Posts Tagged ‘Palestine’


On August 1, The Movement for Black Lives issued its platform. The group represents a coalition of 60-plus organizations calling for equal treatment for African Americans in the criminal justice system and rebuilding Black communities. Among the platform’s statements: “The US […] is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.” Around the same time, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party issued an equally outrageous statement. What are the facts?

If the writers of the MBL platform had any idea what genocide entails, they’d think twice. (Perhaps they did: I just checked the platform, and the genocide reference seems to have been removed, although solidarity with “Palestine” remains. Fact: If Israel sought to slaughter the Palestinian people, it would have done so.

Fact: On May 6, reported that Palestinians engaging in the “Knife Intifada” had to date staged more than 350 attacks on Israelis leaving dead 34 Israelis and nearly 200 Palestinians. Understand that these Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers, police and the occasional armed civilian, who responded to the attacks. Does this constitute an Israeli strategy of genocide? I’d more of a case that it doesn’t, but the idea is so bizarre that I won’t waste my time writing more words on this matter and your time reading them.

But I will turn to an August 4 report in The New York Times: “Fatah Makes Incendiary Claim of Killing 11,000 Israelis.” Fatah, the political party headed by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, made an ugly boast in Arabic on one of its official Facebook pages. As writer Diaa Hadid reports: “’For the argumentative … the ignorant … And for those who do not know history,’ begins the Facebook post, ‘The Fatah movement killed 11,000 Israelis.’” The Fatah website had previously made the same erroneous claim in August 2014, according to the Times.

Is this the norm on Fatah’s part? Writes Hadid, “Mr. Abbas, who succeeded Mr. Arafat, has repeatedly said he supports nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation. But Fatah has historically championed armed resistance as a central tenet of its doctrine for the liberation of the Palestinian people.” Given the Facebook post, which side exhibits genocidal tendencies?

Fact: The situation between Israel and the Palestinians is not optimal. Tension and violence mar what passes for peace. Thankfully, the situation isn’t worse. Hopefully, it will get better. I’ve stated before and I’ll state now that I believe only a two-state solution will end these hostilities. But I’ll also emphasize that while Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will drag his feet as long as he remains in office, Palestinian leadership (let’s not even mention genocide-oriented Hamas in Gaza) digs in its heals to avoid negotiating a realistic two-state agreement.

As to The Movement for Black Lives, I support Black Americans (and Black French and Britons) being treated equally in every phase of life. I’ve always supported that. I always will. And where help is required, it needs to be given. But I will not support MBL in any way.

Fact: The issue does not involve Israel. Fact: Israel is not committing genocide. Fact: Doing nothing but muddy the waters by self-righteously defaming a nation, its people and their supporters will not move forward this important matter of social justice. Thinking that it will represents pure fantasy.

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Last week’s post, “Orwell in Gaza,” drew much response, including an email from Becca Orwell received yesterday. I reprint it here. In the interest of responsible journalism—the hallmark of modern media—I make no editorial comment.

Dear Mr. Perlstein:

I am disturbed, to put it mildly, by your post of July 18. While you reported my interview with Abu Jihad verbatim, you offered no context for my questions and his statements. Or my statements in question form. Or maybe more accurately, my clarifications of his statements, which some people might interpret as statements. Which they shouldn’t, since I am a journalist. Well, you know what I mean!!!

At any rate, context: I was, am and always will be entirely objective in my reporting. So some clarifications you owe to your misled readers…

I no longer attend Passover Seders because I no longer consider myself Jewish but rather an atheist (or am I an agnostic?) and a universalist, identifying with all downtrodden peoples of the world and condemning the bourgeoisie (does anyone still use that word?), which would prevent me from being objective about Hamas’ heroic attacks on Israel in support of its charter to destroy the criminal Israeli state and secure Palestinian self-determination from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. (If you feel this sentence is too long, you may edit it—but without perverting its context!!!)

The chador I wore at the time of the interview was given to me by my husband Mohammad. I never leave our apartment in Gaza City without my chador in order to maintain what you must know is a principle Jewish value—shalom bayit—meaning peace in the home. If a woman isn’t attentive, a home can be a very unpleasant place. (You get my drift.)

I had no hand in writing Abu Jihad’s media release of Tuesday through which he praised American and European airlines for cancelling flights in and out of Ben Gurion Airport as a result of a single rocket fired by Hamas that landed a mile or so away. I can certainly understand Hamas forcing another closure of Ben Gurion, although not this coming Tuesday when I’m flying to Paris to cover Muslim protests against world Zionism—providing, hopefully, that the situation doesn’t calm down before I get there. (You understand that I have a career to think about.)

Never in my Abu Jihad interview did I use the word “genocide,” although I now point to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s remarks last Saturday that, “Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism.” As you would expect, the Jewish media then condemned Mr. Erdogan. (If there’s a difference between 600 deaths and six million, perhaps you’d like to make that understandable for the rest of us who aren’t into semantics.)

Finally, didn’t Denzel Washington call for Black revolution in America “by any means necessary”? Or did you not see that movie? Given that moral authority, almost every people or nation has the right to defend itself against aggression. (Stylistically, do you think “almost” gets buried in that sentence?)


Becca Orwell

The blog will take a break next Friday and resume on August 8.

Responding is simple. Click on “comments” above then go to the bottom of the article.


ORWELL: This is Becca Orwell reporting live with Abu Jihad, Deputy Minister for Information of persecuted Hamas here in besieged Gaza. Minister, I want to be entirely objective about the Israeli war machine. What’s going on here?

ABU JIHAD: The Israelis keep bombing our rocket launching sites and targeting our military leaders. Now they’ve entered Gaza to destroy the tunnels we’ve dug into Israel to launch commando attacks. But God willing, we will keep trying to kill Jews. Every Jew is a legitimate target.

ORWELL: So you’re saying you will answer Israeli air and ground aggression designed to annihilate the Palestinian people.

ABU JIHAD: That’s why we’ve been firing rockets at Israel all these years. Now, we can reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Our rockets may be inaccurate—like the one on July 13 that hit electricity infrastructure supplying power to 70,000 Gazans—but we’ve killed one Jew in Israel so far. Insh’allah, we’ll kill another. We want Israelis to live in fear.

ORWELL: So you’re saying that Israeli women and children abet Israeli war criminals killing civilians in Gaza just because your rocket launching sites find shelter in Palestinians’ humble homes and schools.

ABU JIHAD: Obviously, if we put rocket launchers out in a field, the Jews will destroy them in a New York minute. But Jews are soft. They wait and wait before they get angry enough to respond. Then they warn people first. They think that peace and life are some kind of virtues. But if the Jews kill a hundred or a thousand human shields, no worries. Who doesn’t want to be a martyr? Besides, nobody stages a more dramatic funeral than we do. It’s all about manipulating the media.

ORWELL: So you’re saying that Israel shot down that Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine to take media attention off its barbaric ground assault on Gaza.

ABU JIHAD: If we had such a weapon, we’d close Ben Gurion Airport in a heartbeat.

ORWELL: So you’re saying that Gaza simply seeks to defend itself against Israeli aggression like the withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers in 2005.

ABU JIHAD: We will follow the Jews into Palestine and slaughter the Zionists. There can be only a Muslim nation between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. Read the Hamas charter. Then we will occupy the Jews’ homes and office buildings. I myself have picked out a condo on the beach in Tel Aviv. Praise God for Google Maps. If we have to kill a hundred thousand Jews or a million or more, this is only the will of Allah.

ORWELL: So there it is then. Israel wants to subject the Palestinians to a holocaust and bake the blood of innocent Palestinian children into their Passover matzahs, which I myself would never eat at my own family’s Seders, although I no longer attend out of solidarity with peoples everywhere seeking freedom from oppression.

ABU JIHAD: As a student in America, I once attended a Seder. I fondly remember the gefilte fish and brisket. By the way, you look lovely in a chador.

ORWELL: This is Becca Orwell reporting with the real story in subjugated Gaza. Peace!

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