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Internationally-approved racism: the case of Palestine James Bowen A lecture given in Queens University,Belfast 3 April 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Internationally-approved racism: the case of Palestine James Bowen A lecture given in Queens University,Belfast 3 April 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Internationally-approved racism: the case of Palestine James Bowen A lecture given in Queens University,Belfast 3 April 2008

2 A related example: Algérie Française A quotation from Jules Roy ( ) One thing I knew because it was told to me so often, was that the Arabs belong to a different race, one inferior to my own. … The Arabs, people said, never suffered from [malaria]. They were auto-vaccinated from infancy. If they happened to get sick, we gave them quinine or coffee, but no one supposed they could be suffering. …

3 A quotation from Jules Roy (part 2) “They don’t live the way we do …” The sentence drew a chaste veil over their poverty. What might have seemed the worst misery was merely a refusal to sleep in beds, to eat as well as we did, or to live in solid houses, under roofs. Yes, their happiness was elsewhere, rather, if you please, like the happiness of cattle, and I suppose we always regarded them like the oxen we treated well enough but which could scarcely inspire compassion. …

4 A quotation from Jules Roy (part 3) “They don’t have the same needs we do …” I was always being told. I was glad to believe it, and from that moment on their condition could not disturb me. Who suffers seeing oxen sleep on straw or eating grass? Jules Roy, “The War in Algeria”, 1961, page 17

5 That was then, but this is now “What might have seemed the worst misery was merely a refusal to … live in solid houses, under roofs.”

6 That was then, but this is now “What might have seemed the worst misery was merely a refusal to … live in solid houses, under roofs.” The rubble of demolished homes in a Bedouin village in southern Israel (Guardian, 1 April 2008)

7 Yes, this is now:

8 Yes, this is now: this is how Israel treats its Arab citizens today

9 Guardian, 1 April 2008: “Last year the authorities mounted eight separate operations in Twayil to demolish the homes of those living there … Aqil al-Talalqah, 66, a retired headmaster who now lives in a tent in Twayil, only a few hundred yards from the demolished two-room building where he once went to school as a child.”

10 Yes, this is now: this is how Israel treats Arab citizens today Mr. Aqil al-Talalqah from the Bedouin village of al-Twayil Abu-Jarwal Guardian, 1 April 2008: “Last year the authorities mounted eight separate operations in Twayil to demolish the homes of those living there … Aqil al-Talalqah, 66, a retired headmaster who now lives in a tent in Twayil, only a few hundred yards from the demolished two-room building where he once went to school as a child.”

11 Normalizing the unacceptable Why is the world not outraged at the situation in Palestine/Israel? Because the injustice has come to seem “normal” In July 2004, the International Court of Justice demanded that Israel tear down the West Bank Wall. –How often is that mentioned in news reports? There you are: the illegal becomes accepted But it has been happening for a long time In December 1948, the UN demanded that Israel allow the ethnically cleansed Palestinians return home. –When is the last time you heard that mentioned?

12 This has been going on a long time Let’s look at the history

13 Population of Palestine in 1878 The 1878 census listed 462,465 Ottoman subjects in Palestine – 403,795 Muslims – 43,659 Christians and – 15,011 Jews. Source: Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar, How did a place with this population distribution become the Jewish State? Through a programme of pre-planned ethnic cleansing –In which the great powers have connived

14 The ethnic cleansing was planned from the start “We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country.” ( Theodore Herzl, diary entry, 12 June 1895 )

15 The Zionist project achieved Great Power support in November 1917 Foreign Office, November 2nd, Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet. "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of the object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious' rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country". I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation. Yours sincerely, (Signed) Arthur James Balfour

16 Pretending to square the circle, in 1917 "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of the object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious' rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

17 Dropping the pretence, in 1919 “The contradiction between the letter of the Covenant and the policy of the Allies is even more flagrant in the case of the 'independent nation' of Palestine than in that of the 'independent nation' of Syria. For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, though the American Commission has been going through the form of asking what they are. The four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.” (Balfour memo to Curzon, 11 August 1919)

18 This deserves repeating The “international community” in 1919 and ever since: –For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country, –The four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. –And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.

19 “an iron wall of British bayonets” This is not my phrase –It’s from “The Iron Wall – We and the Arabs” by Vladimir Jabotinsky, 1923 Jabotinsky was a hardline Zionist His followers included –Avraham Stern (of Stern Gang infamy) –Menachem Begin (Deir Yassin massacre) –Yitzhak Shamir (Murders of Moyne and Bernadotte) –And our own Robert Briscoe, TD (who raised money for them) But Jabotinsky was not a hypocrite –He admitted explicitly that Zionism could only be implemented through violence against the indigenous people

20 From Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” “Any native people – its all the same whether they are civilized or savage – views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner. And so it is for the Arabs. They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. To think that the Arabs will voluntarily consent to the realization of Zionism in return for the cultural and economic benefits we can bestow on them is infantile.

21 From Jabotinsky’s “Iron Wall” (contd.) What does the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate mean for us? It is the fact that a disinterested power committed itself to create such security conditions that the local population would be deterred from interfering with our efforts. All of us, without exception, are constantly demanding that this power strictly fulfill its obligations. In this sense, there are no meaningful differences between our ‘militarists’ and our ‘vegetarians’. One prefers an iron wall of Jewish bayonets, the other proposes an iron wall of British bayonets”

22 Wall of bayonets, Under the first 19 years of British rule in Palestine, –Hebrew was granted equal status with Arabic –Monopolies in newly developing industries were given to Zionists e.g., Palestine Electric Corporation, owned by Pinhas Rutenberg –Land laws were adjusted to facilitate Zionist acquisition –State land was given to Zionist colonists –Zionist immigration grew the Jewish population from 11% to 28% 1922 census: 84,000 Jews in total population of 752, estimate: 386,000 in total population of 1,383,000

23 Arab revolt, British policy expressly claimed to “facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and [to] encourage... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes” Arabs demanded an end to Zionist immigration After years of fruitless protest, they revolted The revolt was put down with what, today, would be called war crimes –Collective punishment –House/village demolitions –Using Palestinians as human shields But May 1939 White Paper promised to allow only 75,000 more Zionist immigrants and grant majority rule in 1944 And then came World War II

24 Illegal Jewish immigration During and after World War II, there was massive illegal Jewish immigration 1947 Projection: 650,000 Jews in a total population of 1,955,260 All throughout World War II, Palestine was quiet, –except for terrorism by the Zionist “Stern Gang” Which actually sought Nazi help to drive the British from Palestine! Whose leaders included Yitzhak Shamir

25 Zionists continued to plan ethnic cleansing In 1937, the Jewish Agency created the Population Transfer Committee, planning for the removal of Arabs from Palestine Headed by Joseph Weitz, who wrote –It must be clear that there is no room for both peoples in this country... there is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer them all; except maybe for Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem, we must not leave a single village, not a single tribe. (19 December 1940)

26 Jewish revolt, aiming to take Palestine from British More than 30,000 Palestinian Jews served in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in WW2 After WW2, with this military experience, the Zionists started a revolt to drive the British out of Palestine before they implemented the 1939 White Paper’s promise to grant majority rule Indiscriminate Jewish terrorism: Kind David Hotel, 1946 Targeted Jewish terrorism: –Murder of Lord Moyne; –letter bombs sent to prominent UK politicians; –thwarted plan to drop bombs on London from a small plane flown from France

27 Racism in a white-dominated UN Post-war British economy in poor shape Early 1947, Britain announces it intends to hand Palestine to the UN and leave in early 1948 UN was still controlled by “white” countries –the WW2 victors and their client states Nov 1947, Zionist lobby in US pushes through, after 2 failures, a non-binding UNGA resolution which –grants 56% of Palestine to a Jewish state –even though Jews are only 33% of population –even though Jews own only 6% of land –even through a majority of the population in the area assigned to the Jewish State were Palestinian Arabs

28 Two wars in Britain remained legally responsible for Palestine until 14 May 1948 Did not even try to quell civil war which started after passage of UN partition Before Britain leaves, 380,000 Arabs already ethnically cleansed from coastal Palestine When Britain leaves, Arab countries send small contingents to prevent/reverse ethnic cleansing Arab troops outnumbered and badly equipped Jews equipped from Europe and US Jews take 78% of Palestine and expel a total of 750,000 Arabs

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31 This process continues ever since Sometimes in big bursts –1956 War, in which Britain and France colluded with Israel to take Gaza and Sinai from Egypt –1967 War which, contrary to Zionist propaganda, was started by Israel in which Israel retook Gaza+Sinai, took West Bank and Gaza –the 1978, 1982 and 2006 War in which Israel took parts of Lebanon Continually in small bursts –In which Israel dispossesses Palestinian citizens of Israel –Dispossesses Palestinians of West Bank –Mistreats Syrians in Golan Heights –Mistreats Lebanese in Ghajar and Shaba Farms

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33 And, during all this time, the approval continues NEVER any mention of racism inside Israel International “community” supports “Israel’s right to exist” –as an ethnic state –A “herrenvolk” democracy

34 Israel and South Africa Afrikaans “apartheid” means “separation” Hebrew “hafrada” means “separation” –in Hebrew, the West Bank wall is called “Geder Ha'hafrada” Israel supported apartheid South Africa We refused to support apartheid Why do our governments support hafrada?


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