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A Work of Fiction

This is a guest post by Jonathan Hoffman

Ben White is a freelance writer about the Middle East. His work appears often on ‘Comment Is Free’. He has tried to argue that Ahmadinejad did not deny the Holocaust and has written

“I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are.”

His new book “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide” was launched in the British Parliament on Wednesday night (a meeting in the parliament needs a Member to sponsor it – Brian Idden MP in this case).

The forward to the book is written by John Dugard, the South African lawyer who made the apartheid analogy, as a result of which Israel refused to allow him to conduct a UN-mandated fact-finding mission on its Gaza offensive in 2006. Desmond Tutu – whom Alan Dershowitz called a ‘racist and a bigot’ – says

“This book deals rationally and cogently with a topic that almost always generates heat…”

The blurb also has a favourable quote from Pappe. Stephen Sizer says

“If you really care about peace in the Middle East, read this book”.

I have not read the book, but judging by White’s presentation it belongs in the fiction category.

He began by saying

“Israel would prefer to disappear the Palestinians”.

We have one doctored quote after another. “A land without a people…” which of course was never said by any Jew, let alone any Zionist leader. David Ben-Gurion never said “We must expel Arabs and take their places.” He in fact said “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places.”

There was no ‘transfer consensus’ by which the Zionist leaders in 1948 agreed to transfer Arabs out. in fact the Mayor of Haifa, Shabtai Levy, on 22 April begged the Arabs to stay.

It is simply not true that “half the dispossessed Palestinians had already been kicked out by the time of the Declaration of the State of Israel”.

‘Plan Dalet’ was not a plan to expel Arabs. As Benny Morris has written, “There was no Zionist “plan” or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of “ethnic cleansing”. Plan Dalet (Plan D), of March 10th, 1948 (it is open and available for all to read in the IDF Archive and in various publications), was the master plan of the Haganah – the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) – to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state. That’s what it explicitly states and that’s what it was. ” (Irish Times, 21 February 2008)

And so on.

I remonstarted at the lies and Idden threatened me with eviction (the third time at Israel hatefests in nine days). My friend was jeered at when she sauid her (Jewish-sounding) name before she asked her question. Iddon said he would take statements after the questions then refused to let me talk saying they were out of time.

On the way out I was told that “the Nazis should have finished the job”.

The book is to be discussed at a meeting (also in London) organised by the Charity “War on Want” on 9 July. Just as adverts must be ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’ so the material that Charities produce must be ‘legal, decent honest and truthful’. That is what Guidance Note CC9 from of the Charity Commission appears to require. It doesn’t actually use the words ‘legal, decent honest and truthful’. What it says is that the material charities produce must be “factually accurate and have a legitimate evidence base”.

“War on Want” sells a £4 Christmas card depicting Joseph and a pregnant Mary being accosted by two IDF soldiers by the wall, with a checkpoint in the background decked with an Israeli flag and with a rifle pointing out of it. “War on Want” and other charities sponsored the anti-Israel ‘Enough!” march in London in May 2007 and during ‘Cast Lead’ it put out Press Releases which were clearly biased. Now it is organising a launch of this book.

Don’t bother waiting for either Ben White or War on Want to condemn the conduct of last week’s Iranian election. You could be waiting a long time.