Bulletin #8

From: Francis Feeley <Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>
Subject: Edward Herman on Israel: Part 1 of 3.

7 April 2002
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues:

The Grenoble Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and
Social Movements just received this three-part series on Israel, written by
our associate researcher, Edward Herman, Professor at the University of
Pennsylvania. (Dr. Herman participated in the International Colloquium on
"The Impact of American Mulitnational Corporations," which was held at the
University of Grenoble-III last January.

Eileen Sutton writes of this research, "Along with Chomsky's The Fateful
Triangle, Herman's meticulously-researched work will give anyone a keener
understanding of the region's conflict. It's a must read in the effort to
deconstruct the propaganda surrounding Israel in the U.S. press."


F. Feeley

Sent: Saturday, April 06, 2002 11:11 AM
Subject: Herman on Israel

"The racist discrimination in pushing out Palestinians in favor of Jews is cruel, scandalous, and reminiscent of the behavior of the Nazis (a comparison made often in the Israeli press, but not in the U.S. mainstream media)...Amnesty International (AI) notes in discussing Israel's policy on demolitions that "The Palestinians are targeted for no other reason than because they are Palestinians" in a system where "the family may only have 15 minutes to take out what belongings they have before the furniture is thrown into the street and their home bulldozed"...in 1994, Rabbi Yaacov Perin stated that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."



by Edward S. Herman

Israel's treatment of the Palestinians has always presented a
moral problem to the West, as that treatment has violated every law
and moral standard on the books.

Some 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes in 1948-1949,
and since then scores of thousands more have been pushed out by force,
their houses
demolished or taken over by Israeli Jews (not Israeli Arabs). Under
the supposed "peace process" following the signing of the Oslo
Agreement in September 1993, a UN Special Report of November 13,
2000, says that "In the past seven years...Israel's confiscation of
Palestinian land and construction of settlements and bypass roads
for Jewish settlers has accelerated dramatically in breach of
Security Council Resolution 242 and of provisions of the Oslo
agreements requiring both parties to respect 'the territorial
integrity and unity of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.'

Since 1993 the settler population in the West Bank and Gaza has doubled to
200,000 and increased to 170,000 in East Jerusalem." The report
also describes and condemns the demolitions of Palestinian houses,
the diversion of water to Israeli cities and settlements, the
policy of closures that has damaged Palestinian social and economic
life, and the "widespread violation of their [Palestinian]
economic, social and cultural rights" both within Israel and in the
occupied territories. It also assails Israel's use of excessive
force against Palestinians and hundreds of Intifada killings, "most
of them unarmed demonstrators."
The settlements have been made in territory outside of Israel,
technically "occupied" by Israel and subject to international law
that clearly prohibits dispossession and settlement by the
"belligerent occupying power" (the Palestinians are "protected
persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949; violations of
that Convention, including dispossession and settlements, are "war
crimes"). This systematic violation of international law has been
going on for several decades, just as the creation of new "facts on
the ground" in brazen violation of Article 31(7) of Oslo has
proceeded since 1993, but as the United States does not object, and
in fact has supported these law and agreement violations by massive
economic and military aid, and by vetoing any hostile UN actions
(it has used the veto an estimated 60 times to give Israeli ethnic
cleansing and law violations free play), international law is
The contrast with Kosovo is dramatic and enlightening. In that
case also international law was inoperative, but only because
intervention allegedly to protect the Kosovo Albanians would have
been excessively constrained by adherence to legal niceties such as
the UN Charter. International observers, already agreed to by
Yugoslavia, were not enough--a full military occupation by Nato
forces was required. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians,
however, as Israel naturally does not want foreign observers, let
alone a UN military force to protect the Palestinians, the United
States defers to Israel (as it did to Indonesia in East Timor) and
refuses to support even an observer presence without the ethnic
cleanser's acquiesence.

We may note also that Nato's forcible occupation of Kosovo took
place in Yugoslav territory, whereas the U.S. defers to Israel
(and for 25 years to Indonesia) in reference to its performance in
illegally occupied territory where the
indigenous population has long been subjected to serious abuses
condemned by overwhelming UN majorities. Welcome to the New World
Order and "ethical foreign policy"!

Racist State, Brutal Occupation, and Large-Scale Ethnic Cleansing
The racist discrimination in pushing out Palestinians in favor of
Jews is cruel, scandalous, and reminiscent of the behavior of the
Nazis (a comparison made often in the Israeli press, but not in the
U.S. mainstream media). It was Nazi practice in occupied
territories to dispossess the locals from homes to provide
"lebensraum" for the "ubermenschen," and Amnesty International (AI)
notes in discussing Israel's policy on demolitions that "The
Palestinians are targeted for no other reason than because they are
Palestinians" in a system where "the family may only have 15
minutes to take out what belongings they have before the furniture
is thrown into the street and their home bulldozed" (AI, Israel:
Home Demolitions, Dec. 8, 1999). Israeli author Israel Shamir,
writing in the Russian Israeli publication RI in December 2000,
says that Israelis "are taught they belong to the Chosen People,
who are Uber Alles. They have been indoctrinated in belief that the
Gentiles are not fully human, and therefore can be killed and
expropriated at will."  And the U.S. Jewish observer Eduardo Cohen
says that "traveling through Israel I encountered a deep,
widespread and racist contempt for Arabs," based on the belief that
Arabs "didn't share the same faculties of thought and reason that
'civilized human beings' possess" (OR, Oct. 18, 2000).
Before the Final Solution was decided upon by Hitler during World
War II--and in 1940 Himmler was still referring to "the Bolshevik
method of physical extermination of a people" as "un-German and
impossible"--there was active discussion in Nazi official circles
of how alien peoples in occupied lands should be handled to best
serve German interests. Partly, it was a matter of space needs--in
1940 Hitler claimed that "the Jewish question really was a space
question," and Jews and others were expelled in Vienna and
elsewhere to provide housing for Germans. There was much debate in
1940 about the desirability of forced emigration and resettlement,
of bringing some of the racially valuable to Germany for
assimilation, but with a remnant population "that would serve as a
reservoir for migrant labour to Germany" (quoting Christopher
Browning's summary of this debate).
Similar debates have taken place in Israel between the
"hardliners" on the one hand, who have favored forcible "transfer"
and the "mass deportations of Arabs from the territories"
(Netanyahu), and the "moderates" on the other hand, who want to
rely on the now traditional methods of slow but steady
dispossession and encouraging "voluntary" exit by impoverishment.
The moderates also recognize the service of the impoverished alien
population in providing a reservoir of migrant labor for Israel.
Israel Shamir also compares the Israeli treatment of the
Palestinians in Intifada II unfavorably to the anti-Jewish pogroms
in Czarist Russia, where the casualties were much smaller and
where, after the pogrom, "all writers and intelligentsia condemned
the perpetrators. In the Jewish state, a few dozens gathered on the
demonstration in Tel Aviv, while the Hebrew Writers Union supported
the pogrom of Gentiles." Shamir goes on to say that Israeli racism
is "not less wide-spread and poisonous" than that of the German
Nazis, citing a number of genocidal opinions of Russian-Israeli
Jews and stating that today: "The Jewish state is the only place in
the world possessing legitimate killer squads, embracing a policy
of assassinations, and practicing torture on a medieval scale. But
do not worry dear Jewish readers, we torture and assassinate
Gentiles only."
In Israeli publications it is repeatedly pointed out that the
army does not kill Jews, only Gentiles. Phyllis Bennis notes that
in 1982, when an Israeli Jewish protester against the war in
Lebanon was killed by Israeli forces, there was such an enormous
outcry that his name--Emil Grunzweig--is remembered even today. But
when a Palestinian is killed by Israelis, this is hardly newsworthy
and only body counts are given--"we never hear their names, who
their parents and children are, what they did for a living" (Max
Elbaum, Interview with Bennis, "For Jews Only: Racism Inside
Israel," ColorLines, Dec. 15, 2000). It has also been pointed out
by AI that "Israeli security forces repeatedly resorted to
excessive use of lethal force in circumstances where neither their
lives nor the lives of others were in imminent danger, resulting in
unlawful killings." But AI notes that the Israelis are expert in
non-lethal crowd control, citing July-August 1999 riots "policed
without resort to firearms." But they note that here it was Ultra-
Orthodox Jews rioting, so as in the case of settler violence the
use of lethal force is ruled out, to be used only on Gentiles.
Israeli dissident Uri Avnery describes how, when the Israeli army
several months ago would not allow Palestinians to harvest their
olives in an orchard bordering a Jewish settlement, where a 14-year
old Palestinian boy had recently been shot and killed when alone in
the orchard with his father, the villagers sent an SOS to Avnery
and his group to come so that their presence would preclude
shooting ("Olives, Stones and Bullets," Ha'aretz, Nov. 18, 2000).
Many old olive trees had already been cut down, and ancient
terraces destroyed, "apparently to enable the army to shoot without
hindrance." But the Avnery group did its job--their Jewish presence
enabled some olives to be picked without the threat of shooting.
Avnery noted that the settlers were of course free to move and
travel at will, under heavy army protection.
The well-known Israeli journalist Amira Hass recently described
in detail the growing racist cruelty "characteristic of every
occupation regime...that intensified during the Oslo years because
of the gap between the fine talk about a 'peace process' and a
reality." ("The Mirror Does Not Lie," Ha'aretz, Nov. 1, 2000). The
new Intifada is a popular uprising that "is a final attempt to
thrust a mirror in the face of Israelis and to tell them: 'Take a
good look at yourselves and see how racist you have become."

She focuses on the Israeli occupation of Hebron, writing: "How
perfectly natural that 40,000 persons should be subject to local
curfew for more than a month in the Old City of Hebron in order to
protect the lives and well-being of 500 Jews.... How perfectly
natural that 34 schools attended by thousands of Palestinian
children should be closed down for more than a month...while the
children of their Jewish neighbors...are free to frolic as usual in
the street among and with the Israeli soldiers stationed
there...The protracted curfew imposed on Hebron and the way in
which their curfew has been accepted in Israeli eyes as such a
natural event convey, in a nutshell, both the entire story of
Israeli occupation of Palestinian land in general and the essence
of the kind of Israeli thinking that has developed in the shadow of
obvious military superiority."

Hass also discusses the freedom of settlers to travel, versus severe
restrictions on Palestinians; the well-built highways for settler use,
constructed on lands
expropriated from Palestinian villages; the limitations imposed by
the occupying authority on Palestinian development of their own
communities, while the Jewish settlers get expedited treatment and
subsidies; and the discrimination in water use with days and even
weeks "without running water in the faucets of Palestinian homes"
while their Jewish neighbors "experience no problems or shortages
as far as their water supply is concerned."
Jeff Halper, Professor of Anthropology at Ben Gurion University,
and head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, states
that, having seized control of West Bank/Gaza water supplies,
Israel and the settlers now give themselves 6.7 times the water
they allow the Palestinians (870 million cubic meters per annum for
themselves, 130 million cubic meters for the Palestinians). He also
points out that under the Oslo "peace process" Israel has uprooted
some 80,000 Palestinian-owned olive and fruit trees and much
farmland "for Israeli construction and 'security'," with some
10,000 trees removed just since the beginning of the recent

Israel has been constructing some 300 miles of highways
and bypass roads to serve the settlements, but which divide the
West Bank into tiny islands and prevent the free movement of
Palestinian people and goods. With its military control and
superior force Israel has imposed lengthy and devastating
"closures" on Palestinian movement that has created widespread
poverty and hunger. (For further details, Halper, "The 'Peace
Process' As Seen From the Ground," Feb. 12, 2001.) The per capita
GDP of the Palestinians in the occupied territories has fallen
drastically under the Oslo "peace process," surely by more than 25

Demolitions for Lebensraum

Since 1967 some 8,500 Palestinian homes have been demolished,
1,200 of these since the Oslo agreement of 1993 (with 5,000 people
made homeless, including 2,000 children). Israel demolishes
Palestinian homes on the slightest provocation--"security," a
youngster in the household throws stones at an Israeli soldier--but
it does this mainly as part of a systematic program to provide
space for the "chosen people." In December 1994, Rabbi Shlomo
Goren, a former chief rabbi of Israel and the Israeli armed forces,
urged the armed forces to refuse to obey orders to remove Jewish
settlers from the West Bank, citing the law of Moses and asserting
that "The command to settle the land of Israel is greater than all
the commandments put together" (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 3, 1994).

This is consistent with the focus of Zionist ideology on
"redemption of the land" of Palestine, which should be held only by
Jews; land held by non-Jews is "unredeemed."  Israeli human rights
activist and scholar Israel Shahak claims that this exclusivist
ideology, aiming at minimizing the number of non-Jews in the "Land
of Israel," is inculcated in Jewish school children in Israel
(Jewish History, Jewish Religion [Pluto, 1994], pp. 7-8). "A state
built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only
be honored and respected by a Jew who declares his belonging to his
own kind." Thus spoke Dr. Joachim Prinz, a Zionist rabbi, in a book
entitled Wir Juden (We Jews), published in 1934 and celebrating the
victory of Adolf Hitler and the defeat of liberalism in Germany.
Later Prinz became a central figure in the World Zionist
Organization, and Shahak shows that the ideology that Prinz
espoused remains a powerful force in Israel.
Palestinian stone throwing can mean demolition. On the other
hand, if a Baruch Goldstein slaughters 29 Palestinians, his home is
not demolished. In fact, a memorial to this mass murderer was
erected near his home, although destroyed by the army under court
order in 1999, and he is honored by significant numbers within
Israel. At his memorial service in 1994, Rabbi Yaacov Perin stated
that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."

As Amira Hass contends, this Nazi-like mindset has grown under the
occupation, where the military superiority, abuse of the inferiors,
and fear that they might not remain quiet, has made for an
increasingly racist perspective that now characterizes the majority
of the Jewish population of Israel. Speaking of Israeli attitudes
toward the intensified repression in 1996, David Hoffman reported
that "few Israelis have objected to going back to the old methods
against the Palestinians; many, in fact, have complained that the
reaction was too timid" (WP, March 15, 1996).  Phyllis Bennis
states that "The majority of Israeli Jews are willing to accept the
killing of Palestinians and collective punishment of the Palestinian people
as justified state policy."
Within Israel, the Jewish state and Jewish National Fund, which
own over 90 percent of the land, for decades have reserved it for
Jews. A recent High Court ruling in favor of an Israeli Arab couple
wanting to buy a house in Katzir in the Galilee that had been
reserved for Jews has called this tradition into question, but the
breadth of effect of this decision remains to be seen. In any case,
the sizable (18 percent) Arab minority are legally second class
citizens, without "nationality rights," that have included not only
land use but access to public and private employment and credit,
and many other privileges that are limited to Jews. Arab citizens
may also be killed if they protest, and 14 of them have already
died in Intifada II, in contrast with Israeli Jewish citizens, who
can protest without fear of the application of lethal force.
Jews living in distant countries can come to Israel and immediately obtain
rights denied Arab citizens, and of course the Palestinians expelled from
their homes in Israel have no rights to return or compensation. In the
Negev, where the indigenous Bedouin have been blocked from grazing their
flocks, the state has allowed
Jewish farmers to occupy the land, build on it, and then have their
seizures recognized retrospectively in a process of "Judaization" of the
land (Orit Shohat, Ha'aretz, March 27, 1998). This is structured racism,
and a set of policies which if applied against Jews in Italy or France
would justifiably cause a furious outcry.

Torture, Aggression, and the Intifadas

Israel has used torture on a systematic basis against
Palestinians for decades, the New York Times noting matter-of-
factly in 1993 that Israel's torture victims were running to 400-
500 per month, but that Israel was "rethinking" the merits of its
"interrogation" practices (Joel Greenberg, "Israel Rethinks
Interrogation of Arabs," Aug. 14, 1993). Again, if this was being
done to Jews on a systematic basis in some country, the outcry
would be deafening, but here also an Israeli practice condemned
everywhere as barbaric is treated in very low key and brings about
no negative policy responses from the United States or
international community.

This has permitted Israel to thrive, to command massive international aid,
and to be given regular accolades as a model democracy, despite its long
record of being
"the only state in the world to effectively legalize the use of methods
which constitute torture or ill-treatment" (AI, "The Israeli government
should implement the High Court decision making torture illegal," Sept. 6,
Similarly, Israel can invade other countries freely, bomb them at
will, and kill civilians there with a free hand without penalty.
Each time it has invaded Lebanon, killing many thousands of
civilians and deliberately creating large refugee populations, this
has led to no substantive responses whatever on the part of the
United States and its allies, and the mainstream media have
reported these de facto aggressions with great understanding of
Israel's position and alleged "security" needs.

Even mass slaughters of civilians are permissible for Israel, as in the case
of Ariel Sharon's admitting the Christian Phalange to the Sabra-
Shatila camp in 1982 where 2,000 or more Palestinian women,
children and old men were butchered in cold blood. We may recall
the official and media outrage at the alleged massacre of some 40
Kosovo Albanians by the Serbs at Racak in January 1999--a massacre
which may never have occurred, as shown in a belatedly released
analysis of the forensic findings on the bodies in Forensic Science
International [116: 171-185, 2001]--and recall also that the figure
2,000 has been widely accepted as the total of killings on all
sides in Kosovo in the year preceding the Nato bombing of

But in the case of the 2,000 purely civilian victims of
Israel, the international outcry was modest and resulted in no
penalty or constraint on Israel's ability to kill. Israel was also
free to organize and maintain a proxy army in South Lebanon to
serve its post-invasion "iron fist" cross-border policies. If done
by Libya such an arrangement would be condemned as sponsorship of
international terrorism, but again, both the sponsorship of a
terrorist army and the numerous "iron fist" killings were not
condemned by the United States or its allies and this approved
international terrorism could proceed at the terrorist's discretion.
Israel's occupation has produced two "Intifadas," both rooted in
the severity of Israel's abuse of Palestinians in the occupied
territories. In the first, which lasted some five years, over a
thousand Palestinians were killed and many thousands were injured.
The West did not intervene at all in this process even though
Israel's abuses were in violation of UN resolutions and
international law; U.S. economic and military aid to the ethnic
cleanser did not shrink, and Israel was therefore free to kill and
repress with no apparent limit.

The same has been true in the case of the second Intifada which began in
September 2000. Israel has so far killed about 400 Palestinians, injured
thousands, and escalated the brutality of its army's repression in the
occupied territories
in a genuine anti-civilian war, preventing Palestinians from working,
harvesting crops, and obtaining medical care. But again the United States
supports Israel without limit, and the international community in general
does nothing substantive for the victims.
Yasar Arafat has asked for UN intervention to protect the
Palestinians who have been under harsh military attack, and Amnesty
International has called for international observers. But Israel is
against this, the United States supports Israel, so no protection
is forthcoming. As noted earlier, the contrast with Kosovo, and the
consistency with U.S. (and British) deference to Indonesia's
rights to ethnically cleanse East Timor in 1999 and earlier, are
enlightening. It was also noted that Israel's and Indonesia's
violence and ethnic cleansing have taken place in illegally
occupied territory, whereas Yugoslavia's occurred within its own
borders and in territory where international observers had already
been admitted.
But all of this is of no account as Israel and Indonesia are
prized U.S. client states, Yugoslavia is not. In the former cases,
therefore, "ethical foreign policy" and the new dedication of the
international community to the protection of defenceless people
against ethnic cleansing are suspended. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has
claimed that not only Germans but the Serbs had cultural qualities
giving their countries a bent toward ethnic cleansing and genocide.

But he has had nothing to say about any Israeli cultural penchant
that causes them to treat Palestinian Gentiles harshly, although
Eduardo Cohen, Israeli Shamir and Israel Shahak, and the words of
Netanyahu and Rabbis Shlomo Goren and Yaacov Perrin, suggest that
this should be rich Goldhagen terrain. No outcries over this case
of real and sustained ethnic cleansing have been heard from Susan
Sontag, David Rieff, Geoffrey Robertson, Bernard Kouchner, Vaclav
Havel, Michael Ignatieff, and the rest. This is officially approved
ethnic cleansing, the Palestinians are "unpeople" (John Pilger's
word) or "unworthy victims," and Israel's longstanding and savage
operations can proceed at their expense without impediment.

The Coming Bloodbath

Israel has had a free ride as an ethnic cleanser in part because
Jews, as victims of the Holocaust, have been treated gently and
claimed special security rights as erstwhile victims. But as noted,
like the Germans themselves, the Jews, or rather an important
segment of Jews, have claimed to be a chosen people with superior
rights to contested land. Add to this the protection given by the
United States to their implementation of these rights by force, and
a dangerous amalgam is put into play that has in fact led to
increasingly abusive behavior that feeds on itself.

With Ariel Sharon, a terrorist, war criminal, and longtime advocate of
"transfer" and policies of force, now head of the Israeli state,
and with his accession warmly greeted and "rock solid" U.S. support
of this terrorist assured by President Bush, there is every reason
to fear a shift from mere brutal ethnic cleansing and a "moderate"
bloodbath under the moderate Barak to a more massive bloodbath and
war under the "tough warrior" Sharon.

(con'd. in Bulletin #9...)