By the Waters of Babble-on – and on and on and on.

Posted on February 7, 2014

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I noticed that Roger Waters, formerly of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd, has been publicly scolding a few fellow celebrities in the field of music and film for not sharing his fanatical anti-Israel political views.  Specifically, Scarlett Johansson drew Waters’ ire for filming some ads for the Israeli beverage maker SodaStream and classic rocker Neil Young, who ignored Waters’ directive to not book concerts in Israel.  Waters has chugged the kool aid of the ‘Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment’, (BDS) movement, which is in reality a political movement whose underlying mission is to portray Palestinians as victims of Israel.  Not surprisingly, the organization consists almost entirely of a coalition of Palestinian political front groups, including the Council of National and Islamic Forces in PalestineOccupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI) and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), among a dozen or so other entities dedicated to the objective of tarnishing Israel’s image worldwide.

Ms. Johansson was until recently, a spokesperson for OXFAM, which Wiki describes as “an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 90 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and what it considers as injustice around the world.”  Johansson resigned last month, her publicist stating that Johansson “respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years… She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”  Not surprisingly, Mr. Waters sees this as coinciding with Ms. Johansson’s advertising contract with SodaStream, a Coca-Cola competitor in Israel.

As a side note, it is interesting that Coke is now being hailed by the anti-Israel activists as the go-to substitute for SodaStream products.  Interesting because Coca-Cola, as a multi-national corporation, has in recent years, come in for withering criticism from human rights activists, who accuse them of  over-exploitation of limited water resources and the contamination of groundwater supplies in developing nations like India, Africa and for collusion with abusive governments in Central America, such as Guatemala.  Also interesting is that Oxfam has been the beneficiary of millions of dollars from Coke. “In 2011, Coca Cola contributed $400,000 to a research project ‘analyzing the poverty footprint of beverage giant Coca Cola and multinational bottling company SABMiller in Zambia and El Salvador’ and, in addition, $2.5 million in 2008-2010 for humanitarian work,” the website Israellycool.com reports.

Waters himself, has internalized an obsessive hatred towards Israel.  So much to the extent that he launched a balloon during his recent concert tour,  familiar to Pink Floyd concertgoers – as the ‘Pig Balloon’,  a motif from the band’s concept album, ‘Animals’ – but this time with a Star of David prominently appearing on the swine’s snout.

‘Progressive Graffiti’, I suppose you could call it.  Rubbish would be my classification.

He says of Johansson in his rant on Facebook:

“Scarlett? Ah, Scarlett. I met Scarlett a year or so ago, I think it was at a Cream reunion concert at MSG.  She was then, as I recall, fiercely anti-Neocon, passionately disgusted by Blackwater (Dick Cheney’s private army in Iraq), you could have been forgiven for thinking that here was a young woman of strength and integrity who believed in truth, human rights, and the law and love.  I confess I was somewhat smitten.  There’s no fool like an old fool.”

He’s at least right about the ‘old fool’ part.  It would appear to me that I have a couple of views in common with Scarlett, I’m anti-NeoCon and also rather fond of Israel!  I’m not so much intrigued by the controversy involving Ms. Johansson though, as I am the typical conceit of the crusading celebrity –  being that one’s fans should, and will invariably be smitten with the bug to follow the political and social pursuits of the actor, musician, artist, etc.  How many of the band’s sizable cult following are really concerned with Waters’ political neurosis?  Maybe a considerable lot, but my image of the typical doped out Pink Floyd fan, gives me pause to question it.

Mainly, I think this fits the general pattern of the narcissistic musician, actor, performer, who believe they are cosmically appointed to bring us awareness of any number of gravely important issues, because they are wiser and better informed than are we.  I can’t help but recall Sheryl Crow, who back in 2007, fresh from her nationwide ‘Global Warming tour’, posted her “solution” online about a new way to save the environment, writing: “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting.”  Crow, who was surprised at how foolish it sounded to ordinary people, later passed it off as a joke.  But Waters’ campaign of propaganda against Israel is a bit beyond humorous, even if most are sleeping through it.

The Left, broadly speaking, has undergone a massive shift in their outlook towards the nation of Israel in a span of a little more than half a century.  Leftists in Europe and America in the 50’s and 60’s were quite fond of Israel, finding virtue in its political and societal trends, perhaps best exemplified by their kibbutzim, or communal settlements.  Many were inspired to even advocate Israel’s self defense posture in their conflicts with Egypt, Syria and other aggressive Arab neighbors.  But in the last few decades however, the shine has worn off the apple completely, and leftists see nothing in Israel’s existence as a nation that isn’t contemptible.  Brendan O’Neill, writing on Anorak.com, explains in part:

“There is a bigger, key reason, I think, for the left’s change – which is that the left has stopped believing in modernity and progress, and it sees Israel as the embodiment of those things.  Its vitriolic hatred for Israel is really an expression of disdain and disgust for what we might call the Western project, the Western way of life, the old ideals of nationhood, sovereignty, economic growth, human expansion, social experimentation.  Israel is seen as being at the sharp edge of all those once-positive but now hated values, and thus it is intensively loathed.  The left, having lost faith in modernity, has turned Israel into a kind of punchbag against which it can express its own anti-modern, anti-progress, shallowly anti-Western feelings.”

I  agree with O’Neill that classic anti-Semitism, conflated with anti-Zionism, has found a new home within the political bosom of the radical Left.  I contend also that while the animosity from the political Left towards Israel is multi-faceted, most of it centers around a perception of Israel as being too joined at the hip with America and the nationalistic and capitalistic ideals that the Left shuns.  Supporting the movement to redistribute land from ‘wealthy Israel’ to Palestinian ‘have nots’, caters to the simplistic concepts of ‘social justice’ that  pervades today’s ‘progressive’ objectives and sensibilities.

Finally, the presumption that Palestinians are entitled to and deserving of an independent state that necessitates a carve out of land that Israel holds as a nation, including Jerusalem, is unsupported by history or logic.  To detail why this is true, would properly fall within the scope of an entire book.  For the purposes of this discussion, permit me to distill it down to an ‘elevator speech’ , albeit a somewhat long winded one.

In the past 5,000 years of human history and perhaps going back even farther, land had always been acquired by nation states as a consequence of military conquest.  This is illustrated by the emergence of successive world empires – Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Egypt, the Hittites, Greece, Rome, Austro-Hungary, Britain, the ephemeral Third Reich, and yes, you could even classify Russia and America as a species of empire.

The idealists among us don’t have a concept of history or its meaning.  I suspect they have some Pollyanna mental image of a map where the land mass of the earth is apportioned like a pie chart and equitably distributed.  This is fairy tale stuff.  The world doesn’t work that way, and if you don’t grasp reality for what it is as opposed to what you idealize it to be, you’re going to get run over.

So, let’s talk about Israel.  A considerable body of credible scholarship that has been assembled within the last quarter of a century has validated the Biblical account of Exodus and places Moses and the Israelites in Egypt during Egypt’s Thirteenth Dynasty, that of Khenephres – the Pharaoh of the captivity and Dudimose, the Pharaoh of the escape, or Exodus.  This sets the timeline of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the Sinai desert and the subsequent conquering of what the Bible describes as the ‘Land of Canaan’ in the setting of 1500 BC.

During the Late Bronze Age, which corresponds to the timeframe of Moses and the Egyptian Thirteenth Dynasty, Canaan was a geographical area, the footprint of which correlates to the South Eastern boundaries of present day Syria, all of Lebanon, Phoenicia,  present day Israel, Western Jordan – including the Jordan River Valley and Southward to the Sinai Desert and the ‘Nachal Mitzrayim’, which most archaeologists identify with a then extant Delta of the Nile River.  This would have been roughly the expanse of the area that the Israelites took possession of and ruled until the destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. and the later captivity of the Southern Kingdom (Judah, Benjamin, Simeon and Levi) in 586 B.C.  Then the area passed through the control of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Caliphates of Islam, beginning with the Rashidun Caliphate, and followed by the  Umayyads, the Abbasids, Fatamids and finally the Ottoman Empire, which was in its final stages of decline following its defeat in WWI.

After that, what is now within the original footprint of ‘Canaan’ was under the administration of the British.  One of the spurious arguments given by the proponents of  de-legitimization of the State of Israel, is that it was ‘unfair’ that the British government legislated the creation of the Jewish state.  This is mostly based on the false contention that since the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD, there were no Jews living in Palestine.  But when the topic of the Diaspora is discussed, few realize that during this entire stretch of time, there was a remnant of Jews who lived within the geography of what is now the boundaries of the State of Israel.  Only during a few short periods did the Caliphs prohibit Jews from residing in the city of  Jerusalem itself.  Historians reject the idea that Jews were absent from Palestine until the 1920’s.  Joseph E. Katz, a noted scholar on Middle Eastern political and religious history outlines:

“The Jewish population — between five and seven million in A.D. 70, according to Josephus — still numbered around three million, despite large numbers of Jews who were deported or had fled just before the Jewish revolt and defeat of Bat Kochba.  According to Roman figures, nearly 600,000 Jews fell during that revolt, but the Jews managed to remain on the land and to accomplish significant achievements afterward.’   

And as the British Royal Commission reported in 1937,

Always . . . since the fall of the Jewish state some Jews have been living in Palestine …. Fresh immigrants arrived from time to time … [and] settled mainly in Galilee, in numerous villages spreading northwards to the Lebanon and in the towns of Safad and Tiberias.”

The assertion that the British violated some ethical claim of exclusive occupancy  by the extremely small numbers of Arabs, who at the time were nothing more than tenants of Turkish landlords, is thus proven patently false.  As a matter of fact, it is not widely known, but the land that Israel now occupies, was but sparsely populated for centuries prior to the Ottoman Empire – which in it’s last throws and desperate for cash, commenced to solicit the immigration of Jews from Europe in the late 1800’s.  Palestine was heavily populated by Jews well before Israel was re-born as a nation by the decree of the United Nations in 1948.  Yes, the United Nations considered the formation of the state of Israel as a completely desirable and legitimate thing!  That Israel has somewhat enlarged the footprint of its national borders in the post statehood period, has more to do with security concerns following the several notable attacks against it from its Arab neighbors, than simply an opportunistic or expansionist policy.

I would also direct Mr. Waters and those proponents of the Palestinian cause and a Palestinian State, to the simple fact that in 1937, subsequent to much violence and unrest in the area, Lord Peel – a high ranking member of Parliament, formed the Peel Commission in an attempt to broker a political solution.  The findings of the Commission recommended the formation of a partition, which would have afforded the Arabs a separate state and provided the Jews with a small Zionist state.  This the Arab factions would have none of.  The reason?  The Jews, they perceived, were too industrious and the Arabs feared they would never be able to maintain economic or social parity with them.  The Jews’ egalitarian lifestyles were also an affront to Arab tribal and cultural traditions.  Leon Uris, author of the book that the epic film Exodus, was based on, wrote a book about this period called ‘The Haj’.  Reading it, you will realize that even as a century or more has passed since the setting of his historical novel, nothing has really changed in Palestine.

The most significant reason that the Arabs have never been willing to accept an equitable partition, is the prevailing political and social sentiment that Jews have no legitimate place in the Middle East.  This will likely never change – at least not in our lifetimes.  Consider that the patriarch of the Palestinian political movement, the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Haj Amin Al Husseini was an ardent admirer of the Third Reich, and had this to say of Hitler, when they met in 1941:

“thanks for the sympathy which he (Hitler) had always shown for the Arab and especially Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches….The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely….the Jews….”

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