Friday, September 19, 2008

Human-rights horsetrading

Here's a familiar scenario for anyone who has been involved in debate or discussion on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You mention the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes in 1947-49 during the creation of the state of Israel, and the fact that those people and their descendents continue to this day to live as stateless refugees. Then comes the retort that many thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands at the same time. "Why," it is demanded, "don't you talk about them?".

For Yehouda Shenhav of Tel Aviv University, author of "The Arab Jews", the purported equivalence is plainly spurious:

"Any reasonable person, Zionist or non-Zionist, must acknowledge that the analogy drawn between Palestinians and Arab Jews is unfounded. Palestinian refugees did not want to leave Palestine. Many Palestinian communities were destroyed in 1948, and some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled, or fled, from the borders of historic Palestine. Those who left did not do so of their own volition. In contrast, Arab Jews arrived to Israel under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations. Some arrived of their own free will; others arrived against their will. Some lived comfortably and securely in Arab lands; others suffered from fear and oppression."

Moreover, the claimed equivalence between Jewish and Arab refugees stems from an organised campaign whose aims are far from humanitarian. Shenhav describes it as

"...a folly attempt to use the Arab Jews and their histories to counter-balance the Palestinian claim for the so called "right of return". The campaign has tried to create an analogy between Palestinian refugees and Arab Jews, whose origins are in Middle Eastern countries - depicting both groups as victims of the 1948 War of Independence. The campaign's Jewish proponents hope their efforts will prevent conferral of what is called a "right of return" on Palestinians, and reduce the size of the compensation Israel is liable to be asked to pay in exchange for Palestinian property appropriated by the state guardian of "lost" assets.[i.e. Palestinian property stolen by the Israeli government] Whereas in the past, the State of Israel and Jewish organizations have denied any linkage between the two groups and argued that the campaign was launched in the interest of the Arab Jews (see Chapter 3 in my book The Arab Jews, Stanford University Press, 2006), today all parties involved acknowledge that the main objective of the campaign is not to secure the interest of the Arab Jews, but rather to counter-balance the Palestinian political demands. ... [T]he idea of drawing this analogy constitutes a mistaken reading of history, imprudent politics, and moral injustice; and ... any analogy between Palestinian refugees and Jewish immigrants from Arab lands is folly in historical and political terms "

This campaign, Shenhav points out, continually fails to win support amongst Arab Jews because many of them refuse to see themselves as refugees and insist that they came to Israel as willing Zionists.
This is not to say that many Arab Jews were not wronged by Arab governments at that time, but rather to point out that an equivalence can not be made in order to justify some trade-off of rights. After all, those Arab Jews who did not come to Israel of their own volition, who were expelled from Arab lands with their property confiscated, now at least enjoy self-determination in a democratic national homeland. Certainly few of them are demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes in Iraq, Syria and other countries. The Palestinian refugees by contrast are condemned to live in squalor, forcibly denied by Israel and its international allies their right to self-determination and a democratic state of their own. Its hard to say what's uglier: the claim that the plight of the two groups is the same, or the attempt to trade one crime off against another.

In this article, Lyn Julius argues that a resolution to the refugee issue can be found in Palestinians relinquishing their right of return in exchange for Arab Jews relinquishing theirs. I responded as follows:

"To seek restitution for the Jewish refugees is a noble and worthy cause. To try and trade off the rights of Jewish refugees against the rights of Palestinian refugess, by contrast, is cynical in the extreme.

Human rights, by definition, are not a commodity and cannot be traded. People who sign up to the principles of liberal democracy should not need this to be explained to them. Why should the Palestinians be held accountable for the crimes of Arab tyrannies? Because we're holding the whole Arab race responsible? Anyone who subscribes to that view has no right to speak of anti-semitism. You either oppose racism or you don't.

Let the Jewish refugees come to a settlement with those who wronged them; the Arab governments. And let the Palestinians come to a settlement with those who wronged them; the Israeli government. And let those who profess to speak on behalf of one oppressed group not exploit their cause in order to oppress another."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evidently, the source you cite is misinformed. For his edification - and I have largely paraphrased from an analysis of historian Arthur Eckstein:

There were many official measures taken by Arab regimes which led to the expulsion or fleeing of the Jewish population. Take Egypt as an example. There were Official Measures including, for example, those taken in the period from 1956-1957 - but these are far from the only ones. Quoting from his analysis:

According to official Egyptian documents, four specific kinds of measure directly and radically affected the rights, status and very existence of many Jews in Egypt. These were: police detention; sequestration of businesses and property; explusion from the country; and promulgation of a new statute under which Jews were deprived of citizenship.

Regarding the first category, Article 3, Paragraph 7, and Article 7 of Emergency Law No.5333 of 1954, on the Proclamation of a State of Siege in Egypt, authorized the Military Government of Egypt 'to order the arrest and apprehension of suspects and those who prejudice public order and security'. Under these provisions, hundreds of Jews, without charges against them, were detained, imprisoned or otherwise deprived of their liberty.

According to representatives in Egypt of an important international relief organization, at least 900 Jews had been arrested as of 7 December 1956. Five hundred were interned in the Jewish school at Abbasiyya in Cairo. As of 3 December, 261 of these 500 were stateless; the rest were Egyptian citizens. At the Abraham Batesh Jewish school in Heliopolis, another 42 Jews were detained, most of them women, many of them aged. This group included 19 stateless persons and 23 others. At Les Barrages prison north of Cairo, 300 Jews were detained, half of them stateless; the other half British and French subjects. Limited to the Cairo area, and excluding Alexandria and the smaller, dwindling communities of the Nile Delta, these figures cannot represent the total number of Jews then imprisoned in Egypt.

Furthermore, many Jewish families in Cairo and Alexandria were held in confinement at their homes for considerable lengths of time, often without funds, food or other supplies, under surveillance by building concierges invested with police authority to control Jewish tenants under confinement, and supplied with firearms to render this control more effective.

Sequestration and economic strangulation: under the authority of Military Proclamation No.4 'relative to commerce with British and French subjects and to measures affecting their properties' (Journal Officiel, No.88, bis A of 1 November 1956), 19 directives appeared in the Journal Officiel of Egypt. Eleven (Nos.170-177 and 186-188) overwhelmingly affected the property of Jews. Military Proclamation No.4 appeared under the heading of 'Regime of Sequestration'. It stated in Article 1 that:

The commissioner of the management of properties of persons interned or placed under surveillance, charged with the execution of the provisions of Law No. 176 of 1956, will assume the management of the properties of the following persons and institutions: 1) all persons who were interned or placed under surveillance in execution of the law relative to the state of siege; 2) every company, association or foundation, whatever its purpose may be, functioning under the control of any single person cited above, or any person having an important interest in it; 3) all persons who reside outside the Republic of Egypt and function under the control of any of the aforementioned persons or those who have an important interest in them.

About 95 per cent of the people who suffered from this government measure were Jews. It is noteworthy that these directives issued under Military Proclamation No.4 did not refer to properties owned by British and French subjects which were sequestered under Military Proclamation No.5 - also affecting a number of Jews - but exclusively refer to assets of Egyptian citizens, stateless Jews, and Jews of nationalities other than British and French. All in all, it is estimated that between November 1956 and March 1957 assets of at least 500 Jewish-owned firms were sequestered and their bank accounts frozen; 800 more enterprises under Jewish proprietorship were placed on an economic blacklist and their assets frozen.(11)

The persons and firms affected by this measure represented the bulk of the economic substance of Egyptian Jewry, the largest and most important enterprises, and the main sustenance, through voluntary contributions, of the Jewish religious, educational, social and welfare institutions in Egypt. The resulting paralysis of these institutions substantially aggravated the uprooting effect of the government's anti-Jewish policies and greatly intensified the pressure for Jews to leave the country.

In addition to depriving owners of their properties and income, the sequestration measures indirectly affected the livelihood of a much broader circle of Jews, those employed by firms placed under custodianship. It was reliably reported that all sequestered firms received instructions to discharge all employees of the Jewish faith and acted accordingly. Nor was the elimination of Jews from Egyptian economic life confined to sequestered firms and assets. There were other measures, mostly unofficial, which prevented a large, additional group of Jews from earning a living. For example, most Jews had already lost their positions in public companies and many private firms which were not subject to sequestration. At the same time, many Jews in independent private enterprises were prevented from doing business by the denial of trade permits, export and import licenses, foreign currency allocations, and other administrative facilities essential to the continuation of business. As a result, Jews were either forcibly excluded or voluntarily withdrawing from business. Likewise, a steadily growing number of Jewish physicians, lawyers and engineers were, by various means, prevented from practising their professions.(12)

The character and intent of the sequestration policy was rather clearly revealed by one of its original provisions. Sequestration order No. 189 authorized the commissioner of sequestered properties to deduct from all capital assets under his custody, ten per cent of their value, as well as ten per cent of the current income of income-producing properties, to be used for administrative and other undefined purposes. This provision transformed the measure into an instrument for at least partial confiscation of these assets, pointing, at the same time, towards the strong probability that this policy aimed at something more drastic and final than mere custody.

Expulsion and "voluntary" empigration as Egyptian governmental polciies were not entirely distinct. By the end of November 1956 at least 500 Egyptian and "stateless" Jews had been expelled from Egypt, not including a considerable number of Jewish citizens of Britain and France. Most of the expellees were heads of families. They were ordered to leave the country within two to seven days.

In most cases, the individual served with a deportation order was a breadwinner responsible for supporting his family; but all members of the family had to leave the country. Thus, this measure indirectly forced out of Egypt several times the number of those who received expulsion orders. However, official deportation orders were by no means the most effective instruments for thorough forced emigration.

At the end of November 1956, direct, individual expulsion orders ceased, only to be replaced by the more subtle, potent techniques of intimidation and psychological warfare against the Jewish population as a whole. Under these pressures and the simultaneous economic harassment of Jews, a much larger and steadily growing emigration movement began. Jews 'voluntarily' obliged themselves, in formal declarations to the authorities, to leave the country and, in the case of Egyptian nationals, to relinquish their citizenship.(13)

Both the formal expulsion orders and the 'voluntary' pledges to expatriate oneself struck Jews of every status - citizens, stateless persons, and foreign subjects alike. All laissez-passer documents issued to them expressly stated that the person leaving Egypt would not be permitted to return, and that they voluntarily renounced all claims against Egypt. More than 20,200 Jews emigrated between 22 November 1956 and 30 June 1957. In all, between 23,000 and 25,000 out of the 45,000 Jews left Egypt: that is, more than 50% of all Egyptian Jews left in one seven month period.

The emigration, expulsion and flight began on a large scale with thousands of people flocking to the offices of the Rabbinate, consulates, and embassies seeking advice, assistance and means of escape. The port of Alexandria and the airfield at Cairo were jammed with refugees leaving the country. Initially, government officials showed little leniency in customs inspections, arbitrarily confiscating any items which were believed to be of value. The pressure at points of embarkation was so great that there was no time for individual treatment. In the bedlam of this situation, thousands of people left with hardly more than the clothes on their backs.

The American Embassy was seriously disturbed by the situation. On several occasions it made representations about it to the Egyptian government, warning of the negative impact that measures against the Jews might have on world public opinion. The American representations had no impact.

Perhaps more important was the intercession on behalf of the Jewish community by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskold. Many members of the Jewish community felt that his intercession, brought about through informal advances by the Jewish community to neutral embassies, considerably lightened the Egyptian governmental measures.

Denaturalization (deprivation of citizenship) also affected Egyptian Jews. A long-standing device to achieve 'national homogeneity' had been the Egyptian nationality law of 13 September 1950. On 22 November 1956 this law was amended by a decree-law promulgated by the President of the Republic (i.e. Nasser). Article 1 proclaimed that:

Only individuals resident on Egyptian territory before 1 January 1900, who maintained their residence until the date of promulgation of the present decree and who are not under the jurisdiction of a foreign state, are Egyptians.

The legally incapacitating intent and effect of this provision are quite clear in spite of the camouflaging formulation.

First, the law could easily be interpreted to mean that if an 'undesirable' individual left the country, even for a brief stay abroad, he thereby automatically failed to 'maintain his residence' until the date of the new law. Through this device, Egyptian citizens of the Jewish faith were easily deprived retroactively of their acquired citizenship.

Second, an even more dangerous loophole was hidden behind the stipulation of the cut-offdate of 1 January 1900. There was simply no officially valid documentation in existence which could attest to the residence of persons in Egypt at that remote point in time. Through this loophole, not only were new certificates of nationality denied to undesired applicants, but it was now possible for the authorities to annul existing certificates retroactively.

But the 1956 Law did not stop at these stipulations. It went on to impose special disabilities expressly upon Jews alone. Article 1 further stipulated that:

Neither Zionists nor those against whom a judgement has been handed down for crimes of disloyalty to the country or for treason, shall be covered by this provision.

To make the intent of this provision clear beyond doubt, Article 1 added that:

No request for the delivery of a certificate of Egyptian nationality will be accepted from persons known as Zionists . . .

This was the first instance in the history of law where the concept of Zionism was applied in a nationality statute as a criterion of citizenship and as an indirect basis for denaturalization. Since the law furnished no definition whatsoever of the term 'Zionist', it was obvious that the Egyptian authorities could apply this provision at will to any person of the Jewish faith.

I can provide data that supports the view that there was widespread violence against Jews throughout the period from the 1930's through the 1950's - and even thereafter - including massacres (e.g. in Iraq) and Libya, etc., etc.

Which is to say, you are quoting nonsense.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One point overlooked by me. The focus on Jews as being "Zionist" shows the linkage, by the Arab side, between its Jewish population and Israel. In other words, the Arab side attacked these people for being what they could not distinguish - Jewish/Zionist.

Further, the fact that Jewish refugees were willing to be resettled does not de-link them from what occurred to Palestinian Arabs. That is nonsense. Rather, Jewish refugees behaved as refugees from all over the world behave - they agreed to be settled. And note: such people lived in tent cities for years until Israel had the resources to house them.

By contrast, Arab refugees deemed it better to become pawns in a war against Israel. That is the same view that made them refugees in the first place - their unwillingness to accept partition and the rule of International law that mandated partition. Had partition been accepted in the first place, they would not have become refugees because there would have been no war - a war with refugees on both sides.

Rather than accepting partition, Palestinian Arabs were sold a bill of goods by Nazi leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Husseini. He worked tirelessly to prevent any resolution of the dispute. In fact, he worked with the Nazi regime and was promised an invasion by the Nazis who would eliminate the regions Jews. He toured the death camps and knew how many people were being killed. He advocated the same solution for all of the world's Jews. This, to note, was the leader of the Palestinian Arabs, a leader still adored to this day. The evidence for all of this has been shown unequivocally and bears directly on the rejectionist ideology which came to dominate the thinking of Palestine Arabs.

4:51 PM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

re.your first comment - neither I nor Yehouda Shenhav in the quote I gave said that no Jews were driven out of Arab countries. We both said explicitly that they were. So your lengthy quote from an unnamed book/article serves no purpose.

re.your second comment - yes, clearly the only reason Palestinian refugees didn't willingly accept being driven out of their homes by mass violence - massacres, rapes etc - was because they're Nazis.

After all, who but a Nazi would fail to greet being ethnicly cleansed with a big smile and a thank you?

Desperate stuff, like your other distortions, but by now its clear that this is all apologists for Israeli state crimes have left to offer. I guess if you can't win an argument, one alternative is just to try and sabotage it.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous JamieSW said...

anon, some advice: you didn't mention the Grand Mufti enough. You've got to reference him - use his full title + name for best effectiveness - at least five times per comment, or else thickheads like Dave just don't get the message.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm back after a nice weekend. Clearly you do not understand - or do not want to admit understanding. Regarding the Arabs and the Nazis, I think that Bernard-Henri Lévy explains it better than me, so I quote him:

Or: "Israel is a mistake; Israel is a crime, since it's a crime to make the Arabs pay for a European crime that they had nothing to do with." This proposition is false. Literally false. Without getting into metaphysical considerations about eh universality of the crime against humanity; without entering the debate about the question of whether we can know, in a crime of such magnitude, if all humanity is wounded and therefore concerned, what we know about Arab Nazism contradicts this. Reading the writings of the Mufti, one can no longer say that the Holocaust was a European crime of which the Arabs are innocent. One can no longer say that the Arab world is paying for a crime it had nothing to do with when we discover, in the archives of the high commander of the German army, that "only the funds placed at the disposition of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem by Germany" allowed him to organize his little Kristallnacht in Palestine. And one can no longer make this calim or sustain this argument when one has read the book by two renowned researchers that just came out in Germany establishing, after many years of inquiry, especially in the military archives of Freiburg, two absolutely decisive facts. First, that Arab anti-Semitism was not, as is always said, a circumstantial anti-Semitism, mainly linked to English support for the nascent Israeli state, which the Arabs therefore saw as a colonial creation: Germany, says the Grand Mufti in a statement the authors discovered, is "the only country in the world that has not merely fought the Jews at home but have declared war on the entirety of world Jewry; in this war against world Jewry, the Arabs feel profoundly connected to Germany"–one could hardly put it better! And second, that there was, stationed in Athens, under the orders of the Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff, the very same man who refined and then developed the use of gas trucks at Auschwitz, a special intervention force, the Einsatzgruppe Ägypten, intended to reach Palestine and liquidate the 500,000 European Jews who had already taken refuge in the Yishuv in the event Rommel won the battle of the desert: this was an Arab unit, and it was al-Husseini who, there again, in his conversations with Eichmann, had put the final touches on the intervention plan, which should indicate his full and entire participation in the Final Solution; and only Montgomery's victory at El Alamein stymied the project for extermination.

[Quoted from Left in Dark Times, at page 176. The two authors referenced in the above quoted material are Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers. Their book is Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina (translated - "Crescent Moon and Swastika: The Third Reich, the Arabs, and Palestine"). I omitted the endnote from the text.]

Of course, on your telling, there was no Arab war against the Jews. And, the displacements of Jews that occurred, before and after WWII - the 856,000 thousands Jews displaced by Arabs -, were not part of a war on Jews. And, it was, on your telling, to be believed that when Egypt kicked out its Zionists - their words, David, not mine -, such had no connection with the Jews of Israel - none at all on your charge.

Of course, your point is all nonsense - a pure negation of the historical fact. And, even if BHL's above quoted point were not so - but it is so -, you leave out the Jews ethnically cleansed by Arabs from Hebron and from Jerusalem and from villages all across what became the West Bank.

1:49 PM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

Right, so the Arabs, as a race, are guilty of racism?

You might want to have a little think about that one.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you are misrepresenting what I wrote. Pretty pathetic, since you have no answer for the facts I have presented.

Again: Jews were expelled, for example, from Egypt on the grounds that they were "Zionists." That makes the expulsion a reply to Zionism, which is what Israelis claim.

And, again, the leader of the Palestine Arabs, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was a radical Antisemite who was and still is loved by the leadership of Palestine Arabs. His birthday is celebrated.

And, again, the Grand Mufti was part of a plot, which had substantial support among Arabs, to rid the world of Jews. Among those involved were Nasser and Sadat. Yes, the same Sadat who cleansed his involvement by making peace with those people who, in his youth, he worked to kill en masse.

And, yes, there was an ethnic cleansing of Jews from Hebron - Jews with families who had lived in the town continuously for more than 3,000 years. And, yes, the old city of Jerusalem had a substantial Jewish population until the war of 1948, but that population was pushed out by the Arab side. That, David, is a fact whether or not you wish to deny it.

As for Arab racism, something I did not claim, I think that is not the point at all. The issue is hatred by the Islamists, which is, in fact, traditional Antisemitism along with Antisemitic motifs dating back to Islam's founding. But, today, it is the Nazi motif which predominates for Islamists. Read the Hamas covenant. You know, David, the covenant which closely paraphrases from the infamous forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The same covenant which advocates genocide. Must I quote it for you?

7:53 PM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

Your quote from BHL:

one can no longer say that the Holocaust was a European crime of which the Arabs are innocent. One can no longer say that the Arab world is paying for a crime it had nothing to do with

You think ascribing racial guilt isn't, er, racist? This is the quality of scholarship you're quoting?

You're wasting my time and your own, my friend.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


BHL is certainly a famous writer. Perhaps you have not heard of him. Perhaps you have not heard of making a generalization.

The point here is to note that the Palestine Arabs - like the Germans - bear responsibility for what occurred during WWII. We know that because the leadership of the Palestine Arabs was hip deep into Nazism. He was a committed Nazi.

We also know that he had substantial support from the Palestine Arab population. We know that his agenda became the agenda of the Palestine Arabs. We know that Nazi propaganda struck a chord with Palestine Arabs - it still does, as shown by the Hamas covenant.

As for speaking of Arab guilt, people have no problem of speaking about German guilt for what the Nazis did. Why does it trouble you that one might speak of Arab guilt - which was rather substantial although, clearly, not of the same order as that of the Nazis -? Do you have problems speaking of French guilt? The French were involved in a way that is similar to what the Arab were involved.

Arabs were less successful at killing Jews than were Germans. That, to note, was not due to a lack of intent. It was due to a lack of capability to accomplish what was the desire of a substantial portion of the Palestine Arab population.

1:00 PM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

So its the Arabs that hate the Jews now? Before that it wasn't the Arabs, it was the Islamists. Before that it was the Arabs.

You can't decide, can you?

I know who Bernard-Henri Lévy is, thanks. His being "famous" is irrelevant. The quote you gives displays straightforward racism.

people have no problem of speaking about German guilt for what the Nazis did. ... Do you have problems speaking of French guilt?

I don't know what "people" you've been listending to, but the notion of German guilt, French guilt, Arab guilt or Jewish guilt is dictionary definition racist. The actions of individuals don't condemn an entire race, except in the eyes of a racist.

Anyway, I've indulged you long enough already. Any more bigotry in your next post and it gets deleted, so think harder and choose your words carefully, or take it elsewhere.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous JamieSW said...

"We also know that he had substantial support from the Palestine Arab population. We know that his agenda became the agenda of the Palestine Arabs. We know that Nazi propaganda struck a chord with Palestine Arabs - it still does, as shown by the Hamas covenant"

Loving this logic. Plainly some Palestinians were and remain receptive to anti-Semitic ideas, for reasons that are not too hard to imagine. But the very example you give betrays the over-simplicity of your, ahem, 'analysis'. It's pretty widely recognised that the Hamas covenant has no real relevance to the way the movement currently operates and relates to Israel. Hamas does not call for Israel's destruction, far less the extermination of Jews. In fact its position is significantly more moderate than that of Israel and the U.S. - its leadership, both in Gaza and in Damascus, has repeatedly called for a state on the West Bank and Gaza, has agreed to many documents implicitly recognising Israel within the 1967 borders (e.g. the Prisoner's Referendum of 2006) and has indicated that it would accept a two-state settlement in exchange for peace. Hardly Hitler reincarnated, in other words. As for your description of the objectives of the Palestinians before 1948, anyone who's interested should just consult the (ample) scholarly literature on the topic. This does not, needless to say, include the likes of BHL.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, David, I would not wish to upset your high minded conscience.

Neither Lévy nor I said anything racist. Generalizations are generalizations. Enough said on that topic.

The topic of your argument in your article was to suggest no basis for comparing what occurred to Palestine Arabs with what occurred to Jews from Arab lands. My contention - which you have shown not one stitch of evidence to the contrary -, backed by evidence I cited from Professor Eckstein, is that the displacement of Jews from, for example, Egypt and the other Arab states was a response to Israel - not something created by Israel (as your quoted material falsely suggests by inflating the importance of efforts by Israel to enlarge its population). The Arab displacement of Jews was carried out against a population of Jews who were not really even involved in the dispute, which makes what the Arab side did rather loathsome. It was, in essence, revenge against the nearest Jews they could find.

So far, you have presented no argument that the above argument is not so. You have merely asserted it.

I further quoted BHL to point out that there was greater complicity by Arabs in the Holocaust than you realize and that the impact of Nazi ideology on many - a great many - Arabs was a cause, perhaps the main cause, of what occurred to Jews in Arab lands. Which is to say, Nazi ideology fed hatred of Jews which made untenable life for Jews in Arab countries.

As I also noted, BHL points to Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cuppers' scholarship in their book Das Dritte Reich, die Araber und Palästina. The tie-in for such hatred of Jews comes from Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood, who allied themselves during WWII with the Nazis. On this point, read Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, by Matthias Küntzel. This point, frankly, is so well established as to be incontrovertible.

As for the contention that Antisemitism is merely a response to Israel - not hatred driven by other forces -, that has been debunked not only by Matthias Küntzel but also in the scholarly masterpiece, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, by Andrew Bostom, in which Professor Bostom shows in detail - e.g., quoting numerous hadiths in full - the Islamist component to Jew hatred in the Islamic tradition. This is not to suggest that Küntzel is wrong that there is not an element of European Antisemitism on display in works such as the Hamas covenant. There certainly is such an element. It is just not the only element.

There is the contention made that the Hamas covenant is not reflected in current Hamas policy. I shall believe it when I see it. My understanding is that Hamas offers an extended cease fire. That does not suggest a change in belief; only the tactics of a party which recognizes its weakness.

However, we have Hamas officials still advocating genocide. We have the Hamas covenant which advocates the same. Why should I not believe the official plank of Hamas and those who proclaim their belief in genocide?

One last point: it has been noted that hatred of Jews expressed in literature from the Arab regions outpaces, in volume and in the prestige of the publications in which it appears, anything that occurred in Nazi Germany. So, I do not buy your contention aimed at minimizing Jew hatred among a great many Arabs. It is not all Arabs. However, it is a rather important element among them.

7:59 PM  
Blogger David Wearing said...

Neither Lévy nor I said anything racist. Generalizations are generalizations. Enough said on that topic.

Enough said on that topic, I suspect, because you know perfectly well you were being racist, and are only backing off that theme now that you can't get away with it.

If someone said that Jews are duplicitous conniving money-grabbers out to dominate the world, would you tell me that was not racist, just a "generalisation", and could only offend those with a "high minded conscience"?

Racism and rank hypocrisy. Quite a display. Well done.

My original post made three points.

1/ we cannot draw an equivalence between the Palestinian refugees and the Jews who left Arab countries in 47-49 because, while there was coercion in both cases there was also, in the case of many of the Jews, a desire to leave and take up the role of Zionist pioneers, and encouragement and support for their doing so from organised Zionism. This excuses none of the coercion, but remains a material difference. It is you who have said nothing about this point, preferring instead to prattle on endlessly about the coercion meted out to the Jews by Arab governments, as though I'd denied (rather than explicitly stated) that this had happened.

2/ Quoting my original post "those Arab Jews who did not come to Israel of their own volition, who were expelled from Arab lands with their property confiscated, now at least enjoy self-determination in a democratic national homeland. Certainly few of them are demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes in Iraq, Syria and other countries. The Palestinian refugees by contrast are condemned to live in squalor, forcibly denied by Israel and its international allies their right to self-determination and a democratic state of their own." You've said nothing about this either.

3/ Any wrongs committed to either group should be compensated or accounted for by those who wronged them. The rights of the two groups cannot be traded off against each other. Again, nothing from you on this. Just more about the Mufti, the rhetorical panic-button for any pro-Israeli extremist stuck in a hole.

The fact that I have merely had to repeat my original points demonstrates that you have added nothing whatsoever to discussion of this topic here. That's your last response from me.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You write: "I suspect, because you know perfectly well you were being racist, and are only backing off that theme now that you can't get away with it."

I note that you are calling Bernard-Henri Lévy, the co-founder of the antiracist group, SOS Racism, a racist. You are calling me, who marched with and in support of Dr. King, a racist. No, David. Generalizations are the fabric of speaking and writing. It cannot be avoided except by people who would say nothing. And, neither Mr. Lévy nor I is a racist. That is in your head and a pretty contemptuous thing to write.

You write that there was, "in the case of many of the Jews, a desire to leave and take up the role of Zionist pioneers, and encouragement and support for their doing so from organised Zionism." That assertion is largely contrary to fact.

In fact, most people left because they were coerced and had no prior interest in Zionism, since Arab Jews showed little interest in and participated rather minimally in the Zionist movement at any time prior to the rise of oppressive behavior towards them.

Be that as it may, some small number may have been interested in Zionism, most particularly because Arab societies made it untenable to stay. Which is to say, the rise in the use of Nazi propaganda against Jews in Arab countries no doubt contributed to a rise in interest to move to a country ruled by Jews, not Arab or European countries where prejudice and hatred of Jews was rabid in its dimension.

It seems to me, though, that you are playing games with words. Consider that many Arabs left Israel in order to participate in fighting Jews for purposes of massacring them en masse, in order to defeat the will of the International community and in violation of International law. That, in fact, was a rather large number of Palestine Arabs - perhaps more than 20 to 25% of those who left the country. Such people ought, by your manner of thinking, not be considered to those 50,000 Arabs who were actually forced out by Jews, if we go by Benny Morris' scholarship.

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anon (the anti-arab),

Your statement:
"Perhaps you have not heard of making a generalization."

I at least have heard of it... It's really closer to stereotyping, which is akin to racism... And yes, generalizing a whole race (arab, muslim, french, german, or Jew) because of a few bad apples makes it racism in its truest form...

But nice try quibbling your way out of that one... Sorry it didn't work...

Anonymous the german-not to be generalized with hitler...

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the other anonymous,

I read your argument and that of Mr. Wearing regarding the alleged racism of asserting "Arab" guilt or responsibility in connection with the Holocaust. Frankly, I do not understand the accusation as being anything but an effort to distract attention from the fact of substantial Arab guilt and responsibility in that horrid event and the survival of the eliminationist version of Antisemitism among Arabs to this day most especially among members of the various Islamist groups. No one said that all Arabs were involved. My suggestion to you is that, before throwing around the language you employ, read the books that I have cited above. Then, you can either agree with me or disagree. I think, though, that you will see that I am quite correct in what I assert and that my generalizations are far from being racist; rather, they are quite accurate.

I note that, according to Mr. Wearing, speaking of German guilt for the Holocaust is racist. Do you share that view? As I see it, Mr. Wearing wants to have victims without responsibility. I note: it was not one or two members of the Nazi party which bear responsibility. It was a policy that was followed by the mass of the German people and that led to the death of, more or less, 50,000,000 people including 6 million Jewish civilians by means of a regime of massacres and industrialized massacres, knowledge about which was widely known.

I suggest that you read back into the allegations made. You will note that Mr. Wearing - and evidently now you - say not a word about European guilt or responsibility regarding the Holocaust, notwithstanding the fact that I quoted Bernard-Henri Lévy to that effect. That, evidently, did not raise even an eyebrow for either of you. That leads me to think that the purpose of raising allegations when the word "Arab" is used is to deflect attention from Arab guilt and responsibility. And again, I do not even claim that all Arabs are responsible. A great many, though, were, most especially among Arab leaders.

Among those who were pro-Nazi - ideologically speaking - were the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention a very large percentage of its followers. Among those clearly involved was Anwar al-Sadat - although, later in life he clearly made amends. Among those clearly involved was Gamal Abdel Nasser. In fact, these people were part of the group of Arabs who worked closely with the Nazis.

Among those clearly involved was the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was, himself, a Nazi. He, once again, was the leader of the Palestine Arabs and was immensely popular. He is still celebrated notwithstanding the fact that he was an open Nazi. His clique published Nazi, Antisemitic, propaganda for the consumption of Arabs, including Palestine Arabs, and such propaganda was not only well received but led to years of riots funded, as it turns out, by the Nazis. So, we have large number of Palestine Arabs doing the bidding of the Nazis with the Palestine Arab leader being a committed Nazi.

Leaders of Iraq were also involved. Moreover, the leader of the Arab League spoke of the destruction of the Yishuv with reference to the massacres committed by the Mongols. An entire corp of fighters was being prepped by the Nazis - the corp made up of Arabs - with a mission to massacre all Jews in the Yishuv. In short, Arabs were willing allies of the Nazis with a substantial portion of the leadership - and many of the rank and file - being committed to the Nazi cause on ideological grounds.
Contrary to what Mr. Wearing believes, there was German guilt for the Holocaust. Knowledge of what was occurring was ubiquitous, as shown in Walter Laqueur’s well known work, The Terrible Secret. Just to make the matter clear, swaths of letters written by soldiers to their families spoke of the massacres being committed, often with elation although, in a number of cases, with words of horror. People were well aware of the fact that their Jewish neighbors were not going to return, as such information became known when insurance companies were told such fact by the Nazi government.

I do not claim that all Germans were guilty. However, the guilt was extraordinarily widespread, enough to use a generalization that Germans bear responsibility for what occurred, just as the French do, just as the English do, just as the Italians do and just as the Palestine Arabs do. If you want to call that view racist, go ahead. I stand by it. I think any thinking human being who does not understand that such is an appropriate generalization is ignorant of the facts or lying to himself or herself.


Anon (as you would call me.}

2:55 PM  

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