By William A. Cook
“Now that the mission of the Wandering Jew is completed, he must discard his knapsack and cease to be an accomplice in his own destruction. If not for his own sake, then for that of his children and his children’s children.” — (Arthur Koestler, Epilogue, p. 335, Promise and Fulfillment, 1949)
Koestler’s image of the Jew bearing his or her knapsack comes from Dr. Weizmann’s comments to the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry (1946): “… I believe the only fundamental cause of anti-Semitism … is that the Jew exists. We seem to carry anti-Semitism in our knapsacks wherever we go. …” (333). Koestler’s fulfillment of a promise speaks most eloquently and most unnervedly to the Jew of the Diaspora, “The existence of the Hebrew State – that is, a State whose language and culture are Hebrew, not Yiddish, Polish or American – puts every Jew outside Israel before a dilemma which will become increasingly acute. It is the choice between becoming a citizen of the Hebrew nation and renouncing any conscious or implicit claim to separate nationhood.”
The sacred days of Passover this year follow the 60th anniversary celebration of the birth of the Jewish nation in Palestine, and, as in all prior years, the Passover meal which commemorates the Exodus ends with the prayerful wish “To next year in Jerusalem.” For Koestler that is an empty prayer now that Israel exists. “In future, Jews can no longer refer to themselves with the ritual stock phrase of living in the Diaspora, or in exile – unless they mean a self-imposed exile which has nothing to do with religion or tradition.” (332). That self-imposed exile becomes even more unnerving when the actions of the Jewish State, most especially today in its wanton destruction of Lebanon in the fall of 2006 and in its current unrelenting siege of the defenseless people of Gaza, give rise to renewed anti-Semitism around the world.
After sixty years, we celebrate not the rebirth of Judaism in Palestine but the aborted triumph of an amoral Nation that, in its Zionist arrogance, from its conception through its infancy to the present day defies not just the secular codes of International conduct agreed upon by the member states of the United Nations but the very principles, morals and values of Judaism. That is the conundrum the Diaspora Jew must face: to embrace those who rule in Israel by imposing on Jews everywhere defiance of International Law – illegal and inhumane acts of collective punishment, eradication through extrajudicial executions of the principles of a state founded on equality before the law, occupation and theft of another people’s land and natural resources, the imposition of daily humiliation of an oppressed people by economic deprivation, harassment, and visible identification based on Arab lineage as Palestinians, acceptance of torture that in effect denies the humanity of its victims, forced imprisonment without charge or due rights, approval of and complicity in a slow but insidious genocide of the Palestinian people by imprisonment behind an inhumane, illegal Wall, and constant military attacks of a disproportionate kind against a virtually defenseless people – or to embrace the moral fiber that nourished the Jews century after century sustaining their humanity as they came selflessly to the aid of others faced with discrimination and racism that often resulted in death for those they protected and themselves.
Let’s be blunt: the anniversary of the Day of Independence in Israel is a day of death not of birth. Any state conceived in terror, nourished with the blood of massacred civilians in the Nakba, and delivered of a land made empty and barren by forced expulsion of its inhabitants is not and cannot be a child born to the community of nations that seeks the rights, the respect and integrity of all its brothers and sisters. It is rather a deformity, an abnormality, in the words of Jeremiah, “Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth!” (15:10)
How conceived in terror? “When the Zionist movement started its ethnic cleansing operations in Palestine, in early December 1947 …”; so begins Chapter 3 of Dr. Ilan Pappe’s book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, 2006, only to offer a passage from “Plan D” of that movement’s operations in Chapter 4.
“These operations can be carried out in the following manner: either by destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their debris) and especially of those population centers which are difficult to control continuously; or by mounting combing and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state.” (Plan Dalet, 10 March, 1948)
From the very beginning, the Zionist movement that effectively controlled by forceful means the total Jewish community of over half a million in 1948 regardless of their desires, had determined that the UN partition plan was moot; the Jewish state had no borders other than what it could take by force. (Mss. Medit. 20. Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters, The Palestine Police, Jerusalem, 31st July, 1947, p. 4, 7, Top Secret, Rhodes Library, Oxford). Despite protestations to the contrary from that day to this – the myth of the Jews as victims of annihilation by superior forces – the reality is that the Jews faced Arab forces of less than 50,000 troops, ill trained and equipped as a result of the British devastation of their forces in 1936, while Jewish forces numbered over 80,000 well trained troops. (As noted by Pappe from Jewish documents and the investigative reports and evidence of the British Mandate government in the Rhodes Library).
What form did the terror take? Ironically, it mirrored the terror that the current Israeli government protests when undertaken by Palestinians. Virtually nothing the Palestinians have done by way of terror was not done by the Jews to the British Mandate government. The first leg of their terror necessitated ridding Palestine of the British Mandate forces since it was its policies concerning immigration that made the Zionists turn to terror against the very nation that had made possible a large Jewish presence in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration. That Declaration had imposed on the British government responsibility for both the indigenous Arab population and the new Jewish immigrants proportionate to their relative size. In keeping with that responsibility, the Palestine Government issued a White Paper in 1939 that limited Jewish immigration to 10,000 per year for five years and an additional 25,000 refugees. That limitation infuriated the Zionists who would tolerate no limits on immigration.
Terrorism followed: the blowing up of bridges, railroads and utility plants, assassinations, kidnapping of British officers, detonation of buildings occupied by British personnel most notably the King David Hotel where 91 civilians were killed including Jews. David Ben Gurion, addressing a press-conference in New York declared “We are on the eve of historic decisions re- Palestine Ben Gurion declared, these decisions may be in favor of our demand for the establishment of a Jew state in Palestine or they may be against us. Both are possible //but one thing is certain should Britain decide to maintain the White Paper restrictions she shall be able to do it only through regime of bloody terror.”(punctuation and wording as in original in Mss. Medit. 20). Reaction to this press conference in an editorial from the Jewish Post, Indianapolis of 29th June, 1948 “The double blast from Dr. Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion threatening bloodshed in Palestine, is definitely the start of a new and fateful Zionist policy…The first has to do with the threat of bloodshed, and as a natural consequence, the second has to do with the actual spilling of blood.” (Mss. Medit.20). But Americans are told nothing of these actions and threats, only that the little Jewish state was in peril against overwhelming odds. Duplicity and hypocrisy override the irony.
Consider the terrorist acts taken by the Zionists against the legitimate government of Palestine. Just as the Sharon and Olmert governments have cried to the world community that Gazans obtain weapons via underground tunnels from Egypt, so did the Mandate government discover arms factories in Hasharon Street in Tel Aviv (one of many) where, behind a voltmeter panel an opening was discovered to a chamber containing arms, explosives, ammunition, and other illicit articles. Another was found beneath a school playground, and we thought only Palestinian’ terrorists hid behind civilians. The only observation one might make at this point is that the Zionists had no legitimate right to the land they claimed to be taking back from the occupying force, especially since in 1947 Jews owned only 6% of the land in Palestine and represented less than 30% of the population. On the other hand, the Palestinians in Gaza are the indigenous population and have legal rights under International Law and the UN charter to fight against the occupying forces, the Israelis. Yet the American government extols Israel’s right to self-defense and condemns the real victims. Duplicity and hypocrisy hide the irony from Americans.
Consider as well the outcry to the world over the “kidnapping” of two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanon border, a crime that forced Israel to invade and pulverize Lebanon’s electric and water plants, destroy its sea ports and railroads, devastate sections of the city of Beirut, scatter thousands of cluster bombs in southern Lebanon, and kill over 1100 people, most of them civilians, even orphans. However, when Zionists “kidnapped” it was not a crime, indeed, the resistance movement condemned the British government for punishments issued by court order after due process, something the current Israeli government does not provide either to the 11,000 Palestinians incarcerated or those they assassinate by extrajudicial execution. Duplicity and hypocrisy drown the irony though it screams to be heard.
Consider finally the atrocity committed against the innocent at the King David Hotel in July 1946 when six Jewish “resistance” fighters dressed as Arabs entered the hotel with milk cans containing high explosives. This is called a “false flag” operation as it intended to assign the criminal act to the indigenous population. Indeed, after the deaths were counted, Hagana denied all knowledge of it and condemned those responsible. Unfortunately, the resistance fighters were outraged that their efforts were denied by those in Hagana that worked with them to carry it out and issued a paper a year later describing how it was done. In their own defense they claimed that the warning they intended to provide was not executed as planned nor was the detonation. The true irony of this crime can only be appreciated today since the present government has seen fit to remove the plaque from the wall that recounted the atrocity of the King David Hotel and replaced it with a commemorative plaque praising the patriotism of those who killed 91 innocent people. Duplicity and hypocrisy enshrined. (All examples taken from Mss. Medit. 20).
From conception to nourishment in the womb of Nakba, how the blood flowed.
I should begin here with the massacre at Deir Yassin because it was beneath a tree in the field outside the mental hospital now placed there that I heard about the atrocities committed in this town and felt the anguish that hung like a pall over the land. Deir Yassin had an agreement with Hagana, a non-aggression pact, but unknown to its residence it lay in a pre-determined path of destruction and ethnic cleansing that sealed its doom. On April 9, 1948, a little more than a month to the UN date that removed Britain from its Mandate responsibilities in Palestine and the date that gave Israel its right to its segment of Palestine, the 55% allotted to the Jews, their forces “ … burst into the village, the Jewish soldiers sprayed the houses with machine gun fire, killing many of the inhabitants. The remaining villagers were then gathered in one place and murdered in cold blood, their bodies abused while a number of the women were raped and then killed.” Pappe continues his recital of this massacre with this comment: “One only has to be told that thirty babies were among the slaughtered in Deir Yassin to understand why the whole ‘quantitative’ exercise – which the Israelis repeated as recently as April 2003 (that the number killed cannot be considered a massacre) – is insignificant.” Indeed, at the time the Jewish forces greedily accepted a much larger number of dead as a “warning to all Palestinians that a similar fate awaited them if they refused to abandon their homes and take flight.” (Pappe 90-91).
But the Zionist Jewish forces in their eagerness to grab as much land as they could before the legally established date for the Israeli nation, found time of the essence and efficiency a necessity if they were to enlarge the land holdings far beyond what the UN resolution had provided to them. Realizing that the remaining British troops could do nothing during the “lame duck” months between the acceptance of the resolution and its date of implementation, the months between March and May of 1948, the Hagana forces moved with great speed to erase as many villages and towns as they could from the landscape of Palestine. Walid Khalidi’s research tome, All That Remains, accounts for 418 such sites leveled by the Jewish forces, with their populations killed or expelled from the borders of Israel.
And the blood flowed.
“The Jewish troops rolled barrels full of explosives, and huge steel balls, down into Arab residential areas, and poured oil mixed with fuel down the roads, which they then ignited. The moment panic-stricken Palestinian residents came running out of their homes to try to extinguish these rivers of fire, they were sprayed by machine gun fire.”
“Armed with machine guns the Jews sprayed the coffee-house (Lifta), while members of the Stern Gang stopped a bus nearby and began firing into it randomly.” The same plan operated throughout the area, the Jewish forces would surround the town on three sides, leaving the fourth for those who could to escape. The remainder were killed. “The Hagana blew up most of the houses in the village and drove out all the people who were still there.” Some 700,000 to 800,000 were forcefully driven from their homes and beyond the borders of Palestine. The terror campaign included psychological warfare, heavy shelling of civilian populations, expulsions, witnessing of the deaths of family members, relatives and friends, physical abuse, robbery and rape. A United Nations envoy, Count Folke Bernadotte arrived in Palestine on May 20, and having seen the devastation proposed a division of the country into two equal parts including repatriation of the refugees. Despite Bernadotte’s activity on behalf of the Jews in Europe during WWII as President of the Swedish Red Cross, instrumental in saving many from the Nazis, he was assassinated by the Zionists.
The State archives of Israel contain documents that provide a perspective into the mentality of those driving the Zionist “Consultancy,” as Pappe labels it. In a section made available through “Palestine Remembered,” a newly established Internet site, labeled “Plunder of abandoned Arab property, looting, possession without permit, robbery,” the following comments are revealing: “None of us behaved during the war in a way we might have expected the Jewish people to behave, either with regard to property or human life, and we should all be ashamed.” (Yosef Lamm, MK MAPAI). Another observation made by the Minister of Agriculture Aaron Cizling to Ben Gurion: “Again and again in our meetings we discuss the issue of the abandoned property. Everyone expresses shock, bitterness and shame, but we have yet to find a solution up to now we have dealt with individual looters, both soldiers and civilians. Now, however, there are more and more reports about acts which, judging by their nature and extent, could only have been carried out by government order. I ask … on what basis was the order given?” And one more because it is so telling in that it foreshadows the issues facing the Diaspora Jew now: “If I thought that the State of Israel would be capable of Deir Yassin, I would not only not wish to be an Arab here – I wouldn’t want to be a Jew here.” (Zalman Aran, MAPAI).
All of the above references come from declassified Israeli documents as recorded by Professor Pappe in his recent book on ethnic cleansing or from the detailed research of Dr. Khalidi’s All That Remains or from documents I have found at the Rhodes House library of the Bodleian that records either British evidence of these actions or documents that were seized by the British from Jewish sources recounting their own perspectives. Virtually none of this information has been made available to the American public through main stream media sources; rather what Americans know comes through a controlled press that presents the birth of the Jewish State as a glorious achievement born of democratic principles and accomplished against great odds.
Given this information that comes courtesy of the very Zionists that carried it out, would one not think that a reevaluation of this coming anniversary should be considered? But it will not be, not by our main stream media and not by our politicians. Instead, the American taxpayer will give the State of Israel an additional 30 billion dollars to augment the usual 3 billion we provide annually to ensure their security and economic stability, even as our economy tumbles into three trillion of debt.
Indeed, our politicians will proclaim the virtues of the Israeli state as they raise their cocktails to toast “This year in Jerusalem!” The crystal will glisten in the chandelier’s light, the celebratory speeches will be made, the appropriate level of applause will greet each keynote speaker as the invited guests turn to each other with knowing glances that confirm the dedication of all present to the promise now fulfilled by the grace of G-d Almighty.
None will let the thirty babies slaughtered at Deir Yassin cross their minds lest it cast a cloud over the delightful evening; none will find fault with kidnapping executed by “resistance fighters” against the brazen British or consider it in contrast to that done by the “real” terrorists, Hezbollah; none will walk beside the mothers, children, and fathers forced from their homes to wander over the barren hills of Galilee to Lebanon bereft of all but the clothes on their backs, a scene too uncomfortable to mar the pleasantries passed from guest to guest; none will recall that the UN proposal that created Israel provided 55% of the land of Palestine for their state lest someone note that Israel now occupies all but 14%; none will bother to bring the evening paper that thunders the continued rocket attacks against the citizens of Sderot in the Negev where two have died as a result of almost 5000 rockets fired by those resisting occupation or see that the paper does not list the 124 killed in Gaza in seven days by Israeli missiles, eight of them children including a two month old baby; none will consider the enormity of the contrast between the military might of Israel, the only country in the mid-east to possess over 200 nuclear weapons, and the defenseless condition of the Palestinian people that are ground beneath the boots of their oppressors day after day lest it cause someone to choke on his ice cube; none will remember that they arrived at their splendid conference hall by passing a Wall, a 25 foot high wall that prevented them from seeing the horrors on the other side; and none will accost their Congressman or Congresswoman to ask why we continue to support a nation founded by terror, nourished in blood and catastrophe, grown huge in weaponry, and sustained by violence, duplicity and hypocrisy.
Thus do we return to Arthur Koestler’s admonition to the Jews in the Diaspora, the dilemma they must face that will become more acute with time: choose between the Zionist controlled, amoral state that acts in your name casting lies like seeds before the multitudes and justifying brutal acts of vengeance and racism as necessary for the security of a state that stands alone in the mid-east as a bastion of technological and nuclear power or choose the truth of the Torah, as those Jews from across the world who remain compassionate, giving and loving people who seek peace in Palestine for both Jews and Palestinians.
-William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California and author of Tracking Deception: Bush’s Mideast Policy. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org