Thursday, June 24, 2021



Last year I wrote a post about David Bar-Illan and his 1993 book, Eye on the Media: A Look At World News Coverage of Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. The book was based on a column he regularly wrote for the Jerusalem Post. Skimming through his book, I realized how little has changed over the past 30 years.

Sheikh Jarrah

The issue of Sheikh Jarrah concerns the case in the Israeli courts involving documented Jewish property rights dating back to Jewish land purchases made in 1875. Following Jordan's participation in the 1948 war, it claimed Yehudah and Shomron (the "West Bank") as its own, expelling the Jewish residents and seizing their property. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel recaptured that territory. In the cases where Jordan officially transferred title of the formerly Jewish-owned property to Palestinian Arabs, Israel allowed the Arab owner to remain -- despite the fact that the Arab ownership was based on the forcible taking of land in a war of aggression followed by the ethnic cleansing of Jews. In other cases, where there was a dispute over the title of ownership but Jordan never gave legal title to the Arabs, the Israeli courts followed the unbroken rights of Jewish plaintiffs and returned their property to them.

Now rewind back to July 5, 1991, when Bar-Ilan wrote a post entitled Raw Diehl (p. 187-190). The title refers to Jackson Diehl, now the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post. Back. Back then, he was a journalist for the paper.

Bar-Ilan writes:

On May 14, the Washington Post published a story he filed from "Artas, the West Bank," headlined "Israel boosts land seizures--takes over land that West Bank Arabs have long farmed," and subtitled "Rush of confiscations appear linked to new Jewish settlements." It makes 14 highly damaging allegations against the State of Israel.

Since Mr. Diehl did not find it necessary to investigate these allegation, they are repeated below--with the truth thrown in as a public service.

Here are some examples:

To Diehl's claim that "Israel had decided to seize 360 acres of traditional village land"
Bar-Ilan responds that no confiscations were made in Artas -- "The only exception: two hills, more than 30km from Artas, from which shots were fired which killed travelers on the highway"

Diehl: Israel's justification of confiscation is based on the failure of the Arabs to provide documentation of 10 consecutive years of cultivation.
BI: Uncultivated and unregistered land is not confiscated. It belongs to the state by law. "This law has been in effect in Judea and Samaria under Turkish, British and Jordanian law since 1858"

Diehl quotes an Arab claiming that 8 acres of almonds, olives and apricots were confiscated.
BI: Such land is cultivated, and thus could not and was not confiscated.

Diehl: Land seizures are used by Israel to claim more than half of the West Bank
BI:
State-owned land, including land claimed as such by British and Jordanian authorities, is 40 to 50 percent of the total acreage of Judea and Samaria. If this around 10 percent was declared government-owned by Israel.
There is more, but the similarity between then and now is clear. History is deliberately avoided and established law is ignored. Instead, a land dispute is framed as a state plot to confiscate Arab land and the Arab onus to provide legal proof of ownership is ignored in favor of a one-sided journalistic attack on Israel.

Some things never change.

California’s Proposed Curriculum Guide In Ethnic Studies

A proposed curriculum guide in ethnic studies caused an uproar in 2019. A letter from the California legislature’s Jewish caucus (which includes both Jewish and non-Jewish members) complained of “anti-Jewish bias”:

Despite a rash of recent anti-Jewish hate crimes, including shootings at temples in Pittsburgh in 2018 and near San Diego, Calif., in April, the curriculum omits “any meaningful discussion” of anti-Semitism, the letter said. It omits Jewish contributions to American culture, even as it includes such contributions from Americans of African, Native, Arab, and Latin descent, it said.

“We cannot support a curriculum that erases the American Jewish experience, fails to discuss antisemitism, reinforces negative stereotypes about Jews, singles out Israel for criticism, and would institutionalize the teaching of antisemitic stereotypes in our public schools,” the caucus’ letter said.

...The Jewish Caucus, and Jewish organizations, also took issue with the way the curriculum depicts Israel and the Palestinian-led “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” movement that’s designed to pressure the country to change its approach to Palestinians. Likening BDS to movements such as BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, the curriculum says it is a “global social movement that currently aims to establish freedom for Palestinians living under apartheid conditions.”

“The glossary ... parrots more BDS talking points while offering no critical perspectives about this campaign of hate, which seeks to end Israel’s existence,” Batsheva Kasdan of Los Angeles said in remarks submitted through the state’s public-comment portal. [emphasis added]

By March 2021, the final, revised draft of the controversial curriculum was approved -- unanimously, though there are still those in the Jewish community who are wary.

These days, curriculums seem to be pretty popular.

The New York Times has its widely criticized 1619 Project Curriculum, redefining that year -- when the first African slaves were brought here -- as the founding of America and claiming that the real reason the American Revolution was fought was to preserve slavery.

There is also Critical Race Theory.

According to psychologist Pamela Paresky, writing about Critical Race Theory and the ‘Hyper-White’ Jew:

At a time when the moral imperative is to “be less white,” there is no identity more pernicious than that of a once powerless minority group that, rather than joining the struggle to dismantle whiteness, opted into it.

In the critical social justice paradigm, that is how Jews are viewed. Jews, who have never been seen as white by those for whom being white is a moral good, are now seen as white by those for whom whiteness is an unmitigated evil. This reflects the nature of antisemitism: No matter the grievance or the identity of the aggrieved, Jews are held responsible. Critical race theory does not merely make it easy to demonize Jews using the language of social justice; it makes it difficult not to. [emphasis added]

But making curriculums, including by the media, is nothing new.

According to an article Bar-Ilan wrote September 20, 1991, entitled Useful Idiots (p.226-229):

What makes the media particularly effective is that they do not restrict their Israel-bashing to news channels. Newsweek, for example, which has portrayed Israelis as drug-addicted wife-beaters who spend American aid money ($1,000 a year for every Israeli!) on Jacuzzis, also provides a social studies program for American schools. With characteristic even-handedness, its The Middle East: Tug of War, used in schools throughout the U.S., flatly states, "Yasser Arafat has made tremendous concessions in hopes of bringing Israel to the negotiating table."

In the June issue of the excellent American Jewish bimonthly Moment, Charles Jacobs exposes the extent of blatant anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda in American teaching materials, some of which are produced by the media. The Public Broadcasting Service (producers of the McNeil-Lehrer Show seen on Israel's Channel 2) distributes a teachers' guide for a study unit titled Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land.

Among its many gems there is the contention, a favorite of Israeli leftists, that Arabs and Jews are equally guilty of terrorism. Arab operations against civilians, the only kind that truly meet the definition of terrorism, cost the lives of thousands of Jews and Arabs in the riots of 1920, 1929, 1936-1939, and thousands more in PLO operations and the current intifada. It is never mentioned.

But far more dangerous than these gross historical distortions is the assertion in the PBS guide that "In Jewish eyes, the Arab is dirty, lazy, thieving, incompetent and uppity." In short, Jews are racists. As Jacobs puts it, "it is not difficult to see how a black child in an American classroom would react to these hateful words -- dirty, lazy thieving, incompetent and uppity --words often unfairly aimed at blacks. How could any minority student not be enraged at such hateful people?"

To make sure that the racism charge and the analogy to American racism sink in, the guide includes a study question: "What are some of the patterns of discrimination between Jews and Arabs that exist between groups in other countries, including blacks and whites in the U.S.?" [emphasis added] 

The groundwork for associating anti-black racism with Israel was already laid 30 years ago.
The attempt to associate BLM with BDS is not new.
It is merely gaining steam.

IfNotNow

Jewish anti-Israel groups drawing attention to themselves by exploiting their 'Jewish identity' is nothing new, though publicly making havdalah in the middle of a Saturday afternoon may be a uniquely IfNotNow stunt.

But Michael Lerner is way ahead of them.
By about 50 years.
And some of his early slanders against the Jewish community itself make IfNotNow look tame by comparison.

From Michael Lerner's Masquerade, June 28, 1991 (p. 180-183)
...it is doubtful a bona fide politician would last long in the Jewish world after writing, "The Jewish community is racist, internally corrupt, and an apologist for the worst aspects of American capitalism and imperialism." Or "Black antisemitism is...a tremendous disgrace to Jews; for this is not an antisemitism rooted in...hatred of the Christ-killers but rather one rooted in the concrete fact of oppression by Jews of blacks in the ghetto...an earned antisemitism" Or, "The synagogue as currently established will have to be smashed." [emphasis added]
These are not quotes by Farrakhan -- these are Michael Lerner's own words from back in 1969. When Edward Alexander quoted Lerner in an article in 1989, Lerner first threatened to sue, but in the end claimed to have been influenced by the model of the prophet Isaiah in criticizing Jews.

In response to Alexander’s article, Lerner said that he was sorry he had made those statements, but they were part of his “adolescent rebellion,” although he was 27 at the time.
By 1988, Lerner had turned his attention to Israel:
...he organized advertisements in American newspapers calling on Israel to 'end the occupation.' He also likes to tell plain Jews how to pray. Tikkun publishes its own Haggada, in which a prayer has been added before the Kiddush: "This year the Jewish people itself has become the symbol of oppression," it asserts. And in another addition to the Pessah service it says "The Land of Israel, which gives bread to two peoples, must be divided in two."

In an interview in The Washington Post Lerner stated that on Yom Kippur the Jews had "a great deal to repent for in light of the action of the State of Israel." [emphasis added]
(How prescient of Lerner to see the benefit of blaming Jews for the actions of Israel, showing the way for the antisemites of today, who use the occasion of Israeli self-defense as an excuse to attack Jews.)
...In a May 23, 1991, article in The Los Angeles Times he wrote, "Israeli activists privately tell me that should Israeli intransigence block the progress of the impending peace conference, American peace activists should do everything in our power to convince Secretary of State Baker to pull out all the stops and pressure Israel

...Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum, president emeritus of the Jewish Theological Seminary, where Lerner studied in the 1960s, brands Lerner's writing "vicious, antisemitic and anti-Israel. He has come as close to anyone in the Jewish community to comparing Israel's treatment of Arabs to the Nazi treatment of Jews. Tikkun produces a steady stream of ant-Israel bias and poison." [emphasis added]
IfNotNow, and other, similar, anti-Israel groups who claim to identify as Jews, today follow in the footsteps of Lerner.

Thirty years of anti-Israel bias.

You can't blame it all on Netanyahu.
He was prime minister for only 15 of those 30 years.

And now Bibi is no longer in charge.
Will that make any difference?

As Mark Goldfeder, director of the National Jewish Advocacy Center points out, the parade for flag day -- described by the media as "ultranationalist," "far-right," "inflammatory," "contentious," and "provocative" --was authorized by a new government (minus Netanyahu) consisting of not only Jews from Ethiopia, Morocco and Russia, but also Druze and Muslims.

Nothing is going to change.









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