by James M. Wall
This is a story about a New York Times columnist who dissembled, a movie about a man named Truman who escapes from a made-up reality, and Israeli Arab villagers who stood by helplessly as the Israeli army destroyed their village.
The New York Times’ column (August 2) strains credulity. Some of my best liberal friends were taken in by the earnest, helpful tone of the column written by Efraim Karsh.
Unless you are well versed in the history and politics of the Middle East, circa 1948 to the present, you too, might read Karsh’s column as a serious effort to be helpful to the Palestinian people.
Blogger and retired professor Jerome Slater was not beguiled by Karsh. He writes:
*Karsh concludes that it’s a good thing for the Palestinians that the Arabs have now “apparently become so apathetic about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” their previous “self-serving interventionism has denied Palestinians the right to determine their own fate”
Efraim Karsh is an Israeli-born professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King’s College London and the author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed, a book praised by a certain segment of the American media/academic community.
Writing for the National Review, Daniel Pipes described Palestine Betrayed as:
“[A] tour de force. . . . With his customary in-depth archival research. . .clear presentation, and meticulous historical sensibility, Karsh argues. . . that Palestinians decided their own destiny and bear near-total responsibility for becoming refugees.”
Sol Schindler wrote in the Washington Times that Palestine Betrayed is:
“A thoroughly researched, sound historical account of the struggles that ensued between the Jewish and Arab communities when the British decided to leave Palestine.”
For the past week I have been reading and writing about, Andrew J. Bacevich’s book, Washington Rules, a clarion call which alerts the American and Israeli publics to the reality that we are all living in a reality show created and sustained by Washington Rules.
Bacevich makes a convincing case that our American power matrix operates within an interlocking control mechanism which demands decision-making consistency from all who seek the comfort and security of believing in the Rules.
This matrix controls our understanding of reality in a manner disturbingly like the enclosed community created by film director Peter Weir in his brilliant 1998 fantasy movie, The Truman Show. In that film, insurance salesman/adjuster Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) has lived his entire life within a totally fabricated television reality show.
Karsh and the New York Times know that under the Washington Rules, the American public receives its information on the politics of the Middle East from the keepers of the Washington Rules.
Experience teaches us that this is how the Zionist narrative will continue to be viewed. There are signs, however, that this could be changing.
At a crucial turning point in The Truman Show, Christof, the director within the film, realizes that Truman, is starting to doubt what he is experiencing. Christof is forced to tell Truman the truth. In doing so, he argues that it is a better truth than the one Truman would find if he escapes from the world Christof has created for him.
The Zionist narrative, with its elements of horrific reality, has been stretched so thinly by the current right wing Israeli government that its credibility has begun to crumble. In time, even the casual observer may begin to doubt.
Karsh and the Times are doing their part to protect the narrative, presenting Israeli leaders as well-intentioned Zionists who really can be trusted to do what is best for all.
Karsh does not help his cause by misusing a survey conducted by the Al Arabiya television network to argue that the “Arabs have indeed abandoned the Palestinians”.
The sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement.
Start with a false premise, you reach a false conclusion. The Al Arabiya survey did not mention Palestine nor Palestinians. Rather it asked respondents about their level of interest in the “Middle East peace process”, a vague question to which 71 percent responded they had no interest.
Hardly surprising, writes James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, because few people in the Arab states or Palestine believe in a “peace process” which Israel has no intention of ever taking seriously since Israel’s goal is not peace but total control. Zogby writes:
Given the lack of results and the repeated disappointments and frustrations experienced during just the last two decades of the so-called “Middle East peace process,” this lack of interest displayed by respondents in the al Arabiya website question is hardly surprising.
But to go from this result to Qallab’s alarming conclusion or Karsh’s broader argument is both unwarranted and dangerously wrong.
The American public which lives under the Washington Rules, continues to close its collective minds to the harshness of what has happened to the Palestinian population since the start of the Nakba in 1947-48, an event which Karsh in an earlier book, denied ever happened.
The power centers that enforce and sustain the Washington Rules work diligently across partisan political, media, and financial lines to keep the masses living within a reality show, never fully informed and always just out of sight of the brutalities of Israel’s ever-expanding military control.
Karsh does not argue, he simply tells the Palestinians the Arab states have abandoned them. The “poll results-leave them with no choice but to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and negotiate a settlement with the current Zionist government.”
He asks Palestinians to reach a negotiated settlement with an Israel he denies was created through an ethnic cleaning of Palestinian families that continues unabated to this day as the picture above and this video demonstrate.
Should the Palestinians negotiate in good faith with a government that has just bused in high school students to take part in the most recent ethnic cleansing of its own Israeli residents of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb, ancestral land that has belonged to these Bedouin families since the Days of the Ottoman Empire?
Max Blumenthal reported on the eradication of the village:
On July 26, Israeli police demolished 45 buildings in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib, razing the entire village to the ground to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest.
The destruction was part of a larger project to force the Bedouin community of the Negev away from their ancestral lands and into seven Indian reservation-style communities the Israeli government has constructed for them. The land will then be open for Jewish settlers, including young couples in the army and those who may someday be evacuated from the West Bank after a peace treaty is signed.
For now, the Israeli government intends to uproot as many villages as possible and erase them from the map by establishing “facts on the ground” in the form of JNF forests.
Witnesses told CNN that the Israeli forces arrived at the village accompanied by busloads of civilians who cheered as the dwellings were demolished. They said armed police deployed with tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers.
Do Efraim Karsh, the New York Times and the keepers of the Washington Rules really expect us to believe the Palestinian people can trust this current Israeli government?
Apparently they do, which just may be a hopeful sign because the world of unreality they have created is showing signs that its days-or years-are numbered.
“Cue the sun”.
The picture is an Active Stills photo of a Bedouin family being evicted from their home in Al-Arakib. The still photo and the video at top are from maxblumenthal.com.