By Rima Najjar
How deep is the historical illiteracy of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic Party and Donald Trump and his party?
It is so deep, they are even immune to déjà vu, also known as “cryptomnesia”, which is where history is forgotten but nevertheless stored in the brain.
Consider how AIPAC and the White House and State Department advisers influence every decision on Palestine. They use the very same techniques to brainwash American officials into believing their positions on the fate of Palestine are in the national interest that Harry Truman’s advisers used.
Today, the Jewish state of Israel fills in for the Jewish Agency then.
Today, advising trump on Palestine, you have Zionist Jews such as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who, as a director in his family’s foundation, funded an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, or long-time lawyer friend, Jason Greenblatt, who studied at a “West Bank yeshiva” (and many more vetted by The Times of Israel).
In Truman’s time, influences on the 33rd US president in this sphere came predominantly from two Jewish political advisers – David Niles, whose parents were from Russia, and Max (Mordechai) Lowenthal, whose Orthodox parents were from Lithuania.
Both were ardent Zionists who, along with Clark Clifford, who was not Jewish, but who, under their influence and for his own reasons, strenuously pushed Truman to embrace the Zionist cause.
The Palestinian historical disappearing act in the White House began then.
And they did it, history records, using the same shameless advocacy against Palestine we see today among Trumps’ advisers (Jewish nationalists and white nationalists alike).
Truman’s advisers fed him a steady diet of materials designed to influence his perceptions of Palestinian Arabs. This included building on stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims as backward, or as intolerant of Christians, or as not so committed to their cause of self-determination in their own homeland that they could not be bought. The result is that the Palestinian viewpoint disappeared in the White House behind a thick screen that has grown only thicker today.
Today we hear revelations about,
“how Israel’s ambassador Ron Dermer approached an unidentified member of the Obama team and warned that he knew Obama was orchestrating passage of the resolution (although in the end we [the U.S.] abstained in the vote). He warned that this left Israel with no recourse but to turn to the Trump team, which was in the midst of the presidential transition.”
Truman was familiar with such pressure techniques, though he failed to recognize them for what they were and took them for honest objective advice, unaware even that Clifford nudged the Jewish Agency’s representative in Washington to write a request to Truman (to recognize the Jewish state and ignore the dashed aspirations of Palestinian Arabs) – and even helped word the document!
Clifford’s astonishing involvement in both sides of an exchange between the Jewish Agency and the U.S. continues to characterize the relationship between U.S. high officials and Israel.
Dennis Ross (Jewish American diplomat and top Obama Middle East adviser, who was later described as “Israel’s lawyer”) made changes to the draft of President Clinton’s speech to the Palestinian National Council when the U.S. administration was pressuring Palestinians to “drop calls for Israel’s destruction” from its charter as the price for “peace” in Dec. 1998.
Ross changed the verb in “The Palestinians now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny on their own land …” to “shape”,
“because the word ‘determine’ went too close to the language of self-determination. … For now I was concerned [based on his exchanges with ‘Bibi’, as he describes in his book The Missing Peace] that we had the President almost embracing self-determination without even having the PNC issue settled.’” [p. 485]
All of this biased advice takes place under the veneer of “balance”.
Not unlike the meetings of Israeli officials with Facebook today, in 1948 David Niles met with two officials of the Jewish Agency in Palestine
“to discuss how to penetrate the policy making and [American] establishment and how best to neutralize opposition to the Zionist program coming from the State Department …. how to press the cause at highest levels as compatible with U.S. national interest … [and] bluntly show electoral danger of not supporting partition of Palestine.” [Kathleen Christison, Perceptions of Palestine, 1999, p. 71]
And there was the emotional blackmail, then as now. These advisers apparently “burst into tears whenever he [Truman] tried to talk to them about Palestine”, disconcerting the man. David Niles,
“was close enough to Truman that, during an early 1948 meeting in the oval office, he could, without endangering his job, threaten emotionally to resign unless Truman acted more emphatically in support of the Jewish cause and he was bold enough to advise Truman against the pending appointment to the U.S.-U.N. delegation of people he deemed “unsympathetic to the Jewish viewpoint” who might engender much ‘resentment’.” [Kathleen Christison, Perceptions of Palestine, 1999, p. 70]
What Trump is doing now is simply consolidating the final stage “in the evolutionary method of Zionist policy” in Palestine, as set by his advisers and influence peddlers.
The evolution of this policy is described in a long letter (written by Chaim Arlosoroff in 1932) addressed to Chaim Weizmann (an early Zionist born in Belarus) that appeared in the October 1948 Jewish Frontier under the title “Reflections on Zionist Policy”:
“… The next “stage” will be attained when the relationship of real forces will be such as to preclude any possibility of the establishment of an Arab state in Palestine, i.e., when the Jews will acquire such additional strength as will automatically block the road for Arab domination. This will be followed by another “stage” during which the Arabs will be unable to frustrate the constant growth of the Jewish community through … immigration, colonization and the maintenance of peace and order in the country…” [In From Haven to Conquest, Wailid Khalidi, ed. (1971), The Stages of Zionism and Minority Rule, p. 246]
Today, the mainstream American public, especially the younger generation, is finally beginning to see through “the trash that continues to pass for news and analysis” about the Jewish state in historic Palestine, which is the homeland of Palestinian Arabs of all religions, not of Jews worldwide. The Palestinian Nakba is the Jewish state.
Will the American public now be able to educate their historically illiterate elected officials?
-Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.