Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Listen to Who? Ari Shavit of My Promised Land, a Leftist published in 2013 or Dan Kurzman of Genesis 1948 published in 1970

Nadene Goldfoot                                                     
Ari Shavit
Dan Kurzman

Never before have I ever encountered such tripe about Israel when I started reading Ari Shavit's Chapter 5 in "My Promised Land" titled Lydda, 1948, and then getting into Safed's entrance into his book, a city I lived in from 1981 to the end of 1985.  It caused me to go back and use the reference material hopefully found in Dan Kurzman's "Genesis 1948"-an American journalist and writer of military history books, who  In the early 1950s,  worked in Europe and in Israel for American newspapers and news agencies and was then correspondent of the NBC News in Jerusalem. to see how he described events in Israel's beginnings in 1948.  Oh yes, Kurzman had tons to say about Lydda.  I certainly hoped that Shavit didn't find his information in Kurzman's book.  I have to confess that I've only read over and over about my 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot in Kurzman's book.  It's so thick that I did not dare start reading it as a text book about the beginnings of Israel.  I had enough other information for that in more concise readings such as "Facts About Israel from Jerusalem's Ministry for Foreign Affairs.  We forget that the mind of the writer can color facts and writers use that knowledge to sway readers one way or the other towards a subject.  It takes talent to write journalistically about history without leading the reader to the left or right.  

As Wikipedia put it, "Ari Shavit (Hebrewארי שביט; born November 26, 1957) is an Israeli reporter and writer. Shavit was a Senior Correspondent at the left-of-center Israeli newspaper Haaretz before he resigned when a pattern of sexual misconduct came to public attention.
A self-described left-wing journalist and anti-occupation peacenik, Shavit is the author of the 2013 New York Times Best Seller My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, " the book that puts me into distress.  I could tell at my distress point that Ari had turned against Israel, finding Israel as if he just stumbled into it as if in a time machine, not understanding what was going on at all but finding Israel completely in the wrong.  How he must have hated his ancestors who he wrote about, British Jewish Zionists, who came to Palestine early on in 1897, for landing there, and how they must have turned over in their graves knowing what misconceptions he was pouring into his writing for Israel. Of course the reason I am upset by what little so far I have read is knowing the truth about Israel after living there over 5 years as well as knowing the people and our religion and what it teaches us and has shaped us to live by. I just know that the writer, Ari, has had none of these guidelines to write such as he has.  Age definitely has a lot to do with it as he's only 3 years younger than my daughter. As an Israeli, people put trust in his writings.  That's the deplorable part of his writing.  He seems to not have pride in his people.       

 If anything, it would match other material I already have such as my overused softback of FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL by Joan Peters in 1984, an American reporter who went to original sources originally on the side of the Arabs but who did a 180 after gathering this real information, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in 1973 by Samuel Katz-author of more than twenty books and one hundred articles on Middle East security issues, terrorism, and police and military special operations. The founder of Special Operations Report, he has appeared as an expert on networks ranging from BBC World News to Fox News to Al JazeeraMyths and Facts-A Concise Record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb in 1984,  

The tragedy is that this former soldier who served in the elite paratrooper brigade of the IDF had lived in fear of the demise of Israel during his whole childhood.  He had developed no hope for Israel in his home which so many Israelis did have through our ancient religion. Where is his faith?  
Getting out of Lydda before the Jews come, 1948

Lydda is in my Jewish Encyclopedia..  In Hebrew, it is Lod, a town in Israel that goes back to Egyptian documents and is even mentioned in Chron. 8:12 saying it was built by the tribe of Benjamin!  This is where Israel's airport was built outside of Tel Aviv.  Most of its Arab inhabitant left when the town was captured by the Israeli army in 1948.  This is what Ari and Dan both write about and I think will show a big difference in their telling because of their different perspectives of the capturing.  Of course, since 1948, large numbers of immigrants have settled there.  In 1990 the population was 41,300 and that included 8,400 non-Jews.  
City of Lod (Lydda) with mosque and minaret

Kurzman writes about the war against the Jews living in Palestine that took place before the British pulled out.  The Brits had been there for 30 years holding the mandate over the population before the Jews declared the land as Israel on May 14, 1948.  This Arab-Israeli war lasted from November 1947 to March 1949.  Jews had been waiting for over 2,000 years being dispersed in the world.  It's been over 7 decades since then, and fighting is still going on.  Even the corona virus has become ammunition for the Arabs to blame the Jews today. The way they have been telling it, Jews cause everything from bad weather to crops failing.  

Shavit had a good beginning, too, of valuable information.  Then I became stunned in chapter 5 and Lydda.  

My opinion is that everyone not Jewish is prejudice of Jews with a few exceptions,  and has been since even before Christianity started, but of course, became even more so afterwards what with the Roman Empire converting.  England was even more so, showing it by expulsing Jews from their land for 400 years from  1290 to 1655.  They're the ones decided by the League of Nations to hold the 30 year mandate on Palestine and to help them form their Jewish National Home that they all decided Jews should have.   The United Nations replaced the League of Nations, and after waiting for so long and almost being totally wiped out, and losing 80% of promised land, Israel came into being but was attacked 5 minutes after the pronouncement. In 1952, the English attitude towards Jews was that they certainly didn't want any marrying into their families.  That's probably why they didn't mind leaving them without defense tools when they pulled out-completely unlike the promise they had taken to help them create their Jewish homeland.  

This prejudice of a people who differed from others by not being Christians and resisting pressure to convert had brought on through the ages, expulsions, pogroms, forced conversions, murder of Jews, mob attacks,  crusade murderings, slavery, Poland's 1848 massacre of 100,000 Jews, and then the Holocaust of WWII killing 6 million.  Prejudice against Jews has existed for the past 3,000 years like colds, and all the different viruses that visit us seasonally and have been forever since biblical days.  Prejudice is a disease.  Why haven't we given in as a people?  We were told that we were selected because we were stiff-necked, and we promised not to.  Stiff-necked people try their best to keep their promise.  We keep it because we see the truth in it.  We don't want to lose this special vision.

So just what happened in 1948 when every Arab was against us for returning home after a lapse of our large community?  We had Jews living there continuously, but not as a nation; not after the Ottoman Empire had held it for 400 years letting it go to rot, swamp and mosquitoes.  They had made the mistake of siding with the Germans in WWI and losing it to the Allies.  The Jews saw their chance and held hundreds of meetings with the Allies before the war ended and as the Russians had been holding pogrom after pogrom against them, and the French were picking on them again blaming a Jewish Captain in their army for things he had not done and putting him on Devil's Israel, worse prison in the world.  
A scandal that rocked France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Dreyfus affair involved a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), who was falsely convicted of passing military secrets to the Germans, anti-Semitism in the service.  

That was the Dreyfus Affair, that turned out to be the writing on the wall of things to come to Jews.  Just what do you think was building up in some of our Jewish men?  For Jewish men 3,000 years ago were valiant and muscular soldiers, Samsons in the making, fighters for King David.  They had become biblical commentators and mathematicians, traders and rabbis, with no nation to fight for that was theirs, and they've had to quickly leave gas chambers and starvation to pick up a rifle and defend their new country.  
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot GlubbKCBCMGDSOOBEMCKStJKPM (16 April 1897 – 17 March 1986), known as Glubb Pasha

Lydda:  At the time Jordan was called Transjordan.  The capital was Amman, like today.  Glubb Pasha, an Englishman -was a British soldier, scholar and author, who led and trained Transjordan's Arab Legion between 1939 and 1956 as its commanding general.,  was with the Arab Legion and had lost many men and many were wounded and they had no replacements.  So Glubb told their Prime Minister Tawfiq Pasha that they couldn't keep fighting because Transjordan had little to gain as they controlled all the land they wanted (they took 80% of the Jewish land with England's blessing).  If the war started up again they might lose land.  This was thought out during a truce that started on June 11, 1948.  His greatest worry, however, was about Lydda and Ramle which were only 15 miles from Tel Aviv and almost surrounded by Jewish colonies, but had been awarded to the Arabs under the UN partition plan.  Glubb warned the King and PM that they could not be defended.  Both the king and Tawfiq had neglected to send military governors to these 2 places like they did for Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus.  The Arabs had decided against anymore fighting, and no more money for soldiers.  
The siege of Jerusalem 
As it was, the Jews had accepted the original partition plan and the Arabs had tried to scuttle it by force.  Israel felt justified in seeking to improve the original borders.  At first, Israeli defenders had miraculously held out against the regular armies of the Arab world.  They lost Mishmar Hayarden, Yad Mordechai, Nitzanim, the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem and some outposts around Jerusalem.  The Israelis had fought to the breaking point.  The fighting units were worn out with 100 dead in every battalion.  On the Jenin front they were under continuous artillery fire and attacks from the air.  

Hafez Abu Kuwaik, mukhtar of northern Lydda, age 51, grabbed a WWII rifle and joined the town's 300 full-time defenders who were poorly trained, and thought the Arab Legion would come to defend themselves before the Israeli forces would come.  

Yitzhak Sadeh (1890 – 1952), commander of the Palmas, one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel. 

Born in Lublin, Poland, Sadeh began his military career in the Russian army during the First World War. He was decorated for bravery and rose to be a battalion commander. He emigrated to Erez Israel in 1920, upon hearing of the death of Joseph Trumpeldor, whom he had met three years earlier.
- Image ID: MR762G
Yitzhak Sadeh's 8th Armored Brigade had taken a number of Arab villages and Lydda Airport that was bogged down in a struggle near Beit Nahada with Glubb's armored cars.  This pincer operation had Lydda and Ramle practically surrounded.  (I taught in Safed's jr high with a Ned Sadeh.  I wonder if he was related?  Sadeh meant "field." )  Ned had to report to duty even though he was an American.  My husband, a former USA Airforce Airman, had such a bad lung condition that Israel left him alone as a teacher.   

 In 1977, following the election of Menachem Begin as Prime Minister, Dayan was expelled from the Labor Party because he joined the Likud-led government as Foreign Minister, playing an important part in negotiating the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.     

1948 is when Moshe Dayan lost his eye, serving under Sadeh.  With his column going into Beit Shemen welcomed by the village population,  they stormed through Lydda while shooting, leaving Arabs killed.  The driver of the jeep turned the wrong way and they continued, storming into Ramle as their brakes failed.  They entered through a hail of bullets and grenades.  Realizing they were in the wrong city, they raced back to Lydda while suffering more casualties.  
Sadeh was angry that they had left on their own and attacked Lydda.
Moshe Dayan (Hebrewמשה דיין‎; 20 May 1915 – 16 October 1981) was an Israeli military leader and politician. As commander of the Jerusalem front in the 1948 Arab–Israeli Warchief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (1953–58) during the 1956 Suez Crisis, but mainly as Defense Minister during the Six-Day War in 1967, he became to the world a fighting symbol of the new state of Israel.
Shavit calls Israel's soldiers "the training group boys" and has them marching on Lydda on July 11, 1948.  About Dayan, he writes that "after Dayan's storm of fire breaks Lydda's spirit of resistance",....   poetic but really doesn't describe the action.     ...".They lead the long procession of Lydda's inhabitants, their hands in the air, to the Great Mosque and confined them there, thousands of men, young and old.  They hear the shrieking, the howling, the weeping.  They see the horror in the eyes of women and children."   There were no 'thousands', and he doesn't mention Dayan's missing eye that hasn't been to a first aid station as  yet. I imagine the mosque was a normal-size mosque and not such a great one at that.         

The Jews went through hell in fighting for their promised land.  They had few guns, and it took a miracle to come out the winner.  I don't appreciate a one-sided story painting the Jews as the bad guys when it doesn't fit the facts.  

There were 1,339,763 non-Jews in Palestine in 1946 according to reference McCarthy.  According to Ottoman statistics studied by Justin McCarthy, the population of Palestine in the early 19th century was 350,000, in 1860 it was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000 of which 94% were Arabs. In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews. McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946.

In 1920, the British Government's Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine stated that there were hardly 700,000 people living in Palestine:.
Jewish immigrants went to Palestine and in the 1920s most came from Eastern Europe, land of Pogroms and being forced to live in the Pale of Settlement.  In the 1930s any Jews who could escaped to Palestine from Nazi Germany.  By 1948, the Yishuv (the Jewish community of Israel) numbered 850,000 Jews.  Defense organizations like the Haganah and Irgun formed. 
Stanley Goldfoot with his first wife and daughters,
probably at the beach in Tel Aviv.  
My 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, journalist, also wrote about Israel in his famous "LETTER TO THE WORLD" in a right-sided essay about the world's anti-Semitism towards Jews and why Israel was so important. He was the Stern Group's Chief of Intelligence and had moved to Israel at age 18 from South Africa.  He had lots of pride for his people and knew of the injustice they had suffered throughout history.  Stanley lived in Jerusalem and I was privileged to be able to meet him at the King David Hotel and get to know him. He was a man my mother's age.  Dan Kurzman wrote about him in Genesis 1948.    https://israelseen.com/2014/05/09/1969-stanley-goldfoots-open-letter-to-the-world-from-jerusalem-4/

That was it;  Israel started off with 850,000 Jews who needed a country of their own badly.   They were the remnant of well over 6 million Jews. They were surrounded by millions of hostile Arabs.  The odds have always been against the Jews.   
Update 3/26/2020: I've continued reading the book and feel that the author had been listening more to our Arab population than he had the old Jewish Israeli ones in chpt 5. I've heard such exaggerations from an Arab population at Reed College in Portland  during a gathering about Israel.   The book becomes a better read as I have continued reading. 

Update 3/27/2020: page 166, Ari is telling us that the children in Israel don't want to hear their holocaust parents tell their sad stories-they just want to enjoy life and believe in what their schooling tells them, like that they are strong now, the very best and will not be taken by lambs to the slaughter, and what they will grow up to be and will overcome the Germans and the Arabs and the barren desert.  Then his Freudian slip enters his writing.  "We will overcome our weakness and deformed genes and shameful history."
   You could knock me over with a shotgun;  all the disbeliefs that I have for our history and our people.  Weakness?  What is that-a belief in one G-d only?  We have IQs at least 10 points higher than the rest of humanity and have produced more nobel winners with our stiff-necked thinking.  Deformed genes?  I am so proud to have genes that go back to a Rabbi Samson Wertheimer who was born in 1658 who was a direct descendant of RASHI who was a descendant of King David, genes that made up those nobel winners and people like Albert Einstein who had the highest recorded IQ of 180 who developed the theory of relativity, genes that we share with the Davidic dynasty of kings David and king Solomon, and overcome our shameful history?  

Our history makes up the Old Testament, the bible of both Jews and Christians, which lays down the laws for humanity to follow in order to be humane.  Moses gave us such laws from G-d that people are still in awe of them almost 4,000 years later.  We have so much as a nation to be proud of and yet I see someone who is a self-hating Jew who is apologizing for who he is.  Sad, yes, sad indeed.  Ari, you are not seeing us and our ancestors with the eyes I hoped all Jews would see with but eyes of an anti-Semite. 

 It is because of anti-Semitism that we have been treated so badly by humanity, and this has stemmed from what I call "jealousy."  Jealousy because we could write and read and do sums and kings and queens needed our help occasionally causing us to be invited into their country,  jealousy because we were the "chosen" people of the bible.  All this turning against us caused us to grow into who we are today, surprisingly.  It's as if the cook decided to stir up a cake and threw everything into the batter, over-cooked it, made a mess of it and yet it turned out to be delicious.  We're the cake and G-d was the cook who knew what he was doing.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Read this one: example of being fair and rightous, whether left or right;    https://israel-nadene.blogspot.com/2016/05/israels-military-versus-netanyahu-and.html
Update: 3/24/2020 Found: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/10/21/lydda-1948
Benny Morris, young Israeli historian on Lydda, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-jan-26-oe-morris26-story.html
Messages From A Syrian Jew Trapped In Egypt, by Nadene Goldfoot 
Can't leave out Benny Morris, Israeli historian, born December 1948. He was a professor of history in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Beersheba, Israel

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