Sunday, March 14, 2010

A New Highpoint in Middle East Hypocrisy?

From the New York Times this morning, this edifying account of Palestinian freedom in the Kingdom of Jordan:

"Some Palestinian Jordanians Lose Citizenship

Muhannad Haddad grew up here, went to school here, got a job in a bank here and traveled to foreign countries with a passport from here. Then one day the authorities said he was no longer Jordanian, and with that one stroke they took away his citizenship and compromised his ability to travel, study, work, seek health care, buy property or even drive.

The authorities effectively told him they were doing it for his own good. They said that like thousands of other Jordanians of Palestinian descent, he was being stripped of his citizenship to preserve his right to someday return to the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem."

Oh, I see. They are having their citizenship taken away to preserve their rights. Yes, that makes a lot of sense:

"For years now, Jordanian officials have expressed concern for preserving the demographic balance in a nation of six million people, divided about evenly between those from the East Bank of the Jordan River — considered original Jordanians — and those from the West Bank."

“The government is not doing this to support the Palestinians in their right of return,” said Fawzi Samhouri, director of a human rights organization in Amman, Jordan’s capital. Rather, he said, the government is responding to domestic political pressures because “some people think these procedures will reduce the percentage of the population that is of Palestinian origin.”

"preserving the demographic balance in a nation of six million people." Can you imagine the torrent of outrage if something like this happened in Israel? Can you imagine what people, particularly from certain segments on the left, would say if Israel started taking away the citizenship of Arabs in order to "reduce the percentage of the population that is of Palestinian origin?"

And yet, nothing like that has ever happened. Arabs in Israel have full citizenship and are fully able to participate in political affairs. No one questions that. Yet Israel is regularly accused of being the world's worst human rights abuser, of being an apartheid state, and even in a sickening specimen of Jew baiting, accused of being the new Nazis.

In the adjacent Islamic country of Jordan, the government is doing to the Palestinians exactly what Israel is accused of- rendering them into second class citizens, or stripping them of citizenship altogether, and no one cares to speak out against this behavior, which is hardly a new phenomenon:

"...the process has been going on since shortly after July 31, 1988, when King Hussein delivered a speech in which he gave up any claim of sovereignty to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Jordan annexed those lands in 1950 and provided all the residents with Jordanian citizenship."

Nor is this the only, or the most extreme, example of Jordanian attacks on Palestinians:

"By 1970, Palestinians, both Jordanian citizens and refugees, were almost as numerous in Jordan as King Hussein's own Bedouins... Throughout September (1970) the Jordanian military launched attacks to push the PLO out of Jordan, attacks now called "Black September" by the PLO. Casualty reports are uncertain, but hundreds or perhaps thousands of PLO fadayeen were killed in the fighting and large numbers of Palestinian Arab civilians died as well. Arafat retreated to northern Jordan, close to his Syrian sponsors. Within 10 months the PLO were driven out of Jordan completely, and re-established themselves in Lebanon, a choice that led to eventual disaster for Lebanon."

Yes, you read that right, in case you have forgotten. The Jordanian government engaged in the exact conduct which Israel is so often blamed for. Using massive violence, they drove their Palestinian brothers from their country, and it is this act, not Israel, which precipitated the decades-long, murderous instability in Lebanon. Yet no one cares to remember that or hold Jordan responsible in any way for the mess in the Middle East today.

I predict that there will be barely a word of protest against this behavior, even among those who are first in line to savage Israel for far less objectionable acts. It is conduct like this that gives credibility to the conflation of many attacks on Israel with antisemitism. As long as the Jewish state is attacked for behavior which goes unnoticed in any other country, it will be impossible to convince me that antisemitism does not lie behind these attacks.

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