Monday, February 2, 2009

More academic Israel bashing

From Dr. Anna Bellisari:

Thank you very much for your response to the Israeli and Jewish postings I forwarded to everyone. I concur with you about freedom of speech in Israel, a freedom that is not available to citizens of many Arab countries. During my visits to Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories in the early 1990s, I was astonished at the openness with which Israelis discussed many controversial issues, including the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, It was such a contrast to our media here in the U.S., where any criticism of Israel’s policies and actions vis a vis Palestinians was immediately countered with accusations of anti-Semitism and/or self-hating Jewishness. And the Women in Black, a group of Jewish activitists who protested the occupation of the Palestinian Occupied Territories every Friday on busy street corners, were a revelation to me.

Because of our relative lack of free speech about this issue, most Americans are unfamiliar with the conditions of life under military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. Yes, Israeli soldiers and settlers have left Gaza to the Palestinians, but the tiny territory crammed with Palestinian refugees (1.5 million of them in a 25 by 5 mile piece of sandy desert) is completely surrounded by an Israel-controlled fence with very few openings, and has been besieged and blockaded by Israeli military forces for more than a year. [adagio: What, pray tell, is wrong with Israel protecting its borders from Palestinian suicide bombers?] Throughout the years since removal of (illegal) its settlements in Gaza, the IDF has flown over the area with attack helicopters and F-16s, shot missiles into the supercrowded territory, conducted targeted assassinations of suspected Hamas leaders, invariably killing innocent bystanders including many children in the process. Destruction of homes, olive orchards, electricity facilities, water treatment plants, and other infrastructure has continued for years.

Can you imagine what would happen if missiles were constantly fired into the Dayton area, and there were no places for our local population to flee to or hide? [adagio: 1) can you imagine what it is like for Israelis to have to live with Hamas fired rockets being launched into its territory? 2) Why doesn't Hamas invest in air raid shelters versus weapon smuggling tunnels?] If infrastructure, economy and lives were in constant danger of destruction by an external force which is armed with helicopters, fighter planes, and tanks, and all we had to defend ourselves were handguns and home-made rockets? [adagio: The addition of the adjective "home-made" makes Hamas sound like Palestinian Martha Stewarts...] I don’t think most Americans realize that the West Bank is still under military occupation, the longest occupation of a people in history. [adagio: It is primarily the Arab League's fault since they are the one's who originally did not recognize Israel's right to exist anywhere]

Despite the promises and terms of past agreements, Israeli settlements continue to be built in the West Bank, thousands more Israelis have moved into the Palestinian areas, including the Christian and Muslim quarters in Jerusalem, more and more Palestinian land has been confiscated and water rights have been denied. I won’t even mention the barrier wall/fence being built around the West Bank, mostly within the actual Green Line on Palestinian land. I also doubt that most Americans are aware that, after being strongly encouraged by the U.S. and Israel to hold a democratic election, the Palestinians did so and elected a Hamas leadership, much to everyone’s surprise. At the time Hamas was a viable alternative to the corrupt, ineffective leadership of Fatah.

While trying to establish a unity government

[adagio: aka, trying to kill off their political opponents by throwing them off roofs from 
JUNE 11, 2007 article "Fatah man thrown off roof"] , and from "LiveLeak post "HAMAS loyalists throw Fatah member off a 15-story building"

the elected leaders were kidnapped by Israeli forces and languish in prison today, leaving the field to more extreme members of the party. I’m very glad to see that Israel’s violation of the latest cease fire in Gaza was actually reported in our media (day before yesterday gunfire from and Israeli battleship off the Gaza coast meant for Palestinian fishermen struck some Palestinians on the shore in Beach Refugee Camp), and that its admission of using white phosphorus bombs (considered legal only for use in open areas, not places crowded with civilians) [adagio: tell Hamas to cease launching rockets from heavily populated civilian areas & exploiting their people as human shields] was also reported recently. But it still concerns me that an event as horrible as the 2003 death of Rachel Corrie, an American student activist [adagio: "student activist"=useful Hamas idiot] with a peace group [adagio: "peace"=Israel should unilaterally disarm whilst the Palestinians continue to kill them] in Gaza who was crushed by a military bulldozer assigned to destroy the home of a pharmacist [adagio: "pharmacists"=terrorist arms smuggler], received very little news coverage here and absolutely no government response to requests for an investigation.

There is more to democracy than freedom of speech, a point made in yesterday’s /Christian Science Monitor/ in an article which asks how Israel can be a real democracy if only one ethnic group in the country has full citizenship. One fifth of Israel’s population is Palestinian-Arab, the 1.4 million descendants of Palestinians who lived in what is now Israel before 1948. They are deprived of equal education and other opportunities available only to Jewish citizens of Israel and lack the protection of a constitution (Israel has none) that is a symbol of democracy everywhere else.

It is very important to develop a balanced perspective, one based in historical facts. Rockets aimed at Israeli citizens from Gaza are clearly an unacceptable response to this conflict. But we must ask why they are fired, what history lies behind these attacks, and what the Gazans are trying to accomplish through them. [adagio: Conversely, why don't the Palestinians ask themselves about the root causes of Israeli unhappiness? Why is Israel responsible not only for their own actions, but the actions of the Palestinians? Why are the Palestinians absolved from any wrong doing?] This is what Robert Fisk was attempting to present with his article I sent out earlier. I hope you have had time to read that too.

Allan Spetter countered just the second to the last paragraph:

I don't want to get into an ongoing debate, and I didn't want to spend too much time on research, but for starters, there are 12 Arab members of the Knesset and one Arab is on the Supreme Court.

Exercising their own freedom of the press, most Arab media do not even share Bellisari's Pollyannish apologist views and squarely blame Hamas for the most recent conflict with Israel, from  SHEIKYER MAMI on JUNE 18, 2010 post "Lebanese TV Channel Airs MEMRI TV Clips, and Concludes: Hamas Mickey Mouse, Farfour, Led to Ban on Hamas TV"

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