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February 10, 2010

Re: Two books on Zionism by Reuel S. Amdur, January 27

Dr. Jacob Amir, F.A.C.P., Israel

Reuel S. Amdur ("Two books on Zionism", January 27) reviews two book on Zionism by Alan Hart. The review shows an extreme anti-Zionist and anti-Israel bias. Here are a few examples.

Amdur  writes that Hart quotes Begin about the aftermath of the massacre at Deir Yassin, a slaughter of men, women, and children, carried out by a joint operation of the Stern Gang and Irgun: “Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel. . . .Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with Jewish forces.”  Jewish forces made use of the atrocity in propaganda to encourage Arab flight.

But, contrary to Amdur's assertion, there was no massacre in Deir Yassin.  Here is what Hazem Nusseibeh, an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's Arabic news in 1948, admitted in the 1998 BBC TV series, "Israel and the Arabs"  that he was told by Hussein Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage the Arab regimes to invade the expected Jewish state. Nusseibeh described an encounter at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City with Deir Yassin survivors and Palestinian leaders, including Hussein Khalidi... "I asked Dr. Khalidi how we should cover the story," recalled Nusseibeh. "He said, 'We must make the most of this.' So we wrote a press release stating that at Deir Yassin children were murdered, pregnant women were raped. All sorts of atrocities." Nusseibeh told the BBC that the fabricated atrocity stories about Deir Yassin were: "...our biggest mistake, because Palestinians fled in terror and left the country in huge numbers after hearing the atrocity claims."

In fact Khalidi was one of the originators of the "massacre" allegation in 1948. It was Khalidi's claims about Jewish atrocities in Deir Yassin that were the basis for an article in the New York Times by its correspondent, Dana Schmidt (on April 12, 1948), claiming a massacre took place. The Times article has been widely reprinted and cited as "proof" of the massacre throughout the past 60 years.

Golda Meir never denied the existence of the Palestinians.  As she herself stated in 1976 in the New York Times: "To be misquoted is an occupational hazard of political leadership; for this reason I should like to clarify my position in regard to the Palestinian issue. I have been charged with being rigidly insensitive to the question of the Palestinian Arabs. In evidence of this I am supposed to have said, 'There are no Palestinians.' My actual words were: 'There is no Palestine people. There are Palestinian refugees.' The distinction is not semantic. My statement was based on a lifetime of debates with Arab nationalists who vehemently excluded a separatist Palestinian Arab nationalism from their formulations."

Of course, the "Jewish lobby" was the one responsible for the UN partition decision. It even forced the Soviet Union to vote in favor...

Amdur  writes that "while Jewish populations tend to be genetically distinct from their neighbors, they are genetically closer to them than to Jews in other regions.  The Khazar hypothesis does not explain that finding." 

But he does not tell us that the Jewish populations are very close genetically to Palestinian and Syrian Arabs. And they are not close at all to present day Turkish speakers, which means that they are not descendants of the Khazars. All that means that modern day Jews are descendants of the Jews who lived in the Middle East some 1900 y ago. Which means that not only history supports the existence of the Jewish  people and its origin in the Middle  East, so does science.  The Jews became a  people  in what was later called Palestine, and in spite of some 1900 years of exile,  never lost its emotional connection to the land of its origin.  Without that common historic memory and this attachment to the land, the Zionist movement would not have existed because the Jewish people would not have existed.

Dr. Jacob Amir, F.A.C.P.

Israel

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Amdur’s reply

Re Deir Yassin, see the following extract from Wikipedia:

The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Irgun and Lehi Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people.  The invasion occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem during the civil war that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine.

Around 107 villagers, including women and children, were killed. Some were shot, while others died when hand grenades were thrown into their homes. Several were taken prisoner and may have been killed after being paraded through the streets of West Jerusalem, though accounts vary. Four of the attackers died, with around 35 injured. The killings were condemned by the leadership of the Haganah, the Jewish community's main paramilitary force, and by the area's two chief rabbis. The Jewish Agency for Israel sent King Abdullah of Jordan a letter of apology, which he rebuffed.

The massacre became a pivotal event in the Arab-Israeli conflict for its demographic and military consequences. The narrative was embellished and used by various parties to attack each other—by the Palestinians to besmirch Palestine's Jewish community, and later Israel; by the Haganah to play down their own role in the affair; and later by the Israeli Left to accuse the Irgun and Lehi of violating the Jewish principle of tohar hanashek (purity of arms), thus blackening Israel's name around the world. News of the killings sparked terror within the Palestinian community, encouraging them to flee from their towns and villages in the face of Jewish troop advances, and it strengthened the resolve of Arab governments to intervene, which they did five weeks later by invading Palestine, following Israel's declaration of independence on May.

Re Golda Meir:  I am prepared to yield the point, but I’m not sure what difference it makes.

Re the notion that current-day Jews are descendants of original inhabitants of Holy Land: He forgets to consider the math exercise that I cited.  We all have literally millions of direct ancestors back to the time of Israel and Judea, so indeed current day Jews could have ancestry traced back to then.  So could Barack Obama and Joseph Stalin.

Also, anthropologist Melville Herskovitz, Man and His Works, Alfred A. Knopf, 1952, page 148:

As for the term Jew, its meaning, except when it is applied as a name-symbol for a group called Jews, who possess in common a certain historic continuity, is extremely tenuous.  No traits that characterize the Jews as such everywhere they are found, have been distinguished.  A rich store of evidence, on the other hand, demonstrates that the Jews of a given region resemble the general population of the region they inhabit.  The difference between the Jews of Germany and France, for example, is about that between the other elements in these two countries.

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