Suggested Discussion Outline

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johnkarls
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Suggested Discussion Outline

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SUGGESTED DISCUSSION OUTLINE –
"BLOOD BROTHERS” BY ELIAS CHACOUR

Editorial Comments:

Normally, the Suggested Discussion Outlines (which our discussions seem traditionally to ignore anyway) are mere bullet points.

However, for someone who knows a fair amount of history including the history of the Middle East, Chacour’s treatment of the historical record demands comment rather than mere bullet points.

In this regard and despite the impression readers may have formed from the Q&A’s, I have no particular love for Israel. It and its leaders have committed some real atrocities. For example, its participation in the 1956 British-French War against Egypt which had nationalized the British-French-owned Suez Canal immediately after receiving full independence from Britain. And most egregiously, Israel’s sending the Lebanese Christian Militias in 1973 into two of the largest Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon for the premeditated purpose of inflicting several days of rape, murder and mayhem.

Although Chacour doesn’t mention it, the on-the-scene Israeli-Army Commander who organized and implemented the atrocity involving the refugee camps in Lebanon was Ariel Sharon who later became Prime Minister of Israel. Sharon was later prosecuted and convicted in absentia by a Belgian court for Crimes Against Humanity vis-à-vis the Lebanese atrocity [one might wonder how a court achieves jurisdiction if neither the act occurred nor the culprit was ever present within its borders, but virtually all countries have provisions in their law intended to deal with pirates on the high seas though Belgium’s provision was applied in unusual fashion to embarrass Sharon who had become Prime Minister in the meantime]. It is interesting that the U.S. forced Belgium, during the appeal of the Ariel Sharon conviction, to enact a new law reversing its piracy law and, with it, the conviction of Sharon. The way the U.S. (which, incidentally, is one of the few countries in the world that does NOT recognize the validity/jurisdiction of the World Criminal Court at The Hague NL) was able to lean on Belgium was by telling the members of the European Union, the members of the European Economic Community, the members of NATO, etc., that none of their headquarters (or indeed any of their meetings) should be located in a country whose law would NOT permit the presence of U.S. officials because, even though U.S. diplomats might have diplomatic immunity, such immunity might not extend to all of their staff (particularly temporary staff for particular meetings) who might have participated in military conflicts around the world in ways that anyone in the world might find objectionable. Belgium promptly caved. [Though Sharon’s embarrassment was only increased because of the publicity since he had no plans to visit Belgium.]


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A. Chacour’s Accomplishments
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Nothing but the highest praise and admiration are due a life dedicated to serving some of the world’s most down-trodden human beings. Especially, when it includes ideas and actions that inspire multitudes to take effective non-violent political action, and ideas and actions that produce effective programs to educate and elevate an entire people.

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B. Chacour’s Veracity
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It pains me to be forced to question the truthfulness of a cleric!!!

However, Chacour is continually untruthful (or purposely misleading, which is the same thing) on many matters, both small and large. [If it were only on small matters, his lack of veracity would not be worth mentioning.]

Examples regarding small matters come tumbling out of his two books for anyone with good reading comprehension and retention who reads both within a short period (“yours truly” read both “Blood Brothers” and “We Belong To The Land” for the first time during the last week).

A trivial example??? “Blood Brothers” claims that when Chacour arrived at his first church, his primitive accommodations required him FROM THE OUTSET AND FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD to sleep on two hard wooden pews that he brought over to the priest’s quarters from the church. “We Belong To The Land” claims that the primitive accommodations required him FROM THE OUTSET AND FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD to sleep on a hard cement floor.

Another not-quite-so-trivial example??? On 8/23/1972, Chacour led a large March on Jerusalem to protest the treatment of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens. “Blood Brothers” states that the March ended at the Knesset on whose steps many of the marchers remained for 4 days. “We Belong To The Land” discloses that Chacour and his Bishop had met with Prime Minister Golda Meir on 8/8/1972 (which, obviously, was in the middle of their preparations for the March, though there was no indication that Meir was informed of their plans) -- AND THEN STATES THAT THE MARCH WAS DESIGNED TO END (AND DID IN FACT DO SO) AT THE RESIDENCE OF GOLDA MEIR.

One might be tempted to dismiss all of the contradictions in Chacour’s stories as inconsequential.

[And, perhaps, even tempted to blame Chacour’s editors who should have compared his many stories that appear in both books to insure they did not contradict each other and thereby destroy Chacour’s credibility, at least on inconsequential matters.]

But the contradictions on inconsequential matters are difficult to ignore when Chacour is so untruthful (or purposely misleading, which is the same thing) on important matters.

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C. Chacour’s Principal Themes And Their Veracity
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C-1. Jewish Immigration Into Palestine During The British Mandate (1923-1948)
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Chacour contrasts his view of the creation of Israel on pp. 145-147 with the arrival of Abraham in Palestine during Biblical Times -- Abraham “did not plow through the land, driving out its inhabitants, wielding power to establish his ownership by ‘right.’…In fact, when his wife Sarah died, he very meekly PURCHASED a cave in Hebron for her tomb.” (Chacour’s emphasis)

During the British Mandate following Britain’s capture of Palestine from the Ottoman Turks during World War I and lasting until the expiration of the Mandate on 5/14/1948, there is no evidence that any immigrating Jews did anything more than PURCHASE land from Arabs on which to live.

As set forth in the Reference Materials, UN Resolution 181 of 11/29/1947 partitioned Britain’s Palestine Mandate into a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State” based on precisely who owned which plots of land as carefully ascertained by the UN Special Committee On Palestine (“UNSCOP”) and set forth in their UNSCOP Report of 8/31/1947 that required 8 full pages in the NY Times to print (exclusive of Annexes and Appendices, none of which were made public).

The “checkerboard” borders of the “Jewish State” and the “Arab State” were consolidated into Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by the invasion of Palestine immediately following the expiration of the British Mandate on 5/14/1948 by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon and their defeat in the war that resulted between them (supported by many of the Palestinians) and the Jews.

Accordingly, Chacour is perpetrating a blatant lie in claiming that Israel was created by Jews “plowing through the land, driving out its inhabitants.” Instead, it was created by U.N. Resolution 181 that recognized the land owned by the 50,000 Jews who had lived in Palestine during the rule of the Ottoman Turks plus the land PURCHASED by Jewish immigrants during the British Mandate -- with the consolidation of both the Jewish and Arab areas caused by the war that resulted from the immediate invasion of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.

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C-2. The First Arab-Israeli War (1948-9)
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Chacour recounts early in his book that Jewish soldiers forced the inhabitants of his village to abandon it and that many of the inhabitants of the next village were killed.

What he fails to mention is that these events occurred as the checkerboard “Jewish State” created by U.N. Resolution 181 on the basis of who owned which plots of land was attempting to defend itself against the invasion by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon which occurred immediately upon the expiration of the British Mandate.

Moreover, Chacour is disingenuous in implying that the portion of the population of the next village was blameless -- while presenting no evidence of how they were killed and whether they were combatants. (Presumably they were combatants since they were killed while none of the residents of Chacour’s village were harmed.)

Again, Chacour is perpetrating a blatant lie. War (which he fails to admit was underway) “is hell”!!! And that “hell” was caused by the immediate invasion by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.

Indeed, if Chacour were truthful, he would have admitted that his map of Israel/Palestine at the front of his other book “We Belong To The Land” shows that his own village of Biram is 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the border of Lebanon, which was one of the five Arab countries that invaded Palestine immediately upon the expiration of Britain’s Palestine Mandate.

And the same map shows Gist (which “We Belong To The Land” calls Jist) only 8 kilometers further from the Lebanese border = 6.2 miles total from the Lebanese border.

And if Chacour were truthful, he would have to admit that as a young boy, he was in no position to testify whether his village contained anyone who had collaborated with the invading Lebanese Army and who had, therefore, escaped the proper fate of what were probably collaborators in the Muslim village of Gist.

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C-3. Chacour’s Constant Protest Against The Perception Of Palestinians/Arabs As “Terrorists” Despite 3 Wars of Annihilation Against Israel (one of which was within 24 hours of succeeding); 2 Infitadas featuring suicide bombers; artillery/rocket campaigns from, serially, the Golan Heights, Hezbollah’s Southern Lebanon and, since independence in 2005, Hamas’ Gaza -- COUPLED WITH THE REFUSAL OF THE PALESTINIANS TO RECOGNIZE ISRAEL’S “RIGHT TO EXIST” (WHICH IS TRUE OF ALL OF THE 22 MEMBERS OF THE ARAB LEAGUE EXCEPT EGYPT AND JORDAN).
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Chacour never mentions or admits any Palestinian/Arab terrorism!!! While constantly decrying the perception of them as terrorists.

Incidentally, although Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s “right to exist” at all, Chacour appears to refuse to recognize Israel’s “right to exist” as a Jewish state. [NB: UN Resolution 181 of 1947 partitioned the Palestine Mandate into a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State” based on land ownership.]

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C-4. Israel’s Treatment Of Its Non-Jewish Citizens (1948 to the present, though neither “Blood Brothers” nor “We Belong To The Land” extend beyond 1991)
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Yours Truly has no quarrel with Chacour’s descriptions of Israel’s mal-treatment of its non-Jewish citizens.

Indeed, the roommate of Yours Truly throughout law school and the “best man” at his wedding wrote a personal check for the first 747 into Moscow following Glasnost to bring to Israel the first group of Russian Jews legally permitted to emigrate, and served as President of several U.S. national Jewish organizations. About 3-4 years ago, he and I were discussing by e-mail Israel’s treatment of its non-Jewish citizens. He did not dispute the fact that the treatment was appalling!!! Instead, he confined his defense of Israel to claiming that its non-Jewish citizens are better off than Palestinian refugees outside Israel!!! And to observing that the non-Jewish citizens are free to emigrate if they do not like their treatment!!!

However, Yours Truly would observe that Israel’s treatment of its non-Jewish citizens is not nearly so despicable as America’s treatment of its African-American citizens -- not only from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s (when Yours Truly was within seconds of being assassinated in North Carolina while desegregating public schools for the federal government during the summer of 1966, two years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and two years before the assassination of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King), but also to the present day as can be seen by our Apartheid inner-city ghettos which are every bit as oppressive as the “home lands” of old South Africa and which feature Apartheid inner-city public “schools” (sic) and which are subject to an Apartheid “Justice” System (please refer to the third section of this bulletin board = “Inner-City Holocaust And America’s Apartheid ‘Justice’ System” Written In Honor Of Jonathan Kozol And In Memory Of John Howard Griffin).

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C-5. Israel’s Responsibilities To Palestinians Displaced From What Became Israel
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One of the themes of Blood Brothers is that Israel bears responsibility for Palestinians displaced from what became Israel.

Firstly, the displacement resulted from the immediate invasion by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon following the expiration of Britain’s Palestine Mandate. Otherwise, the “checkerboard borders” of the “Jewish State” and the “Arab State” based on who owned which plots of land might have been successful.

Secondly, the number of Jews expelled by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon following the war that they initiated (600 thousand) is comparable to the number of Palestinians that were displaced from what became Israel (725 thousand).

Thirdly, the so-called “Right of Return” created toward the end of the 1947-1948 war by U.N. Resolution 194 not only applied to Jewish refugees as well as displaced Palestinians, but also was conditioned on the willingness of the returning refugees “to live at peace with their neighbours.” Israel takes the position that the Palestinian refugees are not willing to “live at peace” with Israel which should be obvious from (A) 3 wars of annihilation, (B) 2 infitadas featuring suicide bombers, (C) 3 long-term artillery/rocket campaigns from, serially, the Golan Heights, Hezbollah’s Southern Lebanon and Hamas’ Gaza, and (D) the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel’s “right to exist.”

If Chacour were truthful, he would have mentioned all this.

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C-6. Chacour’s Claim That Israel Terrorized Iraq’s Jewish Community To Cause It To Flee To Israel
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While on the subject of the focus of the previous section on refugees, Chacour claims on pp. 132-134 that the 1950-51 bombings of Iraq’s Jewish community were secretly conducted by Israel to cause Iraq’s 130,000 Jews to flee to Israel.

Chacour claims that Israel terrorized Iraq’s Jewish community because Israel “desperately needed to flood the new land [Israel] with settlers.”

Chacour’s claims are doubtful for several reasons.

Firstly, there were already 608 thousand Jews living in Palestine before the end of the British Palestinian Mandate. In addition, there were 1.5 million Jewish survivors of Hitler’s concentration camps, almost all of whom came to Israel following the 1947-1948 war. Also, we have noted that Encyclopaedia Britannica reported that 597 thousand Jews were expelled from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon following their defeat in the 1947-1948 war.

That’s a total of 2.7 million Jews in Israel shortly after the 1947-1948 war (vs. only 1.8 million total population for all of Palestine including Gaza and The West Bank before the war and including Arabs as well as Jews). So how “desperate” could Israel have been??? Particularly regarding only 5% of the total, which is all that 130 thousand is relative to 2.7 million??? And wouldn’t Israel have been more concerned with how to absorb economically the 1.5 million survivors of Hitler’s concentration camps and the 467 thousand Jews being expelled from Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon???

Secondly, why wouldn’t the Iraqi government be the real culprit behind the terrorizing of its Jewish population. After all, none of the other four countries that invaded immediately after the end of Britain’s Palestine Mandate made any secret of the fact that, following their defeat, they were expelling their Jews.

Thirdly, why would Chacour be so gullible to assert as “fact” the Iraqi Government’s claim that the terror against its Jewish population had been perpetrated by the Israeli Government??? The alleged fact that “fifteen people were arrested in connection with the bombing” and they allegedly were agents of the Israeli Government is irrefutable proof that Israel was the perpetrator??? It is respectfully suggested that claiming 15 people have been arrested and claiming that they are Israeli agents would have been “child’s play” for a “cover up” by the Iraqi Government!!!

And fourthly, if one wanted to speculate which of the five invading countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon) would be most likely to engage in a “cover up” of its efforts to expel its Jews, the obvious answer is Iraq!!! After all, Syria and Lebanon were French Mandates and France was notorious for its anti-Semitism (indeed, during World War II, it is debatable whether France or Poland was the most eager European country to serve up its Jews for Hitler’s concentration camps, and the most thorough in doing so). And although Egypt was still a long-time British colony, and both Jordan and Iraq had been under British rule since capture from the Turks in 1917, the ancient civilization of Egypt and the ancient Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan undoubtedly felt more secure in their identities vis-à-vis Britain than Iraq which had been a part of Persia (Iran) before the entire Middle East had become part of the Ottoman-Turk Empire for the 800 years before World War I.

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D. The Fixation Of The United Nations On “Checkerboard Solutions” Such As U.N. Resolution 181 of 11/29/1947 Partitioning Palestine in Checkerboard Fashion -- CASE STUDY = BOSNIA
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In thinking about this month’s topic, the “checkerboard” borders for the “Jewish State” and the “Arab State” created by UN Resolution 181 of 11/29/1947 based on the careful survey of who owned which plots of land by UNSCOP evoked an eerie memory.

I remembered that during the Bosnian War, there had been a similar “checkerboard” solution proposed by Cyrus Vance who had served 15 years earlier as the Secretary of State of James Earl Carter (who instantly became “Jimmy Carter” upon learning just before the 1976 primaries that his national “name recognition” vastly exceeded the expected single-digit level, but more than 90% of American public identified him as the assassin of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King!!!).

The reason why the Cyrus Vance proposal had always stuck in my mind was how impractical it seemed to me to have two “checkerboard” countries based on who owned which plots of land!!! How would they ever agree on supplying governmental services, particularly security, to their inter-locking checkerboards??? And wouldn’t interlocking criminal/civil jurisdiction over the checkerboards be a nightmare??? Etc., etc.

A quick google search ascertained that there were in fact four different “checkerboard” peace plans proposed before and during the Bosnian War = (1) the European Community Feb 1992 checkerboard authored by Lord Carrington and Portuguese Ambassador Cutileiro, (2) the EC/UN checkerboard of Jan > May 1993 authored by EC Representative Lord Owen and UN Special Envoy Cyrus Vance, (3) the UN checkerboard of July > Aug 1993 authored by UN Mediators Thorvald Soltenberg and Lord Owen, and (4) the Feb > Oct 1994 checkerboard authored by “The Contact Group” (Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S.).

None of the four checkerboards was adopted for two reasons = (1) there was nothing stopping continued Serbian aggression before 1995, and (2) the checkerboards were constantly being rendered obsolete by Serbia’s continuing “ethnic cleansing” of Bosnia.

Perhaps a lot of human suffering in Bosnia could have been avoided if it had been known already that “checkerboard solutions” do NOT work because Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and their Palestinian supporters had permitted UN Resolution 181’s “checkerboard solution” to proceed 45 years earlier in Palestine and it had failed due to practical difficulties.

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E. The Irony Of The U.N. General Assembly’s SECOND Recognition Of The Statehood Of Palestine -- This One Scheduled For Next Month
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Palestine has long since been recognized as a country by the Arab League. Indeed, Palestine (comprising Gaza and the West Bank) is one of the 22 members of the Arab League.

What is ironic is that U.N. Resolution 181 of 11/29/1947 already recognized the partition of Britain’s Palestine Mandate into a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State”!!!

The only reason why the U.N.’s 11/29/1947 recognition of the Statehood of Palestine has been forgotten is that following the invasions immediately after expiration of the British Mandate by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon and their defeat, the West Bank was annexed by Jordan for the next 20 years and Gaza was annexed by Egypt for the next 20 years!!!

By recognizing the West Bank and Gaza as the State of Palestine next month, the U.N. will be doing nothing more than re-affirming its 11/29/1947 recognition of an “Arab State” -- which recognition was thwarted by the annexations of that “Arab State” by Egypt and Jordan!!!

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F. Any Further Action We Should Be Taking???
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Our Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaign following our 10/14/2009 meeting urged President Obama “to address the economic plight of the Palestinian refugees who live in abject poverty according to the CIA and whose numbers have grown according to the U.N. (which runs the refugee camps) from 750 thousand in 1950 to 4.6 million today” by providing “a good education for the Palestinian children and training for the adults so that they can handle jobs that would go with economic development (construction, irrigation, manufacturing, etc.)” following “a careful assessment of the comparative strengths that Palestine would possess.”

Is there anything else we should be doing???

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