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Posted in: Israel

Published on Jun 18, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

No "Illegal" Settlements = No Jews in the Middle East


The moment one speaks out, one becomes a Rorschach test for every quarrelsome citizen with a laptop and the target of every ideologue's wrath. But, to paraphrase Edmund Burke: All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men, (and women), to do nothing.

Ultimately, those who remain opportunistically silent tacitly end up collaborating with evil. Standing up and speaking out is our obligation as free men and women.

President Obama is failing that mission in his refusal to speak out on behalf of the Iranian people who are finally—finally!–risking their lives to protest the Iranian mullahcracy. President Sarkozy is to be congratulated for having spoken out so strongly on their behalf. This odd discrepancy has been duly noted both by our own Roger Simon and by Ralph Peters at the New York Post.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is also to be congratulated for his grave and carefully reasoned speech. Unsurprisingly, he is, of course, being attacked by some members of his own party and, as we knew all along, by Palestinian leaders who still wish to exterminate Israel more than they wish to create their own Palestinian state. If you don't believe me on this, perhaps you'll believe the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on this.

And then there's me, swimming vigorously along in my own small pond. Since 2002-2003, I have been pointing out that we live in post-Orwellian times, that the linguistic and propagandistic reversals of reality are as surreal as they are effective. As many of us have now said: things are no longer what most pundits say or think they are; in fact, they are often the very opposite; everything is upside down, we are on our own, with only our wits to guide us. Choose the wrong leaders and you might find yourself drinking poison-laced Kool-Aid.

Thus, terrorists are only "militant" freedom-fighters, the Israelis are the new "Nazis," American Christians are endangering liberty and women far more than Islamic countries or Islamist gangs are, etc.

Thus, I decided to fight back by employing the language of lying propagandists in order to tell some incredibly suppressed truths. My blog yesterday was titled End the Illegal Occupation of Jerusalem. Many people have read this and many have posted interesting comments.

I scored a bull's eye. This morning, I received an email from a prominent Israeli woman, someone I have known for at least 35 years. Yes, she has consciously modeled her work on that of American feminists and progressives who have long been the all-too-willing hostages of the Democratic party, but she is also a smart and accomplished woman. She is learned, eloquent, and does good deeds on earth. Unlike me, she has moved from "right" to "left." (I am no longer sure such designations help us understand anything but that's the subject of another blog). In truth, I believe she has been taken over by the "dark side"—and she would say the same of me. She writes, in response to my blog:

"I don't know who Helen Freedman is or whence she derives her "facts," but I would suggest that you not publish this kind of disinformation without checking its veracity and certainly not with such an inflammatory headline, so redolent of "yellow press."

You should look at the Website of Ir Amim, an organization that aims at maintaining Jerusalem as a city for ALL its inhabitants, in which both Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians, enjoy full equality in everything relating to town-planning, granting of building licenses, house demolition and the provision of basic services such as educational facilities and even garbage-collection. At present this is not the case, despite the fact that the non-Jewish population pay municipal taxes (unlike many haredi Jews). There is gross discrimination and THAT is what you should a) be informed on and b) write about.

And as for "Illegal settlements", how about the land-grabbing by settlers and the state itself in the Occupied Territories, the illegal building, the harassment of Palestinian farmers, the uprooting of crops and even of centuries-old olive trees, which are often the major source of income for many of the local population?

I will be happy to introduce you to the right people, the researchers who, unlike Helen Freedman, have objective evidence of the realities in our troubled land."

I answered her privately, as follows:

Racquel, Racquel (not her real name):

"This is not worthy of you. You might say hello first. Or, at least end with a civilized personal greeting. As you may recall, I was the one who first "faced you down" with unpleasant information about how Israelis were treating some female Palestinian prisoners in 1988. We have both traveled a far distance ever since.

As you know: I have already written, lectured about, "covered" the facts about the various inequalities between Jews and Palestinian Arabs for years. I do not see anyone in the Arab or Palestinian world talking about the existential danger that Israel is in, about the unfair demonization and increasingly dangerous isolation of Israel nor, with the exception of the Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents with whom I work, do I see Muslim people and leaders addressing Islamic religious and gender apartheid.

Thus, with a heavy heart, I draw certain realistic and necessary conclusions that you either refuse to draw—or with which you disagree. Fine. But you really should not adopt such a high-and-mighty tone with me.

You and your many allies in the Israeli media and university system and among all their European, North American, and international counterparts, can simply continue to write the articles that you write. Keep it up and you will become the most successful fifth column that the Jewish people have ever had. You can criticize me or Helen Freedman or Aaron Klein all you want—but it will not help Israel, the Jews, the West, the cause of liberty, or even the Palestinian people one little bit.

I would be happy to talk to your allies who have different information and a different point of view but I usually find that leftists and feminists, (my old groups), are, sadly, highly intolerant, demand absolute obedience to their point of view on each and every issue and, if they fail to get it, start name-calling and then cut off all contact.

Really, with whom shall I speak?

Raquel: How is your family? Yourself? Congratulations on your latest award."

All best,

Phyllis

I await her answer. But I also sent her one of the comments at my blog. I reproduce it here for all to see.

"One needn't be right wing, nor a Zionist, or even Jewish to understand what animates those who fulminate over Jewish 'settlements'. One only has to ask the right (no pun intended) questions to understand what their agenda really is. For instance - since there are many, many more illegal Arab buildings/settlements in E. Jerusalem and ALL over Israel, are the people who are clamoring for Jewish 'settlement' to cease, also calling for Arab demolitions? Further, while 20% of Israel's population are Arabs with full citizenship, why is the PA allowed to demand that Judea & Samaria become Judenrein, all in the name of 'peace'?

These type of questions to a fair minded person would be answered in a fair minded manner. However, when the agenda is fueled by anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic nuances, these same (righteous) questions become nothing more than a hindrance to 'peace' efforts.

There is nothing more important within this framework than to expose the hidden prejudices of the (in)human rights brigade.

I say: Better this kind of an exchange of views over the internet than the booing, jeering, and physical menacing of lecturers and audiences that we see at the hands of western leftist bullies and masked pro-Palestinian Muslims in university auditoriums when the lecturer is not sufficiently left and pro-Islamist; better this exchange than the more violent ones at street demonstrations in which the violent perpetrators literally perceive the peaceful Jews as "raging and violent." The psychological projection is wild, out of control."

Note to the Reader: I chose the title for this blog after reading Paul Eidelberg's article on the subject. Hat tip: Barbara Sommer.


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