In an ugly testament to the Orwellian perversity of our times, over 700 ‘artists and academics’ thought to anoint themselves with the olea sacra of leftist virtue by signing an anti-racist proclamation rife with ethnic bigotry.
On its face, the statement published on 3 July by Overland magazine was directed against the possible extension of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). But tucked away within the bowels of this 700-word manifesto is an assault against the very existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The Overland statement describes the establishment of Israel in 1948 as an incident of ‘land theft’.
Never mind that the Arab Higher Committee summarily rejected the compromise 1947 UN Partition Plan that would have created an independent Arab state over half of British mandatory Palestine. Or that Arab League General Secretary Azzam Pasha vowed in Egyptian newspaper Akbar al-Yom to wage ‘a war of extermination and momentous massacre’ against the newborn Jewish state.
Throughout a century of conflict over the land of Israel, it is simple, undeniable fact that only one belligerent party has adopted mass murder as an official policy. In 1948, Palestinian irregulars and five Arab national armies tried to put Azzam Pasha’s words into action by going to war with the declared objective of annihilating Israel’s Jewish population numbering 650,000 souls. The Israelis managed to beat back these aspiring Arab genocidaires at a cost of 6,000 soldiers and civilians killed.
But, oblivious to these inconvenient truths of objective history, signatories of the Overland statement argue that Zionism is an evil colonialist movement that stole the land of Israel from its rightful indigenous owners – the Palestinian Arabs. And by so doing they deny the right of the Jewish people to national sovereignty while supporting self-determination for the Palestinians and other ethno-national communities.
Some of these leftist bien-pensants go on to contend that the only just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a single unitary state from Gaza to the Jordan River. The importation of seven million Palestinian Arabs – refugees and their descendants – into the heartland of Israel-proper is a non-negotiable pillar of this program. The inevitable consequence of such a policy would be the demographic transformation of Israel into the Middle East’s 23rd majority Arab/Muslim nation. These anti-Zionists blithely assure us that their one-state vision will usher in a model secular democracy where inter-communal goodwill reigns supreme. But the past quarter-century has shown us that a necessary precondition for peaceful multi-ethnic coexistence is something sorely lacking in the Arab world – a well-established culture of political pluralism. Throughout the Middle East we’ve witnessed a bloody descent into barbarism of ethnically diverse societies that lack a strong tradition of democracy.
Dreams of Lockean liberty that emerged during the Arab Spring of 2011 now lie ground into dust by the treads of army tanks and the heels of jihadi boots. From Tunis to Teheran, the Middle East is awash in a savage sea of political repression and civil war, with nothing resembling pluralist democracy anywhere to be seen.
It’s a sad reality – but a reality nonetheless – that the Islamic Middle East is afflicted by deeply embedded cultural pathologies that are hostile to free minds and free markets. This may not be a politically correct statement, but it is a factually correct statement nonetheless. And as US president John Adams once put it, ‘facts are stubborn things’.
There is no credible reason to believe that an Arab-majority state created by a mass influx of Palestinians into Israel would become a haven of halcyon harmony. In fact, it’s an ontological certainty that an Arab-dominated Israel/Palestine would degenerate into another failed Levantine satrapy where Islamic radicals battle secular autocrats for absolute power.
The murderous brutality with which Hamas suppresses political dissent in Gaza would be a mere prologue for the bloodiness to come. And it’s not only individual civil rights that would suffer.
A former-state of Israel’s Jews – now reduced to minority status by a Palestinian Right of Return– would be subject to persecution, expulsion… or worse. A likely indication of their fate can be gleaned from the ethnic massacres inflicted upon Kurds, Yazidis and Christians throughout the region.
If ever implemented, the anti-Zionist program would wreak genocidal havoc upon the largest Jewish community in the world today. And if that doesn’t constitute antisemitism, the world has lost all rational meaning.
Signatories of the Overland statement can be subdivided into categories that I describe as the ‘Three N’s’; nescient, naive and nefarious.
Nescience is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as: ‘ignorance or lacking in knowledge’. These are people who view the world through the prism of Western culture and assume that everyone subscribes to Western values and rationality.
Then there are the naive, who despite knowing something about the Middle East, still believe a worldview best expressed by John Lennon in his song Imagine: ‘Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill and die for / And no religion too.’
It doesn’t take much imagination to envisage the reaction of Hamas, Hezbollah and Isis to such delusional hippy-speak. I can almost hear the knives being honed as we speak.
The ‘Third N’ are the nefarious. Those who camouflage their yearning for Jewish destruction beneath a patina of pseudo-moralistic posturing.
The threat of anti-Zionism must be fought in the political domain without compromise or concession. Yet it might be possible to forgive advocates for this pernicious doctrine who operate out of nescience or naivety
We must nonetheless work hard in the electoral arena to ensure that such utopian fools never come near the levers of government power. I am encouraged in this endeavour by the fact that Overland is a fringe publication with a miniscule circulation founded by members of the Australian communist party.
As for the nefarious – those who seek destruction of the Jews with malice aforethought – they must be challenged without surcease. We must never be cowed by specious pseudo-moralising of antisemites-in-masquerade whose specious invocation of human rights cloaks their animus towards the Jewish people.
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Ted Lapkin is the Executive Director of the Australian Jewish Association
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