The following is an interview between a publisher and Alan Hart which should give you some insights on his outlook…
Alan, hundreds if not thousands of books have been written about what is loosely termed the Arab-Israeli conflict, why do you feel that yours will enable readers – many for the first time – to have real understanding of what it’s all about and how to stop what you’ve called the countdown to Armageddon?
The souvenirs I most treasure from my television reporting days are signed photographs of the two greatest opposites in all of human history – Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine. Arafat signed with his “best wishes”. Golda’s inscription in her own hand was to Alan Hart, “a good friend.” Because I am a goy (non-Jew), the old lady’s inscription meant, and still means, a great deal to me. I think I might be the only person on planet Earth to have enjoyed intimate access to both of them. What I think these photographs symbolise is my empathy with both sides: with the unspeakable but real fear of the Jews – that they could one day be the victims of another holocaust: and with the anger, humiliation and despair of the Palestinians (and most Arabs and Moslems everywhere) on account of the massive injustice that was done to them by Zionism and, today, U.S. support for Zionism’s child, Israel, right or wrong. The answer to your question is, I think, in my very real empathy with both sides.
But surely it takes more than empathy to stop an Armageddon?
Look – what a resolution of this conflict and permanent peace has always needed is some truth-telling…Truth-telling about, for example, how actually this conflict was triggered and what has sustained it and put peace beyond the reach of diplomacy. The fact is that throughout the Western (mainly Judeo-Christian) world, what passes for understanding of the conflict is constructed on Zionist mythology. The greatest of all of Zionism’s myths being that poor little Israel has lived in danger of annihilation. That simply is not true, but it has allowed Israel to get away with having its aggression perceived where it mattes most (in America and Western Europe) as self-defence. To date it has not been possible to tell the truth because the mainstream publishing world, like much of the mainstream media as a whole, has been frightened of offending Zionism. To offend Zionism is to invite, among other things, the charge of anti-Semitism and, because the slaughter of six million Jews was a Gentile not an Arab or Moslem crime, there is nothing Gentile publishers, writers, broadcasters, and politicians, fear more than being accused of anti-Semitism – even when the charge is politically motivated and false and amounts to blackmail to prevent informed and honest debate. I say the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, with global fall-out, is now so dangerous that the truth has got to be told. In recent years bits of it, the truth, have appeared in other books. What makes my book different from all others in substance is that it’s the first ever attempt at a comprehensive telling of the whole historical truth. I saw it as a project, ambitious in the extreme I know, that somebody had to take on; and I dared to presume that I was equipped to have a go because of my experience of the conflict over nearly 40 years and, above all, my empathy with both sides – the fear of one and the anger, humiliation and despair of the other.
Your book is different from most, if not all others, in more than substance. It’s a weighty tome in two volumes, but it’s written with great passion and in earthy, everyday language, which makes an epic but complicated story both very readable and accessible to all. This suggests you have a particular view of who you think your book should appeal to…?
I would not have devoted five years of my life to work on a book with only limited academic appeal. I have written a book that can and should be read by all concerned and caring citizens everywhere, including and especially those who would not normally even think of buying a book on the subject. The unresolved struggle for Palestine has the potential to take us all to hell. And that’s why I insist that every man, woman and child on planet Earth has a stake in what is happening in the Holy Land, and thus a right and a need to know the truth about the causes of this conflict and how to stop the countdown to Armageddon. And let me, please, add this. One of the few men of our time I greatly admire is an American – Robert McGovern. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and, on a daily basis, he briefed seven American Presidents from John F. Kennedy to George H.W. Bush. Ray is now associated with an organisation which seeks to advance the cause of “speaking truth to power”. I think there is also a great and urgent need to speak truth to the people. Which on Middle East matters is something our governments, particularly those in Washington and London, are not very good at, to say the very least… But my book is more than an epic story, which is thrilling, chilling, and ultimately inspirational, it has important messages for Gentiles and Jews.
So what is its main message for Gentiles?
First they must understand that there’s a profound difference between Jews and Judaism on the one hand, and Zionists and Zionism on the other. Because of the difference it is perfectly possible to be anti-Zionist – as, in fact, most Jews were prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust – without being anti-Semitic (anti all Jews everywhere) in any way, shape or form, and without being anti-Israel as a state for some Jews inside its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war. Zionism doesn’t want the Gentile world to be aware of the distinction between Judaism and Zionism because, if it was, Zionism would lose what I call its blackmail card – its ability to suppress informed and honest debate by asserting that all criticism of Israel’s behaviour, which is sometimes that of a terrorist state, is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.
You explain this very well in your book but why do you think it’s so important for Gentiles to have this understanding now?
Anti-Semitism is on the rise again. The irony, and the tragedy in-the-making, is that this sleeping giant has been re-awakened primarily by the Zionist state’s behaviour – Israel’s appalling self-righteousness, its arrogance of power and its contempt for international law, UN resolutions and the human and political rights of others.
You seem to be suggesting that Gentiles should not blame the Jews who live among them – the majority of Jews in the world – for what some Jews (those you describe in the book as “gut-Zionists”) are doing in Israel/Palestine?
I am not suggesting that, I am saying it explicitly. But there’s also a message in my book for the Jews of the world (diaspora Jews). It is that only they can call and hold Israel to account and, by so doing, prevent the monster of anti-Semitism from going on the rampage again and stop the countdown to Armageddon. How can they do that’? By making common cause with the rational half (more or less) of their co-religionists in Israel – for the purpose of de-Zionising Israel, by which I mean turning it from being a Zionist state into a Jewish state; a state in which the most powerful force would be the moral principles of Judaism. Such a state would be one capable of making peace on terms which the Palestinians (and actually most Arabs and Moslems everywhere) could accept.
Why do you say that only the Jews of the world can call and hold Israel to account?
The short answer, for reasons which are documented in detail and have their necessary global context in my book, is that nobody else can.
In theory America is the only power on Earth with the ability to call and hold Israel to account, by which I mean require Israel to live by the rules of accepted and. civilised international behaviour and honour its obligations to UN resolutions. The trouble with America, so to speak, is that what passes for democracy there is for sale to powerful vested interests, of which the Zionist lobby, now in shocking and awesome alliance with the neo-cons and Christian fundamentalism, is one of the most powerful. Probably second only to the Military Industrial Complex. One of the themes of my book is the pork-barrel nature of American politics as it relates to the Arab-Israeli conflict – the dependence of many of those running for election to Congress and the White House on Jewish campaign finance and, in close races, Jewish swing votes. As a consequence of pork-barrel politics in the U.S., plus today American imperialism as advanced by the neo-cons, it’s already too late for any American administration to hold Israel to account. Why? Because the settlement facts gut-Zionism has been allowed to create on the ground in occupied Palestine are irreversible, making catastrophe for all inevitable unless… Unless the Jews of the world become involved to cause Israel to change its ways.
You write with great sensitivity about what you call the ‘predicament’ of very many diaspora Jews. You describe the logic of their thinking, unspeakable by almost all Jews in public, as going something like this. “We Jews of the world know we ought to be speaking out and exerting our influence to cause Israel to change its policies. But we dare not. Why not? Because there might come a day when we will need Israel as a refuge of last resort. For that reason we cannot even think of saying or doing anything that might give comfort to Israel’s enemies and put our ultimate insurance policy at risk.” If that is how most diaspora Jews do actually think, do you really believe they will rise to the challenge in the way you suggest they must?
If I believed the answer to that question was definitely “No”, I would not have bothered to write this book. My minimum hope is that it will encourage diaspora Jews to seriously debate, among themselves if they insist, why they should exert their influence on Israel, to change it from a Zionist state into a Jewish state. But I am not naive. I know that most diaspora Jews will not even think of playing their necessary part in changing Israel unless and until they receive the maximum possible in the way of reassurance about their security in the mainly Gentile lands of which they are citizens. In other words, diaspora Jews have got to be given good reason to believe that they will never have need of Israel as a refuge of last resort. It follows that the Jews of the world can only do what they must do with the assistance of the Gentiles. What assistance?
In my Epilogue, The Jews as the Light Unto Nations, I call for a New Covenant, not between the Jews and their God, but between the Jews and the Gentiles. For their part of the deal the Jews of the world, citizens of many nations, would commit to making common cause with rational Israelis for the purpose of de-Zionising Israel. For their part the Gentiles among whom most Jews live would commit to slaying the monster of anti-Semitism. An undertaking to let it die in its sleep would not be enough. There would have to be evidence that a stake was being driven into the monster’s heart.
And you write of “the very great prize” that awaits the Jews if they play their part in causing Israel to change its policies.
I put it this way. If the Jews of the diaspora can summon up the will and the courage to make common cause with the forces of reason in Israel before it’s too late for us all, a very great prize awaits them. By demonstrating that right can triumph over might, and that there is a place for morality in politics, they would become the Light Unto Nations. It is a prize available to no other people because of the uniqueness of the suffering of the Jews. Perhaps that is the real point of the idea of the Jews as Chosen People… Chosen to endure unique suffering and, having endured it, to show the rest of us that creating a better and more just world is not a mission impossible. In that context, I say, Zionism is a Great Betrayal of all our hopes, not just those of the Jews.
You have deconstructed, demolished, Zionist mythology, but do I detect underneath it all some sympathy for Zionism, even for what you call gut-Zionism?
That’s very nearly a most perceptive question! I’ll respond in two ways.
I do not blame the Zionist lobby in America for exercising its awesome influence in a way that has contributed to the subversion of what passes for democracy. I blame America’s pork-barrel politicians including presidents. They always had a choice. I mean that they did not have to do the bidding of the Zionist lobby, especially when doing it was obviously not in America’s longer term and best interests. They chose to do Zionism’s bidding to serve their own short-term political interests and those of their parties. When pressed in private American politicians seek to excuse themselves by saying that it was, is, “political suicide” to oppose the Zionist lobby. For the few brave ones who did, it was; but that doesn’t change the fact that Congressmen and women, and presidents, always had a choice – doing Zionism’s bidding to protect their own interests and those of their parties or putting America’s best interests first.
It’s mainly because American politicians including presidents could not say “No” to Zionism at critical moments that the Middle East is in such a mess today, with terrifying and predictable consequences for all of us if a peaceful resolution of the Palestine problem – one that provides the Palestinians with an acceptable minimum of justice – remains beyond the reach of diplomacy.
You really do believe that a peaceful resolution of the Palestine problem is the key to averting a catastrophe for all?
Yes. In the Prologue to the book, which is titled Waiting for the Apocalypse, I make the point that if was possible for an American President to wave a magic wand and have Israel back behind its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war, with a Palestinian state in existence on the land from which Israel had withdrawn in accordance with the letter and spirit of Security Council Resolution 242 of the same year, and with Jerusalem the capital of Israel and Palestine, the U.S. would have, overnight (with one wave of the magic wand), the respect, support and friendship of not less than 95 percent of all Arabs and about the same percentage of Moslems everywhere. And that would create the environment in which Arab and other Moslem terrorism could be defeated by political means. (The idea that it can be defeated by military means is a form of madness, of the kind that prevails in the White House and Number Ten Downing Street. In my book I explain in a very few words – 147 to be precise – how terrorism can be defeated),
But let me return directly to your question about sympathy for Zionism… I don’t have any sympathy for it, but, I do understand why, because of the Jewish experience of persecution which climaxed with the genocide of the Nazi holocaust, Zionism felt compelled to lie in public to justify what had to be done to create the modern state of Israel and then to justify its behaviour. I am now in the deepest primordial water but, noting that what I am about to say has its complete context in my book, I’ll attempt to explain what I mean. If Zionism had been honest it would have made a public statement after the Nazi holocaust along something like the following lines.
Jews can never again trust Gentiles. We take it as a given that Jews will always be hated and that the monster of anti-Semitism will go on the rampage again. The Zionist state will exist to be the refuge of last resort for Jews everywhere and thus an insurance policy to guarantee the survival of the Jewish people. Zionism will do whatever if takes to secure and maintain this guarantee, and if what we do causes our state to be regarded as a pariah by the rest of the world, well, the rest of the world can go to hell!
That truth could not be told because telling it would have been to admit, even to proclaim, that Zionism had no time or need for, and was estranged from, the moral principles and teachings of Judaism. And that might very well have made it impossible for the majority of the world’s Jews to support Zionism in action after the birth of modern Israel, Zionism’s child. Unable to tell the truth, Zionism had to lie to justify Israel’s arrogance of power and to have Israeli aggression perceived in the Judeo-Christian world as self-defence. The lie being that Israel was in danger of annihilation. As I reveal in my book, it never was – except in Arab rhetoric, which made Zionism’s propaganda lie appear to be truth.
So while I don’t have any sympathy for Zionism because, in action, it’s a monster, as anti-Zionist Jews always feared it would be, I do understand, and invite readers to understand, where it comes from. In much the same way as I understand, and invite readers to understand, where the monster of violent Moslem fundamentalism comes from.
How will you respond to the accusation, if it’s made, that you and your book are anti-Semitic?
Nobody of sound mind could read my book and make such an accusation. This book is the opposite of anti-Semitic. Stripped down to its absolute essence, it’s the call of a concerned and caring goy, me, for the Jews to become the light unto nations, not least because the rest of us need them to be. If such an accusation is made, it will be politically motivated, malicious and for the purpose of smearing author and book, in the expectation that people will prove that they are not anti-Semitic by not buying the book. The very last thing that anybody who accuses me of anti-Semitism will want is informed and honest debate of the kind the book was written to make possible.
And I don’t mind anybody knowing what I’ll do if I am accused of anti-Semitism. I’ll demand a retraction with an apology. And if I do not receive satisfaction on that account, I will sue. (There is available with the Press Release a feature article I have written, THE MONSTER OF ANTI-SEMITISM – HOW TO DESTROY IT. In advance of the book itself, it highlights the difference between Judaism and Zionism and therefore why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic; and without being anti-Israel as a state for some Jews inside its borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war, with Jerusalem an open City and the capital of two states, Israel and Palestine).
In the Prologue you say you are aware that “much of this book could cause pain and possibly distress to very many Jews.”
It could not be otherwise because I am asking diaspora Jews, and the rational half (more or less) of Israeli Jews, to consider the proposition that almost everything they have been conditioned to believe about what has kept the conflict going is part and parcel of one big Zionist propaganda lie – a lie effectively endorsed by the political establishments of the Judeo-Christian world and, more by default than design, by the mainstream media. Even more troubling for mainstream Jewish readers (i.e. not those who’ve always been opposed to Zionism and even the existence of a state for Jews) is that, through the words of some very courageous Jews, the book is asking them to recognise that their silence on the matter of Israel’s behaviour is, effectively, “complicity” in Zionism’s crimes and its preference for land without peace; and that they are standing idly by while Zionism demolishes the moral foundations of Judaism.
When I put the complicity point to a Jewish Englishman who is a member of group which is committed to a genuine two-state solution based on an acceptable minimum of justice for the Palestinians, he said to me: “In principle the complicity point is a fair one, but Jews can’t actually be complicit if they are unaware that Zionism’s version of history is a propaganda lie.” I replied: “That, too, is a fair point. But they will be complicit if, knowing the truth, they remain silent.”
But also in the Prologue I tell all readers that I do, in fact, work my way to an uplifting conclusion, one that should be a source of comfort, hope and inspiration for Jewish readers especially. This is my way of signalling my belief, set down in the Epilogue, that the Jews are still uniquely placed to be the Light Unto Nations.
Is there comfort for Arabs in your book?
It depends on which Arabs we are talking about. With few if any exceptions, the regimes and ruling elites of the existing Arab Order – corrupt, repressive and crumbling – will have the same feelings for my book as Zionists. They will hate it and, probably, will seek to suppress it and discussion and debate about its content. (If they do, they will be making common cause with Zionism!) Why? Because the book tells all of the knowable and uncomfortable truth, not just selected bits of it. And a part of the complete and comprehensive truth confirms the view the Arab masses have of their regimes – that, mainly because of their divisions, they are impotent and are doing, more by default than design, and in order to survive a little longer, the bidding of America-and-Zionism. As I say in the book, the main difference between Zionism’s leaders and the regimes of the existing Arab order is that the former always knew how to play the cards they had been dealt, the latter (with the main exception of Saudi Arabia’s King Feisal) never did. And still don’t.
But for “the Arabs” generally speaking, there is, or so I have been told, great comfort in my book. One explanation of why was given to me by the first Arab to read my manuscript. This man, long resident in the UK as a British citizen, said to me, “With this book you have returned to us Arabs our history.” He meant and went on to say that for Arabs living in the Judeo-Christian world, and because Zionism had succeeded in getting its version of history accepted as truth by the mainstream media of this world, Arab history, effectively, had been hi-jacked by Zionism. And real history for the Arab masses had been suppressed by their regimes. This man also said: “Your book will make all Arabs who read it feel better. I mean that they will be comforted by the knowledge that there is at last an outsider, you, who understands the cause of their anger, humiliation and despair and who can communicate why they feel as they do to the outside world.”
Given that your book is about the longest running conflict in all of human history and comes to grips with all aspects of it, regional and global, why did you choose ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS for the title – a title that could suggest your book is much more narrowly focused than it actually is?
As the jacket text says, the title reflects, in seven words, two terrifying truths of our time. The first is that anti-Semitism is on the rise again. The second is that a prime cause of the re-awakening of this sleeping giant is the behaviour of Zionism’s child, Israel. I also saw this particular title as a way of making by obvious implication a dramatic and important statement. Generally speaking, the Judeo-Christian world has been conditioned by Zionism to believe that the enemy of “the Jews” is “the Arabs”. That has never, ever, been the case. Almost all Arabs have always been aware that the Zionism they hate is not synonymous with “the Jews.” In that context I wanted a way of saying to potential readers – “You may think that the Arabs are the real enemy of the Jews but, actually, they are not. Zionism is.”
Are you concerned that the very length of your book – 1,200 pages in two volumes – will put off some and perhaps many potential readers, especially those you are most keen to reach out to – those you describe as so-called ordinary folk who would not normally even think of buying a book on the subject?
Not too much because I don’t share the view of mainstream publishing that so-called ordinary folk cannot be engaged in any serious way about issues that really matter. I think, have always thought, that most people of most nations are not nearly as indifferent to the great issues of our time as they are assumed to be by our politicians and our mainstream media and publishers. What must people are, I think, is shockingly under-informed. The difference between today and yesterday is that citizens are becoming aware of how much better informed they could be. And actually would be if the mainstream media was not hell bent on dumbing down.
And I subscribe to Noam Chomsky’s view. He said that 9/11 had made only half the people of America mad (meaning insane), and that the other half were asking – Why, really, did it happen? I think it’s not unreasonable to assume that, after 7/7, a lot of British people are asking the same question. My book will assist them to answer it for themselves..
I could also adapt the line that comedians are fond of – it’s not the jokes that are so funny, “it’s the way I tell ‘em.” I was never less than completely aware that if I was to succeed in reaching out to so-called ordinary folk, the way I told the story would be as important as the story itself. And that’s why my epic book is written more in the style of a novel than a conventional historical work, and in everyday, earthy, conversational language. I write, for example, “If effect Ben-Gurion was telling President Eisenhower to get stuffed.” And from the feedback I am getting from so-called ordinary folk who have read or are reading an advance copy of the book, this approach seems to be going down well. People who would not normally even think of reading an apparently heavyweight book on the subject are telling me that it’s very easy to read and a “page-turner.” One of my test readers, a gentleman in his sixties, even said the book had made reading a pleasure for the first time in many years.
Alan, you are British, your book begins its public life here in Britain, I have to ask you, what’s your take on Prime Minister Blair?
I describe him in the book as being “as self-righteous as any Zionist”.
For associating himself with an unnecessary, illegal and counter-productive invasion of Iraq – a war for which the prime pushers were Zionists in association with America’s neo-cons – I think it is highly likely that Mr. Blair will go down in history as the most dangerously deluded of all British prime ministers. On the British 0 to 10 scale of stupidity in relation to the Middle East, I’d put Eden at 10 and Blair at 11.
I also think that, post 7/7, Mr. Blair was being devilishly disingenuous when he asserted that the bombings were a manifestation of a problem that is religious in origin. It is certainly true that violent Moslem fundamentalists are using and abusing Islam every bit as much as gut-Zionists have used and abused Judaism, but the roots of the problem are political not religious, with the deepest root of all being the unresolved problem of Palestine. Mr. Blair can’t admit that the best and most effective way to deal with Moslem terrorism is by addressing the unresolved political problems which energise and sustain it because he knows that, as things are, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of a political solution to the problem of Palestine.
You’ve written your book to make possible “the first ever informed and honest debate about who must do what and why if there’s to be a peaceful resolution of the Palestine problem.” Why do you think the debate for which you call is now so urgent and your book so timely?
My overall view is that unless debate can be refocused – to enable debate to take place on something other than Zionism’s terms – diplomacy is going nowhere because it has nowhere to go. This because Sharon’s decision to withdraw from Gaza was not for peace, but to defuse the demographic time-bomb of occupation, and to consolidate the Zionist state’s hold on about 58 percent of the West Bank and, effectively, control of about 82 percent of it. This is a recipe for catastrophe – for us all, and which, no doubt, will encourage the unleashing of the twin monsters of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I wrote my book to assist the destruction of both.