"Nothing incenses me or provokes me like watching tourist promotions for the enemy state of Israel. I scream inwardly: The stones are not yours. The flowers are not yours. The beaches are not yours. The clouds are not yours. The blue of the sky is not yours. All will return to their owners. Then everything will be more beautiful and splendid." (The Angry Arab, angryarab.blogspot.com, 6/7/11)
I know how he feels.
The Sun-Herald this week carried a double page promo on the stolen land in its travel supplement written by staff journalist Andrew Taylor, who, according to an appended disclosure, "travelled with assistance from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
A holy bunch of hedonists is clearly part and parcel of the Israeli foreign ministry's post-Mavi Marmara massacre PR strategy of recruiting foreign journalists and other useful fools in a concerted effort to airbrush the apartheid state (See my post of 30/11/10 Once a Sow's Ear).
"But visitors expecting to be manhandled at military checkpoints, harangued by religious nutbags or caught in crossfire will be in for a surprise. Israel is not merely a country-sized firing range but rather an ethnically diverse, vibrant land where cultural and late-night pursuits often take priority over piety and politics."
So Taylor didn't know that checkpoints were reserved for occupied Palestinians? Or that there's no such thing as crossfire because it's actually the Israelis who are doing all the shooting? Oh, really? But then, given the abysmal knowledge deficit of most of our ms media scribblers and babblers, quite possibly not. Anyway, to invoke the 'o' word would only cruel the sales-pitch and defeat the whole purpose of the exercise, so forget I ever mentioned it. Still, seeing I have, don't those late-night pursuits take on a whole new meaning?
"Jerusalem's first pleasant surprise is the steep hills carpeted in pines and cypresses that guard the western approaches to King David's city. Thanks to the determination of Jewish settlers in the 1950s to 'make the desert bloom', this side of Jerusalem resembles the alpine scenery of central Europe."
Amazing, isn't it? Despite King David being little more than a character in the Bible, with no real archaeological substance to back him or his alleged empire up, the Zionist narrative nonetheless mandates that he be the defining moment of the city's history - a little like referring to London as Emperor Claudius' city. Taylor's deliberate focus on a mere historical (if even that) blip, to the exclusion of 14 centuries of almost uninterrupted Muslim rule and presence in the city, is yet another example of what religious scholar Keith W. Whitelam calls the "retrojection of the modern state of Israel into the Iron Age."* But expecting anything other than Zionist cliches here is to forget that we're dealing with PR, not genuine travel writing. And to confirm just that, what does Taylor do in the very next sentence but trot out the tired old saw about heroic Jewish pioneers 'making the desert bloom'.**
[*The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History, 1996; See also Top Israeli archaeologists contest Jewish ties to Jerusalem, The Palestine Information Center, 10/8/11; ** See my 25/11/08 post Sir Bob Wows JNFaithful at Galah Dinner.]
In addition to the nonsense about King David's city, notice how the iconic 14-century old Haram ash-Sharif, with its golden Dome of the Rock (mislabelled Dome of the Mount!) and accompanying mosque, without which Jerusalem would be virtually unrecognisible, play second fiddle to a structure that had disappeared from history in Roman times:
"Above the Wailing Wall is Temple Mount, home to al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Mount [sic], with its iconic golden roof."
And check out the Israeli foreign ministry-approved tour guide/minder, Oded:
"A different guide, also named Oded, tells me that a bullet hole inside al-Aqsa marks the spot where King Abdullah I of Jordan was shot in 1951 for daring to suggest the Arabic [sic] world should negotiate with Israel."
Bet you say that to all the hack journos, Oded.
The message from Oded and his transmission belt, Taylor, of course, is that the 'Arabs' are always the clockwork violence-prone intransigents in this conflict.
While Taylor manages to swallow this familiar Zionist insinuation without gagging, the historical record, as Avi Shlaim's definitive study, The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists, & Palestine 1921-1951 (1988/1998) shows, will have none of it:
"In the last weeks of his life Abdullah was a lonely and disappointed man. Three weeks before his death he invited an American officer of the Palestine Conciliation Commission named Hamilton Fisher to his palace in Amman... After discussing certain specific aspects of Jordanian-Israeli relations, Abdullah asked Fisher to stay and talk to him about what he called 'a most personal and confidential problem which is breaking my heart'. This problem was that of peace with Israel. 'I am an old man', said Abdullah. 'I know that my power is limited; I know that I am hated by my own son... I also know that my own people distrust me because of my peace efforts. But despite all that, I know that I could get peace settled if only I had some encouragement and could get any reasonable concessions from Israel'...
"He said his own people distrusted him because they suspected him of wanting to make peace without any concession by Israel. He emphasised that this was an obstacle which he could not overcome. Please understand, he said, that despite the Arab League I would have the support of my own people and the tacit support at least of the British if I could justify peace by pointing to concessions made by the Jews. But without any concessions from them, I am defeated before I even start...
"[I]t would be erroneous to conclude that King Abdullah was assassinated just because of his contacts with the Israelis and because of his well known desire to make peace with them. The real background to the murder was the long standing rivalry between Abdullah and the Husaynis. It is true that his opponents were opposed to his settlement with Israel, but this was not their sole reason for instigating his murder. Nor was the assassination part of a broad Palestinian bid to capture power in Jordan or to reverse Jordanian foreign policy. The conspirators did not propose to renew the war against Israel. Some of them were moved by the dream of an independent, resurgent Arab Palestine, and by the fear of further Jewish advances at the cost of the Palestinian Arabs which the British-controlled Arab Legion might be either unable or unwilling to prevent. It was significant that all the conspirators were Palestinian Arabs who belonged to the mufti's camp. But although all the signs seem to point to the shadowey figure of the mufti, no evidence was discovered of his direct complicity in the murder." (pp 415-418) And what was Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's reaction to the assassination of Abdullah? A peace offensive? Not on your nelly. He proposed to the Brits that they take over Jordan, while Israel grabbed the rest of Palestine and the Sinai all the way to the Suez Canal, a proposal in which they showed little interest at the time.
Moving on, have you ever seen a more dreadful metaphor than this?:
"If Jerusalem is a little Marie Osmond, Tel Aviv is definitely the Stevie Nicks of Israel."
Ah, but here's something of value:
"There's certainly no sign of the boorishness that led English writer A.A. Gill, in his latest book, Here & There, to label Israel as home to the rudest people."
Isn't it amazing what you can report when you don't have "assistance from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs"?
Finally, it's not only Palestinian stones, flowers, beaches, clouds and sky which Israel has ripped off, it's also the food:
"Food is serious business in the Middle East. Israel's claim to be the home of hummus is hotly contested by neighbouring Lebanon..."