Ramadan 8, 1426/October 12, 2005 #77
Jamaat al-Muslimeen News [4 items]
P.O. Box 10881
Baltimore, MD 2123
Unique Event Planned to Support Imam Jamil
[From Br. Issa Smith.] Inshallah Juma prayers will be held
on the Washington, DC Mall on Octber 14. Inshallah, Khutba
will be given by Imam Musa, the famous African-American Imam.
A number of speeches are expected to be given in support of
the cause of Imam Jamil al-Amin, America's Imam who is
in prison in Georgia.
The Juma precedes a mass march titled the
Millions More March which has been called by
Minister Farrakhan on Saturday, October 15.
RACIST INCIDENT VIDEOTAPED in NEW ORLEANS
The camera caught it loud and clear [October 7]:
FOUR White policemen beating up a 62 year old
African American man in New Orleans. Later the N.O.
police claimed the old man had been drunk and threatening.
The man told the media that he gave up liquor years back
and does not drink liquor at all. He was left covered
and dripping with blood. It looked like scene out of Baghdad.
PAKISTAN'S ANGUISH: Help the children of this bleeding Land.
A properly documented organization with tax exempt status
is available to take your funds to the devastated areas
of northeastern Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Please send your check or money order to:
Gulf Medical Relief Fund [GMRF]
c/o P.O. Box 10402
Greensboro, NC 27404
Behind Sophisticated Faces, the devil of Racism.
William Bennett gave a long speech on October 10 to
prove that he is not a racist and has been misunderstood.
Earlier he was caught making the statement that the most
effective way of dealing with crime would be to
abort the babies of Black mothers.
Bennett himself is a White opponent of abortion but such
a sickening statement slipped off his tongue. It might
have been a moment when he was off guard. In modern
America, racism is subtle and hedged with
qualifiers, but it's very much there!
New Trend's Media Monitor Reports
Pakistan's Odd Couple: "Foreigners" to Pakistan's
Islamic Culture, they Went for Quake Photo Ops.
On October 10 and 11, American viewers were able to watch
Pakistani TV's coverage of the quake cataclysm, thanks
to C-Span. It was an opportunity to see General Musharraf
and "Prime Minister" Shaukat Aziz in their natural milieu.
The two appeared on CNN and other TV channels too.
What a duo!
In this hour of grim tragedy, these two appeared and
talked without the SLIGHTEST warmth and absolutely
NO Islamic spirit. They seemed to be foreigners presiding
over the fortunes of a nation to which they do not belong
and with which they have little affinity.
They dress, talk, walk, behave like non-Muslims.
Musharraf visited Muzaffarabad, the stricken capital of
Azad Kashmir, and pretended to be George Bush. He took
a loudhailer and start addressing the people somewhat
like Bush addressed the firemen at ground zero!
No one cheered Musharraf. People were dead there or
dying but this man wanted to be photographed. He
seldom ventures out among the masses.
Now he thougt was his chance.
[Even more weird, the official Pakistani TV man
seemed to have lipstick on and was dressed as a
European, talking of the horrific suffering of
the Muslim masses in cold statistics.. They call
such people khusras (eunuchs) in Pakistan.]
[Compare with Dan Rather of CBS on 9.11.
That tough newscaster almost broke down when
he reported on the twin towers crashing.]
For the first time the Pakistani army has shown
that it has some good left in it. The army
engineers have asuccessfully opened the main
roads into the quake disaster areas.
Death Toll Continues to Rise:
Balakot, Muzaffargarh, Dozens of Villages Wiped out.
First the good news:
Islamic volunteers and relief teams were the first
to reach the quake stricken areas. Here are the
top groups which have left the government relief work far behind:
Islamic students from Medressas [Talaba Arabia]
were the first to reach Balakot with relief goods. In
this stricken city people are cursing the Musharraf
regime for its slow relief process. [Oct.9.]
The Jihad movement, Jamaat ad-Da'wa, led by
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, took the lead by sending Rs.
2.5 million worth of relief goods to the affected
area immediately. Dozens of ad-Da'wa volunteers went
with the goods which included medicines, tents, dry
rations, clothes and bedding. In Lahore, Jamaat ad-Da'wa
opened 50 relief camps where countless people are
leaving donations. Hafiz Saeed told the people that
such natural disasters are a test from Allah and
an opportunity for the nation to seek forgiveness
from Allah and to show generosity. [October 9]
Jamaate Islami's Shoora met in Lahore and
started a countrywide relief operation, from Karachi
to Peshawar, to collect goods to help the distressed
people. A fund of Rs. 17,000,000 was put into
operation immediately as relief teams rushed to
Azad Kashmir and Frontier province. [October 10]
Teams of physicians from Jamaate Islami, Jamaat ad-Da'wa
and numerous smaller Islamic organizations are working
in the worst affected area. [October 10 and 11.]
Jamaate Islami's top leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad,
urged the nation to repent of its sins and wrong doings
and seek a new beginning after this tragedy. Similar
sentiments are being expressed by the leaders of the
masses at every level of Islamic society.
Witness from non-Muslims: NPR reported from
Azad Kashmir that even in the afflicted areas, people
are fasting although it makes them very weak.
NOW THE BAD NEWS:
From 3,000 on October 8, the Pakistani-Azad Kashmiri
death toll has risen more than TEN FOLD to an estimated 40,000.
More than 51,000 are injured, many seriously.
Pakistani government's official death toll figures are 20700.
More than 2,000,000 people are feared homeless.
Entire towns and villages have been wiped out, including
30% of the people of Muzaffargarh [Pakistani Kashmir]
and 60% of Balakot killed or wounded.
Hundreds more students are feared dead because the
earthquake hit when classes were on.
The raw cloth [latha] used to bury bodies has run out in
the affected areas owing to the thousands of coffins.
Clean Water, medical facilities of all kinds, bandages
are badly needed for the survivors and those injured.
PAKISTANI MILITARY'S INCOMPETENCE COMES OUT:
In Balakot, the survivors spoke out against the military's
inability to help the people. The situation here is
desperate but CNN's camera team reached there before
the government and showed rotting bodies being pulled
out of a tourist hotel. [Balakot is the town where
Sayed Ahmed, the great Islamic revolutionary was
betrayed and martyred. The town has become a center
for tourism quite unconncted with its Islamic history.]
General Musharraf indirectly admitted his vast military's
inability to help the people by inviting U.S. military
Chinooks to enter Pakistan on the pretext of relief
activities. These same helicopters have been attacking
Islamic resistance forces in Afghanistan. This could
be a serious error of judgement on Musharraf's part.
October 11.TWO HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR more Pakistani troops
were found dead in their bunkers, bringing the Pakistani
troop fatalities to 434 . These soldiers didn't have a
chance because they were concealed in their bunkers to
stop Islamic fighters from entering Indian occupied Kashmir.
Another 4 colonels and a brigadier died when a hospital
roof collapsed on them in Muzaffarabad.
PTV [Pakistani TV] coverage of the tragedy was shown
in the U.S. on October 10 and 11. It was crude
propaganda aimed at publicizing the activities of
General Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat as saviors
of the distressed people. Shaukat's air trip to the
stricken areas was pure PHOTO OP and nothing
to do with relief activity.
COMPARISON WITH KATRINA: As in the case of the
U.S. hurricane disaster, where major forces were deployed
in Iraq, Musharref's Pakistani army was fully deployed
on the frontier with Afghanistan attempting to help the
U.S. military activity against the Muslims. Hence,
MUSHARREF HAD TO BEG THE U.S. for 8 HELICOPTERS. Some
Pakistanis say, this military has been eating the
Pakistani people out of house and home for decades.
Now that tragedy is here, it cannot help in any big way.
BUSH ADMINISTRATION WEIRD INTEREST in PAKISTAN'S TRAGEDY:
Worrying about "War on terror."
While Pakistanis die in tens of thousands, the Bush
administration is concerned that the movement of Pakistani
troops from the Afghan border to the quake stricken areas
might help the Taliban. Pakistani secularist Prof.
Akbar Ahmed, who teaches at American University in
Washington, DC, came on the extreme right wing Fox TV
to express his apprehension that the "war on terror"
might be sidetracked by the earhquake.
[Prof. Ahmed is a friend of Asra Nomani and of Daniel Pearl's family.]
CNN's observers have shown a ghoulish interest in the
possibility that Osama bin Laden might have been killed
in the quake. CNN embarrassed Musharraf's publicity man
General Shaukat Sultan by asking him if he
thought Osama might have been killed in the quake.
The General, known for his delight in releasing the
numbers of Islamic fighters killed by the Pakistani army,
replied: "it's not relevant at this time."
Letter from a Christian reader
Beware of Jewish Power in U.S.: Compare Gaza with New Orleans.
Is it my imagination, or is this the first time in
history the entire House or Rep. has been out
because of Rosh Hashanah-one week? This is also
the beginning of Ramadan, yet you won't find the
news media even mentioning it, let alone making
it a holiday. There is never mention of Christian
holidays in government or schools-only Spring break
and Winter break. Boy, "they" have us by the throat
and we don't even know it. In one school district
in Colorado Springs, they have seven Jewish holidays,
no patriotic days or Christian days.
Can you tell me if the new supreme court nominee,
Harriet Miers, is a j? What do you think about her?
I understand 40% of the members of the Supreme Court
have no prior bench experience.
I wish the media would compare the $2.4 billion going
to 8,000 Gaza settlers living on stolen land, vs $2,000
each going to a few Americans in New Orleans that lost
everything. I also understand that Bush is going to
build two new cities in the desert of Israel. Boy, the
U.S. is not his priority. He's nothing but a puppet,
as was Clinton, Bush, Sr., and Reagan. If only the
Americans could focus in on these details.
Be careful, Dr. Siddique, about some of the things
you print. Why dwell on the holocaust, when there are
so many issues at hand now that could put the blame
on the Zionists for the demise of the U.S. Focusing
on foreign policy and the giving away of our economy
is good target. You hit a big nerve when you attack
the holocaust, even though many people agree with you.
Their ammunition machines are very powerful and they
will ruin you-then you are powerless. Is it worth losing
your job? I know where you are coming from, and I agree
with what you say, but none of us are making a dent
on the American people. They have us by the throat
and are more powerful than ever. This isn't the first
time in history this has happened, only they have never
gotten this far before. We are more ignorant than
civilizations that lived in the Dark Ages.
Ms. Carolyn [Florida]
Montreal Perspectives [from Khanewal, Pakistan]
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
"Nazim" Elections in Pakistan: A Farce Supported by U.S.
Muslim Countries Should Help our Earthquake Survivors
Dear readers of my column, I am temporarily on a visit
to Pakistan. Since September 29, 2005, when I arrived
in Karachi, till the time of writing this column, in
the city of Khanewal, Punjab, the thought of Montreal
and Canada, is naggingly persistent in my mind although
I have a soft corner for my country of identity.
I am upset at many things which I have observed so far.
Starting with the grassroots "Nazim" elections, I must
say it was total sham and farce and unfortunately
outside observers group, including that of the United Nations,
have however in effect, commented that it was "fair and
transparent". One only wonders why the United Nations as
a political organization has given its stamp of approval
on everything, including Nazim elections, which has the
backing of the United States and some Western powers.
The Presidential elections in Egypt, where Husne Mubarak
won for the fifth time, was also not objected to by any
UN monitoring agency. It is feared that if this trend
continues, the 2007 Presidential and Assembly elections
in Pakistan may also get "clean bill of health". So long
as the Pakistani President toes the Bush line on "fight
against the global terrorism" every thing seems to be kosher!
I constantly remember Montreal also because of cleanliness
and orderly traffic there. On the other hand, I am amazed
at the chaotic traffic in Karachi and the garbage dumps
at places where food items are also displayed.
It is hypocritical that from the mosque's pulpit
our religious leaders talk about "cleanliness as an
integral part of Muslim faith" , while in the
day-to-day living they tolerate
uncleanliness and unsanitary conditions!
I wish we Muslims are as clean here as we make
an effort to be in Montreal!
The daily, "Dawn" Karachi's editorial of October 9,
2005, entitled, "Earthquake tragedy", rightly calls
for using "all possible resources to get those trapped,
especially those in the remote regions that lives may
be saved. Hospitals, government as well as those in
the private sector, should be co-opted to treat the
injured and the emergency should be sounded for blood".
It is important that the efforts of the Pakistan
government and the private non-governmental organizations,
are supplemented by generous donations of foreign
governments, including that of USA, UK, Canada, France,
Italy etc. It is essentail that all Islamic countries,
Russia and China, help in the Herculean task of rescue work.
Jewish Intellectual Opposes Israel:
Two nation Solution Cannot be justified
by Seth Farber,Ph.D.
Institute of Mind and Behavior
After the invasion of Jenin, while the Left in America
debated whether the Israeli Army had committed a "massacre"
or just an ordinary war crime, I decided that I wanted to
protest against the crimes committed by the "Jewish state."
Thus I prepared to begin work on a book of interviews with
anti-Zionists and non-Zionist Jews. The book is titled
Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers:Conversations with Jewish
Critics of Israel (Common Courage Press, 2005). I was keenly
aware that the most well known American Jewish critic of the
1967 Israeli occupation is Michael Lerner, editor of the
left-wing magazine Tikkun-- I was not impressed by Lerner's
effort to separate the decades long occupation, dispossession
and persecution of the Palestinian people from the mythic
and ostensibly innocent era of Israel's origins and youth,
thus legitimating the Zionist project. I decided to put
together a book that would serve as an introduction to the
anti-Zionist faction of the Jewish anti-occupation movement,
much as Lerner's book Healing Israel/Palestine made the
argument for the Zionist wing of the anti-Occupation movement.
In 2002 I also joined Jews Against the Occupation (JATO),
a NY group that supported the Palestinian right of return
as guaranteed by UN Resolution 194 "that is, the right of
all Palestinian refugees to return to the land they fled
or were expelled from in 1947/8."
My first two interviews were with the prominent leftist
scholar Norman Finkelstein, whose most recent book,
Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the
Abuse of History, is a searing deconstruction of Alan
Derrshowitz's book The Case for Israel (and thus of his
case), and Ora Wise, a young spokeswoman for JATO whose
father was a Conservative rabbi. After I found a publisher
I resumed work on the book.
One phone call I made in 2004 lingers in my mind because
my exchange with the Jewish scholar to whom I spoke
symbolizes for me the problem with the Jewish left in
the US today. He is a member of Jewish Voice for Freedom
(JVP), and a non-Zionist scholar. I told him of my plan
for my book and asked if he would agree to an interview.
He raised his voice and stated: "You are dividing Jews.
What is your political rationale for doing this book?"
His tone put me on the defensive. I mentioned that he
sounded angry. He did not modulate his voice but
repeated "I am merely asking you what is your political
rationale for dividing Jews. Why are you writing this?
Tell me what do you hope to accomplish politically!
Otherwise how could I agree to an interview."
There were a number of thoughts that were clamoring in
the forefront of my mind but I decided not to express
them because the tone of his voice was forbidding,
not genuinely inquisitive.
I could not predict the political effects of my book :
how can one ever do that with any degree of certainty?
I wanted to make the anti-Zionist argument ( against current
Israeli policies) known to a larger public because it is
the strongest, most cogent, and the most moral argument
for opposing the Israeli occupation and thus for becoming
active in the pro-Palestinian movement. Whether it would
succeed in mobilizing opposition to Israel of that I had
no way of knowing. But it was an argument that deserved to be heard.
How could there be any adverse effects from telling the truth?
The Zionist argument that Israel's cause was noble and
was corrupted in 1967 was a falsehood. Why should my book
accommodate those whose advocacy was based on illusions?
Why should I not tell the unvarnished truth, as ugly as it was?
Had I made such a statement on the phone I suppose the
JVP scholar would have repeated: "You are not taking
responsibility for the effects of presenting only one
side of the argument against the occupation and you are
placing a divide in the middle of the Jewish left." But
I had a response to that also: "I do not care. It is
irrelevant to me that many left-wing Zionists will feel
attacked. I believe that one of the virtues of the
anti-Zionist argument is that it will appeal to many
Palestinians and many Arabs and Moslems who believe
quite rightly that the Zionist argument is disingenuous.
It is Palestinians and Moslems who are the victims here,
and I care more about making an alliance with them on the
basis of an acknowledgment of the wrong-doing committed
in our name, the name of Jews, than I do about presenting
a united front of Jewish leftists to the world. This went
through my mind in the few minutes I was on the phone,
and I could imagine his voice crescendoing to a vociferous
rage. Thus I beat a polite retreat and managed to terminate
But I think both of the responses I did not make would
have met with the agreement of the persons I interviewed
for the book. When I asked JATOite Ora Wise in 2003
( printed in my book) what kind of solution she supported
to end the oppression of Palestinians, she responded,
" I will follow the lead of my fellow Palestinian activists
and intellectuals and the Palestinians living under
occupation. I know right now... [that] so many Palestinians
living under occupation ..just need to get the boot of the
Israeli military off their neck -- that they're simply
calling for an end to the Occupation. And so I will follow
the lead of Palestinians and their communities....[H]owever,
I believe that a two-state solution will never lead to
true justice or equality." The yardstick for the rectitude
of Ora's public statement and advocacy concerning a peace
settlement is not what do other American Jews think, but
what kind of settlement do Palestinians want-"within the
parameters of a recognition of human rights for all parties."
Although all of the persons-- all Jewish-- I interviewed for
my book believe that a Jewish state cannot be fully equitable,
they uphold the right of Palestinians to determine their own
future. It is the Palestinians who were the victims of
Israeli colonialism. It is thus the Palestinian to whom
we owe our primary political allegiance, not other Jews.
The question-- what will other Jews say?-- is
As progressive Jews our concern should be entering into
an alliance with Palestinians, not with reaching an
agreement within Jewish ranks( first) of what Palestinians
should be offered, or what face Jews should present to the
world.. More than any other group on the left
Michael Lerner and Tikkun promulgate this latter
approach. One has the impression that Lerner is talking
in Tikkun only --or primarily-- to other Jews. Since
from Lerner's perspective Jews had the right to set up
a state in Palestine in the first place, there can be
no question of expressing remorse for the dispossession
of Palestinians in 1948. Self-respecting Palestinian and
Arabs are not interested in an alliance with Lerner since
he defends the "original sins" by which Israel came into
existence. Tikkun represents an interest group for
progressive Jews, and it thus sets the standards for
most non-Jewish progressives of what is acceptable
criticism of Israel. (Although Tikkun does publish
writers with more radical perspectives than Lerner's.)
The fly in the ointment is that Jews do not need yet
another interest group. We need groups that demonstrate
to the world that Jews too can place the exigencies of
justice over that of bargaining for our "interests"
however progressively defined.
The problem lies within Zionism. Jacqueline Rose,
author of the recent book The Question of Zion, would
agree. However she confuses matter by referring to those
Jews in the 1930s and 40s who opposed a Jewish state as
"Zionists". They were indeed called Zionists at the time,
but to call them Zionist now is misleading.
Rabbi Judah Magnes,the renowned Jewish philosopher
Martin Buber, and the binationalist "Zionist" labor
organization Hashomer HaTzair did not support a Jewish
state. Today anyone who opposes a Jewish state is
considered anti-Zionist. Bi-nationalists were called
Zionists before Israel was founded because they were
adherents of cultural Zionism, the idea that a Jewish
homeland in Palestine would become a center for Jewish
culture and fructify Judaism and Jewish culture among
diaspora Jews. This vision has been destroyed by the
militarism, racism and consumerism of Israeli society.
The only Zionists today are political Zionists and, in
Israel-- religious Zionists. But political Zionism resulted
in the ethnic cleansing of over 3 quarters of a million
Palestinians in 1947-8. And all of the people interviewed
for my book believed that the expulsion of Palestinians
and the consequent refusal of Israel to re-patriate them
was a moral evil. (Israel reneged on its agreement to let
the refugees return as mandated by UN General Assemby
Resolution 194-- which Israel originally accepted as a
condition for its admission to the UN.)
The persecution of Palestinians by Israel today and
historically is rooted in the theory of political Zionism
which posited that the land of Palestine belonged to the
Jews, and that every Jew was a member of a race and a
nation (constituted by Abraham in the Bible) which had
a right to create a Jewish state in Palestine.
"The Bible is our Mandate," Ben-Gurion, ironically
an atheist, stated. The political Zionists had no
moral qualms about ethnically-cleansing the land of
Arabs, and thus they had no motive to reach an accord
with the Palestinians. After the Arab revolt of 1929
Hans Kohn wrote that the Zionist settlers "have not even
once made a serious attempt at seeking through
negotiations the consent of the indigenous peoples"
(cited in The Question of Zion).
In 1937 Ben-Gurion wrote to his adolescent son::
"We must expel the Arabs and take their places...and...if
we have to use force--not to dispossess the Arabs...but
to guarantee our own right to settle in those places--then
we have force at our disposal" ( cited in Masahla, Nur,
p66 Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer
in Zionist Political Thought, Washington, D.C.: Institute
for Palestinian Studies) At the same time, 1937,that
Ben-Gurion was writing this privately, publicly he denied
any intention of creating a Jewish state because he
believed, he said "the Palestinians have the right not
to be at the mercy of the Jews" (cited in Noam Chomsky,
Middle East Illusions, p.34). Rabbi Judah Magnes genuinely
believed in bi-nationalism, as did Buber and others.
As Magnes put it "The slogan Jewish state is equivalent
to a declaration of war by the Jews on the Arabs." Thus
the bi-nationalist "Zionists" advocated negotiations with
the indigenous Arabs for a binational state. The reason
the negotiations never occurred, I believe, as Magnes
believed, is because Ben-Gurion sabotaged these possibilities.
The bi-nationalists believed that the indigenous people of
Palestine had equal or greater rights to Palestine and
that it was morally incumbent upon the Zionists to
negotiate, to reach an accord with the Palestinians.
In 1946 Magnes wrote in The New York Times that the
political Zionists, notwithstanding Ben-Gurion's public
statements to the contrary, "want a Jewish state,
dominated by Jews"(cited in The Jewish State, by Yoram
Hazony p.248). In the beginning of 1948 Ben-Gurion told
an audience of Zionists that the war would in effect allow
the Jews to steal the Palestinians' land, "The war will
give us the land... The concept of "ours" and "not ours"
are peace concepts only, and in war they lose their whole
meaning" (cited in Masalha, 1992, p.180).
Aharon Cohen ( Israel and the Arab World, 1976, NY:
Beacon Press). agreed that negotiations did not take place
because Ben-Gurion did not want to compromise with the
indigenous Arabs, "the Palestinians.. When the Palestinian
Arab Adil Jabr and the Zionist binationalist Haim Kalvarisky
drew up a program for bi-nationalism in 1940-1 which they
wanted to present to Arab leaders for discussion, Kalvarisky
first tried to secure the approval of Ben-Gurion at the end
of July 1941. Ben-Gurion got angry and called it "an
abomination." A few weeks later, Sharett, Ben-Gurion's
right-hand man and future Prime Minister of Israel, wrote
that the draft was not acceptable unless it was revised to
include a Jewish state. Cohen concluded that the "bottleneck"
to negotiations with Arabs was Ben-Gurion's refusal to accept
a bi-national Palestine based on political parity. Of course
this was not known at the time because Ben-Gurion publicly
favored binationalism until the early 1940s. The obstacle
was not I quote Cohen who was a participant at the time,
"the oft heard complaint that there is no one to talk to in
the Arab camp."( This alibi is a stark reminder that history
repeats itself.) Jacqueline Rose is correct:. "For a brief
moment Zionism [she includes here the bi-nationalists] had
the chance of molding a nation that would not be an expanded
ego, but something else" (p86). That is, it could have been
a nation based on the kind of genuine cooperation between
Jews and Arabs that was advocated by Buber, Magnes. Hannah
Aredt, Albert Einstein and others.(See my interview with
Chomsky in Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers.) Lerner
implicitly denies this possibility and ignores the initial
internal dissent that attended the victory of political Zionism.
Michael Lerner faults the Palestinians for not accepting the UN
1947 partition plan, about which they were not even consulted--
but he fails to mention that Israel did not accept it entirely
either: It did not accept its provisions for an independent
Palestinian state. Furthermore in his book Lerner ignores
the efforts made by binationalists for years to get the
Yishuv leadership to sit down and talk with the indigenous
Arabs, and glibly and pompously dismisses Buber, Magnes
and the binationalists with the comment, "Most Jews felt
these idealists were out of touch with reality..."(p.52)
"as if he was rendering history's verdict. For Lerner,
the Palestinian leadership were equally responsible for
the Zionists' ethnic cleansing of 3/4 of a million
Palestinian refugees, and the recent exposure by scholars
of the Zionist leadership's long-harbored design to expel
the Palestinians from Israel ( see Nur Masalha, The
Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of Transfer
in Zionist Political Thought ) is not acknowledged by
Lerner as a validation of Palestinians' openly expressed
fears and resistance to the Zionists.
The possibility that the Zionist leaders may not have
genuinely represented the interests of Israelis is not
even considered by Lerner. In Lerner's mind the conflict
is between "the Jews" and the Palestinians. It is this
vestigal notion that governs the gatekeepers of the
movement today. Thus Lerner depicts the Zionist leadership as
the legitimate representative of the Jewish survivors of
the Holocaust, despite the fact that no one elected them
to such a position, despite the fact that the historical
record shows that throughout WWII they consistently
subordinated the goal of rescuing European Jewry to that
of creating a Jewish state(see Boas Evron, Jewish State
or Israeli Nation, and the works of Lenni Brenner)" even
though at many points, these goals were in conflict. Michael
Lerner provides his own specious answer to the question of
what the Palestinians could have been done to prevent the
Zionists from expelling them from their country--which they
were determined to do to make room for the ingathering of
hundreds of thousands of Jews who the Zionists expected
(unrealistically) would all move to Israel with the support
of American and Soviet imperialism. The Palestinians
should have turned to "the Jewish people" (Lerner obscures
the fact that the decisions were not made by "the Jewish
people" but by the Zionist leaders "and that furthermore
most of the Jews who escaped to Israel would have emigrated
to the US had the Zionists not prevented them from being
given a choice) with a "simple plea.": " Give us an
opportunity to prove we can live as loyal citizens and
a minority within a Jewish state and that we can show you
that we can do so and acknowledge the validity of your
having created such a state"
( Lerner in Healing Israel/Palestine, p.69). (!)
Despite the fact that Israel had not accepted the
United Nations provision for a Palestinian state, despite
the fact that Ben-Gurion was welcoming a war as an
opportunity to steal the land owned by the Palestinians
(Lerner knows this) and to ethnically cleanse the large
minority of Palestinian who inhabited the land that was
the basis for the new Jewish state that the UN created by
fiat, Lerner assures readers that if the Palestinians had
meekly submitted to the theft of their own land, "it would
have certainly changed the politics of Israel" (p[69).
He does not add " to the Palestinians' further detriment."
Presumably he means this passivity would have prevented
Palestinians' expropriation from the new Israel, although
obviously not from their own homes and land. But there is
no reason to believe that contention, considering the
massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin (to pick one
of many examples) who had made a peace agreement with
their Israeli neighbors--much to the indifference of the
Irgun ( the Israeli terroirist group that played a major
role in the 1947-8 vwar) and the Israeli Army, the
Hagannah.. Regardless, thus do colonizers preach
sanctimoniously to their victims, reassuring them
that if only they submissively accept the yoke of
colonialism everything will be best for all concerned.
This view--that Palestinians share responsibility for
their expropriation-- is common on the Jewish left.
Perhaps this is why the Jewish Left has failed to
establish fraternal relationships with the "enemy,"
why little effort is made by larger Jewish anti-Occupation
groups to ally with our Arab/Moslem brothers and sisters.
To put it another way, why does the largest Jewish left-wing
magazine publish very few articles by Palestinians??
Why do certain Jews insist that because my book is
anti-Zionist it undermines the Jewish left? And why
is it that my book is being ignored by large
left-wing publications, most of which have a
significant editorial representation by Jews--
despite the fact that it is the only recent anti-Zionist
book intended to be intellectually accessible to
persons unfamiliar with these issues and that the
book was endorsed not only by leading scholars like
Tanya Reinhart and Naseer Aruri, but by Rev Daniel Berrigan
who called it "a ray of light amid the darkness that
lays claim to our world, from Tel Aviv to Washington"?
In fact the only groups or individuals who responded to
me and said they would review my book are 2 Moslems
(one an editor of a magazine), one Palestinian Christian
(Mazin Qumsiyeh, author of Sharing the Land of Canaan) and
1 anti-Zionist Jewish conservative Allan Brownfeld. The
left-liberals prefer to ignore my book and, I predict,
many of them will ignore Norman Finkelstein's important
dissection of Deshowitz and of Israeli propaganda.
Most importantly should not the priority of the Jewish
Left be to resume the dialogue with Arabs begun by
binationalists during the 1930s--which Magnes and Buber
stated in the 1930s and 40s was a precondition for a
moral Jewish polity in Palestine? And if, as the
binationalists argued, unilaterally establishing a
Jewish state was wrong in 1948, if establishing any
kind of Jewish polity without first negotiating with
the indigenous Arabs was wrong in the 1940s" and was
declared as such by significant voices within the movement
defined then as Zionism-- by what act of moral gymnastics
can this deed, the establishment of Israel by military
conquest, be declared justifiable today in hindsight? And
what can justify many left-wing Jews' insistence on giving
priority to creating a united front of Jewish critics of
Israeli policies, rather than to reaching out without
calculation to our Palestinian comrades to support them
in their battle against Israeli colonialism and state-terrorism?
Seth Farber, Ph.D.
Seth Farber, Ph.D is an anti-establishment psychologist
who believes mental illness is a myth. A radical since
he became an anti Vietnam war activist in high school,
his first book Madness, Heresy and the Rumor of Angels
contains a foreword by Thomas Szasz. His current book
Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers(Common Courage, 2005)
is mentioned above. His memoirs will be published next
year; they are entitled Lunching With Lunatics: Adventures
of a Maverick Psychologist.
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