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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Replies to David Clark

The folk at Engage did a great job of replying to the David Clark piece, and credit to the Grauniad for publishing their letters. And David Hirsh makes important points about the head-in-sand 'I can understand that it feels like anti-Semitism to some but of course it really isn't' position adopted by Brian Klug of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights. I say it again: if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Mine didn't get in (even if it was good enough, I didn't get this off until the evening, which is much too late these days)...

Dear Editor,

As one who is concerned that Israel is unfairly singled out by the left (and by the Church of England to which I belong), I think the charge of cynicism which David Clark levels against this view would be better applied to his characterization of it as “Others get away with it, so why can’t Israel?”.

I don’t want to see Israel or any other state “get away with it”. I do want to know how the universalist concern for the underdog which Mr Clark claims for the left is served by obsessively focussing on Israel while regimes like that of Sudan quite literally get away with murder on a vastly greater scale. And if his answer is that Israel is a democracy, does he mean to say that a military coup would be the quickest way to get the left off the country’s back?

1 comment:

Neal said...

Cyrus,

I attempted to post the below comment - now edited (or should I say, because I do not have the original in its entirety, what I could scrape together and, in some instances, have re-written) - on the Engage website.

On your theory, it is the Israelis who are remiss for not ceding enough land for the formation of a Palestinian state. In fact, the gestation for your opinion comes Barak's June 2000 offer, which he termed generous. As you state things: Let me begin by describing the origins of my article. The idea first came to me four years ago when I wrote another Guardian piece challenging what I saw (and still see) as the myth of Camp David and the notion that Barak made a “generous offer” that the Palestinians spurned. This self-righteous claim seemed to me to lie at the root of the argument that a negotiated settlement was impossible because Israel had no partner for peace and the Palestinians were incorrigible terrorists who wanted nothing less than to wipe Israel off the map. It was a version of events I believed to be fundamentally at odds with the truth.

I gather a country's leader is wrong to believe in his own position. Be that as it may, the problem here is that you take a snap-shot of the negotiations, when, in fact, the negotiations continued in earnest, at least on the Israeli side.

In December of 2000, the parties were in the presence of President Clinton who addresses all of the concerns that came from the Palestinian side. Here, I am trusting that Prince Bandar, President Clinton and Ambassador Ross are not complete liars.

All three say that the Palestinians were offered a real state, with about 97% of the WB, much of Jerusalem and all of Gaza in Palestinian hands. And, that offer included 30 Billion US dollars as compensation to Palestinian Arab refugees and their offspring. And the offer included a land bridge across Israel proper.

The Israelis accepted the offer. The Palestinians, represented by Mr. Arafat, committed (and I refer you to Saudi Prince Bandar's analysis,(available on the website of the embassy to the US of Saudi Arabian) a SIN - Bandar's words!!! - against the entire region. And, according to Bandar, Arafat lied about the entire affair. And, according to Bandar, the Israelis met Arafat's actual red line for settling the dispute.

So, if we take another snap shot of the dispute, it is Arafat, not the Israelis and not Barak, who is blameworthy. Bandar, in fact, blames the carnage which followed on Arafat, who is accused of lying about the matter to his own people. What is good for the goose, Mr. Clark. What is good for the goose. What about the gandor?

Now, how is it that you can manage not to focus on something which, according to those most involved, was central, rather than the rhetoric of the parties after the June, 2000 temporary breakdown in the talks? Clearly, you must have an agenda other than truth. Some might say Antisemitism. I would say, instead, crass material interest. Or, in a word OIL.

Now, the Israelis, when they agreed to Oslo, made clear what they had in mind. They spoke of a confederation with Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. Those are words spoke by both Rabin and Peres. Jordan's King Hussein spoke the same language as did, rather interestingly, the leaders of Morocco.

In the context of what was actually agreed to at Oslo, Israel was not to give up all territory in the West Bank and, in the agreement, Arafat agreed to less seek less than all the territory outside the Green line. But, the very day after signing Oslo, Arafat made clear to the world, in a speech, that he only intended an interim agreement and that his goal remained Israel's destruction. So, we have a mismatch of intentions. But, neither side ever agreed to Israel returning to the Green line or anything of the sort.

The question is why Europeans believe that Israel has an obligation to return to the Green line. It is surely not based on UN 242, as your country's ambassador to the UN made rather clear on the floor of the UN that such was not the case. So, the answer lay elsewhere.

The publication Reform Judaism Magazine goes a long way toward answering the question. According to that publication, the varioue EU countries entered into agreements with the Arab League countries to, in exchange for preferential contracts for Europeans in the Arab regions, accepting large scale immigration from Arab countries into Europe and having a secure supply of oil for Europeans, the Europeans would side with the Arabs with respect to, among other things, the Arab Israeli dispute. As the article explains ( http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=1113 )- and this is fleshed out rather well in a number of other books by at least two other authors I know of -:

In mid-September, 1974, emboldened by their diplomatic successes, Arab delegates attending a conference of European and Arab parliamentarians in Damascus demanded that the Europeans agree to four points as a pre-condition for economic cooperation: 1) unconditional Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines; 2) Arab sovereignty over the old city of Jerusalem; 3) the participation of the PLO and Arafat in any negotiations; and 4) EEC pressure to detach the US from Israel "and bring its policies closer to those of the Arab states."

Over time, the Europeans consented to these demands. A common pro-Arab Middle Eastern policy was agreed upon that sought to create "a global alternative to American power." The EAD was assigned the task of creating institutional structures to facilitate the integration and harmonization of European and Arab policies in international affairs, culture, education, and the media.


Now, the impact of this policy is the creation of the Antisemitic air to Europe. And, it is the reason that Europe hides violence against Jews, as occurred with the attempted refusal to publish a report examining the matter and the subsequent release of that report with a phoney conclusion section contradicted by the report itself.

Which is to say, as during WWII, concerns of Jews are given short drift to the extent that they stand in the way of Europe's efforts to gain advantage - today, in the Arab regions. The fruits of that policy are a disaster, for Europe, for Europe's Jews and for the world.