Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A more dishonest man than Dershowitz? Try Elie Wiesel

A few weeks ago there was talk that Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu had enlisted Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel to pressure US Prez Barack Obama on Jerusalem, where 1,600 new housing units for Jews have been authorized against international law. Shortly afterwards, Wiesel published an ad in The International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal under the title "For Jerusalem." Basically it was a regurgitation of Hasbara clichés designed to explain why the Jews have more right to the city than others. The piece has been thoroughly picked apart and responded to elsewhere, so I'll only give you a taste of it before I proceed with my own critique of the paragraph that particularly irked me.

For instance, Wiesel claims:

For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture—and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming.

So what? Religious books are not deeds. And the fact that someone thinks a lot about something does not confer on him any right to it. Otherwise, Gibraltar would be Spanish, the Falklands/Malvinas would belong to Argentina and my sister in law would have already been intimate with me... wait a minute, I didn't mean that last one. On another note, one wonders why he makes reference to the Qur'an only, as though all Palestinians were Muslim (a sizable minority belongs to the Christian faith, whose books also mention Jerusalem a lot of times).

Wiesel then argues:

Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.

The intellectual dishonesty here would make Alan Dershowitz blush. While it is accurate to say that certain Christians and Muslims (i.e. those who hold Israeli citizenship) are allowed to build homes in West Jerusalem, it is obvious that the people most likely to want to build in a city are those born there. In the case of Jerusalem, the Arab residents of East Jerusalem, who were born in the city and are children and grandchildren of people also born there, are not allowed to build homes in West Jerusalem. By contrast, Jews who are not Israeli citizens, and who have never set foot in the city, are granted permits to build houses. Racial privilege trumps longtime legal and lawful residence in Jerusalem.

In another paragraph, Wiesel states:

Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them access to the city and again, when under Jordanian occupation, Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon’s temple.

This Holocaust survivor has no idea of the history he claims to be bound by. There's no vestige at all of Solomon's First Temple; the Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is basically part of the Second Temple erected by Herod, a Jewish king particularly known for having murdered his own children and who may also have massacred a number of newborns.

Which leads us to the following conclusion in which bad faith reaches new heights:

It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.

If you and I ever meet eye to eye, please don't come to me with drivel like this. It makes me very angry, and due to a still undiagnosed condition, my skin turns green and I begin to throw up white phosphorous that might hit you in the face.

There's nothing holy or saintly about the Jews that prevents them from killing, be it for Jerusalem or for lesser causes. They have killed innocents for Deir Yassin; they have blown women, children and elderly people into smithereens for Haifa; they have even massacred farmers returning home on their bikes for the sake of keeping a curfew. Why wouldn't they kill for Jerusalem? In fact they did -- or how does Wiesel think that East Jerusalem was illegally occupied by Israel?

What happened before 1967 is that Israel, like all other countries, was aware that wars of aggression are not widely appreciated, and that they had to wait for a casus belli to arise in order to take over East Jerusalem. The war they started against Egypt, with which Jordan had a mutual defense treaty --a war that was skilfully presented as a preemptive, rather than aggressive, one--, provoked the intervention of the latter country, thus providing Israel with the perfect excuse to occupy the remaining of the so called City of Peace. Strategic restraint must not be confused with a wish not to kill.

As always, the Zionists make extraordinary assertions about the Israeli Jews' unsurpassable morality, only to shout "double standards" when one wants to look into the validity of those claims.


Inquirer said...

Wait, let me read this again...

"What happened before 1967 is that Israel, like all other countries, was aware that wars of aggression are not widely appreciated, and that they had to wait for a casus belli to arise in order to take over East Jerusalem. The war they started against Egypt, with which Jordan had a mutual defense treaty, provoked the intervention of the latter, thus providing Israel with the perfect excuse to occupy the remaining of the so called City of Peace."

So, Israel understood that wars of aggression are not appreciated. In order to get around this, they started a war.

Anonymous said...

Fake Ibrahim is a hopeless case - he can't think straight, he doesn't even try - it is out of his grasp - and honouring him with a discussion helps only to feed the beast
it is best to leave him to his buddies - his regulars are a queer bunch of his equals and when they get going it becomes really nice and cosy and full of delusional s..t around here

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Thank you for the feedback, Inquirer. As you may know, the Six Day War was presented as a preemptive war which itself had a casus belli, i.e. the closing of the Straits of Tiran. I have made that clear in the post now.

Working together is the way to polish things up and present a better final product. Once again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

@Inquirer: "Israel understood that wars of aggression ..." -indeed. Up until today their 1967 war is PR'ed as a "must react"-thing etc. Just take a look at the en.wikipedia, see this war's edit & discussion history. Hell, even the massacre on Gaza was a "we must"-joke. Need the Golda Meir quote?


Inquirer said...

The causes behind the 1967 War are much more complicated than that, but at least the logic is consistent now.

Gert said...

Oh no, Ibrahim uses Zionism's first enemies again: basic facts and essential logic! Anonymous has nothing but feeble insults in response.

About 1967 one can say what one wants but pre-emptive? Show me one 'pre-emptive' war which 42 years after the fact still results in occupation and part colonisation of the captured territory?

I'm guessing we should rebrand the colonisation of Africa as 'pre emptive' too: the thought of the damage these hordes of African tribesmen armed with sharp slices of mango could have inflicted on us chills me to the bone...

Anonymous said...

"Manchmal bin ich so geistreich, dass ich nicht ein einziges Wort von dem verstehe, was ich sage."
Oscar Wilde

Anonymous said...

The land of Israel, reconquered by the Jews from the British and Arab invaders, is ours and nothing you pathetic scribblers say or do will change that. We will create facts on the ground and wait. Zion belongs to us. The Arabs already have 22 states. We have Israel.

levi9909 said...

Can you name an Arab who has 22 states? I can think of many Jews who have two states, where we are actually from and Israel. Because of that, some Arabs have no state at all. So Arabs, like most of humanity, tend to have just the one state, Jews have a spare state and because Jews have a spare state, the Palestinians have no state.

Actually, in the interests of accuracy, there are 18 Arab states plus 4 associates in the League of Arab States.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wiesel neglected to note that Jerusalem isn't mention in the Torah, either! The Torah is the heart of the Tanakh, yet not a single reference to Jerusalem. The references he mentions are in the rest of the Old Testament.

Anonymous said...

I just had to comment because I found the comments to be variously hilarious, flabbergasting, and a bit scary in their ignorance.
Apparently now the Palestinians are now saying that there is no Jewish connection to Western wall of the temple and someone here is trying to deny any Jewish connection with Jerusalem!!
Of course it would take too much space to answer points on the article and the comments, but let me say that the 1967 war has officially been classified as a defensive war. This being so the "occupation" is not illegal. The "green line" was just an armistice line and not a border.
There will be no peace in the middle east as long as there is such hatred of Jews, because we know that this conflict is not about land or settlements, but about the refusal of the Arabs to accept a Jewish state in their midst.

saim said...

What remarkable post! I think getting a bit of experience behind you writing for student magazines and websites is probably a good idea as well, just to familiarise yourself with what might be expected of you.

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