in service of the
On the 6th March an article appeared in the Australian Financial Review purporting to have been written by the high profile indigenous leader, Warren Mundine.
Read more: http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/jews-are-the-first-peoples-of-israel--with-a-right-to-exist-20170306-gurkqg#ixzz4ag0n6lro
The article is either written with an appalling knowledge of Israel Palestine, the history and culture of its peoples’ or it is written with the explicit intention of promulgating a ‘fake narrative’, a perspective linking the struggles of the indigenous peoples of Australia with the ‘struggles’ of the Jews; whom the article would have us believe have the right to claim they are the ‘indigenous’ peoples of Palestine, to the exclusion of others. The article is so appalling that I cannot believe that Mr Mundine wrote it. I assume it was written by a person from within the powerful Israeli lobby who sought the ‘imprimatur’ of a respected indigenous Australian.
The indigenous people of Palestine are Semites, those who speak a Semitic language, and have an unbroken link with the land over many generations. Some Jewish families are indeed in this category. However with the benefit of census data in the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century we know the majority of these people, Muslim and Christian, are Arabs. Many of these people trace their ancestry back to groups such as the Phoenicians and Philistines who occupied this land prior to recorded Israelite history and whose current descendants have never lived anywhere else. Those who are definitely not indigenous are middle class Jewish illegal Settlers who have taken up villas in settlements across the West Bank and who have come from places like Sydney, Melbourne and Manhattan. These settlers and their ancestors have long lived in other, often western, nations throughout the world.
To link Jewish settlers with Australian indigenous people is awful from another perspective. In Australia we still have a long way to go to address the wrongs of the past and achieve appropriate acknowledgment, recognition and reconciliation. However we are on the road. On the other hand Israel’s behaviour towards the indigenous Palestinian population can be likened to the behaviour of white settlers towards the Australian Aboriginal people in the 19th century. Land is summarily confiscated without redress, olive orchards are bulldozed and livelihoods destroyed. Those who protest such privation are thrown into gaol. Yes Mr Mundine, there are acts of violence from Palestinians towards Israelis, as there were from Aboriginals towards the white settlers; violence that cannot be condoned. But the violence done to Palestinians, including Palestinian children goes mostly without censure, as it does in your article.
Whoever wrote this article for Mr Mundine should I suppose be congratulated for their cunning, but Mr Mundine should have been far more astute before allowing his name to be used in this way – presuming this is what happened. If Mr Mundine did author the piece himself, one might ask what his motivation was; and would he now accept an invitation from the Palestinian community to live with them in Palestine for 10 days or so to gain an understanding of their plight, who is responsible, and what responsible action from the international community might look like.
The article is mischievously misleading in other ways. Let me touch on one more – the recognition of Israel. It is true that the military wing of Hamas does not and will not recognise Israel’s right to exist, in the same way that a significant percentage of senior Knesset members are on record as saying Israel will never allow one inch of historic Palestine to become a Palestinian state. However all the peace talks since the Oslo accords of the 1990’s assume the existence of Israel and the recognition of its right to exist by Palestinian authorities.
What the Mundine article mischievously ignores is that Israel no longer simply demands recognition of its territorial rights, but that it is recognised as Jewish State. This new demand is obviously difficult to accede to for those non Jews who live in its boundaries, let alone for the Arab population of greater Palestine. Israeli citizens of Arab descent already have 40+ restrictions upon them that do not apply to Jewish residents. There is no single Israeli passport, travel papers, such as they exist for non-Jews, do not protect the traveller in the same way or even provide the same right of return.
England may well be for the English or France for the French, as Netanyahu argues to support his case, but no citizen of either country is discriminated against on the basis of ethnicity; under law all have the same rights. Israel cannot expect to be treated as a modern liberal democracy while it insists on the right to implement discrimination on the basis of race, nor can it expect respect as a civilised country when its actions against the Palestinians show all the signs of an apartheid strategy.