Goldblog Splutters


The maps above cause a conniption at Goldblog, prompts another claim to authoritah (a sure sign that someone has a weak argument) and ascribes to me all sorts of views I did not write in the post. (Despite Goldberg's claim, by the way, I did cite a reference - to Juan Cole's blog. Goldberg is free to take up the particulars with Cole if he so wishes - but I really wish he'd fact-check before making statements like that before he blogs.)

I will respond merely to the criticism of the Dish. First, the map was not discussed except as an historical illustrative context for the way in which the Netanyahu government is intent on aggressively expanding Israeli settlement even further in Jerusalem and the West Bank. This matters because as that famous anti-Semite, Joe Biden, said yesterday

“This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”

Yes, there's a huge amount of historical context on the last sixty odd years, and, as I wrote in my response to Goldberg's luke-warm defense of my not being a bigot:

Like America's founding, [Israel's] was not immaculate, and its survival has been a brutal struggle in which Israel has not been as innocent as some want to believe, but whose enemies' anti-Semitism and hatred is tangible and omnipresent and despicable.

But that was scarcely the point of the post, and we can go on for ever on the subject. But some specific charges:

The intent of this propaganda map is to suggest that an Arab country called "Palestine" existed in 1946 and was driven from existence by Jewish imperialists. Not only was there no such country as "Palestine" in 1946, there has never been a country called Palestine.

Of course not. But there was a place called Palestine (among other things) under mostly Ottoman or British rule for a very long time before Israel came into existence. Wikipedia tells us that in 1850, for example, the population of the area comprised roughly 85% Muslims, 11% Christians and 4% Jews. In 1920, the League of Nations reported that

Four-fifths of the whole population are Moslems. A small proportion of these are Bedouin Arabs; the remainder, although they speak Arabic and are termed Arabs, are largely of mixed race. Some 77,000 of the population are Christians, in large majority belonging to the Orthodox Church, and speaking Arabic. The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000.

By the end of the British mandate, and an influx of Jewish refugees and Zionists, the proportions were roughly 70 percent Muslims and 30 percent Jews. Jews were concentrated in urban areas along the coast but, as the first map shows, some were indeed in the West Bank, although as a tiny minority.

This isn't propaganda; it's fact.

The maps show what has happened since - in sixty years in terms of growing sovereignty and accelerating Israeli control. The Muslim population is expanding as the geographic extent of their political self-government keeps diminishing. While Jerusalem was once in the center of Palestinian territory - and the Israelis agreed to this, while the Arabs refused - it is now not only in Israel but all of it will soon be under sole Israeli control, as Netanyahu continues, despite pleas from his American benefactors and allies, merely to freeze them.

The point of the illustration was to provide some background to the now-unavoidable fact that Israel has every intention of expanding its sovereignty to the Jordan river for ever, to segregate Palestinians into walled enclaves within, and to station large numbers of Israeli troops on the Eastern border. I notice that Goldberg has time to splutter against this blog but, until yesterday, no time to refer to the Israeli government's contemptuous treatment of the US vice-president in his visit, a subject that has dominated the Israeli press but contradicts Goldberg's view that my notion that the new Israeli that I have worried about this past year is real and is dangerous - to itself, the region, the world and, above all, the United States.