On Wednesday 11 April, at SOAS’s Brunei Gallery in London, I made a joint presentation with Professor Ilan Pappe, Israel’s leading and most influential “New” or “Revisionist” historian. His latest book is The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. The following is the text of my presentation:
I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that Professor Ilan Pappe and Professor Avi Shlaim are universally recognised by those interested in the truth of history as the two leading and most influential “New” or “Revisionist” Jewish historians of our time. Revisionist in this context means honest. I can’t thank Ilan enough for making the time to be with us this evening. Avi would have been with us from Oxford if he had not had an engagement of his own tonight.
When I invited Avi, I e-mailed him the text of the Preface to Volume Two of my book. In his reply he said it was “very good”. I took that to mean – I’m sure Avi won’t mind me saying so in public – that he was endorsing the core messages of the Preface. One of them is my answer to the question – Why, really, is the media so frightened of coming to grips with the truth of history? Before I give you my answer, I think I ought to summarise what that truth is. Telling all of it with global context in my latest book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, required two volumes; but I can sum it up in two minutes or thereabouts:
* In the shadow of the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust (a European not an Arab crime) the creation of the Zionist state Israel required the doing of a terrible injustice to the Arabs of Palestine, about three quarters of whom were dispossessed of their land and their rights by, mainly, Zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing…. (The full and unexpurgated story of the planning and execution of that Zionist crime is the subject of Ilan’s latest book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine).
* Since its unilateral declaration of statehood in 1948, Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab military force or, to put it another way, the prospect of Israeli Jews being “driven in the sea” was never a real one….. Zionism’s assertion to the contrary – the myth upon which the first draft of Judeo-Christian history is constructed – was the cover which allowed Israel to get away where it mattered most, Western Europe and North America, with presenting its aggression as self-defence; and itself as the victim when, actually, it was and is the oppressor.
When we get into discussion, some and perhaps many of you might want to challenge my statement that Israel’s declaration of existence was “unilateral”. The essence of the truth is that the Partition Plan resolution of the UN General Assembly was only a proposal. It did not go to the Security Council for a policy decision because President Truman knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force – because of the totality of Arab and other Muslim opposition to it; and he was not prepared to use force. (No doubt Bush and Blair would have!). So the Partition Plan proposal was vitiated, became invalid. And the question of what the hell to do about Palestine was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the US was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what do that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence – actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community, including the Truman administration.
* The truth of the time was that the Zionist state had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist unless ….. Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during its creation. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved. And that legitimacy was the only thing the Zionists could not take from the Palestinians by force.
* As the record of de-classified documentation shows (thanks mainly to Avi Shlaim’s original research for his truth-telling book, The Iron Wall), it was Israel not the Arabs which spurned opportunity after opportunity to make peace – the latest of them being the re-presentation of Saudi Arabia’s initiative. Israel’s often repeated claim that it had “no partner for peace”, and the assertion that it has lived in danger of annihilation, are the main planks of one of the
biggest and most successful propaganda lies in all of human history. Chutzpah, one might say, at its most brilliant and terrifying best.
* The man who did most to make peace possible on terms which any rational Israeli government and people would have accepted with relief was Yasser Arafat, which was why, from Zionism’s perspective, he had to be demonised and destroyed.
* The colonial enterprise that Zionism is has CORRUPTED everything it touched, beginning with the United Nations and including the media and Judaism. (That’s not an original Alan Hart comment. It was made to me in private conversation by a long-serving and very, very senior UN official who was respected by all governments, including those of Israel).
Here endeth my short summary of the truth of history. Why is it important that the citizens of nations be informed of it? My short answer is this. Our governments, the one in Washington DC especially, are never, ever going to use the leverage they have to call and hold Zionism to account unless and until they are pushed to do so by informed public opinion. THE problem throughout the Western world, and America especially, is that the citizens of nations, generally speaking, are too uninformed to do the pushing – because they’ve been conditioned by the media to accept a version of history which is simply not true.
And that’s why I devoted more than five years of my life to researching and writingZionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. It’s a complete re-writing of the entire history of the conflict, replacing Zionist mythology with the documented facts and truth of history; and I’ve given events in the Middle East global context to show how all the pieces of the most complicated jig-saw puzzle fit together. My purpose is to empower the citizens of nations to become engaged in informed and honest debate – to DO the pushing to make democracy work for justice and peace. Before it’s too late for us all.
So why, really, is the media frightened of coming to grips with the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the Arab-Israeli conflict?
If I may, I’ll answer by reading a paragraph from the Preface to Volume Two of my book:
“On public speaking platforms to date I have given two answers. One is that editors who are hostages to commercial pressures fear that if they offended Zionism too much, they would be punished by the withdrawal of advertising, which in terms of lost revenue would be catastrophic for many if not all newspapers. The other (and this applies to the media in general, excluding only those who peddle Zionism’s line) is that they don’t want the hassle of being accused of anti-Semitism. The false charge of anti-Semitism is the blackmail card which the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust enables Zionism to play to silence criticism of its self-righteous and aggressive child, Israel, and to suppress informed and honest debate about who must do what and why if the countdown to catastrophe for all is to be stopped.
The bottom-line point is that rather than risk offending Zionism too much, the media CENSORS ITSELF. (Not quite always in the case of The Guardian- the newspaper Zionists most love to hate, and the Independent.But more often than not. And nobody does it better, self-censorship, than the BBC for domestic output. Its World radio Service is magnificent).
I go on to say that, in my view, there’s a third reason for the complicity of many if not all publishers, editors and politicians in the suppression of the truth of history. It is the unspeakable belief that the truth about the nature and behaviour of the Zionist state of Israel could provoke Holocaust II, shorthand for another great turning against Jews everywhere. … Now, if I may, another little reading from my Preface:
“I am driven by a totally opposite belief – that the only way to stop the monster of anti-Semitism going on the rampage again in a foreseeable future if Zionism continues to have its way, is by telling the truth of history, to show, among other things, why it is wrong to blame all Jews for what a minority have done and are doing, in the name of Zionism, in Palestine that became Israel. I have no doubt that publishers, editors and politicians who are complicit in the suppression of the truth of history honestly believe that they are serving the best interests of the Jews (as well as their own short-term vested interests). But to them all I say: You are wrong. Dangerously wrong. By refusing to come to grips with the truth of history and, in particular, the difference between Zionism and Judaism, and why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, you are helping to set up all Jews to be blamed for the crimes of the relative few.”
THE KEY to understanding is knowledge of the difference between Zionism and Judaism.
Zionism asserts that they are one and the same in order to make the charge, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by insinuation, that all criticism of
Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.
The truth is not only that Zionism and Judaism are total opposites, but that the return of Jews to the land of biblical Israel by the efforts of man was PROSCRIBED by Judaism…. After my wife, my second best friend in the world is my very kosher Jewish accountant. Until this Gentile told him, he didn’t know that Zionism was proscribed by Judaism. I wonder how many other Jews don’t know.
I also wonder how many Jews, and Gentiles, are aware of the following….. Many if not most of the Jews who went to Palestine in answer to Zionism’s call had no biological connection to the ancient Hebrews. The incoming Zionist Jews were mainly foreign nationals of many lands, descended from those who became Jewish by conversion to Judaism centuries after the fall of the ancient Jewish kingdom of Israel and what is called the “dispersal” into “oblivion” of its people. The notion that there are two entire peoples with an equally valid claim to the same land is an historical nonsense. The relatively few Jews with a valid claim were, are, the descendants of those who stayed IN Palestine through everything. They numbered only a few thousand at the time of Zionism’s birth; they regarded themselves as Palestinians; and they were fiercely opposed to Zionism’s colonial enterprise – because they rightly feared that it would make them as well as the incoming, alien Zionist Jews enemies of the Arabs among whom they had lived in peace and security.
JUDAISM is the religion of Jews and, rather like Christianity and Islam, it has at its core a set of ethnical principles and moral values.
ZIONISM is not only a secular, colonialist ideology, it makes a mockery of, and has contempt for, the ethical principles and moral values of Judaism. Which is why those most often described as “ultra orthodox” religious Jews say, and I believe they are right, that Zionism is destroying Judaism.
* For those of you who might wish to have a much deeper understanding of the difference between Zionism and Judaism, I recommend a recently published book – A Threat From Within, A CENTURY OF JEWISH OPPOSITION TO ZIONISM. Its author is a Canadian Jew, Yakov Rabkin, who is Professor of History at the University of Montreal….. When Yakov was here in London, I asked him a very explicit question: “Is it reasonable to say that the Jews of the world now have a choice to make – either to reaffirm their commitment to Judaism and renounce Zionism, or to reaffirm their commitment to Zionism and renounce Judaism?” He replied with one word, “YES!”
(That conversation is a matter of record and can be found on the DVD with the title Hart of the Matter, Why Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism.It is, mainly, the recording of a presentation and debate here in this chamber last year. The platform party was yours truly with Ilan, Dr. Hajo Meyer, a holocaust survivor, Rabbi Ahron Cohen and, for a Palestinian perspective, Dr. Ghada Kharmi).
To sum up so far… When you know the difference between Zionism and Judaism, you do NOT have to be frightened about being falsely charged with anti-Semitism for criticising the Zionist state of Israel. It really is very important for citizens of goodwill everywhere to know this because, right now, Zionism’s heavyweight spin doctors are trying to get governments to accept a new definition of anti-Semitism which, effectively, will make criticism of Zionism’s colonial enterprise illegal. That’s outrageous. It’s also a sign of how desperate Zionism is becoming as Ilan and I and others (including Avi Shlaim) make progress in replacing its lies of history with the truth. When you know your story cannot be subjected to informed and honest debate, you seek to prevent it, informed and honest debate, happening. That is, and always has been, Zionism’s game. (In verbal parenthesis I’ll add that it might well be that Western governments WILL do Zionism’s bidding on the matter of a new definition of anti-Semitism. If they do, those of us who care about the truth of history will have to tell our governments, as well as Zionism, to go to hell!)
Now to the question – Is peace possible?
Let’s first of all take a look at the peace that was made possible by Yasser Arafat’s success, as far back as 1979, in persuading the decision-making institutions on the Palestinian side to back his policy of politics and compromise with Israel; a policy which, if Zionism had been interested, could have led to a genuine two-state solution – Israel inside its borders as they were on the even of the 1967 war (in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242), and Palestinian mini-state on the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem, preferably as an open city, the capital of both states.
To give you some insight into why today I believe that the idea of a genuine two-state solution is already dead if not yet buried, I’m now going to tell you the short version of a true story from Volume Two of my book.
he end of 1979, after Arafat had committed himself and his people to unthinkable compromise with Israel, I found myself sucked into the secret diplomacy of conflict resolution at leadership level.
President Carter had always known that there could not be a peace process worthy of the name without the involvement of the PLO. At the end of 1979 he was in receipt of a secret letter Arafat had sent to the Security Council. In it Arafat pledged that he was ready to do business on the basis of Resolution 242, which meant that the PLO was prepared to recognise and legitimise Israel inside its pre-1967 borders. Everybody who saw that letter was of the opinion that it represented “the biggest potential breakthrough since the Zionist fait accompliof 1948/49″.
It was enough for Carter to try to bring the PLO into the peace process, but he was stopped from doing so by Prime Minister Begin and the Zionist lobby. The view thereafter in the Carter White House, and on the top floor of UN Headquarters in New York, was that institutional diplomacy could not solve the Palestine problem because of the inability of any American president to overcome Zionism’s veto.
Because it was widely known that, on the human level, I enjoyed excellent personal relationships with leaders on both sides of the conflict – with, for example, Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine, it was put to me that I should try my hand at some unofficial secret diplomacy.
Israel at the time was 18 months or so away from its next election. Almost the whole world, and President Carter especially, was hoping that Begin would not win a second term as prime minister. My mission was to open and maintain a secret channel of communication between Shimon Peres and Arafat. (Peres wasthen the leader of Israel’s main opposition Labour Party and widely expected to be Israel’s next prime minister). The idea was that if I could get the two of them into an exploratory dialogue, initially with me as the linkman, we could prepare the ground for a public breakthrough when Peres became prime minister.
As it happened, my initiative was funded by Marcus Sieff, the Chairman of Marks and Spencer, with the approval of Lord Victor Rothschild.
When Peres gave me his green light, he said that if word of the initiative leaked, he would be destroyed politically. So he was, he said, putting his political future into my hands. Arafat said that he was putting his life in my hands. His exacts words were: “If what we are doing leaks before I have something concrete to show for my good faith, I will be assassinated.” …. Despite that I took the risk of keeping King Hussein and President Sadat informed. I knew I could trust Hussein, I had to gamble on trusting Sadat.
Now to the point of the story. In our very first private conversation before I went off to Beirut to engage Arafat, Peres said he feared it was already “too late”. He meant too late for peace on any terms Arafat could accept. When I asked Peres why, he said the following:
“Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s creating the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot large numbers of Jews.” In order, Peres meant and did not have to say, to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. After a long pause, Peres added, “I’m not.”
Ladies and gentlemen (and one dear Lord), if it was “too late” in 1980 when there were only about 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank, how much more too late is it today when there are about half a million; and with that number growing on a daily basis, thanks in part to the assistance now being provided for illegal new settlement by American Christian fundamentalists…?
Some Israeli commentators downplay the prospect of a civil war on the grounds that if ever there was a real push for real peace, many Jewish settlers would let their deluded minds be guided by their pockets, and would move out of the illegal settlements – agree to be relocated – in return for very generous compensation. I think perhaps half of them might, but the rest, cheered on by their Christian fundamentalist allies, praising the lord and passing the ammunition, would fight…. I remain more or less convinced that what Peres said to me would be the case. So I am strongly inclined to the view that no Israeli government will risk provoking a Jewish civil war to end the occupation of all of the West Bank, in order to satisfy the demand and need of the Palestinians for an acceptable minimum amount of justice.
There isn’t time this evening for me to tell another true story from Volume Two of my book. It’s a blood chilling account of what Ezer Weizman told me in private when he was Israel’s Minister of Defence in Begin’s government. It’s about an oath that was signed in blood by senior military men. In the event of any Israeli government deciding to withdraw from all of the West Bank, the oath committed them to make common cause with the settlers and fight that government “to the death”. (This story can be found in Chapter 35 which is titled The Blood Oath).
In passing I’ll add there is no mystery about Hamas’s real position. If tomorrow Israel said and meant that it was ready to negotiate a full and final peace on the basis of a genuine two-state solution, Hamas’s leaders would say, “Let’s do the business”. And they would say that and mean it because they are not stupid. They know they would have no choice because a genuine two-state solution is still what the vast majority of Palestinians are prepared to settle for. (But for how much longer is a good question).
In passing I’ll also say that the issue of the Palestinian right of return is NOT the obstacle to peace Zionism asserts it to be. In good faith negotiations for a full and final peace based on a genuine two-state solution, Israel would discover that Palestinian pragmatism could and would be applied even to the right of return…. As Arafat and his senior leadership colleagues told me many years ago (and as I have quoted them as saying in Volume Two of my book), the right of return would have to be confined to the Palestinian mini-state; which would mean that probably not more than 100,000 Palestinians would be able to exercise their right to return. The rest would have to settle for financial compensation.
In reality the Palestinian right of return would be a perfectly manageable issue if Zionism was interested in good faith negotiations for a genuine two-state solution. The truth is that it’s not. And that’s also the opinion of Gideon Levy, the conscience of Israeli journalism. The headline over his article in Ha-aretzlast Sunday was ISRAEL DOESN’T WANT PEACE.
In my analysis Zionism’s own end-game strategy for a solution to the Palestine problem now leaves nothing to the imagination.
Zionism’s leaders still believe that by means of brute force and reducing the Palestinians to abject poverty, they can break the will of the Palestinians to continue the struggle for their rights…. The assumption being that, at a point, and out of total despair, the Palestinians will be prepared to accept crumbs from Zionism’s table in the shape of two or three bantustans, or, better still, will abandon their homeland and seek a new life in other countries.
In my view the conviction that Zionism will one day succeed in breaking the Palestinian will to continue the struggle for an acceptable minimum of justice is the product of minds which are deluded to the point of clinical madness.
The question that’s almost too awful to think about is something like this: What will the Zionists do when it becomes apparent EVEN TO THEM that the Palestinians will not give up their struggle for an acceptable minimum of justice?
My guess is that they, the Zionists, will create a pretext to go for a final round of ethnic cleansing – to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan and beyond. That, I fear, will be Zionism’s FINAL SOLUTION to the Palestine problem…… If that happens, the West Bank will be turned red with blood, mostly Palestinian blood. And honest reporters will describe it as a Zionist holocaust.
But that does NOT have to be the end of the story of Palestine. There still could be a new beginning.
Many years ago, in the Introduction to my first book, Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?I said that, generally speaking, the Jews are the intellectual elite of the Western civilisation and the Palestinians the intellectual elite of the Arab world. What those two peoples could do together in peace and partnership was, I suggested, the stuff that real dreams are made of. They could play a major role in changing and developing the region for the better and, by so doing, give much needed hope and inspiration to the whole world… I still believe that dream can be made to come true, BUT ONLY IF…..
I’m now back to where I started, and to bring my prepared remarks to a conclusion, I’ll put some flesh on the bones of “only if”.
In my assessment, peace is possible only if there can be agreement on the creation of ONE STATE FOR ALL – a secular, democratic state in which Jews and Arabs could live together in full and complete equality. In other words, I think peace requires nothing less than the de-colonisation of Palestine. De-colonisation is, of course, a euphemism. What I really mean is the de-Zionisation of Palestine.
Will it ever happen? Zionism’s answer is “No! Never!” And that’s because Zionism sees everything in terms of “them or us”. The Zionis
t mind cannot conceive a “them and us” scenario.
So I think the most important question is something like this… Is there any power on earth that could call the nuclear armed Zionist state of Israel to account?
Because of Israel’s dependence on the U.S. there is a widely held view that an American president (any American president) has the leverage to do so. In this scenario an American president recognises, better late than never, that the Zionist state of Israel is more of a liability than an asset…. I do not myself believe it’s as simple as that.
In my ITN reporting days, I asked General Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed warlord and master of deception, why, really, Israel had a nuclear bomb. (This story is also in Volume Two of my book). I said to him in private conversation: “We both know you don’t need it vis-à-visthe Arabs.” The following was his reply. “Ben-Gurion was not stupid and I’m not stupid. We know how international politics works. We take it as read that a day could come when even our best friends will say to us, ‘Thank you very much, Israel. You’ve served our purpose. Now you must do this.”
The clear and obvious implication was that if ever a day came when Israel was really pressed to do what it did not want to do, it would respond by saying: “Don’t push us further than we are prepared to go because we have the capability to destroy the region.”
As those of you who’ve read Volume One of my book know, I quote from a conversation I had with Golda Meir when she was prime minister and I was reporting for Panorama. At a point I said to her: “Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you’re saying… You are saying that if ever Israel was in danger of being defeated on the battlefield, it would be prepared to take the region and even the whole world down with it?” Without the shortest of pauses for reflection, and in the gravel voice that could charm of intimidate American presidents according to need, she replied: “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying!” In a lead editorial, The Timesof London quoted what Golda had said to me and added its opinion – “We had better believe her.” I did and do.
In my opinion there is a political reality to be faced. It is that no American president will even think of confronting Zionism unless he (or she) knows that he would be doing so with the understanding and support of a majority of Jewish Americans.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where I believe the key to peace is – IN THE HANDS OF JEWISH AMERICANS. Only they, I believe, with the assistance of the non-Israeli Jews of the world, have the influence needed to give politics for peace their very last chance, be it the peace of a one or two-state solution.
I also believe that the Jews of the world have a powerful self-interest in using their influence. And that self-interest is explained by the title of my book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.
I insisted on that title because it reflects in seven words two related truths for our time. The first is that the sleeping giant of classical anti-Semitism has been re-awakened. The second is that a prime cause of the re-awakening is the Zionist state’s behaviour… behaviour which, in my view, qualifies it to be described, at least sometimes, as a terrorist state.
But I also have to say that I empathise completely with the unspeakable but real fear of very many if not all the Jews of the world. It is fear of Holocaust II, another great turning against Jews….. It’s my view, which I know is shared in private by others, that if the monster of anti-Semitism does go on the rampage again, it could start its journey in America. And that’s why, when I speak there, I’ll be saying the following to Americans:
- DON’T blame the Jews who live among you for Zionism’s crimes.
- DON’T even blame the Zionist lobby for buying influence on American foreign policy because it, the lobby, has only played the game according to the rules.
- DO blame your corrupt, pork-barrel system of politics which puts what passes for democracy up for sale to the highest bidders.
It’s because of their unspeakable fear of the future that very many Jews, if only sub-consciously, have a vision of Israel as their refuge of last resort. And that’s a main reason (not the only reason) why, to date, most of the Jews of the world have remained silent on the matter of the Zionist state’s behaviour. They are frightened of saying or doing anything that could compromise their insurance policy.
It follows, or so it seems to the Gentile me, that it’s unreasonable to expect the Jews of the world in substantial numbers to play their necessary part in calling Zionism to account unless and until they receive the maximum possible in the way of reassurance about their wellbeing and security in the many lands of the mainly Gentile world of which they are citizens. Put another way, they have to be convinced that they don’t have need of the Zionist state of Israel as an insurance policy. And that’s why I call in my book for a NEW COVENANT, not between the Jews and their God, but between the Jews and the Gentiles.
As a verbal footnote, I’ll add this. Arabs and other Muslims have always known the difference between Judaism and Zionism. And it can be said that throughout much of their history, Arabs and other Muslims were the best protectors of Jews. It was Zionism’s colonial enterprise that poisoned the relationship, but not to the point at which most Arabs and other Muslims blame all Jews for Zionism’s crimes.
I want to conclude with the last words of my book. They have pride of place on the back jacket of Volume Two. But first I must give you a health warning – I mean a warning about my health, not yours! Seven years ago I had a stroke. I lost my speech and was paralysed on my left side. Fortunately I had a superb consultant who told me that I’d got three weeks to drive the neurons in my brain to make a reconnection. So far as I am aware, the only permanent damage is to the transmission nerves in the left side of my face. When I am moved they sometimes can’t handle my emotions; and when they can’t, my face contorts a bit and my tears flow. I hope that won’t happen as I read the end paragraph of my book, but if it does, you’ll understand.
“If the Jews of the world can summon up the will and the courage to make common cause with the forces of reason in Israel before it is 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 on earth because of the uniqueness of the suffering of the Jewish people. 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.”