Debate Magazine

For Once, the New York Times Accurately What is Underlying the Mideast Conflict

Posted on the 02 April 2015 by Mikelumish @IsraelThrives
Sar Shalom
While the op-ed piece doing so was not about the Middle East, it does describe an attempted reversal of fortune in the formerly oppressed are granted equal citizenship while those attempting to thwart that emancipation were disenfranchised. This is the situation that befell the Mizrahi Jews who throughout the 19th century were subjected to the whims of their Muslim neighbors and who gained full citizenship as the result of the Zionist enterprise. The example, along with the description of attempts to stymie and then discredit that effort, presented by Eric Foner is that of this country's Reconstrution following the Civil War. What we need to do is highlight the parallels between the efforts to bring about equality through Reconstruction with the realized equalization of the Mizrahi Jews with their surrounding Arabs, and between the efforts to delegitimize Reconstruction and the efforts to delegitimize Zionism.
Reconstruction refers to the period, generally dated from 1865 to 1877, during which the nation’s laws and Constitution were rewritten to guarantee the basic rights of the former slaves, and biracial governments came to power throughout the defeated Confederacy. For decades, these years were widely seen as the nadir in the saga of American democracy. According to this view, Radical Republicans in Congress, bent on punishing defeated Confederates, established corrupt Southern governments presided over by carpetbaggers (unscrupulous Northerners who ventured south to reap the spoils of office), scalawags (Southern whites who supported the new regimes) and freed African-Americans, unfit to exercise democratic rights. The heroes of the story were the self-styled Redeemers, who restored white supremacy to the South.
Zionism refers to the period from roughly 1871 until today during which the Jews from across the Ottoman Empire and Europe were brought to one corner the the Ottoman Empire, the southwest Levant, where the Ottoman Jews were freed from the shackles of dhimmitude. According to a popular theory today, this represents the last vestige of European colonialism in which European colonists bent on subjugating the native Arab population, imposing white imperial rule over those Arabs and giving a voice the Jewish dhimmis who were unfit for self-rule. The heroes of this story are the irhabis, or as their supporters call them, jihadis, who are struggling to reimpose the Pact of Umar.
This portrait, which received scholarly expression in the early-20th-century works of William A. Dunning and his students at Columbia University, was popularized by the 1915 film “Birth of A Nation” and by Claude Bowers’s 1929 best-selling history, “The Tragic Era.” It provided an intellectual foundation for the system of segregation and black disenfranchisement that followed Reconstruction.
The aforementioned theory of Zionism received scholarly expression through Edward Said's Orientalism and popular support through efforts to demonstrate the human toll of Israel's existence on the lives of the Palestinians.
Lincoln did not live to preside over Reconstruction. That task fell to his successor, Andrew Johnson. Once lionized as a heroic defender of the Constitution against Radical Republicans, Johnson today is viewed by historians as one of the worst presidents to occupy the White House. He was incorrigibly racist, unwilling to listen to criticism
While the original visionaries of the Balfour Declaration, which became the British Mandate for Palestine, lived to see it go into effect, they did not remain in office to do so. The people to the come to office, and successive High Commissioners for Palestine, were less committed to the goal establishing a Jewish national home than were the drafters of the Balfour Declaration, notably the anti-Semite Louis Bols who sought to undermine it. It was those successors who empowered the Mufti who in turn made opposing Jewish self-determination a pan-Arab priority.
[T]he advent of African-Americans in positions of political power aroused bitter hostility from Reconstruction’s opponents. ... As late as 1947, the Southern historian E. Merton Coulter wrote that of the various aspects of Reconstruction, black officeholding was “longest to be remembered, shuddered at, and execrated.”
The sight of Jews, whom all their experiences taught are supposed to be at the mercy of the believers, overseeing their own governance was what was most horrifying and what most needed to be eradicated.
It was not economic dependency, however, but widespread violence, coupled with a Northern retreat from the ideal of equality, that doomed Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups began a campaign of murder, assault and arson that can only be described as homegrown American terrorism.
The real model for Palestinian resistance against Israel. Leila Khaled's attacks on Israeli buses are no different from Jesse James' attacks on Reconstruction officials.
Meanwhile, as the Northern Republican Party became more conservative, Reconstruction came to be seen as a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society.
The one area where Zionism differs from Reconstruction. In Reconstruction, the chief beneficiary was the southern Negroes (using the terminology of the time) while the chief force sustaining it was northern whites. While the northern whites saw moral benefits to Reconstruction advancing, they did not enjoy any practical benefits of it doing so. In contrast, Zionism benefited both Mizrahi and European Jewry. Thus, while similarly to Reconstruction it was outsiders, the European Jews, who had been able to learn the defense maneuvers that were necessary to secure progress against resistance, something which was not available to the Jews living under Muslim rule, when Klan-like resistance sprung up to the emancipation of Mizrahi Jewry, the European Jews were not about to turn tails and abandon their Middle Eastern coreligionists because it was their dreams that were threatened as well.
A final note: It is time that we present the case that those championing the "Palestinian cause" are not repeating the effort to undo the Apartheid regime of South Africa, rather, they are repeating the effort to overturn Reconstruction, reviving the Pact of Umar the way the end of Reconstruction brought about Jim Crow.

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