Alan Hart’s Speech on September 11, to a conference in Freiburg, Germany, “Palestine, Israel and Germany – the Boundaries of Open Discussion”
By Alan Hart
“Defenders of Israel right or wrong assert that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same; sometimes explicitly, sometimes by insinuation and smear, they label criticism of Israel’s human rights abuse as anti-Semitism.”
The full title of my address was:
The mainstream media’s complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history.
I describe the conflict in and over Palestine that became the Zionist – not Jewish! – state of Israel as the cancer at the heart of international affairs; and I believe that without a cure this cancer will consume us all. I also believe that almost nothing is more important than crossing and actually eliminating the boundaries that have prevented, and to a very large extent do still prevent, informed and honest discussion about who must do what and why for justice for the Palestinians and peace for all. And that’s why I was pleased to accept an invitation to address this conference.
Before we get into substance I want to tell you a couple of things about myself and then offer you a key, actually THE key, to understanding.
As the advance promotion for this conference indicated, I think I am the only person in the world who enjoyed intimate access to, and on the human level friendship with, arguably the two greatest opposites in all of human history – Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine. The first picture in my epic, three-volume book ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS is of Golda Meir when she was prime minister. It is inscribed in her own hand “To a good friend, Alan Hart.” On lecture and debating tours across America I used this picture as a weapon of self defense when I was falsely and maliciously accused of anti-Semitism. I would hold up the picture, read out the inscription, and say to my accuser, “Do you think that old lady was so stupid that she couldn’t have seen through me if I was anti Jew?!” Everywhere I went that had the effect of turning audiences against my accuser.
It is generally believed that if you offend both parties to a dispute or conflict, you must be getting something right! That being so the second thing I want to tell you about myself is that I and my book are red-flagged by both Zionism and the regimes of a corrupt, impotent and repressive Arab Order. I did not set out to offend the Arab regimes for the hell of it. The fact is that you can’t tell the truth about Zionism without telling the truth about the Arab regimes. As I will explain shortly, the fundamental truth about them is that despite some stupid rhetoric to the contrary, they never had any intention of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine. And that helps to explain why the Arab regimes were and are at one with Zionism in wanting the truth of history to be suppressed.
Now THE key to understanding. It is knowledge of the difference between Judaism and Zionism.
- JUDAISM is the religion of Jews, not “the” Jews because not all Jews are religious. Like Christianity and Islam, Judaism, perhaps I should say mainstream Judaism, has at its core a set of moral values and ethical principles.
- ZIONISM is a sectarian, colonial-like nationalism which created a state for some Jews in the Arab heartland mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, and by doing so demonstrated contempt for, and made a mockery of, Judaism’s moral values and ethical principles. In reality mainstream Judaism and Zionism are total opposites… I wonder how many of you know that the return of Jews to the land of biblical Israel by the efforts of man – one possible but wholly inadequate definition of Zionism – was PROSCRIBED (prohibited, outlawed) by Judaism…?
In my view Jewish Nakba denial – denial of Zionism’s 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine which created the original refugee problem – is as obscene as Christian and Muslim denial of the Nazi holocaust. It’s worth noting that in terms of numbers, those Christians and Muslims who deny the Nazi holocaust are a very small minority of the Christian and Muslim whole, but those Jews who deny Zionism’s ethnic cleansing are a majority of the Jewish whole).
There are two reasons why knowledge of the difference between mainstream Judaism and Zionism is THE key to understanding.
The first is that when you know the difference, you can understand why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (anti Zionism’s colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic (in the sense of loathing and even hating all Jews everywhere just because they are Jews).
Defenders of Israel right or wrong assert that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same in order to make the charge, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by insinuation and smear, that all criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. That’s Zionist propaganda nonsense for a blackmail purpose, the purpose being to silence criticism and prevent informed and honest debate about Israel’s policies and actions. But when you know the difference between Judaism and Zionism, you don’t have to be frightened about being falsely accused of anti-Semitism for speaking and writing the truth. You can say to your Zionist accuser, “Go to hell!”. (I hope that’s a comforting thought to Germans especially).
The second reason why knowledge of the difference between Judaism and Zionism is the key to understanding is in this fact. When you know the difference you can understand why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hard core Zionists in Israel.
To give that statement some context, I want to read to you the warning words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in 1986, he wrote this:
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
In the world today we are witnessing a rising tide of anti-Israelism provoked by Israel’s arrogance of power, its contempt for international law and its appalling self-righteousness. (In Harkabi’s view self-righteousness is the biggest threat to Israel’s existence). If Israel stays on its present course, the danger is, as Harkabi warned, that anti-Israelism will be transformed into anti-Semitism, leading to Holocaust II – shorthand for another great turning against Jews everywhere and quite possibly starting in America. In my view the real danger of that happening will be greatly reduced if those (mainly Westerners) among whom most of the Jews of the world live are made aware of the difference between Judaism and Zionism.
Also to be said is that the Jews of the world (those in North America and Europe especially) could and should act to best protect their own interests by distancing themselves from the Zionist state and its crimes. In the Prologue to Volume One of my book which is titled Waiting for the Apocalypse, I quote Dr. David Goldberg, a prominent liberal London rabbi, as saying the following in 2001: “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.” If he was with us today I would say to him, it’s not “may be” time, it IS time.
When I joined ITN (Independent Television News) as a very young reporter many years ago, its great editor-in-chief gave me the mission statement in one short sentence. He said: “Our job is to help keep democracy alive.” My charge today is that because of its complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, the mainstream media throughout the Western world has betrayed democracy… My main purpose today is to draw your attention to two of the most critical elements of the truth which have been suppressed, and then to explain in summary WHY the truth matters.
But first a little light on the matter of Israel’s right or not to exist.
According to first and still existing draft of Judeo-Christian or Western history, Israel was given its birth certificate and thus legitimacy by the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947. That is nonsense.
- In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own. (The term “alien” is correct because almost all if not all of the Jews who went to Palestine in answer to Zionism’s call and/or response to its pushing had no biological connection whatsoever to the ancient Hebrews. They were mainly Europeans who converted to Judaism long after the end of the first Israelite occupation of Palestine. The notion that there are two peoples with an equal claim to the same land is nonsense).
- Despite that, by the narrowest of margins, and only after a rigged vote, the UN General Assembly did pass a resolution to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab, one Jewish, with Jerusalem not part of either. But the General Assembly resolution was only a proposal – meaning that it could have no effect, would not become policy, unless approved by the Security Council.
- The truth is that the General Assembly’s partition proposal never went to the Security Council for consideration. Why not? Because the US knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force; and President Truman was not prepared to use force to partition Palestine.
- So the partition plan was vitiated (became invalid) and the question of what the hell to do about Palestine after Britain had made a mess of it and walked away was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the US was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what to do that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence – actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community, including the Truman administration.
The truth of the time was that the Zionist state, which (as I mentioned earlier) came into being mainly as a consequence of Zionism terrorism and ethnic cleansing, had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist unless ….. Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved. And that legitimacy was the only thing the Zionists could not take from the Palestinians by force.
Now to what I regard as the two biggest and most successful of Zionism’s propaganda lies upon which the first and still existing draft of Judeo-Christian or Western history is constructed.
The first is the assertion that Israel has lived in danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea” of its Jews. The truth of history, which flows fully documented through the three volumes of my book, is that Israel’s existence has NEVER, EVER been in danger from any combination of Arab force. Not in 1948. Not in 1967. And not even in 1973. Zionism’s assertion to the contrary was the cover which allowed its monster child to get away where it mattered most – in America and Western Europe – with having its aggression perceived as self-defence and itself as the victim when it was and is the oppressor.
In the limited time available to me on this platform today I will say most about the 1967 war but a few words about the fighting of 1948.
Yes, it’s true that when Israel unilaterally declared itself to be to be in existence – an action one very eminent Zionist leader would later say was tantamount to a declaration of war on the Arabs – elements of five Arab armies crossed into Palestine. But their objective was not the destruction of the Jewish state of the vitiated partition plan. Their purpose was only to try secure the land that had been assigned to the Arab state, and they failed miserably to do even that. At an early point in the fighting there was a 30-day truce. During it the Arabs received not one bullet or bomb because of an arms embargo; but the Israelis, because of brilliant pre-war planning by their leader David Ben-Gurion, received weapons and equipment of every kind. When the fighting resumed it was 20,000 poorly armed, badly led and thoroughly demoralized Arabs against 90,000 well armed, well led and highly motivated Israelis. From then on Israel was the military superpower of the region. (In the countdown to that first Arab-Israeli war it was no secret in the diplomatic world that Ben-Gurion was hoping the Arabs would reject partition and opt for war because he knew that Israel could get more Arab land from fighting than from politics and diplomacy).
I can speak and write about the 1967 war from personal experience because for ITN I was the first Western correspondent to the banks of the Suez Canal with the advancing Israelis (there’s a picture of me there on my web site, www.alanhart.net); and because of the quality of my contacts – they included Major General Chaim Herzog, one of the founding fathers of Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence – I was privy to the plotting behind closed doors on the Israeli side in the countdown to war. On the second day of the war Herzog said to me, “If Nasser had not been stupid enough to give us a pretext for war, we would have created one within a year to 18 months.”
More than four decades on almost all Jews everywhere, and most Gentiles, still believe that Israel went to war either because the Arabs attacked (that was Israel’s first claim), or because the Arabs were intending to attack (thus requiring Israel to launch a pre-emptive strike). The truth about that war only begins with the statement that the Arabs did NOT attack and were NOT intending to attack. The complete truth includes the following facts,
- Israel’s prime minister and defense minister of the time, the much maligned Levi Eshkol, did not want to take his country to war. And nor did his chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin. They wanted only very limited military action, an operation far, far short of war, to put pressure on the international community to cause Eygpt’s President Nasser to re-open the Straits of Tiran.
- Israel went to war because its military and political hawks insisted that the Arabs were about to attack. They, Israel’s hawks, knew that was nonsense, but they promoted it to undermine Eshkol by portraying him to the country as weak .The climax of the campaign to rubbish Eshkol, who was more wise than weak, was a demand by the hawks that he surrender the defence portfolio and give it to Moshe Dayan, Zionism’s one-eyed warlord and master of deception. Four days after Dayan got the portfolio he wanted, and the hawks had secured the green light from the Johnson administration to smash Eygpt’s air and ground forces, Israel went to war.
- What actually happened in Israel in the final countdown to that war was something very close to a military coup, executed quietly behind closed doors without a shot being fired. For Israel’s hawks the war of 1967 was the unfinished business of 1948/49 – to create a Greater Israel with all of Jerusalem its capital. (In reality Israel’s hawks set a trap for Nasser and, for reasons of face, he was daft enough to walk into it).
In the long chapter on that war which starts Volume 3 of my book, I name and quote a number of Israeli leaders of the time who subsequently admitted the truth. The first to do so was Chief of Staff Rabin. In an interview with Le Monde on 28 February 1968, he said: “I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”
In an unguarded public moment in 1982, Prime Minister Begin went even further. He said: “In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
Each and all of the other Israeli leaders I name and quote said there was never a danger of annihilation or even an Arab attack. And as one of them put it, “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated after the events to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”
While I was writing the truth about that war I found myself saying aloud to my readers that there were times, and this was one of them, when I wanted to “cry out” with the pain of knowing how much Jews (almost all Israelis and most Jews everywhere) have been deceived by Israel’s leaders and Zionism’s spin doctors.
In my view one of the most damning indictments of the mainstream media for its complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history is in the fact that when today it has cause to make reference to the 1967 war, it still peddles Zionism’s propaganda lies about it, this despite the fact that the truth is on the public record as I have indicated.
Question: Why is the mainstream media complicit?
There are many people who believe the answer is “Jewish control of the media”. Jewish ownership of some even many media institutions is a part of the answer, but there’s much more to it. For example, you don’t make money from selling newspapers. You make money from selling the advertising space in them. What editors fear most of all is that if they offend Zionism too much, they will be denied the advertising revenue that keeps their papers alive. And this fear results in self-censorship… There’s much more that could be said on this subject but time is short.
For the first two or three days of the 1973 war virtually the whole world believed that Israel really was in danger of defeat and annihilation. It was not. Despite the fact that Eygpt and Syria started the action, Sadat’s war plan was only for his forces to cross the Suez Canal and stop. Which is what they did, There was not an Egyptian intention to attack Israel or even to try to regain more Israeli-occupied Egyptian territory. And the Syrian war aim was limited to trying to take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Fundamentally it was Sadat’s war for peace in secret collusion with the new American Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger. He wanted to teach his intransigent Israeli friends a little lesson in the hope that he could then bounce them into a separate peace process with Egypt. Kissinger knew that if Egypt could be taken out of the military equation, the Arabs could never fight Israel even if they wanted to; and Israel would then be completely free to impose its will on the whole Arab world. It all went badly wrong for Sadat and Kissinger when Israel’s generals realised that their American friend had colluded with Sadat. With General Sharon in the lead, they then decided to teach Kissinger as well as Sadat a lesson… Initially, and on Kissinger’s say so, President Nixon refused to supply Israel with the replacement weapons it needed. And that was why Israeli Defense Minister Dayan ordered the arming of two missiles with nuclear warheads, with Cairo and Damascus their targets. Dayan’s message to Kissinger and Nixon was something very like, “If you don’t give us what we want, we’ll go nuclear.” I tell the story of this war in Volume 3 of my book in a Chapter titled The Yom Kippur War and “Nuclear Blackmail”.
Complete understanding of why Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab force is assisted by this fact. When the Palestine file was closed by Israel’s victory on the battlefield in 1948 and Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank, it was not supposed to have been re-opened. There was not supposed to have been a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism. The Palestinians were supposed to accept their lot as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of political expediency.
And the whole truth includes this fact. Behind closed doors, and despite their rhetoric to the contrary, the Arab regimes shared the same hope as Zionism and the major powers – that the Palestine file would never be re-opened. They knew that if it was, there would one day have to be a confrontation with Israel and its big power supporters, the U.S. in particular, and they didn’t want that.
They, the Arab regimes, also feared that a Palestinian state, if it was ever established, would be more or less democratic and provide a model of government which all Arabs would want. Palestinian nationalism was therefore perceived by Arab autocrats as a potentially subversive force.
For their part Israel’s leaders were aware that if they failed to keep the Palestine file closed, a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism would cause the legitimacy of Zionism’s colonial-like enterprise to be called into question. Which is what is now happening.
The second of Zionism’s two biggest and most successful propaganda lies is in the assertion that Israel had “no partners for peace.”
The best introduction to the truth of history on this aspect of the matter is one sentence in a remarkable book, The Iron Wall, Israel and the Arab World, by Avi Shlaim, one of Israel’s leading “revisionist” which means honest historians. He wrote: “The files of the Israeli Foreign Ministry burst with evidence of Arab peace feelers and Arab readiness to negotiate with Israel from September 1948 on.” It’s worth repeating “from September 1948 on.” Avi was the first to have access to these files when they were de-classified.
In the time available to me on this platform today I’ll settle for just two examples of this Arab readiness or pragmatism. Which could also be called betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
Very soon after he came to power in a coup in Egypt in 1951, Nasser secretly signalled that he wanted an accommodation with Israel. The signalling was done in secret exchanges he had with Moshe Sharret, Israel’s first foreign minister and in my view the only completely rational Israeli leader of his time. He was also briefly prime minister when Ben-Gurion stood down for a while because some of his colleagues, and perhaps even the man himself, were beginning to doubt his mental state. When Ben-Gurion returned as prime minister, he destroyed Sharret politically because, inspired by his exchanges with Nasser, he wanted to make peace with the Arabs on terms which would have seen Israel confined to the Armistice borders of 1948.
But the man who did more than any other to prepare the ground for peace was the one who also led the struggle to re-open the Palestine file – the pragmatic Yasser Arafat. In my book Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker? first published in 1984, I revealed that he personally was reluctantly reconciled to compromise with Israel as far back as 1968. Repeat 1968. By that time he regarded Nasser as a trusted father figure, and he believed the Egyptian president was right when he told him that if the PLO wanted to be taken seriously by the major powers, those of both the West and the East, it had to be realistic and come to terms with an Israel inside its pre 1967 borders.
Thereafter it took Arafat five long years to sell the idea of unthinkable compromise with Israel to his Fatah leadership colleagues. Initially the idea of compromise was unthinkable to virtually all Palestinians not only because it required them to make peace with Israel in exchange for only 22% of their land, but also because it required them, effectively, to renounce their claim to the other 78% of it and to legitimize Israel’s presence on it.
After that it took Arafat another five long years to sell his Fatah-approved policy of politics and compromise with Israel to the PNC (the Palestine National Council), a sort of Palestinian parliament-in-exile and the highest Palestinian decision making body. At the time there were about 300 PNC representatives in the global Palestinian diaspora. There were others in the Israeli-occupied territories and Israel itself, but the Israeli authorities did not allow them to travel to attend PNC meetings.
In those five years Arafat had to turn the PNC around – from rejection of compromise with Israel to support for it. And he had to do it by democratic means, by discussion and debate. He could not behave like his autocratic Arab brothers at leadership level and impose his will. He did it by summoning all 300 PNC members from all over the world, one by one, to talk with him in Beirut. In his first conversations with them, many said they would not vote for compromise with Israel; that Arafat was a traitor for advocating it; and that if he continued along that line he might well be assassinated. Arafat was indeed putting his credibility with his own people and his life on the line. At the end of each of his one-on-one conversations with rejectionist PNC delegates, Arafat asked them to return to their places in the diaspora and to think very carefully about the case he had made for compromise with Israel. If after time for reflection and debate with their own communities they were still opposed to his policy, he would summon them back to Beirut for another conversation.
The PNC vote in 1979 was an overwhelming victory for Arafat. There were 296 votes for his policy of politics and compromise with Israel and only 4 against. It was shortly after that historic PNC decision that I had the first of very many conversations with Arafat. When we were alone, he extracted a notebook from his hip pocket. He waved it triumphantly in the air and said, “It’s all here.” The it was his own record of his conversations with PNC delegates over the five years. Then, with a big smile on his face and in a voice that suggested he could hardly believe what had happened, he said this: “How far we have travelled. No more this silly talk of driving the Jews into the sea. Now we are prepared to live alongside them in a little mini state of our own. It is a miracle.”
It was, and Arafat was the miracle worker. He had prepared the ground on his side for peace on terms which any rational government and people in Israel would have accepted with relief. No other Palestinian leader could have done it.
The problem then was not that Israel didn’t have a Palestinian partner for peace but that the Palestinians did not have an Israeli partner. Menachem Begin, arguably the most successful terrorist of modern times and perhaps of all time, was Israel’s prime minister. Arafat the terrorist Begin and his Likud leadership colleagues could handle. Arafat the peacemaker they could not. And that’s why in 1982 Begin allowed General Sharon, then Israel’s Defense Minister, to take the IDF all the way to Beirut for the purpose of liquidating the entire PLO leadership and destroying its infrastructure.
But that was only phase one of Sharon’s game plan. If he had succeeded in Beirut, he was going to de-stabilise Jordan and bring about the downfall and departure of the Hashemite monarchy. That done he was intending to say to the Palestinians something like: “Of course you must have a state of your own. There it is. Jordan. Go take it.” To assist that process Sharon had established on the West Bank something close to a Palestinian puppet government-in-waiting consisting of 70 Palestinian collaborators. When he had overthrown King Hussein he was going to helicopter them into Amman.
Subsequently King Hussein, whom I knew very well, told me that he and all Arab leaders were fully aware in advance of what Sharon’s intentions were. Hussein also confirmed to me something Arafat told me. Shortly before Sharon launched his invasion of Lebanon to liquidate the PLO, the Gulf Arab leaders met in secret, without any advisers present, to agree a message to President Reagan. The message was that when Sharon invaded Lebanon to liquidate the PLO, the Arab leaders would not make any problems for the U.S. or Israel. Arafat’s source for that information was one of the Gulf Arab leaders who was present at the secret meeting – Oman’s Sultan Qaboos. His message to Arafat was this: “When Sharon comes for you in Beirut, you will ask for our help and you will not get it. Be careful.”
All of that and much, much more is in my book, in fully documented detail.
In due course Arafat did get a possible even probable Israeli partner for peace in the shape of Prime Minister Rabin; but as I knew from my own sources, Rabin went into the Arafat-initiated Oslo peace process only with great reluctance because he feared he would be assassinated by one of his own. As we know, his fears on that account were justified. The Zionist fanatic who assassinated Rabin, possibly with the complicity of some in one of Israel’s security services, was not mentally de-ranged, he knew exactly what he was doing – killing Rabin to kill the Arafat-initiated peace process.
After that Arafat’s credibility with his own people began to be eroded. And why can be simply stated. He had said to them in effect the following: “Trust me. Let me run with my policy and politics and compromise with Israel because it will deliver something concrete for you.” The fact was that he could not deliver for his people because Israel’s leaders didn’t want peace on the basis of the two-state solution he was offering. And Israel’s Jews were not able to challenge the folly of their leaders because they were, most of them, brainwashed by Zionist propaganda.
Today the case some Palestinian intellectuals and activists make against Arafat is that in the Oslo process he effectively gave control of Palestinian policy to Israel and Zionism. In my very last conversation with Arafat about two years he died – I think he was biologically poisoned, murdered – I asked him if there was a case for saying that he had made the mistake of his life and, in effect, had betrayed his people by putting his own good faith in the hope that Israel would deliver on the commitments it had made for peace.
The first part of his answer was to the effect that when he initiated the Oslo peace process he honestly believed he had no choice – because Israel had all of the might on its side and the Palestinians had only right on their side. The second part of his answer, in a voice mixed with quiet despair and anger, was to this effect: IF the big powers and the U.S. especially had backed his policy of politics and compromise with Israel after he had shaken hands with Rabin on the lawn of the White House, the Oslo process could have delivered peace on terms just about acceptable to most Palestinians. On that I think Arafat was right.
The Clinton administration did not back Arafat as it should have done, in America’s own best interests, because the Zionist lobby was working day and night to undermine both Arafat AND Rabin and to take the meaning out of the agreement they had signed. I understood what was going on because of a comment made to me by Shimon Peres way back in 1984. He was then the leader of the Labour Party in opposition to Begin’s first Likud-led government coalition and was hoping to win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term as prime minister. I was then acting as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Peres and Arafat. In my first private conversation with Peres at the start of that initiative I used the term “Israel lobby”. That made Peres angry. He said, almost shouting at me: “You don’t understand! It’s NOT an Israel lobby! It’s a Likud lobby! And that’s our problem!”
My own take on this aspect of the matter is that it’s wrong to call it the Israel lobby because that implies it represents all Israelis and it most certainly does not. My own preferred term for it is Zionist lobby. At this point I want to say, as I do in my book, that I do not blame the Zionist lobby for acting in the way it does. It is only playing the game according to the rules. I blame a corrupt, pork-barrel system of American politics which puts what passes for democracy up for sale to the highest bidders. The Zionist lobby is one of them and the influence it can and does buy enables it to control Congress and therefore the president on policy for Israel-Palestine. (If the opportunity arises in discussion, I’ll tell you what President Carter told me about the limited opportunities any president has to confront the Zionist lobby even if he has the will and courage to do so).
Ladies and gentlemen, after that brief explanation of some of the essence of the truth of history (there’s much, much more of it in my book!), I’m going to draw my main contribution to this conference to a conclusion by asking a question and then giving you my answer. The question is: Why is the truth of history so important? Put another way, Why MUST the boundaries that have been drawn by Zionism to prevent informed and honest debate be crossed?
But first three brief general observations.
I think the Zionist not Jewish state of Israel could and should be described today as a monster beyond control
- a monster that, because it is hungry for the maximum amount of Arab land with the minimum number of Arabs on it, is not remotely interested in peace on terms that would provide the Palestinians with an acceptable minimum amount of justice; and
- a monster that is a real threat not only to the peace of the region and the world but also to the security and wellbeing of Jews everywhere.
When I was writing the text for this presentation I found myself wondering how many Germans are aware of the following. If there had been no Adolf Hitler and no Nazi holocaust, there almost certainly would not have been a state of Israel. Why not? Prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, the vast majority of Jews everywhere, and especially many eminent American Jews including the then owner of The New York Times, were totally opposed to Zionism’s Palestine project. They believed it to be morally wrong. They feared it would lead to unending conflict with the Arabs and the wider Muslim world. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the big powers to have its way, it would one day provoke violent anti-Semitism on a grand scale. For most Jews of the world today the title of my book, ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS, is very uncomfortable, too uncomfortable, and some are deeply offended and outraged by it; but I am confident that, if they were alive today, the many pre-holocaust Jewish critics of Zionism would endorse it. (My very dear Jewish friend Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, has described the title of my book as “THE truth in seven words.”)
The second general observation I want to make concerns my repeated emphasis of the fact that Israel is a Zionist not a Jewish state. It’s really very simple. How can Israel be a Jewish state when a quarter of its citizens are Israeli Arabs, mainly of the Muslim faith? Israel will only become a Jewish state if it resorts to a final round to ethnic cleansing – to remove all the Palestinians from the land Israel holds. I happen to believe this is a real possibility in a foreseeable future but there’s not time here and now for me to explain why and what I think the consequences would most likely be. For now I’ll say only that I believe a final round of Zionist ethnic cleansing could make a Clash of Civilizations, Islamic v Judeo-Christian, inevitable. Which is perhaps what the hardest core Zionists and their neo-con associates in America want.
The third general observation I want to make and which will take me directly to my answer to the question of why the truth of history is so important is this. The incredible almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians is the ROCK on which all of us who seek to promote the truth of history stand. I admire the occupied and oppressed Palestinians because if there is any people on earth who ought to have been de-humanized by their humiliating treatment, it’s them. They have not been de-humanized but their oppressors have. And that’s not only my Gentile view. It is also the opinion of some Israeli Jews.
Simply by continuing to exist and staying put without surrendering to Israel’s dictates and not accepting crumbs from its table, the occupied and oppressed Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip open prison camp are doing virtually all they can to contain the Zionist monster, But there is a bottom-line political reality to be faced and it’s this.
The struggle for justice for the Palestinians, which is the key to peace for all, is not going to be won or lost in Israel-Palestine or even the region. It’s going to be won or lost in the major capitals of the Western world and in Washington DC especially. But…
PROBLEM NUMBER ONE is that because of the awesome power and influence of the Zionist lobby in all of its many manifestations, our leaders and their governments are never going to use the leverage they have to cause or try to cause Israel to be serious about peace unless and until they are PUSHED TO DO SO BY INFORMED PUBLIC OPINION, by expressions of real democracy in action. In the American context for example, no American president is ever going to be free to use the leverage he has to cause or try cause Israel to be serious about peace unless and until enough Congressmen and women are more frightened of offending their voters than they are of offending the Zionist lobby.
PROBLEM NUMBER TWO is that the citizens, voters, of the Western nations, Americans especially, are TOO UNINFORMED AND MISINFORMED TO DO THE PUSHING because, with the complicity of the mainstream media, they have been conditioned by Zionist propaganda to believe a version of history which simply is not true.
In summary then I say this. The truth of history is needed to EMPOWER the citizens of the Western nations to make their democracies work for justice for the Palestinians and peace for all. Without this empowerment there is not in my view a snowball’s chance in hell of justice for the Palestinians and peace for all; and the cancer the conflict is will eventually consume us all.
I want to conclude with an appeal for some assistance for promoting the truth of history here in Germany. In the coming weeks the German edition of Volume 1 of my book will be published. It is possible that the Zionist lobby here in Germany will use its influence to prevent the book being on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair. We shall see. But Volumes 2 and 3 will not be published, cannot be published, unless the publisher receives financial assistance to pay for the translation. If any of you here have ideas about how this assistance could be provided, I ask you, please, to tell Dr. Gabi or through her, me.
If I had written an epic, pro-Zionist book, wealthy supporters of Israel right or wrong would have thrown money at it for promotion of all kinds; and they probably would have funded a Hollywood movie based on its substance. It is a sad but true fact that virtually unlimited resources have been available for telling and selling the lies of history, while the truth has not commanded any significant financial support from anywhere. And that, in my view, is the main reason why, to date, Zionist might has triumphed over Palestinian right.
Though I might expose myself to a charge of naivety for saying so, I remain committed to the belief that IF citizens of the Western nations WERE properly informed about the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, they would want their governments to act – to use the leverage they have to bring about justice for the Palestinians and peace for all – and would insist that their governments did act.
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who has covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. His Latest book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, Vol. 1: The False Messiah, is a three-volume epic in its American edition. He blogs on AlanHart.com.