How Holocaust equivalence went uncorrected in The National

How Holocaust equivalence went uncorrected in The National

by William Ross
article from Monday 28, May, 2018

THERE IS no issue in this World that drives the glitterati and the chatterati mad like the Arab-Israeli conflict. Not even Brexit. As Rev David Robertson observes, there exists for some political causes a deep quasi-religious devotion. A "mad" belief is about that Israel is somehow an illegitimate state, dripping with Arab blood, one of the worst violators of human rights in the World, and, in the recent words of Mike Small, editor of Bella Caledonia, "a pariah state". This is in a World in which Cuba, Venezuela, Iran or China are not portrayed as "pariahs"? Neither is this mania confined to the left.  Jew hatred is again rising across Europe. Labour is convulsed in allegations of anti-Semitism. There is hardly a single political defender of Israel in Scotland. 

The last days and months have been momentous for Israel. President Trump, honouring campaign pledges, has both recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and pulled the USA out of the Iran Peace Deal. Israel, moving to sotto voce alliance with Saudi Arabia, has heavily struck Iranian assets in Syria. Ivanka Trump opened the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on 14 May, which is the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel. More or less simultaneously, riots broke out in the West Bank and Gaza as Palestinians "celebrated" their day of "Nakba" or "catastrophe". Some 40,000 Palestinians gathered in the arid region south of Israel's border with Gaza and attempted to storm it. After repeated warnings by the IDF to stay away, some 60 Palestinians were shot dead and hundreds (perhaps thousands) more were injured through IDF gunfire. The day before, an Israeli singer promoting "me-too" won the Eurovision song contest (pictured). 

The response across the Western media was instantaneous and vociferous. Israel was shooting down Palestinians in cold blood! None of it surprised me really, but finally, I read a "long letter" in The National by one Lucy Drummond. I wrote a letter in response to her that was not published by The National. The letter, which is reproduced in slightly amended form, tells its own story. 

Dear National

I have seldom if ever read a more troubling letter than that penned by Lucy Drummond, which appeared as the Saturday "long letter" 

Lucy attempts to persuade the Eurovision song contest audience to boycott the next event, which is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem. Lucy is clearly miffed that an Israeli singer had the "chutzpah" to win this year's competition. 

Why is Lucy so concerned? She points out that on the day after the award, "60 Palestinian civilians were needlessly gunned down and killed by Israeli snipers at the Gaza border fence". This was a normal "grassroots protest". The Jews, it seems just love killing Palestinians. Eight out of the 60 were helpless children and for good measure, 5.1 million Palestinians have also been killed since the creation of Israel. In 1948, we are told, 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced and the US and Israel have "no respect for Palestinian life". Israel is an "apartheid" state. 

What total garbage! When the UN supported the creation of a Jewish national home in 1948 the fledging Israel was immediately attacked by the armies of all of its Arab neighbours. That is what happened on the day of Nakba. Thankfully, Israel survived. During the fighting, the Israelis displaced some Arabs, others left to escape the fighting, others were called out by the invading Arabs and yet others stayed right where they were. 

The events of 1948 are far from being black and white. Arab countries also displaced hundreds of thousands of Jews without compensation. (No "Right of Return" for them?) The descendants of the Arabs who stayed in Israel in 1948 now make up a fifth of Israel's population. They enjoy full civil rights in one of the most open, democratic and prosperous countries on Earth. More than that, no other Arab people in the Middle East come close to enjoying such rights. An apartheid state my foot!

The protests that happened last week were not grass-roots protests. Gaza is controlled by an appalling terrorist group called Hamas whose Charter requires the elimination of Israel. The Charter also cites with favour the notorious Czarist forgery "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", which was the "warrant" for the Holocaust. Hamas organised the Gaza protests using human shields including children. The intention was to break through the frontier and start killing Israeli civilians. It is Hamas, in fact, that has "no respect for Palestinian life". Dead children do Israel no good at all. 

The allegation that Israel has been responsible for the deaths of 5.1 million Palestinians since 1948 is eye watering. Five point one million is suspiciously close to another big figure: Six Million. So Jews are like Nazis? Where on Earth (if you pardon the pun?) do the 5.1 million deaths come from?  Has Israel since 1948 killed seven times as many Palestinians as the original number of the refugees? In which wars? In which death camps?  Where are the mass graves?  Holocaust equivalence elevates fake news to new, nauseous levels.  

Because Israel is a modern liberal state. It is meaningful and necessary to question the recent actions of the IDF. Could the use of live ammunition have been avoided?  How many of the sixty dead were Hamas operatives? This is a debate that is going on loudly in Israel itself as a review of such liberal papers as the Jerusalem Post reflects. Freedom of speech is THE cardinal liberal virtue and we should note well where such a precious flower flourishes. It is not that common, certainly not in the Middle East.

Gaza, by contrast, is run by a viciously anti-Semitic, misogynist and homophobic terror group. Does anyone care? Do they heck!

William Ross

I am sorry to trouble readers of "ThinkScotland.org" with such a long epistle. But even Hamas has now admitted the Gaza protests were staged with the intention of either busting through the border and killing Jews, or forcing the IDF to use live ammunition. Hamas wanted dead bodies to provoke outrage. Hamas has also admitted that more than fifty of the dead were its own operatives. No surprise there. 

Why is it all so predictable? A most profound ignorance about Israel is at large. Huge numbers of our fellow-citizens believe that Israel is an industrial killer of Arabs! Lucy Drummond cites the conspiracy theory of 5.1 million Palestinian dead. This would make Israel guilty of a Palestinian Holocaust in a far smaller area of territory and with a far smaller population than Europe. Daniel Pipes, an admittedly pro-Israel commentator writing in 2007, cites a reportclaiming that total Arab deaths caused by Israeli military action from 1950 amount to some 35,000.  By contrast, the far from pro-Israel BBC reported on the sixtieth anniversary of Israel's foundingsome 4,608 Palestinian deaths from IDF action since the 2000 Intifada began.  More prosaically, Wikipedia reportsin the region of 50,000 to 75,000 Palestinian deaths from ALL (ie Israeli and Arab) military action since 1948.  These are overwhelmingly war casualties, not massacres. You get the drift. Palestinian deaths from Israeli military action since 1948 definitely number in the tens of thousands, not millions.  All deaths are tragic, but Israel has the right to self-defence. Holocaust equivalence is really Holocaust denial. 

Neither was the Palestinian exodus of 1948 some monstrous form of the Highland Clearances on steroids. There was a major population movement that arose from the war launched against fledgling Israel by Arab armies. How long can suffering Palestinian refugees be condemned to the cruel false hope that someday they can "return" to homes left by their grandparents? Why is it that only Palestinian refugees are treated like this? What if we applied that logic to the Sudeten Germans thrown out of their homes or German refugees thrown out of East Prussia, or the Poles moved west by Stalin (all three at end of Second World War), or, even, the 750,000 Jews thrown out by the Arabs in 1948?  The Palestinians have their very own UN refugee agency (UNRWA) whose goal is NOT to resettle its refugees. Something amazing is afoot. The current Syrian Civil War has produced seven times the refugees and many, many times the number of deaths than those which tragically occurred in 1948. Many Syrian refugees have already been resettled. But the UN spends its time condemning Israel.

Since our Scottish Government clearly aspires to a role in foreign affairs (and ultimately, to its own foreign policy), it would be enormously helpful if Nicola Sturgeon could clarify that she supports Israel's unconditional right to exist. It is sad that such a basic principle needs clarification. Jeremy Corbyn should do the same, even through clenched teeth. If Israel has a right to exist, it clearly has a right to defend its own border from attack. It is not Israel that is trying to destroy neighbouring countries or neighbouring peoples. 

It was odd that left-wing LBGT campaigners can lionise viciously homophobic forces like Hamas who are trying to destroy one of the most liberal societies on Earth. We are long past the point where "socialist foolishness" has become the "socialism of fools".  

After 70 years the little state of Israel has withstood all the assaults of its enemies. Under the most difficult of circumstances, and without in any way being unblemished (not many of us are) Israel has represented the truly liberal values of legal process, democratic government, free speech and self-restraint. This is a state that gave fair trials to Eichman and Demjanjuk. This is a country with a vibrant forward-looking economy. Not many readers of ThinkScotland agree with my support for Scottish independence, but if you close your eyes and imagine that happening, surely we would aspire to be like Israel? We could do much, much worse than being that sort of “pariah”.

And by the way, Happy Birthday Israel! 

William Ross

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