The Good Israelis
Revered Israeli news anchor Haim Yavin has made a five-part documentary on the Israeli colonization of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967, concluding that it has harmed Israel. He says, “Since 1967, we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, suppressing another people.” He adds,
“My intention was to get the personal feelings of the settlers, of the Palestinians . . . It has strengthened my former opinion that we have to come to terms with the Palestinians; they are not all terrorists . . . Some of my friends on the left hate the settlers. I don’t hate them, I appreciate them. I even like them, but I say in the documentary that I think they are wrong and they are endangering us.”
The Guardian summarizes some of his findings: ‘ Some settlers tell Yavin that the Palestinians must be given a deadline to leave the occupied territories or be forced out. “Otherwise we should just bomb and kill them,” says one woman. ‘
This fascist point of view is privately shared by many of the strident Zionist organizations that are so influential with the press and the US Congress in the United States. David Steinmann of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs has stridently denounced anyone who supported the Oslo peace accords. JINSA in turn has been important in politically forming Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and Bush’s nominee as UN ambassador, John Bolton. If you want to know what is behind Campus Watch, the Middle East Forum, the David Project, Frontpagemag and other shadowy organizations that have mobilized to attack US academic specialists in the Middle East that don’t toe the Settler line, this is it.
Most Israelis are not racists and a majority consistently tells pollsters that they would gladly exchange land for peace. Unfortunately, this admirable majority has been sidelined by the Likud coalition, which contains far right elements dedicated to further ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Note some important things about the Yavin story. It would not have aired except that there was some channel going off the air that agreed to put it on. Yavin blames Hamas terrorism for the intractability of the problems at this moment. While terrorism is always to be condemned and Hamas ideology is racist and intolerant, the aggressive settling of Palestinian land, the displacement of Palestinians, the rendering of their lives hell with a network of checkpoints and expropriations, contributed mightily to the turn of traditionally secular, peaceful Palestinians to religious violence and extremism.
And, the whole article is framed only with regard to Israel. The fact is that Americans are put in danger by the Israeli Settlers and their persecution of Palestinians, since their actions spread hatred for the US throughout the Muslim world of 1.3 billion persons. The US has never taken any practical steps to stop or roll back Israeli land theft on a grand scale.
As The Guardian notes, the Israelis have just announced that they are going to destroy nearly 100 Palestinian dwellings. This comes a couple months after they announced they were going to build 3500 new dwellings on Palestinian land. What other government in the world is behaving this way with its neighbors?
As could be predicted, the reaction of the Israeli Right to Yavin’s documentary was to demand that he be fired. Cultists always want to intimidate people into silence. If they can’t do that, they want to make them careful what they say. If they can’t do that, they try to deprive them of a place to say it. If they can’t do that, they demand that the person be fired. If that doesn’t work, they smear the person with all sorts of falsehoods in hopes of discrediting the critic with the media and the thinking public. All cults use the same methods. Because they insist on being the only voice heard on the issues of importance to them, and they are completely ruthless and single-minded in accomplishing this goal of effective censorship.
Yavin is obviously a brave and a good man, and worthy of our admiration and support.