Eliminating the Entire Palestinian People
RON UNZ •
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Two weeks ago the Sunday New York Times Magazine published a long cover-story on thirty years of failed Middle East peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians, a tragedy that resulted in the enormous bloodshed and destruction of the last couple of months. The discussion featured three Israeli and three Palestinian academics, moderated by staff writer Emily Bazelon, and the overall tone—for better or for worse—probably reflected the historical and ideological assumptions of the liberal Zionists who dominate the editorial leadership of the Times and most other major American media outlets.
Bazelon’s introduction ran a few paragraphs, summarizing the history of the conflict, which was portrayed as a struggle between right and right, with two unfortunate peoples battling over the same small piece of land. An early sentence stated that the Israelis saw the 1948 war as “an existential fight for survival, one that came just a few years after the Holocaust,” and that latter event, so endlessly covered in our media, obviously required no explanation for Times readers. But in the following sentence we were told that for three generations, Palestinians have similarly regarded 1948 as the year of their Nakba. That Arabic word was far less familiar to most Westerners, so Bazelon went on to explain that it meant “catastrophe,” the tragic circumstances under which 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forcibly expelled from their ancient homeland.
The following Wednesday, another Times article on the Israel/Gaza conflict similarly conjoined the Holocaust and the Nakba, this time in a single sentence, as had a different Times story a week earlier. These days there is even a Wikipedia entry running 3,300 words on those two interlinked historical traumas, so separately meaningful to Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, and in 2018 an entire book was published with that title.
The increasing appearance of the term Nakba in elite mainstream publications such as the Times represents an important ideological victory for the Palestinian cause. Our media creates our reality, so concepts or historical events that lack an identifying name are far less likely to be considered important and remembered. Thus, the growing use of that one word may carry greater political weight than the actual historical fact that 700,000 pitiful refugees were expelled from their homes in Palestine.
There are now widespread suspicions that the current Israeli military attacks in Gaza are intended to drive all its Palestinians into the Sinai desert of Egypt, and will be followed by attempts to do the same to the Palestinians of the West Bank. Indeed, after decades of denying the reality of the 1948 Nakba, some top Israeli leaders are now proclaiming their plans for a new and far greater Nakba, finally ridding the Greater Israel they control of its unwanted Palestinian inhabitants.
I’m not sure when I first encountered the word Nakba in any of my publications. It might have been during the late 1980s when the first Intifada or “uprising” became a widely featured story regarding the Middle East, describing the Palestinian protests, violent and non-violent, in the West Bank and Gaza against what was then two decades of Israeli occupation. Or perhaps it was a few years later during the early 1990s, when the Oslo Peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO seemed set to finally resolve the conflict and move the region towards a reasonable peace agreement, one that included the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
I had already often seen the phrase “Palestinian refugees” in many news stories, with the UN camps of the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and elsewhere holding well over a million of those people, and I was vaguely aware that they’d fled from their former homes in Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948.
The media accounts that I casually absorbed over the years had been rather vague and sketchy, and they often presented severe distortions or outright falsehoods about those important events, being heavily shaped by the propaganda of Israel and its legion of partisans. We were often told that the flight of the Palestinians had been promoted by radio broadcasts of three or four neighboring Arab countries, which urged them to clear the ground for the invading armies that were expected to snuff out the newly-founded Jewish State. Those departures had been intended as very temporary, but after the professional Arab armies were unexpectedly defeated by the desperate, untrained Zionist militias, a Palestinian sojourn expected to last days or weeks ultimately stretched into years and decades. The unfortunate hardships of refugee life were worsened by the cruel refusal of the Arab states to integrate the Palestinians into their own societies, a failure that sharply contrasted with Israel’s rapid and successful assimilation of the many hundreds of thousands of Jews who had been expelled from Arab countries around the same time. Indeed, those neighboring Arab regimes sought to use the Palestinian refugees merely as political pawns against the newly established State of Israel, whose existence they viewed with such unremitting hostility. But little of this narrative was true, and crucial legal and historical facts were completely omitted.
As might be expected, the difficult existence of those many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps eventually fostered the rise of violent militant organizations such as the PLO, which sought to capture the world’s attention through high-profile terrorist attacks. By the early 1970s, their plane hijackings drew widespread attention and this was followed by the infamous seizure and killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Other terrorist groups such as Germany’s notorious Baader-Meinhof gang often cooperated with the PLO, and in 1976 their joint hijacking operation had been foiled by a bold Israeli commando raid at Entebbe airport in Uganda.
Prior to those incidents, the plight of the Palestinians had largely been ignored. But within a few years, the term “Palestinian terrorist” and “Palestinian refugee” both became widespread across our media, though the latter still included very little discussion of the circumstances that had originally created their predicament.
Far more typical was their villainous portrayal in Hollywood fare, such as the popular 1977 film Black Sunday, in which American FBI and Israeli Mossad agents together foiled a Palestinian terrorist plot to kill 80,000 Americans by blowing up the Goodyear Blimp over the Superbowl stadium, with our own President being one of the intended victims.
Although bombs and bullets have been weapons widely used during the 75 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think that the role of media coverage has been far more crucial to its trajectory, with the Israelis enjoying an enormous advantage in that regard given the massive pro-Israel bias of Western journalists and publications, let alone Hollywood productions. In evaluating both current and past events, thoughtful analysts should always account for that extreme bias—and the very sharply tilted playing field it creates—if they wish to correctly determine the reality of events.
I think that the first substantial wave of sympathetic media coverage the Palestinians ever received may have come in the wake of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, culminating in the long, brutal siege of Beirut. Ariel Sharon, the hardline Defense Minister of Menachem Begin’s right-wing Israeli government, had been the mastermind of that project, which resulted in the deaths of perhaps 20,000 Palestinians and Lebansese civilians and his actions were roundly condemned by Times correspondent Thomas Friedman. The endless Israeli references to Palestinian “terrorists” were even ridiculed in Doonesbury:
Back then, invading an Arab country and besieging its capital city was an almost unprecedented event, and with American and international diplomatic pressure mounting, the PLO military forces who were the purported targets of Israel’s assault were evacuated under UN auspices. But once those fighters were removed, Sharon soon afterwards orchestrated a grisly massacre of the defenseless Palestinian women and children left behind at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. That unfortunate event produced a major public relations debacle for the Israelis and a renewed international focus upon the Palestinians. There was growing global sympathy for their plight and some possibility that the American media would focus on the circumstances of their original expulsion, although I don’t recall the discussion of any specifics at that time, let alone the appearance of the term Nakba.
Given that serious crack in the previously overwhelming pro-Israel media tilt, it’s hardly surprising that Israel’s partisans would soon launch a sudden, concerted counter-attack, a bold attempt to permanently remove the Nakba from world history even before that term made any appearance on the political stage.
As a Stanford physics graduate student, I remember that in 1984 or 1985 the subject of the Middle East conflict once happened to come up and one of my fellow grad students—a pro-Israel Gentile—declared that the entire “Palestinian refugee problem” was largely a hoax. To my considerable surprise, he explained that most Palestinians were actually not native to the area, instead being relatively recent immigrants from neighboring Arab countries who had arrived during the decade or two preceding the 1948 war, drawn by the economic opportunities produced from the growing Jewish settlement.
I’d never devoted a great deal of time to the Middle East conflict, but that claim seemed very surprising to me, contrary to everything that I’d read, and although I was hardly convinced, I vaguely wondered whether it might be true to some extent. Obviously, if many or most of the so-called “Palestinians” weren’t actually natives of Palestine displaced by the Zionist Jewish settlers who had created Israel but were instead themselves recent immigrants who had arrived around the same time or later, the entire political landscape of the bitter regional conflict would be transformed.
Some years later, I discovered that those striking claims had been presented in a lengthy, extremely controversial 1984 book, glowingly praised in mainstream and pro-Israel circles but condemned as fraudulent by its critics, with the latter eventually gaining the upper hand and the arguments gradually disappearing from the media. But it was only about a decade ago that I finally looked into the matter, and discovered a fascinating story.
Joan Peters had been a college drop-out and free-lance writer, with interest in the Middle East but having little historical expertise. Then in 1984, her name suddenly appeared as the author of From Time Immemorial, a remarkably scholarly volume, running 600 pages with nearly 2,000 footnotes, a book that made the revolutionary claim that the Palestinians did not really exist as a people. According to her Introduction, she had begun the research project years earlier quite sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian refugees and intending to focus on their miserable condition, but she gradually encountered more and more clues that they were largely a propaganda-concoction fabricated by Israel’s Arab enemies. So she then spent years digging in musty archives, carefully researching the underlying demographic data and finally producing her masterwork, which was eagerly released by a leading New York publisher.
A gigantic wave of almost uniformly glowing reviews praised her exhaustive scholarship, propelling her book onto all the bestseller lists. Even more importantly, she soon became the darling of the electronic media, reaching a vastly larger national audience through her 200 or 300 radio and television interviews, in which she exploded the widespread myth that the so-called “Palestinian refugees” had been longtime occupants of Palestine. Her monumental discovery was glowingly endorsed by top academic scholars, Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, and even the odd Nobel Laureate or two.
Back then, the media landscape was far more hierarchical and unified than today, with the Western prestige press lacking any significant global rivals or Internet critics. Given such strong backing, her surprising conclusions seemed likely to become deeply embedded in the accepted narrative, permanently relegating any doubters to the conspiratorial fringes. And if the “Palestinians” did not actually exist as a people, any notion that they had a legitimate claim to the land obviously evaporated.
This might easily have happened except for the determination of a young Princeton graduate student named Norman Finkelstein, having a strong interest in Zionist history. He became curious about this widely-praised new book, which seemed to contradict everything he knew about the subject, so he began checking some of Peters’ scholarly references, and discovered that many of them were severely distorted or even falsified. Notwithstanding her legion of prestigious endorsements, he concluded that her book constituted “a spectacular fraud,” with important sections apparently even plagiarized from a Zionist propaganda tract published decades earlier that no one had ever taken seriously.
Unlike the political world, academia is largely run on the honor-system, and very few individuals bother critically checking the footnotes in a text released by a major press and strongly endorsed by many important figures. So absent Finkelstein’s personal efforts, it’s quite possible that the entire Palestinian people might have vanished from recognized existence without the need for the Israelis to fire a single shot. The gigantic, blatant hoax of “Nakba Denial” would have hardened into concrete, with no one in the political mainstream being willing to publicly challenge it.
As Finkelstein and others tell the story, uncovering that massive fraud in a very high-profile bestseller was easy enough, but bringing those facts to wider attention proved extremely difficult, especially since so many influential Jewish intellectuals had already invested their reputations in praising and endorsing the work, along with so many important publications. Finkelstein’s letters to journalists and editors were completely ignored, and of the many academics he contacted, only Noam Chomsky of MIT bothered responding. Chomsky, a strong critic of Israeli policies, encouraged Finkelstein’s efforts but warned that he might be severely damaging his own academic career, a concern that unfortunately proved correct.
Finkelstein wrote up his detailed critique as a long article, which he submitted everywhere but it was similarly ignored, until Chomsky helped him place a shortened version in a tiny Midwestern leftist magazine. Gradually word of Finkelstein’s analysis began circulating, with journalists and scholars realizing that it was probably only a matter of time until the intellectual scandal exploded, but no publication was willing to be the first to expose the plagiarized fraud. The prestigious New York Review of Books solicited an evaluation from a leading Israeli demographic historian, who ridiculed Peters’ book as “sheer forgery,” merely amounting to regurgitated Zionist propaganda that no one in Israel took seriously, but the editors refused to allow his devastating review to appear in print. However, in those days, British intellectuals were less beholden to Zionist influence and they were alerted by Chomsky to Finkelstein’s detailed criticism, so the appearance of the book’s British edition quickly unleashed a wave of ridicule in leading London publications, which finally forced most of their shamefaced American counterparts to acknowledge those same facts.
The book and the controversy it provoked were sufficiently important that it has become the subject of a lengthy Wikipedia article that effectively summarizes the story, helpfully providing numerous links and quotations. I’d also strongly recommend a 2002 essay by Chomsky that is available online, along with a 2015 article in Mondoweiss on the occasion of Peters’ death:
- The Fate of an Honest Intellectual
Noam Chomsky • Understanding Power • 2002 •
- The legacy of Joan Peters and ‘From Time Immemorial’
David Samel • Mondoweiss • January 17, 2015 •
In his discussion, Chomsky even suggested that Peters’ pseudo-scholarly tome had probably been concocted by some intelligence agency or pro-Israel activist organization, with her name as author merely slapped upon that fraudulent work. This seems quite plausible to me, given that she’d never before nor afterwards published any serious writings in history nor other academic research. Indeed, I think the primary asset she contributed to the project may have been the Gentile last name of her first husband, along with her reasonably telegenic appearance.
So if not for the efforts of one determined grad student, a massive historical hoax likely would have carried the day and become established in the media. Probably after a few years, Hollywood would have eagerly clambered on board, soon releasing a wealth of films and documentaries telling the story of the forlorn, almost empty land of Palestine, eventually revived by an influx of idealistic Jewish immigrants, whose economic success naturally drew in Arabs from all the neighboring countries of the Middle East. Perhaps some of those screenplays would have centered upon the heroic efforts of Peters herself, a brilliant independent scholar who labored for years to reveal a truth long concealed by a biased and arrogant academic establishment. And the entire Palestinian people, now numbering in the many millions, would have been completely erased from the official Western record, with only a few dissenting voices on the fringes of today’s Internet still stubbornly claimed otherwise and being endlessly hectored by the ADL for espousing such “anti-Semitic” beliefs. As I’ve emphasized in the past, what we regard as the reality of the world is probably far less solid than most of use believe.
We naively tend to assume that our media accurately reflects the events of our world and its history, but instead what we all too often see are only the tremendously distorted images of a circus fun-house mirror, with small items sometimes transformed into large ones, and large ones into small. The contours of historical reality may be warped into almost unrecognizable shapes, with some important elements completely disappearing from the record and others appearing out of nowhere. I’ve often suggested that the media creates our reality, but given such glaring omissions and distortions, the reality produced is often largely fictional. Our standard histories have always criticized the ludicrous Soviet propaganda during the height of Stalin’s purges or the Ukrainian famine, but in its own way, our own media organs sometimes seem just as dishonest and absurd in their own reporting. And until the availability of the Internet, it was difficult for most of us to ever recognize the enormity of this problem.
I recently reread Finkelstein’s excellent 1995 book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, which devoted a chapter to the Joan Peters case, and similarly deconstructed several other major examples of the massively biased scholarship and media coverage that have severely distorted American perceptions of the Middle East conflict. The Peters book itself has long been out of print and used copies available for sale quickly vanished following the outbreak of the recent Gaza violence, but fortunately a PDF version was temporarily available at Archive.org, which I downloaded and read. The contents seeming to confirm Finkelstein’s very harsh verdict, especially since none of his detailed charges were ever rebutted.
However, that hardly marked the end of the strange story. In the wake of the Second Intifada of the early 2000s, Israel’s public image in the West took another beating, so in 2003 Alan Dershowitz, a leading Harvard Law professor and fervent Zionist advocate, published The Case for Israel, which became a huge bestseller and repeated many of the same arguments about the non-existence of the Palestinians. Indeed, as Finkelstein soon demonstrated, that esteemed academic scholar—or more likely, his lazy ghostwriters—had extensively borrowed without credit large portions of Peters’ long-discredited book from two decades earlier. In a widely-discussed joint appearance on Democracy Now!, Dershowitz desperately tried to filibuster away Finkelstein’s devastating charges of academic fraud, and the resulting Dershowitz-Finkelstein affair even has a 4,500 word Wikipedia page of its own, as does the book itself.
Dershowitz was hardly pleased at the humiliating revelation that he had signed his name to the plagiarism of an already plagiarized fraud, thereby committing the sort of academic transgressions that would have gotten any freshman undergraduate expelled. Therefore, he launched a fierce campaign of retaliation, deploying his prestigious Harvard position and influential Jewish backers to drive his accuser from the academic world. Finkelstein had spent seven years as a faculty member at DePaul University, but although he was overwhelmingly recommended for tenure both by his own department and the entire College of Arts and Sciences, the backers mobilized by Dershowitz—and probably the wealthy donors they represented—exercised their veto, and he lost his appointment, leading to a bitter public lawsuit.
The story of Dershowitz’s fraudulent pro-Israel bestseller constitutes a major part of Finkelstein’s 2005 book Beyond Chutzpah, published by the University of California press, a prestigious academic imprint, and Dershowitz mobilized all his supporters to block its release, even recruiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to unsuccessfully lobby the UC Regents to ban the book. I had originally purchased that text more than a dozen years ago, but only now finally read its devastating critique of the dishonest propaganda so widely deployed on behalf of the history and activities of the Jewish State. His updated 2008 edition includes a very lengthy summary of the overwhelming evidence of Dershowitz’s plagiarism by a third party researcher who investigated the case, portions of which are also available online at Counterpunch.
So the academic plagiarist escaped any consequences, while the scholar who revealed that plagiarism was permanently exiled from the academic community.
Dershowitz had become a tenured Harvard professor at the age of 28, among the youngest in that university’s history, and Jeffrey Sachs was one of his former colleagues who shared that same distinction. Sachs, like Dershowitz, came from a Jewish background, but was quite different in his temperament and personality, and over the last year or two he has become one of our most prominent public intellectuals, first with regard to the origins of Covid and the Nord Stream pipeline attacks, and soon afterward with his analysis of the Ukraine war and its political roots.
His extremely rare combination of topmost credentials in elite establishment circles together with a remarkable candor in challenging official narratives has propelled him into the media stratosphere, and his numerous interviews have often accumulated hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube, sometimes reaching a million or more. Two of his very early appearances in that rising media arc were with the Gray Zone and Steve Hsu’s Manifold, and these have become the most popular videos in the history of those channels, with the former now approaching a half-million views. Indeed, last year ago I’d suggested that the Columbia University academic had probably become a “rogue elephant” in the minds of his establishmentarian opponents:
- Jeffrey Sachs as Righteous Rogue Elephant
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • October 10, 2022 •
Different scholars have different fields of expertise, and Sachs is an international economist, whose regions of focus have been the former Soviet Bloc countries, Latin America, and China, but apparently without much emphasis upon the Middle East. However, during the long Covid lock-downs, he expanded his knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by reading a recently published book by Prof. Rashid Khalidi, one of his Columbia University colleagues, then joined the author for a very interesting hour-long discussion available on Youtube.
By purest chance, I stumbled across that video several months ago, not long before the region suddenly erupted in unexpected violence, and found it an excellent presentation of the important historical facts, many of them previously unknown to me, while Sachs similarly emphasized that he was forced to “unlearn” much of the history that he had casually absorbed over the years. Although many of Sachs’ more recent videos have attracted hundreds of thousands of views or more, after two years this one hadn’t even reached 900, and despite the dramatic events of the last two months, it only finally broke 1,000 views a few days ago. Given the academic stature of the two participants and the current importance of the topic, I hope this may change once more of the world discovers it
This interesting discussion prompted me to read the author’s excellent book, which segmented the century-long struggle between Zionists and Palestinians into six separate conflicts. Although I found his detailed accounts of this history very helpful, I’d already been aware of the general outlines of most of the later portions of the history, so I gained the most from the first two in the list, especially his discussion of the earliest stages of the Zionist colonization project, which greatly accelerated during the two decades of Mandatory Palestine that followed the British conquest of the territory in the First World War.
The story the author tells is a simple one, but rather different from what has been presented in America’s mainstream media. The early Zionist leaders were mostly Central European Jews, and when they focused on Palestine, they explicitly envisioned the establishment of a Jewish nation-state, with most of them believing that the native Palestinians, living there for many centuries, must necessarily be induced to leave or forcibly expelled. Since the Zionist Jews were at first only a tiny minority, entirely consisting of newcomers to the country, such intentions were hardly broadcast, but instead planned for the future.
So in the early years of the twentieth century a small number of ideologically-zealous Central and Eastern Europeans plotted to seize a distant, already heavily-settled land and displace its many hundreds of thousands of longtime, existing inhabitants, a proposal of astonishing audacity, made more so by the fact that they ultimately succeeded. No obvious historical parallel comes to mind.
Although its origins have been disputed, Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration had somewhat ambiguously proclaimed that Palestine should become a national homeland for the Jewish people while also maintaining the rights of the existing inhabitants. So soon after Britain captured the country from the Ottoman Empire in 1918, conflicts naturally arose.
In 1921 a prominent American academic visited Palestine and he published his eyewitness account in a leading periodical, documenting the severe hostility between the fanatic Zionist settlers and the huge majority of native Palestinians, with large portions of his report subsequently reprinted in Henry Ford’s national newspaper. Back in those days, the mainstream American media was less totally one-sided than it eventually became, and the following year a long article appeared in a major newspaper syndicate describing those same facts, including the violence and extremism of the Zionists, with that fascinating time-capsule reprinted and discussed in one of our own recent articles.
- Destination 1922: A Return to Claims of the Arabs in Palestine
Sigurd Kristensen • The Unz Review •
These contemporaneous reports by American journalists and academics seemed to fully corroborate Khalidi’s historical narrative, but I also noticed a further, interesting detail.
For decades, Lord Northcliffe had reigned as Britain’s most powerful media mogul, the imperious owner of the Times of London and other publications, whose bombastic nationalist sentiments and political clout made him the William Hearst or Rupert Murdoch of his era. According to that 1922 news story, during his visit to Palestine, he became outraged over the violent Zionist attacks against both the local majority of non-Zionist Jews and the native Palestinians, and planned to orchestrate a media campaign against Zionism after his return to Britain. Instead, Northcliffe died soon afterwards, claiming to have been poisoned according to the later memoirs of Douglas Reed, his young personal assistant at the time, and the latter was convinced that the Zionists had used lethal means to protect their political project. We should note that in Ronen Bergman’s authoritative 2018 history of Zionist assassinations, one of the earliest victims was a prominent anti-Zionist Jewish leader, killed in 1924 for planning to lobby the British government against the Zionist enterprise.
Having successfully removed various political obstacles to their scheme, the Zionists focused during the 1920s and 1930s on Jewish immigration, seeking to raise their numbers to the point at which they could gain control of the country. The native Palestinians naturally suspected exactly this plan, and conflicts escalated, culminating in an Arab general strike and large scale revolt against foreign rule that began in 1936 and lasted until 1939, harshly suppressed by the British military assisted by Zionist militias. According to Khalidi, an estimated 14 to 17 percent of the entire adult male population of Palestinians was killed, wounded, imprisoned, or exiled during the conflict, severely weakening that community and especially its political leadership for the future military struggle against the Zionists that followed a decade later.
However, after quelling the Arab Revolt, the British sought to reduce future unrest by issuing a White Paper in 1939, sharply curtailing Jewish immigration and promising other restrictions. This provoked bitter Zionist resentment, culminating a few years later in their assassination of Lord Moyne, the British Minister for the Middle East. Indeed, although Khalidi is careful to avoid these very delicate subjects, once World War II broke out, one of the smaller right-wing Zionist factions led by a future prime minister of Israel unsuccessfully sought a military alliance with Hitler and Mussolini, just as the mainstream Zionist movement had heavily relied upon its crucial economic partnership with Nazi Germany throughout the 1930s.
Britain’s wartime leader Prime Minister Winston Churchill was very strongly pro-Zionist, and near the end of the war, he authorized the formation of a Jewish Brigade, allowing the militias of the nascent Zionist state to gain crucial military experience for the coming struggle over Palestine. Meanwhile, the Zionist forces strengthened their political ties to both of the newly emerging superpowers of the United States and the USSR, in the case of the former relying upon America’s influential Jewish community and in the latter upon Palestine’s local Communist Party, which was almost entirely Jewish.
By the end of the Second World War in 1945, Britain was bankrupt and exhausted, retreating from its imperial holdings across much of the world, and even about to lose control of India after more than a century. So the Zionists now sought to drive the British out of Palestine by unleashing a massive wave of violence against them, notably including the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, one of the greatest terrorist attacks in the history of the world to that date. Meanwhile, they also worked to bring in as much of Europe’s displaced Jewish population as possible, increasing their numbers for their looming struggle with the Arabs over Palestine.
Finally, in 1947 the British gave up and dumped their Palestine problem into the lap of the newly formed United Nations, which proposed resolving the Zionist-Arab dispute by partitioning the land into two new states. Jews then constituted one-third of the Palestinian population, with most of them having only arrived in the previous three years, while they only owned about 6% of the land. Nonetheless, effective Zionist lobbying persuaded the UN to allocate 55% of Palestine to the majority-Jewish state, with only 45% going to the native Arabs, a decision that the latter naturally regarded as outrageous and an obvious violation of the democratic principles supposedly enshrined in the UN Charter. Meanwhile, the Zionists viewed the glass as half-empty, and intended to gain control of most or all of Palestine while clearing out the existing Arab inhabitants. Therefore, violence soon escalated on both sides.
Backed by both the US and the USSR, the Zionists declared their new State of Israel on May 14, 1948, while the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, and various other nearby Arab states quickly intervened in support of the beleaguered and outgunned Palestinians. But with the exception of Transjordan’s British-officered Arab Legion, those militaries were puny and had little training, so the far larger and better-organized Zionist forces gained the upper hand, especially after they illegally received a huge shipment of Czech arms from Stalin’s Soviet Bloc during a temporary UN truce in the fighting. Count Folke Bernadotte, the head of the Swedish Red Cross, was appointed UN Peace Negotiator, but some of his proposals were viewed unfavorably by the Zionists, who expressed their displeasure by assassinating him, after which his American successor proved much less disagreeable.
Fighting eventually resumed and the Zionists won a sweeping victory, seizing almost 80% of Palestine and expelling a similar percentage of the Palestinians, who became refugees in the remainder of their territory or in neighboring Arab states.
One of the major sources on the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland was the ground-breaking research by Ilan Pappe, an Israeli historian, and over the years I’d sometimes seen favorable mention of his 2006 book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. So prompted by Khalidi’s much briefer account, I finally read it, finishing the last page just a few days before the unexpected attack by Hamas suddenly propelled the Israel-Palestine conflict back to the center of world attention. Pappe’s work seemed to warrant all the critical praise it had received, with the scholar relying upon exhaustive archival research to reconstruct and document the plans of the Zionist leadership to remove all the Palestinians and create the purely Jewish state that they had always desired.
The term “ethnic cleansing” became widespread in the Western media during the bitter Balkan Wars of the 1990s. The blatant war crimes represented by that term were used to justify NATO bombing attacks against the perpetrators, and some of the leading architects were later brought to trial in the Hague, ending their lives in prison cells. So one very effective framing technique employed by Pappe is to open most of his chapters by quoting a short passage describing some of those Balkan outrages, followed by pages of text demonstrating that the same crimes or far worse ones had also been committed by the Zionist forces a few decades earlier. In those 1990s conflicts, Gen. Wesley Clark, a Supreme NATO commander of Jewish ancestry, had famously declared “There is no place in modern Europe for ethnically pure states.” But a certain Middle Eastern country had earlier received strong American support in its military efforts to achieve exactly that same objective.
One important point emphasized by the author was that from the beginning the Zionist leadership was quite confident of their comfortable military superiority over the forces they might face, not merely the almost unarmed Palestinian civilians whose towns and villages they planned to destroy, but even the armies of the neighboring Arab states that might eventually intervene. According to the myth of later Israeli propaganda, the local Palestinians only began fleeing after the State of Israel was declared and Arab armies invaded, but in actuality by that date some 200 Palestinian villages had already been attacked, with their inhabitants killed or expelled, and this brutal ethnic cleansing was what provoked the Arab military intervention.
Whether or not a local Palestinian village had amicable relations with nearby Zionist settlers was irrelevant and all were targeted for destruction. According to Pappe, the circumstances surrounding the notorious Deir Yassin massacre were particularly disreputable. That village had concluded a formal non-aggression pact with the main Zionist movement, so the leaders of the latter legalistically arranged for the Irgun and Stern Gang forces to launch the attack, which resulted in a brutal massacre of the inhabitants, with word of the horrific atrocities putting many other Palestinians to flight. Ultimately, more than 500 villages were attacked, usually with some of their men summarily executed and the remainder of the population expelled, while the buildings were destroyed and the entire village razed to the ground.
The population of all the Palestinian towns and cities were treated in similar fashion, with one subsection of the book entitled “The Urbicide of Palestine.” Sometimes the inhabitants of nearby villages were deliberately massacred in order to terrorize the urban population and precipitate their flight, which was further encouraged by a bombardment of mortar shells or other high explosives. Any Palestinian property was casually looted, while rapes and gang-rapes also occurred, sometimes culminating with murder, although the true numbers of those incidents cannot be determined.
The year 1948 had begun with only 6% of Palestine’s land under Jewish ownership, but the UN assigned 55% of the territory to the new Jewish state and its victorious military forces soon seized half of the proposed Palestinian state as well, only disappointed because they failed to seize the other half as they had hoped. Their original intent had been to expel all non-Jews from the territory under their control, and although they were ultimately 80% successful in this effort, their failure to dislodge the last 20% before the war ended led to later recriminations. But as Pappe explains, since 1948 Israel’s remaining Palestinian minority has been legally confined to just 2% of the land compared to the 94% they had owned prior to the Zionist seizures and expulsions of that year.
One important point that Pappe makes is that the British had spent nearly three decades maintaining law and order in Palestine, and their military and police forces were still present in very large numbers even after the disposition of the territory had been put into the hands of the UN. As a result, Palestinian civilians had naively assumed that they would be protected from unprovoked attacks by the Zionist militias, and they were therefore shocked and unprepared when the British forces instead stood by and did nothing, placing them at the complete mercy of violent groups who stole their property or killed them with complete impunity.
Although I have never paid much attention to fashion or celebrity magazines, sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid are American supermodels whose images have graced the covers of many of those publications. Their paternal ancestry is Palestinian, and their elderly father recently told the painful story of how his parents had willingly taken in a family of pitiful Jewish refugees who arrived in their country from Europe. But then his mother traveled to a neighboring town for a few days to be with relatives during the birth of her child and when she returned, that Jewish family had seized their home and dispossessed them, refusing to allow them entrance to take any of their family photographs or even a blanket for their new-born baby.
The United Nations had legally created the State of Israel and in late 1948 after the end of the fighting, UN General Assembly Resolution 194 required the unconditional return of the Palestinian refugees, something that typically happened after the end of every military conflict. But although many of the families had fled their homes only days or weeks earlier, the Israeli government refused to comply, leading to the threat of American sanctions, though these were never imposed. Meanwhile, the Israelis sought to forestall any such possibility by accelerating their destruction of the emptied Palestinian villages and quickly resettling Jews in the abandoned homes of the towns and cities they had seized. For years afterward, the Israelis would regularly shoot as “infiltrators” any Palestinians who tried to return to their homes and land, incidents that gradually set the stage for future wars.
Although I’d strongly recommend reading Pappe’s heavily documented book, those who prefer to absorb his important information in a different format can watch a long 2018 interview of the author, viewed nearly 300,000 times on Youtube, followed by Part Two of that interview or a shorter discussion of the book by a British blogger a few weeks ago.
As demonstrated in his interviews, Pappe is a deeply humanitarian individual of progressive sympathies and an outstanding scholar focused intensely upon the Middle East. So on other matters outside his area of professional expertise, he naturally shares views that are widespread in his ideological circles. For example, although his central theme is the appalling dispossession of the native Palestinians by Zionist settlers, he freely admits that the process was not so very different from what had previously happened in the United States, as European settlers dispossessed and ethnically cleansed the native Amerindians, and Finkelstein has sometimes made the same point. But I think that this historical analogy, so widely promoted both by Israel’s strongest defenders and its fiercest progressive critics, is based upon an extreme misrepresentation of the underlying facts.
Although the Amerindian societies of the Mexican Aztecs and Peruvian Incas were very large and heavily urbanized at the time of the Spanish Conquest, that was not at all the case for North America, which was thinly populated by numerous small tribes, many or most of which still maintained a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. No cities nor urban centers existed and the population was completely pre-literate, though some tribes did adopt civilized lifestyles and the use of a written language after a century or two of European contact.
The overwhelming majority of native deaths were due to the unintentional spread of European diseases for which they possessed no immunity, and most of these victims probably died before they had ever seen a white man or even heard that they existed. According to best estimates, perhaps no more than ten or twenty thousand Amerindians were killed by American whites across nearly three centuries of wars and massacres, a tiny fraction of those who fell in the constant inter-tribal warfare of that same period.
By the time the U.S. government began its successive waves of “Indian removals” during the nineteenth century, the white settler population had grown exponentially and outnumbered the natives by as much as 100-to-1. Furthermore, intermarriage had hardly been unknown, with the First Families of Virginia all proudly tracing their ancestry to an Indian princess, and many ordinary Americans also often made similar claims of having an Amerindian or two in their family tree.
During most of the 1920s, the Republican Senate Majority Leader was Charles Curtis, three-eighths Amerindian by ancestry and an enrolled member of the Kaw Nation. In 1929 Curtis became Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, with his political elevation merely regarded as a minor curiosity instead of something provoking any sort of racial controversy. Most of these important historical facts were effectively presented in Not Stolen by historian Jeff Fynn-Paul, published earlier this year.
Needless to say, if the Jewish settlers in Palestine had already constituted 99% of the local population on the eve of the 1948 war, the situation would have been very different, and the same would be true today if most Israelis proudly boasted of their real or imagined Palestinian ancestry, with a top Israeli political leader having been half-Palestinian. The settlement histories of Israel and America have almost nothing in common.
However, although the histories of the two countries are totally dissimilar, aspects of their current historiographies do share an interesting connection. From its earliest days, American society had been governed by its traditional Anglo-Saxon ruling elite, descendants of the earliest settlers and together with assimilated ethnic groups, constituting a large majority of the national population. But during the twentieth century, their dominance was challenged by rising Jewish elites in a quiet struggle in which schools and universities became a key battlefield. So it is interesting that Howard Zinn and other Jewish academics spearheaded the effort to promote a tendentious or even fraudulent history of American settlement, perhaps regarding it as an ideological weapon that could destroy the political legitimacy of their Gentile rivals, much like Joan Peters unsuccessfully sought to do against the Palestinians.
Although the story of America’s European settlement has little similarity to the unfortunate events that Pappe recounts, there does exist a strikingly close historical analogy, but one that receives no mention in his text. A couple of sentences on the back cover of the paperback edition accurately summarized the contents:
The 1948 Israeli War of Independence involved one of the largest forced migrations in modern history. Around a million people were expelled from their homes at gunpoint, civilians were massacred, and hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed.
In reading his book, I had the sense that the author was shocked by the horrifying events he was describing, as were the Palestinian victims themselves, and he found it difficult to understand how the Zionist leadership believed that they could get away with crimes of such enormous magnitude, especially in the aftermath of the idealistic principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter by the victorious Allies of the Second World War. The opening pages of his book mention several previous ethnic cleansings, such as the 1913 case of the 200,000 Bulgarians expelled from Turkey. Yet he seems completely unaware that the largest ethnic cleansing in the history of the world, vastly greater in scale than the one he recounts, had taken place just a couple of years earlier, implemented with the full political support of the international organizations he admires.
Although Pappe probably shared the humanitarian sentiments of Freda Utley, it’s possible that he has never heard of that prominent mid-twentieth century journalist. Born an Englishwoman, Utley had married a Jewish Communist and moved to the Soviet Union, then fled to America after her husband fell in one of Stalin’s purges. Following the end of World War II, she traveled to Occupied Germany and described the horrific conditions she saw there, also including mention of events parallel to the subject of Pappe’s book, but more than a dozen times larger, as I discussed in a 2018 article.
Her book also gave substantial coverage to the organized expulsions of ethnic Germans from Silesia, the Sudatenland, East Prussia, and various other parts of Central and Eastern Europe where they had peacefully lived for many centuries, with the total number of such expellees generally estimated at 13 to 15 million. Families were sometimes given as little as ten minutes to leave the homes in which they had resided for a century or more, then forced to march off on foot, sometimes for hundreds of miles, towards a distant land they had never seen, with their only possessions being what they could carry in their own hands. In some cases, any surviving menfolk were separated out and shipped off to slave-labor camps, thereby producing an exodus consisting solely of women, children, and the very elderly. All estimates were that at least a couple million perished along the way, from hunger, illness, or exposure.
These days we endlessly read painful discussions of the notorious “Trail of Tears” suffered by the Cherokees in the distant past of the early 19th century, but this rather similar 20th Century event was nearly a thousand-fold larger in size. Despite this huge discrepancy in magnitude and far greater distance in time, I would guess that the former event may command a thousand times the public awareness among ordinary Americans. If so, this would demonstrate that overwhelming media control can easily shift perceived reality by a factor of a million or more.
The population movement certainly seems to have represented the largest ethnic-cleansing in the history of the world, and if the Germany had ever done anything even remotely similar during its years of European victories and conquests, the visually-gripping scenes of such an enormous flood of desperate, trudging refugees would surely have become a centerpiece of numerous World War II movies of the last seventy years. But since nothing like that ever happened, Hollywood screenwriters lost a tremendous opportunity.
- Post-War France and Post-War Germany
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • July 9, 2018 •
Although exact figures are unclear, my impression from Pappe’s book is that several thousand Palestinian civilians probably died or were killed during the brutal events he describes, which began in 1947. But according to all estimates, two to three million German civilians had perished during a very similar process that had taken place just two years earlier, as they were expelled from lands they had peacefully occupied for many centuries. Surely the fact that those earlier ethnic expulsions had been ignored or endorsed by the Western governments provided the Zionist leaders with the confidence that their considerable political influence would allow them to do the same in Palestine, a confidence that proved completely warranted.
The Wikipedia article on Ethnic Cleansing runs 6,000 words and includes scores of footnotes and references, but as might be expected, it never mentions the case of the Nakba suffered by the Palestinians, although it was one of the largest such examples in history and is much in the news these days. And for very similar reasons, it barely hints at the German expulsions from that same time period, although these may have been larger than all the other ethnic cleansings in the history of the world combined. Moreover, while the Palestinian tragedy has now finally acquired the identifying name of Nakba in the Western media, no such term has ever lent reality to the contemporaneous, vastly larger expulsions of the Germans, which instead have almost entirely vanished from public memory. For those interested in exploring the topic, I would recommend the important books by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, a longtime human rights lawyer and historian, who spent decades working for the UN.
The books by Khalidi and Pappe greatly fortified my understanding of the 1948 war that had established the State of Israel and simultaneously created a vast number of Palestinian refugees. During the early 1980s I’d read Dan Kurzman’s classic 1970 bestseller Genesis 1948, an entirely mainstream work that had formed my earliest understanding of the conflict. So with my knowledge of the facts now greatly expanded, the sudden outbreak of horrific violence in early October led me to reread that work again after more than 40 years. To my considerable surprise, it actually held up quite well, with the 800 pages of its paperback edition providing a gripping and reasonably even-handed account of the first Arab-Israeli war.
Kurzman was not an academic scholar, but as a prize-winning former Washington Post journalist he drew heavily upon the memoirs and books by some of the leading participants, supplemented by nearly 1,000 interviews with figures on all sides of the conflict. Although his emphasis might slightly favor the Israelis, he actually provided basic facts very different from the standard media narrative, mentioning the considerable superiority in size of the trained Zionist forces over the Arab armies, and the large quantity of new Soviet Bloc weapons the former had illegally received during a lengthy truce in the fighting. The notorious Zionist massacre of the Deir Yassin villagers was described at length, along with the deliberate efforts to expel Palestinians from a number of other communities. The stories of the internal political conflicts within both camps were also told, with the various Arab states often at bitter odds with each other; the same was also true of the different Zionist factions, with the right-wing Zionists actually staging a bloody attempted coup in the middle of the war, with many lives lost as Jew killed Jew. Both Arabs and Zionists made numerous tactical and sometimes strategic blunders, and top military commanders of each side were killed by their own troops under rather suspicious circumstances.
Kurzman’s book was very widely praised at the time it appeared, and although it cannot be considered a scholarly history of the conflict, after more than a half-century I think it still constitutes an excellent journalistic account of the first war, much less biased than the vast majority of everything else written at that time and afterward.
A very different sort of book that I’d strongly recommend is Against Our Better Judgment, self-published in 2014 by Alison Weir, a journalist and anti-Zionist activist. Just as indicated by the subtitle, her work very succinctly summarizes the “hidden history” of Israel’s creation, providing important facts ignored or severely distorted by the mainstream Western media. In her Preface, the author explains that what had originally begun as a long summary article ultimately became a very short book, with the main text running less than 100 small paperback pages, easily readable in just a couple of hours, but also including extensive notes and copious references for those who wish to dig deeper.
Although it contains some serious typos—in present-day terms the dollar value of the Palestinian property seized by the new Israeli state obviously totaled in the billions rather than the trillions—and makes one or two historical claims I find doubtful, Weir is generally a very careful writer and almost everything in her book seems quite solid and reliable, certainly far more so than some lavishly-promoted bestsellers issued by leading publishers and carrying the glowing blurbs of famous literati. If all educated Americans read this short book as a corrective to decades of skewed media propaganda, I think our Middle East policies would be in far better shape.
Evidence that America’s extremely one-sided treatment of the Middle East conflict stretches back for generations is provided by Violent Truce, a short 1956 book that I recently reread several years after first encountering it. The author was Cmdr. E.H. Hutchison, a professional American naval officer who had been assigned to serve as a leader of the UN-authorized international peace-keeping force stationed between Israelis and Arabs in the aftermath of the original 1949 truce agreement.
Near the beginning of the text, the author explained that due to the coverage of the conflict in the American media, he had begun with a strongly favorable impression of Israelis, believing that they were fully in the right on the particulars of the conflict and he was suspicious of their Arab opponents. But once he was on the scene, the day-to-day incidents he encountered quickly led him to a polar-opposite conclusion. Virtually all the illegal actions and truce violations were on the Israeli side, even including a number of potentially deadly incidents directed at the international peace-keepers, not to mention poor Palestinian civilians. Such conclusions obviously differed very sharply from what was presented at the time in most American publications, but his account was fully endorsed and corroborated by several other UN military officers, including the top commanding general, and these individuals provided three separate Forwards to his book.
This first-hand eye-witness account by an American military officer failed to secure any major publisher and was only released by Devin-Adair, a small Irish-American press willing to publish such controversial material. Despite its appearance shortly after the 1956 Suez Crisis and Arab-Israeli war, it attracted little attention and readership compared to subsequent best-sellers glorifying Israel in propagandist terms, such as Exodus by Leon Uris. The manuscript had been finalized in late 1955, and anyone reading it would hardly have been surprised that the following year Israel embarked on a war of aggression against several of its neighbors.
Then as now, major publishers almost invariably shut their doors to books critical of Israel, which could only be released by tiny, often ideological presses or even be self-published. The terrible violence of the Second Intifada during the early 2000s led Counterpunch Press to publish several short books along these lines, which I recently reread after a few years.
The Case Against Israel by Canadian political philosopher Michael Neumann appeared in 2005 and was obviously intended as a response to Dershowitz’s 2003 best-seller of the opposite title. The author effectively laid out the blatant immorality of the creation of the State of Israel as well as the unwarranted political and financial support it has continued to receive despite its harsh oppression of the Palestinians. But even leaving aside such philosophical matters of right and wrong, the text usefully provided a large quantity of important factual and historical information packed into its short length, which can easily be read in just a few hours.
Anyone who strongly criticizes Israeli policies let alone describes its origins and current status as immoral is certain to face bitter accusations of anti-Semitism, a word most recently extended to include criticism of the ongoing slaughter of Gaza’s civilians. The Politics of Anti-Semitism, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, was released in 2003 and covered exactly these recurring issues very thoroughly, containing essays by Finkelstein and Neumann along with more than a dozen others who have faced the same charges, notably including Prof. Edward Said of Columbia University. Nothing much has really changed in the last twenty years, except that the media censorship has become far more severe, necessitated by Israel’s far greater recent war crimes.
There is a close and obvious connection between the Holocaust—the planned extermination of six million European Jews during the Second World War—and the creation of the State of Israel, which followed just three years later. Indeed, in 1993 Israeli historian Tom Segev published The Seventh Million, discussing that exact cause-and-effect relationship, with the meaning of the title clear to everyone. So we should not be surprised that references to the Holocaust appear in almost all of the books discussed above, providing much of the explanation and justification for Israel’s creation. That former historical event has served as an extremely powerful ideological weapon for the Zionists, insulating them from any major repercussions for their conquest and expulsion of the Palestinians.
Without the reality of the Holocaust, the decades-long Zionist project to create a Jewish State almost certainly would have failed. For example, Pappe emphasizes that although the British maintained an enormous military force in Palestine, with 100,000 troops garrisoning a country of less than two million, the political aftermath of the Holocaust left them unable to suppress widespread Zionist attacks using the same harsh methods they had successfully employed a decade earlier to crush the Arab Revolt.
This close connection between Holocaust and Nakba had some ironic consequences. In 1999 Peter Novick published The Holocaust in American Life, a seminal work noting that during the years immediately following the end of World War II, the Holocaust had been almost totally absent from public awareness in America, even among American Jews, and it was only during the 1960s that it gradually became a major topic of public discussion and media coverage, as well as a central issue for American Jewry. In an angry review, Norman Finkelstein argued that the 1967 Arab-Israeli war explained that transformation, as the Zionists desperately resurrected that forgotten history to justify and excuse their war of conquest and the oppression of the Palestinians that followed, while also using that narrative of threat and victimization to cement the loyalty of their wavering American supporters.
The following year Finkelstein expanded some of those same ideas into a short but blistering book entitled The Holocaust Industry, and he is best known for that work, which I’d originally read about a dozen years ago and now reread. According to the first paragraph of his Introduction, the Holocaust has become “an indispensable ideological weapon” that Israel uses to defend its “horrendous human rights record” against the Palestinians, and in the pages that follow he documented the massive corruption and dishonesty of the Jewish organizations involved in Holocaust activism, shaking down countries around the world for many billions of dollars based upon totally fraudulent claims. He also emphasized that many of the highest-profile Holocaust victims were outright fabricators and frauds, with his second chapter entitled “Hoaxers, Hucksters, and History.”
Part of Finkelstein’s outrage came from his personal connection to those historical events, given that both of his parents suffered in the German camps and most of his extended family perished during those wartime years. But he is a specialist on the Middle East rather than the Second World War or the Nazi era, and his overall perspective on the Holocaust seemed absolutely mainstream and conventional, with his work winning the praise of Raul Hilberg, the founder and dean of Holocaust Studies.
Although his book was blacklisted and almost totally ignored by American publications, Europe’s press was much less controlled in that era, and The Holocaust Industry became a huge publishing sensation there and across much of the rest of the world, reaching the top of many national bestseller lists and being translated into at least sixteen different languages.
Finkelstein was certainly correct in arguing that the Holocaust had become one of Israel’s most powerful ideological weapons over the last half-century, a universal get-out-of-jail-free card that allowed the Jewish State to regularly violate all established principles of international law without incurring any serious penalty, while tightly binding the loyalty of Diaspora Jewry in America and the rest of the world. But even the most powerful propaganda tool has an eventual expiration date, and more than three generations have passed since the events in question, so over the years Israel’s advocates have naturally sought out some effective replacement.
Under different circumstances, the Joan Peters theory later revived by Alan Dershowitz might have successfully established itself, with Western societies falling for the blatant hoax that the Palestinians were not native to Palestine, a “Big Lie” that Hollywood would have endlessly echoed in its productions. If so, the genre of “Nakba Denial” films might have gradually succeeded those commemorating the horrors of the Holocaust, thereby completely undercutting any public support for Zionism’s millions of Palestinian victims. It’s hardly surprising that Peters’ ridiculous fraud was strongly endorsed by a towering figure of Holocaust scholarship such as Lucy Dawidowicz, along with Walter Reich, the founding director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and 1986 Nobel Laureate Elie Weisel. But Finkelstein himself successfully exposed that hoax before it could grow too deeply entrenched to be challenged.
Therefore, during the current Gaza conflict, the Israelis and their numerous media allies have been forced to rely upon a series of totally grotesque and unsubstantiated atrocity-hoaxes to deflect any criticism of their ongoing slaughter of tens of thousands of helpless Palestinian civilians. First, we were told that Hamas militants had beheaded forty Israeli babies, a story that soon faded away only to be replaced by the tale of a Jewish baby roasted in an oven. Most recently, the mainstream media has been awash with the sudden discovery that Hamas had committed numerous brutal gang-rapes and horrific sexual mutilations on October 7th, events that apparently so traumatized all the victims and witnesses that no mention had ever been made until anonymous sources finally came forward to reveal those stunning facts almost two months later.
Some of these grisly reports of Hamas atrocities seem to echo past Holocaust claims involving Jews rendered into human-skin lampshades and bars of soap, fiendish Nazi atrocities that served as the lurid centerpiece of the Nuremberg Trials and other Allied propaganda, but which were eventually admitted to be total fabrications.
Just a few days ago Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal published an outstanding expose of the utterly disreputable sources of these current Hamas atrocity claims, an article that should be required reading for all journalists
- Scandal-stained Israeli ‘rescue’ group fuels October 7 fabrications
Max Blumenthal • The Grayzone • December 6, 2023
He also discussed the same material in a segment of his recent podcast.
The willingness of all our political and media elites to accept and regurgitate most of those current Hamas atrocity-hoaxes has enabled the continuing slaughter of tens of thousands of helpless Palestinians in Gaza. Reading Blumenthal’s lengthy article describing the actual individuals behind those stories brought to mind a harsh verdict I’d rendered in a 2018 article:
Anyone who reads serious history books knows that Jews have generally enjoyed a reputation for producing many of the world’s greatest swindlers and frauds, hardly surprising given their notorious tendency to lie and dissemble. Meanwhile, the Jewish community also seems to contain far more than its fair share of the emotionally disturbed and the mentally ill, and perhaps as a consequence has served as a launching-pad for many of the world’s religious cults and fanatic ideological movements.
I think that Blumenthal and others are completely correct in regarding these current atrocity stories as highly implausible propaganda, obviously concocted in support of Israeli policies. But they might be very surprised to discover that soon after Israel’s creation, knowledgeable individuals had condemned the entire traditional Holocaust narrative in very similar terms.
In his bestseller The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein documented the massive dishonesty and self-serving corruption permeating so many of the most prominent aspects of that supposed historical event, but he never questioned his deeper underlying assumptions and casually dismissed so-called “Holocaust deniers” in just a couple of sentences. However, when I carefully investigated that same issue, I arrived at very different conclusions:
Some years ago, I came across a totally obscure 1951 book entitled Iron Curtain Over America by John Beaty, a well-regarded university professor. Beaty had spent his wartime years in Military Intelligence, being tasked with preparing the daily briefing reports distributed to all top American officials summarizing available intelligence information acquired during the previous 24 hours, which was obviously a position of considerable responsibility.
Beaty also sharply denounced American support for the new state of Israel, which was potentially costing us the goodwill of so many millions of Muslims and Arabs. And as a very minor aside, he also criticized the Israelis for continuing to claim that Hitler had killed six million Jews, a highly implausible accusation that had no apparent basis in reality and seemed to be just a fraud concocted by Jews and Communists, aimed at poisoning our relations with postwar Germany and extracting money for the Jewish State from the long-suffering German people.
Furthermore, he was scathing toward the Nuremberg Trials, which he described as a “major indelible blot” upon America and “a travesty of justice.” According to him, the proceedings were dominated by vengeful German Jews, many of whom engaged in falsification of testimony or even had criminal backgrounds. As a result, this “foul fiasco” merely taught Germans that “our government had no sense of justice.” Sen. Robert Taft, the Republican leader of the immediate postwar era took a very similar position, which later won him the praise of John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage. The fact that the chief Soviet prosecutor at Nuremberg had played the same role during the notorious Stalinist show trials of the late 1930s, during which numerous Old Bolsheviks confessed to all sorts of absurd and ridiculous things, hardly enhanced the credibility of the proceedings to many outside observers.
Then as now, a book taking such controversial positions stood little chance of finding a mainstream New York publisher, but it was soon released by a small Dallas firm, and then became enormously successful, going through some seventeen printings over the next few years. According to Scott McConnell, founding editor of The American Conservative, Beaty’s book became the second most popular conservative text of the 1950s, ranking only behind Russell Kirk’s iconic classic, The Conservative Mind.
Moreover, although Jewish groups including the ADL harshly condemned the book, especially in their private lobbying, those efforts provoked a backlash, and numerous top American generals, both serving and retired, wholeheartedly endorsed Beaty’s work, denouncing the ADL efforts at censorship and urging all Americans to read the volume. Although Beaty’s quite explicit Holocaust Denial might shock tender modern sensibilities, at the time it seems to have caused barely a ripple of concern and was almost totally ignored even by the vocal Jewish critics of the work.
Thus, Beaty’s huge 1951 national bestseller attracted enormous attention as well as massive criticism from Jews and liberals, yet although he was bitterly attacked on every other issue, none of them challenged him when he dismissed the Holocaust as merely a wartime propaganda-hoax that few still believed. Furthermore, a long list of our top World War II military commanders strongly endorsed Beaty’s book making that claim.
As Novick has documented, during the decade or two following the end of the Second World War, the Holocaust seemed to have almost entirely disappeared from Western consciousnesses, a very strange development for an event of such supposedly enormous magnitude. In support of this conclusion, one of the very few books discussed above that made no mention of it in the context of Israel was Hutchinson’s mid-1950s account of his experience as a UN truce inspector in that region. No one reading his story would have ever suspected that the Jews of Israel were “the seventh million,” the pitiful remnant that had survived the annihilation of nearly all of European Jewry. The corresponding postwar chapters of an exhaustive investigation of the U.S. military by Holocaust scholar Joseph Bendersky provided a very similar absence of any such awareness.
As I went on to explain during my 2018 analysis of “Holocaust denial”:
Beaty’s very brief 1951 discussion has been the earliest instance of explicit Holocaust Denial I have managed to locate, but the immediate postwar years seem absolutely rife with what might be described as “implicit Holocaust Denial,” especially within the highest political circles.
Over the years, Holocaust scholars and activists have very rightfully emphasized the absolutely unprecedented nature of the historical events they have studied. They describe how some six million innocent Jewish civilians were deliberately exterminated, mostly in gas chambers, by one of Europe’s most highly cultured nations, and emphasize that monstrous project was often accorded greater priority than Germany’s own wartime military needs during the country’s desperate struggle for survival. Furthermore, the Germans also undertook enormous efforts to totally eliminate all possible traces of their horrifying deed, with huge resources expended to cremate all those millions of bodies and scatter the ashes. This same disappearance technique was even sometimes applied to the contents of their mass graves, which were dug up long after initial burial, so that the rotting corpses could then be totally incinerated and all evidence eliminated. And although Germans are notorious for their extreme bureaucratic precision, this immense wartime project was apparently implemented without benefit of a single written document, or at least no such document has ever been located.
Lipstadt entitled her first book “Beyond Belief,” and I think that all of us can agree that the historical event she and so many others in academia and Hollywood have made the centerpiece of their lives and careers is certainly one of the most extremely remarkable occurrences in all of human history. Indeed, perhaps only a Martian Invasion would have been more worthy of historical study, but Orson Welles’s famous War of the Worlds radio-play which terrified so many millions of Americans in 1938 turned out to be a hoax rather than real.
The six million Jews who died in the Holocaust certainly constituted a very substantial fraction of all the wartime casualties in the European Theater, outnumbering by a factor of 100 all the British who died during the Blitz, and being dozens of times more numerous than all the Americans who fell there in battle. Furthermore, the sheer monstrosity of the crime against innocent civilians would surely have provided the best possible justification for the Allied war effort. Yet for many, many years after the war, a very strange sort of amnesia seems to have gripped most of the leading political protagonists in that regard.
Robert Faurisson, a French academic who became a prominent Holocaust Denier in the 1970s, once made an extremely interesting observation regarding the memoirs of Eisenhower, Churchill, and De Gaulle:
Three of the best known works on the Second World War are General Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe (New York: Doubleday [Country Life Press], 1948), Winston Churchill’s The Second World War (London: Cassell, 6 vols., 1948-1954), and the Mémoires de guerre of General de Gaulle (Paris: Plon, 3 vols., 1954-1959). In these three works not the least mention of Nazi gas chambers is to be found.
Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe is a book of 559 pages; the six volumes of Churchill’s Second World War total 4,448 pages; and de Gaulle’s three-volume Mémoires de guerre is 2,054 pages. In this mass of writing, which altogether totals 7,061 pages (not including the introductory parts), published from 1948 to 1959, one will find no mention either of Nazi “gas chambers,” a “genocide” of the Jews, or of “six million” Jewish victims of the war.
Given that the Holocaust would reasonably rank as the single most remarkable episode of the Second World War, such striking omissions must almost force us to place Eisenhower, Churchill, and De Gaulle among the ranks of “implicit Holocaust Deniers.”
Many others seem to fall into that same category. In 1981, Lucy S. Dawidowicz, a leading Holocaust scholar, published a short book entitled The Holocaust and the Historians, in which she denounced so many prominent historians for having totally ignored the reality of the Holocaust for many years following World War II. Indeed, discussion of that topic was almost entirely confined to the Jewish Studies programs which committed ethnic activists had newly established at numerous universities throughout the country. Although Lipstadt’s poor scholarly habits and hysterical style hardly impressed me, she appears to have been among the most successful academics who began a career in those ethnic studies departments, which suggests that their average quality was far below her own.
Meanwhile, Dawidowicz emphasized that mainstream histories often entirely omitted the Holocaust from their presentations:
But it is plain from the most cursory review of textbooks and scholarly works by English and American historians that the awesome events of the Holocaust have not been given their historic due. For over two decades some secondary school and college texts never mentioned the subject at all, while others treated it so summarily or vaguely as to fail to convey sufficient information about the events themselves or their historical significance.
With regard to serious scholarship, she notes that when Friedrich Meinecke, universally acknowledged as Germany’s most eminent historian, published The German Catastrophe in 1946, he harshly denounced Hitler as the leader of “a band of criminals” but made absolutely no mention of the Holocaust, which surely would have represented the height of such criminality. Major British accounts of Hitler and World War II by leading historians such as A.J.P. Taylor, H.R. Trevor-Roper, and Alan Bullock were almost as silent. A similar situation occurred in America as late as 1972 when the massive 1,237 page Columbia History of the World, having a Jewish co-editor, devoted a full chapter to World War II but confined its discussion of the Holocaust to just two short and somewhat ambiguous sentences. One almost gets a sense that many of these experienced professional historians regarded discussion of the Holocaust as a considerable embarrassment, a subject that they sought to avoid or at least completely minimize.
Dawidowicz even castigates Slaughterhouse-Five, the 1969 fictional masterpiece by Kurt Vonnegut, for its bald assertion that the firebombing of Dresden was “the greatest massacre in European history,” a claim that seems to reduce the Holocaust to non-existence.
I myself had noticed something similar just a couple of years before Dawidowicz’s book appeared. The English translation of German journalist Joachim Fest’s widely praised Hitler had been published in 1974 and I had read it a few years later, finding it just as excellent as the critics had indicated. But I remember being a little puzzled that the 800 page book contained no more than a couple of pages discussing the Nazi death camps and the word “Jews” never even appeared in the index.
The vast majority of Hitler’s Jewish victims came from Russia and the Eastern European nations included in the Soviet Bloc. That was also the location of all the extermination camps that are the central focus of Holocaust scholars, and therefore the Soviets were the source of most of the key evidence used at the Nuremberg Trials. Yet Dawidowicz notes that after Stalin grew increasingly suspicious of Jews and Israel a few years after the end of the war, virtually all mention of the Holocaust and German wartime atrocities against Jews vanished from the Soviet media and history books. A similar process occurred in the Warsaw Pact satellites, even while the top Communist Party leadership of many of those countries often remained very heavily Jewish for some years. Indeed, I recall reading quite a number of newspaper articles mentioning that after the Berlin Wall fell and the sundered halves of Europe were finally reunited, most Eastern Europeans had never even heard of the Holocaust.
These days, my morning newspapers seem to carry Holocaust-related stories with astonishing frequency, and probably no event of the twentieth century looms so large in our public consciousness. According to survey data, even as far back as 1995, some 97% of Americans knew of the Holocaust, far more than were aware of the Pearl Harbor attack or America’s use of the atomic bombs against Japan, while less than half our citizenry were aware that the Soviet Union had been our wartime ally. But I’d suspect that anyone who drew his knowledge from the mainstream newspapers and history books during the first couple of decades after the end of the Second World War might never have even been aware that any Holocaust had actually occurred.
The late scholar Raul Hilberg is universally acknowledged as the founder of modern Holocaust studies, which began with the 1961 publication of his massive volume The Destruction of the European Jews. In his very interesting 2007 Hilberg obituary, historian Norman Finkelstein emphasizes that prior to Hilberg’s work, there had been virtually no writing on the Holocaust, and discussion of the topic was considered almost “taboo.” For a recent event of such apparent enormity to have been so completely wiped away from public discussion and the consciousness of historians and political scientists can be explained in several different ways. But once I began to investigate the circumstances behind Hilberg’s ground-breaking work, I encountered all sorts of strange ironies.
According to Wikipedia, Hilberg’s family of Austrian Jews coincidentally arrived in the United States on the exact day in 1939 that war broke out, and in his early teens he was soon horrified to read all the news reports of the ongoing extermination of his fellow Jews in the continent his family had left behind, even telephoning Jewish leaders asking why they were doing so little to save their kinsmen from annihilation. He subsequently served in the U.S. military in Europe, then majored in Political Science at Brooklyn College after the end of the conflict. The inspiration for his future scholarly focus seems to have come when he was shocked by a remark made by one of his lecturers, Hans Rosenberg:
The most wicked atrocities perpetrated on a civilian population in modern times occurred during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain.
When Hilberg asked how Rosenberg, himself a German-Jewish refugee, could have so totally ignored the murder of 6 million Jews, a monstrous crime committed just a couple of years earlier, Rosenberg sought to deflect the question, saying that “it was a complicated matter” and “history doesn’t teach down into the present age.” Since Rosenberg was a student of Meinecke, whom Lipstadt has bitterly denounced as an implicit Holocaust Denier, one wonders whether Rosenberg may have shared the beliefs of his mentor but was reluctant to admit that fact to his overwhelmingly Jewish students in emotionally-charged postwar Brooklyn.
Later, Hilberg conducted his doctoral research at Columbia under Franz Neumann, another German-Jewish refugee scholar. But when Hilberg indicated he wanted his research to focus on the extermination of Europe’s Jews, Neumann strongly discouraged that topic, warning Hilberg that doing so would be professionally imprudent and might become “his academic funeral.” When he attempted to publish his research in book form, it received numerous negative reviews, with Israel’s Yad Vashem fearing it would encounter “hostile criticism,” and over a six year period, it was rejected by several major publishing houses along with Princeton University, based on the advice of the influential Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt. One naturally wonders whether all these established scholars may have quietly known something that a naive young doctoral candidate such as Hilberg did not. His book only appeared in print because a Jewish immigrant whose business had suffered under the Nazis funded the entire publication.
Consider the interesting case of Field Marshal Erhard Milch, Hermann Goering’s very powerful number-two in the German Luftwaffe. His father was certainly a Jew, and according to researchers Robert Wistrich and Louis Snyder, there is archival evidence that his mother was Jewish as well. Now it is certainly not impossible that a Third Reich supposedly dedicated with grim fanaticism to the extermination of each and every Jew might have spent the entire war with a full- or half-Jew near the absolute top of its military hierarchy, but surely that puzzling anomaly would warrant careful explanation, and Milch’s apparent Jewish background was certainly known during the Nuremberg Trials.
Indeed, the fascinating and widely-praised 2002 book Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers by Bryan Mark Rigg notes that aside from Milch, Hitler’s military contained over a dozen half-Jewish generals and admirals and another dozen quarter-Jews of that same high rank, plus a total of roughly 150,000 additional half- or quarter-Jewish soldiers, with a large fraction of these being officers. All of these individuals would have had some fully-Jewish parents or grand-parents, which seems decidedly odd behavior for a regime supposedly so focused on the total eradication of the Jewish race.
My belief is that anyone who carefully reads the books of leading Holocaust scholars such as Peter Novick, Deborah Lipstadt, Lucy Dawidowicz, and Joseph Bendersky with an open mind and a skeptical eye will inevitably come to the same conclusion that I did:
I think it far more likely than not that the standard Holocaust narrative is at least substantially false, and quite possibly, almost entirely so.
- Holocaust Denial
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • August 27, 2018
For more than two months, Israeli forces have relentlessly bombarded Gaza, committing the greatest televised massacre of helpless civilians in the history of the world. Israeli leaders have regularly used genocidal language to describe their plans, even suggesting that nuclear weapons be used to completely annihilate Gaza’s population of more than two million. Many tens of thousands of buildings have been destroyed, including hospitals, schools, universities, and all the other civilian facilities whose deliberate targeting during military conflicts have always been regarded as war crimes.
Yet when the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court recently visited Israel, his primary focus was upon preparing charges against Hamas and other Palestinian groups for the deaths of Israeli civilians in early October.
And even in that regard, there is growing evidence that many or most of the unarmed Israeli civilians killed in the original Hamas attack actually died at the hands of trigger-happy Israeli forces, suggesting that the true ratio of such victims may now be greater than 100-to-1 against the Palestinians.
All these facts are easily available to anyone who investigates the matter. But the vast majority of Americans who derive their knowledge of the world from our mainstream broadcast media probably continue to see the Israelis as the helpless, suffering victims, a remarkable inversion of reality. As I had explained in 2018, the unfortunate history of the twentieth century provides even greater examples of such strange reversals of reality:
Indeed, the topic of Communism raises a far larger issue, one having rather touchy implications. Sometimes two simple compounds are separately inert, but when combined together may possess tremendous explosive force. From my introductory history classes and readings in high school, certain things had always seemed glaringly obvious to me even if the conclusions remained unmentionable, and I once assumed they were just as apparent to most others as well. But over the years I have begun to wonder whether perhaps this might not be correct.
Back in those late Cold War days, the death toll of innocent civilians from the Bolshevik Revolution and the first two decades of the Soviet Regime was generally reckoned at running well into the tens of millions when we include the casualties of the Russian Civil War, the government-induced famines, the Gulag, and the executions. I’ve heard that these numbers have been substantially revised downwards to perhaps as little as twenty million or so, but no matter. Although determined Soviet apologists may dispute such very large figures, they have always been part of the standard narrative history taught within the West.
Meanwhile, all historians know perfectly well that the Bolshevik leaders were overwhelmingly Jewish, with three of the five revolutionaries Lenin named as his plausible successors coming from that background. Although only around 4% of Russia’s population was Jewish, a few years ago Vladimir Putin stated that Jews constituted perhaps 80-85% of the early Soviet government, an estimate fully consistent with the contemporaneous claims of Winston Churchill, Times of London correspondent Robert Wilton, and the officers of American Military Intelligence. Recent books by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Yuri Slezkine, and others have all painted a very similar picture. And prior to World War II, Jews remained enormously over-represented in the Communist leadership, especially dominating the Gulag administration and the top ranks of the dreaded NKVD.
Both of these simple facts have been widely accepted in America throughout my entire lifetime. But combine them together with the relatively tiny size of worldwide Jewry, around 16 million prior to World War II, and the inescapable conclusion is that in per capita terms Jews were the greatest mass-murderers of the twentieth century, holding that unfortunate distinction by an enormous margin and with no other nationality coming even remotely close. And yet, by the astonishing alchemy of Hollywood, the greatest killers of the last one hundred years have somehow been transmuted into being seen as the greatest victims, a transformation so seemingly implausible that future generations will surely be left gasping in awe.
Our false image of historical reality is constructed and maintained on a daily basis by journalists, but I suspect that most of them remain just as unaware of the true facts as the rest of our society.
Consider the case of Emily Bazelon, whose New York Times Magazine cover-story described the tragic, three-decade failure of Israeli and Palestinians to achieve a just peace in their bitter conflict.
Based upon her background, I would assume that she is a staunch liberal, enormously proud of her grand-father David L. Bazelon, who reigned for more than two decades as the Chief Justice of America’s most important Appellate court, a jurist whose enormous influence on civil libertarian matters had established him as one of the most influential judicial figures of the twentieth century, a towering hero of American progressives. In that role, he had also served as a mentor to Alan Dershowitz, who had clerked for him, and surely helped shape the latter’s notions of honesty and justice.
I had never questioned those facts. But several years ago I read a pair of very thick volumes on the history of organized crime by Gus Russo, one of our leading investigative reporters on that subject and discovered that important elements had been airbrushed out of Bazelon’s celebrated background. Bazelon had been elevated to the bench at the age of 40, becoming the youngest Appellate justice in American history. But prior to that, his personal legal activities had been of a rather different type.
After beginning his career as a young mob-lawyer for Al Capone’s Chicago Syndicate, he had then played a central role in looting the property of the dispossessed Japanese-Americans of California and distributing their billions of dollars worth of seized assets to other Jewish families with Syndicate ties on extremely favorable terms, while becoming very wealthy through the huge kickbacks he collected. Thus, during exactly the same years that Zionist settlers were dispossessing and looting the property of the unfortunate inhabitants of Palestine on racial grounds, their Jewish cousins in America were doing much the same thing to a different group within the United States:
- The Power of Organized Crime
How a Young Syndicate Lawyer from Chicago Earned a Fortune Looting the Property of the Japanese-Americans, then Lived Happily Ever After as America’s Most Respected Civil Libertarian Federal Appellate Court Judge
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • July 15, 2019 •
- American Pravda: Oddities of the Jewish Religi on
- American Pravda: Jews and Nazis
- Zionism, Antisemitism, and Racialism
- Pro-Israel Propaganda-Lies vs. Reality
- American Pravda: War Crimes and Atrocity-Hoaxes in the Israel/Gaza Conflict
- American Pravda: Gaza and the Antisemitism Hoax
- American Pravda: Holocaust Denial