Monday, March 22, 2010


The Economist, no less, takes on the silliness of Juan Cole and Andrew Sullivan, who've been touting this Ministry of Truth map of a faraway land they know nothing about. Ouch!

H/t Judeosphere


Anonymous said...

well as Andrew Sullivan made clear during the Wieseltier exchange when the heat and passion of blogging overcomes him he can't really bother about facts - he has to make a point, period!

while I try to be very forgiving for real part-time bloggers i.e. amateurs professionals with a staff of ??? like Sullivan should be ashamed of hiding behind the I am a harmless little idiot excuse.


Joe in Australia said...

The article makes a very good point about land ownership, as distinct from political control. I wish it had addressed another point: between 1948-1967 Gaza was ruled by Egypt and the West Bank was ruled by Jordan. Most of that territory then, as today, was State land and it was neither owned nor controlled by Palestinians.

The only way that map can make sense is if you suppose that the Palestinians were somehow more independent when they were being ruled by a Bedouin despot or an Egyptian junta rather than the (admittedly unsatisfactory) power sharing arrangement that exists at present.

4infidels said...

Don't bother reading the first two pages of comments following the Economist article if you want to maintain your peace and tranquility. Lots of hatred by Economist readers. Not a surprise, but still hard to take.

This Is Hell said...

Glenn Greenwald went to town with the Sullivan article holding it up as a flaming sword of antisemitic wonderment and truth. Of course if he proclaimed the world is flat his acolytes would cheer and hang all the geographers who differ.

Sylvia said...

OT: Sky Network is reporting that Britain will expell an Israeli diplomat in Britain over the Dubai British passports which, they said, were copied at Israel's ports.

Anonymous said...

thanks Sylvia
Jeremy Bowen(sic) is at it at the BBC but what about this sentence
"Diplomatic sources stressed the British government was not accusing Israel of involvement in the killing, our correspondent added."
- now diplomats will become expelled because criminals managed to outsmart their airport security - that certainly promises interesting times ahead. What madness:
either they accuse Israel of having done it then they may expell the diplomat or some thugs stole the passports then Israeli police will investigate and maybe share the results.
and until they can prove it, this wink and wink and everybody knows has to stop ... my wearing bigger sunglasses now notwithstanding - privately I may adhere to any conspiracy theory that suits my fancy

Gavin said...

That map has been doing the rounds for years now. The other common claim is that Jews owned only 6% of the land and the Palestinians therefore owned the other 94%. Reason & common sense just flies out the window when the Israel bashers get started. If Cole has been peddling that map then the man is a muppet, so much for being an expert on the middle east.

Off topic too... your btselem looks to have not learned anything from the Al Dura affair Yaacov, they're stirring up another one. It's interesting that the BBC is reporting on the 'illegal' killing of two protestors and quoting bstelem as the source yet I can find nothing about it on btselems website. Are btselem sending communiques directly to the world media?

If anyone hasn't seen the article it's here;

I'd note that the x-ray photo looks to be faked. Bullets don't normally retain their original shape like that, especially high velocity rifle rounds. (It's a rifle bullet in the photo, too long for a pistol round) Can't have been a richochet since it's not deformed yet they'd have us believe it penetrated only about 2 inches.


Anonymous said...

if P.J. O'Rourke's reporting in The Atlantic is correct that Egypt knows or knew no land deeds but gave lands to the to be rewarded on a temporary basis then is the question what did EGYPT do with its land rights when the area went to Israel? Does Jordan have or hd the same view point on land rights as the Egyptians do?

The more I read about it the more I am baffled how "innocently" we assume that our western(?) concept of land rights applies everywhere.


Sylvia said...

Well, it's clearly political and not based on any hard evidence. What's important to that party in power is the upcoming elections and courting the Muslim vote.
They clearly have nothing to base it on other than the fact that those people entered Israel. On the other hand, the Quartet is back from Moscow and I wouldn't be surprised that other countries will use this same card (I wouldn't put it past Kushner to say something in that same spirit).
Israel has repeatedly denied being responsible for the Mabhouh assassination but nobody is listening.

Anonymous said...

Gavin -

"the man is a muppet"

don't malign muppets! it isn't easy being green.


Sylvia said...

Indeed I also thought of Al Durah Productions Inc. as I listened to the unfolding events on the radio. More telling than the rubber bullets or not was the fact that this area is under Palestinian police responsibility yet they didn't show up. But when the demonstrators started advancing toward Jewish neighborhoods and the Palestinian police was still invisible, Israeli police decided to move in. In other words, Israeli police was "reeled in".

Another point I've read somewhere but I haven't verified is that the BBC based its report on X-rays "seen by the Guardian". This should raise a red flag.

Gavin said...

The lady from Btselem quoted by the BBC knows all about the shape size, & penetrative effect of rubber bullets Sylvia, but when it comes to analysing the xray she's suddenly an imbecile on the subject. Rifle projectiles travel at over 2000 feet per second, that bullet in the x-ray is facing towards the front so it must have entered at the back of the head. For it to penetrate only a couple of inches like the x-ray shows it would have to have been fired from over 1km away. It looks like a 30cal round anyway, too big for a 5.56, they probably used one of their M16 or AK bullets to fake the photo.

I hope the IDF don't automatically take the blame for it like they did with Al Durah.


Sulzman said...

It's a shame to me that a lot of folks who I respect on most other issues are using this map. It's really disingenuous. Furthermore, it undermines Israel's very real aggressive military posture since it's inception (which tends to get lost in the neo-con/nationalist version of Israeli history)--Avi Shlaim's The Iron Wall shows this pretty definitively (although I'm sure there are plenty of commenters here for whom that book is anathema. Yaacov, I would however be curious to hear your view of Shlaim's work).

At any rate, as Jeffrey Goldberg has said at the Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan really doesn't know much about the Middle East. I'm a bit more disappointed in Greenwald, but he can be a bit hyperbolic too. As for Juan Cole, the dude should just know better.

Anonymous said...

to lighten your day after you have confessed to being a fan of Koucnner
- enjoy:
- his performance starts at about 0:90 - the other guy is Steinmeier our former Foreign Minister - to paraphrase Sergio all such embarrassing light weights

- The Pikanterie of the song is that the Turkish singer before that had issued a lot of usual rapper phantasies in songs and also in talking to the German journalist who has worked intensively on fisking the AlDura-myth

Just for the record the song only demands that Deutschland is to open up nothing about asking the Turks in "their" city quarters to may be smile back just a wee bit when smiled at.


Barry Meislin said...

Recipe 1:

1. Fight the Jews.
2. Get whomped.
3. Complain bitterly about it.
4. Blame everyone else.

Recipe 2:

1. Threaten to throw the Jews into the sea.
2. Attempt to throw the Jews into the sea.
3. Get whomped.
4. Complain bitterly that Israel is a militarized, violent society.
5. Blame everyone else for it.
6. Invent some juicy conspiracy theories.

Recipe 3:

1. Threaten to throw the Jews into the sea.
2. Attempt to throw the Jews into the sea.
3. Get whomped.
4. When offered terms of peace which involve not threatening to throw the Jews into the sea and not attempting to throw the Jews into the sea, complain bitterly about how unjust and unfair and impossible the Zionists are, complain bitterly about your suffering and the occupation and vow that you will contine to threaten and attempt to throw the Jews into the sea.
5. Get whomped.
6. Read Avi Shlaim, Ilan Pappe, and all their like-minded pursuers of truth, etc., and get everyone else to read them so that they will support you the next time you threaten and attempt to throw the Jews into the sea (under whatever guise or strategem).
7. Repeat the juicy conspiracy theories often enough that they become the unvarnished truth (this actually does seem to work quite well).
8. __________________?
9. __________________?

Other Recipes:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Juan Cole, he has a typically tendentious piece of gobbledygook basically saying that Jews have no right to Jerusalem. I would hope that someone with the historical knowhow I lack might shed some light on what seems his dubious reading of history.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to word it under No. 8 but I understand that normal custom is that in a war of aggression the loser has to pay reparations - has the subject ever come up?


Anonymous said...

At the end of the article, it says that the "Jews, and the Israeli state, have, in fact, seized great quantities of Palestinian land in the territory of Israel/Palestine over the past 60 years. Israelis and Americans must acknowledge this fact to make any progress towards peace, and an accurate accounting of such seizures would be very valuable."

I wonder what land the Economist is talking about. Land seized by settlers on the West Bank? Land won by the Israelis in the war of '48?

I wonder what kind of accounting they mean and what it would show. And what it would mean in terms of the private ownership versus state ownership distinction.

4infidels said...


I haven't read "The Iron Wall" but I have read some articles by Avi Shlaim. Let me summarize them all:

1) The Arabs were willing to make peace.

2) The Jews missed the opportunity, were determined to build settlements and make wars, when the Palestinian or Arab leadership were really giving signals that it would accept this or that compromise.

3) PA incitement and terrorism either don't exist. If they do it is Israel's fault for not doing enough for peace.

4) If only Israel had a different character, the Middle East could live in peace.

And since when were the "Neocons" responsible for writing Israeli history?

4infidels said...


At the end of the article, it says that the "Jews, and the Israeli state, have, in fact, seized great quantities of Palestinian land in the territory of Israel/Palestine over the past 60 years.

You didn't think Economist could just deal with the issue at hand without a gratuitous slap at Israel? Funny that after finally dealing with falsehoods and unsubstantiated accusations against Israel, the Economist comes up with one of its own just to let its sophisticated readers know that it hasn't become another Zionist-occupied publication!

Michael LeFavour said...

The maps are indeed misleading. Legal sovereignty went from the High Contracting Party, which was the Ottomans, to the British as a special temporary trustee (no other High Contracting Party had sovereignty while the legally binding treaty mechanism of the Mandate was in force), and then to the state of Israel after the sovereignty vacuum left the territory in a state of Terra nullius.

Note; though Israel has been recognized de jure the borders of the state are not defined, which I personally find odd given the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Arab Palestine (Jordan). Borders can be and are defined in peace treaties.

As has been pointed out, the first map shows only private property of Jews on former Ottoman land. The ethnic cleansing label of "Palestine" is irrelevant and does not include the majority of so called "Palestine", which lies to the East of the Jordan. For accuracy, that should have been included to show what the Jewish people lost access to as a potential state.

Further, if the 1st map was added to show ownership of private property it is a lie of omission to leave out a depiction of private property owned by non-Jews as well, which under the existing Ottoman Land Code only amounted to around 6%, and this mostly belonged to non-Muslims at that, and was concentrated in cities. This private property, mostly owned by non-Muslim Arabs, was called "mulk". The majority of Arab Muslims did not own their property at all, they were leasing or squatting to avoid paying taxes, the Sultan owned the land and had the right to evict at will. This land was called "miri". Had the first map added a third color for mulk land it would have been comparing apples to apples. As the map stands it is a lie by omission, an omission of "Palestine" east of the Jordan and an omission of private property held by non-Jews, which if shown in context would be just as sparse as the private property owned by Jews.

I also have a problem with showing the partition plan as a gain of "Jewish" land. Many non-Jews were living there and were to be given full citizenship in any new state if the sides had both agreed to the terms of the plan, which was a recommendation only, since the UN had no authority to change the terms of the legally binding Mandate for Palestine, which allowed Jews to immigrate to their ancestral homeland.

The third map, of course is more deceit because though Israel asked that all of the land its armed forces held control of at the end of the War of Independence be recognized as part of the state of Israel the armistice agreements did not define Israel's borders. Not to reiterate that there were no "Palestinians" at the time to act as a political body of people. It would have been more accurate to maybe label green areas "unallocated Mandate for Palestine land".

It is coincidental that these maps keep appearing in the hands of anti-Israel propagandists coming to my community. For example, I confronted Allison Weir of, If Americans Knew, a couple of days ago at a local campus with her maps and her horrific demonization that can only be objectively called incitement, (to genocide?).