Friday, February 20, 2009

A Quartet of Zionist Letters on the Batsheva Protest--Part II

This is the second part of a two-part post on a quartet of Zionist letters to the editor that recently appeared in the Ann Arbor News. Read the first part here.

The last of the quartet of Zionist apologies is from new president of the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County, David S. Shtulman. Shtulman is a dual US-Israeli citizen, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) veteran, and, in all likelihood, a current IOF reservist. Just a few days into the Hanukkah Massacre, Shtulman proclaimed poor Israel to be "under attack."

In his letter (AAN 2/13/09), Shtulman writes:
It always strikes me as strange that 20 percent of Israel's citizens are Arab Muslims, while the Palestinians insist that every Jew must leave any territory that will become part of the Palestinian State, and yet it is Israel that is accused of apartheid. Or that Israel publicly advocates for a two-state solution ...
This is a classic case of psychological projection - a defensive psychological ploy to attribute to others one's own behaviors, impulses and traits. The 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are Arabs (not all of them Muslims) are the survivors, and their descendants, of the violent Jewish ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 or Nakba. Before the Nakba, there were 650,000 Jews and 1.3 million Arab Palestinians in Palestine and Jews owned less than 6 percent of the land. By the end of 1948, Jewish forces had taken control of 78 percent of Palestine and expelled 84 percent of the Palestinians living on that land. As the founder of the Palestine Land Society, Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, wrote in 2006: "Today the Palestinian population is about 10 million (9.650). Two thirds are refugees, the largest ratio among any people in the world. If you add those displaced in 1967, fully three quarters of the Palestinians are deprived of the normal human right to live at home."

If Shtulman wants to convince any reasonable person that he favors the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Palestinians then he can start by publicly declaring his support for the return of the millions of Palestinian refugees to their homes. Every serious scholar of the history of the Jewish domination of Palestine knows that the status of Palestinian refugees has always been a primary obstacle to any political solution for the simple reason that Jews like Shtulman want Jewish demographic and political supremacy to be maintained and Palestinians naturally don't want to give up their homeland or their right to return to it. Shtulman will never support the Palestinian right of return because he wants an apartheid state like the one Jews have now--one where Jews are running the show and Palestinians are fourth-class citizens or, worse, stateless people living under the Israeli military occupation as in the West Bank and Gaza.

As for Shtulman's allegation that "the Palestinians insist that every Jew must leave any territory that will become part of the Palestinian State," it is more accurate to say that Israel insists that every part of Palestine inhabited by Jews remain under the control of the Jewish State. Undoubtedly, Shtulman's complaint here is that Palestinians do not want Jews to be allowed to stay on land they occupy illegally in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In this, Palestinians are in accord with international law. As the International Court of Justice opined in the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory":
As regards these settlements [i.e. the "Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem)"], the Court notes that Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." That provision prohibits not only deportations or forced transfers of population such as those carried out during the Second World War, but also any measures taken by an occupying Power in order to organize or encourage transfers of parts of its own population into the occupied territory.

In this respect, the information provided to the Court shows that, since 1977, Israel has conducted a policy and developed practices involving the establishment of Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, contrary to the terms of Article 49, paragraph 6, just cited.

The Security Council has thus taken the view that such policy and practices "have no legal validity". It has also called upon "Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously" by the Fourth Geneva Convention and:
"to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories" (resolution 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979).
The Council reaffirmed its position in resolutions 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979 and 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980. Indeed, in the latter case it described "Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in [the occupied] territories" as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.
Let's see Shtulman come out in favor of granting dual Israeli citizenship, like Shtulman enjoys, to any Palestinian who wants it. Let Shtulman come out in support of the three goals of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign:
1. Ending [Israel's] occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
Don't hold your breath waiting for Shtulman to support any of these goals, folks.

In another case of dissembling and projection Shtulman complains "Hamas advocates publicly for the destruction of Israel." But, in his article "Likud has a Charter which does not recognize the right of Palestine to exist," Frank Barat writes:
... What was the official reason given by the Israel and the International community for not recognizing Hamas?

The reason they gave was that Hamas refused to recognize Israel and had a Charter calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Everyone (politicians and corporate media leaders) accepted this without asking a few important questions. Which Israel should Hamas recognize? Israel has not yet stated what its international borders are. Should Hamas recognize the Israel of 1948? The Israel of 1967? The Israel of 2009 with its apartheid wall, settlements (settlements building raised by 60 percent in 2008, the year of the Annapolis "Peace Process", according to a Peace Now report), second class Arab citizens and with East Jerusalem annexed?

Any astute observer could also have objected by reminding people that Hamas (through Haniyeh and Meshal) had said many times over that it was willing to accept Israel as a political entity on the 1967 borders. You do not have to look hard for this, it was stated in the Guardian, Washington Post, amongst others, meaning that Hamas was now in line with most of the international community, accepting a two-state solution.
The next Israeli prime minister will be Likud leader Netanyahu. Unlike Hamas, Likud is a party which has actually held the reins of a powerful, sovereign nation-state. As Barat writes:
... With Netanyahu and his right-wing party ready to take over, it is only fair to find out a bit more about them.

In the "Peace and Security" chapter of the Likud Party platform, a recent document (1999) it says initially that:
"Peace is a primary objective of the State of Israel. The Likud will strengthen the existing peace agreements with the Arab states and strive to achieve peace agreements with all of Israel's neighbors with the aim of reaching a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict."
But then it says about settlements:
"The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting."
Therefore annihilating the slightest chance of a two-state solution.

On Palestinian self-rule it says:
"The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel's existence, security and national needs"
Therefore annihilating any chance of seeing a Palestinian sovereign state.

On Jerusalem:
"Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem, including the plan to divide the city presented to the Knesset by the Arab factions and supported by many members of Labor and Meretz."
Therefore annihilating any chance for future peace negotiations because east Jerusalem as capital of a future Palestinian state is non-negotiable for any Palestinian.

We have therefore established that the Likud party charter does not recognize Palestine and will not accept a sovereign Palestinian state. The soon-to-come non-recognition of Likud by the international community and an implemented blockade on Israel should therefore not come as a surprise for Israelis.
Where is Shtulman's outrage and concern that the ruling Likud Party is opposed to any realistic implementation of the much-hyped "two-state solution," which is, in any case, the very epitome of apartheid?

Finally, Shtulman asks: "Will boycotting the Batsheva Dance Company or UMS in general help the Palestinians?" Shtulman answers: "I don't see how." Of course he doesn't, but one doubts that Shtulman is so visually impaired when it comes to the protests and boycotts of the Russian Bolshoi Ballet, etc. over the matter of "Soviet Jewry" in the 1970s and 1980s.

In any case, Omar Barghouti has written on the subject of the efficacy of BDS. In response to critics of BDS, he says:
Boycott is counter-productive?

Is it? Who is to judge? A Call signed by more than 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, NGOs and networks, representing the entire spectrum of Palestinian civil society -- under occupation, in Israel, and in the diaspora – cannot be "counter-productive" unless Palestinians are not rational or intelligent enough to know or articulate what is in their best interest. This argument smacks of patronization and betrays a colonial attitude that we thought -- hoped! -- was extinct in liberal Europe.

Pragmatically speaking, the BDS process has proved over the past few years that it is among the most effective forms of civil, non-violent Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonial and apartheid regime. The sheer breadth and depth of support this Call has garnered among major trade unions, academic associations, church groups, and other grassroots organizations in South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and even the US, among others, attest to the efficacy and enormous potential of this campaign in resisting Israeli injustice. For the first time in decades, many movements in Europe, for instance, that have supported peace with justice in Palestine through demonstrations, public appeals and -- mostly marginal -- media work, discovered a process that they can actively and effectively contribute to and that promises to bring about concrete results on the ground, as proved to be the case in the struggle against apartheid struggle in South Africa. Judging by results so far, and as our South African comrades have told us repeatedly, our BDS campaign is moving at a faster pace than theirs ever did.
So, while Shtulman and pals spread their lies and disinformation, human rights activists and other people of conscience will continue to work on BDS--the Bathseva Dance Company protest is only part of a growing campaign.

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