Monday, June 18, 2012

Probing The Greens

Further to my previous post, Picking Off the Greens, you'll remember that three sitting Greens, including Senator Di Natale, made themselves available at a Zionist talkfest* called Limmud Oz to be "probed" by a Mr Ittay Flescher, described simply as "a Jewish educator."

[*Given that an anti-Zionist panel, Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists was dropped from Limmud Oz's 2012 program, I have no qualms referring to this "Festival of Jewish Learning & Culture" as an overtly Zionist event.]

Now consider the implications here. That anyone should actually volunteer to be probed for any other reason than medical necessity is strange enough, but for the elected members of a party that believes itself to be a cut above the rest to submit to such an indignity is surely beyond strange. But it gets worse. This is no mere intellectual enquiry designed to arrive at the truth of a matter. The prober has an agenda. Were those probed actually fooled by the spin of Jewish educator? If so, what are they doing in politics? As a simple google search would have revealed, Flescher is an unabashed Zionist propagandist. Which brings us to a sample of his handiwork, A Zionist speaks out in support of Palestine (, 23/9/11).

Don't be fooled by the title. This is no reminiscence by a reformed Zionist. There is no going beyond tribal loyalties here. At the time, you'll remember, the Palestinian Authority's fading virtual president, Mahmoud Abbas, was pathetically hawking his chimera of a Palestinian mini-state in government corridors and back rooms around the world. The Netanyahu government, of course, was ideologically opposed to the idea, but the odd Israeli politician and certain scribblers, such as Flescher, saw it as a way out of Israel's worst nightmare, a matter I'll return to later. At any rate, A Zionist speaks out... is a useful introduction to the mindset of the propagandist tasked by the powers behind Limmud Oz to probe the Greens trio, and so deserving of a close read:

The title, of course, is pure deception. Flescher is really speaking out in support of a Palestinian Bantustan.

He confirms his Zionist credentials at the very beginning, with the following Zionist fairy tale, told in the manner of a mesmerising psycho-therapist:

"Imagine you spent hundreds of years dreaming about and then building your dream home in a promised land. Then imagine that this dream materialised into none other than the house of God on earth, a land flowing with milk and honey. Now imagine there was a terrible tyrant who exiled you and your entire people from that land. After being in exile for 2000 years, a situation arose when it became possible for you to return. And you see your beautiful home, which evokes a deep memory of your ancestor's connection to a holy land, you notice that someone else lives there now. They have developed their own stories and connections to the land and its olive groves, rolling hills and pristine springs. What should you do? That is the dilemma for the Israelis when it comes to the question of whether there should be a Palestinian state in the ancient Jewish homeland."

Was this disarming little fable fed to our three Greens? Did it lay them in the aisles, extinguish their critical faculties? Assuming a worst case scenario here, what was it, precisely, they were slipped? Let's take a closer, critical look:

1) Jews, wherever they originated, apparently just sat around for centuries dreaming about a 'promised' land. Promised? That's right. Someone called God or Yahweh or whatever (some kind of supernatural entity who deals in real estate) said to them: 'Hey guys, I know it's taken me a while, but guess what? I've finally located that dream home you've been looking for!'

2) And so, after a few detours here and there, they eventually find it. And yes, there's the milk, and there's honey, and, best of all in Flescher's telling, there are no prior occupants! Canaanites? What Canaanites?

3) Then along comes a terrible tyrant who drives every single Jew out of the place because, supposedly, he just hates Jews. Mind you, he didn't do it to anyone else. Ever heard of lost Greek tribes, for example?

4) So, dispersed to the four corners they were. In exile for 2000 years! Just sitting around moping, crying into their beer, and thinking of nothing else - for 2000 years!

5) But here's the best part: "A situation arose when it became possible for you to return." No Balfour Declaration, with its machiavellian imperial shenanigans (1917); no British mandate, during which Palestine was flooded with European  Jewish colons (1923-48); no British-Zionist smashing of Palestinian resistance to same (1936-39); no machiavellian imperial shenanigans at the UN in 1947; and finally no great ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people in 1948. No, just a situation arose!

6) Having returned after a 2000 year sojourn, you notice other people there. Who would have thought? What should you do? Well, get rid of them, of course! Unfortunately, however, you didn't quite manage to get rid of them all in 1948, so you still have a number of them cluttering the landscape of your ancient Jewish homeland and siphoning off your milk and honey. And that, folks, is our dilemma today!

My God, after that kind of torture, I'm half-inclined to forgive our Greens for singing like canaries. Still, we mustn't forget - they volunteered for this.

OK, so let's look at why the Palestinians should get a Bantustan - sorry, a state - of their own. Flescher quotes Israel's Defence Minister, Ehud Barak: "[A]s long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic... If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don't, it is an apartheid state."

Do you get the drift, Greens, or is it too hard for you? Too hard? OK, baby steps. Please pay attention:

The Zionist project in Palestine is basically all about getting the demographics 'right'. From 1917 to 1948, Zionism's task  was to turn a majority Arab state into a majority Jewish state. How? By expelling as many Arabs as possible, circumstances permitting. As it happens, circumstances duly obliged - in 1948 - leaving in their wake an Arab minority and a Jewish majority. Beautiful! And to keep it that way the expelled were refused re-entry, shot out of hand if they tried to sneak back in, and Jewish migration was ramped up.

However, in 1967, the siren call of the remaining 22% of Palestine - Gaza and the West Bank - proved too strong for Israel's movers and shakers and they snapped it up in just 6 days! But alas, this brought them to their present predicament, because with the conquest of that last 22% came - you guessed it - more Arabs! And Arabs have kids (funny that), not only in Gaza and the West Bank, but also back in Israel (the Arab minority, remember?). More, and more, and more! A ticking biological/demographic time bomb Israelis call it. So some, like the probing Flescher and his defence minister, advocate confining the Arabs to Bantustans and calling them 'Palestine' so that Israel can keep its precious Jewish majority intact, and hence continue to sell itself as a 'democratic' and 'Jewish' state. But, so the agonising goes, if Israel doesn't do that and just preserves the status quo of occupation and repression in the Palestinian territories, the Arabs (and their kin in Israel) will eventually come to outnumber Israeli Jews, leaving Israel with a South African apartheid situation on its hands - that is, a Jewish minority ruling over an Arab majority having no democratic rights; but if, on the other hand, Israel extends to the Arabs in the territories the same rights as Israeli Jews enjoy, then yes, Israel will be a democracy like post-apartheid South Africa, but no longer a Jewish state because it will have lost its Jewish majority.

I trust that's clear, Greens?

OK, so you've got a choice. You can run with those who spend their days obsessing over demographics, and their nights being plagued by nightmares that the 'wrong' demographic is having kids; those who look back with nostalgia to the 'miraculous' expulsions of 1948, but, in the age of television, are forced to make do with either escalating repression or ghettos to deal with their 'Arab problem'; those for whom hoary religious fantasies take precedence over international law and common decency; and those who feel that living next door to people who don't happen to share their religious beliefs is a fate worse than death. Or you can BDS them. Please choose wisely.

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