Sunday, August 5, 2012

Zionising the Draft Modern History Curriculum 2

Here is the Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority's second dot point: 

*The continuing story of conflict between Arabs and Israelis, with particular reference to the Suez War (1956), the Six-Day War (1967), the Munich Olympics (1972), the Yom Kippur War (1973), Israeli invasions of Lebanon (1978, 1982, 2006), and Israel's decision to disengage with Gaza in 2005.

My back-of-an-envelope critique of the above is as follows:

Inexplicably, one of the two key actors in this vicious colonial drama, the Palestinian refugees (comprising around 85% of the entire Palestinian population of the 78% of Palestine overrun by Zionist forces in 1948), stateless and struggling to survive in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, fail to make an appearance here. Ditto for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Palestinian resistance movement led by Arafat, Habash, etc. The focus is entirely on state actors. Why? Can't ACARA handle the concept that resistance follows ethnic cleansing and apartheid as surely as night follows day? Note too the adoption of blatantly Zionist terminolgy - Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War. Is this ignorance or design? Is it really too much to ask for more neutral terminology such as the 'June 1967 War' or the 'October War' (a mean between 'Yom Kippur' and 'Ramadan' War)? Surely, if it's good enough for the vicious, unprovoked British, French, Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956 to be construed as a 'war', then I'm hardly asking for too much. Alternatively, why not simply call them the Second, Third and Fourth Arab-Israeli Wars? And as for Munich 1972, why should a hostage drama gone wrong, involving the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes, take precedence over the plethora of far more deadly Israeli massacres of Palestinian and other Arab civilians throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, to go no further?

Now here's Peter Wertheim's responses to ACARA's second dot point, followed by my own comments:

"A fundamental difficulty with the second dot point is that it fails to distinguish between (i) conflicts between Israel and the Arab States and (ii) conflicts between Israel and terrorist organizations, and omits entirely (iii) conflicts between the Palestinians and the Arab States ('Black September' in Jordan 1970, Lebanon 1975-1982, Syria 1982) and (iv) internal Palestinian conflicts (Gaza 2007). These shortcomings should be corrected."

The fundamental difficulty here, of course, is Wertheim's deployment of the loaded term "terrorist organisations" when describing armed Palestinian resistance to Zionist colonization. Note too, the too-clever-by-half inclusion of "conflicts between the Palestinians and the Arab States," and "internal Palestinian conflicts," designed to paint the Palestinians as merely incorrigible troublemakers  and misfits, incapable of living peacefully either with other Arabs or even themselves. That the Palestinian resistance movement had to operate from neighbouring Arab countries, each with their own interests and agendas (or, more to the point, stand up to USraeli glove-puppets such as the Jordanian monarchy or Lebanon's Phalangists) is apparently neither here nor there for Wertheim. Likewise, the portrayal of the Hamas government's pre-emptive coup against the USraeli-backed Fateh in 2007 as a purely "internal conflict" is risible. Oh, and that bit about 'Palestinian-Syrian war of 1982', I couldn't for the life of me find any record of it. Plenty of action in 1982, mind you, all to do with Israel laying waste to West Beirut, but, sadly, nothing on Palestinians mixing it with Syrians.

"The second dot point also refers to 'Israeli invasions of Lebanon (1978, 1982, 2006)'. For context and completeness this should be amended to read: 'terrorist incursions into Israel from Lebanon after 1970; the Israeli military intervention in Lebanon in 1978 (Operation Litani) and the invasion of 1982; Operation Accountability (1993) and Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996); the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon (1985-2000) and the final withdrawal in May 2000; the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006'."

Oh I see, Palestinian refugees should've just sat around on their hands in Lebanon, content in the knowledge that the Israelis who evicted them were doing an infinitely better job of running Palestine - sorry, Israel - than they, and realized just how damn lucky they were to have new, wonderful, Lebanese neighbours. But no, these chronic malcontents just couldn't help themselves, could they? Instead of celebrating the good turn Israel had done them and disappearing quietly into the Lebanese woodwork, they just had to periodically gatecrash the party south of the border and make thorough nuisances of themselves, leaving the long-suffering Israelis with no choice - none! - but to periodically invade - sorry, stage operations in - Lebanon. And if any Lebanese happened to get in the way, well, they should've taken comfort in the fact that those invasions - sorry, operations - were undertaken for a very good reason, so no hard feelings, Messrs Begin, Sharon and Olmert, keep up the good work and God bless.

"Also in the second dot point, the words 'disengage with Gaza' should be amended to read 'withdrawal from Gaza'. Israel is still 'engaged' with Gaza in that it supplies most of the electricity used in Gaza and the humanitarian supply of goods to Gaza by the UN is via Israeli territory with the co-operation of the Israeli government."

I'm sorry, I simply cannot dignify the above with a response - except to say: don't ever let anyone tell you that the Israel lobby in general and ECAJ's Peter Wertheim in particular doesn't have a sense of humour.

To be continued...

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