Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Benny Morris, his book "One State, Two States" and the Israel/Palestine Mission Network

I have just finished reading Benny Morris’ book One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Unlike most of Morris’s books, this is a small book, only 240 pages. It covers the history of the various proposals and attitudes by both the Zionist Movement and the Palestinian Nationalists concerning the many possibilities of statehood for both Israelis and the Palestinians.

There isn’t a group or an idea that Morris misses starting around 1890. The book was published in 2009 and the history reaches into 2008 including President Clinton’s attempts to help the Palestinians and Israelis reach a peace settlement. This is a complex history of the various attempts to partition the Holy Land into two independent states. Both sides in the debacle receive fair treatment by the author. (Morris is often quoted by advocates for both Israel and Palestinians.)

Morris, a Jewish historian, is honest enough to write that the early Zionists were working toward a state that would encompass the whole of Palestine. He is a good enough historian to point out that once the Holocaust began in Germany they realized they needed to let go of their dream and settle for a partitioned Palestine.

Morris also points out that the Palestinians have never let go of their insistence that they own all of Palestine and that all Jews who did not descend from the Jewish peoples who lived there before 1917 should depart. When Palestinians refer to the occupation they mean all of the country from the Mediterranean to Jordan. And this is the reason I am writing this post. It is not a book review, although it is a very good book and I may write one later, but I kept picking up catch words from the Palestinian side that reminded me of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). And occupation was one of those words.

I have never heard the IPMN clarify whether they are referring to all of Palestine or the Palestinian territories such as Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem when they write about the occupation? And since IPMN often link to articles about one state for Palestine which would of course remove any sign of a Jewish haven there, are they advocating for a one state solution?

Morris links a one state solution to the now constant refrain of apartheid. Referring, in a footnote to journalist, Sever Plutzker and his article “Who Favors a Partition Plan?”, he explains that apartheid is now the key word among activist because:
Talk of ‘apartheid’ with its stress on human rights and their absence, should lead, eventually, to ameliorating the situation of the oppressed within the geopolitical framework. Plutzker points out that this shift of emphasis corresponds to the shift among Palestinians from advocacy of a two-state solution to advocacy of one-statism; talking of ‘apartheid serves the “one state” purpose. (n 1 page 203-4.)
Another thought and reaction I had, as I read Morris’ book was that on the IPMN’s Facebook page they are always linking to awful articles on Israel but nothing truly bad about say, Hamas, or Hezbollah, etc. So my thought is do they think Hamas and other terrorist groups are legitimate?

Morris toward the end of his book, because it is a history, written in the sequence of events, writes about Hamas. He writes about their covenant.

The covenant defines the ongoing struggle as directed against “the Jews,” “they who have received the scriptures,” and defines them, in the Qur’an’s terminology, as “smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found … because they … slew the prophets,” a reference to the killing of Jesus Christ. The Hamas is deeply, essentially anti-Semitic. “Our struggle against the Jews,” states the covenant, “is very great and very serious … The Prophet … has said: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’” Citing the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the Covenant charges the Jews, “with their money … took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations … With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world … they were behind the French Revolution …
There is much, much more including blaming the Jews for starting communism and World War II. So why is this kind of thinking ignored by IPMN? Now they have moved on to connect to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement while apparently failing to understand the connection between this movement and the radical outlook of Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Middle East.

This is the introduction to the Israel/Palestine Mission Network's beginning involvement with the BDS movement. They have linked to a video on their Facebook page with this statement, “The Philly BDS Coalition dances into action in a local grocery store chain to push them to deshelve Sabra and Tribe of Hummus; both brands support Israeli war crimes. This marks the launch of our campaign: http://www.phillybds.org/."

The Co-op I shop at was attempting to do the same. They did not do it, in fact, they changed their whole policy on boycotts because of the effort. Here is the video IPMN linked too in the name of Presbyterians:

No comments: