“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Israeli Historian, Ilan Pappe, discusses the state discrimination and ethic cleansing of Palestinians

Gaza conflict: Ilan Pappe is on a mission of peace and reason
08 AUG 2014 00:00 SHAUN DE WAAL

Shaun de Waal interviews leading Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, who is visiting South Africa.

Ilan Pappé, most famously author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), is speaking at events related to the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign as a guest of Cape Town publication Muslim Views.
Pappé taught at the University of Haifa (where he was born) until 2008, when he left Israel because, he says, the authorities had made his life increasingly difficult. He now teaches at the University of Exeter in Britain, where he heads one of only three Palestine studies units in the world.
He was a leading member of the Israeli party Hadash – the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – standing twice for the Knesset.
You characterise Israel as a settler-colonialist state, and you speak of the difference between colonialism and settler-colonialism. Basically, in settler-colonialism, the settler doesn’t go home, right? This is what we South Africans have called “colonialism of a special type”.
Yes! Early Zionism used the word “colonialism” to describe what Zionism was all about, because the image of colonialism in the late 19th century was very good. They were proud to brand Zionism as a successful colonial project.
Then, in the 1930s, and after the founding of the state of Israel, they found that the image of colonialism had changed.
The early scholars of Zionism invented a new word – I can’t even say it, a kind of misspelling of “colonisation” in Hebrew – to show that this project was unique.
Zionism began to speak instead of the return to an ancient homeland, the redemption of an empty land. This meant you could not describe the Palestinian anticolonialist movement as such, but rather as terrorists trying to destroy a modern democratic state.
Israel and its supporters use the argument that Israel is a beacon of democracy – the only democratic state in the region.
There are two Israels – the nonoccupied Israel, which is a democracy, and then there is Israel plus a temporary occupation. It’s as though Israel says: “You can’t judge us according to that occupation, because it’s temporary.” But it has been going on since 1967! And, of course, Arabs in Israel were subject to military rule until 1967, then that military rule was extended to the occupied territories.
Israel defeats any definition of a democratic society, just by its attitude to the indigenous people. This argument that it is a democracy didn’t work for apartheid South Africa, so why should it work for Israel?
You know, there was a moment in the Arab Spring when it looked very promising, very democratic, but this was most worrying for Israel – as was reflected in the Israeli media. The possibility that there could be an alternative democracy or a real democracy in the Middle East seemed to shake the strategic foundation of the state of Israel.
Israel also points out that Hamas, which is now the governing party in Gaza, says in its charter that it wants to wipe out the state of Israel. This is a powerful ideological weapon for Zionists mobilising support for Israel, because it can accuse Hamas of wanting another Holocaust.
Yes, I see that. But you can’t use human rights to assess anticolonialist movements at the height of their struggles against colonialism. Hamas is a certain Palestinian reaction to a specific historic moment. I can’t go to the people of Gaza, strangulated as they are by Israel, and tell them stop launching rockets into Israel – to just die there in Gaza. I need to have a meaningful conversation with them, in an environment that will allow them to see the options.
This is why the BDS movement is so important. You need to give people an option. As I often say to my friends who propose more radical action against Israel, 100 000 missiles from Gaza would not have the effect of one government in the world that would be willing to sever relations with Israel.
This would be far more effective, and it would be nonviolent. It would enable us to build something new, without the legacy of violence in the background. I say to my Palestinian friends: the age of nationalism is over. We have to galvanise around human rights.
The Israeli government did not have emergency meetings on the occupation for many years – until it seemed the BDS movement was having some successes. And this is why the South African government’s reaction to the latest crisis in Gaza has been so disappointing. It could at least have asked the Israeli ambassador to go home.
The founder of Hamas, who was assassinated by Israel, said that if his oppressor was a Muslim or an Arab or even a Palestinian, he would have fought them in the same way.
The Fatah Charter used to say that Jews who arrived after 1918 should go back to their home countries. But the moment Fatah thought there was a chance of dialogue, at the time of Oslo, they admitted this was absurd. They said they wouldn’t even demand that the Russians go home – the Russians who arrived yesterday.
I’m not a Hamas person, but we need a long dialogue between people of different faiths and backgrounds, because eventually we will find a dialogic state. I’m dying to start this journey with my Muslim friends.
And what of the recent American initiative led by Secretary of State John Kerry?
The two-state solution has been dead for years. The body is in the morgue. Every now and then you get an enthusiastic American secretary of state who takes the body out of the morgue and resuscitates it and pretends that it is alive. But when it doesn’t work, he returns the body to the morgue. I think we should have the funeral already.
I don’t think we yet have an idea of how we could develop a new state of Israel-Palestine, but we can’t even begin this dialogue if everyone is captivated by a false paradigm.
The two-state solution shrinks what is Palestine to 20% of the land. You can’t say Palestine is only the West Bank and Gaza. And you can’t shrink the Palestinian people into the people in Gaza and the West Bank. If you’re not going to cater for 5.5-million refugees, how ever you work it out, the two-state solution will be hot air.
Political elites are much more creatures of inertia than they admit. A paradigm shift requires study and learning, and they are lazy. It means risking popularity. It brings with it a lot of uncertainty.
We need this paradigm shift, and we have to prepare the ground for that moment.

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989 and is now the editor of the paper's comment and analysis section.


  1. Sorry, there is no ethnical cleansing of Arabs for the lands of Israel or the disputed territories.

    Quirk can give you the exact numbers but in a macro analysis? There are MILLIONS and MILLIONS of palestinian arabs INSIDE Israel and in the west bank and gaza...

    Frame it anyway you want, but the facts are clear...

    Palestinian arabs's numbers have skyrocketed in the last 66 years both inside israel and out..

  2. "O"rdure lies in the face of historical facts.
    He just can't help it.

    David Ben-Gurion -

    Regarding the Galilee, Mr. [Moshe] Sharett already told you that about 100,000 Arabs still now live in the pocket of Galilee.
    Let us assume that a war breaks out.
    Then we will be able to cleanse the entire area of Central Galilee, including all its refugees, in one stroke.

    In this context let me mention some mediators who offered to give us the Galilee without war.
    What they meant was the populated Galilee.
    They didn’t offer us the empty Galilee, which we could have only by means of a war.
    Therefore if a war is extended to cover the whole of Palestine, our greatest gain will be the Galilee.
    It is because without any special military effort which might imperil other fronts,
    only by using the troops already assigned for the task, we could accomplish our aim of cleansing the Galilee.

    From a protocol of the Government of Israel,
    translated from Hebrew by Israel Shahak, in "Truth or Myth about Israel? Read between Quotation Marks" by Charley Reese in The Orlando Sentinel (13 June 1999); later published as "What Israeli Historians Say About 1948 Ethnic Cleansing" in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (September 1999)

    Referring to Palestinian refugees: "We must do everything in our power to ensure that they never return."
    • Address at the Mapai Political Committee (7 June 1938) as quoted in Feuerlicht, Roberta, 1983.

    • From Jewish terrorism against Arabs it is a short step to Jewish terrorism against Jews.
    ○ "On three fronts" (3 August 1938) as quoted in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, New York: Philosophical Library, 1954, p. 91.

    1. From Jewish terrorism against Arabs it is a short step to Jewish terrorism against Jews.
      -David Ben-Gurion

      The Zionists killed 252 Jewish refugees, for propaganda purposes.

      Referring to Palestinian refugees:
      "We must do everything in our power to ensure that they never return."

      - David Ben-Gurion

      "O"rdure just plain cannot tell the truth.


    Ilan Pappe is a precious diamond!

    Everything you need to know about the Zionist State of Israel, can be found by Googling:


    Rabbi Dr. Chaim Simons

    P.O.B. 1775, Kiryat Arba
    90100, Israel

    tel and fax: 02-9961252 (within Israel),

    972 2 9961252 (from outside Israel)


    August 2007

    The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
    The results of his investigations and researches into the history, geography, geology, fauna, and flora of that country have placed him in the front rank of Palestinian explorers and geographers. HE IS THE GREATEST JEWISH AUTHORITY ON PALESTINIAN MATTERS SINCE ESTORI FARHI (1282-1357), the author of "Kaftor wa-Feraḥ."

    614-1096 C.E.
    From the Accession of the Mahomedans to that of the Europeans.

    By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850


    Rabbi Shallum, son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, aka Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, was in fact: [A JEWISH RABBI] Rabbi Shallum, son of the then Resh Gelutha, in Babel, perceiving this dreadful predicament, went to Mahomed, and offering him his submission, friendship, and services, endeavoured to enter with him into a friendly compact. Mahomed accepted his proposition with pleasure, conceived a great affection for him, and took his daughter, a handsome young girl (A 6 YEAR OLD CHILD), for wife; he made him also a general in his army, and gave him the name of Abu Bachr al Chaliva al Zadik, literally:

    The father of the maiden, the descendant of the righteous; this means, that of all his wives, who were either widows or divorced women, this one was the only one who had never been married before, and then she was the granddaughter of the celebrated chief of the captivity; therefore, the descendant of the righteous. This occurrence induced Mahomed to give up his terrible intention to destroy the Jews in his country, and thus did Rabbi Shallum save his people.


    [Why Muhammad hated alcohol]

    Abu Bachr and Aliman now resolved among themselves to remove the dangerous enemy of the Jews, Bucheran. One evening Mahomed, Bucheran, Aliman, and Abu Bachr, were drinking together; the latter two soon saw that Mahomed and the astrologer were strongly intoxicated, and lay stretched out in a deep and profound sleep. Abu Bachr thereupon drew the sword of Mahomed from its scabbard, cut off therewith Bucharan's head, and put the bloody sword back into its receptacle, and both then lay themselves down quietly near Mahomed to sleep. When Mahomed awoke and saw his friend lying decapitated near him, he cried out in a fury: "This terrible deed has been done by one of us three in our drunkenness!" Abu Bachr thereupon said quite unconcernedly: "Let each one draw his sword, and he whose weapon is stained with blood, must needs be the murderer!" They all drew their swords, and that of Mahomed was completely dyed with fresh blood, which proved thus clearly to his satisfaction that he had murdered his friend. He was greatly grieved at this discovery; cursed and condemned the wine which was the cause of this murder, and swore that he never would drink any more, and that also no one should do so who wishes to enter heaven. This is the cause why wine is prohibited to the Mahomedans.

    At a later period, Mahomed learned the whole transaction, and that his father-in-law was the perpetrator of the bloody deed; wherefore, he lost his favour, and he would not permit him to come before him. Abu Bachr went thereupon and conquered sixty places, which had not yet submitted to Mahomed, and presented them to him, through which means he became again reconciled to him, was received in favour, and remained thereafter at court.