Alan Johnson of Bicom spoke brilliantly; cogently articulating the case for the wall as a security issue. His rhetorical devices were masterly, as he spoke of the realities of the actual wall as against the never never world of the pretend wall, which in turn facilitated the calcification of the intellectual wall which refused to recognise the reality of the need for the real wall.Since then, Amie has gotten the recording of the session and of Halper's accusations against Israel and his frantic attempts to change the topic however he could.
He cited famous harrowing instances of bombing and terror.
He showed graphs of how the level of terror decreased dramatically after the wall.
He cited last week's abortive bus bombing where the terrorists had got through a breach in the wall, from Bethlehem.
When he finished, (to a good round of applause from the substantial pro Israel presence there.)
Jeff Halper, the next speaker, opened his mouth wide and bellowed: This wall has NOTHING to do with security.
And without his having to say a single thing more to back up or verify this bellow, the hall erupted into cheers and applause.
Her fisking of Halper is at Harry's Place. Here are some highlights:
For starters, Halper was having none of Alan Johnson’s complexity: After his klaxoned opening that the wall “has nothing to do with security, he declared: there’s no both sides here, there’s no complexity”. What then, is his simple truth?Amie then looks at each of Halper's accusations and finds that he is lying about every single one. Read the post for details.
“I reject the idea of complexity, I think it is absolutely clear there is an occupation.. “
Alas for Alan Johnson’s warning against reductivism, Halper’s reductivism wows the crowd. But then comes something more insiduous than reductivism. It is what I once termed the Tonge manoeuvre. ... just to mention something is to establish something; provided it is the favoured person doing the mentioning. I now have Halper’s exact words, thanks to the transcript:
The wall – and if you want to talk about terrorism – you talk about cluster bombs used by Israel – you talk about anti-personnel weapons, you talk about tungsten based weapons that melt your insides, if you want to talk about Palestinian children with wounds that even doctors can’t figure out, talk about Flechettes – they’re like little razors like swords thousands of them going through the air and chopping limbs off. You wanna talk about terrorism, well let’s talk about terrorism, let’s talk about state terrorism..
Note the choice of “talk about” delivered in an unbroken demagogic outpouring, rather than facts in context. The mere enumeration of these dread weapons raises the spectre that Israel must have used them, and must have used them in the worst possible way. At best, crowds are unreceptive to critical thinking and this crowd, hothoused in a week of demonisation, greets this readily with untroubled cheers.
For what it’s worth, it is left to us keyboard Casaubons to sift drily through the chaff in search of facts. This we do, fully aware that this tuquoque tactic of Halper in no way addresses the barrage of assorted armaments, outlawed or otherwise, from Gaza which gave rise to the need for the security barrier.
As for Halper’s actual arguments:He's even contradicting himself - at first he says that a wall at the Green Line would be OK, but then he tells the truth - he doesn't want Israel to exist altogether and for it to be replaced by yet another Arab state, wall or no wall, on the border or not.
If the wall had been built for security first of all, .. they would have built on the border. No one can have a problem with the wall including the international court of justice in the Hague had it been built on the border.......During Q&A he was asked by the chair: Is the wall not there to prevent terrorism?
Halper: “There is no internationally accepted definition of terrorism! I prefer to use Human Rights language. Terrorism is violence against civilians. What about State terror? You hear about Al Quada, Palestinians, Hamas: what about States? Human Rights language means it prohibits the killing of innocent civilians.”He then spoke about how it was impossible to have a Jewish State. This seemed to discomfit the chair, who queried this assertion.
Halper: “You can’t have an ethnically Jewish state in the 21stC. There must be a One State solution. We need to reframe the discussion. The issue is not security and terror. The issue is: the wall is a border. That is really why they built a wall.”
It is worth reading the whole thing as a case study in how the Israel haters will throw out lies and half-truths to a crowd that eats it all up, truth be damned. Halper comes across as even more extreme and deceptive than I had thought he was - he isn't against house demolitions, he's against Israel defending itself - actually, against Israel existing altogether.