Monday, June 11, 2018

Buy Land and Plant Trees-Oh, Those Evil Zionists

There seems to be no limit to how far Israel-haters will reach to condemn the Jewish state. If Israel gives full rights to gays, it's called "pink washing" because they are unfairly using the intolerance toward gays exhibited by their Arab neighbors-who kill them-to their (Israel's) political advantage.

Now the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, a hotbed of anti-Israel activism, has posted this presentation by UC San Diego Communications Professor Gary Fields, who argues that the planting of trees by Israelis was all part of a  plot to displace the Palestinians.

"Specifically, he focused on the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which was established in the early 1900s with a mission to develop Palestinian land for use in a future Jewish state. Among its most prominent activities was planting trees in land it purchased in Palestine."

Exactly. The Zionists purchased the land and planted trees. And the crime is....?

“When the JNF purchased land, they didn’t actually have the colonists to settle it, so they had to have some way of preserving their land and keeping it out of the hands of Palestinians who might cultivate it and use aspects of Ottoman land law to claim it as their own,” explained the speaker."

Really? I would argue that the current-day state of Israel was cultivated and built by Israelis, not Palestinians. Under the Ottoman Empire, the region was hardly cultivated at all. But again, Fields, perhaps unwittingly informs us that the Zionists purchased the land.

"The speaker showed a map used by the JNF in its early fundraising efforts that represented most of the land in the then-potential state of Israel in white, implying that the land was empty. Fields then displayed a map commissioned by the British in 1947 that marked various Bedouin communities across the Negev desert region, indicating a discrepancy between the actual population of Palestinians in the area and the narrative of an empty landscape pushed by JPL leaders."

Hmm. I am no expert on this issue, but I have a couple of questions: Were those desert Bedouins actually called "Palestinians" back in those days (to the exclusion of Jews who lived in the region), and were they (Bedouins) not nomads? Just asking.

And who is Gary Fields? His UCSD website is linked above. (It appears that being a communications professor gives you a wide latitude of research interests). It seems that he is a big fan of local Israel-hater Miko Peled (who was born in Israel). Not only has he invited Peled to speak to his class, he wrote a letter to Mt Jacinto College in 2015 when they were considering canceling a speaking appearance by the hot-tempered Mr Peled

"In closing, let me emphasize what a rare opportunity you have to hear Miko Peled in person. He is a terrific speaker and an engaging lecturer. It will be an event not to be missed."

Boy, I'll say. I saw Peled speak at UC Irvine in 2013, and he got very upset when I videotaped his talk. He tried (unsuccessfully) to have me turn off my video camera, which I refused to do. I had to educate the hot tempered Peled that he was speaking at a public event at a public university, and I had every right to videotape him. The dean of students was present and supported my position. (As for the Mt Jacinto issue, I would support Peled's right to speak there or anywhere.)

As for the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA, it would be nice if this "academic" enterprise would bring in a few pro-Israel speakers to provide alternative viewpoints. However, CNES doesn't deal in alternative viewpoints.

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