Lies, Damn Lies, and Israel

I believe that no political controversy generates more misinformation, grossly erroneous historical claims, and outright lies than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Libertarians are perhaps more afflicted than most with this disease, which often lapses over into anti-Semitism. I do not mean the classical, overt hatred of Jews, but rather an eagerness to apply one set of ethical standards to the sole Jewish state and a radically different, much more lenient standard, to all other nations.

This recently hit quite close to home, when the fifth grade teacher at the private school my eldest boy attends chose to illuminate her “political systems” module with a case study of the above-mentioned dispute. She then published on the school blog the essays written by her students regarding this struggle, which had a decidedly anti-Israel slant. The centerpiece of her educational program was an (undated) report prepared by the Council for Arab-British Understanding[1], titled “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (the “Report”).

Although my son is not now in fifth grade, I lodged an objection with the head of school both to the appropriateness of this subject matter for 10-11 year olds, and to the instructor’s heavy reliance on the Report. This document is especially insidious because it pretends to be an impartial presentation of the relevant facts, thus lulling the uninformed into adopting it for educational purposes. The head of school graciously allowed me to give a little talk to the class in the interests of giving the kids a more balanced perspective.

As part of this effort, I prepared a hand-out that specifically addresses the most significant errors and misinterpretations found in the Report, which includes references to what I believe to be other valuable sources of information. My analysis does not purport to be comprehensive or definitive, but it may be of interest to others with an open mind about the causes of this conflict. Therefore, I have reproduced it below (as revised to reflect subsequent research). Although it can be read as a stand-alone piece, it may be helpful to also have the Report handy. Although the Report is not paginated, I refer below to its specific pages and headings

Analysis of CAABU Report on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

· Page 2 (black box): The Report states that Jewish claims to the land of Israel “are based on the biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants and on the fact that this was the historical site of the Jewish kingdom of Israel.” In reality, they are based on: First, the undeniable fact that this land was the homeland of the Jewish people from about 1000 B.C.E. until about 135 C.E., and even after its destruction by the Roman Empire, it continued to be the residence of many Jewish religious scholars and settlers from that time until today. In contrast, while individual Palestinians might trace their roots back centuries in this land, it was never the homeland of the Palestinian people, because Palestinians do not constitute a distinct ethnic or religious community. In fact, they are simply Arabs that happen to have lived in Palestine/Israel at the time of partition, instead of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. Many were recent arrivals.[2]

Second, the moral imperative of having a single (tiny) state where Jews can be sure that they will not be persecuted and murdered for being Jewish. Anti-Semitism is a global cancer going back thousands of years, and not merely a recent “European” problem (as suggested by the Report).

· Page 2 (circle): See immediately above. There is nothing “colonial” about Zionism. Zionists are not colonists; they seek a return to their homeland, not to conquer and settle foreign lands. As described below, the Zionists purchased much of the land that became Israel. Israel’s existence as a Jewish-majority state is fully supported by the basic principle of international law known as the “right of national self-determination.”

This right was expressly recognized in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate to Britain, which carries the force of international law.  Its preamble provides that:

Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non­Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and

Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; and…

No mention is made of “Palestinians” or a homeland for anyone other than the Jewish people.

· Page 4 (black box):  The Report asserts that the 1947 U.N. partition plan, that would have created both the states of Israel and Palestine, granted “the Jewish minority more than 50% of the land though they made up just one third of the population and owned under 10% of the land.” This claim is technically accurate, but horribly misleading. First, both the Jewish population and land ownership would have been substantially higher at the time of partition had the British not tightly restricted Jewish immigration for the prior two decades, as the Report acknowledges at the bottom of the previous page. These restrictions remained in force even after the Holocaust.[3] 

Second, given the expected influx of Jews displaced by the Holocaust and previously excluded by the British, it was not unfair for the U.N. to divide the territory into approximately equal halves. Given the increasing tension and violence between the two communities, the borders were drawn so as to create states with majority Arab and Jewish populations and land ownership (about 70% of the land designated by the UN to be the Jewish state was formerly part of British Mandatory Palestine, and thus not privately owned). Thus, at the time of its creation Israel had a majority Jewish population, and most of the territory was owned privately by Jews or was public property administered by the Jewish state. See The Jewish Virtual Library, “Myths and Facts, Chapter 3” and Israel Advocacy Movement, “Was the UN Partition Plan Unfair to the Palestinian Majority?

· Page 4 (“1948: The Year of Independence…”): The claim about the relative strengths of the Jewish and Arab forces conflicts with the judgment of most neutral historians. See Conor Cruise O’Brien (an Irish diplomat and journalist), The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism, pp. 289-306. The Report acknowledges (p.3) that Britain had turned hostile to the Jewish settlers well before 1948, making it hardly likely that the Jews would have been able to import the sort of weapons that would make them better armed than the countries of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.

It is also quite clear that the aim of the invading armies was not just (as stated in the Report) to “assist the Palestinians,” but to conquer and destroy Israel and the Jews living there. The historian Paul Johnson quotes Azzam-Pasha, a secretary-general of the Arab League, as saying on a radio broadcast that, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.” See Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p. 526; and O’Brien, The Siege, pp. 286-94. Also, contrary to the Report, in 1949 there was no “country once known as Palestine,” but a territory called “Palestine,” formerly under British control, that was supposed to be the future home of the Jews and the Arabs.

· Page 5 (first black box): The Arab citizens of Israel are full and equal citizens of that country: they enjoy the same political, civil, and expressive rights granted to all other citizens, rights unknown in any other country in the region, including those areas under Palestinian administration. Arab-Israelis vote in their country’s elections and elect representatives to the Israel’s Knesset (legislature), and are free to practice their religion. Israel has an independent judiciary, and generally observes the rule of law. See Gilead Ini, “Discriminatory Lies and Discriminatory Laws in the New York Times,”, June 5, 2012.

This is not to say that Arab-Israelis are always treated fairly by their government or by their fellow citizens, many of whom suspect they are not entirely loyal to Israel. Sadly, this sort of discrimination is found in almost all developed countries, including our own. The 3.5% figure for Arab land ownership given by the Report is highly misleading, as about 80% of the land is owned and administered by a government agency, the Israeli Land Authority, and so is unavailable for outright ownership by either Arabs or Jews, and an additional 13% is owned by the Jewish National Fund (a non-profit organization that purchased land in Israel for Jewish settlement in the early 20th century), most of which is administered by the government. Nevertheless, things are improving for minorities in Israel as they become more integrated into Israeli society. A recent poll found that 65% of Arab Israelis are proud to be Israelis; not the result you would expect if this minority were truly oppressed. See also the statistics cited by Jonathan Adelman in his essay “The Israeli Arabs: Trailblazers of a Better Middle East” (for example, one in five graduates of the Technion, Israel’s most prestigious science/engineering university, is an Israeli Arab).

· Page 5 (“Palestinian Refugees”): There is no doubt that what happened to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled their homes during the 1948 War was a great tragedy. The Report accurately mentions the occurrence of war-time atrocities committed by Jewish forces, which were an important factor, but neglects to mention those committed by Palestinians, including those preceding the war, such as the Hebron massacre of 1929, which set the stage for the conflict that followed. It is crucial to understand that this tragedy would have been averted had the Palestinian Arabs accepted the U.N. partition plan, rather than rejecting it (see Report, p. 4). Moreover, it would also not have occurred but for the 1948 invasion by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and other Arab states of the territory designated by the U.N. as the future state of Israel. Accordingly, Israel does not deserve the lion’s share of the blame for the flight of the Palestinian Arabs, which must be reserved for the Palestinian leadership and the wider Arab world.[4]

Also, it seems clear that the descendants of the original  refugees[5] are being used as political pawns by their leadership and by the Arab nations to which they fled. The U.S. is mostly populated by refugees who fled hardship and oppression in their native lands. But, we did not herd them into squalid refugee camps, instructing them to await the distant day when they would be able to return home. To the contrary, immigrants were fully integrated into our nation, with full and equal rights and opportunities. One must wonder why this has not happened for Palestinian refugees. We should also question why at least a portion of these refugees have not been welcomed back to those territories now under the control of the Palestinians, i.e. the Gaza Strip and Areas A and B in the West Bank (see below).

· Page 6 (“Right of Return”): An important justification for the creation of the state of Israel is the moral imperative that there be at least one (tiny) state that will be a safe haven for persecuted Jews. Many thousands of Jews leave France and other European countries for Israel every year as a consequence of attacks by Muslims, that the authorities are unable or unwilling to stop. The Report states that “many Israelis equate the Right of Return with Israel’s destruction.” And, this judgment is entirely correct. In the decade following Israel’s creation, almost as many Jews were forced to flee to Israel from neighboring Muslim-majority states as Palestinians that fled Israel in 1948-49. These Jews could not survive as minorities in these countries, and they would not survive as a minority in what is now the Jewish state of Israel. See Johnson, History of the Jews, p. 529. Finally, international law does not support the Palestinians’ right of return. See R. Gavison, et al., “There’s No Right of Return,” the Jerusalem Post, July 5, 2011.

· Page 7 (“1967—the 6 day war”): The Report states that “Israel declared war as a response to threats from Egyptian President Nasser.” This is false. Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, an international waterway, to all Israeli shipping (itself an act of war), mobilized his armed forces in the Sinai, demanded (and achieved) the withdrawal of the UN buffer force, and announced his intention to destroy Israel. After the start of the fighting with Egypt, Israel was attacked without provocation by Syria and Jordan. See O’Brien, The Siege, pp. 409-16. Accordingly, Israel’s actions were justified under international law, and more importantly by every nation’s inherent right of self-defense.[6]

(Resolution 242): What Israel agreed to, and thus became bound by, was the English translation of the resolution, i.e. withdrawal from “territories,” but not necessarily from all the territories captured during this war. Had the intent of the UN been “all,” the text would surely have said so expressly. See Eugene Kontorovich, “Crimea, International Law, and the West Bank,” Commentary online, June 1, 2014. Of equal importance, the Report fails to recognize that the part of Resolution 242 requiring withdrawal from territories is linked to the part of the text that specifies that the parties shall have “secure and recognized boundaries.” It would be grossly unjust to demand Israel withdraw from its current, defensible boundaries until it has achieved a real peace with its neighbors.

· 1973 Yom Kippur War: The Report literally says nothing about the 1973 war, initiated by Egypt and Syria, on Judaism’s most holy day. Although Israel won this war, in 1975 it negotiated with Egypt’s leader, Anwar Sadat, the return of the Sinai peninsula, (captured in the 1967 War) in exchange for a peace treaty, which has been observed until today by the two sides. Sadly, Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists in 1981. The repeated attacks on Israel by its neighbors is the reason that Israel insists on defensible international borders.

· Page 7 (“Intifada”): The first Palestinian suicide bomb attack occurred in 1989, and the frequency and deadliness of such attacks escalated in the 1990s and continued through 2008. These attacks were carried out against non-military targets throughout Israel, including public buses, shopping malls, restaurants, etc., indiscriminately killing 804 men, women, and children. This campaign was organized, financed and directed by the Palestinian leadership, including Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. See Wikipedia, “List of Palestinian Suicide Attacks.”

In addition, during this same period, hundreds of other Israeli civilians were killed by gunfire and other means. It was this sustained terror campaign that led Israel’s government to impose checkpoints and other travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank, and to build the separation barrier between Israeli and Palestinians areas in that location. The completion of most of this fence has dramatically reduced the number of Israeli civilians killed in terrorist attacks. Curiously, none of this history is even mentioned in the Report.

· Page 8 (“Oslo Peace Process”): The Report states that “The Oslo process [signed in 1993] required the Palestinians to make their principal compromises in the beginning, whereas Israel’s principal compromises were not to be made until the final status talks.” What Palestinian compromises is the Report referring to? I am not aware that the Palestinians have made any compromises, other than the “compromise” of actually negotiating with Israel. Time and time again the peace process has broken down over the so-called right of return.  Recognizing this right would mean the elimination of Israel as a Jewish-majority state, and almost certainly the end of the rule of law and Israel’s role as a refuge for the Jewish people.[7]

It is not, as the Report states, a “claim” that during the Camp David peace negotiations of 2000 Israel offered the Palestinians 95% of the West Bank (the territory between the Jordan River and the Kingdom of Jordan) for its state, but a fact, confirmed by Ambassador Dennis Ross and the other US diplomats appointed by President Clinton to conduct these negotiations. See Dennis Ross and Gidi Grinstein, “Camp David: An Exchange,” The New York Review of Books, September 20, 2001. A similar, but even better, comprehensive settlement offer was made to the Palestinians by Prime Minister Olmert in August 2008. See also the detailed documentation of these peace negotiations by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

These Israeli proposals would have required it to dismantle many of the existing settlements in the West Bank. The settlements that Israel proposed to retain have, as the Report notes on the next page, “military and strategic value.”  In other words, Israel has rightly demanded defensible borders in return for the creation of a Palestinian state, a reasonable and prudent precaution given the record of war and hostility displayed by the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors towards Israel.

It appears that the Palestinian leadership has rejected a negotiated resolution of the impasse because Israel refuses accept the “right of return.” Thus, the assertions of the Report at the bottom of p.8 are highly misleading because they ignore this fact, and do not acknowledge Israel’s legitimate security needs. The historical record from at least 1947 onwards demonstrates that the Palestinians are unwilling to accept a Jewish-majority state within any borders.

· (“What is it Like to Live Under Occupation?”): The Palestinians live under “occupation” because their leadership has refused to negotiate a just resolution of their conflict with Israel.  As a consequence, Israel is forced to administer this territory to prevent its citizens from being murdered by terrorists. This sometimes involves harsh measures, but no worse than would be employed by any other nation, including our own, in protecting the lives of its citizens. Furthermore, these steps are much kinder and gentler than those used by the Palestinian leadership to keep its subjects in line. For a powerful argument that Israel is entitled, under international law, to retain the “occupied” territory until a just peace is concluded, see Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations (Stone was one of the twentieth century’s foremost authorities on international law).

There are a number of serious false or misleading claims in this section of the Report. The statement regarding 300,000 Palestinian prisoners incarcerated “without trial” is unsourced, and appears to be a gross exaggeration if not an outright lie. The Israeli human-rights group B’Tsalem reports that 5609 Palestinians were held by Israel as of February 2015, 3428 of which are serving sentences for various offenses, while an additional 1534 were being held pending the conclusion of their trials, and 424 were being held in “administrative detention.”  The B’T figures plainly seem incompatible with the 300,000 figure.

It is not true that Palestinian prisoners are routinely tortured or denied trials. Like all other nations faced with large-scale terrorism, including the US, Israel has resorted to harsh interrogation methods of suspected terrorists in order to gain information that will prevent future attacks. And there have been abuses in particular cases. However, a 1999 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court outlawed methods that could be considered torture, other than in extreme cases, where it could be expected to save the lives of innocent victims. See B’Tsalem, “Torture and Abuse Under Interrogation,” January 1, 2011. It is fair and legitimate to criticize Israel’s less than perfect human rights record, but unreasonable to ignore the far more widespread and extreme abuses practiced by Hamas (the party that rules the Gaza Strip, designated as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the US) and the Palestinian Authority. Suspected Palestinian terrorists captured in the West Bank are tried by military tribunals (a procedure also adopted by the US), but are not denied trials.

It is also not true that Palestinians are denied self-governance. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and it has been ruled by Hamas ever since. In the West Bank, 18% of the land is under exclusive Palestinian control (Area A), 22% is under Palestinian civil control (Area B), with joint security responsibilities, and 60% is under exclusive Israeli control (Area C). See Ehab Zahiyeh, Al-Jazeera, “Maps: Israeli Occupation of the West Bank,” July 4, 2014. The vast majority of West Bank Palestinians live in areas A or B (some 200,000 live in Area C).

· Page 10 (“House Demolitions, Checkpoints, and the Wall”): These are all measures designed to prevent or deter terrorist attacks on Israelis. It is easy to criticize them from far away, but no nation’s government could passively watch its citizens being killed by suicide bombings or other attacks and not take such measures. The Report states that Israel’s security barrier is in violation of international law. But, the US has a fence along hundreds of miles of our border with Mexico, not to keep out terrorists, but simply to keep immigrants from easily entering our country. Is this also a violation of international law? Why aren’t Israel’s critics focused on this “violation,” or the many far worse violations committed by Israel’s neighbors? In the context of a just and lasting peace, this wall could be dismantled, but dead Israeli civilians cannot be brought back to life.

· Page 11 (“Second Intifada/…So where…”): Again, no mention in the Report regarding suicide bombings and other deadly attacks against Israeli civilians. The so-called “deepening” of the “occupation” is (again) the inevitable result of the failure of the Palestinian leadership to negotiate a just and lasting peace with Israel, as exemplified by its insistence on the Right of Return, which can never be accepted by any Israeli leader.

The Report notes that Hamas came to power in “democratic elections,” and describes Hamas as “less keen to compromise with Israel than the other main Palestinian party, Fatah…” This is terribly misleading, in multiple ways. First, in its 1988 Covenant and in all the public statements by its leaders, Hamas consistently denies Israel’s right to exist within any borders; quite simply, it is sworn to Israel’s destruction.[8]  It promotes, condones and applauds the murder of innocent Israeli civilians, as described above. Second, although it came to power democratically, it has a horrific human rights record, jailing and murdering its political opponents. See Ricki Hollander, “The Facts About Hamas,”, April 24, 2014.

· Note on International Law: The Report repeatedly makes statements about Israel’s supposed violations of international law, but never mentions Palestinian violations of these norms. It is important to understand that, like domestic law, the exact meaning or correct interpretation of international law is subject to reasonable dispute. And, laws change over time. Perhaps more importantly, law does not always correspond with justice. In the 1850s, the law in this country (the Fugitive Slave Act) required that Northerners return run-away slaves to their Southern owners. Many Northerners rightly refused to obey this manifestly unjust law, fanning the hostility that ultimately led to the Civil War.

· Summary: The Report is a biased, one-sided description of the causes and ongoing responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It ignores the real reasons for the misery experienced by the Palestinian refugees. It also mischaracterizes the nature of the 1948 and 1967 Wars, and omits any reference to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, thus minimizing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. It makes no mention of the organized campaign of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks that explain and justify the various security measures taken by Israel. It condemns Israel’s violation of human rights, but ignores the far worse violations committed by the Palestinian authorities, its Arab neighbors, and other nations around the world. Finally, it does not come to grips with the key fact that the recognition of a Palestinian Right of Return would mark the end of Israel as both a liberal-democratic state that generally respects the rule of law, and as a sanctuary for the Jewish people.


[1] This organization is a UK advocacy group that attempts to exert political influence on that government in favor of the Palestinians. It can hardly be considered an unbiased observer of events.

[2] Beginning in the middle of the 19th century and continuing through its ultimate collapse during WWI, there was significant immigration of Muslim populations into Palestine from diverse parts of the Ottoman Empire, due to war and economic deprivation. See Gerald M. Adler, “The Palestine – Israel Conflict,” Chapter 4, sec. 2. In the three decades preceding the UN-sponsored partition of 1948, roughly 100,000 Arabs moved to Palestine, drawn by the economic opportunities created by the Jewish community. See Rael Isaac, “Whose Palestine?Commentary, July 1, 1986, reviewing the intense controversy surrounding Joan Peters’s book From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (Harper & Row, 1984). See also Sheree Roth, “Were the Arabs Indigenous to Mandatory Palestine?Middle East Quarterly (Fall 2016).

[3] See Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed (Yale, 2010), pp.72-6.

[4] Benny Morris, a journalist by training, is the most famous of Israel’s “new historians” that have challenged the previous consensus that their nation bore little responsibility for the  flight of roughly 600,000 to 700,000 Palestinian refugees during 1947-49. See his The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (Cambridge, 2004, initially published in 1987). These historians have claimed that the Palestinian  refugees were created at least in substantial part by conscious decisions by Israeli political and military leaders to expel them.

Morris never claimed that the refugee flight was the product of some “master plan” devised by Ben Gurion prior to or during the war, but asserted that there was an overarching aspect of Zionist ideology that welcomed it.  Efraim Karsh, undoubtedly one of the world’s foremost scholars of modern Middle Eastern history, expressly denies this in his 2005 essay “Benny Morris’s Reign of Error Revisited.”

In his Palestine Betrayed, Karsh argues that any expulsions of Arab communities by the Hagana/IDF “were ad hoc tactical measures dictated exclusively by military necessity rather than political considerations” (p.236). In his view, the primary cause of the refugee flow was the exploitation of ordinary Palestinians by local leaders and neighboring Arab states for their own narrow political ambitions, and the natural panic that ensued when the conflict they initiated did not produce the easy victory promised, but instead lawlessness, disorder, and great hardship (see Chapter 12).

But even on Morris’s version of events, it is impossible to assign Israel the bulk of the blame for the refugee problem. According to him, this phenomenon “was so complex and varied, the situation radically changing from date to date and place to place, that a single-cause explanation of the exodus from most sites is untenable” (p.599). Among the factors he cites are the voluntary evacuation by large numbers of the upper strata of Arab society prior to the British withdrawal; economic hardships brought on by the conflict; fear by many Arabs of being killed in the fighting or living under Jewish rule; calls by Arab leaders for departure; failures of leadership by Arab authorities; and perhaps most of all, the perception by various Israeli field officers and political leaders that the clearance of Arab populations from strategic locations during a war for their state’s survival was a military necessity. See pp. 588-99. He acknowledges that a majority of Palestinians did not leave (p. 588).

While such expulsions (if as depicted by Morris) may seem harsh in retrospect, it must be remembered that these events were unfolding at a time when the crematoria of Auschwitz had barely cooled, and the leadership of the Jewish community realistically feared that the international community was more than willing to let the invading Arab armies finish what Hitler started. Accordingly, in describing the willingness of IDF commanders to expel Arabs in the latter stages of the fighting, Morris observes (p. 596):

In short, the Palestinians were being punished for having forced upon the Yishuv [Jewish community] the protracted, bitter war that had resulted in the death of one, and the maiming of two, in every 100 in the Jewish population. The Arabs had rejected partition and unleashed the dogs of war. In consequence, quite understandably, the Yishuv’s leadership–left, centre, and right–came to believe that leaving in place a large hostile Arab minority (or an Arab majority) inside the State would be suicidal.

Accordingly, the worst that may be said is that at times the Yishuv fought a just war with unjust means. Individual IDF units committed atrocities, as did their enemies, but there is no evidence that they were planned or directed by the Yishuv’s leadership.  Sadly, this is what usually happens in war. Indeed, one could instructively compare the bloodshed occasioned by the War of Independence with the far greater violence that occurred in the nearly contemporaneous partition of British India. Yet no international actors are demanding the return of the Muslim refugees to India or the Hindu refugees to Pakistan.

[5] The vast majority of Arab Palestinians who fled their homes in what is now Israel in 1948 are now dead. The three succeeding generations born in refugee camps have no connection to Israel, and are not “exiles” or “refugees,” but Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, Syrians, etc. Enforcing the so-called right of return would mean the end of Israel as the sole Jewish-majority state, and as a refuge for the Jewish people. Given commonalities of language and culture, integration of Palestinian refugees into the Arab nations in which they now live, would work a comparatively lesser hardship. Therefore, these Arab nations should be encouraged and incentivized to take this step.

[6] It is often claimed that Israel’s occupation of parts of the “West Bank” is illegal under international law. However, this is convincingly refuted by Professor Kontorovich in the link provided below. He shows that as of the present time Israel’s only borders recognized by international law are those established by the 1922 League of Nations “British Mandate for Palestine.”

[7] The Palestinian leadership, even prior to its rejection of the UN’s 1947 partition plan and ever since, has steadfastly refused to accept the existence of a Jewish majority state in “Arab” lands. Occasional public pronouncements in English to the contrary are belied by the leadership’s statements in Arabic to its own constituencies. See Efraim Karsh, “Why the Oslo Process Doomed Peace,” Middle East Quarterly (Fall 2016).

[8] For example, Article Seven:

The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kissam and his brethren the fighters, members of Moslem Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Moslem Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Moslem Brotherhood in 1968 and after.

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).




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4 Responses to Lies, Damn Lies, and Israel

  1. Defense of Israel is praiseworthy even though most people have are immune to argument.

    • Mark Friedman says:

      Hi Avraham:
      Thanks for dropping by. You are correct regarding this immunity which, sadly, includes many libertarians. And, given my small audience, I am very unlikely to influence the course of events. Yet, I am not comfortable sitting idle while so much grossly erroneous, misleading, and deliberately false information is spread about the causes of this conflict.

  2. Robert Sweeney says:

    Hi Mark,

    Among that virulent minority of anti-Zionist Jews – Rothbardites to my right, Finkelsteins to my left included- what do you think is/are the main motive(s) behind their ostentatious ‘Jewwashing’?

    Surely one underlying factor is an ignorance of historical facts (on ample display in Rothbard’s “War Guilt…” screed) coupled with a profound disconnect with the reality of life in land of Israel and an unfamiliarity with the psychological and physical dangers that Jews have had to contend with in the land since the advent of Zionism, is it not? From the safe remove of a liberal democratic society (USA), it is much easier for such individuals to negligently disregard the need of other Jews elsewhere for safety and control over their own destiny.

    Did Rothbard ever visit the Yeshiva during the Mandate and witness at first hand the anxieties felt by Jewish farmers as tensions increased throughout the 30s and 40s?

    Did he catch glance of the emblem that emblazoned the armored vehicles of the Arab Legion as they trundled forward in 1948? Namely, a star-of-David impaled by a dagger – and just what intent this signaled to the Jewish inhabitants in the case of an eventual defeat.

    Did Rothbardites ever sit outside a café in Tel Aviv and listen to an Iraqi Jewish family counter their fatuous claim (as per “War Guilt…”) that before Zionism came along, Jews and lived peacefully in Muslim-majority countries, where in reality the best of times saw them were classified as second-class citizens under what today would be considered codified Apartheid, punctuated by episodic pograms, before their ultimate disenfranchisement and expulsion?

    Ignorance, distance and disconnect all play a part in this psychology.

    • Mark Friedman says:

      Hi Robert:
      Thanks for the interesting comment. I wish I had a good answer. I agree that all the things you mention play their part. And, obviously, different individuals are motivated by different things. I try to untangle Rothbard’s motives a bit in an earlier post. For others, Israel is like Melville’s white whale; that is, a symbol of all that they, in their twisted logic, hate: capitalism, Western values, “colonialism,” religion, and so on. It is perplexing, because it is so irrational

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