Are You Ready to Face the
Facts About Israel?
By Paul Craig Roberts
October 21 (1948) the Government of Israel took a decision that was to have a
lasting and divisive effect on the rights and status of those Arabs who lived
within its borders: the official establishment of military government in the
areas where most of the inhabitants were Arabs." - Martin
Gilbert, Israel: A History
25/07/08 "ICH" -- - I had given up on finding an
American with a moral conscience and the courage to go with it and was on the
verge of retiring my keyboard when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.
Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his Atlanta, Georgia,
congregation: "I am a Zionist." Like most Americans, Rev. Are had
been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped to spread the propaganda among
Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits the Christian Canon
of St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem and author Marc Ellis, co-editor of the
book, Beyond Occupation.
Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the ground had made him
complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping to save others from his
mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice,
published in Canada in 1994.
Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book. Keep in mind that 1994
was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer's recent book, which exposed the power
of the Israel Lobby and its ability to control the explanation Americans
receive about the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Rev. Are begins with an account of Israel's opening attack on the Palestinians,
an event which took place before most Americans alive today were born. He
quotes the distinguished British historian, Arnold J. Toynbee: "The
treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally
indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though nor
comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in
Golda Meir, considered by Israelis as a great leader and by others as one of
history's great killers, disputed the facts: "It was not as though there
was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took
their country away from them. They did not exist."
Golda Meir's apology for Israel's great crimes is so counter-factual that it
blows the mind. Palestinian refugee camps still exist outside Palestine filled
with Palestinians and their descendants whose towns, villages, homes and lands
were seized by the Israelis in 1948. Rev. Are provides the reader with Na'im
Ateek's description of what happened to him, an 11-year old, when the Jews came
to take Beisan on May 12, 1948. Entire Palestinian communities simply
In 1949 the United Nations counted 711,000 Palestinian refugees.
In 2005 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimated 4.25 million
Palestinians and their descendants were refugees from their homeland.
The Israeli policy of evicting non-Jews has continued for six decades. On June
19, 2008, the Laity Committee in the Holy Land reported in Window Into
Palestine that the Israeli Ministry of Interior is taking away the residency
rights of Jerusalem Christians who have been reclassified as "visitors in
their own city."
On December 10, 2007, MK Ephraim Sneh boasted in the Jerusalem Post that Israel
had achieved "a true Zionist victory" over the UN partition plan
"which sought to establish two nations in the land of Israel." The
partition plan had assigned Israel 56 percent of Palestine, leaving the
inhabitants with only 44 percent. But Israel had altered this over time. Sneh
proudly declared: "When we complete the permanent agreement, we will hold
78 percent of the land while the Palestinians will control 22 percent."
Sneb could have added that the 22 percent is essentially a collection of
unconnected ghettos cut off from one another and from roads, water, medical
care, and jobs.
Rev. Are documents that the abuse of Palestinians' human rights is official
Israeli policy. Killings, torture, and beatings are routine. On May 17, 1990,
the Washington Post reported that Save the Children "documented
indiscriminate beating, tear-gassing and shooting of children at home or just
outside the house playing in the street, who were sitting in the classroom or
going to the store for groceries."
On January 19, 1988, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, later Prime
Minister, announced the policy of "punitive beating" of Palestinians.
The Israelis described the purpose of punitive beating: "Our task is to
recreate a barrier and once again put the fear of death into the Arabs of the
According to Save the Children, beatings of children and women are common. Rev.
Are, citing the report in the Washington Post, writes: "Save the Children
concluded that one-third of beaten children were under ten years old, and
one-fifth under the age of five. Nearly a third of the children beaten suffered
On February 8, 1988, Newsweek magazine quoted an Israeli soldier: "We got
orders to knock on every door, enter and take out all the males. The younger
ones we lined up with their faces against the wall, and soldiers beat them with
billy clubs. This was no private initiative, these were orders from our company
commander.... After one soldier finished beating a detainee, another soldier
called him 'you Nazi,' and the first man shot back: 'You bleeding heart.' When
one soldier tried to stop another from beating an Arab for no reason, a fist
fight broke out."
These were the old days before conscience was eliminated from the ranks of the
In the London Sunday Times, June 19, 1977, Ralph Schoenman, executive director
of the Bertrand Russell Foundation, wrote: "Israeli interrogators
routinely ill-treat and torture Arab prisoners. Prisoners are hooded or
blindfolded and are hung by their wrists for long periods. Most are struck in
the genitals or in other ways sexually abused. Most are sexually assaulted.
Others are administered electric shock."
Amnesty International concluded that "there is no country in the world in
which the use of official and sustained torture is as well established and
documented as in the case of Israel."
Even the pro-Israeli Washington Post reported: "Upon arrest, a detainee
undergoes a period of starvation, deprivation of sleep by organized methods and
prolonged periods during which the prisoner is made to stand with his hands
cuffed and raised, a filthy sack covering the head. Prisoners are dragged on
the ground, beaten with objects, kicked, stripped and placed under ice-cold
Sounds like Abu Gharib. There are news reports that Israeli torture experts
participated in the torture of the detainees assembled by the American military
as part of the Bush Regime's propaganda onslaught to convince Americans that
Iraq was overflowing with al-Qaeda terrorists. On July 23, 2008, Antiwar.com
posted an Iraqi news report that the Iraqi government had released a total of
109,087 Iraqis that the Americans had "detained." Obviously, these
"terrorist detainees" had been used for the needs of Bush Regime
propaganda. No one will ever know how many of them were abused by Israeli
torturers imported by the CIA.
Rev. Are's book makes sensible suggestions for resolving the conflict that
Israel began. However, the problem is that Israeli governments believe only in
force. The policy of the Israeli government has always been to beat, kill, and
brutalize Palestinians into submission and flight. Anyone who doubts this can
read the book of Israel's finest historian Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of
Americans are a gullible and naive people. They have been complicit for 60
years in crimes that in Arnold Toynbee's words "are comparable in
quality" to the crimes of Nazi Germany. As Toynbee was writing decades
ago, the accumulated Israeli crimes might now be comparable also in quantity.
The US routinely vetoes United Nations condemnations of Israel for its brutal
crimes against the Palestinians. Insouciant American taxpayers have been bled
for a half century to provide the Israelis with superior military weapons with
which Israelis assault their neighbors, all the while convincing America –
essentially a captive nation – that Israel is the victim.
John F. Mahoney wrote: "Thomas Are reminds me of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: an
active pastor who comes to the unsettling realization that he and his people
have been fed a terrible lie that is killing and torturing thousands of
innocent men, women and children. Not without ample research and prayer does
such a pastor, in turn, risk unsettling his congregation. The Reverend Are has
done his homework and, I suspect, has prayed often and long during the writing
of this courageous book."
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian and pastor who was executed for his active
participation in the German Resistance against Nazism.
Professor Benjamin M. Weir, San Francisco Theological Seminary, wrote:
"This book will make the reader squirm. It asks you to lend your voice in
behalf of the voiceless."
Americans who can no longer think for themselves and who are terrified of
disapproval by their peer group are incapable of lending their voices to anyone
except those who control the world of propaganda in which they live.
The ignorance and unconcern of Americans is a great frustration to my friends
in the Israeli peace movement. Without outside support those Israelis who believe
in good will are deprived, by America's support for their government's policy
of violence, of any peaceful resolution of a conflict began in 1947 by Israeli
aggression against unsuspecting Palestinian villages.
Rev. Are wrote his book with the hope that the pen is mightier than the sword
and that facts can crowd out propaganda and create a framework for a just
resolution of the Palestinian issue. In his concluding chapter, "What
Christians Can Do," Rev. Are writes: "We cannot allow others to
dictate our thinking on any subject, especially on anything as important as
Christian faithfulness, which is tested by an attitude towards seeking justice
for the oppressed. It's a Christian's duty to know."
Duty, of course, has costs. Rev. Are writes: "Speak up for the
Palestinians and you will make enemies. Yet, as Christians, we must be willing
to raise issues that until now we have chosen to dodge."
More than a decade later, President Jimmy Carter, a true friend of Israel,
tried again to awaken Americans' moral conscience with his book, Palestine:
Peace Not Apartheid. Carter was instantly demonized by the Israel Lobby.
Sixty years of efforts by good and humane people to hold Israel accountable
have so far failed, but they are more important today than ever before. Israel
has its captive American nation on the verge of attacking Iran, the
consequences of which could be catastrophic for all concerned. The alleged
purpose of the attack is to eliminate nonexistent Iranian nuclear weapons. The
real reason is to eliminate all support for Hamas and Hezbollah so that Israel
can seize the entire West Bank and southern Lebanon. The Bush regime is eager
to do Israel's bidding, and the media and evangelical "Christian"
churches have been preparing the American people for the event.
It is paradoxical that Israel is demonstrating that veracity lies not in the
Christian belief in good will but in Lenin's doctrine that violence is the
effective force in history and that the evangelical Christian Zionist churches
Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the
Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall
Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review.