Palestine and Zionism: The whole truth
By Alan Hart
The following is the text of a presentation I made last week to audiences in Sardinia on the occasion of the publication of Volume One of the Italian edition of my book, Zionism: The real Enemy of the Jews. (It and the German edition are being published by Zambon, a publishing house owned and led by a very brave and courageous German Jewish gentlemen. Giuseppe Zambon.) Brainwashed and idiotic Zionists in Sardinia tried and failed to have some of my lectures and debates cancelled by accusing me of being an anti-Semite who is inciting anti-Semitism. They knew nothing about my book and its contents and were reading from Zionism’s script. Their efforts resulted in increased sales of my book!
In response to the leading brainwashed Zionist idiot (he was not present), I pointed out that the first picture in Volume One of my book is of Prime Minister Golda Meir inscribed in her own hand: “To a good friend, Alan Hart.” And I asked if all Zionists who accuse me of anti-Semitism believed she was so stupid that she could not have seen through me if I was anti Jew.
Some and perhaps very many of you have had the pleasure of listening to my very dear friend Ilan Pappe, the “revisionist” (which means honest) Israeli historian and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. It was Ilan who explained to me why the Zionist lobby puts so much effort into causing my book and discussion of what it reveals to be suppressed to the maximum possible extent throughout the entire Western world. Ilan said to me:
Zionism is more frightened of your book than any other because of its title. Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews is the truth in seven words.
In Italian the title is the truth in six words!
In my presentation to you today I will explain in summary why Zionism and not the Arabs is the real enemy of the Jews; but first I want to offer you my take on what I regard as Zionism’s three biggest propaganda lies.
Zionism’s three biggest propaganda lies
Lie 1: The right of all Jews to Palestine
The first is the assertion that all the Jews of the world have a right to Palestine. That is complete nonsense.
The truth is that very, very few Jews have any biological/ancestral connection with the ancient Hebrews. The Jews are peoples (not a people) from many different homelands; and back in time many converted to Judaism long after the relatively brief rule of the ancient Hebrews, the Israelites. What I am saying boils down to this. The notion that there are two peoples with a valid claim to Palestine is rubbish. (There is even a case for believing that more Arabs than Jews may be descendants of the ancient Hebrews.)
Lie 2: Israel’s existential danger
Zionism’s second biggest propaganda lie is in its assertion that poor little Israel has lived in a danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea of its Jews”. As I document in detail through the three volumes of my book, the truth is that Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab force. Not in 1948. Not in 1967. And not even in 1973.
In 1948, when elements of five Arab armies crossed into Palestine, their intention was not to destroy the unilaterally declared state of Israel; it was to prevent Israel taking the territory that had been assigned to the Palestinians for a state of their own by the UN Partition Plan.
There are incidentally three things about the Partition Plan that many Westerners are not aware of.
The first is that the UN had no right to assign any part of Palestine to incoming alien Jewish immigrants without the consent of the Palestinian people.
The second is that the Partition Plan would never have been approved if Zionism, assisted by 26 American senators and White House insiders, had not bullied and bribed a number of nations to change their “No” votes to “Yes” and/or abstain. When President Truman learned of Zionism’s campaign of intimidation and threats to bend the UN to its will, he wrote in a memorandum that it was perfectly clear that “pressure groups will succeed in putting the United Nations out of business if this sort of thing is continued”.
The third is that the Partition Plan was vitiated, became invalid, because Truman was not prepared to use force to impose it. When he decided against the use of force, he ordered his diplomats to return to the UN and continue discussions about how to solve the Palestine problem. It was while those discussions were continuing in the General Assembly that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence, in defiance of the will of the organised international community as it then was.
As to the actual fighting in 1948, here is the key to a complete understanding. Early on there was a month-long truce. When the fighting resumed it was 20,000 Arab soldiers, poorly trained and equipped, lacking motivation and badly led, against 80,000 Israeli forces, well trained and equipped, highly motivated and well led. As David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister knew, there was always only going to be one winner on the battlefield.
When Israel closed the Palestine file with its victory in 1948 the Arab regimes secretly shared the same hope as Zionism and all the major powers. It was that the Palestinians would accept their lot as the sacrificial victims on the altar of political expediency and that the Palestine file would remain closed for ever.
To give you a real indication of how little things have changed over the years, I’ll tell you now about an amazing conversation I had some years ago with a major Saudi royal. In an hour-long exchange of views I had with him alone in London, I made what I thought he would regard as two very contentious points.
The first was this. “Nothing is going to change in the Arab world until your bloody regimes are more frightened of their own people than they are of Israel and America.”
He replied: “You’re right.”
My second point was this. “If tomorrow the Israelis exterminated the Palestinians, your bloody regimes would raise a glass of whisky behind closed doors and say ‘Thanks'”
He replied: “You’re right.”
The essence of the truth about the Six Days War of June 1967 can be simply stated. For Israel’s leaders it was the unfinished business of 1948. They set a trap (fully explained in my book) for Egypt’s President Nasser. He was naive enough to walk right into it and give Israel’s leaders the pretext they wanted for war.
As it happened I was the first Western correspondent to reach the banks of the Suez Canal with the advancing Israelis. Just before I left Tel Aviv for the Sinai I had another amazing conversation, this one with then retired Major-General Chaim Herzog, one of the founding fathers of Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence who went on to become Israel’s ambassador to the UN and eventually its president. During the course of this conversation on day one of the war Herzog said the following.
If Nasser had not been stupid enough to give us a pretext for war we would have invented one in a year to 18 months.
In summary, what happened in June 1967 was a war of Israeli aggression, not as Zionism asserted a war of self-defence. Years later some Israeli leaders acknowledged this truth. In the first chapter of Volume Three of my book – subtitled “Conflict Without End?” – I quote a number of them. Here are just four examples.
In an interview published in Le Monde on 28 February 1968, Israeli Chief of Staff Rabin said this:
I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.
On 14 April 1971, a report in the Israeli newspaper Al-Hamishmar contained the following statement by Mordechai Bentov, a member of Israel’s wartime national government:
The entire story of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.
On 4 April 1972, General Ezer Weizman, Chief of Operations during the 1967 war, said the following in an article in Maariv:
There was never any danger of annihilation. This hypothesis has never been considered in any serious meeting.
And in an unguarded public moment in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin said this:
In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.
In the light of the mountains of evidence to the contrary, including the on-the-record statements of some of Israel’s own former leaders, it is truly astonishing that still today, when they make reference to the 1967 war, almost all Western politicians and mainstream media people continue to peddle the nonsense that Israel’s existence was in danger.
The short, true story of the 1973 war can be simply stated.
It was the consequence of a degree of collusion between Egypt’s President Sadat and Henry Kissinger who had just became President Nixon’s secretary of state. Kissinger was frustrated because the Israeli government of Prime Minister Golda Meir would not make even the smallest concession to allow him to push Sadat into making a separate peace with Israel. So he, Kissinger, sent word to Sadat that “a little heating up would be in order”.
Sadat’s battle plan, of which Kissinger was fully aware, was to cross the Suez Canal and stop. Which is exactly what Egypt’s forces did. Sadat had absolutely no intention of advancing further; and he was confident that Syria’s forces would stop their attempt to recapture some if not all of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights when Kissinger blew the whistle and convened a session of the Security Council to get a peace process going.
In Kissinger’s pre-war vision Sadat would be hailed by his own masses as a conquering hero for taking back the Suez Canal and he, Kissinger, would then give the Israelis a couple days to strike back at Egyptian and Syrian forces before blowing the whistle.
It all went badly wrong for Sadat and Kissinger (and the Syrians) for two main reasons.
One was that Israel’s armed forces were not war ready. And that was because Defence Minister Moshe Dayan believed there would never be war unless Israel started it. Because of this lack of war readiness Israel suffered heavy losses, of tanks especially, when Sadat launched his attack to cross the Suez Canal. And that led to a real crisis in Israel’s relationship with the Nixon administration and Kissinger in particular.
I became aware of this crisis in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Golda.
As some of you may know, I enjoyed on the human level a very special relationship with Golda. That was because whenever I went to Israel I always sent her three dozen red roses. From the moment she became prime minster that guaranteed me the first interview with her at moments of crisis. To cut a long story short:
I arrived in Israel on the second day of the 1973 war. I discovered that Golda was holding a war cabinet in the kitchen of her Tel Aviv home and I sent the roses there. Two hours later I had a telephone call from Lou Kiddar, Golda’s personal assistant and lifelong best friend. She said, “Golda thanks you for the flowers and will try to call you this evening.”
When Golda did call me it was to say that on this occasion she could not give me the first interview. There was, she said, a compelling reason why she had to give the first interview to the American networks. I asked her what the reason was. She said:
We are in desperate need of a resupply of weapons from America, tanks especially. Kissinger is sitting at Nixon’s elbow telling him to delay the resupply and make us sweat until we are ready to make concessions.
Golda went on to tell me that she was ready to fly to Washington for one hour with President Nixon to clear the blockage.
As it happened it was Dayan who cleared the blockage and got the resupply going. He did it by ordering the arming of two nuclear missiles, one targeted on Cairo, the other on Damascus. That was enough to terrify Nixon and he ordered a massive resupply of weapons to Israel without further delay.
Years later I told the story of Dayan’s nuclear blackmail to an audience in America. After my presentation I was approached by a Jewish gentleman who had abandoned Israel and was making a new life in America. He said to me the following:
Alan, what you said about Dayan’s nuclear blackmail is true. I know because I was the officer responsible for overseeing the arming and the targeting of the two nuclear missiles.
The second main reason why it all went badly wrong for Sadat, Kissinger (and the Syrians) is that Ariel Sharon and other Israeli generals decided that when they were resupplied they would have to teach Kissinger (as well as Sadat and the Syrians) a lesson. Sharon and other Israeli generals were convinced that, in the immediate countdown to the war, Kissinger had ordered American intelligence indicating that Sadat was about to attack to be denied to Israel.
When Kissinger realised that Israel’s generals were going to pursue the war to the point of totally humiliating Sadat and himself he went to Moscow. The outcome of that visit was a statement that American forces around the world had been placed on a red (nuclear) alert because of the danger that the Soviet Union would become engaged in the war to prevent Sadat being totally defeated and humiliated. Prime Minister Golda Meir then received urgent appeals from Kissinger and Nixon. They told her she had to bring Sharon under control – he was intending to wipe out the trapped Third Egyptian Army – in order to prevent World War III and a nuclear holocaust.
And that was enough to cause her to act.
In her last conversation with me a few months before she died, Golda put it this way:
Still in my slippers, I climbed into a helicopter. I flew to Egypt – imagine that, Golda Meir in Egypt – and there I confronted Sharon. I stood in front of him and I said, “I am your prime minister and I order you not to move against the Third Army.
And that, more or less, was how the 1973 war ended. The trapped Third Egyptian Army was saved and with it Sadat’s face. And that left Kissinger with enough, just about enough, to begin the process that would lead to Egypt’s separate peace with Israel. Kissinger knew that if Egypt could be taken out of the war equation the Arabs would never be able to confront Israel militarily.
As a verbal footnote, I’ll add this. In that last conversation with Golda I asked her if she had believed that the threat of Soviet intervention and a superpower confrontation was real. She said that at the time she did believe it was.. “Do you still think so?” I asked. The length of her pause for thought suggested it was not a question she had previously considered. Eventually she said, “I’m not sure.” I took that to mean that she was open to the idea that Kissinger and the Soviets had put on a warning show to frighten her into confronting Sharon.
In that same conversation I asked Golda how much she had trusted Kissinger. She gave me two answers.
One was a gesture. She opened the index finger and thumb of her left hand to the widest possible extent, forming a complete right angle. Then, slowly, she lowered the index finger until it was just about touching her thumb. Then she said, “That much!”
Her second answer was this:
Whenever Kissinger was here in Israel he always called my cabinet ministers by their first names. And they called him Henry. Not me. I always called him Mr Secretary of State or Dr Kissinger; and I insisted that he called me Madame Prime Minister or Mrs Meir. If you’re on first name terms with such a man you’ll get screwed.
In summary of what I’ve said about the wars of 1948, 1967and 1973 I’ll repeat that Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab force.
I’ll add here a comment made to me in 1980 by then retired Major-General Shlomo Gazit, the best and the brightest of Israel’s directors of military intelligence. At the time I was acting as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Arafat and Shimon Peres who was hoping to win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term in office. Gazit was one of two who were advising Peres for this initiative. Over coffee one morning I said to him: “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all a myth. Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger.” Through a sad smile he replied: “Alan, the trouble with us Israelis is that we’ve become the victims of our own propaganda.”
Lie 3: No Palestinian partner for peace
The third of Zionism’s biggest propaganda lies is its assertion that it has never had a Palestinian partner for peace.
The truth is that nobody, repeat nobody, did more than Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat to prepare the ground for peace on terms which any rational government in Israel would have accepted with relief.
As I documented in detail in my book Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker? (I spent a year living with him and his most senior leadership colleagues to talk their story out of them), Arafat became a pragmatist as the result of a conversation he had with Egypt’s President Nasser in 1969. Nasser told him that if the PLO wanted to be taken seriously by the major powers it would have to come up with a policy of politics and compromise. The compromise required, Nasser added, was a commitment to peace with an Israel inside its 1967 borders.
Arafat knew that for most Palestinians everywhere at the time that was an unthinkable compromise because it required them to make peace with Israel in return for only 22 per cent of their land.
But from then on, 1969, Arafat himself was committed to the two-state solution. It then took him 10 long years to sell his policy of politics and compromise to first the majority of his Fatah leadership colleagues and then, eventually, to the PNC, the Palestine National Council, which was more or less a Palestinian parliament-in-exile and the highest decision-making body on the Palestinian side.
It was a selling process that required Arafat to put his reputation with his own people and his life on the line. In one of my conversations with Abu Iyad, Fatah’s intelligence and security chief, he told me that if at an early point he had believed Arafat would succeed in getting PNC support for unthinkable compromise with Israel, he would have assassinated him with his own gun. When subsequently I told Arafat what Abu Iyad had said, his only comment was “Yes, I knew that.”
It was after the 1973 war that Arafat stepped up his efforts to sell his policy of politics and compromise to the PNC. His reasoning in the immediate aftermath of that war was that Egypt would make a separate peace with Israel, that Jordan would no doubt do the same at some point, and that if PLO was not committed to peace with an Israel inside its pre-1967 borders, it would be abandoned by those two front-line Arab states.
When he went for broke in his efforts to sell his policy of politics and compromise to the PNC, Arafat summoned each and every one of the PNC’s 300 delegates from all over the world to Beirut for one-on-one conversations with him. The initial response of very many of them was to accuse him of being traitor. Arafat kept his cool and told the rejectors to return to their places in the diaspora and think over what he had said about the need for compromise with Israel. When they had done that, he told them, he would call them back for another conversation with him. Arafat was not a great public speaker but in one-on-one conversations he had the persuasive power of a magician.
That was proved when towards the end of 1979 the PNC meeting in Algiers voted in favour of Arafat’s policy of politics and compromise by 296 votes to 4.
The day after the vote I met with Arafat. He said:
It is a miracle. We are now prepared to live in peace with Israel in a mini-state of our own. No more this silly talk of driving the Jews into the sea!
Arafat was then at the height of his powers and if Israel’s leaders had been remotely interested in peace on the basis of a genuine two-state solution the door to it was open.
Israel’s response to Arafat the peacemaker came in 1982 when Defence Minister Sharon ordered an invasion of Lebanon all the way to Beirut. Its purpose was to eliminate the entire PLO leadership and destroy its infrastructure. But that was intended to be only Phase One of Sharon’s master plan.
His intention if he succeeded in eliminating the PLO leadership and destroying its infrastructure was to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan and then say to the occupied and oppressed Palestinians: “Of course you must have a state of your own. There it is on the other side of the Jordan River. Go take it.”
A year later I asked King Hussein if he had been aware of Sharon’s intention to overthrow him. He said yes, he was fully aware of it.
But King Hussein was not the only Arab leader who was fully aware of Sharon’s game plan. When Sharon was well into planning his invasion of Lebanon all the way to Beirut the Gulf Arab leaders met in secret. Their purpose was to agree a message to be sent to President Reagan. The message they sent was to the effect that when Sharon went for the PLO in Beirut they would not intervene or make any trouble.
How do we know that? One of the Gulf leaders present was Oman’s Sultan Qaboos. And he warned Arafat. According to what Arafat told me, Sultan Qaboos said to him: “Be very careful. The time is coming when you will call for our help and it will not be provided.”
Did the Gulf Arab leaders want Sharon to destroy the PLO? The answer seems to me to be yes.
Another question. By being prepared to make peace with Israel in return for a Palestinian mini state, was Arafat effectively renouncing the Palestinian right of return?
The complete answer is no. Arafat and most of his leadership colleagues understood but could not say in public that a Palestinian mini state would be able to accommodate only about 100,000 of those refugees wishing to return. But they invested their hope, perhaps naively, in the idea that one or two generations of peace would create enough mutual trust and confidence for Israel to allow more and more Palestinians to return. But even if that hope was the product of wishful thinking it did not amount to renouncing the right of return.
Why Zionism is the real enemy of the Jews
Now to the question why Zionism is the real enemy of the Jews.
What we are witnessing in the world today is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism which, generally speaking, is not anti-Semitism (not a loathing or even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews).
Anti-Israelism is the understandable human response to Israel’s contempt for international law, its denial of justice for the Palestinians and, more generally speaking, its on-going colonisation – the theft of more and more Arab land and water and the demolition of more and more Arab homes, a process that in my view could and should be described as ethnic cleansing slowly and by stealth.
The danger for the Jews of the world is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into anti-Semitism, leading at some point to a second holocaust, my shorthand for another great turning against the Jews.
An explicit waning about this danger was put into words by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving director of military intelligence, in his 1986 book, Israel’s Fateful Hour. Here is what he wrote:
Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.
If Harkabi was alive today I think he would probably agree with me that the transformation about which he warned is now underway.
It’s worth noting that Harkabi was not the first to warn that Zionism could be the promoter of anti-Semitism.
Prior to the Nazi holocaust most Jews of the world were opposed to Zionism’s Palestine project. Those who spoke out publicly against it believed it was immoral and would lead to unending conflict. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way, it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.
Perhaps the most tragic of all ironies is that Zionism needs anti-Semitism in order to justify its criminal policies and actions.
Because of a particular belief I have I would like to be able to draw my presentation to a close on a positive note. My belief is this.
Generally speaking, the Jews are the intellectual elite of the Western world and the Palestinians are the intellectual elite of the Arab world. What this suggests to me is that together in peace and partnership they could change the region for the better and, by doing so, give new hope and inspiration to the whole world.
But it isn’t going to happen, so I can’t draw to a conclusion on a positive note.
Israel’s leaders are not remotely interested in peace on any terms the Palestinians could accept, and that’s in part because most Israeli Jews have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda to the point where they are beyond reason on the matter of justice for the Palestinians.
The game plan of those Israeli leaders who call the shots is to make life hell for the Palestinians in the hope that they will either abandon their struggle and accept crumbs from Zionism’s table in the form of a few isolated Bantustans on 30 to 40 per cent of the West Bank which they could call a state if they wished; or, better still, pack their bags and leave to start new lives elsewhere.
What is most likely to happen when Israel’s leaders conclude that they can’t force the Palestinians to surrender on Zionism’s terms? My speculation is that they will create a pretext to go for a final round of ethnic cleansing – to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or wherever. And those who don’t flee will be slaughtered.
My further speculation is that if that happened the outrage of concerned and caring citizens around the world would speed up the transformation of anti-Israelism into anti-Semitism, making another great turning against Jews inevitable at some point.
Making Israel accountable for the occupation
Last question for the moment.
Am I without any hope for a resolution of the conflict that will provide the Palestinians with an acceptable amount of justice?
In my analysis, and given the complicity by default of all the governments which matter in Israel’s on-going colonisation, I can see only one way in which the dynamics of the conflict could be changed. And that is for the occupied and oppressed Palestinians to insist on the dissolution of the corrupt and impotent Palestinian Authority and handing back to Israel complete responsibility and full accountability for occupation.
That would impose significant security, financial and other burdens on Israel, and it would respond with more and more brutality and oppression. But that could trigger an avalanche of public protest and pressure throughout the Western world and beyond to push governments to use the leverage they have to try to cause Israel to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians.
But I have a caution. Even if the day comes when the governments of the major powers are prepared to confront Zionism it could not be taken for granted that Israel’s leaders would say: “Okay. We’ll do what you want.”
My reason for saying that is a statement Prime Minister Golda Meir made to me in one of my interviews with her for the BBC’s “Panorama” programme in 1972. At a point I said to her: “Prime Minister, I want to be sure I understand what you have just said… You did mean that in a doomsday situation Israel would be prepared to take the region and the world down with it?”
Without a pause for reflection, Golda replied: “Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
That interview was broadcast on BBC 1 at 8 o’clock on a Monday evening. An hour later The Times of London, then a seriously good newspaper, changed its lead editorial to quote what Golda said to me. It then added its own opinion: “We had better believe her.”
I did then and I still do.
Thank you very much for listening and thank you dear Alfred for your translation. I now look forward to taking your questions and I hope that one of them will be about the role the Palestinian diaspora could play in helping to keep the Palestinian cause alive if it summoned up the will and the courage to become united and politically engaged.