Chas Newkey-Burden on Israel and Hypocrisy: a rebuttal
This is a rebuttal of the Israel chapter of Chas Newkey-Burden's book 'Not In My Name: A Compendium of Modern Hypocrisy', an oeuvre co-written with fellow co-philosemite Julie Burchill.
You can find the complete text here.
The author is of course as guilty of hypocrisy as the Israel critics he accuses of... hypocrisy. In essence Newkey-Burden sings the praises of positive aspects of Israeli society to high heaven, as if those somehow warrant Palestinian oppression and dispossession from 1948 (and before), to 1967 and the present day. This leitmotif, good Israelis v. bad Arabs, is repeated ad nauseam, using sometimes less than truthful examples and sometims plain wrong ones. The impression of Newkey-Burden as a 'writer' and 'journalist' as nothing more than an amateurish two-bit blogger who's never bothered to read a comprehensive history of the Israeli Palestinian conflict and is only interested in anecdotal evidence to prove his prejudicial thesis, is quite inescapable. This is analysis of the I-P conflict suitable only for those who make time to read only while waiting for their daily bowel movement.
I'll nonetheless make the time to answer most of his points, one by one. Forgive me if this inevitable involves a number of 'dittos'...
‘When my father was a little boy in Poland, the streets of Europe were covered with graffiti, “Jews, go back to Palestine,” or sometimes worse: “Dirty Yids, piss off to Palestine.” When my father revisited Europe fifty years later, the walls were covered with new graffiti, “Jews, get out of Palestine.”’
- Israeli author Amos Oz
Nice little trouvaille but almost certainly untrue. Most critics of Israel or anti-Zionists aren't expecting Israeli Jews to pack their bags, instead they expect them to respect the equal rights Palestinians have to the land of Palestine.
Everyone knows the proverb of the three wise monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. As shown throughout this book, the modern hypocrite can be very skilled indeed at seeing and hearing no evil. When women are stoned to death in Arab states, when gay men are brutalised in Caribbean countries, the hypocrites’ ability to cover their ears and look the other way is remarkable.
How does the phenomenon of women being stoned to death in Arab states justify the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians by Israeli Jews? It would appear that Newkey-Burden is justifying increasing the burden of Palestinian misery on the basis of pre-existing Arab self- inflicted misery. Elsewhere (and also below in his text) and in the same vein he's waxed lyrical about Tel Aviv as the Gay Mecca of the ME, are critics of Israel now to hold all fire until the capitols of all Arab states have become gay cruising districts?
However, the triumvirate cannot be completed for when it comes to the state of Israel the modern hypocrite just cannot stop speaking evil. They will fail to condemn – and sometimes actually support - terrorists who blow up school buses and pizza parlours.
A gross distortion, of course. No one "actually supports terrorists who blow up school buses and pizza parlours". But those supporting the justified claim to part of the land of Palestine note that neither peaceful nor violent Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation has caused Israel to make any serious concessions or even halt the building of settlements in the West Bank. It's both naive and hypocritical to expect the Palestinian People to completely lay down (their rather miserly) arms and expect Israel to then spontaneously 'make good'. No struggle for liberation has ever left the powerless negotiator (the occupied) with anything that was even close to their just demands.
They will march hand in hand with people who – quite literally – fundamentally disagree with every basic political principle they claim to hold dear. They will openly question whether Israel even has the right to exist.
Let's be clear about this: the right to Jewish self-determination should be no less in question that the right of any other nation of people. But in the case of the Zionist State, this self-determination has been achieved by building it over an existing civilisation and at the expense of the self-determination, security and livelihood of an entire indigenous people. Armed with detailed hindsight, that makes the question whether the creation of the State of Israel was really such a brilliant idea a perfectly legitimate one.
And all along the way, they will show themselves to be devastating hypocrites.
The anti-Israel brigade would have us believe that the motivation for this vitriolic hatred of Israel is a genuine, compassionate concern for the fate of the Palestinian people. But do they really care about the Palestinians, or is their compassion somewhat selective, to put it politely? In reality, are they only interested in Palestinian suffering for as long as it gives them an opportunity to bash Israel?
This is the oldest (and most used) Zionist canard in the entire repertoire of Hasbara parroting, of course. We're lead to believe that expressed concern for Palestinian dispossession is in reality nothing more than 'Israel-bashing' and thus really thinly (and not so thinly) disguised anti-Semitism. Never mind the fact that many current day anti-Zionists are yesteryear's Zionists, see the increasing interest of American Jewry (well known for its past solid support for Israel) in the Palestinian question and even anti-Zionism. I too was once more positively disposed towards Israel.
This hypocrisy is not entirely modern. When the West Bank and the Gaza strip were occupied by Jordan and Egypt, those occupations of ‘Palestinian land’ drew not a whimper of protest from the people who spat blood at the ‘occupation’ of those territories by Israel. When Jordan killed thousands of Palestinians and drove just as many of them from their refugee camps into Lebanon, Israel-bashers saw nothing wrong with that at all. Neither did they take issue with Kuwait when it deported Palestinians in the aftermath of the 1991 Iraq war. Why were they silent in all these cases? Because none of them gave them a chance to bash Israel, of course.
There is a big, big difference between Jordan and Egypt's occupation of parts of Palestine and that of Israel's: contrary to the latter, the two former occupiers did not start to colonise those areas by building settlements and transferring a part of their own populations on land captured by military conquest. Israel in contrast initiated partial population transfer, in stark contravention of international law, almost immediately after acquiring these territories. It did so also in (the later returned) Sinai and the Golan Heights. Newky-Burden tries to create equivalence where there is none. And when critics of Israel refer to the Occupation, they are indeed referring to the colonisation of the Territories.
Well established as this hypocrisy is, in the 21st century it has well and truly taken root as ‘supporting’ the Palestinians had become achingly fashionable. So when Hamas-sparked violence led to Palestinian students at a West Bank university being brutally beaten and shot by their own people, the Westerners who claim to support the Palestinians raised not a single word of protest or concern. Likewise, when Palestinian women are stabbed to death in “honour killings” across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, no anti-Israel Westerners lose a single moment’s sleep on their behalf.
Internal Palestinian dissent and internecine bloodletting are a problem indeed but hardly a Palestinian prerogative (see also sectarian in-fighting in South Africa and Northern Ireland). While criticism of it is perfectly legitimate, it does not provide Israel with a license to continue its occupation of land reserved for the foundation of a Palestinian State and to continue expanding existing settlements and increase the number of settlements.
Likewise, when Palestinian children are hospitalised after being caught in the crossfire of fighting between rival Palestinian factions, there is not a word of condemnation from the West. When Palestinian children are deliberately forced into the line of fire by their own people, where is the concern from those in the West who claim to be their biggest supporters? When terrorists are found to be hiding hand grenades in the cradles where Palestinian babies sleep, where is the outrage?
Here Newkey-Burden enters the realm of Zionist mythology, rumour spreading, unsubstantiated hearsay and plain old propaganda. For a self avowed philosemite like Newkey-Burden these stories must have a highly seductive ring to them. For a committed anti-racist like me they sound like Hasbarist humbug.
If Israel is accused of torturing Palestinian terror suspects, the hypocrite is indignantly up-in-arms in protest without establishing a single fact but when Palestinians suspected of collaborating are proven to be brutally tortured – sometimes to death - by members of Islamic Jihad, again the silence is deafening.
"Without establishing a single fact"... never mind that Human Rights organisations, including Israeli groups have documented cases of human rights abuses and torture by Israeli authorities on numerous occasions.
Cases of human rights abuses by Hamas and other Palestinian militant factions have also been reported and documented. One Palestinian supporter's account of alleged Hamas brutalities is on my own blogroll.
The English language Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera recently interviewed a senior Hamas official about these abuses and there was no denial on the part of the interviewee who claimed these abused were not systemic but are being looked into nonetheless.
Similarly, if these people are truly concerned about the Palestinians, then where are their words of praise for Israel when it flings open its hospital doors to them? Just one example: in May 2007 an eight-day-old baby from the Gaza Strip that was suffering with congenital heart complications was treated in a hospital in Israel. An Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance drove into the Gaza Strip, dodging Qassam rockets that were headed for Israel and collected the child for treatment at the Sheba Medical Center in Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. Such cases are far from rare. But I’ve never heard a word of praise for these treatments from any of those in the West who claim to be concerned over the fate of the Palestinians.
More of the same and I hold my hand up: we should praise these brave Israeli medics more. But do such acts though in any way shape or form warrant continued Palestinian dispossession at the hands of the Israeli neo-colonial machine? How about the many Palestinians who miss doctor's appointments while stuck in cues at checkpoints or pregnant Palestinian women who end up giving birth in taxis for similar reasons?
It’s the same with the refugee question. The heartbreak that the hypocrite feels for Palestinian refugees is only expressed in the context of slamming Israel. When it’s pointed out to them that the Arab world has done precious little to help the refugees, their interest dwindles. And what of the hundreds and thousands of Jewish refugees who were deported from Arab states? They’ve never received any compensation – as Palestinian refugees have from Israel – and no Westerner has ever cried them self to sleep on their behalf.
Here our philosemite falls for one of the more modern myths of Hasbara: the myth of Arab Zionists as "Arab Jewish Refugees". Allow me to briefly quote Yehouda Shenhav:
The organization's claims infuriated many Arab Jews in Israel who defined themselves as Zionists. As early as 1975, at the time of WOJAC's formation, Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu declared: "We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations." Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy: "I don't regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists." In a Knesset hearing, Ran Cohen stated emphatically: "I have this to say: I am not a refugee." He added: "I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee." The opposition was so vociferous that Ora Schweitzer, chair of WOJAC's political department, asked the organization's secretariat to end its campaign. She reported that members of Strasburg's Jewish community were so offended that they threatened to boycott organization meetings should the topic of "Sephardi Jews as refugees" ever come up again. Such remonstration precisely predicted the failure of the current organization, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries to inspire enthusiasm for its efforts.
Any action taken by Israel to deal with Palestinian terrorists is met with abuse and distortion. The case of Jenin was typical. Following scores of suicide bombings organised from within the Jenin refugee camp, Israel entered the camp in search of the terrorists. As the fighting ended the media leapt into action to demonise Israel’s action. The Guardian described Israel’s actions as “every bit as repellent” as the 9/11 attacks. The Evening Standard cried: “We are talking here of massacre, and a cover-up, of genocide.” The Independent spoke of a “war crime” and The Times claimed there were “mass graves”. The head of the United Nations Refugee Agency was quickly out of the traps to describe the affair as a “human rights catastrophe that has few parallels in recent history”. The EU was nor far behind in its condemnation.
On Jenin, Newkey-Burden is entirely correct but I hope he and his readers will not fall for the 'once a thief, always a thief' fallacy and be tempted to dismiss any other (present or future) claim of Israeli crimes on the basis of that one fallacious claim.
Let’s examine the facts of this massacre, this genocide. In total 75 people died at Jenin. 23 of these were Israeli soldiers and 52 were Palestinians, almost all of them combatants. By even the most hysterical, loaded standards of language this does not constitute genocide, nor anything of the sort. Indeed, the Palestinian death toll would have been much higher – and the Israeli death toll non-existent - had Israel simply bombed the camp from the air. Instead, to avoid civilian casualties, Israel put their own soldiers at risk, sending them in on foot to search through booby-trapped homes.
When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon next visited Israeli troops, one of them asked him: “Why didn’t we bomb the terrorists from the air? That operation cost the lives of more than 20 of our comrades!” Sharon replied: “That is the painful and inevitable price that those who refuse to abandon their humanity have to pay.” In return for paying the painful price of eschewing air attacks, Sharon and the brave Israeli soldiers who entered a terrorist camp on foot were accused of genocide and massacre and spoken of in the same terms as the 9/11 terrorists.
This particular hero of Newkey-Burden is the same person of which "the Kahan commission found that Ariel Sharon "bears personal responsibility" and recommended his dismissal from the post of Defense Minister, stating that:
It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defense for having disregarded the prospect of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps and for having failed to take this danger into account when he decided to have the Phalangists enter the camps. In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defense for not ordering appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the chances of a massacre as a condition for the Phalangists' entry into the camps"
However, the hypocrisy doesn’t end there. In 2007, another Palestinian camp, which had become swamped with suicide bombers, was attacked. This time, the gloves came off. The camp was surrounded by tanks and artillery that fired indiscriminately at the inhabitants. Snipers backed up this fire. The camp’s water and electricity supplies were cut off. Thousands of innocent Palestinians were forced to flee but not before at least 18 had been killed and dozens injured. The camp itself was reduced to rubble. Ultimately, the fighting killed more than 300 people and forced nearly 40,000 Palestinian refugees to flee.
This time, there was next to no coverage in the British media. There was no talk of genocide or massacre. Rather than condemning the attack, the EU and UN were quick to express their support to the army. Even the Arab League came out in support. So what had changed? You guessed it, this time the army dealing with the camp was not the Israeli army but the Lebanese army. How terrifyingly revealing this is of the hypocrisy of those who claim to care about fate of the Palestinians.
During the fighting, tanks and artillery had also fired at residential areas of Lebanon and civilians were inevitably caught in the crossfire. Just months earlier, the anti-war brigade has been marching through the streets of London to express their concern for the people of Lebanon who were caught in the crossfire of Israel’s fighting with Hezbollah. Strangely, the marchers couldn’t get off their self-righteous backsides when Lebanese civilians were being shot at by Islamic groups: this time, the people of Lebanon could go to hell as far as they were concerned.
How different it had been in the summer of 2006. “We are all Hezbollah now,” the modern hypocrites had chanted as they marched in fury against Israel’s latest battle for survival, as the rockets of that terror group were raining down on its cities and kibbutzim. If “Not In My Name” was an embarrassing slogan, then “We are all Hezbollah now” was little short of insane. How could these marchers, who say they oppose misogyny, tyranny, homophobia and genocide, march in support of an organisation which fanatically and brutally promotes all those things? Because they’re hypocrites, of course, and because their frenzied hatred of Israel has utterly stupefied them. It was embarrassing for them, therefore, when Hezbollah’s leader Hasan Nasrallah told them: “We don’t want anything from you. We just want to eliminate you.” As Martin Amis neatly put it, these demonstrators were “up the arse of the people that want them dead”.
The "We are all Hezbollah now" slogan is only insane to those who know nothing of the 1982 - 2000 Lebanon war, resulting in 18 years of occupation of Lebanon by the IDF. Annoyingly to its detractors, from the resistance to this cruel and brutal occupation emerged the highly effective fighting force of Hezbollah. Its effectiveness at fighting the IDF made this de facto army highly popular among the Lebanese population, despite it being made up of only one (Shia) of the multitude of Lebanese ethic/religious minorities. It effectively provides Lebanon with deterrent power against potential Israeli aggression (something Lebanon's regular 'army' is unable to muster up).
And so when at the start of the July War (2006) Hezbollah, under distractive missile cover, captures 2 IDF soldiers (killing also 3 and wounding a further 2), Israel responded with massive air strikes and artillery fire and Hezbollah in kind with rocket fire into Southern Israel. Hezbollah also successfully repelled a ground invasion by the IDF.
Only an ahistorical numpty like Newkey-Burden or someone who lacks the imagination to understand what the prospect of another Israeli occupation of Lebanon must have felt like for the Lebanese would fail to understand what 'we're all Hezbollah now!" actually represents.
But what were they doing up there? Many no doubt believed that during the war they were backing the little guy of Hezbollah against the big guy of Israel. The truth was somewhat different, though. Hezbollah was no little guy, it was backed by millions of pounds of Iranian and Syrian money. Neither were the two sides of the conflict as clear-cut as they believed. The Israeli Arabs of Haifa spent much of the summer sitting in bunkers to avoid being killed by Hezbollah rockets. Many of these Arabs cheered on the Israeli army throughout the campaign.
Not a mention of the $3,000,000,000 in annual aid Israel receives from the US, no strings attached (and has done for decades). Hypocrisy, anyone?
Similarly, Ethiopian Jews who Israel had previously bravely airlifted from oppression and starvation were particularly badly hit in Tiberias. How incredible that back in England, many of the groups whose members wear white Make Poverty History wristbands and campaign on Third World debt were willing to cheer as Ethiopians were bombed by Hezbollah.
Israel seeks to be a homeland for all the world's Jewry (considering that Jewish immigration and Aliya is strongly stagnating they're not really making such a splendid job of it - perhaps they should consider making Newkey-Burden an Honorary Israeli Jew?) But is Hezbollah responsible for Israel's decision to populate the South of its territory with Ethiopian Jews?
So no, Israel was not necessarily the Goliath of the conflict. How could a nation the size of Wales, surrounded by millions who want it wiped off the map be a Goliath? However, the courage shown by its soldiers was immense. Lt Colonel Roe Klein was marching at the head of a unit of troops when a Hezbollah man threw a hand grenade at them. Lt Klein jumped on top of the grenade to save his troops, losing his life in the process. Meanwhile, Hezbollah were employing the standard cowardly tactic of hiding among women and children, with wheelchair-bound people a particular favourite.
Unsubstantiated but juicy nonsense. Chas Newkey-Burden should seriously contemplate Mitch Prothero's The "hiding among civilians" myth, at least as a valid second opinion.
Throughout Israel, the population showed itself to be as brave and humanitarian as ever. Newspapers were full of classified advertisements in which families offered to house those from the north of the country who were under Hezbollah fire. Ultra-Orthodox Jews took in secular Jews, people living in small flats flung open their doors to large families with pets. The blitz spirit also saw youngsters from the big cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv organise treats for Arab children from Galilee. The government arranged for celebrities to visit the bunker-ridden population of the north and even flew in a gay porn star to cheer up gay Israeli troops. As Hezbollah’s rockets rained down over northern Israel, weddings in the region had to be cancelled. So cinema producer Eliman Bardugo organised for those affected to have the chance to be married en masse on the beach in Tel Aviv. Some 50 couples took him up on the offer.
Meanwhile, in London, left-wing people took to the streets to cheer on Hezbollah as it butchered Israeli people. As, for instance, a Hezbollah rocket hit a kibbutz and killed 12 people including an ultra-orthodox Jew who was sitting next to a hippy with pierced ears. The more of these incidents happened, the further the marchers climbed up the arses of the people who wanted them dead.
The estimated civilian death toll on the Lebanese side was ca. 1,000. The Israeli civilian death toll was precisely 43. I'm not sure who's up whose arse here.
It would have been familiar territory for many of them. When I went to see the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie in London’s West End, I had sat in an audience littered with white English men and women wearing keffiyeh scarves and some wearing Hamas badges. I see these people – and the marching Hezbollah-wannabes – as terror groupies, a sort of left-wing equivalent of the little boys who play army in playgrounds across England. But these are adults so they really should know better.
I’m not sure the terror groupies look the other way on the topic of Palestinian terrorism. They seem – sorry to say – almost turned-on by it. You surely can’t, after all, overlook something as big as the blowing up of buses or pizza parlours. There is no ‘bigger picture’ regarding people who do that. And why would you appropriate the uniform of the man who backed all that terrorism unless you actively had, well, a bit of a thing for him? For much of the audience, the play about Rachel Corrie must have been a gleefully pornographic experience. They say a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes a picture can be worth far more than that. There are more than a thousand words in the play, about Corrie, the young US activist who accidentally died during an anti-Israel protest in Gaza in 2003. But none of them shed light on the now-canonised Corrie as much as a photograph taken of her by the Associated Press a month before her death. She was snapped burning an American flag and whipping up the crowd at a pro-Hamas rally.
Naturally, there is no mention of this photograph in the play. Neither is it mentioned that thanks in part to demonstrations of the International Solidarity Movement with who Corrie travelled to the Middle East, the Israel Defence Force was prevented from blocking the passage of weapons which were later shown to have been used to kill Israeli children in southern Israel.
Instead, the play is full of naïve anti-Israel propaganda from the mouth of Corrie. “The vast majority of Palestinians right now, as far as I can tell, are engaging in Gandhian non-violent resistance,” she wrote in 2003 as Palestinian suicide bombs were slaughtering Israelis. Lest we forget who the real star of the story is, towards the end of the play Corrie writes: “When I come back from Palestine I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work.” We’re back in self-indulgence territory, aren’t we? Not in my name. My name is Rachel Corrie. We’re all Hezbollah now. Thousands are dying but it’s all about me. The hypocrisy of the audience was depressing. I wonder if any of were even aware that Hamas had danced over Corrie’s grave when she died? To the Palestinians, a dead young American girl was a wonderful publicity coup. Had any of the audience travelled to the Middle East in a Corriesque trip of self-indulgence, the Palestinians would have crossed their fingers in the hope they too died.
Hamas has danced on Corrie's grave? Care to substantiate that? The territories are full of non-Palestinian/non-Muslim UN workers, Human Rights activists and reporters, including many prominent Jewish critics of Israel like Amira Hass (who's also a Hamas critic), Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy. Dancing on Corrie's grave? Did they also break into song and dance when the American peace activist Tristan Anderson was critically wounded by a high velocity tear gas canister fired by the IDF? Or are they waiting until Tristan snuffs this mortal coil (chances remain high)?
What we do know with certainty is that Corrie's death was defiled by many pro-Israel's vilest zealots who referred to her as Pancake Rachel or Rachel 'the pancake' Corrie.
As I say, the modern hypocrite is delighted to overlook misogyny, homophobia and brutal clampdowns on all manner of person freedoms in Arab states and the other side of this coin of hypocritical currency is the way they simultaneously overlook the extraordinarily positive record Israel has on such issues. Take the case of Golda Meir, Israel’s first female Prime Minister who took the top job in 1969, just 21 years into the country’s existence and a full decade before England had our first female Prime Minister. In some Arab states, women are not allowed to go to school. In Israel they can become the most powerful person in the country.
Wonderful of plucky Israel to have a female prime minister so early on in its existence (shame it was also the same person who famously exclaimed "There are no Palestinians" and "Peace will come when the Arabs start to love their children more than they hate us"). This early bout of feminism undoubtedly justifies much of Israel's vile treatment of the Palestinian collective. Not to mention what it must do for Palestinian feminism...
And at this point I'm going to snip Newkey-Burden's hagiography of Israel a bit short.
My experiences in Israel might seem surprising to the reader who hasn’t been there – particularly given the predominance of reports casting the country as a villainous, apartheid state. There exists a peculiar unwillingness to accept good news from Israel, which contrasts with the way that paradigm-shifting reports on ‘The hidden modernity of Tehran’ are welcomed with open arms. When I attempted to include the scene that I had witnessed at the traffic lights in a magazine feature I wrote about the research trip to Israel, I had to go through an exasperating discussion with the commissioning editor. He didn’t seem to know that Israeli Arabs exist and insisted that the scene I described couldn’t have occurred. He’d never been to Israel but was quite sure that he was right and I was wrong.
On Israel's Apartheid, no doubt Newkey-Burden simply doesn't understand this argument and cannot see any similarities between his beloved Israel and the vile, erstwhile Apartheid regime of South Africa.
But one only needs to look at Israel's immigration policies to understand why these constitute Apartheid racism, pure and adulterated. In short, Yehudi from Brooklyn, having never laid eyes on or set foot in Israel, may land at Tel Aviv airport tomorrow and be granted citizenship within a month, no questions asked (other than 'are you Jewish?') In contrast, Ahmed, descendent of a Palestinian refugee from Sderot (before Sderot became Sderot and was still a Palestinian hamlet) is denied right of return, entry even, let alone citizenship. This is racist discrimination in the purest form.
But for a far more comprehensive and irrefutable treatise on Israeli Apartheid I'd recommend this in-depth resource.
Hmm, what we need is a man who can effortlessly show these BBC buffoons just how hypocritical they are. Step forward and take a bow Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister of Israel and all-round hero of both myself and my co-author. He was interviewed on the BBC during the 2006 Hezbollah conflict and made mince meat of his quizzer:
Interviewer: “How come so many more Lebanese have been killed in this conflict than Israelis?”
Netanyahu: “Are you sure that you want to start asking in that direction?”
Interviewer: “Why not?”
Netanyahu: “Because in World War II more Germans were killed than British and Americans combined, but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the war was caused by Germany’s aggression. And in response to the German blitz on London, the British wiped out the entire city of Dresden, burning to death more German civilians than the number of people killed in Hiroshima.
“Moreover, I could remind you that in 1944, when the RAF tried to bomb the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen, some of the bombs missed their target and fell on a Danish children’s hospital, killing 83 little children.
“Perhaps you have another question?”
Ah, the good Netanyahu. How unfortunate for his argument that in WW II about 85 % percent of deaths occurred on the Allied side, compared to about 15 % on the Axis side.
The Arab/Israeli kill ratios in most Arab/Israeli conflicts have been consistently about 10:1, although in Operation Cast Lead the IDF distinguished itself with a kill ratio of about 100:1.
And at this point I'm cutting to the chase, as the rest of Newkey-Burden's nauseatingly repetitive 'Good Israelis v. Bad Arabs' can be treated in much the same way as I've done so far.
To an unsuspecting Martian arrival, endowed with a human sense of justice, an accompanying credulity and subjected to Newkey-Burden's spiel on Israel and the 'hypocrisy' of its critics, the entire I-P conflict must appear a somewhat mysteriously open and shut case. A virtuous ("strong, plucky, moral, deeply self-critical yet determinedly happy and upbeat") model state in the Middle East starts getting attacked at an unspecified date (in terms of terrorism late 2000 actually, for the record) by barbarians with an unspecified grudge against All That Is Good in the ME.
Newkey-Burden's cartoonish account makes no mention of early Zionism, Israel's war of independence, Palestinian dispossessions in 1948 and 1967 (the Naqbas), the ongoing colonisation of the West Bank, destruction of Palestinian property (dwellings, orchards, means of production), the killing of by now almost 20 non-violent demonstrators, the dispossession of Jaffa, bird watchers a la Keren 'I'm a little bit fascist' Levy, increasing settler violence (recently candidly called a Pogrom by Ehud Olmert), a 'separation/security wall/fence' running deep into Palestinian territory, Sabra and Shatila, the existence of 'transferist' Israeli Jewish political parties, the election of a racist proto-fascist (and ex-Kahanist) as Foreign Minister and many, many other injustices.
That, Chas Newkey-Burden, that makes you... a flaming hypocrite.