Ethnic cleansing tactics of Jewish extremists

by Yaniv Reich on November 1, 2009

When the US describes Israel’s policy of evicting Palestinians and demolishing their homes as “unhelpful” to the peace process [sic], they are using shockingly euphemistic language to characterize what is, in effect, ethnic cleansing.

What does that process look like? How do settlers go about stealing Palestinian land under Israeli law? Part of the answer is that some theft is purely criminal in the sense even Israeli law is violated. But very often the theft happens with official sanction by the Israeli government, abetted by Israeli military and police. For a little background on what types of people are included in the judicial administration of Palestinian areas, I urge you to read my recent post on Major Adrian Agassi, of “peace with Palestinians is against nature” fame.

But back to the question. How can we know how exactly the process of ethnic cleansing looks? How are we form judgments about such seemingly complex issues? Well, its not so easy in the US, where you will not see any serious investigation of Israel’s policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing on any major media outlet. As for the US government, it is fully aware of what is going on but is too meek or cowardly to stand up to Israel. Not just stand up to Israel with any backbone whatsoever, but even to turn down the tap of billions of dollars in aid that we provide Israel each year.

Luckily, some other more credible news organizations do investigate this matter, which is, I would argue, one of the defining issues of our time. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to watch the following video from Australia’s Dateline (HT: Antony Loewenstein), particularly because its so little understood and known in the US.

An excerpt:

“We don’t care about what the world thinks about what our land is and what our land is not. Because we are a chosen nation and the world knows that, and God promised us Jerusalem.”

Here is a link to the video:
Australian SBS Dateline on Palestinian Evictions

Please spread widely to anyone and everyone.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 steph_n November 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I was quite taken with the arguments put forward by the Australian interviewed in the Dateline program. Particularly whether he would be so dogmatic in his assertion about prior rights if it were used by an Indigenous Australian taking up residence in his Australian house.

And I really miss Dateline and George Negus.

2 geoff November 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm

i have a problem with only highlighting this exerpt. On its own it is difficult to argue that the person saying this is completely deluded. However, take a muslim with a similar viewpoint of their god and you will also notice how deluded they are. So in context and in this part of the world, these comments are common language and do not seem out of place. I wonder what Yaniv Reich thinks about the law for Muslims that shall see them put to death if they sell land to Jews. Maybe mention this to the mainstream audience as well, so they can understand the war that is going on.

3 Yaniv Reich November 2, 2009 at 9:44 am


Thank you for the comment. Indeed, I agree with you completely that strong religious beliefs very frequently lead to delusion. That is precisely why I argue for secular democracy in Israel/Palestine rather than the quasi-theocratic regimes we see in Israel and Gaza.

I would suggest, however, that the commonness of religious fervor is no grounds for accepting it on either side. What the Dateline segment demonstrates is that religious fanatics use physical force and a supportive institutional environment to steal land from Palestinians. In this they are motivated by their belief its rightfully theirs (as explained in the bible) and therefore not theft. This is an extraordinarily important thing to know about, to criticize, and to change.

I also condemn the death sentences against Palestinians who sell land (and collaborate with Israel). Of course, it is my wish that Palestinians do not sell to settlers and do not serve as intelligence gatherers for the occupation, but making this crime punishable by death is absolutely inexcusable.

I do take issue, though, with the notion this death sentence is a consequence of religious extremism. As far as I know, there is no religious basis for this law. It is much more closely linked to Palestinian nationalism and the fear that poor and disenfranchised Palestinians might give up, sell out, and undermine a future Palestinian state in the process. This rationale, of course, also does not justify a death sentence.

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