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Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

Ronnie Kasrils on myths

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Over the past few weeks the Cape Times has published a series of letters by South African Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, castigating Israel  as well as his several respondents.


Kasrils letter under reply is copied in the right hand column

July 18, 2007
From Maurice Ostroff
The Editor\Cape Times

I agree with Minister Kasrils that quotations are appropriate when pertinent and consistent with the generally stated position of the person quoted; and backed up by the career and actions of that individual. (Defending false myths, July 18).

I would add however that it is unethical to use quotations out of the context in which they were made or to misinterpret them to serve a writer's prejudices.

In the correspondence about Minister Kasril's views on Israel, it is disappointing to note how quotations have been used to score debating points rather than to examine his thesis that Israel is sinful and the Palestinians saintly, while offering no constructive suggestions to resolve the terrible conflict.
 
Using the above parameters about the use of quotations it is relevant to quote Palestinian, Walid Shoebat, a former member of the PLO who participated in terror acts and was imprisoned in Israel. Here are some extracts

"The occupation is in the minds of Children who are taught hatred...The Israeli Arab Conflict is not about geography but about Jew hatred; ...The Arab refugees are being used as pawns' to create a terror breeding ground, as a form of aggression against Israel...The Arab refugee problem was caused by Arab aggression and not Israel".

Lest I be accused of quoting out of context, I hasten to add that the complete text and background may be read on Mr. Shoebat�s web site http://www.shoebat.com/

Mr. Kasrils reference to Israel, having been allocated 56% of British Mandated Palestine by UN Resolution 181, and expanding to 78% in 1949, is flawed.  Present day Israel is obviously a miniscule percentage of the Mandated Palestine allocated for Jewish settlement which then included the territories now known as Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

Article 6 of the Mandate granted by the League of Nations specifically requires the Administration, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population, to facilitate Jewish immigration and to encourage close settlement by Jews on the land. See http://tinyurl.com/6nuc4

Admittedly there are divided opinions on the precise meaning of the Balfour Declaration on which Jewish settlement was based but the 78% figure quoted by Mr. Kasrils is clearly far off the mark.

Kasrils also omits the fact that the Arab states rejected resolution 181, declaring "Holy War" instead, with the publicly proclaimed intention of driving the Jews into the sea and that the moment Israel declared independence, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and Transjordanian troops, supported by Saudi, Iraqi  and Yemenite troops, attacked the nascent Jewish state. Nor does he quote Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha's declaration: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades"

There can be no doubt that there would be no Palestinian refugees today if the Arabs had not rejected resolution 181.


Ronnie Kasrils letter to Cape Times

Defending false myths
July 17, 2007 Edition 1

Far be it for me to need to spring to Jan van Eck's defence. He has ably demonstrated his ability to articulate his point of view (July 3).

With regard to the use of quotations, as any matriculant is aware: these are appropriate where placed in a historical context; are pertinent and consistent with the generally stated position of the person quoted; and backed up by the career and actions of that individual.

In other words if X states they would like to strangle Y, but generally is never given to such utterances, and in fact does not commit the crime, then the quotation is not particularly significant other than to demonstrate X's emotions at the time.

My challenge - indeed Van Eck's - to the likes of Shain, Morris, Saks and Pollak, is for them to show whether the statements by Herzl, Ben Gurion, Rabin and Moshe Dayan were proved by their historic actions or not. Actions in fact speak louder than words.

That is the acid test of course. Israel, having been allocated 56% of British Mandate Palestine by UN Resolution 181 of November 1947, acted true to Ben Gurion's words: expanded as a result of war to 78% in 1949, and after June 1967 ended up occupying the remaining 22%.

The history of the Zionist project; the dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people; the ethnic cleansing commencing in 1948; the present brutal occupation provides fertile ground for the appropriate choice (cherry-picking) of statements by Zionist leaders to illustrate the cause of the conflict (the question raised by Van Eck).

May I refer to another relevant cherry for our Zionist apologists to chew on:

"Israelis like to believe, and tell the world, that they are running an 'enlightened' or 'benign' occupation, qualitatively different from other military occupations the world has seen. The truth was radically different. Like all occupations, Israel's was founded on brute force, repression and fear, collaboration and treachery, beatings and torture chambers, and daily intimidation, humiliation and manipulation."

That was written by Israeli historian and Zionist Benny Morris, in Righteous Victims (Vintage Books, 2001, page 341). Now that Morris has come to support Israel ?ber alles, he is dutifully supported by Saks et al. They well know the context in which Morris blew the lid on the orthodox Zionist narrative of Israel's birth and dispossession of the Palestinians.

They play the dangerous game of defending false mythology, abusing the truth and brainwashing their community. Through that deceit they betray the values of Judaism and indeed human justice. It is clear that they have learnt nothing, unlike Van Eck, of South Africa's transition from conflict to democracy.

As for David Hersch, of the Zionist Federation, and his anti-communist rantings (Cape Times, July 10), he sounds exactly like an apartheid-era red-basher. He would have been a most suitable member of the notorious American Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist, witch-hunting committee of the 1950s. Jews like myself were amongst its many victims.

Is he not aware that both presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki have been closely associated with the communist party, or does he want to say that there are good communists and bad communists depending on their attitude to Israel? In that case Joseph Stalin would rank as one of his heroes, for defeating Nazi Germany and recognising Israel in 1948.

Ronnie Kasrils, MP

Cape Town


 

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