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Winter 2004 cover

National Observer Home > No. 61 - Winter 2004 > Editorial Comment

European Poll: Israel 'biggest Threat to World Peace'

The European Commission conducted a survey, between 8 and 16 October 2003, through Taylor Nelson Sofres/E.O.S. Gallup of Europe, and those questioned were asked which countries posed a "threat to peace in the world".

The survey base was large, being a total of 7,515 citizens in the then fifteen European Union member states.

The country that was placed highest as a threat to world peace was Israel, which was named by 59 per cent of respondents. In Britain the figure was 60 per cent - 60 per cent of Britons put Israel at the top of the list as a threat to peace.

Criticism of Israel in Europe has depended to a large extent on the deliberate policy of Israel of moving Jewish settlements on to Palestinian territory so as to exclude Palestinians. The Jewish writer, Tania Reinhart, a Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at Tel Aviv University, has commented: 1 

"Sharon, now Israel's Prime Minister, describes its present war against the Palestinians as 'the second half of 1948' . . . By now there can be little doubt that what they mean by that analogy is that the work of ethnic cleansing was only half completed in 1948, leaving too much land to Palestinians. Although the majority of Israelis are tired of wars and of the occupation, Israel's political and military leadership is still driven by the greed for land, water, resources and power. From that perspective, the war in 1948 was just the first step in a more ambitious and more far-reaching strategy."

As well as the deliberate Israeli policy of taking over Palestinian lands, a second cause for European criticism of Israel is found in Israeli treatment of Palestinians, which is viewed by many Europeans as barbaric. The Palestinians have in effect been driven from the country in which they have lived, and on racist grounds are denied rights of return: they are not Jewish, and there is a perception in Europe that they are treated by the Israelis accordingly as untermenschen. Their conditions are of extreme poverty, and many of them are clearly possessed by hopelessness. This hopelessness appears to be one of the principal causes of terrorist activity, and it has been exacerbated by the deliberate spread of Israeli settlements. Suicide bombings are a resort of the desperate. Further, Israeli reprisals have commonly affected innocent Palestinian civilians, many of whom have been killed by Israeli bullets, with demonstrators and innocent civilians murdered. When Israeli spokesmen claim that their reprisals are aimed solely at terrorists, they do not admit that these reprisals are carried out deliberately in such a way that innocent civilians are killed or wounded.

Why are these matters of more concern in Europe than in Australia? The explanation appears to rest in organized pro-Israeli views put forward in Australia by some sections of the Jewish community, who are unwilling to admit that Israel is in any way at fault and who attack those who deprecate Israeli actions.

Attacks on critics of Israel may however backfire. There has been a substantial increase in anti-Jewish feeling in Europe, as a consequence of Israeli actions, and it appears that there is also an increase in anti-Jewish feeling in Australia, for the same reason. Jewish groups will not prevent this anti-Jewish feeling by ignoring the fundamental cause - Israeli actions - and abusing Australian critics.2  On the contrary, intemperate attacks on those who criticise Israel are likely to lead to further anti-Jewish feeling.3 

A particularly distasteful example of such attacks was found in the disgraceful reaction to the European Commission poll by Rabbi Marvin Hier, described as the Wiesenthal Center's founder and dean: "This poll is an indication that Europeans have been brought in, 'hook, line and sinker', to the vilification and demonization campaign directed against the State of Israel and her supporters by European leaders and media." The Wiesenthal Centre has itself, through its aggressive and extreme policies, done much to exacerbate anti-Jewish feeling throughout the world.

The basic requirement to resolve these difficulties is the immediate removal of all Jewish settlements from Gaza and other Palestinian territory. The Jewish settlers (who are regrett-ably aggressive proponents of Israeli expansion) should be resettled in Israel. A second requirement is that Palestinians who (or whose parents) were forced out of Israel should be allowed to elect within a specified time to return there, and to have equal rights with Jewish people. If these requirements were met there would be an almost certain end to the hostilities that now prevail.

These matters concern Australia. Australia has been drawn into a war in Iraq, and the better view is that this war has occurred as a function of Arab attitudes towards Israel, and that Arab enmity towards the United States is a consequence of excessive United States support for Israeli policies over many years. And it is highly probable that Moslem terrorism would not have arisen in any such form as is seen today if Israel had treated the Palestinians more humanely. Hence a just and humane treatment by Israel of the Palestinians is an important matter for Australia, as well as for many other countries.

Israel's "StateTerrorism"

In June 2004 it was reported that Turkey, Israel's closest ally in the Middle East, had accused Sharon of "state terrorism" against the Palestinians.4 The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, further likened the treatment of Palestinians to that of Jews under the Spanish Inquisition.

His comments came after an international outcry over the killing of some sixty Palestinians, including many civilians and children, in the preceding month's military assault on Rafah in Gaza. The Israeli army also caused widespread destruction of houses in Rafah, which left almost two thousand Palestinians homeless.

Mr. Erdogan commented that Turkey had welcomed Jews driven out of Spain by the Inquisition, and continued:

"Jews were the victims at that time. Today the Palestinians are the victims, and, unfortunately, the people of Israel are treating the Palestinians as they were treated 500 years ago. Bombing people - civilians - from helicopters, killing people without any consideration - children, women, the elderly - razing their buildings with bulldozers."

Israel: the Cause of Islam's Attacks on the West

A fear of being abused as "anti-semitic" has prevented many Western commentators from pointing out the obvious truths:

1. There is intense hatred of Israel by Palestinians and their Arab and Moslem allies and supporters. This hatred first arose when after a Jewish campaign of terrorism an emerging Jewish state drove many Palestinians from their homeland.

2. The initial hatred of Israel by Palestinians and their Arab and Moslem allies and supporters has been continuously inflamed by Israel's policy of Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and by the killing by Israeli forces of civilians and children.

3. This hatred has been drawn by the United States upon itself by its own indiscriminate support for aggressive Israeli policies. This United States' support has manifested itself in its vetoing of United Nations' resolutions concerning Israel.5 The United States has allowed itself to be in effect blackmailed by Jewish lobbies in America. These lobbies routinely accuse those who criticise Israel (justifiably) as being "anti-semitic", and there are threats not to advance campaign moneys to political parties who do not support Israel. Unfortunately Jewish lobbies in Australia (and especially in Melbourne) adopt similarly aggressive policies.6

4. These matters have, as might be expected, led to Moslem terrorism against Israel and also against the United States.

5. The United States' indiscriminate support of Israeli policies has led to terrorist attacks on it, such as the attacks on 11 September 2001. More recently Moslem attacks have been extended to Australians and nationals of many other Western countries.

6. Australia (like other Western countries) is no longer a mere observer of events in the Middle East. Australia has now become a target of Moslem activists. Australians have already been killed in large numbers, and Moslem groups have announced that they intend to kill even larger numbers of Australians.

7. Australia, like the United States, must make any support that is accorded Israel dependant upon actions by Israel that will reduce and eliminate as far as possible Moslem hatred of the West. In particular, Israel should be required (a) to remove all illegal Jewish settlements from Palestinian land and (b) to permit Palestinians driven from Israel, and their children. to return.

8. The Australian Government is disregarding the proper interests of Australians by supporting the indiscriminate United States promotion of Israel. It should urgently press the United States Government, before there is yet further intensification of Moslem hatred, to require Israel to behave humanely and, in particular, to remove all illegal Jewish settlements and to permit Palestinians to return to their homeland.

The view of many Europeans is undoubtedly correct, that Israel should not be permitted to drag the West, and especially Australia, into hostilities with the Moslem world. Australia, and especially the United States also, must require humane and moderate behaviour from Israel.

 1. Israel / Palestine, 2002, Allen & Unwin, pages 10-11.

 2. In National Observer, 2004, No. 59, pages 9-11, the main thesis of an Editorial Comment entitled "Israel and 'Anti-Semitism'", was that reasonable criticisms of Israeli actions do not justify accusations of "anti-Semitism". The Editorial Comment was the subject of an inaccurate attack by Senator Julian McGauran under cover of parliamentary privilege. Upon a complaint to the Privileges Committee pointing out that Senator McGauran's attack was inaccurate and defamatory it was ordered by that Committee that a response by Dr. Ian Spry Q.C. be published in Hansard, which was done on 30 March 2004. A question arises whether the surprising and inappropriate speech of Senator McGauran (who is one of the less highly regarded National Party representatives) was made following discussions with a member or members of a pro-Israel lobby.

 3. For example, on 6 May 2004 letters published in the Melbourne Herald Sun included statements: "Israel is responsible for many crimes against the Palestinians. That is an irrefutable fact, and people should be allowed to express it." "Why are we so scared of the Jewish community? As soon as something is not to their liking, everyone has to change their ways or they'll be branded anti-semitic . . . Why are we so quick to judge other races, religions and nationalities while the Jews are always put on a pedestal?" In The Sunday Age of 16 May 2004 Mr. Terry Lane stated that new Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories are 200,000; that since 1967 Israel has annexed 24 per cent of the West Bank, 25 per cent of Gaza and 89 per cent of Arab East Jerusalem. He also stated that the United States has provided $58 billion to Israel in military aid, but $0 to the Palestinians, and that the United States has vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions critical of Israel 39 times.

 4. The Age, 5 June 2004. Israeli dishonesty is evidenced by the fact that its housing ministry funnelled construction moneys for building settlements in the West Bank that it had pledged to remove: The Melbourne Herald Sun, 7 May 2004.

 5. Although Israel claims to be an "ally" of the United States, its role is predominantly parasitical.

 6. A particularly outspoken and extreme publication is The Review, published by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, of which the Editorial Chairman is Dr. Colin Rubenstein. This publication promotes strongly Israeli interests.

National Observer No. 61 - Winter 2004