I have been off this board for several weeks because: 1) I am preparing to return to the USA because it is getting to be so dangerous in Lebanon and, what with Syria reeling, Iran is sure to do whatever is in its power to divert attention to Israel. It will not be long now before the Syrian troops, Hezbollah and Hamas and, perhaps, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in Egypt will join in an enterprise to attack the State of Israel. The outcome will be a catastrophe for our people. Devastation will reign. 2) Due to my own views, I am facing personal danger in the land of my birth. 3) As to mepeace, I have awaited intelligent and balanced responses to my original comments but have been disappointed. 4) I have also used the time to continue doing research and conversing with my many friends, acquaintances and business associates in the Mideast. Following are my own comments:
In spite of what is referred to as the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and now Syria, it appears that the ugly but stable dictatorships of one man or family is being replaced by Islamic organizations whose cruelty and their hatred of the West as well as Israel is implacable. Mepeace members, being "liberal" in their orientation and unfamiliar with the the actual living conditions of the Mideast, appear to be unaware of what these events portend and how they will affect the average citizen within their borders. What mepeace members do not realize is that the particular Islamic perspective taken on by such entities takes on the worst aspects of the Koran to justify militant Jihad. The major aspect of their "philosophies" is to destroy not only Israel but western democracies as well. Death, as opposed to life, is celebrated. One can see this clearly in the once dynamic city of Beirut. My associates tell me that Alexandria in Egypt, a once liberal city which gladly harbored people of many different ethnic origins, is now poor, lifeless and smitten with threats against any creative endeavor. Those associates are also preparing to leave.
Mideastern countries, influenced by the Nazi regime, have taken on their methods of propaganda, threats and early education, especially against Jews but Christians as well. The Jew is depicted much as he was depicted in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, rapacious, dirty, disloyal, stingy and a drinker of childrens' blood, etc. These characteristics are taught not only in schools but in mosques as well. They are bred in deeply and the mostly illiterate masses believe these attributes unquestioningly. Few members on this forum read Arabic. I would suggest you turn to MEMRI for educating yourselves about the real Arab response to the modern world. A while back, the Haj al-Husseini, former Arab leader of Jerusalem, was mentioned. He spent the war years as a friend of Hitler's. There was an agreement to exterminate all the Jews in the Mideast after Europe capitulated to the Third Reich. This did not occur but the Haj brought with him German soldiers and military experts to fight the Jews of the region. Much more, he brought the philosophy, strategies and political methods of the Nazi regime. It has been very effective in its evil influence on the Arab peoples.
I'd also like to make some responses to members' commentaries. Starting off with Stewart, I am appalled that he so blithly dismisses the criticism that he focuses only on Israel to the exclusion of the enormous problems of the Mideast including, but not limited to, the Palestinian people under the stranglehold of Hamas and formerly under Yasser Arafat as well as the Lebanese under Hezbollah. Stewart, like most people who pretend to have a "liberal" orientation, sees nothing but the supposed inequities and "crimes" expedited by the State of Israel. His rationale lacks even a smidgen of self-reflection. How can someone put himself up as a "peacekeeper" when his orientation is so distorted? He speaks of his sympathy for the Palestinian people who have been effected by the (very disputable) crime of colonialism much as his own country (Australia) originated. Of course, the English had no presence in Australia. Jews always had a presence in what the Romans termed the region of Palestine. Furthermore, and most important, historical events and incredible myths regarding the land of Judea, Samaria and the rest of the nation always permeated Jewish memory. It can be found in the Bible (Torah). It is one of the forceful ingredients which binds all Jewish people in association with one another. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, similar to the English invasion of foreign lands nor with the Arab peoples who populate, or once populated, the region of Palestine. The Jewish religion is land based much as the myths and stories of American Indians binds them to the lands of the Americas. In my mind, Stewart belongs on an antiJewish website. He does, and continues to do, mepeace a dishonor.
As to Sussan, she shows up so consistently on mepeace with her narrow interpretations in spite of so many responses that it's beyond my ability to influence anything she may write. For the record, her interpretations of the "Nakba" is preposterous and comes right out of the worst anti-Israeli propaganda possible. For the record, evidence can be found that Jewish administrators tried to convince Arabs from fleeing but to practically no effect. Those who remained, of course, are now full-fledged citizens of the State of Israel. By contrast, those Arabs who did flee are not full-fledged citizens of their new countries with the exception of Jordan and now, recently, my own country, Lebanon. On the other hand, Arab countries advised that Arabs flee only to return and confiscate Jewish property after the war was won. You may find some of these newspaper advertisements in the website, "Stand By Us". Arabs fled out of fear that Jews would do to them what Arabs would have done to Jews had Jews lost the war (see Hebron Massacre 1929). First the business classes, the professionals and administrators left, then the Arab peasants and small tradesmen stampeded. It's true, of course, that Israeli soldiers moved some Arabs for strategic reasons and I don't doubt that some atrocities also occurred (see Benny Morris' account although as a historian he has proved to be quite inaccurate). It was Ben Gurion's intent to allow all Arabs to remain (see the full notes in his comments in the JAE) but to populate the new state with Jews so that they would become the majority. contrast this with the 900,000 Sephardic Jews who had to leave their homes in North Africa and the Mideast for fear of being slaughtered, miserable and propertyless, settling in Israel. Within ten years, they were integrated. Golda Meir was quoted as saying: "We were almost too successful". she meant that the refugees could not be held up as sacrifices much as Arab refugees have been. It is obvious that it has been to the advantage of Arab regimes to keep refugees in camps, in squalor. Why? In order to divert the attention of the international community away from their own injustices and corruption in order to "blame the Jews". Sussan fits with their ideology. Besides, the funding of Palestinian refugees has been a good source of income for these corrupt regimes.
As to Basil, in his softsoaping way, he, too, distorts facts in order to blame Jews (Israel), all the while pretending that he is a "peacemaker". He isn't. I might remind him that Jews always populated the region of Palestine. When, in 1880, they began moving to the region in force, it was barely populated. Not only Mark Twain but other writers expressed how desolate it was. I admit, from my readings, that there was one commercially pulsating area, Jaffa, where oranges and lemons were grown in abundance and exported. Jews bought land from absentee landlords. They worked the land, the swamps and deserts. Many died, became sick, some gave up, but they persisted. By 1920, they had become 10% of the population. The Ottoman Empire did not even characterize Palestine as an independent region; it was administered in part from Syria, in part from Jerusalem. In another forum, the population growth of Palestine was measured on a graph. As the Jewish population increased, so did the Arab. Why? It was due to Jewish achievements, the provision of work and a better life. People emigrated into the region from Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Kurdistan and Iraq but also non-Muslims from Greece. There was never a "Palestinian" nation, however. The only myth and historical event which binds the non-Jewish people of this region together is the "Naqba" and it is largely falsified. Were there to have been a genuine "Palestinian" people, folks like Bastian would have returned to build the nation. Unlike Jews, who possess a strong strong bond, they don't. So Bastian keeps sniping at the Jewish presence from his home in Virginia. He will never return. Neither will his children. He calls himself a "peacekeeper"; I call him a "sniper".
When will mepeace live up to its declarations as a community which actually proposes solutions to situations which will, inevitably, involve war and horrible sacrifice? I am desolate. Mepeace will not do this. It is frequented by people who very politely (and not so politely) despise the State of Israel and, as with so many other detractors, despise Jews. These people use this website to perpetrate their ugly attitudes. I suppose that after this diatribe, I will be dropped from membership. There have been others who have criticized the ruling cliques here only not to be heard from again. I, myself, would like to see established a new organization if mepeace cannot be re-invigorated, one that truly seeks peaceful resolutions to serious problems by confronting the real and genuine evil which exists, and has existed for decades, in the mideastern world. I am, frankly, tired of the Israeli demonisers and Jew haters which appear on this forum under the guise of liberals. As to hatred, I'm afraid I've been confronting enough of this in Lebanon and in my various forays into other mideastern countries.
If you had actually read Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad (as I have), you would not be quoting from it.
Here are some quotes from Innocents Abroad, that I am sure you have never come across:
The Sanhedrim met here last, and for three hundred years Tiberias was the metropolis of the Jews in Palestine. It is one of the four holy cities of the Israelites, and is to them what Mecca is to the Mohammedan and Jerusalem to the Christian. It has been the abiding place of many learned and famous Jewish rabbins. They lie buried here, and near them lie also twenty-five thousand of their faith who traveled far to be near them while they lived and lie with them when they died. The great Rabbi Ben Israel spent three years here in the early part of the third century. He is dead, now.
We are camped in this place, now, just within the city walls of Tiberias. We went into the town before nightfall and looked at its people--we cared nothing about its houses. Its people are best examined at a distance. They are particularly uncomely Jews, Arabs, and negroes. Squalor and poverty are the pride of Tiberias. The young women wear their dower strung upon a strong wire that curves downward from the top of the head to the jaw--Turkish silver coins which they have raked together or inherited. Most of these maidens were not wealthy, but some few had been very kindly dealt with by fortune. I saw heiresses there worth, in their own right--worth, well, I suppose I might venture to say, as much as nine dollars and a half. But such cases are rare. When you come across one of these, she naturally puts on airs. She will not ask for bucksheesh. She will not even permit of undue familiarity. She assumes a crushing dignity and goes on serenely practicing with her fine-tooth comb and quoting poetry just the same as if you were not present at all. Some people can not stand prosperity.
They say that the long-nosed, lanky, dyspeptic-looking body-snatchers, with the indescribable hats on, and a long curl dangling down in front of each ear, are the old, familiar, self-righteous Pharisees we read of in the Scriptures. Verily, they look it. Judging merely by their general style, and without other evidence, one might easily suspect that self-righteousness was their specialty.
The second quote is particularly distasteful, to put it mildly, and I post it here only because I am so sick of seeing the way Twain is quoted out-of-context by Zionist Jews.
And that is not all that is wrong with quoting from Mark Twain. Cast your mind back over Twain quotes you have read in the past, that had the word [Jezreel] in brackets. In the original manuscript, this word does not appear, and has been added by Joan Peters in her book ‘From Time Immemorial’ where she deliberately misquotes Twain to create the impression that Palestine was a waste land that Zionists civilized through cultivation.
Joan Peters also refers to a number of travellers to the region including, but not limited to: 1) Henry Maundrell in 1647; 2) Gunner Edward Webb; 3) Thomas Snow 1767; 4) Count Constatine F. Volney in his "Travels" 1783, '84 and '85. All have reported on the desolation of the region. In the nineteenth century, perhaps earlier, there was brisk trade in the Jaffa area for oranges but that's about all I can come up with. The Turks (Ottoman Empire) did not see fit to improve the region and allowed it to be governed from Syria in part and, in part, by the Haj in Jerusalem. Much earlier, before the Turks, the Mongols had already desolated the region succeeded by the Plague. It was not until Jews began emigrating into the region in the 1880s that the Arab and quasi-Arab population began to emigrate in numbers from Syria, Turkey, Greece, "Kurdistan", Iraq and Egypt, etc. Many of these folks were recent and/or forced converts to Islam. There are still families (clans) in the Westbank which are referred to as "Jews", there being genetic and anthropological evidence that these emigrants from Yemen are converts from Judaism (see www.theengagement for more evidence re the origin of the Arab/Muslim population of the region. It's pretty interesting. But I digress. The fact is that Mark Twain need not be taken as the only evidence of the lack of a dynamic region referred to as "Palestine" until the Jewish increase in the 1880s. Having said this, the current area of greatest growth now is Ramallah. I would love to be able to do business there but I am able to do that only from the USA, not Lebanon. One time, on visiting Israel (not that long ago), I viewed Ramallah from the Jordanian king's unfinished palace in Jerusalem. The growth from Ramallah all the way to Jerusalem was huge. Today, both Jews and Palestinian Arabs are attempting to create "facts on the ground" with respect to which areas belong to which. Anyone who has ever visited/toured Jerusalem will understand that the city cannot be separated, torn apart; it is too integrated. From what I've been told by Israeli Jews and Arabs, the city train system in Jerusalem (recently opened) cuts through both Arab and Jewish areas of the city. So the situation may be, unfortunately, stalemated. On the other hand, "stalemate" may be better than war and/or battle. There does not seem to be much hope. Nonetheless, the Jewish presence has renewed the region in terms of knowledge, invention and improved living conditions. Palestinian Arabs, as they are now known, have flourished outside the Mideast and their own level of education in the Westbank has increased immeasurably (thanks to the presence of Israeli influence). I am told that seven institutions of higher learning have sprung up in the Westbank since 1967, the Israeli conquest of the Jordanian presence. The Israeli presence has also provided a good deal of consternation amongst the older generation of Arabs as they see their culture and rituals rapidly changing, the families losing solidarity, the women emancipated and the fathers' dictatorial role weakening. This remains a problem, incidentally, within Israel itself and its hefty Chassidic population but that's another matter. As I dwell on these facts, patterns and changes, it becomes increasingly clear how such a potentially hopeful situation is so stuck. It's quite sad. I have conversed with both businessmen of Jewish and Arabic origins and all feel the same way. In business, incidentally, all of us get along and enjoy our ethnic differences. We get along far better, for instance, than members of mepeace, at least on this forum. Perhaps mepeace members need to acquaint themselves with businessmen (and women). At any rate, positive relations will have to await newer (younger) generations if anything is to be attained at all. I think there is a need for a breakthrough of the kind as follows: Palestinian Arabs must, for the first time, recognize the legitimacy of the "Jewish" nation. They have never done that. School books, maps of the region and mosque lectures prove this point. The day that announcement is made, assuring Israeli Jews of their survival (the most important factor for all Jews, I can tell you that), is the day that significant advances will be made and mutual prosperity for both peoples. In the meantime, I do not see anything coming from mepeace. In terms of participants, there is an overwhelming blaming of Israel (Stewart, Sussan, Basil and now the "autistic socialist) to the point that dialogue, one of the original principles of mepeace, is pretty much silenced. In fact, mepeace has become (as Kingsley mentioned) pretty much like any other Israeli bashing board. Still, I am trying to create an atmosphere in which people might dialogue. I am not hopeful that this will occur.
What do you think about the "invented people" comment by GINGRICH? It would seem that only PC prevents others from saying it. ALL USA politicians condemned his as "UNHELPFUL" but no one questioned his veracity. Do you not find it telling?
If the Palestinians were an ‘invention’, there would not have been a war in 1948, nor would there be any refugees, and there would probably not have been a Holocaust. Because, all the Jewish people would have been happily and safely settled in the Holy Land, where they could never have come to any harm.
Lets not confuse Arabs with Palestinians!!!!
Five independent Arab nations declared war on Israel, Sussan. Do you have any understanding of history whatsoever? You are, at the least, an embarrassment. You also prevent any meaningful discussion. If your aim is to convince, you fail. If your true aim is to obstruct, you are succeeding. I do not see any mepeace administrators stepping in to stop you so I guess either mepeace coordinators also wish for obstruction to continually take place or they simply lack the conviction of what mepeace was supposed to be about.
Do you think that the Palestinians have anyplace in the land currently occupied by Israel?
Also, is there anything that the Israeli government can do to promote peace with the Palestinian people?