Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Juan Cole: Anti-Israel Trumps Anti-America

Juan Cole spends most of his time telling about all the bad things America has caused, while badmouthing Israel only from time to time. He must have his reasons. Yesterday however he felt compelled to argue that horrendous as the (American generated) problem of Iraqi refugees certainly is, it takes second place to the suffering of the Palestinians:
Actually, I would say that the Palestinian refugee crisis is still worse, since most Palestinians except those in Israel and Jordan are still stateless, and their total number is roughly 10.5 million (i.e. about 7 million are stateless, and even some of those with Jordanian citizenship still live in refugee camps. I would argue that long-term statelessness is akin to a condition of slavery insofar as many basic rights, including work permits, expectations of permanent residence in a country, etc., come only with citizenship). All of this is to take nothing away from the seriousness and tragedy of the Iraqi refugee crisis.
I don't know why I give Cole so much attention. Perhaps it has to do with his penchant for inventing things from whole cloth while presenting them as the erudition of a scholar, and the eagerness of many people to go along with the charade. In this instance, his numbers regarding Palestinians are an evil and malicious fairy tale. Over at the website of UNRWA - no friends of Israel, they - on 31 March 2005 they knew of 112,882 Palestinian refugees in camps in Syria, and another 311,768 not in camps, for a total of 424,650; in Lebanon they knew of 210,952 refugees in camps, and 189,630 outside. The total number of refugees they identify everywhere is 4,225,120, most of them in Jordan, where they're regular citizens, or in Gaza and the West Bank, where they're citizens in and of Palestine, which admittedly is not a full-fledged state but that's a different issue, and if it were up to Israel it would have been since 2000 at the very latest.

N0t to mention the deeper question of 4th generation refugees, and the canard about the refugee camps which in many case don't really exist. (An issue I wrote about extensively in Right to Exist).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ya`aqov, the condition that Cole describes as being that of the palestinian Arabs --prolonged statelessness-- was in fact that of the Jews since the Arabs conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century, then part of the Byzantine Empire where the Jews did have certain rights, although less to be sure than they had before the rise of Christianity when the Emperor Caracalla made Jews and others citizens of the Empire. In the West, after Christianization and after the fall of the Empire, Jews were very subjects deprived of rights although their situation fluctuated by time and place. In the Islamic domain, after the Arab conquest, Jews were very much exploited, oppressed, and humiliated subjects. Indeed, Christians too were dhimmis, like Jews, in the Muslim domain [dar al-Islam] but I believe that the Jews' status was even lower, even worse than that of the Christians. So, if statelessness is akin to slavery, as Cole says, then his poor Arabs were enslaving Jews for more than a thousand years.