Al Quds Day – is it for you?

Read Dave Rich at the CST blog.

“This year, Quds Day takes place against a backdrop of renewed peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, hosted by America. Hamas have responded with a series of shootings in the West Bank, killing four Israelis (so far), and have announced a working alliance with twelve other violent organisations in Gaza to coordinate terrorist attacks against Israel. What, I wonder, will the speakers at tomorrow’s Quds Day march have to say about these two contrasting developments?”

19 Responses to “Al Quds Day – is it for you?”

  1. Absolute Observer Says:

    I notice also that Indymedia is pushing the lie that there is a organisational connection between the EDL and British Israel groups; thereby equating the vast majority of British Jews with nazis (the tiny minority of British Jews are notable for their aquiesence in such fables).

    Again, one sees the spread of domestic antisemitism attaching itself to matters in the Middle East.

    • Bella Says:

      It was very disheartening to see the video clip showing EDL counter demonstrators holding up the Israeli flag.

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        Actually, I was more “disheartened” by the use of the Union Jack.
        It follows that if, as the anti-Zionists claim, the use of the Israeli flag by a bunch of racist thugs speaks the truth, then, so too does the use of the British flag.
        Or do the a-z’s believe that, when it comes to matters “Jewish” and Israeli, somehow fascists and racists speak the truth of the matter, whilst lying about everything else. (Mind you, considering the stuff about the Lobby, stealing organs, etc. they seem to agree on quite a few things nowadays).
        The a-z’s have broken the golden rule about combatting fascism and racism – never believe a word racists and fascists say.

  2. Yoni Says:

    David, any chance that Engage will say something about this too?

    • David Hirsh Says:

      I can say something Yoni. Thanks for the link – I would advise people to have a look at the video. The demolition of these homes is horrible and I oppose it. I think that it is an example of institutional racism in Israel, of practices which discriminate against non-Jewish minorities. There is a right-wing coalition in power in Israel at the moment some of which came to power by making racist agitation against minorities. I oppose this government and most of its policies.

      Engage is a campaign against antisemitism, not a campaign against house demolitions.

      Engage is a single issue campaign but it is based in a democratic and antiracist worldview – I think it is entirely consistent with the kind of critiques of antisemitism which appear on the Engage website to oppose these kind of house demolitions. I think most of us would insist that there is better way for the state to behave and a better way of treating minorities.

      I think the same could be said about the huge house demolition programme in Zimbabwe, about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, about French agitation against the Roma.

      But Engage doesn’t campaign against these things. Because it is a campaign against antisemitism.

      • Yoni Says:

        Oh right I forgot! You are only about anti-semitism. But what you see in the video-tape is called Zionism. Such acts have been taking place under all Israeli governments since 1948 again ***ALL***. But you care about Hamas. Indeed heroic and just.

        • Norman Says:

          Here we have another story twisted to suit the anti-Israel brigade and Mr Hirsch in his haste to appease those seeking Israel’s delegitimization which I thought this website was formed to oppose joins the bandwagon. The facts are quite different.
          Following the demolitions the ILA [Israel Lands Authority] issued a statemet that residents first “invaded” the area in 1998, were soon evicted, and returned a year later.
          The ILA said residents had been asked to rent the land for agricultural purposes for NIS 2 per dunam (0.1 hectare), but “they refused to pay and continued to infiltrate the land year after year.”
          After an eviction notice was issued in 2003, the residents filed a petition that made its way to the High Court of Justice. This happened while the present quote “right-wing coalition in power in Israel at the moment some of which came to power by making racist agitation against minorities” was not in power.
          While the petition was being heard, the residents “continued to infiltrate and squat on state-owned land, and in fact expanded their infiltration through constructing illegal and unproved buildings, crudely trampling on the law,” the ILA said.
          In 2007, (Note Mr Hirsch – Olmert in power) the Beersheba Magistrates’s Court dismissed residents’ request for a delay in implementation of the eviction orders and ruled that residents were “infiltrators repeatedly seizing state land after being evicted.”
          After further attempts to negotiate th positon theILA was finally forced to implement the eviction order.
          There are tens of thousands of illegal structures in Beduin communities in the country, and several thousand more are built each year; far more than the number the state manages to demolish. Many of these settlements lack basic services, with residents living “off the grid” and not paying municipal taxes.
          Somewhat different from the lies and distortions put out by the anti-Israel cohorts.

        • David Hirsh Says:

          I think I’ll leave Yoni and Norman to chat. I think you kinda deserve each other.

          But you should both be aware that most people are not with either of you.

        • Thomas Venner Says:

          And this is exactly why it’s getting more and more difficult to legitimately protest against the actions of the current Israeli government – “anti-Zionists” pushing the elimination of Israel (and often more than just the state) in its entirety have come to completely dominate any kind of protest movement, so it is now almost impossible for anyone who opposes the Netanyahu government’s appalling behaviour, but who distinguishes between the government and the people and still supports Israel’s right to exist, to involve themselves in any kind of protest against these actions.

          I know plenty of people who support Israel, and not one of them supports Netanyahu’s government or opposes Palestinian self-determination and statehood, but we can’t, it appears, express our opposition to the Israeli government’s actions and our support for Palestinian independence as part of larger solidarity and protest movements without having to support the destruction of Israel as well.

          The middle ground has been removed, and replaced by absolute extremes of black and white – you can either throw yourself headlong into the ludicrous hyperbole of the screaming mob and condemn Israel in its entirety as a violently colonialist apartheid state, a modern-day Third Reich committing a new Holocaust in the name of the Jewish master race and backed up by an omnipotent international “Zionist lobby”, whose conspiratorial roots run into every western government and control our lives for its own nefarious ends, and pledging your support to the genocidal clerical-fascist thugs of Hezbollah, Hamas and the Iranian government into the bargain, or you can sit back in near-impotent silence and put your beliefs on the shelf because nobody will let you express them in a moderate and rational way. It’s like being told that you can’t be truly British unless you want to wipe France off the map, or re-colonise India.

          Then, of course, by doing this, you can make sure that anyone who doesn’t want to see Israel cease to exist can be conveniently pushed out into the same category as the anti-Palestinian right-wingers, so that we don’t mess up your perfect, black-and-white, absolute-good-versus-absolute-evil “narrative”.

          As for “what is called Zionism”, here is a quote from David Ben-Gurion which sums it up pretty well:

          “We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. All our aspirations are built upon the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.”

  3. rapha Says:

    The inminds is itself an antisemitic website. Here is an extract of its FAQ page:

    “5. Surely wherever we spend our money, even our taxes support Israel, so why pick on these companies?

    Whilst it is true that the cancerous zionist entity has got its tentacles hooked into numerous markets and economies – sucking each one to nourish itself, but this is no excuse for us not to do anything. The companies on our list are chosen for being the major supporters of Israel – those that Israel itself has honoured and bestowed awards upon in recognition of being its key supporters in the world. If we can successfully campaign against these then the support of the others will, inshallah, evaporate.

    • Bella Says:

      For a minute there I thought I was reading The Onion. Then I went to the Inminds website. Wow, some people really are gullible aren’t they?

  4. Sarah AB Says:

    Thomas Venner’s comment chimed with my initial response to reading this piece, and particularly this sentence.“So will you stand with us in support of Palestine, or will you by your absence give your support to the Zionists?” It seemed to want to exclude a middle ground position which was neither anti-zionist nor anti-Palestinian. I think (hope) there are plenty of people who are more moderate, even though they are less vocal on the internet. For example, someone I know, who is very critical of the way Israel is covered in the media, and of the way anti-zionism slides into antisemitism – actually drew that story about Bedouins to my attention a while back – in a critical way.

  5. Norman Says:

    No Mr Hirsh you deserve Yoni because you obviously do not know how distinguish between a country legitimately enforcing Planning Control as passed by the legislature and determined by the Judiciary following due process as Israel was in this case and a country illegitimately exercising control based on religion ethnicity or race as France is now doing with the Roma.

  6. Yoni Says:

    Norman seety,

    I assume that the “outposts” and the “settelments” in the post-1967 ocuupied west bank do enjoy panning control… Your antisemitic lies notwithstanding, the re-buliding against evil shall continue:

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    To coin a phrase “Ohmigod”. Who are these people, Yoni and Norman? BTW, I notice that on his first effort, “Norman” can’t get David H’s surname right. Numerous people objetcing to what he has to say do that. I wonder why?

    More to the point, Yoni and Norman really do deserve each other: Yoni thinks that “But you [i.e., David H.] care about Hamas. Indeed heroic and just.” while Norman sees the same David as somehow giving aid and comfort to the Netanyahu government and denying the rule of law.

    So he must be doing something right!

    • David Galant Says:

      Just because Yoni and Norman attack the noble David Hirsh from different directions doesn’t make him correct. As Solomon clearly showed, splitting the difference isn’t always the solution to a disagreement.

      Personally, I think David H neither approves of Hamas or Netanyahu’s government. I also think that he was acting in a knee jerk reaction when he condemned the evictions and was (is still?) badly informed about the matter.

      • Norman Says:

        All Mr Hirsh needs to do instead of attacking the messenger is to accept that his initial reaction to this story was incorrect. Joni notwithstanding the Israel Lands Authority was perfectly within its rights to demolish the structures which had been illegally built. It has nothing to do with the Netanyahu Government these proceedings have been in train for a number of years. It is also a fact that the present Government has turned a blind eye to illegal Arab construction in east Jerusalem but has frozen Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, something which no left wing or centrist government ever did.

  8. Yoni Says:

    The horror show at al-Araqib village: from removal to approval

    By Professor Oren Yiftachel
    Ben Gurion University

    Even veterans of human rights struggles cannot recall such a horror show as took place in the Negev Desert, 10km north of Beersheba, last Tuesday, when 1500 border guards, riot squad members and armed police, accompanied by bulldozers and helicopters, streamed in from all directions to uproot the small village of the al-Turi tribe in Araqib.

    It was a violent showcase operation designed to display force and sow fear. All that remained of the village was twisted rubble, some chickens, geese and sheep wandering around, and pervasive feeling of shock and disbelief. A week after Tisha’a B’Av which mourns the destruction of the Jewish Temples, the village appeared like the Destruction itself.

    Let us recall that the members of the al-Turi tribe, like the majority of people in the Bedouin unrecognised villages and towns, are the traditional landowners, who have resided there, tilled its hills and tended their flocks, for generations before the State of Israel was formed. At the beginning of the 1950s, they were forcibly relocated “temporarily” by the then military government. Their lands remained fallow for 50 odd years. About a decade ago they returned and built their village on their historical land, whose fate is a still pending in a current court case.

    The al-Turi case is one of several historical land rights cases now underway in Israeli courts, in which indigenous Bedouins claim ownership over their traditional land which was nationalised decades ago. The most notable is the case of the al-Uqbi tribe, immediately adjacent to the destroyed village – a case with important implications for all indigenous land claims in the area. In that trial, the state position, which has rules the courts for decades, is finally seriously challenged. At the centre is the state’s claim that before Israeli rule in the area in 1948 all Bedouin lands were “dead”, that is, unsettled, unassigned and uncultivated. Such land, according to the prevailing law, have no owners, and is by default state land. Under this distorted logic, the Bedouins have been declared “invaders” on their own ancestors land, all around Beersheba.
    Yet, the recent trials bring to the fore compelling evidence about continuous Bedouin occupation and cultivation of the lands around Beersheba. The new material shows that Bedouin lands were managed for generations by a well functioning traditional land ownership system, which allocated residential, agricultural and grazing lands, and adjudicated on land disputes, under the approval of the Ottoman and British rulers. While the Bedouin did not register their land in the British land title books (a fact used against them by Israel), no-one can seriously say that the lands around Beersheba were “dead”. In some ways, the recent trials resemble the struggle of aborigines against Australia’s “terra nullius” (empty land) doctrine, which was finally defeated in 1992 during the well known Mabo case. Following Mabo, a new category of “native title”’ entered the Australian rule book and other countries, like Canada, South Africa, India and Brazil followed suit. The Bedouins are demanding that Israel too recognises traditional land ownership not the least in the Araqib area. It may be that the state of Israel feels threatened by the erosion of its legal hegemony in the historical land cases over Araqib, and has therefore decided to act violently, while it has the legal power to classify the land as ‘public’ and all buildings as “illegal”.

    Accordingly, since moving back to their land in Araqib, the al-Turis and their neighbours, the al-Uqbis, have been undergoing an ordeal that includes regular home demolitions and the annual destruction of their crops, which have been sprayed with defoliants and ploughed back into the ground. Now their entire village has been destroyed. Other tribes which used to live in al-Araqib but were forcibly removed, have also attempted to return to the area, but were driven away by the state. Recently the JNF has begun planting trees there to create a forest, and thereby deny any future attempts to recultivate and settled the once Bedouin lands.

    So as history would have it, even if the dry letter of the law does not concur, it is the State of Israel which is invading the Bedouin land, and not the other way around.
    But let us put history and legal arguments aside for the moment, and ask — is there no other way? The answer is right before our eyes — there is another way, and how! Actually in the last fortnight we have seen two events that illustrate just how criminal and unnecessary was the entire act of village destruction. They also demonstrate the extent to which the solutions are at hand.

    The first event was the approval of the new Beersheba metropolitan plan. That plan recognises the existence of four villages — Atir, al-Gharah, Rachame and Sa’awa — which until a fortnight ago had exactly the same status as Araqib. Those villages were also deemed illegal and were marked down for evacuation and destruction. The villages joined the list of a dozen villages recognised or “established” in recent years — one of them is the village of Tarabin, which is quite close to the village which was destroyed.

    Now that the fear of destruction and evacuation is behind them, the residents of these villages can start to rebuild their future like other ordinary citizens. Undoubtedly, they will face extensive difficulties as Arabs in the Jewish state, but the profound threat of eviction will be lifted from over their heads.

    The second event was the passing of the Family Farms Law, which legalises the status of 60 Jewish (and one Arab) family ranches and farms set up without planning approval in the Negev. Yes, the aim of the law is the Judaisation of the Negev, and it is true that the law makers tried their utmost to make it inaccessible to the Bedouin. But the fact that these farms were granted approval years after they were built, raises the possibility that small Bedouin communities, which have settled their land for many generations, can also be recognised in retrospect — just like Jewish family farms.

    What is needed then in the Negev is the implementation of a simple, but almost revolutionary idea in present day Israel — civil equality. We must remember that the implementation of this notion has been demanded by Jews for generations. The Negev’s future is predicated on such an equality, for otherwise the continuing conflict will deteriorate the situation of Arabs and Jews alike. There’s no reason not to recognise Bedouin villages on the basis of equality with the Jewish population, and this will also enable equality in law enforcement.

    As we have seen, the mechanisms and precedents for taking a different path already exist. The Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages (RCUV) and other NGO’s such as “Bimkom”, the Centre for Alternative Planning and the Co-existence Forum, have been working on a range of master and detailed plans for the unrecognised Bedouin villages and towns. These plans should be implemented without delay. Simultaneously the plans for the removal of the villages need to be removed themselves and replaced by plans for legal recognition.

    Yet, this may not happen under Israel’s continuing shift to the right, and the re-enforcement of its “ethnocratic” principles of greater Jewish control, often violent, on both sides of the Green Line. If ethnocracy prevails over democracy, dangerous ethnic discrimination will continue to mould life in the Negev. The dangers embedded in such discrimination were summed up well by Supreme Court Justice Cheshin in a recent ruling: “Discrimination… is the worst of all evils… Discrimination gnaws endlessly at relations between human beings… continuing discrimination results in the collapse of nations and loss of sovereignty… What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
    The Israeli government should take note, both in general and in the case of the Bedouins of Araqib. In the face of this senseless destruction it’s high time to replace removal with approval – and the earlier the better!

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