Monday, April 20, 2009

The Diplomat's Pledge of Allegiance

They stumbled over each other, elbowing one another each trying to be the first person to escape from the crowded room.  Blasphemy was in the air and nobody could bear to hear it.  The words being uttered on the podium just didn’t make sense.  Once outside they put their hands together and pledged their allegiance by issuing ‘official’ statements condemning the ‘hate speech’ they had to endure.  Didn’t the speaker read the rules before attending the conference on racism? 

While I disagree with some of Ahmadinejad’s views, one cannot dismiss everything that comes out of his mouth, as Western diplomats have done today.  The guy had a point.  Israel is a racist government and there are facts supporting his statement.  Have a read of the following Israeli laws and some of the commentary that follows, and assess just how blasphemous Ahmadinejad was today:

Section 7A(1) of the Basic Law: The Knesset (1958), passed in 1985
Bars a list of candidates from participation in elections to the Knesset "if its aims or actions, expressly or by implication" deny "the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people."

This sort of thinking is still existent in main stream Israeli society.  For instance, last week Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu stated "Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples."  The statement that Netanyahu wants to hear would set the stage to expel Palestinians (Christians and Muslims) who are currently Israeli citizens, out of Israel.  An act that Israeli Foriegn Minister, Avigdor Lieberman promised during his election campaign.  A Jerusalem Post article described Lieberman’s promise

 “ [Lieberman’s]  aim is not to deport terrorists or traitors. No, his goal is to deport Arab citizens, no matter whether they're law-abiders or criminals, whether they're construction workers or doctors or housewives or newborn babies, for no other reason than that they are Arabs.”

Law of Return (1950)
Grants right of immigration to Jews born anywhere in the world. Amended in 1970 to extend this right to "a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew." A "Jew" is defined as "a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."

Non-Jewish native-born Palestinians - most importantly those who fled during the Zionist massacres in 1947 and 1948 - are in most cases prevented from returning.

My grandparents belong to the category of “Non-Jewish native-born Palestinians.”  They were forced out of their village in 1948, and have lived in Syria as Palestinian refugees since.   In an earlier post I described the sorrow that they experience on a daily basis since their expulsion 61 years ago. 

Land Acquisition (Validity of Acts and Compensation) Law (1953)
Confiscates the land of more than 400 Palestinian villages; "validates" retroactively their use for military purposes and for Jewish settlements.

The tens of acres of farms, for which my grandfather still has the ownership papers, are among the land confiscated by this law.

National Planning and Building Law (1965)

Creates a system of discriminatory zoning that freezes existing Arab villages while providing for the expansion of Jewish settlements. The law also re-classifies a large number of Arab villages as "non-residential" creating the "unrecognized villages." These villages do not receive basic municipal services such as water and electricity; all buildings are threatened with demolition orders.

These are just some of the realities not discussed in the media.  They are truths that are consciously ignored by the very same diplomats who walked out on Ahmadinejad this morning.  Instead of exposing the facts, the media machine works instantaneously and tirelessly to paint a convoluted image of the truth, throwing labels left and right, while massaging in the all too familiar propaganda phrases we are so used to hearing by now.   Conferences like the one held today are a great idea.  They should be an open forum for discussing injustices no matter which side the injustice is incurred by.  As soon as you limit what can be said at a conference like this, you take away all credibility.  Sadly, this is exactly what happened today.

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