July 19, 2003
Rutgers student crosses the line

Charlotte Kates, a Rutgers University law student, is also the organizer of an odious anti-Israel rally that will occur in New Jersey in October. Emperor Misha and Charles Johnson have already flogged the conference to death, so I will concentrate on an odious little article she penned for the Rutgers school newspaper. The article can be found here; the link requires a registration. I've included the entire article here, so there is no need to follow the link if you don't want to register.


What may one call a state created from colonized land, stolen from its native inhabitants and turned over to European invaders through a process of militarily-enforced ethnic cleansing and occupation? While one may call it "the United States," one may also call it "Israel" -- but one certainly cannot, and should not call it a "democratically-created state."

She lets us know right up front that she is an America-hater, as well as an Israel-hater.

In 1947, Palestinian Arabs owned 93 percent of the land of Palestine. Their land had been subject to British colonial rule since the end of World War I, at which point those same colonizers made vague promises to the nascent Zionist movement of a "Jewish national home" in Mandatory Palestine. The Zionist movement was, in the early 20th century, but one fringe of Jewish cultural and social organization -- and a reactionary one, formed in nationalistic reaction to the internationalist organizing of Jewish socialists, communists and anarchists. As such, despite (and perhaps because of) European anti-Jewish hatred, the Zionist movement found support among various European political sectors.

I cannot find a reliable cite for the 93% figure, but I do know that during the years of the British Mandate (1922-1947) the Jews *bought* the land they occupied from Arabs, usually from landowners living in Damascus or Cairo. They often paid exorbitant rates for this land (ten times the price of rich Iowa farmland, for example), and this land was often semi-arable, or malaria-ridden swampland. The 93% figure is undoubtedly inflated; This map from the Palestine Center, and shows that there was significant land ownership by Jews at the end of World War II. If a Palestinian-supportive group contradicts her claims, what would an Israeli-supportive map reveal?

She also fails to note that prior to the British mandate, "Palestine" was part of another empire, that of the Ottomans. Palestinian self-rule is a myth; the area has been under colonial rule of one type or another since the Roman empire. (Remember, at the time of Jesus, Pilate was the Roman-installed governor of Palestine.)

The Zionist movement considered not only Palestine as a place for its dream of a "Jewish state," it considered Argentina and Liberia as other likely prospects -- also nations of the global South, long subject to domination, imperialism and exploitation. A largely secular movement, nonetheless, Zionism became centered on Palestine due to its historical and religious significance. The Zionist movement never pretended to offer anything better to the indigenous population than ethnic cleansing and subservience. Its mythology of a "land without people for a people without land" served to consign the Palestinians to nonexistence in popular propaganda while seeking to create such nonexistence in fact.

This whole paragraph is nothing more than boilerplate communist drivel. There's a whole lot of verbiage, with no substance behind it. As to the assertions about Argentina and Liberia, they were ideas floated by one person, a person who also considered the Sinai Peninsula, Tripolotania (in Libya), and a number of other places.

While Jews had always lived alongside Muslims and Christians in historic Palestine, they were Palestinian Jews. The Zionists' essential identification and role was not their religious affiliation but rather their political organization as a European settler colonialist movement, seeking the dispossession of Palestinians and the expropriation of their land. Following World War II, a "Partition Plan" was proposed and adopted by the United Nations. Without consultation with the Palestinians who lived in Palestine, Palestine was to be divided into two states -- a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state." Unsurprisingly, the Palestinian people resisted this new imperialist attack -- there was no compelling reason to accept the splitting and expropriation of large amounts of Palestinian land for no other reason than the decision of European powers and European settlers. Confronted with the Palestinian people's desire to retain their land and independence, the Zionist forces waged an armed onslaught. Contrary to common accounts of the 1948 war, the "Arab armies" entered not the territory granted to the "Jewish state" in the partition plan, but only that designated as "Arab land" -- the Zionist army was equally determined to reject the partition as proposed, as it failed to satisfy dreams of a greater Israel.

This is an outright lie. First off, the Jews accepted the partition plan, while the Arabs rejected it. Secondly, the entire Jerusalem area (including suburbs such as BETHLEHEM) was to be an international city. Seizure of the eastern and southern portions of the international zone does not qualify as staying is the Arab-designated portions. Thirdly, the invasion from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and Transjordan hardly qualifies as a "Zionist armed onslaught", although after the dust settled the Jews were in control of more land then when they started. If the Arab nations had not attacked, they would have controlled all of the Arab mandate, and Jerusalem and the surrounding territory would still be an international city.

During the war of 1948, thousands of Palestinian civilians were slaughtered and nearly a million driven from their land and homes, becoming refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This process of ethnic cleansing was neither accidental nor innocuous; it had long been part of Zionist plans for Palestine. Since that time, they have been repeatedly denied their internationally-recognized human right to return to their homes and homelands.

Since the UN report I am looking for is not available in Electronic format, I will have to refer to a pro-Israeli source for the citation. A report by the UN mediator on Palestine came up with a refugee figure somewhat lower than the Arabic claims—472,000. Of those, only 360,000 needed assistance. (source)

As to the whole "right of return" issue, it doesn't extend to those who are not willing to live peaceably with their neighbors. UN resolution 194, point 11 specifically addresses the issue in that manner. Further, it cannot be extended to those who never lived in the country in question (How can one return to a place he has never before seen?), and since the 472,000 has mushroomed to 4 million, somebody's not being honest with the numbers.

The Palestinians who remained in the land that became Israel were subject to military rule until 1967 and continue today to be the victims of more than 20 laws, including the Basic Laws of Israel, that deny them equal status with Jews in Israel. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, further Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel in 1967, Palestinians live under brutal military occupation, struggling to survive and to continue to fight back against Israeli oppression -- deprived of water, facing home demolitions, detention, torture and death.

Hmmmm. Here is a link to the Basic Laws, from the official Israeli government website, with links (on the side) to summaries and the actual text of the laws. I cannot see how any of these laws deny Arab Israeli citizens the same rights as Jewish citizens.

She keeps referring to "Palestinian territory". Until Israel won the 1967 war started by her neighbors, Gaza was a portion of Egypt, and the West Bank was part of Jordan. How does that equate to Palestinian territory? Despite repeated claims to the contrary, there has never been a nation called "Palestine".

The only time that homes are bulldozed or people are arrested is when they have attacked Israeli cities, or have been a base for such attacks. The water issue is another red herring, as the Israelis replace every single gallon of water they use in the Gaza strip with water from Israel proper.

The oppression and occupation of Palestinian land is funded by U.S. tax dollars. Israel receives more foreign aid money than any other country in the world, and has used its extensive military aid to garner advanced weapons to wage an illegal war in occupied territory against a civilian population. Our money goes to pay for Apache helicopters and F-16s, raining death and destruction on Palestinian towns. Our money goes to pay for the M-16s held by Israeli soldiers as they take aim at Palestinian demonstrators.

In other words, the Israelis use our aid to buy things for the country, rather than to salt it away in numbered Swiss accounts, the usual standard in the Arab world. How much is Yasir Arafat worth again? (Forbes magazine estimates his wealth at $300 million, which makes him the fifth wealthiest world leader, now that Saddam Hussein is gone.) Perhaps if the Palestinian Authority were less corrupt, they might be able to acquire real military weapons, as there is certainly no shortage of countries willing to sell to the PA (France, Germany, Russia, China, North Korea, and so forth). It appears that Arabic corruption is Israel's fault, too, judging by the tenor of her piece.

By the way, the war is not "illegal", nor do Israeli soldiers fire at Palestinian "demonstrators" unless they become violent, at which time they become enemy combatants, not demonstrators.

All people have the right to practice their religion freely and to live in peace, but no group of people has the right to invade the land of another, expropriate that land by force, force out its indigenous residents, and create a racist, brutal apartheid structure. There is no right to imperialism, and no right to apartheid. The world said "no" in South Africa -- the world must say "no" today to Israel. As members of the Rutgers community, we can raise our own voices in protest. We can call upon our University to stop financially investing in corporations that continue to do business with the State of Israel until Israel ceases its violations of human rights. There is no right to create an ethnically, religiously exclusive state. As we stood against fascism and apartheid, we must also stand against Israeli apartheid.

In what way does her first sentence relate to reality? (Hint: It doesn't.) It's more shrill, extremist anti-Israel propaganda. And her statement "There is no right to create an ethnically, religiously exclusive state" is laughable, since Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, groups she explicitly supports, clearly state that they wish to create a fundamentalist Islamic state in place of Israel. Somehow, however, I seriously doubt she would protest the establishment of such a state with the fervor that she protests Israel. To say that, however, would imply that she is anti-semitic, and we can't have that.

posted on July 19, 2003 01:35 PM


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