DEFINING THE ISSUES:
THE FRUIT OF VICTORY
By David Basch
"When the hardly-Jewish youth are faced with the choice
of either loyalty to their "occupier" brother Jews in
Israel or to loyalty to a grandstand, universalistic
pseudo-ethics that dictates support for
'freedom fighters' against 'occupiers,' count on
these Jews to take the "freedom fighter" side...."
Lest Jews go to sleep, it is important that they learn that the issues of war do not only concern territory but also the definition of what the war is about. For wars not only determine territory, but, even more important, they determine whose definition of reality will win out. In these terms, the Arabs are far ahead in at least one important dimension of their ongoing war against Israel. Though Israel may at the moment be slightly ahead in the war for territory, Israel is either losing or has lost the war over the definition of what the war is about. This war of definition is being won by the Arabs, with devastating impact on Israel and the Jewish people. Alas, Israeli governments have failed to realize what has been happening all along in this war of definition.
To understand what is at stake, go back a decade to the beginnings of the Oslo process, the ruse so successfully mounted by the Arabs and their allies. In the inception of this crafty gambit, the Arabs had agreed to accept the existence of Israel and to renounce violence in settling issues. In return, Israel recognized "the Palestinian Arabs" as a "people" who would be allowed to negotiate a mutual acceptable national existence in some part of Israeli territory, which was to be ceded to them. Here was a major Arab victory in their war against Israel.
Israel's agreement to these terms was tantamount to surrender on the definition of the war. Israel's government had ended up swearing to the grand falsehood that there is such a thing as a "Palestinian Arab people." Yet such a "people" was not even mentioned as late as 1967 in UN Resolution 242, which only mentioned "refugees." This peoplehood had to be created from virtually nothing. In fact, there was no "people," only a motley of Arab and other nationals who in 1948 were living in the area of the lands of the Mandate of Palestine, from which was drawn the name "Palestinian." To be sure, in these terms, as residents of the Mandate areas, Jews were also "Palestinians" and in 1948 it was more usual for the term "Palestinian" to refer to Jews since the resident Arabs preferred their identification with the nation they most recently came from or that with the supposedly "grand Arab nation" that transcended national boundaries.
Such a peoplehood is altogether different from the organic peoplehood of the Jews, the Jewish Palestinians, who shared a long history and ethos tied up with the lands demarcated by the Mandate of Palestine. In the case of the Palestinian Arabs, a goodly portion of these persons prior to 1948 (125,000 out of an estimated 650,000) had been very recent arrivals to the region, barely living in the area for two years. It required that the UN relax its rules on recognition of refugees as persons who lived twenty or more years in an area. Others of the Palestinian Arabs had arrived over previous decades from adjacent nations as a result of the economic growth spurred by Jews who were stepping up settlement in their ancient homeland. The promoting of a Jewish homeland in the area was one of the major reasons for the existence of the Mandate of Palestine in the first place, an objective recognized by the World's League of Nations and later by the UN.
So here was lost a major battle for reality in 1992 when the Rabin government surrendered to Arab propaganda that insisted that the Arab side represented a bona fide people with national rights in the land.
The consequences of this lost major battle have been as devastating to Israel as they have been strengthening and energizing to the Arab enemy. For one thing, the Arabs never did come across with their recognition of the legitimacy of Israel and the renunciation of violence, the basis for the Oslo agreements in the first place. But what was just as bad was that accepting "Palestinian Arab peoplehood" vindicated the phony Arab propaganda alleging that Israel was robbing an Arab nation of its preexisting national existence (which never was), a nation now to be known as "Palestine." By the way, this is a name unpronounceable by Arabs since it contains a "P" that is not even in the Arab language, indicating its bogus, foreign origin and status. Acquiescing in that falsehood self-branded Israel as the robber of "Palestine."
Moreover, it enabled the Arabs to define as "Palestinian" a large Arab population who were living external to the Israeli held lands, allegedly the Arabs and their subsequent descendents who had left the area in 1948, now numbering in the millions through population growth, accretion of Arabs drawn by food ration books and grants, and other forms of chicanery. These Arabs too were to be considered part of this ersatz peoplehood. With the participation of the Israeli government in this falsehood, the Arabs lost no time in demanding the right of these "Palestinians" to return to their alleged native land -- a killer demand that exists to this very day and which tells of the true Arab goal.
Naturally, the "Palestinians," as a venerable national entity recognized by Israel's government of liars -- the latter government having sworn to falsehood -- it became natural for the world to bestow on these Arabs the romantic aura of "freedom fighters" for the recovery of their lost nationhood, with the corollary, of course, that Israel became defined as the "colonial occupier" of the lands which these "freedom fighters" were attempting to liberate. Is it any wonder that Arab barbarity is crowned with the admiration to which real freedom fighters are entitled?
Israel could hardly have done more to prejudice its reputation and existence than accepting this mighty blow to the nation's integrity and legitimacy. It should not be surprising that now the Arabs capitalize on this falsified history to create headlines in the world press attacking the Israeli "occupier." And if anyone protests against this slander, he is directed to Israeli government statements and policies that have accepted and underwritten these falsehoods. Moreover, the Palestinian Arabs have since embellished on the story of their peoplehood and have retrojected their brief, manufactured history back millennia, modeling a false history to ape the history of Israel. To Arab youth, and, unhappily, to ignorant Jewish youth, including the Israeli, this is the only history they know irrespective of its fallacious status as history.
Compounding the error, Israeli leftist governments have joined in the embellishing of this false history to disguise the fact that leftists had participated in writing it so as to vindicate the shameful leftist actions of surrendering the nation's land to the enemy as an expression of a socialist, universalist world view, a view as unsubstantial and as mythical as Palestinian Arab history.
Perhaps Jews today may wonder at how in these last decades there has been such a tremendous rise among Israelis and Jews of the world joining with the Arabs to fight on behalf of the Arabs for the phony semblance of "justice" concocted by the Arab-Israeli sanctioned propaganda. Is it any wonder that many Israeli soldiers do not feel right in serving as "occupiers" and opposing these "freedom fighters"? All of these are incidents played out as a result of Israel's lost battle of definition and the losses are only beginning as the results are being felt in Jewish communities worldwide.
World Jewry is melting as Jewish youth are hardly given the rudiments of their tradition while at the same time they are being inculcated as full fledged secular, universalists with a half-baked, universalist ethics to match. So when the hardly-Jewish are faced with the choice of either loyalty to their "occupier" brother Jews in Israel or to loyalty to a grandstand, universalistic pseudo-ethics that dictates support for "freedom fighters" against "occupiers," count on these Jews to take the "freedom fighter" side. The details matter little to them if it gives them that warm feeling of being moralistically magnanimous, showing themselves willing to renounce self for a vague, questionable, universalistic higher ideal -- an ideal, to be sure, cleverly crafted by the enemies of the Jewish people. Jewish egotism wins hands down every time. The choice is made even easier by the Israeli government voices echoing the universalist cause and willing to eventually accept a bogus Arab nationhood on Israel's lands -- a nationhood that was crafted by the Arabs for the purpose of replacing Israel. In these terms, the strengthening of such an emerging Arab community can be directly compared to nourishing baby jackals among the sheep the jackals are destined to devour.
Israel's enemies know all about the Jewish penchant for moralism and universalism and cleverly make sure all these buttons are pressed in its battle to destroy Israel -- a battle that is now being undertaken with the help of the universalistic segment of world Jewry. The only people who have trouble recognizing the ploy are liberal Jewish governments and liberal Jews who are regularly being co-oped into this anti-Jewish-Israeli force to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. If Israel's government recognized the nature of the forces that have been unleashed against the nation, the emotion laden hysteria for a fictionalized justice that is being mobilized against the Jewish nation and its roots, perhaps it would begin inculcating a different truth to its people and to the Jewish world, not aid and abet the Arab crusade to usurp the lands, history and culture of the Jewish people.
It is nauseating to contemplate what has been perpetrated and carried out this past decade by self-destructive Israeli governments that have guaranteed the Arabs a foothold in Israel's lands so that they may eventually usurp its Jewish owners. There is no doubt that this is the Arab objective. Whatever is done to strengthen this rival Arab community within the bosom of Israel, whatever the allegedly good and humanitarian reasons for this, will be taken from the strength of Israel, like the parasite which feeds on the host.
Israel is really at the crossroads. If Israel does not catch on to the Arab tactics arrayed real soon, the rest of the war, the war of territory, will also be won by the Arabs. The foothold the Arabs are gaining in a defined "Palestinian peoplehood" that can make rival national claims against the Jews and be honored by the world and even by Jews for such claims is a mighty lever to gain all the rest. Already this has been coupled with an appreciable land base to array military forces against Israel. Now is the time to get off this propaganda train to Jewish destruction. The Arabs failed to make good on their obligations and Israel must rescind and renounce the Arab claim to a peoplehood linked to Jewish lands.
Unfortunately, this is an Arab campaign with a propaganda machine which still receives the cooperation of Israeli governments and a leftist religion which has a fanatic compulsion to serve the nation's enemies as a universalistic gesture. This threatens to make the Jewish nation into an exemplum of national self-destruction and degradation -- a dark light unto the nations for what other self-respecting nations should never become.
David Basch is a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. He is also an expert on William Shakespeape and his Jewish roots.