2009-08-05N, Notes on: Alan Hart, a new friend and ally on the need to 'sacrifice'.

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[1] Opening correspondence with Alan Hart. I sent the first message via http://www.alanhart.net/contact-alan-hart/.

Oaxaca, Mexico, Wednesday 5 August 2009
Dear Mr. Hart,
      I just finished the first volume of your Zionism: The real enemy of the Jews yesterday and, in the early hours of this morning, unable to sleep, I reread your Appeal to the American People. You are a wonderfully courageous human being to undertake your mammoth project. I am a relative latecomer to this most crucial struggle of our era. Please add me to your mailing list if you maintain one. It is through Clarity Press that I learned about your book.
      Your head-on effort to demolish the still-prevailing but faltering ideological mask of Zionism is absolutely in the right direction. You don't, in my opinion, go deeply enough in challenging ideology. You seem to believe that if the American people were well enough informed they could make the government change its course. That would indeed be great, a manifestation that representative democracy is not fatally flawed. In brief, I love you but you're not radical enough. We need to challenge the entire dominant global ideology and the prevailing system of values it encompasses.
      In one of my essays I say,
      I would begin then by rejecting the part of the value system that makes food a commodity to be bought and sold. Access to adequate basic nutrition should be a human right, taken for granted. Opposition to such a radical change would be instantaneous and enormous from all sectors of the food industry and the allied commercial interests. The end of much competitive marketing would mean a loss of media advertising income, of which the food industry is a major source. The gulf between what is morally and ethically acceptable — that no child starve — and the capitalist economic system — which guarantees massive starvation — is clearly unbridgeable. We should not fool ourselves that within the current system, ruled by the profit motive and the entire ideology that goes with it, impoverished and starving people will not inevitably result.
      The human tragedy we are witnessing is of course much broader than just threatening Jews with anti-Semitism. Humanity no more needs Jews than it needs any particular ethnic group (even Brits) in order to continue. Our ideology must (i.e. should) focus on the essential unity of our species. I see that as basic. Not 'us' vs. 'them', no 'others' but all humans as 'one'. The paragraph above is from "Looking for a way towards civilization – I" at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/2008-07-27.htm. Very sincerely, with much appreciation for your mammoth efforts,
George Salzman
Prof emeritus of (theoretical) physics, Univ of Massachusetts, Boston

Subject: More radical?
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 11:17:45 +0100
To: Professor George Salzman

Dear George (please, I'm Alan),
      Many thanks for your very kind comments after reading Volume One of the American edition of Zionism, The Real Enemy of the Jews.
      I think I might be more radical than you imagine.
      I hate all labels and isms with the exception of humanism. I've never belonged to any political party or group and I've only voted twice in my entire life (on both occasions Liberal for the sake of putting two fingers up to the others). As I sometimes say on public platforms, I don't give a damn about being British. I'm a citizen of the world. Period. My vision, like yours, is for a realisation of "The Brotherhood of Man" (bollocks to being politically correct and saying humankind)
      As I also say on public platforms, I believe the real struggle on Planet Earth is (should be) not between Right and Left (does the Left still exist in North America and Western Europe?) or even rich and poor. It's between, on the one side, leaders, governments and the powerful vested interests which pull their strings, and, on the other side, the citizens of nations. If and when I get around to writing a book about my own life and global learning experiences, I'm going to say that modern life is a de-humanizing process and that the prime task of each and everyone of us is to claim back our humanity.
      Democracy? As I also say and write, it doesn't exist anywhere on earth and in some important respects least of all in America. Democracy as I understand it can only be said to exist when the citizens of nations, the voters, are informed enough about issues that really matter to call and hold their governments to account. Nowhere on earth is this the case. When I joined ITN [Independent Television Network] as a very young reporter, it's editor-in-chief gave the mission statement in one short sentence. "Our job is to help keep democracy alive." For years past I've been accusing the mainstream media of betraying democracy. (One of my dreams is to have the the investment funding to create, with others, the first ever truly global newspaper, starting weekly, to provide citizens with what they need to know about not only the true state of the world, but choices and options if our children are to have even the prospect of a future worth having. I think it could be made to work because so-called ordinary folk are not nearly as stupid as they are assumed to be by the mainstream media, politicians and most corporate executives. What they, ordinary folk, are is shockingly underinformed and mis-informed. In a word, ignorant. And as to human nature, I'm with John Dewey, my favourite philosdopher. We must unlearn what we've been taught about the unchangeability of human nature. We've been conditioned to be short-sighted and selfish. It must follow (surely?) that we could be re-conditioned by information, education in the widest sense of the term).
      I'm with you all the way and then some on global poverty. Back in the 1970's (there's a brief reference to it in my sumary bio on www.alanhart.net) I made Five Minutes To Midnight, the first ever and to date only documentary on the everyday reality of global poverty and its implications for all. In it I was the first to inform the world that 15 million children under five were dying each year from a combination of malnutition and related, easily preventable, diseases.
      I totally agree - basic nutrition should be a human right; but so, in my view, should shelter, water, sanitation, health care, education and a work/job opportunity. In a sane world, one with a future worth having, the name of the System game would be serving the public good not the private greed of the few.
      In the past I've lectured and debated coast-to-coast across America. (One of my tours, on the back of my Arafat book, was extended from three weeks to three non-stop months by popular demand. Though I say it myself, Americans could not get enough of the plain speaking Englishman.). In due course I hope to have the resources to do so again. And with the best advice I hope to be able to give a prioity to the universities. (After I had lectured and debated at Harvard, its professors of history gathered to see me off and one, apparently speaking for all, said: "Because of your book and its original source material, we're going to have to change what we teach as history.") If you've any suggestions about how to open up the American university system today, I'd welcome them.
      George, now that we're in touch, let's keep in touch.
With very best wishes,
      PS I love the notion of "Looking for a way towards civilisation". (Once upon a time, in its Spanish glory days, Islam, today in a dreadful mess, was it). The reference you gave me for your article said it was not available. Will you, please, let me have another reference for it.

Subject: We are 'brothers under the skin'
Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2009 11:29:08 -0500

Oaxaca, Mexico, Thursday 6 August 2009
Dear Alan,
      Thank you for writing back and welcoming my interest. I assure you that I need your work (and hence you) more than you need what I am capable of doing. Almost surely you are far more radical than I realized when I wrote, much to my delight.
      We are, as my good friend Joe Bageant wrote me a few years ago when he discovered my website, 'brothers under the skin'. This will be only a brief note because I want to return to your website and continue watching the videos with your interviews. It was midnight when I got through the first few minutes of your first interview with Pappe and I was exhausted.
      The correct link to my essay, Looking for a way towards civilization -- I, is http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/2008-07-27.htm. Sorry I had it wrong. I am, as I said, a latecomer to this ideological struggle, having learned about Zionism only a few years ago in the course of a divisive conflict with my brother over Israel. We have ceased writing to one another. I am close to 84, and doing as much as I can, which is limited. My goal is to contribute to changing the consciousness of the majority of Americans. A listing of my recent efforts is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/s/00.htm.
      There's a lot more I want to discuss, but for the moment I will share with you only an effort I started to enlist the more incisive involvement of Jimmy Carter. Please do not distribute the attached letter to him until I make it public. It's barely over two weeks since I dropped it into the mail box here, and mail to the States normally takes about ten days. I'll probably wait about a month from when I mailed it, and then perhaps try to initiate a campaign to get many folks to write him, urging him to 'go the whole way'.
All best wishes, George

attached: 2009-07-21 Jimmy Carter.doc [Available at http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.09/pdfs/0909.Reader39.pdf ]

[2] Professor Pappe was threatened because of his outspoken criticism of the actions of the state of Israel against Palestinians and its external aggressions. When threats against his children took place, he decided to move to a safer locale. He is now at Exeter University, in southwestern United Kingdom. Hart's two videotaped interviews with Pappe, each about a half-hour in length, provide an excellent introduction to Pappe. The first interview is at http://www.alanhart.net/hart-of-the-matter-2-professor-ilan-pappe-1/.

[3] Panel discussion. The Tues Jun 19, 2006 issue of the Jerusalem Post article, at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2F
reported under the headline: Islam Channel hosts London anti-Zionist debate, with the byline, By Jonny Paul, London, as follows: [Note that the caption of the photo I used is by Johnny (with an 'h') while the byline has no 'h'. The Jerusalem Post is decidedly pro-Zionist.]

Here is the complete text of the Jerusalem Post report:

    Informed, honest debate on the Middle East has been stifled because of a fear of being accused of anti-Semitism, according to the participants in a discussion hosted by the Islam Channel in central London on Thursday. The broadcaster is the largest Islamic television outlet in Europe. A PANEL of anti-Zionists...
    The discussion, titled: "Why anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism," was filmed against a backdrop reading "Zionism: The cancer at the heart of international affairs."
    The discussion was chaired by Alan Hart, a former ITN and BBC correspondent whose latest book, "Zionism: The real enemy of the Jews" was recently published. He said, "The anti-Semitism card is something the Zionists have exploited to suppress debate."
    He said the mainstream media had concealed "the truth of history" out of fear of offending Jews and thanked CEO Mohammed Ali of the Islam Channel for "his courage in widening the debate."
    Hart said the assumption is that "Zionism and Judaism are same thing, therefore criticism of Zionism is anti-Semitism, but Zionism is the nationalism of some Jews, a tiny minority."
    "The propaganda they use, the Melanie Phillips version [a Jewish journalist for The Daily Mail], is that Israel faces annihilation and fears being pushed into the sea," Hart said. He said this was a myth.
    "The truth about 1967 was that [then-prime minister Levi] Eshkol and [chief of General Staff Yitzhak] Rabin didn't want war, the hawks pushed them into it as wanted to portray Eshkol as weak and [there] was unfinished business from 1948, which was to form a greater Israel," Hart said.
    Three Jewish anti-Zionists sat on the panel, including a representative of the haredi Natorei Karta, along with Palestinian scholar Ghada Karmi.
    Ilan Pappe of the University of Haifa's political science department, a revisionist historian at the forefront of calls for a boycott of Israel, said that to divorce Zionism from Judaism it was necessary to refrain from using Zionist terminology. For example, you should not talk about a Jewish Diaspora. "The only diaspora is the Palestinians, therefore there is a need to adopt new language," he said.
    The Natorei Karta sect was represented by Rabbi Ahron Cohen, who was a member of the delegation that went to Iran to offer support to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in March following his comments that Israel should be wiped off the map.
    Cohen said, "Zionists imposed a secular faith state on the Palestinians, this is immoral and the underlying cause of the strife. Zionism and Judaism are incompatible concepts. Many Jews do not approve of Zionism but they cannot say this publicly."
    "In Judaism, the land of Palestine was given, but under certain conditions. There must be high moral, religious and ethical standards. These have not been met, so the divine decree is that Jews must live in other countries. We believe in the peaceful dismantling of the Zionist state," he said.
    Karmi, a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University and a former consultant to the Palestinian Authority, said the mistreatment of the Jews was a European affair that had nothing to do with Palestinians. "Why were we dumped with this problem?" she asked.
    She offered her own interpretation of Zionism. "The Europeans did it to atone for their sins and guilt but the Jews who arrived in Palestine were not the Jews we knew, they were complicated and miserable and the problem is that they're still there."
    "Israel has been a total disaster for the entire Arab world, nothing positive or beneficial has come from it," she said.
    The last member of the panel was Hajo Meyer, a German-born scientist and Holocaust survivor. Now living in the Netherlands, Meyer is a member of the board of Another Jewish Voice, which is part of the European Jewish Alliance for a Just Peace. He has frequently said Israel was "treating the Palestinian people in the same way the Nazis treated Jews during the Second World War."
    "Zionism is a child of nationalism and colonialism forced to be a cure for anti-Semitism, but [it] has become the main cause of anti-Semitism," he said.

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Last update of this page: 6 September 2009