Seeds and Dreams

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Israel Classifies its Past as Top Secret


By Lawrence Davidson Posted by Marivel Guzman
Israel is a land built on myths. It is, of course, not unique in this. Indeed in this way Israel is very much like its patron, the United States. In order to build and maintain a mythical status a nation must create a picture of itself from its very inception and pass that picture down generation upon generation. 
For the U.S. it is the idea that the nation is a beacon of both democracy and capitalism unto the world and what it does in terms of foreign policy, and even when at war, is always done altruistically. For Israel, the myth is that the nation is democratic and the last bastion of safety for the world’s Jews.
Everything it does, even when that amounts to imperial expansion, is done defensively. In order to maintain these myths one must control history. 
The story line must be taught in the schools and supported by the nation’s multiple media sources. One must raise up a population that is so well inculcated with its mythic worldview that if something occurs which contradicts it, it can be readily dismissed as an exception to the rule.
In the case of the United States, two hundred years of indoctrination and a long term status as a great power has allowed its myths to survive, in the minds of its own people, the horrors of Viet Nam, Iraq and now Afghanistan.
Israel is a much younger nation with only three or so generations of indoctrination under its psychological belt, so to speak. And, while it may be a regional superpower, its reputation in the Middle East is built on fear. 
With the rest of the world that reputation is associated with equally unstable and temporary attitudes, like Holocaust guilt. In essence, apart from the convinced Zionists, Israel’s sustaining national myths are still fragile.
A number of years ago Israel applied its law that required the government archives to be opened for public review and research following a thirty year waiting period for political affairs and fifty years for military affairs. 
This brought many of the government documents referring to seminal years of 1947 and 1948 into the open. The result was a serious, evidence based, revision of the founding legends of Israel. In other words, the state lost momentary control of its own history. The result undermined the nation’s mythic self-image amongst observers outside of Israel and caused significant unease within the country.
So powerful was the reaction of the elites against this revised interpretation of the past that the “new historians” who brought it forth are now either teaching abroad or have, as in the case of Benny Morris, recanted. In the interim things have only gotten worse for the Zionist defenders of the idealized Israel. Multiple invasions of Lebanon and the essentially defenseless Palestinian cities and towns, the slaughter of the innocent, the reduction of Gaza to an open air prison, the on-going confiscation of land and property in the Occupied Territories, rampant settler violence, and the repeated election of racist governments have resulted in a worldwide civil society effort to isolate Israel and induce it to reform itself in the same manner as South Africa. 
Except in the United States, Israel’s claim to act only in self-defense is not seen as credible and the accusation that all who disagree are anti-Semites not taken seriously. Yet outside disenchantment, as dangerous as it might be in the long run, is not nearly as threatening as the erosion of one’s domestic population’s adherence to their national myths. That adherence must be maintained at all cost otherwise the nation will metamorphose into something that no longer supports its present elites. 
The fate of the “new historians” has demonstrated just how determined the Israeli establishment is to prevent that sort of erosion. That being the case, Israel’s present Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has extended for an additional twenty years the period during which government archives can remain closed. 
The Haaretz article announcing this decision says that the Prime Minister acted because of “pressure from the intelligence agencies,” but Netanyahu probably did not need much convincing. The period of time for which documents will now remain classified include such events as the 1954 Lavon Affair, the 1956 Sinai invasion, and the 1967 war which saw the heinous attack on the USS Liberty and the seizure of the Golan Heights. 
The State Archivist, Yehoshua Freundlich told Haaretz that “some of the material was selected classified because ‘it has implications over [Israel’s] adherence to international law.’” This is probably an understatement.
To add insult to injury, Haaretz reports that there is a good possibility that the government’s decision to classify much of Israel’s past as top secret will mean that “archives that had already been made public would again be hidden away.” 
If you study the new historians’ revisionist history of Israel you are struck by the Machiavellian behavior of men like David Ben Gurion who made a profession of being “economical with the truth.” 
So devious were many of Israel early establishment figures that their political competitors, such as the neo-fascist Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the terrorist Menachem Begin, appear almost refreshing in their frightful honesty. 
Today we have the worst of all worlds in Israel–leaders who are both terrorists and shockingly devious. Now by their own admission, today’s Zionist leaders must hide away their nation’s sins lest the entire world turn away from Israel, and perhaps even their own citizens begin to fear that their national myths cannot stand honest and objective examination.
 
America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University Press of Florida, 2001), Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003), and, co-author with Arthur Goldschmidt of the Concise History of the Middle East, 8th and 9th Editions (Westview Press, 2006 and 2009). His latest book is entitled Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing American National Interest (University of Kentucky Press, 2009). Professor Davidson travels often and widely in the Middle East. He also has taken on the role of public intellectual in order to explain to American audiences the impact of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
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August 4, 2010 - Posted by | ben gurion criminal, history is a myth, Israel, israel criminal actions, zionist movement

2 Comments »

  1. We must remember that history is just a tool of society to record the events that shaped our world, but also we must remember that history it has many sides.History will never be really fair to one side or another, there always be his-story vs every body else’s story, being here hi-story the pen that has the power to perpetuate the story.For centuries nobody dare to challenge History, specially in the years where the central church had the power to control what was said, and written.Not until recently with the introduction of the internet, and with the inception of search engines as open archives to the world, that “The People” start accessing various sides of the story, and History become his-story.Now we can surely say, that history is being challenged and need to be revised.The Zionist Movement in it ability of control, have for more than a century, shaped the his-story of the Plight of the Jews.They have carefully written the history to their convenience, and with that given life to global pity toward the Jews.Never in history, at least in the known history, the Jews werehated or persecuted as in the last 100 years, thanks to the works of the Zionist Organizations.With the creation of Israel History took another turn, and it became Propaganda Machine. And new terms where added to His-story.To be fair to the World, we need to revise every history book ever written, before and after the creation of the State of Israel.Thanks to Israel Propaganda Campaigns, is that Now we know that history can be invented, edited, shaped and written at the will of the controlling pen.

    Comment by Marivel Guzman | August 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. “History will never be really fair to one side or another…”

    It has, perhaps, a better chance today what with digital videocams that are tiny enough to hide while in use and still have a reasonably capacious memory. I’m reminded of a tale I read a long time ago about an Egyptian pharaoh who lost a battle, so he set up obelisks all over the country recording a victory instead. It took something like a thousand or fifteen hundred years for the world to learn the truth. Apocryphal or not, there’s a lesson there. Digital storage is still relatively fragile, but that won’t last, and people who know the truth now are very many and far-scattered – too far to be censored effectively. Also, as people get older and learn more about how the world and the human mind works, they also often stumble over Occam’s razor on their own. It becomes obvious that if something is hidden there is a reason for it, and laudable actions are rarely hidden. The more that is hidden, the less laudable it is likely to be. This may sound fanciful in a Tooth Fairy sort of way, but I’ve noticed that a bill always comes due one way or another. I wouldn’t wish to be in Israel when this one is presented.

    Ian

    Comment by Ian MacLeod | August 9, 2011 | Reply


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