Consumer Boycott (Workshop Summary)

Conference        : International Conference on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Date                     : 12th September 2015

Venue                  : Lim Goh Tong Lecture Hall, Faculty of Business, Universiti Malaya

Workshop           : Consumer Boycott

 

Summary:

Consumer Boycott – Definition:

Consumer boycott is the act of boycotting the products or services that are directly consumed by the market. These products are selected due to the contribution the companies are making towards the development or occupation in Israel.

 

Foreword:

In the workshop, the group has decided to discuss on three (3) different areas of interest, which are the, (1) the reasons for boycotting, (2) the selected products for boycott, and (3) the modus operandi of boycotting.

 

 

1.      The Reasons for Boycott.

There are several whys and wherefores of boycott. There are as stated below:

 

a.      Generate Public Awareness

o   To generate public awareness on Israeli Apartheid and occupation on the Palestine soil.

o   To create awareness and gather international support.

 

b.     Apply Economic Pressure

o   To apply economic pressure for change on the manufacturers and Israel in general.

o   To prove that boycott is working on putting pressure on the manufacturers

§  A fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand due to consumer boycott following Gaza attacks

§  At New York Stock Exchange, Coca Cola and MacDonald shares slumped.

 

c.      Build People Power

o   To invite consumer participation because people is powerful in creating path to destruction or development

o   To encourage wide participation among consumer.

o   To instil awareness on products and services that is related directly to daily consumptions and usage.

 

d.     Promote Collectively

o   To strengthen the power of purchasing through a bigger crowd as awareness or campaign becomes more powerful is promoted collectively

 

 

e.      Campaign

o   To remind stores of the importance of minimizing the supports towards the occupation and the regime.

o   To avoid re-stocking of goods from the manufacturers that support the human rights violation

 

f.       Force Changes

o   To initiate force change in the business policies of the companies.

o   To look at the legal point of view on how the companies or the manufacturers can revisit their market and sale objectives.

 

g.      Creating optimal impact

o   To target the right products or service

o   To strategize on the ‘hows’ of conducting the boycott that can give impact to the market.

 

h.     Create broader campaign.

o   To understand that consumer boycott are most effective when part of a broader campaign against a particular product.

o   To aim in increasing pressure on the retailer to stop selling a particular Israeli product.

 

 

B. Selected Product

Malaysia has been conducting boycott on several manufacturers throughout the years and each has proved to be successful. Boycott has been done on four (4) products since 2009, such as:

 

(i)                McDonald

(ii)              Nestle

(iii)             Coca Cola

(iv)             Loreal.

 

The boycott on these products will continue until target is achieved and in the meantime, the objectives of the boycott should be revisit to measure the success rate of the activity. In the workshop, there are several more products are listed during the workshop as potential products such as:

 

(i)                Hewlett Packet

(ii)              Hyundai

(iii)             Caterpillar

(iv)             G4S

(v)              Ahava (Lazada has known to sale this product in their website)

 

 

From the workshop, it has been decided that the latest product to be boycott is Hewlett Packet

C. Modus Operandi

For this consumer boycott, our priority is to know what exactly what we want to do and how to go about and conduct it after the BDS Movement is established. There are several ways that had been brainstormed by the group.

 

a.      Develop Research Team

o   To understand how product is contributing to the occupation and human rights violation.

o   To identify the target user

o   To find more local products as an alternative to the boycotted products as this involved emotional dependency.

o   To invite the participation of social experts

 

b.     Identify Target Product

o   To firmly agree that HP – as one of the biggest players in the technological devices in the local market – helps in providing services and products to the Israeli government.

 

c.      Engage with the Manufacturer/Friendly bodies/ Trade Union

o   To create a friendly liaison with the Trade Union as a backup plan to support the employees of the company.

 

d.     Set Timeline

o   To work within the timeline in order to observe and monitor the progress of the boycott.

 

e.      Promote alternative brand

o   To identify local or international products that can be a substitute to the target products.

 

f.       Diverse Action

o   To collectively appeal to consumer on the reasons for boycotting the product(s).

o   To write letter to the company and organize picket and etc.

o   To meet and discuss any possibility of withdrawing from the business with Israeli

 

g.      Create High Impact Activities

o   To encourage the involvement of Public Figure

o   To educate people of diverse age group, for example, children, through school talk.

o   To spread message through culture and norm, for example, music and impactful short film.

 

 

 

 

 

Question & Answer Session

Question /Comment 1:

Alternative Products. The questioner is very interested to know on this move because his group has never thought about this before. He wished to listen more on this idea and hope to be able to work together on exploring this area.

 

 

Question/Comment 2:

Boycott Continuation. The questioner is asking on any possible move that should be taken towards McDonalds as they are now using religion to win their market. They have started to sponsor religious figure to certain mosque and play with the sentiment. He asked whether it is worth to continue with the boycott campaign?. And if so, how do we bring the boycott to a higher level campaign?

 

He gave Cadbury as an example. Cadbury is now building back the trust of its customer after the porcine incident.

 

Answer:

We are identifying the possible lead towards the boycott because many years have been spent on this. However, we still want to make sure that we can achieve the objectives of this boycott by revisit the objectives. We need to know the success rate and the impact of consumer boycott towards the manufacturer.

 

 

Question/Comment 3:

Boycott Product. We should focus on one target product only.

 

 

Question/Comment 4:

Educate Employees. We should not stop boycott the four products. We need to continue with the move but at the same time we have to identify other perspective of the boycott campaign. For example we should be on the side of the employees because educating employees is also a point and strategy. These employees should know that we are not targeting them but the company. We should also work with a particular organization that can give these employees support if they are being laid off from their employment.

 

 

 

Why Zionism Is Not and Never Will Be Part of My Jewish Identity

March 31, 2016 by Annah Anti-Palindrome
 
When I was a kid, Zionism – the political ideology responsible for the development and protection of a Jewish nation-state, currently known as Israel – made sense to me.
 
Growing up as a member of the only Jewish family in a rural, mostly Christian town was Not Fun.
 
Kids were mean and sometimes violent, neighbors called CPS on my parents because of their failure to “ensure the salvation of their children’s souls” (as in, they didn’t take us to church or have us baptized), and teachers in grade school would tell me to take off my Star of David necklace because they thought it was a pentagram and “there would be no devil worship in the class room!”
 
As children from low-income households navigating legitimate feelings of scarcity, sharing snacks with other kids at lunchtime was unthinkable amongst most of my peers. But because my siblings and I were Jewish, not sharing meant we were “stingy” or “greedy,” and we were ridiculed and punished accordingly.
 
The only reprieve I felt was when I was at synagogue in the company of other Jewish kids.
 
I remember it felt so good to not be the only Jew within a sixty-mile radius! It was there that I developed some of my first ride-or-die friendships. My everyday identity as a singular, cultural outcast evaporated inside those temple walls, and being allowed to see myself as a part of something larger, even if only for a few hours a month, was a life-saving experience.
 
It was also at synagogue, however, that I underwent some really intensive, foundational Hasbarah education.
 
I remember sitting in a room with dozens of other Jewish kids as the rabbi alternated between playing us excruciatingly graphic documentaries about the Holocaust, and Israeli propaganda cartoons.
 
Before playing us the Holocaust videos, our rabbi would smugly say things like, “You are all old enough to know the truth: This is what we, as Jews, can expect from the world we live in. Everyone is jealous because we are God’s chosen people. Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of time as a result of that jealousy. The Holocaust is only one example.”
 
After watching these films, we would be put into discussion groups and asked to brainstorm tactical strategies to “ensure the safety of Our People” for future generations.
 
When the rabbi called the class back together he would simply say, “Jews will never be safe anywhere, which is why the state of Israel is so important.” He would then immediately cue the Israeli tourist propaganda to quell our newly budding terror.
 
Now, it doesn’t take much to scare the shit out of a kid. And quite honestly, when I’d leave temple and go back to the horrors of my culturally Christian hometown environment, the idea of a designated safe-haven for Jews sounded pretty good.
 
But little did I know, the “safe haven” I was being taught about was not only unsafe for Jews, but also that it existed as the direct result of an indigenous population’s massacre and displacement. 
 
Disillusionment
 
As I grew older and began to build close friendships with kids of color – kids who were also treated like shit at school by students and teachers alike – it became clear to me what navigating the deepest dredges of oppression actually looked like.
 
Although things were pretty uncomfortable for me growing up in a culturally Christian town, as a person with white privilege, I could usually slide under the radar and avoid (at least) the most violent of scrutiny.
 
Conversely, I’d witness my friends of color get regularly harassed by the town cops. They were always being frisked and detained for not having citizenship papers on them, and they were constantly having their homes and families torn apart during local ICE raids.
 
One day, in my pre-teen naiveté, I suggested to one of the rabbis at temple that since brown folks also seemed to be really abhorred by the world, maybe they, too, should be allowed to seek refuge and safety in Israel.
 
His answer would begin the unraveling of a story that shifted my perspective forever. He looked down at me intently and said, “If they are not Jewish, they are of no concern to us.”
 
In true Zionist fashion, he went on the usual tirade about “the unique and specific plight Jewish people have faced throughout history,” driving home the importance of spending our energies looking out for ourselves and each other before anybody else.
 
We were always encouraged to reflect on the atrocities of the Holocaust as proof that Jews needed an autonomous, national homeland in order to stay safe from the world’s impending doom.
 
As I got older, though, I learned that some of my (non-Jewish) friends also came from families with histories of displacement and mass genocide (Western expansion, the Trail of Tears, slavery and Jim Crow, to name a few). And yet nobody ever advocated for them to have a national homeland in order to ensure their safety.
 
This conversation happened when I was twelve years old, and it awoke in me the initial stirrings of distrust and skepticism.
 
It wasn’t until much later, when I learned about the occupation of Palestine, that my entire belief system would crumble around me.
 
The Breaking Point
 
In the mid-90s, during the Oslo Peace Negotiations, I began seeing images on the news of Israeli military tanks bulldozing entire Palestinian villages, Israeli soldiers denying Palestinian families access through checkpoints to seek proper medical care, and mobs of Palestinian children being held at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers for having thrown rocks at encroaching, armed cavalries.
 
We all know that the US media shows us only a fraction of what’s actually happening in the rest of the world, and given that the US generally portrays Israel in a favorable light (do to its vested interest in maintaining a military base in the Middle East), I can only imagine that those images were just the tip of a much larger iceberg.
 
This is when I realized that I had been being lied to for a majority of my adolescent life.
 
At no point during my religious education had anyone ever mentioned that the indiscriminate massacre and displacement of Palestinian people was necessary for Israel to exist! At no point did anyone mention that maintaining and expanding an exclusive Jewish state requires the ongoing ethnic cleansing and military repression of Palestinians!
 
Israel continues to insist that these are actions carried out in the name of “self-defense.”
 
But today, the number of Israeli casualties on average continues to be disproportionately less than those of Palestinians – yet Israel refuses to recognize Palestinian violence as a reaction to Israeli policies and practices, particularly those of occupation, land confiscation, and police state rule.
 
This is exactly the kind of denial and complacency that Zionist ideology breeds.
 
How Zionism Hurts People (Including Jews)
 
While I did find a necessary sense of kinship and safety through attending temple as a child, it was through Zionist ideology that my fears and anxieties about anti-Semitism were enhanced and exploited.
 
The state of Israel relies on the nationalist loyalties of Jews all over the world – loyalties that are secured through the manipulation of our very real senses of collective, historical trauma.
 
Further, beyond the blatant, unapologetic displacement of Palestinian people, Zionism creates a hierarchy of justice that even privileges certain Jewish lives over others.
 
As a nation founded by mostly European settlers (Ashkenazi Jews), racism against Jews of color in Israel is also rampant. Discrimination against Arab Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Indian Jews, Mizrahi, and Sephardic Jews can be seen through Israel’s institutional policies, media portrayals, educational systems, immigration laws, housing and resource accessibility, and so on.
 
When my grandfather, an Egyptian Arab immigrant and Sephardic Jew, moved to Israel from the US in the late ‘90s, he had to deal with so much shit that he eventually decided to move back to the States after only a few years. This decision, given the heightened state of post-9/11 anti-Arab racism, says a lot.
 
Contrary to the messages of Hasbara and Israel’s international, commercial front, Zionism is not an ideology rooted the politics of liberation.
 
Zionism discourages Jews from participating in or identifying with broader global resistance movements and instead advocates for a focus on exclusive, insular protection at the expense of non-Jewish lives.
 
Since Israel – the geographical mecca for Jewish insularity – requires the oppression of another group of people to exist, it will never be a safe haven for anyone.
 
Next Steps in Decolonizing Our Minds
 
All too often, I hear people insist that opposing the state of Israel is somehow inherently anti-Semitic. I’ve actually been told before (by Jews and Goys alike) that my anti-Zionist politics make me a bonafide “self-hating Jew.”
 
This is a classic way to shut down a crucial conversation.
 
We should be skeptical of any movement that centers the protection of European settlers at the expense of a land’s indigenous population.
 
Conversations and critiques about this shouldn’t have to stop just because someone utters the word “Holocaust.” If you ask me, there’s something seriously wrong when we’re forbidden from taking a stand against both anti-Semitism and imperialist repression simultaneously.
 
We have (rightfully) organized against forms of apartheid, institutional racism, colonial violence, and genocide all over the world throughout history (in the US, South Africa, South and Central America, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, and more).
 
We also need to take a stand against the state sanctioned violence that’s inflicted against Palestinians by the Zionist state of Israel.
 
Beyond ideological reframing, here are some other tactical steps you can take in support of the Palestinian freedom movement:
 
Get involved with IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network) or JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
Support the Palestinian BDS campaign (boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel)
If you are Jewish and thinking about taking your “birthright” trip to Israel, consider doing Birthright Unplugged instead!
Because in order to be effective in the fight against any system of oppression, decolonizing our minds is the first step.
 
***
 
The sense of safety and community I found at temple when I was a kid is something I will always be grateful for.
 
Through gaining perspective about the harmful impacts of Zionism, I’ve been able to both appreciate my Jewish community, as well as take a stand against the violent injustices inflicted by the state of Israel.
 
Separating Zionism from my Jewish identity has allowed me to make the bold assertion: Israel’s violent, imperialist campaign against Palestinians – not on my behalf, not in my name.

Not all Israeli Citizens Are Equal

Washington

I am a Palestinian who was born in the Israeli town of Lod, and thus I am an Israeli citizen. My wife is not; she is a Palestinian from Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Despite our towns being just 30 miles apart, we met almost 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts, where we attended neighboring colleges.

A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between our hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard.

Never is this reality more profound than on our trips home from our current residence outside Washington.

Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport is on the outskirts of Lod (Lydda in Arabic), but because my wife has a Palestinian ID, she cannot fly there; she is relegated to flying to Amman, Jordan. If we plan a trip together — an enjoyable task for most couples — we must prepare for a logistical nightmare that reminds us of our profound inequality before the law at every turn.

Even if we fly together to Amman, we are forced to take different bridges, two hours apart, and endure often humiliating waiting and questioning just to cross into Israel and the West Bank. The laws conspire to separate us.

If we lived in the region, I would have to forgo my residency, since Israeli law prevents my wife from living with me in Israel. This is to prevent what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once referred to as “demographic spillover.” Additional Palestinian babies in Israel are considered “demographic threats” by a state constantly battling to keep a Jewish majority. (Of course, Israelis who marry Americans or any non-Palestinian foreigners are not subjected to this treatment.)

Last week marked Israel’s 64th year of independence; it is also when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” during which many of Palestine’s native inhabitants were turned into refugees.

In 1948, the Israeli brigade commander Yitzhak Rabin helped expel Lydda’s Palestinian population. Some 19,000 of the town’s 20,000 native Palestinian inhabitants were forced out. My grandparents were among the 1,000 to remain.

They were fortunate to become only internally displaced and not refugees. Years later my grandfather was able to buy back his own home — a cruel absurdity, but a better fate than that imposed on most of his neighbors, who were never permitted to re-establish their lives in their hometowns.

Three decades later, in October 1979, this newspaper reported that Israel barred Rabin from detailing in his memoir what he conceded was the “expulsion” of the “civilian population of Lod and Ramle, numbering some 50,000.” Rabin, who by then had served as prime minister, sought to describe how “it was essential to drive the inhabitants out.”

Two generations after the Nakba, the effect of discriminatory Israeli policies still reverberates. Israel still seeks to safeguard its image by claiming to be a bastion of democracy that treats its Palestinian citizens well, all the while continuing illiberal policies that target this very population. There is a long history of such discrimination.

In the 1950s new laws permitted the state to take control over Palestinians’ land by classifying them “absentees.” Of course, it was the state that made them absentees by either preventing refugees from returning to Israel or barring internally displaced Palestinians from having access to their land. This last group was ironically termed “present absentees” — able to see their land but not to reach it because of military restrictions that ultimately resulted in their watching the state confiscate it. Until 1966, Palestinian citizens were governed under martial law.

Today, a Jew from any country can move to Israel, while a Palestinian refugee, with a valid claim to property in Israel, cannot. And although Palestinians make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, the 2012 budget allocates less than 7 percent for Palestinian citizens.

Tragically for Palestinians, Zionism requires the state to empower and maintain a Jewish majority even at the expense of its non-Jewish citizens, and the occupation of the West Bank is only one part of it. What exists today between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is therefore essentially one state, under Israeli control, where Palestinians have varying degrees of limited rights: 1.5 million are second-class citizens, and four million more are not citizens at all. If this is not apartheid, then whatever it is, it’s certainly not democracy.

The failure of Israeli and American leaders to grapple with this nondemocratic reality is not helping. Even if a two-state solution were achieved, which seems fanciful at this point, a fundamental contradiction would remain: more than 35 laws in ostensibly democratic Israel discriminate against Palestinians who are Israeli citizens.

For all the talk about shared values between Israel and the United States, democracy is sadly not one of them right now, and it will not be until Israel’s leaders are willing to recognize Palestinians as equals, not just in name, but in law.

WHY BOYCOTT HYUNDAI?

Hyundai’s Corporate complicity

Home Demolitions and Collective Punishment: Hyundai Complicity in Israeli War Crimes

Source: http://boycott4peace.blogspot.my/2015/01/hyundais-corporate-complicity.html

Collective Punishment & Corporate Complicity

Evidence indicates that Hyundai’s contract with Israeli company Automotive Equipment Group (AEG) violates their Fair Trade Code of Conduct that states the following:

 

“With our parent company headquartered in South Korea, Hyundai has implemented a voluntary fair trade compliance initiative to ensure we are meeting or exceeding all trade-related government regulations, including U.S. requirements. As part of this initiative, Hyundai has initiated a series of education programs to raise awareness of fair trade practices among our workforce and suppliers. Additionally, we have instituted a mechanism for reporting suspected unfair business transactions, corruption or other violations.”

 

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk states “Companies taking part in the construction of the six lane illegal highway in Beit Safafa, under the auspices of the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company and their implementing partner, D.Y. Barazani Ltd., must be held responsible” for violating International law that condemns companies for participating in the collective punishment of the civilian population. http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/israel-un-expert-warns-against-israels-plans-for-a-six-lane-settlement-highway-in-east-jerusalem-10988

 

Hyundai’s contract with the Israeli company Automotive Equipment Group is for their Robex 340 LC-7A excavator deal. A total of 237 homes were demolished and a total of 297 people displaced according to a report by The Israeli Committee to End Home Demolitions. Statistics on the number of home demolitions in Palestine is located at this link: http://icahd.org/the-facts

 

Hyundai representative defends their cooperation is with Israel’s private sector and have no knowledge of the specific use of the Robex 320 LC-7A excavator. On the same note, he/she explains Palestinians use their equipment for construction purposes despite Israel using their equipment for home demolitions. The Hyundai representative incorrectly stipulates there is a moral equivalence between the two purposes. Palestinians have no choice but to use equipment approved by Israeli authorities in constructing and reconstructing their infrastructures. Additional information on Hyundai’s representative response: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/hyundai-ends-relationship-with-home-demolition-equipment-firm-10469

 

South Korean activist have joined with the Boycott Divestment Sanction movement to pressure Hyundai executives to break their relationship with Israel. On ways the South Koreans stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people visit this article: http://www.palestinemonitor.org/details.php?id=lh7rdma891y9zkl5t08c

 

In addition to Hyundai, the Israeli company Automotive Equipment Group holds contracts with Caterpillar, and Volvo. Check out our blog post on Caterpillar: http://boycott4peace.blogspot.com/2014/12/boycott-caterpillar.html,  and our Caterpillar boycott meme: http://boycott4peace.blogspot.com/2014/12/caterpillar-corporate-conscientiousness.html

 

Hyundai has been a target of the group “Who profits from the Israeli occupation?” http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/latestnews/tabid/62/entryid/1256/who-profits-from-the-israeli-occupation.aspx

 

Include toys, tools, clothes, accessories, electronics, and other Hyundai gear in this boycott!

 

~~~

Why we must boycott beauty products?

Quoted from:  http://www.stolenbeauty.org/

 

Ahava promises “Beauty Secrets from the Dead Sea.” And wait until you hear those secrets!

Because Ahava is hiding the ugly truth—its products actually come from stolen Palestinian natural resources in the Occupied Territory of the Palestinian West Bank, and are produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Don’t let the “Made in Israel” sticker fool you—when you buy Ahava products you help finance the destruction of hope for a peaceful and just future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Ahava puts a pretty face on its crimes, even paying Oxfam Ambassador and “Sex in the City” star Kristen Davis to be its spokeswoman. But here’s what Oxfam itself has to say about Ahava’s deceptive packaging:

  • “The settlements on the West Bank are illegal under international humanitarian law and that creates a lot of problems for the Palestinians that live there.”
  • “Consumers that are buying produce that are grown in illegal settlements need to have that information so that they can make an informed choice.”

Why must we boycott Caterpillar?

Caterpillar bulldozers have come to symbolise foreign involvement in Israel’s occupation. But should the company be held liable if their products are used to break international law?

Bulldozers are the iron fist of the Israeli army, used to destroy Palestinian homes, uproot orchards and build illegal settlements. But it was the death of Rachel Corrie that brought to international attention a campaign to hold the company to account. Now a law suit has been launched accusing Caterpillar of human rights violations. (Inigo Gilmore)

Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Source:(http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/06/17/top-ten-myths-about-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict)

 

A proper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires exposing numerous myths about its origins and the reasons it persists.

Myth #1 – Jews and Arabs have always been in conflict in the region.

Although Arabs were a majority in Palestine prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there had always been a Jewish population, as well. For the most part, Jewish Palestinians got along with their Arab neighbors. This began to change with the onset of the Zionist movement, because the Zionists rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination and wanted Palestine for their own, to create a “Jewish State” in a region where Arabs were the majority and owned most of the land.

For instance, after a series of riots in Jaffa in 1921 resulting in the deaths of 47 Jews and 48 Arabs, the occupying British held a commission of inquiry, which reported their finding that “there is no inherent anti-Semitism in the country, racial or religious.” Rather, Arab attacks on Jewish communities were the result of Arab fears about the stated goal of the Zionists to take over the land.

After major violence again erupted in 1929, the British Shaw Commission report noted that “In less than 10 years three serious attacks have been made by Arabs on Jews. For 80 years before the first of these attacks there is no recorded instance of any similar incidents.” Representatives from all sides of the emerging conflict testified to the commission that prior to the First World War, “the Jews and Arabs lived side by side if not in amity, at least with tolerance, a quality which today is almost unknown in Palestine.” The problem was that “The Arab people of Palestine are today united in their demand for representative government”, but were being denied that right by the Zionists and their British benefactors.

The British Hope-Simpson report of 1930 similarly noted that Jewish residents of non-Zionist communities in Palestine enjoyed friendship with their Arab neighbors. “It is quite a common sight to see an Arab sitting in the verandah of a Jewish house”, the report noted. “The position is entirely different in the Zionist colonies.”

Myth #2 – The United Nations created Israel.

The U.N. became involved when the British sought to wash its hands of the volatile situation its policies had helped to create, and to extricate itself from Palestine. To that end, they requested that the U.N. take up the matter.

As a result, a U.N. Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) was created to examine the issue and offer its recommendation on how to resolve the conflict. UNSCOP contained no representatives from any Arab country and in the end issued a report that explicitly rejected the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. Rejecting the democratic solution to the conflict, UNSCOP instead proposed that Palestine be partitioned into two states: one Arab and one Jewish.

The U.N. General Assembly endorsed UNSCOP’s in its Resolution 181. It is often claimed that this resolution “partitioned” Palestine, or that it provided Zionist leaders with a legal mandate for their subsequent declaration of the existence of the state of Israel, or some other similar variation on the theme. All such claims are absolutely false.

Resolution 181 merely endorsed UNSCOP’s report and conclusions as a recommendation. Needless to say, for Palestine to have been officially partitioned, this recommendation would have had to have been accepted by both Jews and Arabs, which it was not.

Moreover, General Assembly resolutions are not considered legally binding (only Security Council resolutions are). And, furthermore, the U.N. would have had no authority to take land from one people and hand it over to another, and any such resolution seeking to so partition Palestine would have been null and void, anyway.

Myth #3 – The Arabs missed an opportunity to have their own state in 1947.

The U.N. recommendation to partition Palestine was rejected by the Arabs. Many commentators today point to this rejection as constituting a missed “opportunity” for the Arabs to have had their own state. But characterizing this as an “opportunity” for the Arabs is patently ridiculous. The Partition plan was in no way, shape, or form an “opportunity” for the Arabs.

First of all, as already noted, Arabs were a large majority in Palestine at the time, with Jews making up about a third of the population by then, due to massive immigration of Jews from Europe (in 1922, by contrast, a British census showed that Jews represented only about 11 percent of the population).

Additionally, land ownership statistics from 1945 showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district of Palestine, including Jaffa, where Arabs owned 47 percent of the land while Jews owned 39 percent – and Jaffa boasted the highest percentage of Jewish-owned land of any district. In other districts, Arabs owned an even larger portion of the land. At the extreme other end, for instance, in Ramallah, Arabs owned 99 percent of the land. In the whole of Palestine, Arabs owned 85 percent of the land, while Jews owned less than 7 percent, which remained the case up until the time of Israel’s creation.

Yet, despite these facts, the U.N. partition recommendation had called for more than half of the land of Palestine to be given to the Zionists for their “Jewish State”. The truth is that no Arab could be reasonably expected to accept such an unjust proposal. For political commentators today to describe the Arabs’ refusal to accept a recommendation that their land be taken away from them, premised upon the explicit rejection of their right to self-determination, as a “missed opportunity” represents either an astounding ignorance of the roots of the conflict or an unwillingness to look honestly at its history.

It should also be noted that the partition plan was also rejected by many Zionist leaders. Among those who supported the idea, which included David Ben-Gurion, their reasoning was that this would be a pragmatic step towards their goal of acquiring the whole of Palestine for a “Jewish State” – something which could be finally accomplished later through force of arms.

When the idea of partition was first raised years earlier, for instance, Ben-Gurion had written that “after we become a strong force, as the result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine”. Partition should be accepted, he argued, “to prepare the ground for our expansion into the whole of Palestine”. The Jewish State would then “have to preserve order”, if the Arabs would not acquiesce, “by machine guns, if necessary.”

Myth #4 – Israel has a “right to exist”.

The fact that this term is used exclusively with regard to Israel is instructive as to its legitimacy, as is the fact that the demand is placed upon Palestinians to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”, while no similar demand is placed upon Israelis to recognize the “right to exist” of a Palestinian state.

Nations don’t have rights, people do. The proper framework for discussion is within that of the right of all peoples to self-determination. Seen in this, the proper framework, it is an elementary observation that it is not the Arabs which have denied Jews that right, but the Jews which have denied that right to the Arabs. The terminology of Israel’s “right to exist” is constantly employed to obfuscate that fact.

As already noted, Israel was not created by the U.N., but came into being on May 14, 1948, when the Zionist leadership unilaterally, and with no legal authority, declared Israel’s existence, with no specification as to the extent of the new state’s borders. In a moment, the Zionists had declared that Arabs no longer the owners of their land – it now belonged to the Jews. In an instant, the Zionists had declared that the majority Arabs of Palestine were now second-class citizens in the new “Jewish State”.

The Arabs, needless to say, did not passively accept this development, and neighboring Arab countries declared war on the Zionist regime in order to prevent such a grave injustice against the majority inhabitants of Palestine.

It must be emphasized that the Zionists had no right to most of the land they declared as part of Israel, while the Arabs did. This war, therefore, was not, as is commonly asserted in mainstream commentary, an act of aggression by the Arab states against Israel. Rather, the Arabs were acting in defense of their rights, to prevent the Zionists from illegally and unjustly taking over Arab lands and otherwise disenfranchising the Arab population. The act of aggression was the Zionist leadership’s unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel, and the Zionists’ use of violence to enforce their aims both prior to and subsequent to that declaration.

In the course of the war that ensued, Israel implemented a policy of ethnic cleansing. 700,000 Arab Palestinians were either forced from their homes or fled out of fear of further massacres, such as had occurred in the village of Deir Yassin shortly before the Zionist declaration. These Palestinians have never been allowed to return to their homes and land, despite it being internationally recognized and encoded in international law that such refugees have an inherent “right of return”.

Palestinians will never agree to the demand made of them by Israel and its main benefactor, the U.S., to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”. To do so is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to take Arab land, while Arabs had no right to their own land. It is effectively to claim that Israel had a “right” to ethnically cleanse Palestine, while Arabs had no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in their own homes, on their own land.

The constant use of the term “right to exist” in discourse today serves one specific purpose: It is designed to obfuscate the reality that it is the Jews that have denied the Arab right to self-determination, and not vice versa, and to otherwise attempt to legitimize Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, both historical and contemporary.

Myth #5 – The Arab nations threatened Israel with annihilation in 1967 and 1973

The fact of the matter is that it was Israel that fired the first shot of the “Six Day War”. Early on the morning of June 5, Israel launched fighters in a surprise attack on Egypt (then the United Arab Republic), and successfully decimated the Egyptian air force while most of its planes were still on the ground.

It is virtually obligatory for this attack to be described by commentators today as “preemptive”. But to have been “preemptive”, by definition, there must have been an imminent threat of Egyptian aggression against Israel. Yet there was none.

It is commonly claimed that President Nasser’s bellicose rhetoric, blockade of the Straits of Tiran, movement of troops into the Sinai Peninsula, and expulsion of U.N. peacekeeping forces from its side of the border collectively constituted such an imminent threat.

Yet, both U.S. and Israeli intelligence assessed at the time that the likelihood Nasser would actually attack was low. The CIA assessed that Israel had overwhelming superiority in force of arms, and would, in the event of a war, defeat the Arab forces within two weeks; within a week if Israel attacked first, which is what actually occurred.

It must be kept in mind that Egypt had been the victim of aggression by the British, French, and Israelis in the 1956 “Suez Crisis”, following Egypt’s nationalization of the Suez Canal. In that war, the three aggressor nations conspired to wage war upon Egypt, which resulted in an Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. Under U.S. pressure, Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1957, but Egypt had not forgotten the Israeli aggression.

Moreover, Egypt had formed a loose alliance with Syria and Jordan, with each pledging to come to the aid of the others in the event of a war with Israel. Jordan had criticized Nasser for not living up to that pledge after the Israeli attack on West Bank village of Samu the year before, and his rhetoric was a transparent attempt to regain face in the Arab world.

That Nasser’s positioning was defensive, rather than projecting an intention to wage an offensive against Israel, was well recognized among prominent Israelis. As Avraham Sela of the Shalem Center has observed, “The Egyptian buildup in Sinai lacked a clear offensive plan, and Nasser’s defensive instructions explicitly assumed an Israeli first strike.”

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged that “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Yitzhak Rabin, who would also later become Prime Minister of Israel, admitted in 1968 that “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.”

Israelis have also acknowledged that their own rhetoric at the time about the “threat” of “annihilation” from the Arab states was pure propaganda.

General Chaim Herzog, commanding general and first military governor of the occupied West Bank following the war, admitted that “There was no danger of annihilation. Israeli headquarters never believed in this danger.”

General Ezer Weizman similarly said, “There was never a danger of extermination. This hypothesis had never been considered in any serious meeting.”

Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev acknowledged, “We were not threatened with genocide on the eve of the Six-Day War, and we had never thought of such possibility.”

Israeli Minister of Housing Mordechai Bentov has also acknowledged that “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail, and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”

In 1973, in what Israelis call the “Yom Kippur War”, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise offensive to retake the Sinai and the Golan Heights, respectively. This joint action is popularly described in contemporaneous accounts as an “invasion” of or act of “aggression” against Israel.

Yet, as already noted, following the June ’67 war, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution 242 calling upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. Israel, needless to say, refused to do so and has remained in perpetual violation of international law ever since.

During the 1973 war, Egypt and Syria thus “invaded” their own territory, then under illegal occupation by Israel. The corollary of the description of this war as an act of Arab aggression implicitly assumes that the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza Strip were Israeli territory. This is, needless to say, a grossly false assumption that demonstrates the absolutely prejudicial and biased nature of mainstream commentary when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

This false narrative fits in with the larger overall narrative, equally fallacious, of Israeli as the “victim” of Arab intransigence and aggression. This narrative, largely unquestioned in the West, flips reality on its head.

Myth #6 – U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 called only for a partial Israeli withdrawal.

Resolution 242 was passed in the wake of the June ’67 war and called for the “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” While the above argument enjoys widespread popularity, it has no merit whatsoever.

The central thesis of this argument is that the absence of the word “the” before “occupied territories” in that clause means not “all of the occupied territories” were intended. Essentially, this argument rests upon the ridiculous logic that because the word “the” was omitted from the clause, we may therefore understand this to mean that “some of the occupied territories” was the intended meaning.

Grammatically, the absence of the word “the” has no effect on the meaning of this clause, which refers to “territories”, plural. A simple litmus test question is: Is it territory that was occupied by Israel in the ’67 war? If yes, then, under international law and Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from that territory. Such territories include the Syrian Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

The French version of the resolution, equally authentic as the English, contains the definite article, and a majority of the members of the Security Council made clear during deliberations that their understanding of the resolution was that it would require Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied territories.

Additionally, it is impossible to reconcile with the principle of international law cited in the preamble to the resolution, of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”. To say that the U.N. intended that Israel could retain some of the territory it occupied during the war would fly in the face of this cited principle.

One could go on to address various other logical fallacies associated with this frivolous argument, but as it is absurd on its face, it would be superfluous to do so.

Myth #7 – Israeli military action against its neighbors is only taken to defend itself against terrorism.

The facts tell another story. Take, for instance, the devastating 1982 Israeli war on Lebanon. As political analyst Noam Chomsky extensively documents in his epic analysis “The Fateful Triangle”, this military offensive was carried out with barely even the thinnest veil of a pretext.

While one may read contemporary accounts insisting this war was fought in response to a constant shelling of northern Israeli by the PLO, then based in Lebanon, the truth is that, despite continuous Israeli provocations, the PLO had with only a few exceptions abided by a cease-fire that had been in place. Moreover, in each of those instances, it was Israel that had first violated the cease-fire.

Among the Israeli provocations, throughout early 1982, it attacked and sank Lebanese fishing boats and otherwise committed hundreds of violations of Lebanese territorial waters. It committed thousands of violations of Lebanese airspace, yet never did manage to provoke the PLO response it sought to serve as the casus belli for the planned invasion of Lebanon.

On May 9, Israel bombed Lebanon, an act that was finally met with a PLO response when it launched rocket and artillery fire into Israel.

Then a terrorist group headed by Abu Nidal attempted to assassinate Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London. Although the PLO itself had been at war with Abu Nidal, who had been condemned to death by a Fatah military tribunal in 1973, and despite the fact that Abu Nidal was not based in Lebanon, Israel cited this event as a pretext to bomb the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, killing 200 Palestinians. The PLO responded by shelling settlements in northern Israel. Yet Israel did not manage to provoke the kind of larger-scale response it was looking to use as a casus belli for its planned invasion.

As Israeli scholar Yehoshua Porath has suggested, Israel’s decision to invade Lebanon, far from being a response to PLO attacks, rather “flowed from the very fact that the cease-fire had been observed”. Writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Porath assessed that “The government’s hope is that the stricken PLO, lacking a logistic and territorial base, will return to its earlier terrorism…. In this way, the PLO will lose part of the political legitimacy that it has gained … undercutting the danger that elements will develop among the Palestinians that might become a legitimate negotiating partner for future political accommodations.”

As another example, take Israel’s Operation Cast Lead from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009. Prior to Israel’s assault on the besieged and defenseless population of the Gaza Strip, Israel had entered into a cease-fire agreement with the governing authority there, Hamas. Contrary to popular myth, it was Israel, not Hamas, who ended the cease-fire.

The pretext for Operation Cast Lead is obligatorily described in Western media accounts as being the “thousands” of rockets that Hamas had been firing into Israel prior to the offensive, in violation of the cease-fire.

The truth is that from the start of the cease-fire in June until November 4, Hamas fired no rockets, despite numerous provocations from Israel, including stepped-up operations in the West Bank and Israeli soldiers taking pop-shots at Gazans across the border, resulting in several injuries and at least one death.

On November 4, it was again Israel who violated the cease-fire, with airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza that resulted in further deaths. Hamas finally responded with rocket fire, and from that point on the cease-fire was effectively over, with daily tit-for-tat attacks from both sides.

Despite Israel’s lack of good faith, Hamas offered to renew the cease-fire from the time it was set to officially expire in December. Israel rejected the offer, preferring instead to inflict violent collective punishment on the people of Gaza.

As the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center noted, the truce “brought relative quiet to the western Negev population”, with 329 rocket and mortar attacks, “most of them during the month and a half after November 4”, when Israel had violated and effectively ended the truce. This stands in remarkable contrast to the 2,278 rocket and mortar attacks in the six months prior to the truce. Until November 4, the center also observed, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.”

If Israel had desired to continue to mitigate the threat of Palestinian militant rocket attacks, it would have simply not ended the cease-fire, which was very highly effective in reducing the number of such attacks, including eliminating all such attacks by Hamas. It would not have instead resorted to violence, predictably resulting in a greatly escalated threat of retaliatory rocket and mortar attacks from Palestinian militant groups.

Moreover, even if Israel could claim that peaceful means had been exhausted and that a resort military force to act in self-defense to defend its civilian population was necessary, that is demonstrably not what occurred. Instead, Israel deliberately targeted the civilian population of Gaza with systematic and deliberate disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on residential areas, hospitals, schools, and other locations with protected civilian status under international law.

As the respected international jurist who headed up the United Nations investigation into the assault, Richard Goldstone, has observed, the means by which Israel carried out Operation Cast Lead were not consistent with its stated aims, but was rather more indicative of a deliberate act of collective punishment of the civilian population.

Myth #8 – God gave the land to the Jews, so the Arabs are the occupiers.

No amount of discussion of the facts on the ground will ever convince many Jews and Christians that Israel could ever do wrong, because they view its actions as having the hand of God behind it, and that its policies are in fact the will of God. They believe that God gave the land of Palestine, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to the Jewish people, and therefore Israel has a “right” to take it by force from the Palestinians, who, in this view, are the wrongful occupiers of the land.

But one may simply turn to the pages of their own holy books to demonstrate the fallaciousness of this or similar beliefs. Christian Zionists are fond of quoting passages from the Bible such as the following to support their Zionist beliefs:

“And Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are – northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

“Then Yahweh appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in the land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.” (Genesis 26: 1-3)

“And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said: ‘I am Yahweh, God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.” (Genesis 28:13)

Yet Christian Zionists conveniently disregard other passages providing further context for understanding this covenant, such as the following:

“You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out.” (Leviticus 20:22)

“But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments … but break My covenant … I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste … You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.” (Leviticus 26: 14, 15, 32-33, 28)

“Therefore Yahweh was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone…. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (2 Kings 17:18, 23)

“And I said, after [Israel] had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.” (Jeremiah 3: 7-8)

Yes, in the Bible, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, told the Hebrews that the land could be theirs – if they would obey his commandments. Yet, as the Bible tells the story, the Hebrews were rebellious against Yahweh in all their generations.

What Jewish and Christian Zionists omit from their Biblical arguments in favor of continued Israel occupation is that Yahweh also told the Hebrews, including the tribe of Judah (from whom the “Jews” are descended), that he would remove them from the land if they broke the covenant by rebelling against his commandments, which is precisely what occurs in the Bible.

Thus, the theological argument for Zionism is not only bunk from a secular point of view, but is also a wholesale fabrication from a scriptural perspective, representing a continued rebelliousness against Yahweh and his Torah, and the teachings of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) in the New Testament.

Myth #9 – Palestinians reject the two-state solution because they want to destroy Israel.

In an enormous concession to Israel, Palestinians have long accepted the two-state solution. The elected representatives of the Palestinian people in Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had since the 70s recognized the state of Israel and accepted the two-state solution to the conflict. Despite this, Western media continued through the 90s to report that the PLO rejected this solution and instead wanted to wipe Israel off the map.

The pattern has been repeated since Hamas was voted into power in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Although Hamas has for years accepted the reality of the state of Israel and demonstrated a willingness to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip alongside Israel, it is virtually obligatory for Western mainstream media, even today, to report that Hamas rejects the two-state solution, that it instead seeks “to destroy Israel”.

In fact, in early 2004, shortly before he was assassinated by Israel, Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin said that Hamas could accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Hamas has since repeatedly reiterated its willingness to accept a two-state solution.

In early 2005, Hamas issued a document stating its goal of seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel and recognizing the 1967 borders.

The exiled head of the political bureau of Hamas, Khalid Mish’al, wrote in the London Guardian in January 2006 that Hamas was “ready to make a just peace”.  He wrote that “We shall never recognize the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights…. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms.”

During the campaigning for the 2006 elections, the top Hamas official in Gaza, Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Hamas was ready to “accept to establish our independent state on the area occupied [in] ’67”, a tacit recognition of the state of Israel.

The elected prime minister from Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said in February 2006 that Hamas accepted “the establishment of a Palestinian state” within the “1967 borders”.

In April 2008, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas officials and afterward stated that Hamas “would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders” and would “accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor next door in peace”. It was Hamas’ “ultimate goal to see Israel living in their allocated borders, the 1967 borders, and a contiguous, vital Palestinian state alongside.”

That same month Hamas leader Meshal said, “We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition.”

In 2009, Meshal said that Hamas “has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.

Hamas’ shift in policy away from total rejection of the existence of the state of Israel towards acceptance of the international consensus on a two-state solution to the conflict is in no small part a reflection of the will of the Palestinian public. A public opinion survey from April of last year, for instance, found that three out of four Palestinians were willing to accept a two-state solution.

Myth #10 – The U.S. is an honest broker and has sought to bring about peace in the Middle East.

Rhetoric aside, the U.S. supports Israel’s policies, including its illegal occupation and other violations of international humanitarian law. It supports Israel’s criminal policies financially, militarily, and diplomatically.

The Obama administration, for example, stated publically that it was opposed to Israel’s settlement policy and ostensibly “pressured” Israel to freeze colonization activities. Yet very early on, the administration announced that it would not cut back financial or military aid to Israel, even if it defied international law and continued settlement construction. That message was perfectly well understood by the Netanyahu government in Israel, which continued its colonization policies.

To cite another straightforward example, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions openly declaring support for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, despite a constant stream of reports evidencing Israeli war crimes.

On the day the U.S. Senate passed its resolution “reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas” (January 8, 2009), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) issued a statement demanding that Israel allow it to assist victims of the conflict because the Israeli military had blocked access to wounded Palestinians – a war crime under international law.

That same day, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning Israel for firing on a U.N. aid convoy delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza and for the killing of two U.N. staff members – both further war crimes.

On the day that the House passed its own version of the resolution, the U.N. announced that it had had to stop humanitarian work in Gaza because of numerous incidents in which its staff, convoys, and installations, including clinics and schools, had come under Israeli attack.

U.S. financial support for Israel surpasses $3 billion annually. When Israel waged a war to punish the defenseless civilian population of Gaza, its pilots flew U.S.-made F-16 fighter-bombers and Apache helicopter gunships, dropping U.S.-made bombs, including the use of white phosphorus munitions in violation of international law.

U.S. diplomatic support for Israeli crimes includes its use of the veto power in the U.N. Security Council. When Israel was waging a devastating war against the civilian population and infrastructure of Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the U.S. vetoed a cease-fire resolution.

As Israel was waging Operation Cast Lead, the U.S. delayed the passage of a resolution calling for an end to the violence, and then abstained rather than criticize Israel once it finally allowed the resolution to be put to a vote.

When the U.N. Human Rights Council officially adopted the findings and recommendations of its investigation into war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, headed up by Richard Goldstone, the U.S. responded by announcing its intention to block any effort to have the Security Council similarly adopt its conclusions and recommendations. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution rejecting the Goldstone report because it found that Israel had committed war crimes.

 

Through its virtually unconditional support for Israel, the U.S. has effectively blocked any steps to implement the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The so-called “peace process” has for many decades consisted of U.S. and Israeli rejection Palestinian self-determination and blocking of any viable Palestinian state.

Oral History Interview with Arthur N. Young

Source: https://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/young.htm

Excerpt of Transcript of Oral History Interview with Arthur N. Young

Arthur Young

An economist and financial expert, beginning in 1912, principally as an adviser to the U.S. Government and to the governments of various other countries, including service as an economic adviser in the U.S. Dept. of State, 1922-28; financial adviser to the Chinese Government and to the Central Bank of China, 1929-46; a member of the Chinese delegation to Bretton Woods financial conference, 1944; director of Point IV program in Saudi Arabia, 1951-52; and financial adviser and chief of financial mission to Saudi Arabia, 1951-52.

Pasadena, California 

February 21, 1974 

James R. Fuchs

 

YOUNG:

 

One point on which Acheson differed from Truman, and I think Acheson was one hundred percent right, was in the Middle East policy. I give President Truman very high marks for many of the things that he did; for his aid to Greece and Turkey; for intervening in Korea; for starting the Point IV program, although on that I think Dean Acheson deserves quite a lot of the credit for really putting the thing over in the first instance, and selling it to Marshall and getting Marshall to get back of it. I give Truman high marks for all those things.

 

But his Middle Eastern policy I think was a disaster, and will probably rank as one of the most serious blunders in American diplomacy and foreign policy–in backing Israel the way we have done. Our real interests lie more with the Arabs, who not merely have the oil, and the geography, and the numbers, but they have the ethics on their side, because they were robbed of their homeland quite unnecessarily. And I think the United States getting in on the wrong side, for which we are now paying so heavily, will rank as a major blunder. It is hard for Americans to get at the facts, because of the media being so slanted on the thing, and our people have been brainwashed. Right now most people blame the Arabs, and the oil companies, and almost everybody else for this crisis, when really they should look back and blame the policy, starting right at the end of World War II, to back Israel and not have an evenhanded policy.

We’ve lost much of the Arab friendship, they wanted to be friends with us and we had high prestige in the Middle East. We couldn’t have done more if we had tried, so far as I can figure it out, to help Russia to gain its ambitions of an entry into the Middle East. It’s been a disaster, and those in authority will not come out and say that because they are afraid of the media which are partly Jewish controlled and they are afraid of losing the votes and political contributions of Beverley Hills and New York City; but someone in authority should come out and say just about what I have said. Not as a matter of anti-Semitism – ‘ve got many Jewish friends, and…

 

FUCHS: Which is the charge you get right away.

 

YOUNG: That’s right. I’m not anti-Semitic. I have many Jewish friends. But the interests of the United States are not the interests of Israel. Somebody should come out and say all these things; and sooner or later there is a severe risk that anti-Semitism in the bad sense of the word will come out of this thing, if and when people get to realize what has been the American policy–that we’ve asked for this. The Europeans know that. It hurts our cooperation with Europe. It gives the Russians an opening. It’s bad from so many points of view, but people just won’t come out and recognize that.

 

FUCHS: What do you think Lord [Arthur] Balfour really intended in his declaration in respect to a home-land?

 

YOUNG: The part that has been ignored in the Balfour declaration is that the home for the Jews should be done in a manner consistent with the rights of the people living in the area.

My parents on their honeymoon visited the Holy Land in 1889 and they told about the Jews and the Arabs living together in harmony there in Israel, in the letters that my mother wrote, which we have. If you go back to the time of the Balfour declaration the Jews were only about a fifth of the population of the area, and they were getting on fine with the Arabs. The Arabs had most of the business then. They had, I think it was 95 percent of the olive groves, and 50 percent of the orange groves, which were the biggest things there. They had thousands of businesses in Jerusalem and in the area, and they greatly outnumbered the Jews in their economic weight and their numbers.

Now that thing has been completely turned around. It is now mostly forgotten that the Jews relied much on terrorism in their drive for an independent Israel after World War II–terrorists assassinated the UN representative, and their violence contributed to the British giving up their mandate. Now Israel denounces terrorists (quite properly) when used against them, but they forget their past.

For the first twelve or fifteen years of the State of Israel, in effect for every Jewish refugee taken in an Arab was driven out as a refugee. And nothing has really been done effectively yet for these Arab refugees. The Arabs are partly at fault, because they’ve tried to use them as a bargaining point and many Arab governments have resisted doing anything for the refugees apart from a settlement of the whole Middle East situation, so you can fault them for that. But it is a sore spot there, and we had better get on with doing something now, and bring the necessary pressure on Israel. We’ve got means of pressure on Israel through the arms and finances, and if we don’t put the pressure on them and tell them they’ve got to make a reasonable settlement, and that soon, if we don’t do that we will be in trouble. We’ll never have a better chance than we have right now, and it really ought to be done. Time works against Israel and they can have no long-time security from a purely military solution. Of course things have gone so far now that Israel should be assured of security in the pre-1967 territory.

 

I hope that the Watergate business doesn’t put the Administration in so much trouble that they can’t sufficiently press Israel. Perhaps if Mr. [Henry] Kissinger sees the light on it, and I imagine he may have, maybe he can do it. But it is hard because our people have been so brain-washed by years of propaganda and seem still to want to back Israel, although almost all the rest of the world does not like our policy. And the oil embargo has made it harder to see the basic justice of the Arab cause–not to speak of the terrorism.

 

FUCHS: It’s a strange situation.

YOUNG: It’s a terrible situation, and if I should write anything about it, it wouldn’t be published. It would be rejected by the media, because of their fear for the advertisers and the support of the Jews and their sympathizers. The only way it could be done would be by someone in high authority coming out and saying these things. Some of the professors have said it. There is a very good article in the current Reader’s Digest by Professor Griffith of MIT on this situation. That has wide circulation, and perhaps will do some good. You’ll find the State Department people–at least the Middle East experts–probably agreeing substantially with what I’ve just said. But repeatedly they have been rebuffed at the White House.

I have been told that Mrs. Roosevelt had Loy Henderson of the State Department removed from handling Middle East matters and Russian matters. I think it was Russian matters at that time, because she thought he didn’t have sufficient trust of the Russians–he knew them all too well. Loy Henderson also had trouble in having influence under Dean Acheson, although Dean Acheson trusted him.

The people in the State Department who try to get these things done if they are too active

risk being removed. There were indications that we almost lost Assistant Secretary [Joseph J.] Sisco for that reason. He was going to become president of Hamilton College, I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but it looked as if he was unhappy about the failure to bring sufficient pressure on Israel. It was a good sign that he stayed in the Department and became Under Secretary. A very able man who understands the situation very well.

FUCHS: I wonder what would have happened if in ’48 when we so, you could almost say, precipitately, recognized Israel, if Dean Acheson had been Secretary as he was the following year?

 

YOUNG: Well, he couldn’t get anything done because it was done unilaterally by President Truman. As I understand it, what took place was that they were debating this thing at Lake Success, and someone brought in word that the United States was in the course of recognizing Israel. And the American delegates who were trying to negotiate a plan for Palestine said, “Well that can’t be. That isn’t in line with our instructions or our policy.” And then they went out to check and found out it was true. That was most unfortunate. So with all my admiration for the good things that President Truman did I think that this is a very dangerous minus on the record.