Racism has been intrinsic to European Zionist ideologyfrom the beginning, asserting superiority and special entitlement to the land of Palestine to justify expulsion and subjugation of its native inhabitants. In 1901 the Jewish National Fund (JNF) was established to acquire land in Palestine for exclusively Jewish ownership and use, reserved for the Jews of the world. Funds for this purpose were provided by wealthy donors and through fundraising within Jewish communities worldwide, a campaign that has continued for over a century. Land purchased by the JNF was limited to Jewish ownership, could not be leased by non-Jews, and employment of non-Jews on these properties was and remains prohibited. The JNF is now part of the Israel Land Administration which controls the 93% of Israel's land in the public domain, all of which is reserved for control by and for Jews. The JNF is a tax-exempt entity masquerading as an environmental organization under the guise of "planting trees in Israel" while in fact confiscating Palestinian land. A recently established organization, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, is exposing this JNF agenda and challenging its tax-exempt status.
Zionists engaged in the early 20th century immigration into Palestine and progressive displacement of Palestinians justified their refusal to sell or lease any land acquired to non-Jews and their discriminatory "Jews-only" employment practices because the Jewish employeee, in Ben-Gurion’s words, was "more intelligent and diligent" than the Arab. They also invited immigration by claiming that Palestine was "a land without a people" and/or that the Palestinian Arabs had not developed the land. In truth, Palestine nestled between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan River had a long-cultivated, 2000+ year-old agricultural economy and over 500 villages and 11 major urban areas that the Zionist terror groups ethnically cleansed in 1948 - in effect creating by force a (well-developed) land without a people (who developed it).
The deceptive propaganda justifying this enterprise has been strongly reinforced by racist dehumanization of Arabs in the US news and entertainment media over many decades. Striking documentation of this can be seen in the 50' documentary video, Reel Bad Arabs, that can be viewed (admittedly in low resolution) by scrolling down this page.
But the early leaders often stopped short of dehumanizing the Palestinian Arabs or denying their legitimate right to resist Jewish takeover. In 1918, David Ben-Gurion said, "Palestine is not an empty country . . . on no account must we injure the rights of the inhabitants."
In 1919, he acknowledged a natural political conflict without demeaning his adversaries: "We want the country to be ours. The Arabs want the country to be theirs."
In 1925, Ben Gurion acknowledged Palestinian rights: "I am unwilling to forego even one percent of Zionism for 'peace'---yet I do not want Zionism to infringe upon even one percent of legitimate Arab rights."
In 1928, he based this advocacy in Jewish morality: "Our sense of morality forbids us to deny the right of a single Arab child, even though by such denial we might attain all that we seek."
We want to thank Peter Chabarek, our friend and colleague in defense of human rights, for the images of Israeli grafitti generously provided to us for display on this page.
These were photographed by him during a trip to the West Bank in 2010.
Prophetically, in 1929 Ben-Gurion saw Zionism as a potential tarnish to the moral position of Judaism: "The world will not permit the Jewish people to seize the state as a spoil, by force...and most important, it would be immoral, and the Jews of the world would never buy this immoral cause. . . ...The Arabs have full rights as citizens of the country..."
In the early 1930s, he recognized the equal humanity and political rights of the Palestinians: "Let's not think that the Arabs by nature are different from us." In response to a critic he asked: "Do you think... you can make them forget their political rights in Palestine"...[or to] regard themselves "as complete strangers in the land which is theirs?"
And he credited the Palestinian morality and honor during their uprising: "Despite the tremendous unrest, the order not to harm Jews was obeyed...we have seen a political movement which must evoke the respect of the world."
Similarly, Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinski said in 1923, "The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did.
Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural."
And Moshe Sharett, who later became the second Prime Minister of Israel, observed in 1914: "We have forgotten that we have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but we have come to conquer a country from the people inhabiting it."
This statement makes the Zionist intentions clear well in advance, which evoked the Arab resistance and uprisings against the British who were permitting this.
These early Zionists, despite the intrinsic racism of their admittedly colonial project, were realistic and pragmatic. Even decades later, Sharett did not dehumanize Palestinians, stating in the 1950s that they "have extremely subtle understanding and delicate senses."
Moshe Dayan, Israel’s one-eyed swashbuckling warlord, said in 1956, "What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived."
In 1969, Dayan further admitted, "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages... There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population"...
Contrast these statements with later statements by Zionist leaders:
"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy." – Golda Meir, quoted in Le Monde, Oct. 1971 "We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." -Israel Koenig, 1980 "[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs." -Menachem Begin, former leader of the Irgun terrorists and Israeli Prime Minister, speech to the Knesset quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the ‘Beasts’," New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
"We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." -Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, Mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983 "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours." -Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, Yediot Ahronot, 13 April 1983, New York Times, 14 April 1983 "(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls." –Yitzhak Shamir, former leader of the terrorist Stern Gang and Israeli Prime Minister in a speech to Jewish settlers, New York Times, April 1, 1988 "Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories." -Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former and current Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.
"Jewish blood and a goy’s [gentile’s] blood are not the same." -Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989
(Regarding the possibility of a Palestinian state) "Yeah, the fragments of territory that we leave to them, they can call it a state if they want. Or they can call it fried chicken." -Spokesman for incoming Netanyahu government, 1996
"There is no Zionism, colonization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." -Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister addressing the right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours... Everything we don't grab will go to them." -Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister addressing the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
"The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more." -Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, August 28, 2000, Jerusalem Post, August 30, 2000
"Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the state of Israel on trial." –Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, BBC News, 25 March 2001
Note the identical theme of special entitlement and impunity in Golda Meir's statement 30 years earlier. The dye has long been cast and the world has been unable as yet to correct this delusional grandiosity in the face of dysfunctional US enabling under the yoke of its Israel lobby, imperial folie-á-deux, and military-industrial complicity.
From these reflections of evolving attitudes, it would seem that the situation is getting worse. Collective behaviors suggest the same. Following the 1982 massacre of some 2,000-3,000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Phalangist forces in Lebanon with the knowledge and implicit permission of Ariel Sharon, 300,000 outraged Israelis demonstrated and demanded investigation by their government, resulting in dismissal of Ariel Sharon as Minister of Defense after being judged "responsible" for the massacres.
But following the bloody 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, killing some 1,300 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 killing over 1,400 Palestinians, again mostly civilians, there was little but public applause in Israel. The Hezbollah and Hamas aggressions used to justify these atrocities were trivial by comparison and retaliatory against unreported Israeli aggressions, but these were vastly and hysterically magnified by the Israeli and US press, never mentioning the right under international law of Palestinians and Lebanese to armed resistance against the invasion, occupation, confiscation and blockade of their lands, and Israel's continuous military attacks against them.
American public ignorance is essential to maintain US military and financial support and diplomatic protection in the UN Security Council. Americans are continually told by their press and their government that it is the Palestinians, the "Arabs" and the "Muslims" who are racist, anti-Semitic terrorists intent on ridding their region of a "Jewish" state. What keeps this mirror-image reversal of reality alive in the public mind? The relentless and very effective efforts of the Israel lobby and its social and economic pressure network, which assure that Americans remain the world’s "most uninformed and naïve" population in the words of Middle East reporter Alan Hart.
The American press obligingly reports news with deceptive framing and scrupulous selectivity to present a consistently and flagrantly warped picture, as documented by journalist Alison Weir. Our friend and colleague Eduardo Cohen provides an excellent description and discussion of the outrageous distortions and ironies of this situation. It is distressing to note that although written 10 years ago, his account remains as true today as then.
Completing this dehumanization team, the US entertainment media has relentlessly glorified Israel while simultaneously degrading Palestinians, Arabs in general, and Muslims in general (although Arabs represent less than ¼ the world's Muslim population).
Our images of the IDF are the seemingly miraculous 6-day war falsely packaged as a self-defensive triumph, and the heroic rescue at Entebbe.
Meanwhile, Arabs and Muslims have received the opposite treatment. The 50' video "Reel Bad Arabs" that documents relentless Hollywood demonization, can be viewed here →
Every ugly action by Arabs and Muslims, true or fictitious, seems to be spotlighted but the 33 Israeli massacres of the Nakba and some 30 since, the property destruction and dispossession of helpless people by IDF troops and armored bulldozers, the sniper killings of children, the everyday bullying of Palestinians by armed Israelis, the targeted assassinations, the tank, artillery, F-16, attack helicopter, and drone attacks, the use of depleted uranium and other illegal weapons, and the thousands of Palestinian political resistors arrested and imprisoned by the IDF with little or no legal protection remain invisible to American eyes.
And what keeps the deceptions and distortions alive in Israel? Their school curriculum through the years has provided a reliable beginning, and also creates a strong resistance to accepting the truth. To discover that we have been lied to by trusted elders - our parents, teachers, clergy and elected leaders - inflicts a terrible loss of internal security, loss of faith in many lifelong relationships, and the loss of the collective component of personal identity (the sense of "we"). Mordechai Vanunu underwent just such a psychological disconnection from Israeli culture based on its racism before deciding to blow the whistle on Israel’s nuclear program.
The alternative course to maintain cultural identification while simultaneously avoiding guilt requires psychological defense mechanisms that severely twist reality perception, the most obvious of which (to outsiders) in the Israeli collective consciousness are projection and rationalization. Projection. Israeli hostility, racism and images of violence are projected onto its victims. To preserve these misperceptions against the challenge of "reality testing" Israelis are isolated from visual and psychological contact with Palestinians through institutional segregation within Israel, magnification of aggressive actions by Palestinians, concealment of Israel’s aggressive provocations, Jewish-only bypass roads in the West Bank that enable Israelis to drive between homes in the settlements and employment in Israel while never seeing a Palestinian, and ultimately a 25-foot high wall sealing off Palestinians out-of-sight.
As Eduardo Cohen and other Jewish visitors to Palestine report, they are warned to beware of Palestinian violence only to find themselves warmly and gratefully welcomed, much to the surprise of Israeli authorities who have cautioned them that "we can’t guarantee your safety." These ominous predictions prevent most Israelis from reality-testing the messages, discarding their delusions, and challenging their government policies. Rationalization. Unless suffering from the unusual psychological condition known as "antisocial personality disorder" (aka psychopath or sociopath), guilt is the normal response to injuring those with whom we identify as "our fellow man." To protect against this very uncomfortable consciousness and its prescriptive implications for behavior change, racism is an indispensable mechanism, facilitated by projection. If the victims are undeserving sub-humans, aggression is excusable, and if they moreover pose an ongoing "existential" threat, aggression is not only excusable but necessary.
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