Cafe Palestine Freiburg e.V. ist ein politisch- kulturelles Forum, das über die Situation im Nahen Osten berichten, persönliche Schicksale vorstellen und namhafte Referenten zum Thema einladen möchte. Die kulturelle Vielfalt Palästinas soll durch kleine Konzerte, palästinensische Folklore, Literatur und Kunst gezeigt werden.

Mittwoch, 14. September 2011


STATEMENT OF IJAN (International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network) regarding Freiburg Confernce. Classification: TOXIC MATERIAL

Answer from Dr. Gabi Weber, sent to IJAN on October 5tj 2011.
Obviously IJAN didn´t publish this answer on their homepage. Until now people who dare to read and spread texts of Gilad Atzmon are embarassed by so-called "Anti-Zionists".

Betreff: Re: In response to Atzmon's video

Datum: Wed, 05 Oct 2011 22:49:22 +0200

Von: Dr. Gabi Weber


Good evening "International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network",

thank you for your email and the statement you sent me, as well as ....

In Gilad Atzmon´s video nobody accused Hajo G. Meyer personally that he "caved into relentless pressure from anyone". Gilad Atzmon simply said that "S. K. and M. L. were relentlessly putting pressure on some of our panelists". What you forgot to mention is that Hajo G. Meyer was - initially - provided with wrong quotes of Gilad Atzmon´s texts. And you also forgot to mention that Mr. Meyer never accused G. Atzmon of being a Holocaust denier or an anti-Semite.

Interesting that you talk about "growing numbers of those refusing to share a platform with Gilad Atzmon". Is four or five persons a "growing number"?

By chance I know, that Ghada Karmi was abroad for several weeks and could not be part of the panel in London.

Also by chance I was participating at Stuttgart conference last year. Ali Abunimah expressed his opinion about what Mr. Atzmon had said the day before and that he didn´t agree with it. Is this "to dissociate"?

Heidar Eid didn´t refer to Atzmon´s adress publicly. He gave his speech on Friday, 26th of November. Gilad Atzmon was on the panel on Saturday, 27th.

To call Gilad Atzmon an "anti-semitic ideologue and promoter of holocaust denial" is insulting, defamatory and condemnable.

Could you please provide us with the true sources of your quotes? Actually it is Karl Marx who said “Jewishness is capitalism and vice versa” and not Gilad Atzmon. You find these words in "The Jewish Question", written in 1843 by Karl Marx.

As much as I would expect you to be more familiar with Jewish dissent culture, I expect you, who accuse Gilad Atzmon of being an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, to REALLY read his texts.

Taking quotes out of context, forging them, putting sentences together in a different order as the original one is simply pathetic. Spreading this kind of material is unaccountable.

If you really shared the "collective responsability with those committed to a more just and humane world" you would never act like Israeli Hasbara agents.

Kind regards

Dr. Gabi Weber, Freiburg

P.S. Below you find some of the endorsements of Gilad Atzmon´s new book. I guess that compared to this impressing number of adademics, journalists, activists and thinkers, the "growing number of those refusing to share a platform with Atzmon" you are referring to is quite miserable.

"Gilad Atzmon decided to open Pandora’s Box, and ignite a debate that has been frustratingly dormant for too long. His experiences are most authentic, views are hard-hitting, and, at times, provocative. It must be read and discussed." Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicle

"A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely." Professor Richard Falk

"Essential to an understanding of Jewish identity politics and the role they play on the world stage." Professor John J. Mearsheimer

"Atzmon’s insight into the organism created by the Zionist movement is explosive." Professor William A. Cook

"A pioneering work that deserves to be read and Gilad Atzmon is brave to write this book!" Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo

“Gilad's escape from spiritual claustrophobia towards a free and open humanitarianism is fearless” Robert Wyatt

“In his inimitable deadpan style, Atzmon identifies the abscess in the Jewish wisdom tooth – exilic tribalism – and pulls it out. Ouch!” Eric Walberg, Al Aharam Weekly

“It is more than an academic exercise. It is a revelation!” Lauren Booth, Press TV

"A brilliant analysis that makes what appear to be contradictions in Jewish identity based political behavior not only comprehensible but predictable." Jeff Blankfort

"Atzmon has the courage - so profoundly lacking among Western intellectuals" Professor James Petras

“Having known Gilad for 25 years, I read the book in English, I heard it in Hebrew and reflected on it in Arabic. Gilad Atzmon is astonishingly courageous” Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool

“Gilad Atzmon is someone who encompasses what it means to be an intellectual.” Kim Petersen, Dissident Voice

“Gilad Atzmon is the Moses of our time, calling all of us out of the Egypt of our boneheaded nationalisms and racialisms and exceptionalisms and chosen-people-isms toward some form of humanistic universalism.” Dr. Kevin Barrett

"Perhaps only a musician could have written this sensitive, perceptive lament over how so many Jews, believing themselves to be doing 'what is good for the Jews,' have managed to carve the heart out of the Palestinian nation and make this tragedy look like the natural order of things." Kathleen Christison

“Gilad's The Wandering Who? would have been a welcome delight to Albert Einstein just as it will be the irritating nemesis for Abe Foxman ideologues.” Dr. Paul Balles

“A book that will shake up a few people….” Gordon Duff

“Engaging, provocative and persuasive.’ Jeff Gates

“When you finish reading this book, you may likely as well see a different face in the mirror.” Professor Garrison Fewell

“The Wandering Who deconstructs the unique political identity that shapes the reality of the Jewish Nation and the crimes committed in its name. As a non-Jew, I found it illuminating!” Sameh Habeeb, Palestine Telegraph

“The Last Jewish Prophet” Professor William T. Hathaway

"Atzmon is an iconoclast.” Dr. Paul Larudee

“Like all truth tellers of any merit Atzmon can expect the wrath of the powers that be and their minions as a reward for what he is exposing. People like Atzmon will have played a vital role in saving us from ourselves if indeed we do manage to survive. Love and respect to my brother Gilad Atzmon.” Ken O’Keefe

“The magical and yet extremely subtle gift that Gilad Atzmon offers through his personal journes in The Wandering Who? is the wisdom of disillusionment.” Shahram Vahdany, MWC News

“Atzmon's writing respects no sacred cows. His wit is biting, his insight and logic compelling.” Richard A. Siegel

“Sometimes a brash, abrasive provocateur is what is required as a catalyst for genuine debate.” Sunny Singh
 "This is a very perceptive and instructive book" Roy Ratcliffe



Guten Morgen, meine Damen und Herren,

im Namen des Cafe Palestine Freiburg möchte ich Sie ganz herzlich zu unserer Konferenz Palästina, Israel, Deutschland – Grenzen der offenen Diskussion begrüßen.

Mein Name ist Gabi Weber. Ich habe vor eineinhalb Jahren gemeinsam mit Annie Sauerland das Freiburger Cafe Palestine in Anlehnung an das Café Palestine in Zürich gegründet.

Viele von Ihnen sind von weither angereist. Wir haben Teilnehmer aus Israel, aus den USA, aus Frankreich, England, der Schweiz usw. usw. Ihnen allen und natürlich auch unseren deutschen Besuchern danken wir, dass Sie gekommen sind.

Es ist mir eine große Ehre, Ihnen die besonderen Gäste des heutigen Tages vorstellen zu dürfen:

Evelyn Hecht-Galinski aus Marzell

Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo aus Dallas

Gilad Atzmon aus London

Ibrahim El-Zayat aus Köln

Sameh Habeeb aus Gaza, London

Alan Hart aus London

Ken O´Keefe aus London

Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool aus Cambridge

Und Ramzy Baroud aus Seattle, der heute leider nicht persönlich anwesend sein kann – uns aber eine Videobotschaft geschickt hat.

Dear Ramzy, I hope that you will see the video of this conference and would like to let you know that we really regret that you cannot be with us. Thank you so much for your important contribution on video. We hope to see you in Germany next year.

Unsere Graphikdesigner

Viq Ali aus Wien, der uns die Konferenz –und Konzertposter designed hat

David Borrington aus London, der in Anlehnung an die Reden, unglaubliche Graphiken hergestellt hat

Unsere Moderatoren

Ulrike Vestring aus Bonn

Dr. Lüdke vom Arnold-Bergsträsser-Institut Freiburg

Prof. Dr. Dr. Uhde von der katholischen Fakultät der Universität Freiburg

Unsere Übersetzer

Ulla Philips-Heck aus Freiburg

Timothy Slater aus Augsburg

Projekte werden vorgestellt von

Stefanie Landgraf, FrauenWegeNahost, Hans von Wedemeyer, Marcello Faraggi.

Ich danke Ihnen allen im Namen des Cafe Palestine Freiburg von ganzem Herzen, dass Sie hier sind.

Ich möchte unseren Filmemacher Gerd Münzner aus Ludwigsburg begrüßen, der die heutige Veranstaltung aufzeichnen und in den nächsten Tagen online stellen wird. Außerdem wird die Konferenz vom jordanischen TV-Sender 7Stars TV über NileSat ausgestrahlt werden.

Jamal Inan ist mit seiner Gruppe für Ihr leibliches Wohl zuständig. Auch ihn begrüße ich ganz herzlich.

Am 10. Jahrestag der tragischen Ereignisse des 11.September 2001, die zu viele Menschenleben in den USA forderten, steht fest, dass 911 eine Ära nicht enden wollender von der NATO und den USA finanzierter Kriege eingeleitet hat - mit Hunderttausenden unschuldig getöteter Menschen, begleitet von wirtschaftlichem Chaos, zunehmender Armut und Manipulationen der Finanzsysteme. In vielen Ländern weltweit führte und führt der angebliche Krieg gegen den Terror zu immer mehr staatlicher Überwachung, zu immer autoritäreren Staatssystemen, zu Einschränkungen der bürgerlichen Rechte, zur Kriminalisierung des Kampfes um Gerechtigkeit und dazu, dass man uns vorschreiben möchte, was wir zu denken und zu glauben haben.

Nachdem alte Feindbilder nicht mehr herhalten konnten, wurden neue Feindbilder geschaffen, die unter anderem zur Folge hatten und noch haben, dass Menschen aufgrund ihrer Religionszugehörigkeit und/oder ihrer Staatsangehörigkeit durch Geheimdienste und andere staatliche Apparate entführt, gefangen genommen, misshandelt, gefoltert und getötet werden. Der durch einzelne Staaten verursachte Terror in Form endloser, ressourcenorientierter Kriege scheint keine Grenzen mehr zu kennen.

Das für alle Menschen eigentlich gültige Menschenrecht der Meinungsfreiheit und freier Meinungsäußerung wird zunehmend limitiert.

Diese Konferenz ist aus dem tiefen Wunsch heraus entstanden, die Grenzen der Meinungsfreiheit, denen wir alle unterliegen und die dazu führen, dass wir uns in manipulierten Lügengebilden zu verstricken drohen, aufzuzeigen und wenn möglich, auch Lösungen zu finden.

Um diesem hochkomplexen Thema gerecht zu werden ist es uns gelungen, ein Podium von außergewöhnlichen Referentinnen und Referenten zusammen zu stellen.

Wir alle, von unserem jungen palästinensischen Musiker angefangen ( der gestern Abend ein unglaubliches Konzert mit Gilad Atzmon gegeben hat), über unsere Graphikdesigner, über jeden einzelnen Teilnehmer dieses Podiums bis zu uns als Veranstalterinnen, wurden in übelster Weise beschimpft, beleidigt und in Verruf gebracht. Für einige unserer Gäste gehören Morddrohungen zwischenzeitlich schon fast zum Tagesgeschäft.

Trotzdem sind wir alle hier, um entgegen des Drucks von außen, für unser aller Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit einzustehen. Ich kann guten Gewissens behaupten, dass Sie heute einige der mutigsten Menschen, denen ich je begegnet bin, hören werden.

Egal welcher persönlichen Ansicht Sie/wir über die Ursachen der tragischen Anschläge vor 10 Jahren auch sein mögen, so bin ich mir sicher, dass uns alle ein Gedanke eint:

Jeder einzelne Mensch, der am 11.9.2001 oder in einem danach begonnenen Anti-Terror-Krieg getötet wurde, jeder Entführte, jeder Gefolterte, jeder Hungernde auf dieser Welt ist einer zu viel.

In jedem von uns steckt Potential, sich nicht länger mit diesen Zuständen zufrieden zu geben. Jeder hat Fähigkeiten, die helfen können, diese Welt ein kleines Stückchen besser zu machen. Jeder von uns kann dazu beitragen, dass weniger Ungerechtigkeit auf unserem Planeten herrscht. Wir sind alle verantwortlich.

Im Gedenken an die am 11.September 2001 und danach getöteten Menschen möchte ich Sie bitten, sich zu erheben und eine Schweigeminute einzulegen.

Zum Ablauf …….


Civil Liberties in the aftermath of Sept. 11

Dr. Samir Abed-Rabbo


The attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 by Muslim Individuals was a criminal act that had profound implications for the Muslims, the United States and the world. My contention is that the Muslim/Arab community in the west as a whole has been subjected to extrajudicial measures and is paying a heavy price for the criminality of the few. But this is not the subject of my talk. I was asked to speak about Civil liberties in the US in the aftermath of Sept. 11 and I shall oblige.

Prior to delving into the essence of my subject, I would like to make this damming observation: The Bush administration which was caught napping by al-Quaida, rather than engaging in an honest or serious study of what went wrong it opted to deconstruct the very civil liberties enshrined in the American constitutional. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the USA said “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” To that I add, there should be no tradeoff between civil liberties and security. Those who advocate for security over liberties are giving those behind such violent attacks a victory over our way of life! Now let me turn to my presentation.

Civil Liberties as enshrined in the US Constitution

The United States Constitution was written in 1789 and ratified by the original 13 States within two years thereafter. This written document establishes the structure and powers of the US government, the relationship between the Federal and states governments, and enumerates the liberties and rights vested in the people.

The original constitution includes one major right that is considered the corner stone of civil liberties: Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." This concept was written into the text of the US Constitution to preserve the basic legal right of individuals to be free from unlawful imprisonment, except only during the most extraordinary national emergencies, even greater than "war" or hostile attack. The government has to show that it is following the law, when it arrests, detains or imprisons People for reasons of state security during ‘Rebellion or Invasion.” In the last 222 yrs. this writ was suspended during the civil war and again after Sept. 11, 2001.

The most important legal protections of individuals' civil liberties in America are found in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The first five are part of the first 10 Amendments that are known as the Bill of Rights and were adopted in 1791. The 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War in 1868. These Amendments include the following rights:

The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Fifth Amendment: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

The Eighth Amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Fourteenth Amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The Threats to Civil Liberties in the aftermath of Sept. 11

In the aftermath of September 11, the Bush Administration became extremely involved in spearheading the attack on and the erosion of all the above legal rights and protections.

Starting with the USA PATRIOT ACT, the Bush Administration was essentially engaged in a grab for police powers that have been sought and rejected long before September 11, 2001. The Patriot Act was rushed through Congress with no time for most legislators to read its provisions before voting on it. There was no debate and no demonstration that this statute would cure any of the specific law enforcement problems that enabled the 9-11 attacks (such as lax airport security and the failure to keep track of known terrorist suspects who entered the USA after they were identified). Rather, it was a case of "do something, anything," regardless of the monumental human and civil rights issues at stake. When a bipartisan group of Representatives offered an alternative bill that received some actual debate, it was almost immediately voted down in favor of the administration's "PATRIOT Act".

What did this panic button legislation do? There are four major inroads it made into previously well-established legal rights. The four areas are:

The first is secrecy: it provides for secret "sneak and peak" searches, secrecy of government and legal case information, secret evidence, and secretly collected personal information. On June 18, 2003, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a split 2-1 decision, upheld the government's power to withhold information about those thousands of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians it secretly detained for months in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. As the Sixth Circuit Appellate Judge Damon Keith said in a case involving secret immigration hearings, "Democracies die behind closed doors."

The second area is the criminalization of dissent: This was already well underway before 9-11, in the series of massive confrontations between the anti-globalization movement and the instruments of government as in Seattle in November of 1999. After the attack of 9-11, guilt by association, deportation and exclusion of foreigners based only on membership in suspect groups, increased penalties for donating money for humanitarian purposes through the wrong organizations, and the overnight creation of a new category of "domestic terrorist" groups, took on a vigorous new life in government circles. The tragic consequences for First Amendment freedom of association, as well as Fourteenth Amendment equal protection and due process, are increasingly glaring us in the face.

A third major area is the balance of powers upon which the American model of constitutional liberty theoretically rests: The authority of courts as a check on unaccountable powers by the Legislative and Executive branches has traditionally been the last resort for protecting American liberties. The USA PATRIOT Act limits courts' authority to issue warrants, limits appeals, and limits the basis for constitutional challenges to executive branch at overreaching. Congress of course, simply abdicated its power, leading directly to the establishment of executive branch supremacy in this crisis. Some of the first major tests of this fundamental deconstructing of government powers came in the Habeas Corpus cases filed on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals held, in another split 2-1 decision, that they are outside federal judicial jurisdiction, and thus effectively without enforceable legal rights.

The fourth major area is in the lowering of protections against criminal investigation: The long-established distinction between law enforcement and intelligence operations has been eliminated in cases involving suspected or alleged terrorism, opening the door to systematic abuses. The requirement of probable cause for initiating an investigation, tapping phones, monitoring internet and e-mail use, and other intrusive police actions has been eliminated in such cases, opening the door wide open to police confrontation and harassment of dissidents, and leading to continually escalating politicization of "law enforcement" in the name of fighting terrorism.

This civil liberties crisis does not end with the USA PATRIOT Act. A series of executive orders, Department of Justice Regulations, and government memos have allowed the executive branch to extend its power even further, without being effectively challenged by the other branches of government or the People. On September 21, 2001, the Chief Immigration Judge issued a memo closing certain immigration hearings to the public. On October 31 the Justice Department issued regulations for detaining people on Attorney General Ashcroft's sole discretion, a provision that was severely abused in practice by extended periods of detention. Prosecutors and prison officials began to monitor attorney/client communications without judicial authorization, and commenced a prosecution of Attorney Lynne Stewart for her statements and actions in representing a convicted terrorist, sending a clear message to other lawyers about the consequences of defending fundamental rights of suspects. The previous Freedom of Information Act presumptions were reversed, so that if any reason was articulated to withhold documents, they would not be provided. All of this was accomplished without any judicial or legislative action at all, by the mere stroke of a bureaucratic pen.

The case of military commissions established by executive order for those arrested abroad deserves attention. The original proposal for such tribunals was completely lawless. It provided for execution without appeal, without a unanimous decision of military judges, and without any right to counsel of one's choice. The most severe deficiencies in these regulations were modified after a public outcry. However the military commissions set up retained the option to use secret evidence, and with the ruling that the camps in Guantanamo Bay are outside federal courts' jurisdiction, the imminent prospect of secret military trials and summary executions there cannot be ruled out.

In the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 the immigration authorities went into high gear. They interviewed thousands of Arabs and Muslims, including interrogation about visa status that in some cases led to deportation. They asked questions about religious and political beliefs. They discovered no significant information about terrorism whatsoever in this orgy of racial profiling. The government abused the material witness statute to detain innocent immigrants, who may have had some incidental contact with either the 9-11 hijackers or some other suspects, for prolonged periods. Most notoriously, approximately 2000 People were swiftly "disappeared" in secrecy, and the government refused to release information about them to their families or attorneys. This was the program recently upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, the government aggressively moved to "seize and freeze" the assets of numerous suspected "terrorist organizations," without any distinction between legal functions and activities these organizations may be engaged in fighting anywhere in the world, especially of course in the Middle East.

Even the issue of torture has been raised, with psychological pressure placed on family members, physical mistreatment of immigrants in custody who were never even charged with any crime, deportation to other countries that are known to practice torture systematically, and respectable academic discussions of hypothetical circumstances--such as where it might lead authorities to a "ticking bomb"--when torture could allegedly be justified. The Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom recently published a shocking investigative report on the use of what authorities call "torture lite" at the US Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Techniques such as binding prisoners in awkward and painful positions, forcing them to wear hoods, sleep deprivation, 24-hour lighting, and withholding painkillers are being systematically used at an unspecified number of secret CIA detention centers for terrorist suspects. What may be even more shocking is the fact that US officials are more or less openly bragging about it. "If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time," one reportedly told the Independent, "you probably aren't doing your job."

In conclusion

In conclusion, what is happening is a comprehensive government campaign to undermine constitutional civil liberties. The government’s onslaught on political dissent and free speech; spying on groups and organizations without probable cause to believe they are engaged in any criminal activity; targeting of people because of their beliefs, speech and associations; suspending of due process; and practicing torturing, people will not be able to defend themselves. When the government is allowed the opportunity to use evidence obtained throw torture; of dubious quality; and free from challenge, the cause of liberties is not served. Those alarmed with government overreaching need to re-examine the relationship between the people and government. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Thank you!


Being in Time in Freiburg

Gilad Atzmon

Dear ladies and gentlemen.

I will begin my talk with an unusual confession. Though I was born in Israel, in the first thirty years of my life I did not know much about the Nakba, the brutal and racially driven ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population in 1948 by the newly born Israeli State. My peers and myself knew about a single massacre, namely, Deir Yassin but we were not at all familiar with the vast scale of atrocities committed by our grandparents. We believed that the Palestinians had voluntarily fled. We were told that they had run away and we did not find any reason to doubt that this had indeed been the case.

Let me tell you that in all my years in Israel, I have never heard the word Nakba spoken. This may sound pathetic, or even absurd to you -- but what about you? Shouldn’t you also ask yourself -- when was the first time you heard the word Nakba? Perhaps you can also try to recall when this word settled comfortably into your lexicon. Let me help you here -- I have carried out a little research amongst my European and American Palestinian solidarity friends, and most of them had only heard the word Nakba for the first time, just a few short years ago, whilst others admitted that they had only started to use the word themselves three or four years ago.

But isn’t that a slightly strange state of affairs? After all, the Nakba took place more than six decades ago. How is it that only recently it found its way into our symbolic order?

The answer is, in some respects, quite a straightforward one: to be in the world means to be subject to changes and transformations. It entails grasping and reassessing the past through different present realisations. History is shaped and re-shaped as we proceed in time. Accordingly, we seem to understand the Palestinian expulsion and plight through our current understanding of Israeli brutality: In the light of the destruction Israel left behind in Lebanon in 2006, followed by our witnessing of the genocidal crimes performed in Gaza in ‘Operation Cast Lead’, and observing the footage of the IDF execution of peace activists on the Mavi Marmara -- we have subsequently, managed to amend our picture of the scale of the 1948 Palestinian tragedy. As we grasp more fully what the Israelis are capable of -- we are also able to re-construct our vision of Israel’s ‘original sin’ i.e. the Nakba. We are able to empathise more deeply with the expelled Palestinians of 1948 via our current evolving comprehension of Israel, the Israeli, ‘Israeli-ness’, Jewish nationalism, global Zionism, and the relentless Israeli lobby.

The meaning and significance of it becomes clearer -- the past is far from being a precisely sealed off set of events with a fixed meaning, pre-decided for us by a fixed viewpoint and then closed off from further debate. Instead, our understanding of the past is shaped and transformed, constantly, as we progress and grow in knowledge and experience. And, as much as our current reality is shaped by our world vision -- our past too, is shaped, re-shaped, viewed and re-viewed by the narratives we happen to follow at any given time.

This is the true meaning of ‘being in time’; this is the essence of temporality, and this is what historical thinking is all about. People possess the capacity to ‘think historically’-- to be transformed by the past -- but also to allow the past to be constantly shaped, and re-shaped, as they proceed towards the unknown.

Deir Yassin Remembered

But here is an interesting set of historical anecdotes that deserve our attention: Indeed, one may be left perplexed on learning that -- just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945 -- the newly-formed Jewish state ethnically cleansed the vast majority of the indigenous population of Palestine (1948). Just five years after the defeat of Nazism -- the Jewish state brought to life racially-discriminatory return laws in order to prevent the 1948 Palestinian refugees from coming back to their cities, villages, fields and orchards. These laws, still in place today, were not categorically different from the notorious Nuremberg race Laws. One may also be totally perplexed to find out that Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum, is located on the confiscated land of a Palestinian village Ein Karem, next door to Deir Yassin, which is probably the ultimate symbol of the Palestinian Shoa.

One may wonder what is the root cause of this unique institutional lack of compassion that has been exhibited and maintained by Israel and Israelis for decades. One might expect that Jews, having been victims of oppression and discrimination themselves, would locate themselves at the forefront of the battle against evil and racism. One might expect the victims of discrimination to resist inflicting pain on others.

Yet, some deeper and far more general questions come to mind here -- how is it that the Jewish political and ideological discourse fails so badly to draw the obvious and necessary moral lessons from history and Jewish history in particular? How is it that in spite of ‘Jewish history’ appearing to be an endless tale of Jewish suffering, the Jewish State is so blind to the suffering it inflicts on others?

On the face of it, what we see here is a form of alienation from historical thinking. Israeli historian Shlomo Sand has noted that Rabbinical Judaism could be realised as an attempt to replace historical thinking: instead of history, the Torah provided Rabbinical Judaism with a spiritually-driven plot. It conveyed an image of purpose and fate. However, things changed in the 19th century. Due to the rapid emancipation of European Jewry together with the rise of nationalism and the spirit of Enlightenment, assimilated European Jews felt bound to redefine their beginnings in secular, national and rational terms. This is when Jews ‘invented’ themselves as ‘people’ and as a ‘class’: like other European nations, Jews felt the urge to posses a coherent narrative about themselves and their history.

Inventing history is not a crime – people and nations often do it. Yet, in spite of the rapid process of assimilation, Jewish secular ideology and politics failed to encompass the real meaning of historical thought and historical understanding. Indeed, the assimilated secular Jew was very successful in dropping God and other religious identifiers. And yet, at least politically, the assimilated Jew failed to replace divinity with an alternative Jewish anthropocentric secular ethical and metaphysical realisation.

Temporality and Alienation

I only recently understood that the ‘Jewish Identity political discourse’ is not only foreign to history; not only is it actually antagonistic towards historical thinking, but it is also detached from the notion of temporality.

Temporality is inherent to the human condition: ‘To be’ is ‘to be in time’. Whether we like it or not, we are doomed to be hung between the past that is drifting away into the void, and the unknown that proceeds towards us from the future.

Through the present, the so-called ‘here and now’, we meditate on that which has passed away. Occasionally we hope for forgiveness; and sometimes we are cheered by a pleasing memory. At other times we become angry with ourselves for not having reacted appropriately at some moment in our past. And from time to time we may recall a sensation of love.

In the present we can also envisage the future, and in the awareness of that presence we may sense the fear of the unknown. But we can also experience waves of happiness and optimism when the future seems to smile at us.

More often than not, we draw lessons from the past. But far more crucially important and interesting perhaps, is the idea that an imaginary future can easily re-write, or even re shape the past.

I will try to elucidate this subtle idea through a simple and hypothetical yet horrifying war scenario:

For instance, we can easily envisage a horrific situation in which an Israeli so-called ‘pre-emptive’ attack on Iran could escalate into a disastrous nuclear conflict, in which tens of millions of people in the Middle East and Europe would perish.

I would guess that amongst the few survivors of such a nightmarish imaginary scenario, some may be bold enough to say what they ‘really think’ of the Jewish state and its inherent murderous tendencies.

The above is obviously a horrific fictional scenario, and by no means a wishful one, yet such a vision of a ‘possible’ horrendous development should restrain Israeli or Zionist aggression towards Iran.

But as we know, this hardly happens -- Israeli officials threaten to flatten and nuke Iran all too often.

Seemingly, Israelis and Zionists around the world fail to see their own actions within a historical perspective or context. They fail to look at their actions in terms of their consequences. From an ethical perspective, the above ‘imaginary’ scenario could or should prevent Israel from even contemplating any attack on Iran. Yet, what we see in practice is the complete opposite: Israel wouldn’t miss an opportunity to threaten Iran.

My explanation is simple. The Jewish political and ideological discourse is foreign to the notion of temporality. Israel is blind to the consequences of its actions; it only thinks of its actions in terms of short-term pragmatism. Within the Jewish political discourse the time arrow is a one-way road. It goes forward, yet it never turns the other way. There is never an attempt to revise the past in the light of a possible future. Instead of temporality, Israel thinks in terms of an extended present.

But Israel is just part of the problem. The Jewish lobby is also blinded to the immanent disaster it brings on Diaspora Jews. Like Israel, the lobby only thinks in terms of short term gain. It seeks more and more power. It never looks back , and neither does it regret.

To sum up, the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is ‘elastic’. The notion of temporality allows the time arrow to move in both directions. From the past, forward, but also, from the (imaginary) future, backward. Temporality allows the past to be shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to re-think the past. Ethics is bounded with temporality, for ethics is the ability to judge and reflect on issues that transcend beyond the ‘here and now’. To think ethically is to produce a principled judgment that stands the test of time.

Looking at the Past

To a significant extent then, the ability to revise one’s perspective on, and understanding of the past, is the true essence of historical thinking -- it allows us to reshape our comprehension of the past through an awareness of an imaginary future perspective, and vice versa. To think historically becomes a meaningful event once our past experience allows us to foresee a better future.

Revisionism then, is imbued in the deepest possible understanding of temporality, and therefore inherent to humanity and humanism. And it is obvious that those who oppose proper and open historical debate are operating not only against the foundations of humanism, but also against ethics.

And yet, in Israel some lawmakers insist that commemoration and historical debate of the Nakba should become illegal. And, interestingly enough, Jewish anti Zionists also oppose any attempt to deconstruct or revise Jewish past. I, for instance, have been criticised recently for being an ‘anti Semite’ for suggesting that Zionism is not colonialism. In case you do not know, this conference was under severe pressure mounted by some leading Jewish anti Zionists who insisted on preventing any discussion about the history of Jewish suffering.

But I guess that it is pretty clear by now that my philosophical outlook is not very flattering to Jewish political and ideological discourse. Yet, the truth must be spoken: Jewish political discourse openly opposes any form of revisionism. Jewish politics is there to fix and cement a narrative and terminology.

Though the Zionist ideology presents itself as a historical narrative, it took me many years to grasp that Zionism, Jewish identity politics and ideology were actually crude, blunt assaults on history, the notion of history and temporality. Zionism, in fact, only mimics an historical discourse. In practice, Zionism like other forms of Jewish political discourse, defies any form of historical discussion. Thus, those who follow the Zionist and Jewish political ideologies are doomed to drift away from humanism, humanity and ethical conduct. Such an explanation may throw light on Israeli criminal conduct and Jewish institutional support for Israel.

Self-Reflection Is Overdue

Inventing a past, as Shlomo Sand suggests, is not the most worrying issue when it comes to Israel and Zionism. People and nations do tend to invent their past.

However, celebrating one’s phantasmic past at the expense of others is obviously a concerning ethical issue. But in the case of Israel the problem goes deeper. It is the attempt to seal the yesterdays that led to the collective ethical collapse of Israel and its supporting crowd.

However, as much as I enjoy bashing Israel and Zionism, I will also have to ask you to self-reflect. Sadly enough, Israel is not alone. As tragic as it appears to be, America and Britain also managed to willingly give up on temporality. It is the lack of true historical discourse that stopped Britain and America from understanding their future, present and past. As in the case of Jewish ‘history’, American and British politicians insist on a banal, binary and simplistic historic tale regarding WWII, The Cold War, Islam, and the events of 9/11. Tragically, the criminal Anglo-American genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan, AKA ‘The War against Terror’, is a continuation of our self-inflicted blindness. Since Britain and America failed to grasp the necessary message from the massacres in Hamburg and Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, there was nothing that could stop English-speaking imperialism from committing similar crimes in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

And what about you, my dearest Germans. What about your past? Are you free to look into your past and to re-shape your understanding of it as you move along? I don’t think so. Your history, or at least some chapters of it, are sealed by some draconian laws. Consequently, you younger generation do not attempt to grasp the true ethical meaning of the holocaust. Clearly, Germans do not understand that the Palestinians are actually the last victims of Hitler, for without Hitler, there wouldn’t be a Jewish State. Your young generations fail to see that the Palestinians are certainly victims of a Nazi-like ideology, which is both racist and expansionist. Let me also advise you, if any of you feel guilty about anything to do with your past, it should be the Palestinians whom you should care for. The fact that Germany is detached from its past clearly explains German political complicity in the Zionist crime. It certainly explains why your government provides Israel with a nuclear submarine every so often. But it also explains why you may remain silent when you find out that Yad Vashem is built on Palestinian land stolen in 1948.

But it isn’t just Israel, Zionism, Britain, America and Germany. Let us look at ourselves, the supporters of Justice in Palestine. Even within our movement, we have some destructive elements who insist that we shouldn’t dare to touch our past: in the last month, Café Palestine Freiburg and the organiser of this conference were subjected to relentless attack by some established elements within the Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist movement. They were demanding that the conference should drop me because I am a ‘holocaust denier’. Needless to say, I have never denied the Holocaust. I also find the notion of ‘holocaust denial’ to be meaningless, and on the verge of idiotic.

However, I do indeed insist, as I did here today, that history must remain an open discourse, subject to changes and revision, I oppose any attempt to seal the past, whether it is the Nakba, Holocaust, or the Armenian genocide. I am convinced that an organic and ‘elastic’ understanding of the past is the true essence of a humanist discourse, universalism and ethics.

I clearly don’t know how to save Israel from itself, I do not know how to liberate Jewish anti Zionists from their Judeo centric ideology; but as far as America, Britain, Germany, the West, and us here today are concerned, all we have to do is to revert to our precious values of openness.

We must drift away from a restrictive, monolithic Jerusalem, and reinstate the ethical spirit of pluralist Athens

Gilad Atzmon's new book- The Wandering Who? can be pre-ordered on or


The Gaza Story: Challenging History through Narration

By Ramzy Baroud

To truly appreciate the situation in Gaza – whether the suffering, the struggle, or the steadfastness and the resistance – the Gaza story would have to be placed within its proper context, as an essentially Palestinian story, of historical and political dimensions that surpass the current geographic and political boundaries, demarcated by mainstream media and official narrators. The common failure to truly understand Gaza within an appropriate context is largely based on who is telling the story, how it is told, what is included and what is omitted.

Here is an alternative attempt at understanding.

Challenging History

When American historian Howard Zinn passed away on January 27, 2010, he left behind a legacy that redefined our relationship to history altogether.

Professor Zinn dared to challenge the way history was told and written. In fact he went as far as to defy the conventional construction of historical discourses through the pen of victor or of elites who earned the right of narration though their might, power and affluence.

This kind of history might be considered accurate insofar as it reflects a self-seeking and self-righteous interpretation of the world by a very small number of people. But it is also highly inaccurate when taking into account the vast majority of peoples everywhere.

The oppressor is the one who often articulates his relationship to the oppressed, the colonialist to the colonized, and the slave-master to the slave. The readings of such relationships are fairly predictable.

Even valiant histories that most of us embrace and welcome, such as those celebrating the legacy of human rights, equality and freedom left behind by Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela still tend to be selective at times. Martin Luther King’s vision might have prevailed, but some tend to limit their admiration to his ‘I have a dream’ speech. The civil rights hero was an ardent anti-war champion as well, but that is often relegated as non-essential history. Malcolm X is often dismissed altogether, despite the fact that his self-assertive words have reached the hearts and minds of millions of black people throughout the United States, and many more millions around the world. His speech was in fact so radical that it could not be ‘sanitized’ or reinterpreted in any controllable way. Mandela, the freedom fighter, is celebrated with endless accolades by the very foes that branded him a terrorist. Of course, his insistence on his people’s rights to armed struggle is not to be discussed. It is too flammable a subject to even mention at a time when anyone who dares wield a gun against the self-designated champions of ‘democracy’ gets automatically classified a terrorist.

Therefore, Zinn’s peoples’ histories of the United States and of the world have represented a milestone in historical narration.

As a Palestinian writer who is fond with such luminaries, I too felt the need to provide an alternative reading of history, in this case, Palestinian history. I envisioned, with much hesitation, a book that serves as a people’s history of Palestine. I felt that I have earned the right to present such a possible version of history, being the son of Palestinian refugees, who lost everything and were exiled to live dismal lives in a Gaza refugee camp. I am the descendant of ‘peasants’ – Fellahin – whose odyssey of pain, struggle, but also heroic resistance is constantly misrepresented, distorted, and at times overlooked altogether.

It was the death of my father (while under siege in Gaza) that finally compelled me to translate my yearning into a book. My Father was a Freedom Fighter, Gaza’s Untold Story offered a version of Palestinian history that was not told by an Israeli narrator – sympathetic or otherwise – and neither was it an elitist account, as often presented by Palestinian writers. The idea was to give a human face to all the statistics, maps and figures.

History cannot be classified by good vs. bad, heroes vs. villains, moderates vs. extremists. No matter how wicked, bloody or despicable, history also tends to follow rational patterns, predictable courses. By understanding the rationale behind historical dialectics, one can achieve more than a simple understanding of what took place in the past; it also becomes possible to chart fairly reasonable understanding of what lies ahead.

Perhaps one of the worse aspects of today’s detached and alienating media is its production of history - and thus characterization of the present - as based on simple terminology. This gives the illusion of being informative, but actually manages to contribute very little to our understanding of the world at large.

Such oversimplifications are dangerous because they produce an erroneous understanding of the world, which in turn compels misguided actions.

For these reasons, it is incumbent upon us to try to discover alternative meanings and readings of history. To start, we could try offering historical perspectives which try to see the world from the viewpoint of the oppressed – the refugees, the fellahin who have been denied, amongst many rights, the right to tell their own story.

This view is not a sentimental one. Far from it. An elitist historical narrative is maybe the dominant one, but it is not always the elites who influence the course of history. History is also shaped by collective movements, actions and popular struggles. By denying this fact, one denies the ability of the collective to affect change. In the case of Palestinians, they are often presented as hapless multitudes, passive victims without a will of their own. This is of course a mistaken perception; the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel has lasted this long only because of their unwillingness to accept injustice, and their refusal to submit to oppression. Israel’s lethal weapons might have changed the landscape of Gaza and Palestine, but the will of Gazans and Palestinians are what have shaped the landscape of Palestine’s history.

Touring with My Father was a Freedom Fighter in South Africa, months after the release of the original English version of the book, was a most intense experience. It was in this country that freedom fighters once rose to fight oppression, challenging and eventually defeating Apartheid. My father, the refugee of Gaza has suddenly been accepted unconditionally by a people of a land thousands of miles away. The notion of ‘people’s history’ can be powerful because it extends beyond boundaries, and expands beyond ideologies and prejudices. In that narrative, Palestinians, South Africans, Native Americans and many others find themselves the sons and daughters of one collective history, one oppressive legacy, but also part of an active community of numerous freedom fighters, who dared to challenge and sometimes even change the face of history.

Resistance as a Culture

One of the concepts that were largely defaced as a result of the flawed understanding of history is the concept of resistance. Deliberately fallacious, self-serving definitions left “resistance’ wide open to all sorts of interpretations, that change and fluctuate depending on who is resisting whom, in which period or political context, and again, on the narrator.

But unlike the current prevailing definitions, resistance is not a band of armed men hell-bent on wreaking havoc. It is not a cell of terrorists scheming ways to detonate buildings.

True resistance is a culture.

It is a collective retort to oppression.

Understanding the real nature of resistance, however, is not easy. No newsbyte could be thorough enough to explain why people, as a people, resist. Even if such an arduous task was possible, the news might not want to convey it, as it would directly clash with mainstream interpretations of violence and non-violent resistance. The Afghanistan story must remain committed to the same language: al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Lebanon must be represented in terms of a menacing Iran-backed Hizbullah. Palestine’s Hamas must be forever shown as a militant group sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. Any attempt at offering an alternative reading is tantamount to sympathizing with terrorists and justifying violence.

The deliberate conflation and misuse of terminology has made it almost impossible to understand, and thus to actually resolve bloody conflicts.

Even those who purport to sympathize with resisting nations often contribute to the confusion. Activists from Western countries tend to follow an academic comprehension of what is happening in Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. Thus certain ideas are perpetuated: suicide bombings bad, non-violent resistance good; Hamas rockets bad, slingshots good; armed resistance bad, vigils in front of Red Cross offices good. Many activists will quote Martin Luther King Jr., but not Malcolm X. They will infuse a selective understanding of Gandhi, but never of Guevara. This supposedly ‘strategic’ discourse has robbed many of what could be a precious understanding of resistance – as both concept and culture.

Between the reductionst mainstream understanding of resistance as violent and terrorist and the ‘alternative’ defacing of an inspiring and compelling cultural experience, resistance as a culture is lost. The two overriding definitions offer no more than narrow depictions. Both render those attempting to relay the viewpoint of the resisting culture as almost always on the defensive. Thus we repeatedly hear the same statements: no, we are not terrorists; no, we are not violent, we actually have a rich culture of non-violent resistance; no, Hamas is not affiliated with al-Qaeda; no, Hizbullah is not an Iranian agent. Ironically, Israeli writers, intellectuals and academicians own up to much less than their Palestinian counterparts, although the former tend to defend aggression and the latter defend, or at least try to explain their resistance to aggression. Also ironic is the fact that instead of seeking to understand why people resist, many wish to debate about how to suppress their resistance.

By resistance as a culture, I am referencing Edward Said’s elucidation of “culture (as) a way of fighting against extinction and obliteration.” When cultures resist, they don’t scheme and play politics. Nor do they sadistically brutalize. Their decisions as to whether to engage in armed struggle or to employ non-violent methods, whether to target civilians or not, whether to conspire with foreign elements or not are all purely strategic. They are hardly of direct relevance to the concept or resistance itself. Mixing between the two suggests is manipulative or plain ignorant.

If resistance is “the action of opposing something that you disapprove or disagree with”, then a culture of resistance is what occurs when an entire culture reaches this collective decision to oppose that disagreeable element - often a foreign occupation. The decision is not a calculated one. It is engendered through a long process in which self-awareness, self-assertion, tradition, collective experiences, symbols and many more factors interact in specific ways. This might be new to the wealth of that culture’s past experiences, but it is very much an internal process.

It’s almost like a chemical reaction, but even more complex since it isn’t always easy to separate its elements. Thus it is also not easy to fully comprehend, and, in the case of an invading army, it is not easily suppressed. This is how I tried to explain the first Palestinian uprising of 1987, which I lived in its entirely in Gaza:

“It’s not easy to isolate specific dates and events that spark popular revolutions. Genuine collective rebellion cannot be rationalized though a coherent line of logic that elapses time and space; its rather a culmination of experiences that unite the individual to the collective, their conscious and subconscious, their relationships with their immediate surroundings and with that which is not so immediate, all colliding and exploding into a fury that cannot be suppressed.” (My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story)

Foreign occupiers tend to fight popular resistance through several means. One includes a varied amount of violence aiming to disorient, destroy and rebuild a nation to any desired image (read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine). Another strategy is to weaken the very components that give a culture its unique identity and inner strengths – and thus defuse the culture’s ability to resist. The former requires firepower, while the latter can be achieved through soft means of control. Many ‘third world’ nations that boast of their sovereignty and independence might in fact be very much occupied, but due to their fragmented and overpowered cultures – through globalization, for example - they are unable to comprehend the extent of their tragedy and dependency. Others, who might effectively be occupied, often possess a culture of resistance that makes it impossible for their occupiers to achieve any of their desired objectives.

In Gaza, Palestine, while the media speaks endlessly of rockets and Israeli security, and debates who is really responsible for holding Palestinians in the strip hostage, no heed is paid to the little children living in tents by the ruins of homes they lost in the latest Israeli onslaught. These kids participate in the same culture of resistance that Gaza has witnessed over the course of six decades. In their notebooks they draw fighters with guns, kids with slingshots, women with flags, as well as menacing Israeli tanks and warplanes, graves dotted with the word ‘martyr’, and destroyed homes. Throughout, the word ‘victory’ is persistently used.

If we keep all of this in mind, one is likely to find a need to reexamine the Gaza story altogether, replacing the selective history that we know, whether sympathetic or otherwise, with a wider, more inclusive understanding that goes beyond the familiar dates, names and events, to an appreciation of the very Palestinian individual in Gaza, who existed prior to Fatah and Hamas, to the siege and the rockets, the elections of 2006 or even Oslo of 1993.

If we follow that line of logic, then the story will certainly be traced to its true origins, and that is the Palestinian Nakba of 1947-48.

But even the Nakba history would have to be retold for it was not merely that of suffering, Arab disadvantage, fragmentation and international betrayal, but that of resistance as well.


Although there is a constant attempt at reducing major events to specific names and dates – for example, first Intifada is attributed to (or ‘blamed’ on) specific individuals seen as the ‘masterminds’ of the popular uprising – the fact is, it was not the elites, but the collective will of the Palestinian people that shaped their history of resistance. It doesn’t mean that some, in fact many have tried to co-opt, deceive, crush or manipulate the Palestinian masses, with a certain degree of success, but ultimately, it has been the Palestinian people who have shaped this history. Without them the elites had nothing but mere slogans and afford nothing but empty promises.

As cliché as this may sound, it’s the power of the people, the Palestinian people who has defeated every attempt at canceling and undermining Palestinian rights and freedom. It’s the Palestinian people that we celebrate, with whom we stand in everlasting solidarity, and along with whom we will carry on with the fight, until freedom and victory are proudly and decisively achieved.

- Ramzy Baroud ( is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on


The Main Stream Media’s complicity in
Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history

Alan Hart

I describe the conflict in and over Palestine that became the Zionist - not Jewish! - state of Israel as the cancer at the heart of international affairs; and I believe that without a cure this cancer will consume us all. I also believe that almost nothing is more important than crossing and actually eliminating the boundaries that have prevented, and to a very large extent do still prevent, informed and honest discussion about who must do what and why for justice for the Palestinians and peace for all. And that’s why I was pleased to accept an invitation to address this conference.

Before we get into substance I want to tell you a couple of things about myself and then offer you a key, actually THE key, to understanding.

As the advance promotion for this conference indicated, I think I am the only person in the world who enjoyed intimate access to, and on the human level friendship with, arguably the two greatest opposites in all of human history - Golda Meir, Mother Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Father Palestine. The first picture in my epic, three-volume book ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS is of Golda Meir when she was prime minister. It is inscribed in her own hand “To a good friend, Alan Hart.” On lecture and debating tours across America I used this picture as a weapon of self defense when I was falsely and maliciously accused of anti-Semitism. I would hold up the picture, read out the inscription, and say to my accuser, “Do you think that old lady was so stupid that she couldn’t have seen through me if I was anti Jew?!” Everywhere I went that had the effect of turning audiences against my accuser.

It is generally believed that if you offend both parties to a dispute or conflict, you must be getting something right! That being so the second thing I want to tell you about myself is that I and my book are red-flagged by both Zionism and the regimes of a corrupt, impotent and repressive Arab Order. I did not set out to offend the Arab regimes for the hell of it. The fact is that you can’t tell the truth about Zionism without telling the truth about the Arab regimes. As I will explain shortly, the fundamental truth about them is that despite some stupid rhetoric to the contrary, they never had any intention of fighting Israel to liberate Palestine. And that helps to explain why the Arab regimes were and are at one with Zionism in wanting the truth of history to be suppressed.

Now THE key to understanding. It is knowledge of the difference between Judaism and Zionism.

• JUDAISM is the religion of Jews, not “the” Jews because not all Jews are religious. Like Christianity and Islam, Judaism has at its core a set of moral values and ethical principles. (That said I must add something in verbal parenthesis for clarification. Judaism, like Christianity and Islam, is not a unified, homogenous whole. Like Christianity and Islam, Judaism embraces or is embraced by sects of various kinds, some of which are deluded to the point of clinical madness. The maddest of them all are some of the illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank. So in the context of the difference between Judaism and Zionism, I am talking about mainstream Judaism)

• ZIONISM is a sectarian, colonial-like nationalism which created a state for some Jews in the Arab heartland mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, and by doing so demonstrated contempt for, and made a mockery of, Judaism’s moral values and ethical principles. In reality mainstream Judaism and Zionism are total opposites... I wonder how many of you know that the return of Jews to the land of biblical Israel by the efforts of man - one possible but wholly inadequate definition of Zionism - was PROSCRIBED by Judaism...?

In my view Jewish Nakba denial - denial of Zionism’s 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine which created the original refugee problem - is as obscene as Christian and Muslim denial of the Nazi holocaust. It’s worth noting that in terms of numbers, those Christians and Muslims who deny the Nazi holocaust are a very small minority of the Christian and Muslim whole, but those Jews who deny Zionism’s ethnic cleansing are a majority of the Jewish whole).

There are two reasons why knowledge of the difference between mainstream Judaism and Zionism is THE key to understanding.

The first is that when you know the difference, you can understand why it is perfectly possible to be passionately anti-Zionist (anti Zionism’s colonial enterprise) without being in any way, shape or form anti-Semitic (in the sense of loathing and even hating all Jews everywhere just because they are Jews).

Defenders of Israel right or wrong assert that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same in order to make the charge, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by insinuation and smear, that all criticism of Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. That’s Zionist propaganda nonsense for a blackmail purpose, the purpose being to silence criticism and prevent informed and honest debate about Israel’s policies and actions. But when you know the difference between Judaism and Zionism, you don’t have to be frightened about being falsely accused of anti-Semitism for speaking and writing the truth. You can look your Zionist accuser in the eye and say, “Go to hell!”.

The second reason why knowledge of the difference between Judaism and Zionism is the key to understanding is in this fact. When you know the difference you can understand why it is wrong to blame all Jews everywhere for the crimes of the hard core Zionists in Israel.

To give that statement some context, I want to read to you the warning words of Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in 1986, he wrote this:

Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.

In the world today we are witnessing a rising tide of anti-Israelism provoked by Israel’s arrogance of power, its contempt for international law and its appalling self-righteousness. (In Harkabi’s view self-righteousness is the biggest threat to Israel’s existence). If Israel stays on its present course, the danger is, as Harkabi warned, that anti-Israelism will be transformed into anti-Semitism, leading to Holocaust II - shorthand for another great turning against Jews everywhere and quite possibly starting in America. In my view the real danger of that happening will be greatly reduced if those (mainly Westerners) among whom most of the Jews of the world live are made aware of the difference between Judaism and Zionism.

Also to be said is that the Jews of the world (those in North America and Europe especially) could and should act to best protect their own interests by distancing themselves from the Zionist state and its crimes. In the Prologue to Volume One of my book which is titled Waiting for the Apocalypse, I quote Dr. David Goldberg, a prominent liberal London rabbi, as saying the following in 2001: “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.” If he was with us today I would say to him, it’s not “may be” time, it IS time.

When I joined ITN (Independent Television News) as a very young reporter many years ago, its great editor-in-chief gave me the mission statement in one short sentence. He said: “Our job is to help keep democracy alive.” My charge today is that because of its complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, the mainstream media throughout the Western world has betrayed democracy... My main purpose today is to draw your attention to two of the most critical elements of the truth which have been suppressed and then to explain in summary why the truth matters.

But first a little light on the matter of Israel’s right or not to exist.

According to first and still existing draft of Judeo-Christian or Western history, Israel was given its birth certificate and thus legitimacy by the UN Partition Resolution of 29 November 1947. That is nonsense.

• In the first place the UN without the consent of the majority of the people of Palestine did not have the right to decide to partition Palestine or assign any part of its territory to a minority of alien immigrants in order for them to establish a state of their own. (The term “alien” is correct because almost all if not all of the Jews who went to Palestine in answer to Zionism’s call and/or response to its pushing had no biological connection whatsoever to the ancient Hebrews. They were mainly Europeans who converted to Judaism long after the end of the first Israelite occupation of Palestine. The notion that there are two peoples with an equal claim to the same land is nonsense).

• Despite that, by the narrowest of margins, and only after a rigged vote, the UN General Assembly did pass a resolution to partition Palestine and create two states, one Arab, one Jewish, with Jerusalem not part of either. But the General Assembly resolution was only a proposal - meaning that it could have no effect, would not become policy, unless approved by the Security Council.

• The truth is that the General Assembly’s partition proposal never went to the Security Council for consideration. Why not? Because the US knew that, if approved, it could only be implemented by force; and President Truman was not prepared to use force to partition Palestine.

• So the partition plan was vitiated (became invalid) and the question of what the hell to do about Palestine after Britain had made a mess of it and walked away was taken back to the General Assembly for more discussion. The option favoured and proposed by the US was temporary UN Trusteeship. It was while the General Assembly was debating what to do that Israel unilaterally declared itself to be in existence - actually in defiance of the will of the organised international community, including the Truman administration.

The truth of the time was that the Zionist state, which (as I mentioned earlier) came into being mainly as a consequence of Zionism terrorism and ethnic cleansing, had no right to exist and, more to the point, could have no right to exist unless ….. Unless it was recognised and legitimized by those who were dispossessed of their land and their rights during the creation of the Zionist state. In international law only the Palestinians could give Israel the legitimacy it craved. And that legitimacy was the only thing the Zionists could not take from the Palestinians by force.

Now to what I regard as the two biggest and most successful of Zionism’s propaganda lies upon which the first and still existing draft of Judeo-Christian or Western history is constructed.

The first is the assertion that Israel has lived in constant danger of annihilation, the “driving into the sea” of its Jews. The truth of history, which flows fully documented through the three volumes of my book, is that Israel’s existence has NEVER, EVER been in danger from any combination of Arab force. Not in 1948. Not in 1967. And not even in 1973. Zionism’s assertion to the contrary was the cover which allowed its monster child to get away where it mattered most - in America and Western Europe - with having its aggression perceived as self-defence and itself as the victim when it was and is the oppressor.

In the limited time available to me on this platform today I will say most about the 1967 war but a few words about the fighting of 1948.

Yes, it’s true that when Israel unilaterally declared itself to be to be in existence - an action that one very eminent Zionist leader would later say was tantamount to a declaration of war on the Arabs - elements of five Arab armies crossed into Palestine. But their objective was not the destruction of the Jewish state of the vitiated partition plan. Their purpose was only to try secure the land that had been assigned to the Arab state, and they failed miserably to do even that. At an early point in the fighting there was a 30-day truce. During it the Arabs received not one bullet or bomb because of an arms embargo; but the Israelis, because of brilliant pre-war planning by their leader David Ben-Gurion, received weapons and equipment of every kind. When the fighting resumed it was 20,000 poorly armed, badly led and thoroughly demoralized Arabs against 90,000 well armed, well led and highly motivated Israelis. From then on Israel was the military superpower of the region. (In the countdown to that first Arab-Israeli war it was no secret in the diplomatic world that Ben-Gurion was hoping the Arabs would reject partition and opt for war because he knew that Israel could get more Arab land from fighting than from politics and diplomacy).

I can speak and write about the 1967 war from personal experience because for ITN I was the first Western correspondent to the banks of the Suez Canal with the advancing Israelis (there’s a picture of me there on my web site,; and because of the quality of my contacts - they included Major General Chaim Herzog, one of the founding fathers of Israel’s Directorate of Military Intelligence - I was privy to the plotting behind closed doors on the Israeli side in the countdown to war. On the second day of the war Herzog said to me, “If Nasser had not been stupid enough to give us a pretext for war, we would have created one within a year to 18 months.”

More than four decades on almost all Jews everywhere, and most Gentiles, still believe that Israel went to war either because the Arabs attacked (that was Israel’s first claim), or because the Arabs were intending to attack (thus requiring Israel to launch a pre-emptive strike). The truth about that war only begins with the statement that the Arabs did NOT attack and were NOT intending to attack. The complete truth includes the following facts,

• Israel’s prime minister and defense minister of the time, the much maligned Levi Eshkol, did not want to take his country to war. And nor did his chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin. They wanted only very limited military action, an operation far, far short of war, to put pressure on the international community to cause Eygpt’s President Nasser to re-open the Straits of Tiran.

• Israel went to war because its military and political hawks insisted that the Arabs were about to attack. They, Israel’s hawks, knew that was nonsense, but they promoted it to undermine Eshkol by portraying him to the country as weak .The climax of the campaign to rubbish Eshkol, who was more wise than weak, was a demand by the hawks that he surrender the defence portfolio and give it to Moshe Dayan, Zionism’s one-eyed warlord and master of deception. Four days after Dayan got the portfolio he wanted, and the hawks had secured the green light from the Johnson administration to smash Eygpt’s air and ground forces, Israel went to war.

• What actually happened in Israel in the final countdown to that war was something very close to a military coup, executed quietly behind closed doors without a shot being fired. For Israel’s hawks the war of 1967 was the unfinished business of 1948/49 - to create a Greater Israel with all of Jerusalem its capital. (In reality Israel’s hawks set a trap for Nasser and, for reasons of face, he was daft enough to walk into it).

In the long chapter on that war which starts Volume 3 of my book, I name and quote a number of Israeli leaders of the time who subsequently admitted the truth. The first to do so was Chief of Staff Rabin. In an interview with Le Monde on 28 February 1968, he said: “I do not believe Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

In an unguarded public moment in 1982, Prime Minister Begin went even further. He said: “In June 1967 we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

Each and all of the other Israeli leaders I name and quote said there was never a danger of annihilation or even an Arab attack. And as one of them put it, “The entire story of the danger of extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated after the events to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”

While I was writing the truth about that war I found myself saying aloud to my readers that there were times, and this was one of them, when I wanted to “cry out” with the pain of knowing how much Jews (almost all Israelis and most Jews everywhere) have been deceived by Israel’s leaders and Zionism’s spin doctors. Today I find myself clinging to the hope that if only enough Jews can be exposed to the truth of history, about the 1967 war in particular, they will end their silence and play their necessary part in calling and holding Zionism to account for its crimes.

In my view one of the most damning indictments of the mainstream media for its complicity in Zionism’s suppression of the truth of history is in the fact that when today it has cause to make reference to the 1967 war, it still peddles Zionism’s propaganda lies about it, this despite the fact that the truth is on the public record as I have indicated.

Question: Why is the mainstream media complicit?

There are many people who believe the answer is “Jewish control of the media”. Jewish ownership of some even many media institutions is a part of the answer, but there’s much more to it. For example, you don’t make money from selling newspapers. You make money from selling the advertising space in them. What editors fear most of all is that if they offend Zionism too much, they will be denied the advertising revenue that keeps their papers alive. And this fear results in self-censorship... There’s much more that could be said on this subject but time is short.

For the first two or three days of the 1973 war virtually the whole world believed that Israel really was in danger of defeat and annihilation. It was not. Despite the fact that Eygpt and Syria started the action, Sadat’s war plan was only for his forces to cross the Suez Canal and stop. Which is what they did. There was not an Egyptian intention to attack Israel or even to try to re-gain more Israeli-occupied Egyptian territory. And the Syrian war aim was limited to trying to take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Fundamentally it was Sadat’s war for peace in secret collusion with the new American Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger. He wanted to teach his intransigent Israeli friends a little lesson in the hope that he could then bounce them into a separate peace process with Egypt. Kissinger knew that if Egypt could be taken out of the military equation, the Arabs could never fight Israel even if they wanted to; and Israel would then be completely free to impose its will on the whole Arab world. It all went badly wrong for Sadat and Kissinger when Israel’s generals realised that their American friend had colluded with Sadat. With General Sharon in the lead, they then decided to teach Kissinger as well as Sadat a lesson... Initially, and on Kissinger’s say so, President Nixon refused to supply Israel with the replacement weapons it needed. And that was why Israeli Defense Minister Dayan ordered the arming of two missiles with nuclear warheads, with Cairo and Damascus their targets. Dayan’s message to Kissinger and Nixon was something very like, “If you don’t give us what we want, we’ll go nuclear.” I tell the story of this war in Volume 3 of my book in a Chapter titled The Yom Kippur War and “Nuclear Blackmail”.

Complete understanding of why Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger from any combination of Arab force is assisted by this fact. When the Palestine file was closed by Israel’s victory on the battlefield in 1948 and Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank, it was not supposed to have been re-opened. There was not supposed to have been a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism. The Palestinians were supposed to accept their lot as the sacrificial lamb on the altar of political expediency.

And the whole truth includes this fact. Behind closed doors, and despite their rhetoric to the contrary, the Arab regimes shared the same hope as Zionism and the major powers - that the Palestine file would never be re-opened. They knew that if it was, there would one day have to be a confrontation with Israel and its big power supporters, the U.S. in particular, and they didn’t want that.

They, the Arab regimes, also feared that a Palestinian state, if it was ever established, would be more or less democratic and provide a model of government which all Arabs would want. Palestinian nationalism was therefore perceived by Arab autocrats as a potentially subversive force. (It’s because my book tells these and related truths that it can’t be published in the Arab world. As I said earlier, the regimes of an impotent, corrupt and repressive Arab Order were and still are every bit as determined as Zionism to suppress the truth of history).

For their part Israel’s leaders were aware that if they failed to keep the Palestine file closed, a regeneration of Palestinian nationalism would cause the legitimacy of Zionism’s colonial-like enterprise to be called into question.

The second of Zionism’s two biggest and most successful propaganda lies is in the assertion that Israel had no partners for peace.

The best introduction to the truth of history on this aspect of the matter is one sentence in a remarkable book, The Iron Wall, Israel and the Arab World, by Avi Shlaim, one of Israel’s leading “revisionist” which means honest historians. He wrote: “The files of the Israeli Foreign Ministry burst with evidence of Arab peace feelers and Arab readiness to negotiate with Israel from September 1948 on.” It’s worth repeating “from September 1948 on.” Avi was the first to have access to these files when they were de-classified.

In the time available to me on this platform today I’ll settle for just two examples of this Arab readiness or pragmatism. Which could also be called betrayal of the Palestinian cause.

Very soon after he came to power in a coup in Egypt in 1951, Nasser secretly signalled that he wanted an accommodation with Israel. The signalling was done in secret exchanges he had with Moshe Sharret, Israel’s first foreign minister and in my view the only completely sane Israeli leader of his time. He was also briefly prime minister when Ben-Gurion stood down for a while because some of his colleagues, and perhaps even the man himself, were beginning to doubt his sanity. When Ben-Gurion returned as prime minister, he destroyed Sharret politically because, inspired by his exchanges with Nasser, he wanted to make peace with the Arabs on terms which would have seen Israel confined to the Armistice borders of 1948.

But the man who did more than any other to prepare the ground for peace was the one who also led the struggle to re-open the Palestine file - the pragmatic Yasser Arafat. In my book Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker? first published in 1984, I revealed that he was reluctantly reconciled to compromise with Israel as far back as 1968. Repeat 1968. By that time he regarded Nasser as a trusted father figure, and he believed the Egyptian president was right when he told him that if the PLO wanted to be taken seriously by the major powers, those of both the West and the East, it had to be realistic and come to terms with an Israel inside its pre 1967 borders.

Thereafter it took Arafat five long years to sell the idea of unthinkable compromise with Israel to his Fatah leadership colleagues. Initially the idea of compromise was unthinkable to virtually all Palestinians not only because it required them to make peace with Israel in exchange for only 22% of their land, but also because it required them, effectively, to renounce their claim to the other 78% of it and to legitimize Israel’s presence on it.

After that it took Arafat another five long years to sell his Fatah-approved policy of politics and compromise with Israel to the PNC (the Palestine National Council), a sort of Palestinian parliament-in-exile and the highest Palestinian decision making body. At the time there were about 300 PNC representatives in the global Palestinian diaspora. There were others in the Israeli-occupied territories and Israel itself, but the Israeli authorities did not allow them to travel to attend PNC meetings.

In those five years Arafat had to turn the PNC around - from rejection of compromise with Israel to support for it. And he had to do it by democratic means, by discussion and debate. He could not behave like his autocratic Arab brothers at leadership level and impose his will. He did it by summoning all 300 PNC members from all over the world, one by one, to talk with him in Beirut. In his first conversations with them, many said they would not vote for compromise with Israel; that Arafat was a traitor for advocating it; and that if he continued along that line he might well be assassinated. Arafat was indeed putting his credibility with his own people and his life on the line. At the end of each of his one-on-one conversations with rejectionist PNC delegates, Arafat asked them to return to their places in the diaspora and to think very carefully about the case he had made for compromise with Israel. If after time for reflection and debate with their own communities they were still opposed to his policy, he would summon them back to Beirut for another conversation.

The PNC vote in 1979 was an overwhelming victory for Arafat. There were 296 votes for his policy of politics and compromise with Israel and only 4 against. It was shortly after that historic PNC decision that I had the first of very many conversations with Arafat. When we were alone, he extracted a notebook from his hip pocket. He waved it triumphantly in the air and said, “It’s all here.” The it was his own record of his conversations with PNC delegates over the five years. Then, with a big smile on his face and in a voice that suggested he could hardly believe what had happened, he said this: “How far we have travelled. No more this silly talk of driving the Jews into the sea. Now we are prepared to live alongside them in a little mini state of our own. It is a miracle.”

It was, and Arafat was the miracle worker. He had prepared the ground on his side for peace on terms which any rational government and people in Israel would have accepted with relief. No other Palestinian leader could have done it.

The problem then was not that Israel didn’t have a Palestinian partner for peace but that the Palestinians did not have an Israeli partner. Menachem Begin, arguably the most successful terrorist of modern times and perhaps of all time, was Israel’s prime minister. Arafat the terrorist Begin and his Likud leadership colleagues could handle. Arafat the peacemaker they could not. And that’s why in 1982 Begin allowed General Sharon, then Israel’s Defense Minister, to take the IDF all the way to Beirut for the purpose of liquidating the entire Palestinian leadership and destroying its infrastructure.

But that was only phase one of Sharon’s game plan. If he had succeeded in Beirut, he was going to de-stabilise Jordan and bring about the downfall and departure of the Hashemite monarchy. That done he was intending to say to the Palestinians something like: “Of course you must have a state of your own. There it is. Jordan. Go take it.” To assist that process Sharon had established on the West Bank something close to a Palestinian puppet government-in-waiting consisting of 70 Palestinian collaborators. When he had overthrown King Hussein he was going to helicopter them into Amman.

Subsequently King Hussein, whom I knew very well, told me that he and all Arab leaders were fully aware in advance of what Sharon’s intentions were. Hussein also confirmed to me something Arafat told me. Shortly before Sharon launched his invasion of Lebanon to liquidate the PLO, the Gulf Arab leaders met in secret, without any advisers present, to agree a message to President Reagan. The message was that when Sharon invaded Lebanon to liquidate the PLO, the Arab leaders would not make any problems for the U.S. or Israel. Arafat’s source for that information was one of the Gulf Arab leaders who was present at the secret meeting - Oman’s Sultan Qaboos. He said to Arafat, “When Sharon comes for you in Beirut, you will ask for our help and you will not get it. Be careful.”

All of that and much, much more is in my book, in fully documented detail.

In due course Arafat did get a possible even probable Israeli partner for peace in the shape of Prime Minister Rabin; but as I knew from my own sources, Rabin went into the Arafat-initiated Oslo peace process only with great reluctance because he feared he would be assassinated by one of his own. As we know, his fears on that account were justified. The Zionist fanatic who assassinated Rabin, possibly with the complicity of some in one of Israel’s security services, was not mentally de-ranged, he knew exactly what he was doing - killing Rabin to kill the Arafat-initiated peace process.

After that Arafat’s credibility with his own people began to be eroded. And why can be simply stated. He had said to them in effect the following: “Trust me. Let me run with my policy and politics and compromise with Israel because it will deliver something concrete for you.” The fact was that he could not deliver for his people because Israel’s leaders didn’t want peace on the basis of the two-state solution he was offering. And Israel’s Jews were not able to challenge the folly of their leaders because they were, most of them, brainwashed with Zionist propaganda.

Today the case some Palestinian intellectuals and activists make against Arafat is that the Oslo process effectively gave control of Palestinian policy to Israel and Zionism. In my very last conversation with Arafat about two years he died - I think he was biologically poisoned, murdered - I asked him if there was a case for saying that he had made the mistake of his life and, in effect, had betrayed his people by putting his own good faith in the hope that Israeli leaders would deliver on the commitments they had made in their agreement with him.

The first part of his answer was to the effect that when he initiated the Oslo peace process he honestly believed he had no choice - because Israel had all of the might on its side and the Palestinians had only right on their side. The second part of his answer, in a voice mixed with quiet despair and anger, was to this effect: If the big powers and the U.S. especially had backed his policy of politics and compromise with Israel after he had shaken hands with Rabin on the lawn of the White House, the Oslo process could have delivered peace on terms just about acceptable to most Palestinians. On that I think Arafat was right.

The Clinton administration did not back Arafat as it should have done, in America’s own best interests, because the Zionist lobby was working day and night to undermine both Arafat AND Rabin and to take the meaning out of the agreement they had signed. I understood what was going on because of a comment made to me by Shimon Peres way back in 1984. He was then the leader of the Labour Party in opposition to Begin’s first Likud-led government coalition and was hoping to win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term as prime minister. I was then acting as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between Peres and Arafat. In my first private conversation with Peres at the start of that initiative I used the term “Israel lobby”. That made Peres angry. He said, almost shouting at me: “You don’t understand! It’s NOT an Israel lobby! It’s a Likud lobby! And that’s our problem!”

My own take on this aspect of the matter is that it’s wrong to call it the Israel lobby because that implies it represents all Israelis and it most certainly does not. My own preferred term for it is Zionist lobby. At this point I want to say, as I do in my book, that I do not blame the Zionist lobby for acting in the way it does. It is only playing the game according to the rules. I blame a corrupt, pork-barrel system of American politics which puts what passes for democracy up for sale to the highest bidders. The Zionist lobby is one of them and the influence it can and does buy enables it to control Congress and therefore the president on policy for Israel-Palestine. (If the opportunity arises in a question and answer session, I’ll tell you how the Zionist lobby buys American Congressmen and women and, also, what President Carter told me about the very limited opportunities any president has to confront the Zionist lobby even if he has the will and the courage to do so).

Ladies and gentlemen, after that brief explanation of some of the essence of the truth of history (there’s much, much more of it in my book!), I’m going to draw my main contribution to this conference to a conclusion by asking a question and then giving you my answer. The question is: Why is the truth of history so important? Put another way, Why MUST the boundaries that have been drawn by Zionism to prevent informed and honest debate be crossed?

But first three brief general observations.

I think the Zionist not Jewish state of Israel could and should be described today as a monster beyond control

• a monster that, because it is hungry for the maximum amount of Arab land with the minimum number of Arabs on it, is not remotely interested in peace on terms that would provide the Palestinians with an acceptable minimum amount of justice; and

• a monster that is a real threat not only to the peace of the region and the world but also to the security and wellbeing of Jews everywhere.

When I was writing the text for this presentation I found myself wondering how many Germans are aware of the following. If there had been no Adolf Hitler and no Nazi holocaust, there almost certainly would not have been a state of Israel. Why not? Prior to the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust, the vast majority of Jews everywhere, and especially many eminent American Jews including the then owner of The New York Times, were totally opposed to Zionism’s Palestine project. They believed it to be morally wrong. They feared it would lead to unending conflict with the Arabs and the wider Muslim world. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the big powers to have its way, it would one day provoke violent anti-Semitism on a grand scale. For most Jews of the world today the title of my book, ZIONISM: THE REAL ENEMY OF THE JEWS, is very uncomfortable, too uncomfortable, and some are deeply offended and outraged by it; but I am confident that, if they were alive today, the many pre-holocaust Jewish critics of Zionism would endorse it. (My very dear Jewish friend Ilan Pappe, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, has described the title of my book as “THE truth in seven words.”)

The second general observation I want to make concerns my repeated emphasis of the fact that Israel is a Zionist not a Jewish state. It’s really very simple. How can Israel be a Jewish state when a quarter of its citizens are Israeli Arabs, mainly of the Muslim faith? Israel will only become a Jewish state if it resorts to a final round to ethnic cleansing - to remove all the Palestinians from the land Israel holds. I happen to believe this is a real possibility in a foreseeable future but there’s not time here and now for me to explain why and what I think the consequences would most likely be. For now I’ll say only that I believe a final round of Zionist ethnic cleansing could make a Clash of Civilizations, Islamic v Judeo-Christian, inevitable. Which is perhaps what the hardest core Zionists and their neo-con associates in America want.

The third general observation I want to make and which will take me directly to my answer to the question of why the truth of history is so important is this. The incredible almost superhuman steadfastness of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians is the ROCK on which all of us who seek to promote the truth of history stand. To that I’ll add a very short explanation of why I admire the occupied and oppressed Palestinians. If there is any people on earth who ought to have been de-humanized by what has been done to them, it is the occupied and oppressed Palestinians. They have not been de-humanized but their oppressors have. And that’s not only my Gentile view. It is also the opinion of some Israeli Jews.

Simply by continuing to exist and stay put without surrendering to Israel’s dictates and not accepting crumbs from its table, the occupied and oppressed Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip open prison camp are doing virtually all they can to contain the Zionist monster, But there is a bottom-line political reality to be faced and it’s this.

The struggle for justice for the Palestinians, which is the key to peace for all, is not going to be won or lost in Israel-Palestine or even the region. It’s going to be won or lost in the major capitals of the Western world and in Washington DC especially. But...

PROBLEM NUMBER ONE is that because of the awesome power and influence of the Zionist lobby in all of its many manifestations, our leaders and their governments are never going to use the leverage they have to cause or try to cause Israel to be serious about peace unless and until they are PUSHED TO DO SO BY INFORMED PUBLIC OPINION, by expressions of real democracy in action. In the American context for example, and as I put it in the Epilogue of Volume 3 of my book which is titled Conflict Without End? (question mark), no American president is ever going to be free to use the leverage he has to cause or try cause Israel to be serious about peace unless and until enough Congressmen and women are more frightened of offending their voters than they are of offending the Zionist lobby.

PROBLEM NUMBER TWO is that the citizens, voters, of the Western nations, Americans especially, are TOO UNINFORMED AND MISINFORMED TO DO THE PUSHING because, with the complicity of the mainstream media, they have been conditioned by Zionist propaganda to believe a version of history which simply is not true.

In summary then I say this. The truth of history is needed to EMPOWER the citizens of the Western nations to make their democracies work for justice for the Palestinians and peace for all. Without this empowerment there is not in my view a snowball’s chance in hell of any justice for the Palestinians and peace for all; and the cancer the conflict is will eventually consume us all.

I want to conclude with an appeal for some assistance for promoting the truth of history here in Germany. In the coming weeks the German edition of Volume 1 of my book will be published. It is possible that the Zionist lobby here in Germany will use its influence to prevent the book being on display at the Frankfurt Book Fair. We shall see. But Volumes 2 and 3 will not be published, cannot be published, unless the publisher receives financial assistance to pay for the translation. If any of you here have ideas about how this assistance could be provided, I ask you, please, to tell Dr. Gabi or through her, me.

If I had written an epic, pro-Zionist book, wealthy supporters of Israel right or wrong would have thrown money at it for promotion of all kinds; and they probably would have funded a Hollywood movie based on its substance. It is a sad but true fact that virtually unlimited resources have been available for telling and selling the lies of history, while the truth has not commanded any significant financial support from anywhere. And that, in my view, is the main reason why, to date, Zionist might has triumphed over Palestinian right.

Though I might expose myself to a charge of naivety for saying so, I remain committed to the belief that if the citizens of the Western nations were properly informed about the truth of history as it relates to the making and sustaining of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, they would want their governments to act - to use the leverage they have to bring about justice for the Palestinians and peace for all.

And here’s my closing thought. I truly believe that, generally speaking, the Jews are the intellectual elite of the Western world, and that the Palestinians are by far the intellectual elite of the Arab world. What those two peoples could do together in peace and partnership, preferably in ONE STATE with equality for all, is the stuff that real dreams are made of. They could change the region for the better and by doing so give new hope and inspiration to the whole world. That is still what could be. The alternative is catastrophe for all, and by all I don’t just mean the Jews and Arabs of the region. I mean all of us.

Thank you.