"The Promise" / "The Independent" / Christina Patterson


By Jonathan Hoffman
February 27, 2011
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The Independent has to date not published the letter below. Background is here:
http://thejc.com/blogpost/christina-patterson-again-the-promise

Almost precisely a year ago we read Christina Patterson’s rant against her supposedly annoying and rude Charedi neighbours in Stamford Hill.

So if Ms Patterson (23 February) thinks that Channel 4’s “The Promise” is “balanced”, it’s a sign that it’s probably not. In fact it is full of the most outrageous stereotypes.

No, not all Jews in Israel live in California-style houses with swimming-pools and not all Arabs “struggle to buy bread.” The reality is that Israeli Arabs serve as Supreme Court Judges and in the top echelons of the diplomatic service, and that Arab women in Israel get by far the best education in the Middle East .

And the IDF is not full of sadists, as the series makes out. In fact Colonel Richard Kemp – former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan – believes that the IDF is “the most moral army in the world.

And Ms Patterson is wrong is asserting that the settlements are “illegal”. There is no basis in international law for saying this and the US – for one – does not believe it.

In fact the central premise on which “The Promise” is based – that the creation of Israel was solely a response to the Holocaust and that Arabs “paid the price” – is maliciously false. The series’ writer and director Peter Kosminsky makes no mention of the steady return to Palestine of Jews which began in the 1880s. Neither does he mention the Balfour Declaration and other international commitments – including from the League of Nations - to support a Jewish national home. Neither does he mention the flight of 800,000 Jews from Arab countries under duress and the immigration of many to Israel, nor Arab antisemitism personified by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose influence - according to testimony by Nazi war criminals – was critical to the German decision to annihilate the Jews of Europe.

And Kosminsky promulgates the complete falsehood that the Jews and Arabs lived in harmony before World war Two. It is as if he had never heard of the Arab riots against the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s, or the Hebron massacre of 1929.

Sincerely
Jonathan Hoffman
Co-Vice Chair ZF

COMMENTS

Macairt

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 12:46

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5 points

I wrote this letter:

Dear Ms Patterson,

'But when you see the lives of the people who were in that place before, who don't have jobs, or enough food for their children, or anything you could really call freedom, you can see why their sympathy for their newish neighbours might have worn a bit thin.'

Are you for real? Do you know anything of the history of the region? The buzzword these days is 'resistance'. Well, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian 'resistance' is rooted in a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian resistance, from the late 19th century, to Jews existing in the land in anything other than tiny numbers.

A resistance, moreover (asides being rooted in an early Christian and Islamic apartheid against Jews for centuries, rooted in the notion that Jews are a people exiled and dispossessed for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets), which evolved into a national movement in the course of the early twentieth 20th century which sought to expel or eliminate the Jews of Palestine, Israel and, arguably, elsewhere; in the case of the PLO, until 1988; in the case of Hamas until today.

Kominsky shows modern Hebron, but omits to show how Palestinian Arab Muslims drove out all its Jews in 1929; or from East Jerusalem in the 1930s; or by other Arabs from the Old City in 1948. The cry of the Arab rebels in 1936-1939 was 'The English to the sea, the Jews to the grave'.

Jews could only return, under protection, to any of these places in 1967. Forgive Israeli Jews if they ensure they never lose their capital city again, and they do not automatically trust to the goodwill of their Arab Muslim and Christian neighbours, something in which those neighbours have a very poor trackrecord.

As for those 'concessions': Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni were following the Geneva Accord: have you even heard of that? It was thrashed out between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, 2001-2003. When it was launched in Switzerland in 2003, it was given the blessing of Yasser Arafat, head of the P.A. Olmert and Livni stuck to that particular script, Abbas and Erekat departed from it. They wanted to go back to the package Arafat had rejected 7 years, and one war, which his side started, earlier.

http://www.geneva-accord.org/mainmenu/pa-arafat-okayed-geneva-accord?Ite...

Frankly, if this is the best British like you can muster in terms of being informed empathy for our brethren, you know what you can do with it. If you are trying to alienate British Jews, congratulations: you and your sort are succeeding.

And that doesn't begin to cover problems I have with The Promise, such as rooting Zionist claims and justice in the Holocaust. My area of expertise is the Church Fathers. And all the Church Fathers agree that the Jews are a people exiled and dispossessed. This has been the normative view in not only most parts of Christendom whence Israeli Jews originated, but also Islam: hence Muhammed addresses the Jews of Makkah and Madinah as though they themselves had been driven from the land for their sins.

Not only Jews have regarded themselves as a people exiled, but so did most of their host societies and cultures. Resulting, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in most Jews being regarded neither as properly nationally European nor, say, Arab; and being effectively driven from Old World Christendom and Islam; before 1914, mostly to America; after 1914, mostly to Palestine or what became Israel.

If you omit to mention these facts, even by allusion, which are the fundamental bases for Jewish nationalism, the desire to restore to Jews their ancient patria (as the emperor who destroyed the temple, Titus, called it), and to live in some modicum of freedom and independence, you omit Israel's fundamental pediment. The Holocaust was not the beginning of 2000 years of Jewish statelessness and dispossession, it was the nadir. The creation of the province of Syria Palaestina (whence 'Palestine'), by Rome, to alienate Jews from Judea, forever, was in a sense its beginning.

Zionist Jews committed acts of ethnic cleansing in the 1947-49 war. Hands up, guilty. But the same, or worse, was threatened against them by Palestinian and other Arab Muslims and Christians. When the PLO finally decided to make peace in 1988, the clock could not go back to 1947 or 1967: everything had to be negotiated, including the settlements, most of which are suburbs of Jerusalem, anyway.

Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians have been agents in their own fate as must as Palestinian, Israeli and Zionist Jews. They are not a national victim-Christ crucified-colonised by alien Zionist Jewish interlopers. They made choices. Bad ones, to which there are consequences.

My own view is that the Geneva Accord (which Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian seems to have forgotten he touted in 2003) is the way to go. It says exactly what settlements Israel retains for territory from her elsewhere, on a 1:1 basis, and what must go to the Palestinians:

http://www.geneva-accord.org/mainmenu/summary

It is the most comprehensive and detailed plan to have arisen from Israeli-Palestinian discussions (between Yossi Beilin, architect of Oslo, and Abd Rabbo, P.A. minister at the time, now a senior P.A. figure). One has to wonder why Abbas and Erekat declined to back him (or Arafat) up, whether they really wanted to resolve the conflict at all.

Thanks for the lecture about democracy in the middle east: that argument, that Islamists might come to power, is precisely what those in Israel opposing negotiations have been using all along: that whoever you make an agreement with, they may be overthrown by Islamists who rescind the agreement (as may yet happen in Egypt), and one finds oneself with Iranian rockets lobbed into your biggest population centres.

It's not my argument. But ignoramuses like you who spew misrepresentations make the converse much harder.

And thanks for the 'rich Jew/poor Arab' thing: no risk of traditional antisemitic tropism there. No danger of an inflammatory simplistic narrative. Israel won its wars. And made sure her neighbours, including the Palestinians, or those who became the Palestinians, could do little to harm her. You or they have a problem with that? Tough.

There is a simple way to make peace: follow in the footsteps of the Clinton Parameters and the Geneva Accord.

Unfortunately Al-Jazeera and The Guardian may have sabotaged that, permanently. Try not to cheer them on.


jose (not verified)

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 13:01

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0 points

Amen!


jose (not verified)

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 14:00

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-2 points

Note that Milligramsam's two accounts took the pain to mark down a post just saying "Amen!".

When will the moderator moderate Milligramsam's two accounts:
http://www.thejc.com/users/joemillis and http://www.thejc.com/users/joe-millis ?


Jon_i_Cohen

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 14:51

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1 point

Macairt
Excellent piece! any reply from Frauline Patterson?


jose (not verified)

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 15:03

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-3 points

"Fraulein" !


jose (not verified)

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 15:12

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-3 points

Seems that Milligramsam's two accounts are still active. Maybe the JC moderator could look there: http://www.thejc.com/users/joemillis and http://www.thejc.com/users/joe-millis


jose (not verified)

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 15:21

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-3 points

On the other hand, marking down posts keeps him busy and saves us from his uninspired prose.


Yoni1

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 16:35

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-1 points

"Zionist Jews committed acts of ethnic cleansing in the 1947-49 war"

Nonsense. Ethnic cleansing is just a polite modern term for genocide. There was no 'genocide' whatsoever, except the one planned by the Arabs against the Jews, or rather, the one they are still planning now.


Yoni1

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 16:37

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-1 points

Well, some mega-tosser or other sure is marking down sensible posts here.


Jon_i_Cohen

Sun, 02/27/2011 - 19:06

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1 point

So, what will tonights final episode have in store?


Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 01:07

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2 points

It was disgusting. As Jonathan Sacerdoti said to me, no better than the Islamist propaganda which MEMRI shows.


jose (not verified)

Mon, 02/28/2011 - 06:41

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-3 points

No wonder that Wallinuts loves that antisemitic one-sided fiction.


Stanley Walinets

Tue, 03/15/2011 - 18:17

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jose - Hello again! Nice to see you haven't forgotten me since my recent spell in hospital. I note you still haven't learned how to spell my name but there we are, can't expect too much from such a simple soul.

Anyway - to the point of this particular debate,'The Promise', and the issue of did Palestinians ever exist, what rights did they have, how did they come to lose their homes, etc etc.

Certainly, Jews have lived in the former Palestine for centuries. But they lived there along with Palestinians, who also go back for centuries. Assertions that the Palestinians had left largely of their own volition is hugely innacurate. Here's a bit of history for us all to consider:

In 1948, Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion secretly listed the names of Palestinian villages already occupied by Hagana and other paramilitary groups and explained the next military objectives would be Haifa and Jaffa, which encompassed 100,000 people and thousands more in the surrounding countryside. Many Jews in these areas were content to live alongside their Arab neighbours and were unaware of the military's secret plans.
But a small group of Zionist leaders and generals in the ruling MAPAI Party were in charge. Under Mordechai Machler, who later became Israeli Chief of Staff, the Hagana Archives (Tel Aviv, 22 April 1948) record the following instructions issued to the Israeli fighters (then known as 'terrorists'...):

"When the bombardment of the neighbourhoods is concluded, troops will attack fiercely and aggressively and kill every Arab they meet. I am sending you flammable devices as well. You should burn every flammable object. I am sending you sappers with kits for breaking into houses."

Not surprisingly, the thousands of Arabs living in these areas panicked into a massive exodus. When they left, their houses were pillaged. That was the story of those Arabs who 'left of their own volition'.

A shocking photograph of this 'voluntary exodus' was taken on 12 May 1948, three weeks later, of three Hagana soldiers escorting three Arabs with their belongings out of Haifa. I'll try to copy it here, tho' I don't know if I'm computer-skilled enough to manage that; if it doesn't transfer, well, you get the point anyway.
These facts are recorded not by some suspect Arab source by Haifa-born history Professor Ilan Pappe, writing from his own experiences as a Hagana fighter at the time.


Jon_i_Cohen

Tue, 03/15/2011 - 18:47

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1 point

Stanley, Stanley, same old same old.
And-by quoting "Professor" Ilan Pappe you have fluffed it, you have blown any credibility that you thought you had.
Facts:-The Palestinian Arabs left their homes in 1947-48 for a variety of reasons. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, thousands more responded to Arab leaders' calls to get out of the way of the advancing armies,(documented and recorded radio broadcasts, I can get you the links if you want),most simply fled to avoid being caught in the cross fire of a battle. Tragically, had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN resolution, not a single Palestinian would have become a refugee and an independent Arab state would now exist beside Israel.
The claims from Arab sources that millions of Palestinians were pushed off their land by the Zionists, then expelled by the new State of Israel in the War of Independence in 1948 is fanciful and pure fantasy.
The Palestinian tragedy is primarily self-inflicted, a direct result of the vehement Palestinian Arab rejection of the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, and the violent attempt by the Arab nations of the region to abort the Jewish state at birth. Palestinian Arabs have tried to rewrite the history of the 1948 war in a manner that stains Israel politically and morally. Their objective is to 1) extract from Israel a confession of the allegedly forcible dispossession of "native Palestinians" by "an act of expulsion," and then 2) to ensure the return of refugees to parts of the territory that is now Israel and/or to compensate the Palestinian Arabs monetarily for their sufferings.
This cannot actually happen, however fervently Arabs may believe in it, because historical fact is not what they claim. Arabs left Israel in 1948 in large numbers, it is true, but not for the reasons that Palestinian Arabs put forth. Fortunately for history, during the past decade Israeli and other state archives have declassified millions of records, including invaluable contemporary Arab and Palestinian documents, relating to the 1948 war and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. These make it possible to establish the truth about what happened in Palestine.
A good example is events of the War of Independence period in the city of Haifa that you talk of. When hostilities between Arabs and Jews broke out in 1947, there were 62,500 Arabs in Haifa; by May 1948, all but a few were gone, accounting for fully a tenth of the total Palestinian dispersion.
The first thing the documents show is that Arab flight from Haifa began well before the outbreak of hostilities, and even before the UN’s November 29, 1947 partition resolution. On October 23, over a month earlier, a British intelligence brief was already noting that:

... leading Arab personalities are acting on the assumption that disturbances are near at hand, and have already evacuated their families to neighboring Arab countries.

OF THEIR OWN ACCORD

So there you have it.
If you take anything Pappe says as half serious you might as well be reading Hans Christian Anderson -
That's right - fairy tales!


amber

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 16:11

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walinets, what a ridiculous person you are.


Stanley Walinets

Wed, 03/16/2011 - 19:06

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-1 points

Jon (I'll ignore amber for now - I don't know how to discuss anything with someone whose definition of 'ridiculous' is 'someone you disagree with...).

But thanks Jon for your careful historical account of the nakba (if you'll allow me to use that word, now forbidden by law in Israel, I understand... Interesting thought, in passing - what might we think of any national Government which made it illegal for Jews to use the word 'Holocaust'?...).

But to the point. There were doubtless many reasons why those thousands of Palestinian families left their homes at that time. But can you really overlook the fact that MASSES OF PEOPLE DO NOT JUST DECIDE TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES unless there is something they are truly afraid is about to happen if they stay? As you say -

"On October 23, over a month earlier, a British intelligence brief was already noting that
... leading Arab personalities are acting on the assumption that disturbances are near at hand, and have already evacuated their families to neighboring Arab countries ".

Your comment "OF THEIR OWN ACCORD" is rather simplistic, don't you think? People don't just upsticks, in their thousands, for no reason at all, now do they? Consider this comparison: In 1940's England, thousands of families suddenly evacuated their children in response to fears of the blitz. Would Hitler have been justified in saying "Ha! They left of their own accord didn't they?!"

And if that isn't a valid enough aspect for you, I note you've made no reference to the Hagana Archives (Tel Aviv, 22 April 1948) which I quoted:-

"Mordechai Machler, who later became Israeli Chief of Staff, issued the following instructions to the Israeli fighters: "When the bombardment of the neighbourhoods is concluded, troops will attack fiercely and aggressively and kill every Arab they meet. I am sending you flammable devices as well. You should burn every flammable object. I am sending you sappers with kits for breaking into houses."

If YOU knew that sort of thing was brewing, wouldn't YOU get your family out, however you could?

As to Ilan Pappe, he IS a Professor of history. He was also an Israeli fighter at that time. So he knows of what he speaks. Every Professor has his words doubted - Prof Benny Morris, for example - you just have to decide for yourself who seems to be telling the truth and who seems to be distorting it.

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