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Monday, March 13, 2006

Political Blogs

This isn't. A political blog, that is. It is simply a diary of our move home.

I stress HOME because in my cruise through cyberspace this evening, when I should have been busily packaging mashloach manot, I visited Treppenwitz and found that he has been slimed by an agitprop artist in Germany who writes as a "Palestinian." Lots of the bloggers in Israel are writing about their private lives and ups and downs and while politics, because it is a part of life, wanders in and out, their blogs are not primarily political. So along comes the agitprop allegedly Palestinian-but-I-live-in-Europe writer who decides to engage in, for purely her own amusement and partisan oneupsmanship, trashing Treppenwitz because he lives in the West Bank. Of course, no one in Israel can win this argument, regardless of where they live geographically, because when I went on to read the rest of the agitprop blog, I found that ALL Israeli Jews are colonialist, invading, land-stealing, genocidal, racist, etc. scum.

The interesting thing about her blog is that while she speaks fluent English and works in Germany, she claims to be "Palestinian." A further internet search reveals that she has lived in South America, North America and Europe and has apparently never lived in Palestine, a country one of her two parents abandoned long ago. She doesn't speak Arabic. One parent is not Arab but Hispanic. This raises the question: why is it that "Palestinians-in-Exile" remain "Palestinian" for generations, no matter that they live in Germany, the United States, Lebanon, Mexico -- and all feel they have an ABSOLUTE right to the land that their Arab ancestors conquered at sword-point....yet the Jews, who took our name from Judea, the ancient name of that land, and were exiled by European ethnic cleansing, and who kept our language, our calendar, our prayer services and our hope of coming home for centuries -- WE have no right to live there.

Do I detect a racist double-standard? Yes. I do.

Question for the Palestian Diaspora: if your children and grandchildren are born in Lebanon or Canada or Denmark, do they have more 'right' to your "Palestine-from-the-river-to-the-sea" than the 4th and 5th generation Israeli children actually born there? Are you "Palestinian" if you are born of an Arab father and German, Danish, Venezualan mother? If you grow up speaking English, German or Spanish but not Arabic?

If Jews forfeited their rights to live under their own sovereignty because they were exiled by the Romans and Arab and Mameluks and Crusaders, then at what point do the "Palestinians" who live abroad forfeit their right to a sovereign nation of their own?

Hate-blogs like agitprop's are depressing because any hope for rational conversation is totally drowned out by spiteful rhetoric and self-serving propagandistic diatribes. For example:

"In spite of unchecked immigration the area of Palestine partioned for the Jewish state in 1948 did not have a Jewish majority, and Jews owned less than ten percent of the land."

Strong statement. Totally wrong. First there was no 'unchecked immigration.' The Turks, who owned the land then (not the Arabs or "Palestinians") allowed Jewish immigration into their empire and had done so since the 1400s. The Turks also allowed immigration of any group of people within their empire to other parts of the empire. They also allowed non-Jews to immigrate: Ali Pasha had the sultan's permission to bring Algerian Arabs to settle parts of Syria and the Galil in the 1800s in order to end a brush war between the Algerian tribesmen and the French. The "Palestinians" of the area of Kibbutz Lavi are historically Algerians.

However, the Turks caved in to the Arab demands that Jewish immigration be stopped--and the Jews who had purchased farms and worked them on the Golan were promptly evicted and other Jewish farming operations were looked on with well-founded suspicion as World War One approached, as many Jews favored the British over the Turks. This is not because the Jews were "European" as agitprop would have it--after all, the Arabs supported the British also. Go read T.E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillers of Wisdom" about the British-inspired, funded and led "Arab Revolt."

After World War One, which the Brits won and the Turks lost, Britain and France divided up the Middle East, promising a Jewish state to the Jews. Once again, Arab riots caused the closure of Jewish immigration. As Hitler was coming to power in Germany and promising genocide, the British White Paper closed Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine.

So there was NO 'unchecked immigration' as agitprop alleges. But she declares it with such passion, such conviction, such brio, that anyone reading it wouldn't know it is pure bullshit.

Oh, the other part -- "Jews owned less than 10% of the land." Hey, guess what, so did the Arabs! The British inherited Turkish land laws, which still are the basis of much Israeli real estate law. The CROWN owns the land. ALL of it. You, the individual Jewish or Arab farmer -- you don't own it unless (1) it is registered in TABU and (2) you are paying taxes on it. Unregistered land doesn't belong to anyone except the government. Even Arafat knew this -- one of the projects he actually DID get going in the West Bank was to have the Palestinians there start registering their land AND paying taxes on it.

Any land not registered and taxed reverted back to the Crown, regardless of how long your family had farmed it. And guess what? There was a lot of farming going on in places remote from Turkish control on land that wasn't registered, and hence, not taxed!

When the Brits took over, the "Crown lands" became subject to the British Mandatory Authority instead of the sultan--and the Brits also required that the land be registered and taxed.

When the UN partition voted Israel and Palestine into existance, the unregistered, untaxed Crown/Mandatory lands reverted to the new governments -- the Israeli and the Palestinian. Except, whoops! there was no Palestinian government because nine Arab armies made a "War of Liberation" their excuse for a land-grab of their own. Don't believe it? After 1948, no country called "Palestine" was created by any occupying Arab force -- Gaza was Egyptian, and Jordan annexed the West Bank.

But back to that 10% -- yes, the day before Israel existed by UN vote, Jews owned a small percentage of the land. But Arabs also owned a similarly small percentage of the land, and the government owned all the rest. And on Israel's independence day, ALL of the land not registered and taxed, by operation of long-established law in the land, became the property of the Government of Israel to do with as it pleased.

The UN partition plan was based solely on demographics. That's the reason the 1948 partition bounderies look like a crazy quilt: with the exception of the Negev, which the UN decided was a wasteland no one wanted so they gave to the Jews, the rest of the area was divvied up by demographics -- majority Jewish was the Jewish state, majority Arab was the Arab state, with the UN reserving Jerusalem for itself. So contrary to agitprop's claim, demographics played a huge role in the partition, and the areas partitioned to the Jews were majority Jewish.

I digress immensely on this subject because this self-indulgent, intellectually dishonest, historical revisionist racist Palestinian-by-proxy who spouts her venom in cyberspace deserves a slapdown on the grounds of common decency: at a time when individual Palestinian and Israeli bloggers are trying to cut through the crap by blogging publicly about their lives and engaging in conversations, however circuitous, careful or painful, about the conflict and their feelings and hopes, along comes agitprop-the-American-wanna-be-Palestinian with her hate, rhetoric and lies, doing her best to slam the writers on both sides who try to build bridges.

So, agitprop, see my tag: "Aliyah '06." My family has kept Hebrew and our Semitic faith and culture alive for over 20 generations, through pogroms, expulsions, Inquisition, discrimination, random murder--through all of that we have kept our culture, language and faith intact. Three times a day we bow in prayer to Jerusalem. Daily prayers and blessings keep alive the prayer to return to Jerusalem and the Land promised to Abraham's children. Every year we promise that 'next year in Jerusalem' will be a reality rather than a prayer. You and I have both voted with our feet. I'm coming home. You've left. The land is mine. End of discussion.

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