On Thursday afternoon at the University of Helsinki, Israeli journalist, Ben-Dror Yemini, delivered a badly needed history lesson, on the Arabs’ decades long war against the Jewish state of Israel to his Finnish audience. I was present for the seminar.
It’s safe to say that for many in the room, what Mr.Yemini had to say was difficult to listen to, for it was the first time they had to listen to a factual recounting of the modern history surrounding the Arabs’ 60 years or so war against the Jewish state of Israel, and in an academic setting.
That’s a real problem here in Finnish academia, they are the echo chambers of anti-Israel vitriol, based upon the works of pseudo scholars called the ‘New Historians‘, whose academic screeds against Israel (whether in the books they write or in the sermons that they deliver) have been thoroughly debunked by professors, such as, Efraim Karsh, in his book Fabricating Israeli History.
For an example, Karsh highlights in his book Benny Morris’ classic error where the ”new historian” (purposefully?) misquotes David Ben-Gurion speaking in 1938: (Morris) “We must expel Arabs and take their places.” Professor Karsh digs up the actual correct quote by Ben-Gurion: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places.”
When such pseudo scholarship is repeated ad infinitum, and more importantly, allowed to go unchallenged in the classroom, you can then understand why these bastions of indoctrination have been so successful in manipulating their students into hating Israel.
Hannu Juusola, a professor of Middle Eastern and Semitic Studies at the University of Helsinki, is in my opinion, himself guilty of promoting such an antagonistic environment towards Israel within his own realm of influence in Finnish academic circles.
Watching him make faces during Ben-Dror Yemini’s talk on Thursday, which he himself was acting moderator, is evidence enough of his contempt for the Israeli position, even though Yemini hails from the Left, he still couldn’t manage to reign himself in. It was really incredible to watch. While exchanging glances with someone in the audience, Juusola laughed, smiled, rolled his eyes and showed general disdain for what Ben-Dror was saying that didn’t fit his (Juusola’s) narrative.
Ben-Dror Yemini began his talk, and kept the momentum going, by simply laying out the case of Israel being held to a higher standard, which is one of the key components to the demonization of Israel by her principle detractors. Take for example the crazy statements levelled at Israel that serve to undermine the state as a normal actor within the family of nations.
Even Israelis join in on the demonzation, for whatever their reasons, but the effect is the same nonetheless, here is Haaretz’s Gideon Levy, one of the more highly ‘respected’ purveyor’s of anti-Israel vitriol in Finland:
How about Yitzhak Laor:
Of course the truth is the exact opposite to what Laor stated:
The findings show that Palestinian refugees have clear advantage in mortality levels as compared to their non-refugee counterparts in every setting, and refugees living in the camps have similar or lower levels of mortality than their non-camp counterparts, other things being equal. The recent decline of infant and child mortality among this vulnerable segment of the Palestinian population demonstrates the importance of political will in halting the truncation of infant lives.
But wait, there’s more!
The Jewish state of Israel will always protect the rights of all its minorities, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens of Israel. Haaretz
I know of countless statements by Netanyahu who has explicitly underlined the policy of not only his government, but other governments as well which is enshrined in Israeli law, that there will be no distinction made between peoples, all have the same rights and access to due process of law.
Then there are the outside players who routinely use the international stage as a bully pulpit:
But, a sense of proportion does matter, something that’s lacking in any kind of discourse in Finland’s academic circles. Hannu Juusola, no doubt, would like to keep it that way, or at least that’s the impression he has been giving in many of his statements and actions that I’m privy to.
It’s this kind of imagery that we see on an all too regular basis that has poisoned many minds against the Jewish state, we see that manifest any time Israel has to defend itself militarily, or even during other international events totally out of the control of Israel, but yet again, the Jews are the prime focus for the media and international community.
It’s this kind of constant negativity and smearing that leads to ridiculous polls in which a normal Western style democracy is believed to have the most negative influence in the world today.
Mr.Yemini continued his talk in the same vein, showing slide after slide how Israel is routinely vilified by non-factual twaddle by the international community, held to higher standards than all other states in similar circumstances. He admitted Israeli errors but reminded the audience that the norms in the 40’s and 50’s are not the norms today, and Israel shouldn’t be judged by today’s standards that no other nation is willing to be judged by either.
I disagree with Yemini about 20-30% if Arabs being driven forcefully away from areas during the Arab war against Israel in 1948, many of these areas, once held, simply couldn’t be maintained (in the defence of other areas) by keeping an Arab presence, it had to be evacuated. As well as with his apology for myth of Deir Yassin, (here as well) something that is regularly trotted out to lambaste Israel with, but they forget to tell of the Arabs butchering of Jewish civilians:
Just four days after the reports from Deir Yassin were published, an Arab force ambushed a Jewish convoy on the way to Hadassah Hospital, killing 77 Jews, including doctors, nurses, patients, and the director of the hospital. Another 23 people were injured.
Over all, Yemini gave a very good run down on the history of the Arabs’ conflict with the Jews/Israel, and deserves a lot of thanks and kudos for his efforts. Wolfgang Mühlberger, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs which in part hosted the event, took to ankle biting a portion of Yemini’s facts.
He stated that (paraphrasing) ”one should not place too much importance on Hajj Amin al-Husseini, though coming from a highly influential family/tribe, but who had nonetheless a ”limited role” in Palestinian Arab politics at the time. I find that statement to be nothing short of ludicrous.
‘The leadership of al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni and the Arab Higher Committee, which had dominated the Palestinian political scene since the 1920s, was devastated by the disaster of 1948 and discredited by its failure to prevent it.’Wikipedia
Being devastated by the survival of the Jewish state, led to his downfall. Outside players like Trans-Jordan (now Jordan) had a role in that downfall, not wanting to see a rival force to challenge the king of Jordan. But that says nothing of his clan’s supremacy (which he led) in Palestinian Arab areas, which is exactly what Yemini was referring to.
Hajj Amin al-Husseini was president of what was to become the Arab League.
After the end of the war, Amin al-Husayni managed to find his way to Egypt and stayed there until 1959, when he moved to Lebanon. On 22 March 1945, the Arab League was formed.
In November 1945, on the urging of Egypt, its leading member, the Arab League reconstituted the Arab Higher Committee comprising twelve members as the supreme executive body of Palestinian Arabs in the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine. The committee was dominated by the Palestine Arab Party, controlled by the Husayni family, and was immediately recognised by Arab League countries. The Mandate government recognised the new Committee two months later. In February 1946, Jamal al-Husayni returned from exile to Palestine and immediately set about reorganising and enlarging the Committee, becoming its acting president.