Debunking the 3 D’s of Israeli hasbara – distortions, diversions and defamations

Israel/Palestine
on 26 Comments

On November 27, 2015, a meeting was held in downtown Vancouver, Canada under the title “First Nations & Palestinians at the Frontline of Resistance” organized by the Seriously Free Speech Committee and supported by another 10 community groups (of which Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver was one). On the day of the meeting, the local Zionist apologist paper the Jewish Independent ran an editorial “Co-opting history”, full of the Israeli Hasbara 3 D’s – Distortions, Diversions and Defamations.

Their editorial stated: “The obvious intention is to equate the history of colonial settlement in North America, Canada in particular, with the actions of Israel toward Palestinians.”

Wrong. The editorial conveniently refuses to recognize the Zionist project as settler colonialism, and therefore will not acknowledge that the intention was to draw parallels between settler colonialism in North America and Zionist settler colonialism in Palestine, in addition to exposing “the actions of Israel toward Palestinians”.

The editorial went on to claim: “The concept is flawed at its core, of course, because, as the Palestinian narrative often does, it portrays the Jews as colonial occupiers of Arab land, while denying the legitimacy of ancient and modern claims to the Jewish homeland.”

Wrong again, and on more than one account.

First, the Palestinian narrative doesn’t “portray the Jews as colonial occupiers of Arab land”, it portrays the Zionists (not THE Jews) as settler colonial occupiers of Arab land. For a paper that claims to be opposed to anti-Semitism, conflating all Jews with Zionism and putting the ills of Zionism on the shoulders of all Jews is a dangerous slide into anti-Semitism.

Second, there is no legitimacy (not ancient nor modern) for Zionist claims to a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Period.

• As Israeli historian Ilan Pappe simply puts it: “The secular Jews who founded the Zionist movement wanted paradoxically both to secularize Jewish life and to use the Bible as a justification for colonizing Palestine; in other words, they did not believe in God but He nonetheless promised them Palestine.”
• The first Zionist Congress held in Basle, Switzerland (in Europe) in 1897 listed as some of the aims of the movement: “Zionism strives to create for the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine secured by public law. The congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end – The promotion on suitable lines of the colonization (my emphasis) of Palestine by Jewish agricultural and industrial workers.”
• Theodor Hertzl and most European Zionists were willing to accept any other country for their settler colonialist project:- “Herzl turned to Great Britain and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary and others high ranking officials who agreed in principle to Jewish settlement in East Africa.” The Sixth Zionist Congress then adopted the Uganda Proposal .
• Most European Jews who founded the idea of political Zionism have no relation to the original Jews (Hebrews) of the Holy Land. A recent report about a new DNA study, carried in leading newspapers like the NY Times and Haaretz, and highlighted in the prominent Jewish American journal Forward, found that “The maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews comes mainly from Europe…”.
• Conversely, large numbers of Arab Muslims and Christians were originally part of the Hebrew tribe; many Palestinian Christians (the first believers) were, like Christ himself, Jewish. And, many of those first Christians, in addition to many Jews, converted to Islam. Where do these people fit in the Zionist ideology? Or are (Ashkenazi) Jews, who have no roots in Palestine, considered from the “Chosen people” simply because they are white and “CIVILISED” in colonialist terms? Theodor Herzl, considered the founder of political Zionism, wrote in his book The Jewish State in 1896: “We should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”

The Jewish Independent editorial then goes on to divert from the issue of settler colonialism to say:

“The anti-Israel movement insists on appropriating the historical experience of other people and using it in an attempt to fortify their narrative. The most obvious example is the apartheid libel, which tries to paint Israel as the ideological descendant of South African racism. This is offensive not only to Israelis. It debases the experience of black South Africans who suffered from genuine apartheid.”

Apartheid libel? Really?! Israel is the one who builds apartheid towns, roads and walls. Israel is the one who practices the brutal apartheid system against the occupied Palestinian territories and finally, Israel is the one that has enacted over 50 laws to discriminate against its Christian and Muslim Israeli citizens.

As for debasing “the experience of black South Africans”, it is the Jewish Independent who is debasing and ignoring “the experience of black South Africans” who have visited Palestine and stated unequivocally that the apartheid Palestinians are experiencing is similar or worse than what happened in South Africa. As former South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils noted, “Israel came to resemble more and more apartheid South Africa at its zenith — even surpassing its brutality…” (see “Israel and apartheid: A fair comparison?” by Edward C. Corrigan)

And the editorial is not yet finished with its outrageous claims, alleging: “Even more egregiously, the anti-Israel movement routinely uses the imagery of Nazism and the Holocaust against Israel, attempting to equate the victims of the Third Reich with its perpetrators. This deliberate rubbing of salt in Jewish historical wounds is common and…the objective is clearly to inflict pain rather than to resolve grievances.”

And again the editorial treats Israel, Zionists and the Jews as one and the same; the victims of the Third Reich were the Jews and not the Zionists, some of whom collaborated with the Nazis to fulfill the aims of Zionist immigration to Palestine. We in the support movement will never “equate the victims (the Jews) of the Third Reich with its perpetrators.”

For the record, the first one who coined the phrase Judeo-Nazis was the late Israeli philosopher professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz. And Avraham Shalom, former head of the Shin Bet has even stated in the documentary The Gatekeepers: “On the other hand, it’s a brutal occupation force, similar to the Germans in World War II. Similar, but not identical.”

Listen to what 327 Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants stated in a letter that was published in the New York Times:

“We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people. We call for an immediate end to the siege against and blockade of Gaza. We call for the full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel. ‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

The editorial, from beginning to end, sought desperately to discredit, slander and defame the Palestinian people and the Palestinian solidarity movement (and all the groups involved in the meeting). One might be forgiven for thinking the article was a template borrowed from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

For the Zionist apologists in the Jewish Independent, genuine support and solidarity are foreign concepts. They do not and cannot understand the true meaning of support amongst the oppressed peoples of the world, because their main concern is the bottom line in pleasing their Zionist readership. Regrettably, in the process, they have become complicit in Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The fact is that Israel and its apologists are only in solidarity with imperial forces and despotic regimes, forces that Israel continuously supplies with crowd control weapons and assorted military hardware. One recent example is Israel’s sale of mass surveillance technology to Colombia.

An interesting footnote is that the Zionist editorial completely (perhaps intentionally) failed to mention the main organizer of the meeting, the Seriously Free Speech Committee.

Our final question is: Exactly who is co-opting history?

About Hanna Kawas

Hanna Kawas is Chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association and co-host of Voice of Palestine.

Other posts by .


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26 Responses

  1. oldgeezer
    December 9, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Any reference to South Africa, by zionists, is in itself a deflection. There is no attempt to make a comparison between the two when one points out that Israel operates and apartheid state whether it may be inside or outside it’s recognized borders. The crime of of apartheid is recognized and documented. Israel is guilty of that crime on many counts and not just one.

  2. Misterioso
    December 10, 2015, 9:31 am

    Hanna Kawas

    Well said!!

    Bottom line: Foreign Jews had the same right to historic Palestine as Irish Catholics or Mexican atheists, i.e., none whatsoever. Therein lies the root of the conflict.

    • MHughes976
      December 10, 2015, 1:46 pm

      Zionists would say, of course, that no person who is Jewish is foreign in the Holy Land. Though this proposition is preposterous it is very widely believed, in Canada and throughout the West, or at least regarded as understandable and worthy of respect. It has religious roots and these need critical attention.
      Herzl’s talk of a bastion for Europe in Asia will not necessarily make people take the point that the Israelis, or many of them, do not belong in Palestine: they may be influenced by the idea of ‘Judaeochristianity’ to think that Christian Europe has a stake there. That Europe, Christian or not, never had any right to a bastion outside itself may not occur to them. The Pope attended a ceremony honouring that man with his wicked ideas.

      • Misterioso
        December 10, 2015, 3:34 pm

        “[….] this proposition is preposterous…”

        Precisely!!! Right on!!! No more need be said. Zionism is patently racist and utterly fraudulent.

  3. gamal
    December 10, 2015, 9:55 am

    Ron Nixon “Selling Apartheid”

    ‘Buy, bribe, or bluff your way’

    “From the earliest days of apartheid in the late 1940s, DF Malan’s government sought to win US support, by convincing Americans that a white minority government in South Africa was a critical bulwark against continent-wide communism.

    Amid growing international criticism under Malan’s successor JG Strijdom, the apartheid propaganda machine was refined and professionalised. Public revulsion towards the 1960 Sharpeville massacre – when 69 black protesters were killed by police – saw the need for pro-apartheid material to be produced, and at speed. The Hamilton Wright Organisation, a public relations firm with experience representing unpopular governments, was called in. It produced articles and films featuring beaming black South Africans and scenic wildlife, and distributed them worldwide.

    It was under then information minister Connie Mulder in the 1970s that South Africa’s propaganda efforts picked up serious steam. Mulder told the government that what South Africa needed was a campaign that would “buy, bribe, or bluff its way into the hearts and minds of the world”, Nixon quotes. Mulder hired a former journalist called Eschel Rhoodie to counter the negative perception of South Africa spreading worldwide, and Rhoodie was given access to a secret fund of millions, Nixon claims.

    South Africa needed to buy, bribe, or bluff its way into the hearts and minds of the world

    It was Rhoodie who hired the expensive New York public relations firm to undertake the survey which delivered such devastating results as to South Africa’s global popularity. From this realisation came the action plan that would see the infamous founding of The Citizen, a newspaper intended to counter left-leaning media such as the Rand Daily Mail.

    Mulder, Rhoodie and Vorster would eventually be brought down in the scandal known as Muldergate, in which the trio were implicated in moving millions of rand from the defence budget to undertake a series of propaganda projects. “More than anything,” writes Nixon “the scandal would destroy the widely held popular opinion that while apartheid-era leaders supported a harsh and repressive policy which denied blacks their rights, they personally weren’t corrupt or out to enrich themselves.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/01/selling-apartheid-new-book-lays-bare-south-africas-propaganda-war

  4. Annie Robbins
    December 10, 2015, 10:05 am

    excellent article Hanna Kawas!

  5. Citizen
    December 10, 2015, 10:13 am

    Zionists don’t do facts, intellectual integrity, or irony.

  6. Boo
    December 10, 2015, 10:33 am

    These are exactly the same distortions of truth that are used by hasbarist journalists, not just in Canada, but in the US, Europe and Israel. Demolish them in one case and they are forever demolished.

    But these represent the sum total of their arguments, and scraping away at them with the truth is rendering them ever more threadbare. Certainly they’re accepted less and less by the general population of the Western world, and one can now see the beginnings of cracks in the dam of world Jewish solidarity with Israel.

    Indeed, even within Israel the outrageousness of government excesses and the illogic of hasbarist doctrine are starting to eat away at the atavistic fear of their “ancient enemy”, fear that has fueled these outrages and this mindlessness for far too long. The hasbarists are now relegated to scraping the bottom of the barrel, and they’re finding that the lees are too bitter to be palatable to anyone but themselves.

  7. CigarGod
    December 10, 2015, 11:06 am

    “…buy, bribe or bluff…”

    I suspect he also meant – blackmail -, but didn’t say it.

  8. pabelmont
    December 10, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I don’t know what else the Seriously Free Speech group does, but this one sponsorship would be plenty!

  9. Kay24
    December 10, 2015, 9:32 pm

    They must be investing gazillions of dollars to keep the hasbara school of lies going, the training, the video conferences teaching them how to confuse if they cannot convince. Israel thinks hasbara is working,, because it keeps program going, the lies still spewed in websites around the world. To think even the nazis did not have such a machine to spew lies, justify the killings, and make those they oppressed and killed look like aggressors.

  10. DaBakr
    December 10, 2015, 10:28 pm

    but this de-bunking is no different and in fact-is exactly the same thing as what the author claims id the “hasbara distortions” it is simply the obverse. the folks that believe the Israei narrative mostly believe that the above ‘correction’ is nothing but Palestinian ‘hasbara distortions’.

    Other then the fact this is a pro-Palestinian and decidedly Zionist-hating and Israeli-hating web-site its hard to see what a post like this achieves except as a periodic ‘refresher’ course in Pal.Has.101.2 to counter Isr.Has.102.2 (israel has been doing it longer)

  11. MaxNarr
    December 11, 2015, 2:24 am

    The 3 “D”s refer only to the tactics of those in the Palestine Lobby. You call Jews colonists in their own land and it is shameful.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 11, 2015, 8:20 am

      in their own land .. it is shameful.

      bwahh, cry me a river.

    • eljay
      December 11, 2015, 8:42 am

      || MaxNarr: You call Jews colonists in their own land and it is shameful. ||

      People who are Jewish don’t have “a [Jewish] land”, and the fact that they happen to be Jewish doesn’t entitle them to “a [Jewish] land”.

      People who are Jewish may, however, have property in their respective countries – their homelands.

      What’s shameful is that hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists like you:
      – encourage Jewish people to commit acts of injustice and immorality; and
      – intentionally and anti-Semitically conflate all Jews with Israel and Israel with all Jews.

    • diasp0ra
      December 11, 2015, 9:09 am

      THE PALESTINE LOBBY.

      Now I’ve heard everything. Thanks for the chuckles.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 11, 2015, 10:31 am

        yes, money is just pouring into the coffers of the palestine lobby swiftly being transferred to the coffers of congressional puppets and you can so see this reflected in all the legislation drawn up by aipac mondoweiss and end the occupation and the BNC and PACBI! and not only that the congress critters line up to sponsor this legislation!!!

        you too can be a part of this lobby, just donate here:

      • MaxNarr
        December 11, 2015, 11:46 am

        The insidious international Palestine Lobby is the greatest menace the earth faces today. While the United Nations has been strangled by this many tentacled Octopus, forcing it to condemn Israel when Syria is in flames. Sweden, France, and Norway, all beholden to this evil scourge of our day. The Palestine lobby, may it be thoroughly evaporated.

      • oldgeezer
        December 11, 2015, 12:19 pm

        @MaxNarr

        The Palestinian lobby is the greatest menace on the planet Earth today.

        Toucan Sam is looking for you.

      • Kris
        December 11, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Thanks, oldgeezer:

      • talknic
        December 11, 2015, 12:54 pm

        @ MaxNarr “The insidious international Palestine Lobby is the greatest menace the earth faces today”

        By asking for their LEGAL rights under the Laws and UN Charter Israel agreed to uphold? AMAZING!

        “While the United Nations has been strangled by this many tentacled Octopus, forcing it to condemn Israel when Syria is in flames”

        Israel has never been condemned by the UN for any actions it has taken within its own Internationally recognized borders.

        “Sweden, France, and Norway, all beholden to this evil scourge of our day. “

        Asking for ones LEGAL rights is evil? WOW!!

      • James North
        December 11, 2015, 1:10 pm

        MaxNarr describes a “many tentacled octopus.” As opposed to a “one tentacled octopus.”

      • Mooser
        December 11, 2015, 2:42 pm

        “The insidious international Palestine Lobby is…/…may it be thoroughly evaporated.”

        CAUTION: It is not safe to read this “MaxNarr” comment, until you have put down your coffee, and swallowed anything you might be snacking on.
        While it is generally conceded by the cognoscenti that jollity is practically a panacea, this “MaxNarr” guy’ll slip you an overdose if you’re not careful.

      • lysias
        December 11, 2015, 3:03 pm

        Well, you know what “Narr” means, don’t you?

        Narr.

        Turns out it means the same thing in the Scandinavian languages that it means in German.

  12. Sibiriak
    December 11, 2015, 4:21 am

    Hanna Kawas: Theodor Hertzl and most European Zionists were willing to accept any other country for their settler colonialist project:- “Herzl turned to Great Britain and met with Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary and others high ranking officials who agreed in principle to Jewish settlement in East Africa.” The Sixth Zionist Congress then adopted the Uganda Proposal .

    ——————–

    From what I’ve read, Eastern European/Russian Zionists–the vast majority of European Zionists—vehemently opposed alternatives to Palestine such as the Uganda Proposal. Furthermore, Herzl considered the Uganda Proposal to be an emergency measure, not a substitute for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Also, The Sixth Zionist Congress didn’t “adopt the Uganda Proposal”; it only authorized a commission to look into it.

    According to Walter Laqueur, in “A History of Zionism”:

    “Yet when the various factions and caucuses withdrew to consider the scheme in detail there was much opposition, and this despite the fact that the congress was not even asked to decide between Uganda and Palestine but merely to give support to the dispatch of an investigation commission to East Africa.

    Herzl made it clear in his opening speech that Uganda was not, and could never become Zion. It was envisaged as an emergency measure, to help those Jews forced to emigrate immediately, to prevent their scattering all over the world, and to promote colonisation on a national and state basis. Nordau, who had considerable misgivings, used the phrase Nachtasyl – a temporary shelter for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who could not as yet enter Palestine, a shelter which would provide a political training ground for the greater task ahead. The Jews owed it to England to subject the Uganda project to thorough examination, but Zion would always remain the final aim. There was yet another consideration: with each year Jewish immigrants would find it more difficult to enter other countries. The presence of little more than a hundred thousand Jews in Britain had sufficed to provoke restrictions. How much longer would the gates of America remain open?

    Nordau was not at his most persuasive, and the fact that a great many west European delegates supported him did not help. Most Russian Jews were instinctively against Uganda and it was from eastern Europe that the immigrants were expected to come. As one of them put it, while they were enthusiastically promoting the Palestine idea they were now suddenly told by their leaders that they had been dreamers, that they had been wasting their time building castles in the air. Zion was the great ideal, but it could not be attained, redemption would come only from Uganda. This was quite unacceptable, and how could the leaders negotiate with the British government without even consulting the Jewish people, the Sovereign, on whose behalf they were acting?

    Practical arguments were also used: East Africa was quite unsuitable for mass immigration; both the man power and the funds at the disposal of the Zionist movement were strictly limited, and any diversion of either would have fatal consequences. Herzl and Nordau had recommended Uganda in order to find a palliative for the steadily growing Judennot. But the Jews had waited for Palestine so long that they could wait a little longer. Was it not symbolic that the delegates from Kishinev, the town which had suffered the worst pogrom, were unwilling to go anywhere except Palestine?

    […]Herzl’s tremendous prestige sufficed to push the resolution through. By 295 votes to 178 it was decided to send a commission to East Africa. But there could be no mistake: the east European Jews would not go to East Africa. Herzl was called a traitor to his face, and a short time after the congress a Zionist student tried to kill Nordau.

    […]The opposition, which had already walked out, returned and declared that their action had not been a political demonstration against the leadership but the spontaneous expression of a profound spiritual shock. Herzl in his closing speech said that hope for Palestine was not lost, since the Russian government had promised its help. There was to be no break, no alteration in the Basle programme. With his right hand uplifted he said: ‘Im eshkakhekh Yerushalayim’. … If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand wither.

    […]Herzl did not live to see the seventh Zionist congress officially bury the scheme.” [emphasis added]

  13. Marnie
    December 11, 2015, 10:41 pm

    This is an excellent article, thank you.

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