This essay was first published in the Palestine Chronicle 2010 11 09.
Canada stands by Israel….
A couple weeks after being rejected by the General Assembly for a position on the Security Council, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed his sour grapes at the rejection stating that Canada will not “pretend” to be an “honest broker.” The other option then is dishonesty.
There is plenty of that in Canada’s position. In his speech supporting Israel at a “gathering of international parliamentarians and experts,” he performed the old standard of conflating the Holocaust with the creation of Israel, yet he should know that the Zionist cause began well before there were any indications of that genocide. Christian Zionism could be argued to have begun even before the European variety showed its colours at the turn of Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Both Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists understood that to occupy Palestine meant the displacement by some means - some form of ethnic cleansing or genocide, of the indigenous people - the Palestinians - who resided there and had since the beginning of the Christian era.
With the holocaust newly behind them, the UN offered a plan - it was just a plan and not a declaration of the creation of a state, Israel did that unilaterally - offering the Jewish population more than their share of the land base when numerated on a per capita basis. Harper then disingenuously says Israel is “the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack.” But wait a moment. If the Israelis claim, as they do, that they have a mandate from the UN to establish the state, then that claim would apply equally to the Palestinians as they were also mandated a state alongside the Jewish state.
Not only is the state of Palestine threatened, its very existence is threatened as it has essentially been dismantled and split up into many little cantons or bantustans or in the case of Gaza, a large outdoor prison. After the Israeli pre-emptive war of 1967, the Palestinians were left with only twenty per cent of the land. That small portion has shrunk into the little truncated areas of today, with the whole region occupied by the military, with both the Israeli military and civilian governments ignoring international law as it relates to occupation and human rights.
The very real threat is to Palestine, yet the Israelis have deviously managed through repetitive rhetoric to try and maintain the world view of themselves as victims. Israel exists. It has declared itself. It will continue to exist. It originated several wars, including the nakba of 1948, the Six Day War of 1967, the invasion and occupation of Southern Lebanon, the invasion and occupation of Syrian territory, a second attack and invasion on Lebanon, and the ruthless and barbaric attack - not that they all weren’t - on the defenceless citizens of the Gaza strip.
Harper then argues that Israel “is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation.” I would have to agree with him on this point, but with cause. Israel has full supremacy over the region due to its several hundred nuclear weapons that preclude any attack on Israel by any other state in the region. It has the full support of the largest military and largest economy in the world, the U.S., a partner that believes and acts in a pre-emptive manner, ignoring the very same international standards as Israel does. Yes, there are many other problem areas in the world, but the U.S. occupation of areas of the Middle East, its military and financial support of Israel ($3 billion a year), its kowtowing to any demands that Israel makes for fear of its own domestic votes, its support of non-democratic and oppressive regimes, creates an identical powerful set of international crimes.
Harper of course uses condemnation as a sign of anti-Semitism. No, it quite simply is a sign of opposition to criminal activity that has the intent of displacing all the Palestinians. The historical record is replete with statements about the Zionist knowledge of and willingness to express that they would have to use force in one manner or another to create an ethnic Jewish state.
Yes, there is anti-Semitism in the world, but more importantly there is also a strong and completely separate strand of condemnation that is simply against the criminal abuse, murder, imprisonment, torture, and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, the people who are truly threatened in the region, whose country has essentially disappeared from the steady encroachment of the Jewish settlers on their land. That is not anti-Semitism, perhaps anti-Zionist at worst. Nor is it an attack on the Jewish faith.
Harper himself is a fundamentalist right wing Christian. Under his beliefs that the Jewish people are the chosen people, that the land of Palestine is really the land of Israel as a God-given covenant, and that the land of Israel needs to be repopulated by the Jewish people before the Christian messiah can return, he needs to ask himself some questions.
What kind of God is it that allows for the greed and arrogance of occupying a land and dispossessing and killing its indigenous populations, of placing them in cantonments/reservations and denying them all the opportunities that the supposed democratic and free societies they claim to be are able to provide?
What kind of God is it whose chosen ones and their main ally torture, incarcerate, starve, invade, and destroy civilian infrastructures in other territories, who rob their resources (oil, water), and carry the strongest and most deadliest of the weapons of mass destruction while trying to argue that others should not have them?
In light of the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people and their threats and actions against other countries, will God remove them from his graces, deliver them some humility, so that they may again at some future time serve as beacons and examples of Gods divine graces?
Are the Israelis acting on an anthropomorphized divinity by which they get to claim their own fundamentals, however contrary to either humane or divine love and compassion they may be, contrary to not only humanitarian law but divine law?
Harper`s ignorance of Palestinian/Israeli history has to be wilful. Neither the existence of the Jewish people nor the state of Israel is threatened, they are far too strong for that. Anti-Semitism does exist, and I agree it needs to be expurgated. At the same time the state of Israel still needs to be recognized for its true character as a non-democratic occupier of Palestine whose actions contravene most accepted international norms. Israel and the U.S. both need to accept these international norms before the majority of the rest of the world will be able to stop their condemnation of their actions.
Harper’s comments express an ignorance and conceit - and dishonesty - placing him alongside the best hubris and rhetoric offered by his U.S. and Israeli compatriots. He will probably take that as a compliment.