Why Did Islamic Society of North America Promote Travel to Occupied Palestine? #BDS

لا-للتطبيعI’ve previously written about USA Muslim responses to Zionist atrocities in Palestine and surrounding lands. I don’t understand why some USA Muslims want to pretend that their being Muslims gives them some privilege to discuss anything related to Palestinians, especially when they fail to acknowledge Palestinians’ struggle for restoration of their rights.

The publication in the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) November/December 2018 issue of Islamic Horizons of an article promoting Muslim tourism in occupied Palestine was an especially terrible example of this. Continue reading

Krauthammer: Moral Confusion over Israeli War Crimes in Palestine

There has to be a word which describes phrases which please the ear and are uttered in an air of reverence, implying that they contain some timeless wisdom. Upon examination, however, the phrase is either false or meaningless. Certainly Charles Krauthammer is not the first person to use this rhetorical technique. Here’s a brief listing:

These phrases are very fun and easy to play with. When I was a graduate student, I was a Teaching Assistant for Professor Irving Katz‘s American History after the Civil War class. We assistants were meeting with Professor Katz to discuss grading the students’ exams. I joked, “We can forgive the students for writing poor exams, but we can’t forgive them for forcing us to give them bad grades.” He, may God have mercy on him, was the only one who got the joke.

People all over twitter today have been awed by Charles Krauthammer’s column “Moral clarity in Gaza.” It quotes Israeli Prime Minister and war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu saying “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.” Continue reading

Addressing Erroneous Justifications for Zionist Promotion of Jewish Supremacy in Palestine

It’s difficult to have a clear discussion in Facebook because people aren’t logged in at the same time and it’s easy, once a post has produced 30+ comments, and the sequence of points and counterpoints may become unclear.

I plan on addressing the claims one at a time, but for the most part they exhibit three major flaws or assumptions.

  1. If Palestinians are bad, then they don’t deserve human rights.
  2. It fails to recognized the different mechanisms of Israel’s control over non-Jews in the different areas of Palestine.
  3. Opposition to the blockade of Gaza and the killing and wounding of Gazans is support for Hamas.

My dialogue with TN continues.

I asserted that Israel is an Apartheid state, linking to the press release of a study by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC). TN did not specifically address any of the claims of this study. In fairness, I had not realized that the full study was no longer easily available on the HSRC web site. The full study is available here as an Adobe file (pdf). Instead TN responded by saying:

I wasn’t aware that black people lived freely and voted under Jim Crow or apartheid. Muslims live freely in Israel and are even exempted from the standard military conscription. Your analogy is false.

Palestinians claim a “right to return” that can also be realistically claimed by Jews. One group has proven capable of living peacefully with another religion/culture within their own borders, and the other has elected leadership that denies the holocaust, references the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their charter, encouraged harassment of women who didn’t wear the hijab, and burned down a water park because it was a place where men and women intermixed.

I wrote:

where are you getting this?

TN responded:

Where am I getting what? That Muslims live freely in Israel or that Hamas is, at it’s heart, a group bent on fundamentalist Islamic governance that rejects the occurance holocaust and the legitimacy of Israel?

I responded:

do you have sources?

TN, thankfully, did respond with sources:

Roughly 17% of Israeli citizens are Muslim:

Arab members of Israeli parlaiment (Knesset):

Holocaust denial by Hamas:
2005: http://web.archive.org/web/20071001083432/http://english.aljazeera.net/English/archive/archive?ArchiveId=17093

Crazy Water Park shut down and burned because of intersex mingling:

Hamas charter re: “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, destruction of Israel, Jewish conspiracy, Jihad, etc:

The claim that non-Jews in Israel have voting rights is true, but that hardly benefits them and it has no impact at all on the majority of Palestinians who live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We should also not forget about the Golan Heights. Note that Israel has annexed East Jerusalem, but Palestinians there are under another set of restrictions.

I hope TN also realizes that Christians in Israel, East Jerusalem and the OPT face the same restrictions from Israel that Muslims do. So it’s not a Jew v Muslim situation. It’s an Israeli government that governs people differently based on their religion  and ethnicity. Simplifying, this is the hierarchy of rights, privileges and statuses: European Jews, non-European Jews, Druze in Israel and other smaller groups, Muslim and Christian indigenous inhabitants of Palestine who managed to remain in what became in Israel in 1948 (although many of them are not in their homes but have a much more tenuous legal status), Muslim and Christian residents of East Jerusalem who remained after Israel’s conquest in 1967, and, finally, the Muslim and Christian residents of the West Bank and Gaza.

While voting is an important right, it’s not the only one.

Nevertheless, if you read the Israeli press and government officials, you will often find that they fear the existence of the non-Jewish minority in Israel because it is projected to become a larger and larger percentage of Israeli society over time. Several “peace proposals” have involved transfer of non-Jews from Israel or “land swaps” where areas of Israel with Palestinians are exchanged for areas in the West Bank where Jewish colonialists live. Some of the land swap proposals involved sparsely populated land in Israel.

Finally, there is the large number, 7.2 million, of Palestinian refugees and their descendants living all over the world who are denied the right to live in their own homes, much less voting.

So let’s add up the numbers from the CIA Fact Book and see how important Israel’s granting of the right to vote to non-Jews in Israel is:

In Israel: 7,590,758 (July 2012 est.)

In Gaza: 1,710,257 (July 2012 est.)
In West Bank: 2,622,544 (July 2012 est.)
The total population is 11,923,559, of which 7,590,758 are allowed to vote, with the vast majority of those denied the right to vote are non-Jews in the OPT. So the “Jewish democracy” denies 36% of the populations it controls the right to vote in national elections.
Regarding Holocaust denial, I believe that is wrong and counterproductive, and I wish that people who deny it would stop. The reason denial of the Holocaust has some traction among Palestinians is because they see it as a rhetorical device used to justify Israeli colonization. Having said that, I again repeat that it is wrong and counterproductive to achieving a settlement.
BTW, is nakba denial also to be condemned?
Yes, the destruction of the amusement park is bad. Note that the article notes division of Hamas into two factions regarding these kinds of actions.
I agree that the Hamas charter is a misguided document.
So regarding Holocaust denial, the amusement park, and the charter, they fall into the false assumptions 2 & 3 I mentioned at the beginning of this blog entry.
Let’s assume the Palestinians are “bad” people. Of course, to do so, one must deliberately ignore everything they do except their “bad” deeds. One must continue to allege that they only pursue their rights with violence, ignoring all the non-violent tactics they’ve used since the 1930s. One must ignore that Palestinians had fruit groves and libraries and crafts. Or one could pretend that Palestinians have no history in Palestine.
So, at what point in the scale of “badness” are others, who may or may not be any better themselves, to deprive them of their rights? And why should the United States consistently support that?
Also, isn’t it possible to say that Gaza should not be blockaded simply because Hamas is ruling there? Is that support of Hamas? International law forbids collective punishment.
Finally, if Hamas is the problem, why haven’t the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem received their rights? Why aren’t Palestinian refugees returning to their homes in Haifa? Why are hundreds of Jewish colonists in al-Khalil allowed to dominated tens of thousands of Palestinians in al-Khalil?