13 thoughts on “Manzanar to Palestine: Legacy of Internment and Ethnic-Cleansing – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. They saw themselves as Europeans bringing the values of western civilization to the “natives,” the indigenous Arabs in Palestine.  

    Rather then arguing whose agricultural methods were superior, lets just agree that the Ottoman’s neglected the region.

    “Throughout these changes, [1876 Ottoman Land Laws] the situation of the peasantry grew progressively worse as the tax burden increased. Often the fellah was forced to borrow money to make ends meet and many ended up selling the titles to their land, which they continued to work on, but with reduced benefits. By the turn of the century, six families in Palestine (the effendi) owned 23% per cent of all cultivated land, while 16, 910 families owned only 6% (Awartani, 1993)”

     But Zionists, and not Palestinians or the British, eradicated malaria, opening mosquito infested lands to cultivation (by Jew and Arab). 

    And Zionists, not Palestinians and not the British, brought electricity to Palestine. 

    Richard wrote:

    ‘From 1937, if not earlier, Ben Gurion wrote in a letter to his son, that the Palestinians would be swept away by the Zionist enterprise’

    Once again, a plain reading of Ben Gurion’s letter to his son, Amos, tells us that Ben Gurion was talking specifically, and only, about a single Beduin tribe in the Negev that was opposing a Zionist settlement there.  
    He was not talking about the Zionist enterprise sweeping away the Palestinians.

    ‘In 1948, Ben Gurion took advantage of the War he provoked.’

    Well, if declaring Israeli independence pursuant to the approval of the United Nations, is provocative, than so be it.


    Richard wrote:

    “Like the Paiute in the 1880s, the Palestinians fled and resettled in many neighboring Arab states (primarily Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon)”

    Leaving aside whether these Native Americans were Paiute or Eastern Mono, please note that the Palestinians fought the Zionists tooth and nail until May 1948, when the combined weight of the armies of four Arab States intervened on the side of the Palestinians and invaded Palestine with the intention of driving the Zionists into the sea.

    Mmm…I’m not quite sure.

    1. @Judah:

      Ottoman’s neglected the region

      Replacing one colonial master with another is not progress. Zionists stole land and oppressed Palestinians as much or worse than the Ottomans. As for the concentration of landholdings in the hands of rich landowners, its far worse today. Far, far worse. Capital is concentrated in the hands of 18 olgarch Jewish families. And Palestinians have almost no capital to speak of. Palestinians cannot get building permits, they must live in segregated communities and are not permitted in many Jewish-only communities. They generally face far worse living conditions than Israeli Jews. Not to mention higher crime levels because of lax enforcement by Israel police. Throwing Palestinians from the Ottoman frying pan into the Yishuv fire did them no favors.

      Zionists, and not Palestinians or the British, eradicated malaria, opening mosquito infested lands to cultivation

      Actually, the wetlands which the Yishuv eradicated were key features of the environment. Destroying them increased productivity at the price of destroying a balanced enrionment rich in the wildlife and other benefits brought by these wetlands. The old saw about eliminating malaria and mosquitos is just that, tired and out of date with modern understanding of environmental stewardship. It goes hand in hand with Israel’s miserable record on environmental issues. Progress and convenience at all costs, at the expense of wise steardship of the land.

      if declaring Israeli independence pursuant to the approval of the United Nations

      Historians found that Ben Gurion knew his forces were united and stronger than the disparate Arab forces the Yishuv faced. He banked on beating them and expanding the limited territory offered under the partition plan. If he intended to adhere to the plan he would not have grabbed more territory than it called for. You can’t argue Ben Gurion acted according to the Partition Plan unless he respected all of its provisions, which he didn’t:

      He [Ben Gurion] acted on the basis of a judicious appraisal of the situation derived from precise intelligence and a thorough examination of the capabilities of the forces of the Yishuv…

      A British intelligence memorandum:

      postulates that “there might consequently be opportunities for the Jews to exploit the situation in this phase and recapture some of the Arab areas and even possibly to launch attacks on Arab states.”

      And further:

      ‘The borders of the land [as defined by the Partition plan] were merely ‘a possible stage in the process of expanding the state’s territory’.

      Leaving aside whether these Native Americans were Paiute or Eastern Mono

      You have no idea of the relations between Native tribes. There was no clear distinction between many of them. They lived in close proximity and there was much intermingling. Not to mention that each tribe was equally damaged. IN the documentary, which you clearly didn’t bother watching, the various tribes of the region are always referred to together. They do not distinguish between tribles being treated differeent or having different outcomes. So don’t start claiming you know anything on the subject. You clearly have a smattering of knowledge. Just enough to wander off into the swamp and away from the real issues.

      the Palestinians fought the Zionists tooth and nail until May 1948

      More ahistoric nonsense. “Palestinians” did not, by and large participate in the fighting. The primary military forces were Jordanian and from other frontline states. Very few Palestinians fought. Mostly they were expelled and occupied with saving their lives, rather than making war. Again, you would know this if you relied on sources other than the biased ones you either mention here, or don’t even bother to cite.

      the intention of driving the Zionists into the sea.

      We can debate what the goal of the Arab forces were. There is no clear proof that they actually had an overall strategy other than fighting back against the Yishuv’s unilaterial defiance of the UN mandate. But the Yishuv was the one which threw the Arabs into the proverbial sea by stealing territory allocated to the Palestinians in the partition plan. So arguing that an intent that was never realized is worse than a strategy which actually did steal territory is an absolute red herring.

      Zionists, not Palestinians and not the British, brought electricity to Palestine.

      Electricity for whom? For Jewish communities. They did not bring electricity to Palestinian communities, which they let fend for themselves as best they could. Today, 120 years after the Yishuv began, Israeli citizens still do not have electricity and the Knesset can’t seem to offer Bedouin communities this benefit, because this community is considered too primitive to warrant it. Not to mention the State has invested almost nothing to improve their lives.

      Do not advance the ridiculous argument that Ben Gurion was limiting his ethnic cleansing message to the Negev. As proof this is wrong, he expelled Palestinians from throughout Israel in ’48. He did not confine himself to the Negev.

      Remember, this was your one comment in this thread.

      1. “Capital is concentrated in the hands of 18 olgarch Jewish families.”

        I’ve heard that among the Palestinian People there is also a “1%” that control most of the capital – Probably a small percentage control the Zionist lobby.

        Please write about these few people, these “gods.”

        Thank you.

    1. @ Braintree: There is no such valid argument. The true indigenous inhabitants of the Land are the humans who first settled it 50,000 years ago. To pick and choose which inhabitants you consider “indigenous” is ridiculous. Not to mention that none of the current Jewish inhabitants can trace their lineage in the land farther than a century or so (excpet for an exceedingly small number who lived in Palestine from centuries earlier). Direct Presence of the Palestinian clans and familes goes back much farther. You can’t transfer indigeneity to anyone who themselves weren’t indigenous to the land. I’m not indigenous. If I have ancestors millenia ago who were indigenous, my connection to them is non-existent. It doesn’t confer on me a benefit I don’t merit.

  2. [comment deleted: I began to rebut the distortions and failures of your argument. But then realized it contained so much biased, false claims, that I didn’t have the time, patience or energy to rebut all of them. You clearly have read, if you’ve read anything at all, Zionist accounts of history. Which are not only biased and tell only one side of the story, but are simply not factually inaccurate.

    The comment threads are not a place for propaganda or regurgitations of old, discredited accounts of history.]

  3. This article with the footnotes should be mandatory study for anyone interested in history. Thank-you, Mr. Silverstein

  4. Richard

    I agree that Palestinians are treated by Israel in a manner similar to how the US treats it indigenous people.

    With respect to the Japanese internees, you write ‘ For the former, the injustice lasted three years.‘ That is not quite true. Many internees lost their property either by theft or coerced sale at criminally low prices or other means, never to be reimbursed in any way. Also, there was considerable mental stress, what we might today call PTSD, and all the pain that caused. In other words, 3 years internment was the root cause of problems that lasted a lifetime.

    On another issue, I typically equate Gaza with a Japanese internment camp, not a prison. People are put in prison as punishment for something they did. Gazans and Japanese were locked-up for who they are and not anything they did. Also, the social structure in Gaza is more like an internment camp than a prison. People live in family units. The people have a society with schools, jobs, stores, etc. unlike a prison.

    best jeff

  5. there’s something that has weight heavy on my head since august 2015
    until that date john stewart had an extreme voice and that voice led a large group of people towards the dnc tent
    zen at the zenith of that voice when he could have helped undoubtedly crush trump presidential run, mr stewart took a run at the exit and left that cowd his crowd rudderless and defenseless.
    a huge group of blue votes saw a leader drop them and shakr his shoulder at them
    i am positive had stewart stayed till after the elections we could have seen a different history unfold.he abandonned ship for wait for it………money
    he literally crusshed the respect i had for his voice and i imagine am not alone.
    yes i pin a huge blame for his legacy. sad

  6. “Replacing one colonial master [Ottoman] with another [Zionist] is not progress”

    You omit the intermediate, Mandate of Palestine, child of the League of Nations, which Mandate was discussed, debated and voted on by that assembly.

    “Zionists stole land and oppressed Palestinians as much or worse than the Ottomans”

    Not so.
    The Ottomans neglected Palestine to the detriment of Jew and Arab alike and the genocidal Ottomans forcibly suppressed the nationalistic aspirations of both groups.

    Not stolen.
    The British Mandatory Government saw to it that Zionists bought land from the Palestinians for ‘cash on the barrelhead’. Palestinians willingly sold their land to the Zionists right through the 1940’s in spite of British efforts to curtail land transfer to he Zionists..  https://www.jstor.org/stable/40105610

    According to Richard’s link, “the leaders of the Arab states, who were meeting at that time in Damascus, had decided, with secret British support, to launch a lightning attack (blitzkrieg) and had devised a coordinated invasion plan.”
    Which plan relied on a lack of heavy weapons and of Jewish air power. 
    “Tel Aviv will be attacked immediately from the air.”

    What more could BG do than declare independence and defy the Arab States and ‘perfidious Albion’ (Britain). 
    It can be argued that the decision by Minhelet Ha’am was necessary, given the Arab leaders’ decision two days earlier to invade on May 15

    Ben Gurion was not assured of victory. 

    Richard’s British intelligence source predicted a 
    “war of attrition” in which the Arabs would have the upper hand,

    And British Intelligence produced “a May 7 memorandum sent to the Chiefs of Staff in London forecast accurately the stages of the War of Independence.They believed that the major goal – conquering Tel Aviv – could be accomplished by a combined attack of Egyptian forces from the south and the Arab Legion from the east.”

    This is from your source, Richard.

    Israel was forced to fight on several fronts simultaneously:

    Richard said:

    “Palestinians” did not, by and large participate in the fighting.

    The capture of the Etzion Bloc by Arab (Palestinian) irregulars, mostly from the surrounding villages, in cooperation with units of the Arab Legion, which concluded on the morning of May 13, persuaded even those Arab leaders who were still hesitant that their armies were capable of defeating the Jewish forces and of liberating Palestine. 

     Finally, Yigal Yadin, was the acting chief of staff, reported on the war situation. Yadin estimated that the Yishuv had an “even” chance to withstand the Arab offensive.

    1. @braintree:

      You omit the intermediate, Mandate of Palestine, child of the League of Nations, which Mandate was discussed, debated and voted on by that assembly.

      This is a misguided attempt to normalize yet another bit of colonial domination. I don’t care whether such colonialism was blessed by the Lord himself. It’s still unjust and offensive.

      The Ottomans neglected Palestine to the detriment of Jew and Arab alike

      Read the sources you cite more carefully. Yours does not support your claims at all. It merely states that Arab nationalism arose within the Ottoman empire and that it sought help in its rebellion from the British. It does not, in fact, make any claim about Ottoman mistreatment of Jews or Arabs.

      Zionists bought land from the Palestinians for ‘cash on the barrelhead’.

      As for your claim that Zionist pioneers bought Arab land fair and square. the source you cite, once again, does not support your claim. In fact, the book review notes that the purchase of large tracts of lands was made from “large and often absentee landlords.” It also notes the “largely successful efforts of the Jewish AGency to get around (British) government regulations or, in a number of well-managed campaigns, to block…British policies which might have…inhibited its [land purchasing] schemes…A series of British reports…not only suggested Jewish land purchase was a major cause of Palestinian Arab resentment, but also led to efforts…which would restrict land transfers and protect the rights of existing (Palestinian) tenants.”

      Your source also notes a failed government effort to “calculate the numbers of Arabs made landless by Jewish purchase.” It was defeated “as a result of Jewish pressure in London.”

      So instead of cash on the barrel head, we have the Zionist powers conniving in every way possible, both legal and extra-legal to advance the dispossession of the Palestinian fedayeen.

      This source describes in some detail the process of dispossession of the Arab peasants:

      Zionism’s attempts to steal land have always been the cornerstone of the movement. The Jewish National Fund (JNF), founded in 1901, and its subsidiary, the Palestine Land Development Company (1908), set out to drive Palestinian peasants off their land by acquiring land from the Ottoman authorities and big absentee landlords from Beirut, Damascus and Cairo.

      Many of these deals were carried out surreptitiously and illegally, as they continue to be today…

      Palestinian efforts to stop the appropriation of lands hark back to the beginning of the Zionist project. Once Britain became the official sponsor of the European Jewish colonial-settler project in 1917, it occupied Palestine and began to enact laws and regulations to facilitate land transfers to the Jewish colonists

      Not to mention that those fedayeen were uprooted from their land by a nefarious system which stole from them their livelihood. I consider that a form of theft by subterfuge.

      As for your claims of a planned Arab attack against the Yishuv: this does not contradict the face that Ben Gurion started the war. Whether he believed the Arabs were planning their own attack is immaterial. It’s as if you murdered someone and afterward offered the defense: “Joe told me that Jimmy planned to kill me so I got him first.” First, we have no idea whether what Jimmy said was true and how he knew it. Second, even if it was true, you still murdered someone. And the victim isn’t around to tell us his side. You committed a crime and you should be punished for murder.

      “the leaders of the Arab states, who were meeting at that time in Damascus, had decided, with secret British support, to launch a lightning attack

      You of course neglect that this was based on French intelligence reports given to Ben Gurion. The French were vying with Britain for position in the lead-up to the end of the British Mandate. The entire pupose of intelligence is to make someone believe good of you and bad of your rival. Of course the French would whisper in BG’s ear that the British and their Arab allies wanted to launch a surprise attack. BG was smart enough to undersand that the French information might or might not be true. If he intended to start the war, it would be convenient to claim he did so because he believed the French report was reliable, whether it was or not.

      Ben Gurion was not assured of victory.

      Richard’s British intelligence source predicted a “war of attrition”

      Once again, Ben Gurion did not know what British intelligence predicted. He only knew about the allged plot to attack the Yishuv. And even if he did, he was far better informed about the Haganah/Palmach’s fighting capability than British intelligence. He did not bargain for a war of attrition. He bargained for a lightning attack which would carry the advantage to the Zionists. Exactly what happened. Again, he started the war. The Arabs didn’t. Someone who starts a war can always complain that he had to, that it was really an act of self-defense, etc. These are all ex post facto justification for a war of choice, not necessity.

      The capture of the Etzion Bloc by Arab (Palestinian) irregulars, mostly from the surrounding villages…

      First, Palestinian participation in the fighting was almost wholly restricted to defense of their native villages (as you yourself note). They were not involved in the much larger scale military operations of the Jordanian legion and other organized Arab armies. Those Palestinians who sought to form their own fighting forces, which only numbered in the thousands, were discouraged by the Arab states and their militas disbanded. These sources, as a I said confirm that even in defense of their own villages, the numbers of fighters was small. The Army of the Holy War had around 5,000 troops (which included both Palestinian and non-Palestinian Arab fighters) available to fight in the larger battles outside their villages.

      Your claim that the fall of the Etzion bloc persuaded Arab leaders to join the war isn’t supported by a cite. So I have no idea what your source is or even if you have one. Nor does it offer any proof of the claim, even if it is sourced. The claim about Yadin is also not sourced. But even if it is, we’re talking about what BG believed and on what assumptions he decided to act. Yadin was one source on which he relied. But in the end the decision and his reasoning behind it was his alone.

      You are using multiple IP addresses to post comments here. Do NOT do this. Use a single IP address. Using IP proxies is devious and opaque and raises suspicions that you are engaged in subterfuge or duplicitous behavior.

      Do not comment again in this thread.

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