviors of the two are the same.
Point 4: “[They] portray Ariel Sharon eating babies.” Some of “they,” whoever “they” are, resort to ridiculous insults. That Sharon was a murderer of Palestinians is undeniable. Kay averts dealing with this substantiated fact.9
Point 5: “[They] compare Gaza to Buchenwald and in short seek to normalize the idea that support for Israel is support for racism, today’s ultimate taboo.” Again, Kay provides no examples to back up her claims. Buchenwald was a Nazi slave-labor camp where many prisoners starved to death. Likewise, Gaza is often referred to as an open-air prison where deliberate Israeli government policy withholds Palestinian money, threatening Palestinians with starvation (a war crime, as the occupier is responsible for the well-being of the occupied people).10
Kay admits that in Canada, “open manifestations of anti-Semitism” are rare, but she complains “a handful of labour leaders and politicians — marched in solidarity alongside Hezbollah supporters carrying placards urging ‘Death to the Jews.’”
Such a placard would be repugnant. I could find no images about such placards through an online search. I searched on google images for “death to the jews Hezbollah” and through the first 12 pages could not view one single image of such a placard or other such signage. On the first page of the search, there was a link to an image of a double door with spray-painted graffito: “KILL ALL ARABS!” On the same page was a link to a man carrying a placard reading: “ISLAM IS A DEATH CULT.” Only once in the 12 pages of searching did I come across any signs aimed at Jews. This placard read: “JUDAISM REJECTS ZIONISM.” The bearers of the placards were the Orthodox Jews of Neturei Karta.11
I asked Kay for evidence of the placard. Such a placard would be highly objectionable, but Kay only asserts the carrying of such a placard.
She replied in detail:
There were two demonstrations in Montreal that summer. One had a sign reading “Mort aux juifs” ["Death to the Jews"] (I can;t provide an image, but it was there and there have been many such signs in demonstrations in other parts of the world with this and similar signs. By the way, if you are wonderfing what the mandate of Hezbollah is, it is to eradicate Jews everywhere in the world. Hezbollah was responsible for the 1984 bombing of the Argentinian community centre which killed a high number of Jews and many other attacks on diaspora Jewish centres. When someone walks beside a supporter of Hezbollah with the sign “Long Live Nasrallah” one is essentially supporting someone with the sign “Long live Hitler” because both have the same agenda. It is possible that you believe the propaganda that Hezbollah is some kind of benevolent charity group. It is indeed a terrorist organization primarily interested in exterminating Jews, not just Israelis. Barbara
Okay, let’s grant that there was such a despicable sign in Montreal. Then let’s examine the logic that flows from what else she wrote. If at an open gathering of people opposed to violence or injustice, a few persons appear bearing an objectionable banner, then all conscionable people should abandon the progressivist gathering? Really? What an effective way to kill opposition to violence and injustice in one swell swoop. All that would be necessary then is for Zionists to plant one or two members with racist signs among gatherings of people opposed to Zionist crimes. No more dissent to Zionism. No more dissent to anything in the world. Kay is buying into the fallacy of guilt by association in attempting to pin the objectionable actions of a few people on all dissenters. This is a tactic of authoritarians to undermine effective dissent.12 It also plays into the mindset that allows for collective punishment of Palestinians by Zionists (a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention).
Kay’s account is ahistorical. She ignores that Hizbollah arose in 1985 after the Jewish-Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Kay is likeliest referring to the 1994 bombing of the Argentina-Israeli Community Center. Hizbollah can hardly be blamed for something that occurred before its inception. Hizbollah denies involvement in the bombing.13
Clearly Kay puts forth a double standard. Comparing Hitler to Nasrallah is okay, but comparing Sharon to Hitler is not okay, even anti-Semitic. So why is a comparison of Nasrallah to Hitler not anti-Islamic?
Also, the mandate of Hezbollah14 does not, as Kay erroneously alleges, call for the “eradicat[ion of] Jews everywhere in the world.” It does, however, call for the destruction of Israel. “The Hezbollah Program” states: “Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people.” Israel has launched serial wars against Lebanon in recent decades. It was not until Israel invaded Lebanon and essentially destroyed it in 1982 that Hezbollah began to form. Hezbollah is a resistance movement. War involves destroying the other. When an entity tries to destroy you, then one logical response is to destroy whatever is trying to destroy you.
I certainly do not advocate the destruction of other humans. But one must rail against the one-sided stigmatization of people who are legitimately defending themselves from outside aggression.
With so many garbled facts, what credibility do the rest of Kay’s assertions have?
Kay presents herself as a defender of Jews from racism. Jews should be defended from racism. All peoples should be defended from racism. Racism is a scourge that should be obliterated. Yet, in essence, Kay exposes her own racism by ignoring or minimizing the terrible crimes perpetrated on Palestinians by Jews.
Kay and other apologists for Zionist crimes strive to entrench criticism of Zionist crimes as the “ultimate taboo” and to bludgeon the anti-racist critics with the label of anti-Semitism. But Zionism is not the equivalent of Judaism, as Neturei Karta evince.
Anti-Semitism is being wielded as a fallacious defense against racism. In fact, it is racism under the guise of anti-racism. In a moral world, seeking justice for Palestinians must not be conflated with anti-Semitism.
- Barbara Kay, “The college campus: Anti-Semitism’s last North American refuge,” National Post, 21 November 2007. [↩]
- “There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was a Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.” Quoted in Sunday Times interview, 15 June 1969.
Meir does not deny that there were indigenous people in the land; she denies that these “thing[s]” were “Palestinians.” Obviously, it is a silly and racist obfuscation. [↩]
- Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oneworld Publications, 2006). [↩] [↩] [↩]
- According to Adalah, a self-described “independent human rights organization” for Arabs in Palestine, funded by the New Israel Fund (check the BOD):
“Israel never sought to assimilate or integrate the Palestinian population, treating them as second-class citizens and excluding them from public life and the public sphere. The state practiced systematic and institutionalized discrimination in all areas, such as land dispossession and allocation, education, language, economics, culture, and political participation.” [↩]
- Nir Hasson, “Negev Bedouin protest home demolitions, crop destruction,” Haaretz, 15 February 2004. [↩]
- Editorial, “Who needs the JNF?” Haaretz, 23 September 2007. [↩]
- The term “ethnic cleansing” is arguably not the best term. See Kim Petersen, “Bleaching the Atrocities of Genocide: Linguistic Honesty is Better with a Clear Conscience,” Dissident Voice, 7 June 2007. [↩]
- Aaron Klein, “Poll: Israelis favor expelling Palestinians,” WorldNetDaily, 14 February 2005. [↩]
- Dossier on “SHARON, Ariel — Israel’s Former Prime Minister,” Electronic Intifada. [↩]
- Patrick Cockburn, “‘Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now,’” Independent (UK), 8 September 2006. [↩]
- People who label others as anti-Semites must also denounce brazen anti-Arabism. [↩]
- See an embarrassing exposure of Canadian police provocateurs attempting to infiltrate peaceful demonstrators: “Stop SPP Protest – Union Leader stops provocateurs” You Tube. [↩]
- Statement, “Hizbullah denies Argentina bomb… Independent investigators are skeptical of the accusation,” BBC, 11 November 2005. Available at Islamic Resistance: Lebanon. [↩]
- Read “The Hezbollah Program” version from a Zionist website, Zionism: Zionism and Israel Information Center. [↩]