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Friday, January 18, 2013

Chuck Hagel's false history of Israel

Joel Pollak discovered something that a lot of Americans (and Israelis) didn't know exists: A history of Israel written by Chuck Hagel.
Hagel identifies the origins of the conflict by claiming: "the Arab-Israeli standoff was first set in motion by the Balfour Declaration of 1919 promising the Jewish people a homeland and the Arabs their own independent states." (68). That is not what the Balfour Declaration says. It refers only to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," with regard for the "civil and religious rights" of other communities.
The conflict arose not from the Balfour Declaration, but from the Palestinian Arabs' utter rejection of any form of Jewish self-determination in the area--a rejection that became radicalized and violent under the influence of Palestinian leader (and Nazi collaborator) Hajj Amin Al-Husseini. Hagel's revisionist history undermines the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty in international law, while muting the extremism of the Palestinians' response.
It is not the only time Hagel downplays Palestinian extremism. He blames the "lack of aid and investment" (81) to the Palestinians as the reason that Hamas took over Gaza in a violent coup in 2007. Not only do Palestinians receive a huge amount of international aid, but in Gaza Palestinians wasted and destroyed the aid and assistance they received, most notoriously in the case of donated greenhouses, which were looted.
Perhaps most disturbing of all--because of its implications for Hagel's nomination as Secretary of Defense--is his version of the Second Lebanon War. Hagel makes no secret of his opposition to the 2006 war, calling it an "overreaction" by Israel, and describing Israeli attacks on terrorist positions and weapons caches as "relentless aerial bombardment of Lebanon for twenty-six straight days" (78), as if Israel had bombed indiscriminately.
Hagel calls Israel's response a "military retaliation," making no military or moral distinction between Hezbollah and Hamas rocket attacks against civilians on the one hand, and Israeli attacks on terrorists on the other. He also calls Israel's response "disproportionate," a term that has a specific meaning in the international law of war, which Hagel either does not understand or deliberately misinterprets to delegitimize Israel's self-defense.
Read the whole thing.  

If it wouldn't mean putting money in Hagel's pocket, I would suggest that every one of my readers go online, buy a copy of the book and have it delivered to that weasel Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Maybe we can do that if we all buy used copies, which ought not to put money in Hagel's pocket....  Hmmm.

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