Thursday, September 5, 2013

Two articles, one author--propaganda for the next General Assembly?

One might wonder if Robert Ross or the editor of Presbyterian News Service know how to clean up an article a little so it will be acceptable for general Presbyterian readership. While it is undoubtedly a coincidence, the article, “Palestinian Christians Under Attack: 'Price Tag' Movement Continues with Apparent Immunity,” on the PNS site is structured in the same manner as “Price tag attacks and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine” on Mondoweiss, a radical activist news site.

Dr Robert Ross, a Presbyterian and member of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the PC (U.S.A.), is the author of both articles and they both start out the same. But one is slanted to reach an audience that is concerned about Christian safety in the Middle East and the other is slanted to interest those who believe that Israel has always practiced ethnic cleansing. Probably the biggest difference is that on the PNS one after writing about all of the extremist 'price tag' attacks against Palestinian Christians and Muslims, Ross writes:

"Meanwhile, the government has stepped up its campaign of demolishing Palestinian homes, seizing Palestinian land, revoking Palestinian residency permits, and invading Palestinian institutions, including churches and monasteries. These efforts are part of an official plan to Judaicize East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank—Palestinian territories that have been under Israel occupation since 1967".

But in the Mondoweiss article, after writing about the attacks, Ross writes:

"But the hooligan Israelis who carry out these price tag attacks are striving for the same goals as Messrs. Peres, Bennett, and Netanyahu: namely, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel/Palestine. They merely use different means to accomplish that goal. In fact, price tag vandalism, while indeed reprehensible, pales in comparison to the far more insidious and far more powerful policies that the Israeli government has long enacted and enforced.

In other words, “price tag” crimes and criminals are merely one component of a historically and politically vast ethnic cleansing machine. The first phase of ethnic cleansing, in 1948, focused on systematically driving more than 750,000 Palestinians from the new state of Israel into exile (see Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, 2006). Central to this phase has been the ongoing refusal by Israel to ever let Palestinian refugees return to their homes and land. (Meanwhile, Israel will instantly grant citizenship to any Jew from anywhere in the world, simply because they are Jewish.) The second phase of ethnic cleansing has been taking place since 1967, when Israel began its occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip (in addition to the Syrian Golan Heights and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula). The ethnic cleansing has accelerated since the mid-1990s. As Munir Nuseibah explained, today’s ethnic cleansing is carried out using several methods. In addition to the price tag attacks, the demolition and confiscation of property and the revocation of residency permits are the most common methods employed."

Now it is certain that the price tag crimes are horrific and there are problems with house demolitions, outrageous problems, as well as problems with some of the places where the wall has been or will be built. One could say, should say, that Israel needs the wall for security reasons; they however could be more discerning about its placement. However Ross' article in Mondoweiss is untruthful. Ethnic cleansing is not Israel's history.

There is not a history of Israel being a “politically vast ethnic cleansing machine.” What an unethical way to explain the history of Israel. This sentence, “The first phase of ethnic cleansing, in 1948, focused on systematically driving more than 750, 000 Palestinians from the state of Israel into exile,” is a fabrication. And while Ross references the historian Iian Pappe and his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, he fails to tell his readers that Pappe has been refuted by other historians. For instance see a detailed review of Pappe's book by Dr. Seth J Frantzman, taken from the Middle East Quarterly. Another is “1948, Israel, and the Palestinians: Annotated Text” by Efraim Karsh head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College.

Some Palestinians were wrongly sent into exile. Some were encouraged to flee by leaders of the five Arab nations who attacked the new nation of Israel. They fled with the understanding that the Arab nations would win and they could then return. There were terrible atrocities on both sides but it was not Israel who attacked the other nations but they who attacked Israel.

While Ross' awful words are not in the PNS article there is a connection, not only is he the author of both articles, he, as I have stated, is a member of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network, and in their Palestinian advocacy they often link on their twitter page to Mondoweiss' articles. Also in the PNS article there is no balance. The article, supposedly about 'price tagging,' and Christian persecution, is about Israel's wrong doing with nothing stated about Hamas or other extremest Islamic groups. And beyond that is an inference about Israel that is stated as fact in the Mondoweiss article.

At the last General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) a speaker in committee referred to a PNS news article rather than the actual minutes of two previous GAs, which he should have used. The article was misleading, therefore the speaker was misleading. This new article on PNS, sets up another article, written by a member of an organization involved in the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, who advocates using those who believe that Israel should no longer exist as a Jewish nation, which could be used by another speaker in another committee at the next General Assembly.


Anonymous said...

Viola, I am no fan of the one sided GA attempts to censor Israel…but only because they are one sided. I do think much of what these articles say is true. Not all; certainly not all the glib analysis or the trite phrases.

Orthodox Jews and radical settlers are putting pressure on various elements of Israeli society and the “price tag” is only one part of it. Protestant churches are being vandalized, burned, and harassed on a regular basis. For example:

I have several friends who live in Israel and are part of Protestant churches and experience these problems regularly. No one is ever prosecuted for these actions.

You say “Ethnic cleansing is not Israel's history.” I would love for that to be completely true. I do believe that much of what Israel has done for many years is to try and put just enough pressure on the Arab populations that they will want to leave and go somewhere else. I actually think this has backfired, as those who have and are leaving tend to be the middle class, educated moderates; many of Christians. Those who stay tend to be more radical, more anti-Israel.

What is true is that during the War of 1948 Israel intentionally and deliberately expelled many Arabs and destroyed or took over many of their villages. Certainly the most honest and best researched study of this is in the book “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War”, by Bennie Morris – a Jew and Israeli citizen. If you don’t believe this, read the book. It certainly changed my mind as to the actual facts.

I am a big supporter of the Nation of Israel. But I believe Israel must be both secure and just.

I’m equally a supporter of the beleaguered Christians in the Holy Land. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Israel, but I would suggest you make an effort to go there and visit with some of the Palestinian Christians on both sides of the separation wall. I think you would find it a unique learning experience.

Al Sandalow

Viola Larson said...

I appreciate your thoughts but do not agree with all of them. Are you aware that Bennie Morris is a Zionist and has complained that too many who write about Zionism and Israel misuse his book

Have you read his small book, One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict? He is not an idealist but he does understand that while there were atrocities on both sides the Arabs did attack and that on both sides was the idea of expulsion of the other; it was simply larger on the Arab side.

And yes, you are right, Israel must be both secure and just.

Viola Larson said...

Also I might recommend this video that someone recommended to me. It clearly details Palestinian children being taught to make war against Israel until the Jewish people are gone. A UN school by the way. Listen to it all.

Viola Larson said...

Oops I forgot the link.

Anonymous said...

>Are you aware that Bennie Morris is a Zionist and has complained that too many who write about Zionism and Israel misuse his book

Yes, but I think that gives the facts in his book all the more credibility.

To me, this is not an issue that one side is all good and the other side all bad. There are factions on both sides teaching hate, just as there are groups on both sides teaching tolerance and co-existence.

I know that sometimes ANY criticism of Israel is seen as blanket support for those who are opposed to Israel’s existence. In truth, both sides have done great wrongs to the other and with the current misbalance of power, it is Israel who is able to use subtle tactics to advance their position and dispossess Palestinians, even in areas of Palestinian control.

I think Israel needs to give a fair, workable portion of the West Bank to the Palestinians to live in (not the Swiss cheese arrangement they now have). I think Palestinians need to fully accept Israel’s existence and stop their terrorism against Israelis. I think Israel need to protect the rights, property, and cultural/religious heritage of all non-Jews who live within their borders. Nothing short of this will bring real peace.

Al Sandalow

Viola Larson said...

Al, on just the basics which you have stated I would agree with you. But if we get down to the particulars I think we would have some disagreements. But I could be wrong. how do you feel about divestment?

Viola Larson said...

Because I posted a link to a supposedly UN school for children, I must post this-which is a refutation by the group UNRWA. The only anti-Semitic teachers are in the West Bank and the UNRWA have dissolved their relationship with them.

Nonetheless by seeing what the teachers are saying there is that desire for ethnic cleansing among radical Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

>But I could be wrong. how do you feel about divestment?
I don't think it works. I think Israel will be more likely to sacrifice for a just and workable solution if it feels secure and supported. I don't see how anything the PCUSA has suggested will work towards that.

That said, when Israel does wrong, I feel it's not just fair, but important to point it out (just as I think when the USA does wrong, it needs to be pointed out).

Al Sandalow

Viola Larson said...

Al I do believe we are closer in our views than I thought.