The Arab-Israeli Stalemate: An Invented People? By Richard Sale, author of Traitors

  Richard Sale headshot (2)
I am sure I am not alone to find the lack of progress for the Israeli-Arab stalemate to be extremely disheartening. Graham Fuller, former vice chair of the National Intelligence council asked me just the other day why Secretary of State John Kerry was going to Israel “for the zillionth time” to try and get an Israeli-Arab Peace Agreement?  According to Fuller and former U.S. Ambassador Richard Murphy, the steady takeover of Palestinian land continues unabated, and no one in America cares to lift a finger. The governance of Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the problem of Israeli settlements all were supposed to be addressed and are still not being addressed. Israel, by building fences and obstacles and imposing economic scarcity on the territories clearly wants to “cleanse” the occupied territories of their Arabs.  Israel clearly wants to annex the land it took in 1967. 



Israel continues to construct far-flung road networks that crisscross the region that allow access to exclusive Israeli housing units, which are of course protected by permanent Israeli military installations.  The Arab land that remains is being chopped into separate and noncontiguous cantons. It’s an agonizing exercise of slow strangulations of the Palestinians.

Benny Morris, an historian I sometimes admire, relates that not only did Israel’s soldiers expel the Arabs in 1948-9, but that they committed war crimes along the way and those were simply airbrushed from the narrative by Israel.  Morris sees such things as collateral damage to state-building.  Yet in 2009, Morris said that a “cage had to be built” around the Arabs while others called Israel’s Arabs “a cancer in the Israeli state.”  He holds the same views today.

Some Frenchman said, “Rule over another nation corrupts and distorts a society and tears the national fabric.” I can’t remember who said it. But Israeli ignores international law and secretly manufactures nuclear weapons, but we Americans have no sense of outrage.  They still surrender the moral high ground to Israel, not the Arabs.

It may be that the Palestinians aggrieved sense of neglect and the Israelis insistence on their moral rectitude are the chief impediments to any agreement, but I don’t agree. Isn’t true that the main impediment to agreement is America itself? Israel’s supporters drown any intelligent discussion of the issue, and any resistance by the Palestinians is immediately labeled “terrorism.”

I would love to have comments posted on Pat’s site bout this issue, In the meantime, I have edited and rewritten a piece I did for Pat among the Israeli allegation that the Palestinians are an “Invented People,” which I now have edited and rewritten.  Again, I would hope that people would respond by comments to his site.

An Invented People

 My son once asked me about a remark by a comedian who asserted that the Palestinians were never a people, and I replied to him, “That=s an AIPAC argument. I used to see it in the writings of reflexive American far-right Israeli supporters except even the hard right in Israel (some of whom I talk to) no longer disputes that the Palestinians are and were a people. Were they a people united by language, race and a common culture like the Jews? No said AIPAC. Butfor seven hundred years the Arabs or Palestinians made up the majority of the population of what was called Palestine before Israel became a state in 1947 — (that=s when the U.N. vote was taken at the U.N. in Flushing Meadow New York to partition Palestine between Arabs and Jews.)

 The Palestinians were a village people who lived in settlements ranging from a few dozen people to a thousand. They placed their villages near springs and sited them on ground that had defensive features so that they could be safe from the marauding raids of the Bedouin tribes who were always wandering in off the desert and helping themselves to what belonged to other people. There was always a low-level of warfare between the Palestinian villagers and the Bedouin tribes.

The Palestinians lived by agriculture (like the Romans and the early Greeks.). The farm economy was not sophisticated and didn’tinvolve much irrigation, etc. but it was their way of life. The Arabs were also made up of clans, and they never knew any sort of unanimity. They were the victims of incessant feuds and rivalries and would pay a heavy price for their disunion. 

The Arab-Israeli dispute is essentially a misnomer. The Arab nation did not exist as a co cohesive entity in terms of significant political accomplishment, according to Wilbur Eveland, a friend of mine, now dead, who was a DOD Middle East expert. Domestic problems, intra-Arab quarrels, and petty jealousies have dogged every Arab effort to federate. Persistent attempts to unite Iraq and Syria by coups and compacts went nowhere.

After World War I, the Palestinian Arab society had not stood still all this time. In the post-war years the Palestinians went through urbanization, small-scale industrialization, and suffered unemployment B all placing stresses on the traditional order and radicalizing younger men who threatened the conservative elite and in some cases supplanted it.

The Zionists by this time had established the Jewish Agency, and it was well-funded, meaning that the levels of Jewish immigration began to rise steeply. Arab fears of an eventual Jewish majority sharpened. The Arabs could do math and see that the rising tide of Jewish immigrants might overwhelm them.  In addition, there was a major increase in Jewish land purchases in Palestine. Absentee owners, rich Arabs or Turks or Lebanese who lived outside of Palestine, held a lot of Arab land. They didn’t=t care to who they sold the land to, as long as the Jews offered them high rates. The Jews did. At first the land purchases involved large, uncultivated tracts but now they began to involve small, cultivated ones. When the Jews bought the land, they evicted the tenant farmers that had worked it for centuries.

As in all things, there was certain hypocrisy involved in the land transactions. A lot of Arab owners took a hard anti-Jewish line during the day, but secretly sold land to the Jews at night, according to one contemporary critic.

Benny Morris, the distinguished Israeli historian, said that the damage it caused to the Palestinians was psychological and political. A Jewish historian named Porath said that the sales actually devastated the Palestinian National Movement. They spread an atmosphere of mistrust, suspicion and mischief. AIt enfeebled@ the national movement, he said.

What the sales produced was a mass abandonment of the countryside, sending the dispossessed Arab tenants to the cities where they became rootless urban poor. The evictees joined thousands of other evicted Arabs dating from 1880-1920 period, who had moved to cities from rural areas. But what stuck to the Arab collective consciousness were the land losses stemming from Jewish purchases. It was a resentment that never went away. Many Arabs felt dispossessed and became radicalized. A sinister feature was that the Arab radicalization became more and more identified with religious symbols and values. The Arab leaders were quite aware of the political uses of religion. Islam now began to reassert itself, and we have our first Islamic fundamentalists. By 1935, the Arabs had formed the Palestinian Arab Party that was opposed to the establishment of a home for the Jews and asked for resistance to its establishment.

Hostility worsened. By 1936, there was another outbreak of violence — Arab gangs attacking Jewish settlements, towns, and Jewish people. By then even Ben-Gurion clearly saw its cause. In May of 1936, he said: "The Arab fear of our power is intensifying. It is exactly the opposite of what we see. It doesn’tmatter whether or not their view is correct.  They see immigration on a giant scale. They see the Jews fortifying themselves economically.  They see the best lands passing into our hands. They see England identify with Zionism."

 He added the Arabs were"fighting dispossession.  The fear is not of losing land, but of losing the homeland of the Arab people, which others want to turn into the homeland of the Jewish people.  This is the absolute kernel of the struggle.

One factor that intensified Arab resistance was the fact it was not just land they were losing, but sacred, ancestral Muslim land. It was sacred Muslim soil being lost. And the Arabs feared what the Jews had already envisioned: that the small Jewish state would serve as a springboard for expansion.

The Jews by now saw the only solution lay in transferring the Arabs out of Palestine.  Herzl had at one time thought Arabs and Jews might possibly live in peace, but by 1936, no mainstream Jewish leader thought coexistence with the Arabs possible without the clear physical separation of the two people, achievable only by transfer and expulsion. It was a strange view of coexistence, and, worse, the Zionist rationalization for this was facile. They said they saw transfer as a highly moral solution.

(This feeling and conviction has intensified today.)

First, they wanted the new Israel to be a country of empty spaces so it could absorb new Jewish immigrants and the importance of this outweighed any rights the indigenous Arabs may have had. They felt the Arab had no ancestral or religious tie to his land, but that Jordan to him was the same as Palestine.  Why couldn’tthe Palestinians go to Syria or Jordan? (Of course, parties of the British foreign establishment had once thought of sending Jewish immigrants to Uganda, just as Lincoln wanted to send the former American slaves to Liberia.)

The Jews felt that transfer would best be done voluntarily but the Arabs made clear they were not going to go anywhere, which meant war would be the means for transferring the Arabs. One Israeli politician, Zingwell declared in 1905: "We must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population." He added there was no particular reason for the Arabs to cling to these few kilometers, clearly not seeing that the Arab might be animated by the same reverence for his religion and ancestral past as the Jews were.

Partition and War


The U.N. vote taken in November, 1947 at the U.N. gave 57 percent of Palestine to the Jewish people in spite of the fact that two-thirds of the population was Arab. And the Arabs were still the majority owners of the land. When they heard the vote, the Arabs were incensed, but the Jews were also stunned when a U.N. Special Committee recommended that Jerusalem be placed under international trusteeship. The Jews had wanted it as the capital of the new Jewish state. The Arabs were especially affronted because language was used by the British and Americans that said the partition of Palestine was being done in part as a recompense for the horrors of the Holocaust. Yet the Arabs pointed out, with some justice, that they had not mistreated the Jews in their midst over the previous centuries. Yet their land was to be taken to repay the Jews for atrocities done far away by the Nazis. Why?

The utter cynicism and hypocrisy of America's own immigration policies regarding Jews now became a major stink in Heaven's nostrils. There were thousands of displaced persons in Europe after World War II, yet now concern was suddenly being taken for them. The U.S. Congress was refusing to allow its own refugee bill out of committee and during the first eight months of 1948, while urging that a quarter of a million Jews be allowed to enter Palestine with its 1.2 million Arabs, the United States allowed only 4,767 Jews into its own soil, thanks to the immigrant ship the Exodus.

Further, the passing of the U.N. vote had been the result of some rather brutal U.S. arm-twisting. Truman, trailing in the polls to presidential candidate Thomas Dewey, a former New York governor and crime fighter, needed Jewish support to win the election. When the French at first withheld their support, Truman threatened Paris with a direct cut off of U.S. aid. Four nations became crucial to passage of partition: Haiti, Greece, Liberia, and the Philippines. Congress basically blackmailed President Roxas of the Philippines, the U.S. threatened Greece with a total aid cut off, and in Liberia, which produced rubber, Harvey Firestone of Firestone Tires threatened Liberia with a rubber boycott after the Jews threatened to boycott all of Firestone's products.

 War was quick to come, and it was to be a war of roads. Palestine had been split into three parts and holding roads open would be key to Jewish success. But the huge numbers of the enemy Arab armies, made much of by Zionists, were totally misleading. The nature of the two societies would be decisive. Israel was a highly motivated, literate, organized, semi-industrial society. It was socialist, and it owned state industries but that was concealed from the American public. Israel became instead a little democracy, a Little America in the Middle East. Facing it were the Arabs, coming from a backward, largely illiterate, disorganized, agricultural society. For the average Arab, statehood and even nationality were a vague abstraction.

Plus Israel had the backing of America, the Soviet Union, and many European countries.

 And after the Holocaust, the Israelis were all drive, push, resolution, pitilessness and self-reliance. They were clever enough to smuggle into the new Israel 72,000 parts of a machine that would provide the basis for an Israeli arms industry before the war even started.

   By contrast, Arab forces were badly supplied and poorly trained. The principle of a single, united command, so essential to the winning of any war, was missing. In addition, Arab efforts at war were piecemeal and uncoordinated. For example, only 450 or so out of 800 Palestinian villages contributed troops to the conflict. The villages on the West Bank barely stirred. Some preferred to assist the Jews, even providing them arms because of rivalries or feuds with their Arab neighbors. Other Arabs collaborated because they though the Jews would win.  The Jews, of course, did. ( A good book to read on the war is OJerusalem, by Collins and Lapierre).


But this chief point of all this comes down to this: after the Six Day War, Israel became the strongest element in the Middle East, and the prickly insecurity that lay at the base of its foundation, changed in two decades, to a self-satisfied arrogance.

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68 Responses to The Arab-Israeli Stalemate: An Invented People? By Richard Sale, author of Traitors

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Richard Sale:
    Many contemporary peoples & nations are “invented people” – such as Americans or Indians or Canadians or Pakistanis or Nigerians
    But now they exist and nothing can be done to un-invent them.
    It reminds me of the Navajo and the sheep – sheep are part of their creation myths now even though sheep were introduced into the Americas by the Europeans.

  2. SAC Brat says:

    How did the Christian community in Palestine fare during this period? It seems that a lot of effort (outside this article) has been made to stereotype the Palestinians as Moslems only for some reason.

  3. Remember the scene of destroying a S. Vietnamese village in order to save it? The US may be headed that way in MENA generally including Israel IMO!
    The US continually negotiates without explanation to its own people!

  4. nick b says:

    Mr. Sale, Let me apologize in advance for the picayune nature of this question. As I read your article I was confused by a quote attributed to “One Israeli politician, Zingwell”. Was this perhaps the British writer Israel Zangwell? I thought the description of Zingwell (Zangwell?) as an Israeli politician indicated he was a more recent figure (post 1948), and the date 1905 seemed odd. A little research turned up Mr. Zangwell. Did I get this right?

  5. Patrick D says:

    “Were they a people united by language, race and a common culture like the Jews?”
    The common but false perception behind this question is that the Jews are “a people” by this definition.
    Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews whose culture (and even genetics, apparently) was shaped and changed by life in predominantly Christian Europe with its antisemitism and participation in the Enlightment are probably a people.
    Ladino-speaking Sephardi Jews whose culture was shaped by life in Islamic Iberia and then fleeing with those Muslims to the Middle East and North Africa or going into hiding in the outer reached of the Spanish Empire after the Reconquista are probably a people.
    Arabic- and Persian-speaking Mizrahi Jews whose culture was shaped by life in the Islamic Greater Middle East (and likely has more continuity than the culture of the Ashkenazis as a result) are probably a people.
    “The Jews” would all include the groups above, east African Jews from Ethiopia, much smaller groups from part of South and East Asia, a multitude of converts (how does someone “convert” to a people?), as well as the atheist, socialist, Ashkanazi, Zionist pioneers that got the project rolling in the Eastern Med as well as other spots where things didn’t pan out like an area that is now part of Uganda (hardly a historical connection there).
    Whether or not you think the Palestinians are a people, they fit the definition above far more closely than “the Jews”, an idea that is largely the product of the ignorant (when most Americans, including most Jewish Americans, reference “Jews” they really mean Ashkanazi Jews), antisemites, and Zionists.

  6. Fred says:

    What are you talking about? When did the US as a matter of national policy decide to destroy South Vietnamese villages? You think the US will decide to destroy Israel? The Israeli’s are already destroying their society. The US is not responsbile for the conduct of Netanyahu’s government.

  7. Tony says:

    Israel has never intended to return any lands she occupied. So, IMO, all these peace processes are just waste of time. Israel has established herself as a powerful country so Arabs have to deal with this reality.
    I don’t mean to offend Arabs but I think the problem with them is cultural, as was mentioned ”domestic problems, intra-Arab quarrels, and petty jealousies have dogged every Arab effort to federate”. And add the high rate of illiteracy (45%, according to‎) to this mix and you get the picture. The Arab world needs to be educated, throw out the nonsense superstitions and bigotry and learn to seek the long-term solution to its problems.

  8. Lars Moller-Rasmussen says:

    Richard Sale
    “… the US threatened Greece with a total aid cutoff…”.
    To its everlasting honour, Greece successfully resisted the US pressure and voted against the UN resolution to partition Palestine. While quite a few member states abstained (notably Britain and China, then non-communist), Greece, India and Cuba were the only non-Muslim countries to vote against partition.
    While some kind of partition had become inevitable after World War II, at least in my opinion, I never cease to wonder why this particular plan was chosen. Is there anyone with more historical knowledge than I have who can explain how the state sponsors of the partition resolution hoped to sell a plan so clearly unworkable, even in practical terms? A country the size of Massachussetts, or half my own country, Denmark, was to be the home of two states, each of which was split up in three areas just barely contiguous.
    Even if the two communities had been on the best of terms, they would have had difficulty sorting out the problems of traffic from the Jewish coastal strip to Jewish Eastern Galilee crossing traffic from the Arab West Bank to Arab Western Galilee. I find the brazenness of the plan remarkable.
    Lars Moller-Rasmussen

  9. turcopolier says:

    “Israel has never intended to return any lands she occupied. So, IMO, all these peace processes are just waste of time.” you must be new here. We all know that. pl

  10. turcopolier says:

    Some idiot who lives in Thailand wrote the other day to claim it was US policy to do just that, i.e., destroy SVN villages. the stupidities of the left persist. people who make unsupported statements like that are usually trying to justify something they are ashamed of. pl

  11. AEL says:

    Let me guess.. some of your best friends are Arabs.

  12. Castellio says:

    Not so fast, Fred. The US has vetoed every international action to sanction Israel’s wrong doings over the last 60 years, often breaking its own laws to do so. The US continues to ensure that Israel will be more militarily powerful than all its neighbors combined. The US is willing to accept racist treatment (including murder) of its own citizens to enable Israeli racism at home.
    You may be making a distinction between the American government and the American people – which I would understand – and you may be implying that Netanyahu’s government is of a different kind than previous governments – although its not – but surely you admit that a great deal of responsibility for the Israeli government actions can be attributed to the support and protection of the US government.

  13. Bandolero says:

    “Many contemporary peoples & nations are “invented people” – such as Americans or Indians or Canadians or Pakistanis or Nigerians”
    Don’t forget in that list of invented people “the jewish people”:
    PS: As I see it the whole discourse about “a people united by language, race and a common culture” is in it’s core a racist discourse, and as it is modern now, talking about ethnicity instead of race is hardly more than a mask for that same old racist discourse. And much of that racist discourse is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: when people permanently talk about race questions, the society becomes racist and race question become a reality.
    My opinion is that it would be better to bring that whole racist or “ethnic” discourse onto the level of politics, and so, better speak about political factions living in this or that land.

  14. Bandolero says:

    “But this chief point of all this comes down to this: after the Six Day War, Israel became the strongest element in the Middle East, and the prickly insecurity that lay at the base of its foundation, changed in two decades, to a self-satisfied arrogance.”
    I think in this point you are wrong. Zionism was from the start a deeply racist ideology fitting in it’s time and it was always filled with a lot self-satisfied arrogance.
    If you don’t believe that, have a look what the well respected Rabbi Felix Goldman wrote exactly a hundred years ago, in 1913, about the nature of Zionism:
    ” Anti-Semitism was primarily – you need not mistake or deny other moments that resonate more or less – religious hatred, and the emancipation of the Jews and their intrusion into economic life also made the economic side of Jew-hatred emerge much stronger. But the anti-Semitism of today is racial hatred! And that means a complete re-evaluation and a huge uptrend. Religious and economic anti-Semitism are more superficial nature, they are the nature and the perception of action, not the person. The racial anti-Semitism, however, is against the human person itself. It turned a forceful opposition, in which both sides seek to convince by arguments , into ​​an anti-Semitism of contempt of inferior Jews and preaches complete separation from him in all areas of culture and social life. With what success is known! If the “racial” moment has acquired a meaning in which nothing counts of everything else, merits, virtues, striving and disposition, if the Jew is outlawed, if you want to depress him into a pariah position, so it is a success, the national belief, the chauvinistic racial madness of our times, has won in diligent work.
    And this chauvinist, national racist madness is the theoretical basis, the spiritual soil of Zionism! That’s where it borrowed the specific features of it’s being and it’s effectiveness! Even the utterance of this undeniable and undisputed fact contains the most damning criticism of this pseudo messianic movement. With all clarity the consequences must be imagined of what it must mean for the nature and manifestations of Zionism that it grew up on the same marsh soil as the racial anti-Semitism, this scourge, which we Jews are suffering under so horrible. And it’s always the same water, may it now be called Aryan anti-Semitic, or may it now be colored Jewish-national that comes from the same poisoned wells, and no staining of the world can make it a healthy drink.
    If you stand on the position that the national hate speech and racial anti-Semitism is a crime against culture – and who would not – you must also condemn it’s brother in Jewish garb, the national Zionism, because it’s results will be as pernicious as those.”
    For fear of retribution by zionists Rabbi Goldman wrote this text anonymously (In German: Schriften zur Aufklärung über den Zionismus, N° 2 „Der Zionismus, seine Theorien, Aussichten und Wirkungen“, it was published by the “Antizionistisches Komitee Berlin 1913” – the English translation is mine).
    So, Rabbi Goldman understood Zionism as a racist and aggressive nationalist ideology like they were common in Europe (and the US) at the end of the 19th century, the difference just being that Zionism came in jewish garb. And my opinion is that while the world changed and renounced racism during the last century Zionism missed that train largely, still speaks in terms of Jews versus Arabs.
    In that booklet Rabbi Felix Goldman also wrote some sentences about the methods of Zionists:
    “After all these things, is it neccessary to draw attention to the means by which Zionism does it’s fights? It corresponds only to its nature when it, like any number of a Zionist newspaper proves, so behaves in the battle, as it has learned it from its great role model, the anti-Semitism. It never fights objectively, but always personal. Its strongest arguments are defaming opponents, suspicion of their motives, the churning of his most intimate relationships, and if everything of this is not successful, intimidation and threat must replace the might of objective reasons.”
    Again, the original text is in German, the translation is mine, done by the best of my knowledge. That’s what the respected liberal Rabbi Goldman said about Zionism in 1913. I find it surprisingly up-to-date still today, a 100 years later.

  15. Tony,
    “Israel has never intended to return any lands she occupied. So, IMO, all these peace processes are just waste of time.” Exactly. Those naïve fools in the West, and among the Palestinians, who thought that Israeli was genuinely interested in a two-state solution were played for suckers.
    And as ‘liberal Zionism’ – in which the vast majority of American and British Jews believed – was always implicitly premised upon belief in the possibility of a two-state solution, it has been exposed as a totally unreal belief system: a bit like ‘socialism with a human face’.
    One has to ask how so many came to be so comprehensively duped by successive Israeli governments. In an interesting lecture given in Ramallah back in December 2010, a London-based development economist who has worked extensively with the Palestinian Authority, Professor Mushtaq Khan, proposed an answer – that we all misunderstood how Israelis would perceive their self-interest.
    His argument was discussed, and developed, not long after in a piece by the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke:
    “The root premise has been, since the outset of the ‘process’, that Israel was intent on having and maintaining a Jewish ‘majority’ within Israel, and that with time – and a growing Palestinian population – Israel would have to acquiesce to a Palestinian state simply to maintain its Jewish majority: that is, by losing Palestinians into their own state, Israel’s Jewish majority could be conserved – and by these means, and only by such means, finally could such a majority be conserved.
    “It is a very compelling narrative. It suggested that a Palestinian state was inevitable: Palestinians simply had to ‘prove’ their readiness to assume statehood to Israel – and a state would be given them.
    “Professor Mushtaq Khan from London’s School of Oriental and African Studies argued in a recent talk that it was precisely this type of analysis that lay behind Fatah’s approach to Oslo. It explains, he argues, why the Palestinian leadership at this time never made real attempts to create serious bargaining power vis-à-vis Israel: the leadership simply did not think it necessary. They saw their task to be ‘confidence building’ with the Israelis. Professor Khan notes that Oslo was conducted not as a serious negotiation, but more as a confidence building exercise by the Palestinians.”
    (See )
    The failure was in not realising that Israeli Zionists really believed in the notion of their state as the ‘national home’ of some kind of monolithic ‘Jewish people’. So Crooke quotes remarks by Tzipi Livni to Ahmed Qurei:
    “I think that we can use another session – about what it means to be a Jew and that it is more than just a religion. But if you want to take us back to 1947, it won’t help. Israel is the state of the Jewish people – and I would like to emphasize the meaning of “its people” is the Jewish people – with Jerusalem the united and undivided capital of Israel and of the Jewish people for 3007 years….”
    What however have also to be grasped are some implications of Tzipi Livni’s position. The problem which so many misguidedly thought would make the Israelis concede a viable Palestinian state would now seem likely to be insoluble. Accordingly, a basic conflict opens up with the new secular religion of the age – that of human rights – and Israel is increasingly coming to be seen as an ‘apartheid state’.
    Moreover, in terms of her ‘blut und boden’ conception of Jewish identity, it has never been open to any authentic Jew to choose to be a wholehearted British, American, or indeed Czech, German or Russian, patriot, seeing their capital in London or Washington, or indeed Prague, Berlin, of St. Petersburg.
    It was precisely this implication of the endorsement of the idea of a Jewish ‘national home’ in the Balfour Declaration which caused Edwin Montagu, in 1917 the sole Jewish member of the British Cabinet, to accuse its authors of anti-Semitism, and was responsible for the vivid personal bitterness which underpinned his abortive attempt to prevent the document being issued. It seems to me now, as it seemed to him then, a radically false belief which inevitably sooner or later must call the loyalty of Jews to the countries in which they live in question.

  16. FRED! I never mentioned NATIONAL POLICY! But I would argue that how NATIONAL POLICY was reflected in the ROE [rules of engagement] of US forces in Viet Nam has never been studied and was not made clear at anytime to the American polity.
    And do the LBJ tapes reflect NATIONAL POLICY?

  17. Fred says:

    Ah, So Israel is not responsible for its own conduct, it’s all America’s fault.

  18. Charles I says:

    There’s a difference between “a great deal” and “all”. That parts of the U.S. government are enablers of the colonial program seems irrefutable on the face of it. That Israel is responsible for the consequences of its rampages is not the same point.

  19. Castellio says:

    I am certainly not implying that.
    The Israeli government bears primary responsibility, and the US government also bears a great deal of responsibility.
    I regret my post: I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t know.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Arabs of the Persian Gulf are also racists, ask any one from Pakistan.

  21. Edward Amame says:

    When Afrikaners did this kind of stuff in South Africa, it sparked a trade embargo.

  22. Tyler says:

    If Jews are so hot on “Israel for Israelis” why are they always at the forefront of making sure more third worlders are allowed to immigrate into Western countries?
    One rule for me, another for thee.

  23. Bandolero says:

    “Arabs of the Persian Gulf are also racists, ask any one from Pakistan.”
    What you do here is a generalization of people which I find unfair and in itself close to racism. See, for example, Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, who I think fulfils every criteria of an “Arabs of the Persian Gulf” – I don’t think he is a racist, but you label him as such just because he is an “Arab of the Persian Gulf.”
    Certainly, it is different when you speak about the governments of Arab countries at the Persian Gulf. If it is about these governments – and their wahhabi and takfiri constituencies – I would agree, that there is a huge chunk of racism involved in their behaviour.
    Accidentally, those who brought these “governments” based on the pseudo messianic Fitna Al Wahhabiyah to power during WWI were Brits – the same Brits, that empowered at the same time the pseudo messianic movement of Zionism with the Balfour Declaration. And of course, I think, the British empowering of wahhabism in WWI should be seen in the context of oil found in Mesopotamia, and oil should be seen as the reason why the Wahhabi racists are in power there since.
    So what I think in result is: just like Zionism Wahhabism and Takfirism in that region is based on medieval racism, it largely missed the train of world-wide anti-racism in the last century and one of the reasons for this is western protection for these medieval regimes motivated by oil.

  24. Fred says:

    It is Israel’s colonial program, not America’s. Manipulation of the US government policy is part of the Israeli program.

  25. Fred says:

    No, you repeated some left wing hollywood esque crap about ‘remember that scene….’. Please stop doing so.

  26. Fred says:

    Yes, I suspect that when the tide turns we’ll see the same thing. That caption photo from the 11/11/13 posting says all that needs to be said about the new apartheid.

  27. Matthew says:

    DH: We all have our crosses to bear. Do you have anyone in England this loony? See

  28. Fred! Sorry but your memories are wrong. See live footage and interviews in Stanley Arnow’s mulitipart Viet Nam War documentary.
    Perhaps you know of Nixon’s secret plan to end the war on which he campaigned in 1968!

    Stanley Abram Karnow (February 4, 1925 – January 27, 2013) was an American journalist and historian. He is best known for his writings on the Vietnam War.
    After serving with the United States Army Air Forces in the China Burma India Theater during World War II, he graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in 1947; in 1947 and 1948 he attended the Sorbonne, and from 1948 to 1949 the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. He then began his career in journalism as Time correspondent in Paris in 1950. After covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (where he was North Africa bureau chief in 1958-59), he went to Asia, where he spent the most influential part of his career. He was friends with Anthony Lewis[2] and Bernard Kalb.
    He covered Asia from 1959 until 1974 for Time, Life, the Saturday Evening Post, the London Observer, the Washington Post, and NBC News. Present in Vietnam in July 1959 when the first Americans were killed, he reported on the Vietnam War in its entirety. This landed him a place on the master list of Nixon political opponents. It was during this time that he began to write Vietnam: A History (1983).

  30. jmc5588 says:

    “This is by far the most familiar quotation to emerge from the Vietnam War. These few words seemed to capture perfectly the absurd futility of America’s presence in Vietnam. They were originally reported by Peter Arnett of the Associated Press, who quoted an unidentified American officer on why the village of Ben Tre was leveled during the Tet Offensive in early 1968: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” A two-paragraph version of the AP dispatch was buried on page 14 of The New York Times, with no byline. Other newspaper substituted the word “village” for “town.” Due to Peter Arnett’s solid reputation as a reporter, this quotation was not questioned at the time. Eventually, however, doubts were expressed about its authenticity. For one thing, Ben Tre was not a town but a provincial capital of fifty thousand. For another, although heavily damaged by fighting, Ben Tre was not leveled. Only a handful of American soldiers took part in combat there. Their senior officer, army major Phil Cannella, later recalled telling Arnett that it was unfortunate that some of Ben Tre was destroyed in the course of its defense. Cannella thought he might have said at most, “It was a shame the town was destroyed.” Cannella, who later turned against the war, believes Arnett may have embellished this comment by him. Arnett himself has steadfastly refused to identify the source of this famous quotation. He did tell writer Peter Braestrup it was one of four officers he’d interviewed on that day in 1968. As Braestrup pointed out in his book Big Story, the day before Arnett’s story ran, columnist James Reston wrote in his New York Times column, “How do we win by military force without destroying what we are trying to save?” Reston’s column concluded, “How will we save Vietnam if we destroy it in a battle?” Verdict: A quotation this seminal needs better confirmation. ”
    (The Quote Verifier by Ralph Keyes, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006, pp. 43-44)
    Mr. Arnett’s own credibility as a journalist was badly damaged by his participation in the 1998 “Operation Tailwind” reporting fiasco. Since he has steadfastly refused to identify the source(s) of this statement, one wonders if the entire thing was either a pastiche or an outright fabrication. It was one of those things that, to the antiwar activists, seemed too good to be true, and therefore too good to be questioned.

  31. confusedponderer says:

    That’s because they don’t want them for themselves. Mostly african asylum seekers are iirc routinely called ‘infiltrators’ in Israel, and the Izzies have, according to the Independent, build their largest Lager yet to detain up to 8.000 of them.
    “The centre, which will include medical, community and sports facilities, is intended to tackle an immigration problem that politicians say threatens to overwhelm Israel’s population of 7.5 million. Speaking 18 months ago, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said it was time “to stop this growing influx that threatens Israelis’ jobs and changes the character of the state”.
    The last line is telling: “… and changes the character of [Israel as a Jewish (only)] state”.
    Israel is an ethnocracy all right.
    Some bum from the Bronx, if his mother was Jewish, has under Israeli law more of a right to live there than, say, a Christian Arab, whose ancestors have lived there for a Millennium.
    And not only do they not want them, they don’t want to them breed either, even when they are Jewish:
    “Some 130,000 Ethiopians, most of them Jewish, live in Israel. The community experiences higher poverty and unemployment rates than the rest of the country’s Jewish population. In the past decade, the birth rate among Ethiopian-Israelis has declined by at least 20 percent. Advocacy groups now claim this decline is the result of a birth control regimen forced upon Ethiopian immigrant women”
    So that State is apprently not only Jewish but also “White”.

  32. jonst says:

    Remind me why any of this is United States business?

  33. turcopolier says:

    jonst. It is not. The Israelis and the Palestinians should settle their problems between them in the context of the larger region. pl

  34. turcopolier says:

    IMO Arnett was an anti-American leftist. he favored the communists in VN because he approved of their philosophy. I was in MACVSOG and its successor outfit STDAT-158 and wrote the last yearly SOG/STDAT-158 annex to COMUSMACV’s annual report.In order to do that I read all the preceding annexes to the same report. I remember the report that recounted Tailwind. “Tailwind” was nothing like the CBS story. That story was based on a tale told by a mentally ill former junior officer who was seeking attention and sympathy. That pattern of sensationalist journalists seeking to pump mentally unstable people for “good stuff” was widespread. In the Tailwind operation a SOG patrol found a major NVA installation way out in the woods in Laos. If memory serves it was a division command post with associated headquarters troops and communications. It could have been bombed but MACV decided it wanted prisoners and documents. A Special Commando Unit (SCU) battalion of montagnards and their US SF leaders were inserted by air and overran the headquarters. They fought their way across the installation and were extracted by helo on the other side. It was a glorious thing and Arnett twisted the story int a sorry fantasy about poison gas and Americans killing their own men. How sad! How very sad! pl

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    I stand by what I have said.
    Again, ask anyone who has lived in Dubai, for example.
    As for this or that person, just like Jews in the Shul, you only know what they really think when you are an Arab among them.
    Now as for your last paragraph: I do not believe that it is historically accurate.
    One can criticize my statement as being a case of incomplete induction – that is a valid criticism however inapplicable it might be in this case.
    But your last paragraph is the foisting of a historical narrative that has no basis in reality.
    Racism is alive and well in China, in Korea, in Japan and in large parts of India (among various Hindu sects).
    All these people will tell you what you want to hear but reality is entirely different thing.
    You cannot blame racism on the Western people – they did not invent it and racism did not end with the end of colonial period.

  36. nick b says:

    Col., Do you and Mr. Sale agree in this respect?

  37. Charles I says:

    Heavens, please don’t regret your post just because we have the temerity to reply and quibble.

  38. Charles I says:

    Not on my watch, Who lost the ME, etc.

  39. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    It is a long piece. what are you referring to? pl

  40. nick b says:

    I was referring primarily to your response to jonst. Would you say you and Mr. Sale agree that the peace process, or lack there of, is really not the United States’ business? From Mr. Sale’s lament over the lack of progress in his first paragraph I’m unable to tell if he supports continued US involvement or not.

  41. turcopolier says:

    nick b
    Sale seems to believe that there was some chance of a Zionist acceptance of a two state solution. IMO there was not except perhaps for the creation of a kind of Bantustan in the period when Barak was PM. IMO the essence of Zionism is an exclusive claim to the whole of Eretz Israel. All else is tactics. pl

  42. Tyler says:

    I was certainly begging the question there to make a point about how Morris Dees, the ACLU, the SPLC, and all the rest are more than ready to scream racism and bury anyone who attempts to enforce immigration laws under a mountain of paperwork, but become very meek when you point at what Israel is doing.

  43. Matthew says:

    Charles: It was never ours to “lose”.
    On a more positive note, I attended a speech last night by author Stephen Kinzer who was hawking his new book on the Dulles brothers called, “The Brothers.” (Creative, don’t you think?)
    Anyway, Mr. Kinzer responded to a question about Israel and the ME by saying, “We should never subcontract our foreign policy to another nation.”
    A true dagger in the heart for the Israel-Firsters in attendance. A moment of pure schadenfreude for me.

  44. Matthew says:

    Col: The Isarelis have never had to make a hard choice between their fever dreams and reality because we have politicians like Biden, Schumer, and Menendez constantly sqawking about “no daylight.” In this context, a policy of Eretz Israel is rational.

  45. Matthew,
    ‘In this context, a policy of Eretz Israel is rational.’
    Only in the very short term. The view that the Colonel attributes to Richard Sale is – as Professor Mushtaq Khan points out in the lecture I discussed in a previous comment on this thread – a view very many people held, because it appeared to be based upon a rational appreciation of Israel’s self-interest.
    His analysis has now moved into the mainstream in Britain, as is evident from a piece by David Gardner, International Affairs Editor of the Financial Times, in July:
    “Palestinian leaders such as Mr Abbas, conscious they are by far the weaker party, have based their tactics on two assumptions: that Israel wanted a Palestinian state, since otherwise Jews would end up outnumbered by Arabs in the cramped territory between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean; and that the US would chivvy Israel into assenting to such a state, since it is manifestly in America’s interest to stabilise the Middle East and damp down Arab and Muslim hostility to its policies.
    “These assumptions, logical as they may be, have proved baseless.”
    (See )
    As so often, ‘rational’ people’ underestimated the potency of ethno-nationalist and religious feeling. However, allowing these free rein has created what may in the long-term be insoluble problems for Israel.
    Belated realisation of the actual nature of Zionism is creating a sense among non-Jews that they have been, in essence, conned – which is I think an undercurrent in Gardner’s article. At the same time, the attempt to swallow the West Bank means that the more rabid ethno-nationalist and religious undercurrents in Israeli society become both more salient and much more difficult to hide from view.
    A corollary is that ‘liberal Zionism’ – a core part of the belief system of very many American and British Jews – increasingly looks as though it was founded on assumptions about Israel which were questionable from the start, and now appear simply untenable. This opens up tensions alike between support for Israel and deeply held moral beliefs among Jews outside Israel, and also between such support and people’s sense of their long-term self-interest.
    At the same time, as Mushtaq Khan points out, the assumption that Israelis would recognise that a Palestinian state was in their own interest mean that the Palestinian Authority conceived the political problem as one of reassurance, rather than thinking seriously about strategy.
    Part of the purpose of his lecture was to attempt to change this situation, with his own ideas, unsurprisingly being shaped by the experience of the struggle against British rule in India.
    None of these developments bode well for the long-term prospects of Israel.

  46. jonst says:

    It seems the US populace is coming around to our way of thinking on this general issue Col.

  47. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    IMO there was never any possibility of a two state solution. Zionism is devoted and has always been devoted to producing a one state solution. I mean no offense but how much time have you spent in Israel/Palestine? With the exception of the Barak as PM period it was always clear that the great majority of Israeli Jews hate and despise the Arabs. pl

  48. Thanks Jonst! I never knew Peter Arnett a primary source for the quote. I consider him a largely discredited reporter.
    As I have mentioned several times on my comments on this blog I consider the history of the War in Vietnam still an open issue even with Americans. After all as recently as 2004 the major political party that involved the US in that war nominated a Presidential candidate that if asked under oath whether he thought that national effort on balance for the good of the US and world or detrimental to the US could not provide an answer.
    Now that candidate again wants to run for the Presidency in 2016!

  49. turcopolier says:

    In regard to “classifying” Muslims, try listening to them without dismissing what they say as deluded and futile.
    As for Kerry, if he were to admit that the war in VN was justified he would be repudiating himself. pl

  50. Colonel Lang,
    No offence taken, and I have never even visited Israel. But I would not normally have the temerity to disagree with you on the Middle East, given your vast experience and knowledge of the area, and certainly had no intention of doing so on this occasion, as I have seen no credible evidence calling your reading of Israeli Zionism into question.
    The questions with which I was concerned are why people fooled themselves about Israeli intentions, and the implications of their being, as it were, woken out of their dream.

  51. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    I understand. I was merely reprising my belief in the matter. It would be worthwhile to visit there. I would recommend a stay at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem rather than the idyllic environment of the American Colony. The KD is the very citadel of Zionist triumphalism and a few hours in the bar are a revelation. The Hilton is the same thing but with less wealthy Jewish pilgrims from the US, lots of dancing the Hora, etc. We had an Israeli academic friend here last week and dined with him. He is kibbutz raised, is an IDF combat veteran and has a powerful appetite for American steaks and lobsters. He is a generous, enlightened man. He was surprised when my wife told him that Israeli behavior towards Palestinian civilians including Arab Israelis has become so abusive and demeaning that she will never visit the country again.

  52. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    A few examples:
    At movement control barricades Israeli troops typically harass and mock Palestinian men for the amusement of the other juvenile soldiers at the post. Heads of families are required to jump up and down and to answer questions while they are doing that. All the while the families watch from inside the vehicle and the Israelis yell at the men at the top of their voices.
    Israeli traffic police stop Palestinian drivers of rented vehicles and question them in minute detail about traffic laws. Documents are closely examined with the clear intent of finding some minor discrepancy that will enable an arrest. Our driver was taken away leaving is sitting in the car by the road outside Jerusalem.
    On another occasion an Ethiopian woman Israeli police creature thought my wife id not answer questions clearly enough in a roadside traffic stop. She grabbed my wife’s arm and tried to drag her to a police vehicle. I intervened and for a moment I thought I was probably going to be shot. The Palestinian driver kept telling this cop that we were American tourists and she finally desisted. So much for their friendliness. pl

  53. PL! Absolutely ageww words are important!

  54. Bandolero says:

    Well, of course I can blame racism on the Western people.
    My take: Murderous tribal, sectarian and ethnic bigotry is as old as humanity itself, and such bigotry was and is more or less everywhere. You can see it in the garb of Abrahamite monotheistic religions or – just look to Myanmar – in the garb of other teachings like Buddhist.
    However, to make a science of such bigotry and proudly and positively call this bigotry “racial science” – or racism – is a painful western “achievement” of the outgoing 19th century. I think what the world witnessed during the last century is a huge train driving away from tribal, sectarian, ethnic and racial bigotry, but, in this I agree with you, their is still a lot of such bigotry around in the world. Overcoming such bigotry I see as a development topic, in a developed society there should be rather fewer such bigotry. Of course, development is not always going this direction, just look at Hungary, but, generally speaking, in the last century there were huge improvements around the world.
    However, history had seen many times where bigot sectarian teachings grew, often in the garb of (pseudo) messianic movements. Such bigot teachings usually phased out after a while last not least because they made itself lot’s of enemies and more often sooner than later regimes based on such bigotry collapsed due to the pressure of that. Democracy is, not always, but generally quite good at working against tribal, sectarian and ethnic bigotry, because parties and politicians who do not outreach to large parts of their countries population have a hard time.
    The movements that took power in Palestine (Zionism) and the arab peninsula (Wahhabism) were brought to power by external – western – forces, Churchill, Lawrence of Arabia, the US and so on.
    My opinion is that without such external western forces they never could got power, and even when one assumes, they could, they could have not preserve the power and the bigotry at the same time. Without western backing they probably had either to reduce their sectarian bigotry to be able to hold power, or they would have been gone like many such bigot movements before, because their bigotry made them too many enemies.
    I assume without western backing it would have been likely that in the arab world other regimes occured, and the less bigot sectarianism they would have shown,the bigger their chance to hold on power for a longer time. So, in my view, western backing for bigot sectarian regimes – driven by oil and the Zionist lobby – is indeed a factor why that region missed the development train to become less racist that was catched by huge parts of the world during the last century.
    I hope that makes my point of view better understandable.

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Israelis are generally rude, this has been noted by many visitors to that country.
    I watched a movie recently that was taking place in Haifa and I noticed how poor everyone was; dilapidated small apartments with chipping paint etc.
    The family in this movie was making a living from a bread shop and the grown sons were running a second-hand shop.
    One thing that struck me with its absence was the terracotta pots planted with geraniums.
    You see, that seems to be the common heritage of people from Afghanistan to Spain – even poor people have a few pots of geraniums lying around.
    I could characterize that country as “The Country without Geraniums.”

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I heard that in the West Bank, there are areas in which Palestinians are forced to go through check-points almost every one-yard.
    There were also cases of women dying at child-birth since the ambulances were stopped at check-points indefinitely.

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think those feelings are reciporacted by Palestinians inside Israel as well as in the Occupied Territories.

  58. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There was no conning.
    Israel was a religious project – par excellence – from the very beginning.

  59. Matthew says:

    Tyler: Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” is full of anecdotes on Israel’s race problem. To be PEP, Progressive Except for Palestine, is the ultimate irony.

  60. Matthew says:

    Col: I’m sure your local Congressman sent a stern letter complaining of your treatment.

  61. Colonel Lang,
    What you say does not surprise.
    Reading the exchanges between Eric Alterman and Max Blumenthal following the publication of ‘Goliath’, one could vividly see how traumatic it is for ‘liberal Zionists’ to face up to the collapse of their belief system. It seemed that Blumenthal was rather like someone trying to pull the head of an ostrich out of the sand, and getting roundly kicked by the ostrich’s back leg for his pains.
    What is simply impossible for me to gauge is how opinion among American Jews will develop, as it becomes ever more difficult to keep one’s head in the sand.
    Although the late Tony Judt was a fine scholar and a decent man, he was much too ‘progressive’ for me – I have enormous difficulty seeing how any kind of ‘one state solution’ based upon modern Western conceptions of ‘human rights’, which I think largely nonsense, could work in Israel/Palestine.
    However, I suspect he may have been in part right in thinking that the definition of their identity by American Jews in terms of Israel and the Holocaust had a great deal to do with identity politics in the United States. You are a settler society, as we, with of course the critical exception of Northern Ireland, are not. So to have a ‘dual identity’ is natural for you, as it has not traditionally been for us. This is not intended as criticism, simply as a reflection on a different historical context.
    A ‘dual identity’ involving centering one’s conception of oneself around a society which has come to define its identity in terms of the Holocaust, and implicitly, in terms of a suspicion of all ‘goyim’, seems however a fraught with dangerous potentialities.
    In this context, apparently ‘reasonable’ Israelis like Ari Shavit may be peddling a snake-oil to American Jews which is actually more, rather than less, dangerous than that supplied by the hard-core Likudniks.

  62. turcopolier says:

    Jim Moran would have done so if I had told him of it. pl

  63. Correction: Should read words are important!
    Also unclear PL where I was “classifying” Muslims?

  64. turcopolier says:

    You want to be able to sort them into groups, yes? pl

  65. Matthew says:

    Col: That’s good to know. I’m very cynical about these things, unfortunately.

  66. Will says:

    “But this chief point of all this comes down to this: after the Six Day War, Israel became the strongest element in the Middle East, and the prickly insecurity that lay at the base of its foundation, changed in two decades, to a self-satisfied arrogance.”
    But Israel has always been the strongest. The “insecurity,” being surrounded by hostile neighbors is hasbara. They still use it today when they have deliverable nukes as they had in the past. Who was the strongest in 1956 during Suez or any of their punitive raids into the West Bank or Jordan. They even bombed Damascus in 1948. As Khrushchev told Nasser, some of these people were on the General Staffs of the combatants in WW2. The plan in the beginning was to pretend peace, keep the pot boiling, and eventually capture all of Eretz Yisrael, including the Judean Hills, and slowly digest and delete the native inhabitants.

  67. Will says:

    the idea of using religion for territorial conquest is common to all three Abrahamic religions. It at least started with Moses and Joshua and the injunction to burn the Canaanite cities as a holocaust (burnt offering).
    Moslems believed their conquests were sanctioned by religion. Christians are also not immune. Witness the treatments of the Moriscos, Marinos, and Conversos in Spain. The Wendish Crusades- who has heard of them?
    “According to Bernard of Clairvaux, the goal of the crusade was to battle the pagan Slavs “until such a time as, by God’s help, they shall either be converted or deleted”.[6] However, the crusade failed to achieve the conversion of most of the Wends. The Saxons achieved largely token conversions at Dobin, as the Slavs returned to their pagan beliefs once the Christian armies dispersed; Albert of Pomerania explained, “If they had come to strengthen the Christian faith … they should have done so by preaching, not by arms”.[7]
    The countryside of Mecklenburg and central Pomerania was plundered and depopulated with much bloodshed, especially by the troops of Henry the Lion.[1] Of Henry’s campaigns, Helmold of Bosau wrote that “there was no mention of Christianity, but only of money”.[1] The Slavic inhabitants also lost much of their methods of production, limiting their resistance in the future.[”

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