by Bruce S. Thornton
There is no idea so hateful or useless that some university somewhere won’t hold a conference on it. The latest example of this unfortunate truism is the recently announced “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Conference” scheduled for early March at the Harvard Kennedy School. Nineteen speakers and ten panels will spend two days explaining why “’two-states for two peoples’ is no longer a viable option for Israel/Palestine,” as the organizers assert, and discussing a “solution” to the Israeli-Arab crisis that has absolutely no chance of ever being implemented.
The adherents of this veiled assault on Israel argue that the “two-state solution,” “in which Israel is secure and the Palestinians have sovereignty,” as President Obama told Time magazine, has been a failure. Of course, the two-state solution has failed because since 1948, the first time Arabs rejected a Palestinian state, a critical mass of Palestinian Arabs have wanted something more than sovereignty: they want Israel destroyed and her land possessed by Arabs from “the river to the sea,” as PLO chief Yasser Arafat used to say. The one-state solution, which envisions a single nation comprising Arabs and Jews under a single government, is a way to achieve the same aim. Such a state would obviously require the end of Israel’s Jewish identity, and would result in an Arabic demographic explosion that in any kind of representative government would marginalize Jews. Moreover, we can see the most likely sort of regime that would rule the “one state” by looking next door at Egypt, where Islamists are now in control and relations with Israel have deteriorated. Whatever the result, such a state would not resemble the liberal democracy of Israel today.
Perhaps the conference will address issues like Arab intransigence, genocidal anti-Semitism, and terrorist violence, but judging from some of the speakers, such balance seems unlikely. Among the usual obscure academics and Palestinian activists camouflaged as scholars, one finds anti-Israel luminaries like Stephen M. Walt, who along with John Mearshimer in 2007 published The Israel Lobby, an academic recycling of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in which nefarious American Jews secretly control US foreign policy in service to their Zionist puppet-masters. Even more suggestive of the conference’s bias is the presence of Ilan Pappé, whose scholarly malfeasance got him cashiered from Haifa University over his involvement in a student’s master’s thesis that fabricated an Israeli massacre of Palestinians. Such an episode will surprise no one familiar with Pappé’s own work, which as historian Efraim Karsh has written, displays a “consistent resort to factual misrepresentation, distortion, and outright falsehood.” Pappé is clearly an ideologue and propagandist, as he frankly admits: he sneers at “objectivity,” professes that he is “not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened,” and crows that “my ideology influences my historical writings.” That such a travesty of the profession of history is invited to speak at a prestigious university testifies to how intellectually and morally corrupt the American academy has become.
This rather loose attitude towards evidence and fact embraced by Pappé reveals itself as well in the on-line descriptions of the panel topics, where one finds libels such as references to “the original 700,000 [Arabs] who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine in 1948 and 1967,” moral cowardice in phrases such as “a great deal of violence has isolated the two peoples from one another,” and the de rigueur question-begging epithet: “How can justice for the victims of racism or violence be achieved?” You get the picture: racist Israelis who ethnically cleansed Arabs from their homeland and incited a “cycle of violence” need to abandon their Jewish identity and their ancestral lands in order to resolve a bloody conflict.
The Kennedy School conference, then, is a propaganda exercise the effect of which is to further the Palestinian Arab “phases” strategy for destroying Israel. In this regard, history provides an interesting parallel to the way the Arabs have manipulated Westerners and obscured their true aim, the destruction of Israel. In 1938, Hitler began fulfilling his plan to create a racial German empire, one that also was put into place by “phases.” Just as the Middle East regimes today claim that their hostility to Israel results from the maltreatment of the Palestinians, who have been dispossessed of their homeland by an oppressive invader, Hitler justified his aggression against Czechoslovakia as, in fact, the liberation of his fellow Germans from an alien government oppressing them and violating their rights. Thus, Hitler’s pretext that national and ethnic self-determination for the Sudeten Germans, necessary because of the Czechs’ “brutal treatment of mothers and children of German blood,” as Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels put it, was the reason he was interfering in Czechoslovakia.
This pretext, moreover, which exploited the principle of “national self-determination” enshrined in the Versailles settlement, offered Czechoslovakia’s allies France and England the seductive delusion that if only a settlement could be negotiated regarding the Sudeten Germans, a resolution could be achieved without violence. Meanwhile, Hitler’s Nazi stooges in Czechoslovakia instigated violent riots and fabricated incidents of violence against Germans, at the same time they kept escalating their outrageous demands during negotiations. As Hitler’s puppet in Czechoslovakia, Konrad Henlein, put it, “We [Sudeten Germans] must always demand so much that we cannot be satisfied.” The goal was to force the Czechs to break off negotiations and thus justify a German invasion.
Consider the similarities between Hitler’s strategy and that of the Palestinian Arabs:
- Hitler’s military was not ready for a war against both France and England in 1938, so he was reluctant to gamble on force to achieve his aims. Today the Palestinians and the Arab states have suffered three defeats at the hands of Israel, and are unlikely to risk such humiliation again.
• Hitler thus turned to duplicitous negotiations over the alleged suffering of the German minority in the Sudetenland and their right to national self-determination to buy time and achieve his aims without war. Likewise the Arabs now speak of a “Palestinian homeland” and Palestinian self-determination to grind Israel down in a process of specious negotiations filled with outrageous demands, such as the return to Israel of 700,000 “refugees” or the dismantling of “settlements,” so that the new state will be ethnically cleansed of Jews. And the Palestinians “cannot be satisfied” with legitimate concessions made by Israel, including at least three legitimate offers to give them the homeland they allegedly pine for.
- In concert with phony negotiations, the Sudeten Nazi Party fomented violence and manufactured atrocities in order to justify German intervention and create international sympathy for their cause. So too the Palestinian Arabs have manufactured numerous atrocities, such as the Jenin “massacre” or the Mohammad Dura killing, and used terrorist violence in order to provoke retaliation and defensive measures that further alienate the international community from Israel and increase pressure on it to make concessions.
- Most important, just as England and France were unwilling to take action against Hitler’s aggressive intentions, and so found in the alleged suffering of the Sudeten Germans a convenient excuse to pressure Czechoslovakia into committing national suicide, so too the West finds in “Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation” a convenient pretext for ignoring the obvious goal of the Palestinian Arabs, the destruction of Israel. Indeed, President Obama’s recent demands for more Israeli concessions as a prelude to a peace settlement recalls the suicidal concessions England and France demanded from Czechoslovakia. As the crisis continued in 1938, the British solution was “for Prague to get a real twist of the screw.” And while the Czechs fought desperately for their national survival, British Minister Basil Newton advised Czech president Edvard Benes “go forthwith to the very limit of concession.” How similar to the constant accusations that Israel negotiates in bad faith, and to the continually escalating demands on Israel to make unreciprocated concessions to a people who have met every previous concession with terrorist attacks, and who always “demand so much they cannot be satisfied.”
Winning international sympathy and support for the “oppressed” Palestinians has been a critical element in the “phases” strategy. The Kennedy School conference — like the boycott of Israeli academics, one of whose prime movers is Ilan Pappé — is yet another example that this strategy to destroy Israel by manipulating international opinion has been working. The “one-state solution” is in fact an enabler of a slow-motion final solution.
©2012 Bruce S. Thornton