Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Reading Philistine: The Great Deception

On May 1, 1995 Ramon Bennett, a Christian minister based in Jerusalem, published the book Philistine: The Great Deception. He was born in Britain, later moved to New Zealand and in 1979 he moved to Jerusalem and set up a Christian ministry there which operates to this day. His ministry has offices in the United States, Canada, Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This was written during the height of the peace process under Prime Minister Rabin which would so soon be forced to endure Rabin's assassination.

Let's take a look at this book.
The early chapters, especially 2, 3 and 5, are the pivotal chapter--providing understanding for the rest of the book.... I would like to qualify what I have written about the Arab mind by saying that this is, of itself, an abstraction, as there can only be individual minds or psyches. It is, therefore, a generalization of the great mass, but not necessarily true of each individual. My sincere apologies go to the small percentage who are not part of the great mass. (p. xi.)
The "Arab mind"? What is that?
Arabists believe that each particular Arab group has its own particular type of barbarism, but my own research shows a uniform bestiality common to all parts of the Arab world. (p. 28.)
This is absurd. Arabs are human beings like any other. I cannot agree with this denigration of people as being bestial. What if one were to talk of Jews or African Americans in such a way?
The traditional unavailability of willing girls with which to satisfy a young Arab's high sexual urges accounts for the extremely high rate of homosexuality among Arab males. (p. 33.)
And who invented the pornography industry? This is absurd invective. It is absurd to talk of Arabs having a "high sexual urge" when it is simply the same sex drive common to all humanity.
Sex is an all-consuming passion. It occupies an Arab's thoughts night and day and often expresses itself in violence and brutality brought about by sheer sexual frustration. ... The intensity of aggression is always related to the intensity of the sex drive. (p. 34.)
More absurd, dehumanizing invective.
The words, "Arab" and "Islam," are as synonymous as "snow" and "ice." Arabs were responsible for the introduction of Islam, and Islam is responsible for keeping the Arab world in the dark ages. Arabs are cruel, and Islam is a cruel religion. They suit each other. (p. 39.)
What if the author wrote of any other ethnic group in such a way? What if one were to talk of Jews or African Americans in such a way?

Furthermore most Muslims are not Arab at all.
Violent, savage behavior is traditionally found among primitive tribal people who hold fast to a belief in one or more demon spirits. Islam is a primitive, tribal religion. Islam mandates that the only food to be eaten today is what Mohammad was accustomed to eating in Arabia 1,300 years ago, and the only clothing to be worn in any nation (East or West) is that which was worn by illiterate desert dwellers in 7th century Arabia. (p. 39.)
This is a simplistic stereotype. It is not true. Such words only apply to a few. It is inaccurate to slur all Muslims in general in such an inaccurate and stereotypical manner.

The author cites Steven Emerson on pages 63-64. Steve Emerson is associated with what some have called the Islamophobia Network.
An irrevocable defacto exchange of population took place to the overwhelming benefit of the Arab countries. (p. 111.)
During the Israeli War of Independence about 750,000 Palestinians were expelled into the surrounding nations and they yearned to return home. Many Middle Eastern Jews did move to Israel, many due to coercion, but they mainly came from other countries that the Palestinians had not been expelled to. 
Since Palestinian refugees did not move into countries from which Jews left for Israel in the 1950s (Iraq, Yemen, North Africa), nor did they enjoy access to abandoned Jewish property, there was no exchange of populations there. (Israel and South Africa, Chapter 10, footnote 11.)
The Palestinians did not want this sad state of affairs. The Palestinians wanted to go home. There was no population exchange. The surrounding Arab countries never agreed to this expulsion of the Palestinians and regarded it as illegitimate.

The author shares his views of Palestinian Christians.
When we speak of Palestinian Christian-Arabs, we are using general terms. We are referring to those non-Moslem Arabs who have a Christian background, but who might have set foot inside a church nor opened a Bible in their lives. ... But of the Palestinian Christian-Arabs that I know well, there is not even one that I would call truthful.
My personal experience has been that they have all "lied through their teeth" when the occasion necessitated. And from personal experience, and also from the numerous statements I have read, the great majority of Palestinian Christian-Arabs are very pro-PLO. ... The reader ... should treat as suspect any statement made by Palestinian Christian-Arabs, until it has been thoroughly verified. (p. 143.)
So Palestinian Christians are liars?

Ironically the author lives in Jerusalem which is the home of many of these Palestinians he writes of.

The author asserts that Palestine was a wasteland before the modern times.
Rather than being farmed by Arabs for "thousands of years," Palestine was a wasteland. (p. 147.)
Back at the start of the 20th Century Palestine was described as "a land without people for a people without land." The assertion was factually inaccurate. However a trace of this attitude may still be seen in the words above.

The author then denigrates the Palestinians who lived on Palestine before the rise of the State of Israel as robbers, thieves and murderers.
Clearly, the description of Palestine given by historians, writers and pilgrims, is the exact opposite of Arafat's verdant--green, flourishing, forested, lush land. And apparently the only indigenous culture the Arabs enriched Palestine with was robbery, thievery and murder. The few peasant Arab farmers that did work the land were at the mercy of the nomads--the Bedouin tent dwellers. (p. 149.)
What if any other society or people were described in such a way? Would it sound acceptable?
The barren, emptiness of the land that contained so few Arab farmers leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the 140,000 Arabs that remained in Jewish occupied areas after Israel declared statehood in 1948 were, in fact, the only Arabs who had permanent roots. (p. 149.)  
The Holy Land was never empty or barren. It has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years since Biblical times.

The author asserts that "Arafat and other top PLO officials" lie about everything.
Arab myths have taken hold of the minds of the educated masses. So much undue publicity has been given to Arafat and other top PLO officials that the whole world has become their oyster. But almost everything they say on any subject is a lie--including the "ands" and the "buts." (p. 154.)
With an attitude like this it will never be possible to make peace. Such an attitude invites eternal war.
Many articles in today's encyclopedias--those having a bearing on Jewish history and their presence in the ancient are, unbelievingly, being written by Arabs! (p. 157.)
One should address the argument instead of complaining about one's ethnicity. Assertions are made elsewhere in this section but complaining about peoples' ethnicity is such a way is attacks the person not the argument and therefore is deficient as an argument.
The rewriting of Israel's history even spills over into Christian Bibles. For example: The New King James version published by Thomas Nelson, arguable the world's largest Christian publisher (owned by two Lebanese Arabs), defines the shulamite bride in the Song of Solomon as: "A Palestinian young woman." (p. 162.)
It appears even the New King James Version is anti-Israel in this author's view.
It [the United Nations] stared glassy-eyed in the opposite direction when Iran and Iraq used some 1,000 tons of nerve gas against each other during their eight-year war.... (pp. 164-165.)
This is incorrect. Iran never used chemical weapons. Chemical weapons were only used by Iraq.
But when a severely provoked Israeli shot 29 Arabs in the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in February 1994, the United Nations literally spent weeks discussing it. (pp. 168-169.)
What could possibly justify or minimize the mass murder of 29 precious and unique human beings? They were innocent civilians and this massacre occurred upon the site of Abraham's grave. How can anyone minimize something like that?

Furthermore it was after this massacre that Hamas began to use suicide bombers against civilians targets. So Baruch Goldstein's dreadful massacre opened the door to far more horrors. It is astonishing that sympathy is expressed for a man who murdered 29 innocent people in a place of worship.

According to the author the United States has been "absolutely appalling" in trying to secure the State of Israel.
America's record of fulfilling its guarantees of security is absolutely appalling--no better at all than the United Nations. Such a statement might shock some American people, but it is the truth, nevertheless. (p. 175.)
Those Americans might be shocked. They also might reject such a view. Today the United States supplies 20% of the State of Israel's military expenditure.

In Chapter 9 the author condemns the news media for supposedly being hostile against the State of Israel. The punchline for that chapter may be seen on pages 192-3.
... during the five years of Israel's war to put down the intifada in which some 350 Arabs were killed by Israeli troops (for which Israel was publicly crucified by the American media).... (p. 180.)
Later during the Second intifada about 5000 Palestinians were killed in 2000-5. Later about 1400 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in 2008-9. In 2014 2500 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in 2014. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed since October 1, 2015. How many more will die? Has all these things caused the author to reassess his views? Not so. Instead his pro-Israel stance is as fervent as ever.
That a handful of determined Jews drove tens of thousands of British troops from the Middle East must really be irking [reporters from The Guardian]. (p. 190.)
Ironically the author himself came from Britain.

Here's the punchline for this chapter.
... all ten corporations and each of the four banks are all, in turn, owned by a single conglomerate--the Rockerfeller family. ... It is widely believed and often stated that the Jews control the media. But the Rockerfellers are not Jews, and this should put that lie to rest. The Rockerfellers not only control the information industry, but practically all media personalities are members or past members of the Rockerfeller controlled Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. And, according to [another author] ... it is not unfair to say that the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission actually run the United Sates government. (p. 192.)
Not that conspiracy theory about the Trilateral Commission again.

It is also quite disturbing how the author appears to deny the nonsensical anti-Semitic accusation that "Jews control the media" merely by insisting that such persons merely looked at the wrong target. This in itself seems a poor way to address that traditional accusation of anti-Semitism.

In the preface the author says Chapters 2, 3 and 5 are the important ones. But for me the most fascinating one is Chapter 10 which discusses the state of the peace process up to early 1995. This book was published before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in a wicked criminal act. Now we could see how matters were viewed before Rabin died for his country.

In this chapter the author is quite severe in his criticism of Rabin and Peres. It is claimed that the Labor Party is corrupt. It is claimed that Rabin lied in order to hand over land containing Israeli settlements to the Palestinian Authority.

The author characterized the Rabin-Peres government as:
... perhaps even the most ungodly government ever to be in power during Israel's entire 4,000 year history. It has no belief in God, no belief in His Word, no belief in His covenants, and no belief in the coming of the Messiah. Its belief is in man and in man's capabilities. (p. 198.)
The Zionist movement was initially quite secular. Most religious Jews did not agree with the idea of a Jewish State until the rise of Nazism from 1933 onward. Before then it was primarily a secular movement.


Some authors such as Max Blumenthal have noted that since 1948 there has been in practice an unwritten convention that the major Israeli political parties will not share power with the MKs representing the Palestinian citizens of Israel. This unwritten rule was only ever broken during Rabin's government (1992-5). But even so this author seemed to object.
And much to the chagrin of many Israelis, Rabin does in fact rely on Arabs to not only keep his government from falling, but to ensure the passing of controversial agreements in the peace process. (p. 200.)
After Rabin's assassination in 1995 this unwritten rule of excluding the MKs representing the Palestinian citizens of Israel was adhered to again and those MKs have never had any share of governmental power since then.


On page 205 it is asserted that the Rabin-Peres government encouraged the police to be brutal against opponents of the peace deal. In support of this assertion the author, among other things, cites a report dating from October 1994 of a settler named Anat Cohen being brought to a hospital after getting arrested by the police. It is stated that her "face seemed puffy; she spoke haltingly, and she could barely walk."" (p. 205.)

If this is even half true such police brutality deserves to be condemned unreservedly. But it seems a poor choice to cite this individual to condemn alleged police brutality. In Hebron today there is an Israeli settler named Anat Cohen who is infamous for her violent tendencies against the neighboring Palestinians, international monitors and her religious fanaticism.

Here is one account dating from 2012 of Cohen. In this report it is mentioned that Israeli police personnel stated that they had a special relationship with her.
They laughed and said the internationals had brought it upon themselves by wearing keffiyehs.  The internationals then walked to a police car parked at the next junction. While they were explaining what happened, settler Anat Cohen came up to the internationals and police screaming in Hebrew, and then slapped a Canadian ISM woman on the arm, in front of the police.  The police then sent this woman to retrieve the camera.
They told the internationals that this woman was the “head of the settlers” and that they had a “special relationship with her.” “We do her favours and she does us favours,” they said. (March 11, 2012.)
Here is another report from December 2014 in which a Jewish reporter states that Cohen called her a "Nazi" and told her to "Go to Auschwitz".
I wish I could remember exactly what Anat said to me, and I wish even more I had been able to record her words; instead I can only offer the ‘highlights’ of our exchange. 
“Leave here! Go! Go to Mohammed!”
“I can’t, I’ve hurt my foot, I can’t move.”

“Leave, Nazi! Go to Auschwitz, go to Gaza, go to Syria!” ...

The only other noteworthy moment of the experience was the Israeli police officer that quietly apologized to me after Anat was out of earshot. “I’m sorry, they’re crazy [the settlers] there’s nothing we can do, and she’s the craziest.” (December 26, 2014.) 
Here is another report concerning Cohen from international volunteers in Hebron dating from October 2015.
On deserted Shuhada street, a car rode up close to three internationals returning home from their monitoring of students safety at checkpoints near school clusters. After a short while a settler identified as Anat Cohen got out of the car and immediately started to harass the three human rights observers. Over the course of approximately six minutes, she physically assaulted all three, knocking one to the ground so that he was bleeding in multiple places, and attempting to destroy recording equipment, and striking them in the head.

Among other things in the constant stream of verbal assault and profanity, she said: “Go to Auschwitz. (…) Die in Hitler’s gas.” “Are there not enough European ladies in Europe? Do you have to come here to f*** Arab women? I know you are doing that!” After she noticed a male settler had arrived with his jeep, she became more physically aggressive while continuing to rant: ”What do you help the Palestinians with? Killing us?!” (October 27, 2015.)
I do not know if Cohen was like that in October 1994. But it seems a poor choice to cast her as a victim of police brutality considering her current infamy.

But I say again if the accusation cited in this book it true it certainly deserves to be condemned and addressed in a court of law.

Even the prayer for the welfare of the state, recited on Sabbath and holiday morning, has become a sharp point of contention in many Israeli synagogues. (p. 206.)
The Israeli Jewish religious parties did not approve of the Rabin-Peres government's proposals.
Not only has he negotiated with the terror organization [the PLO], but he has legitimized it, signed an agreement with it, and is preparing the way for an independent state of Palestine with Arafat as president on a full one-third of Israel's land. (p. 207.)
The West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem are not Israel's land according to every sovereign government in the world except the State of Israel.
During an August 1994 Knesset session, an MK protested that the government had promised the PLO it could build a "resort on the shores of the Dead Sea"--opening up the area to the Arab terrorism that has plagued every place on which they have set foot thus far. (p. 208.)
Every piece of land a Palestinian sets foot on is accompanied with terrorism? Without exception? It seems as though the author thinks even a Palestinian's very steps are menacing and a deadly peril in itself. This is terrible invective. It is strange to imagine that the author since 1979 happens to live in Jerusalem where many Palestinians live.
Practically all of the media has bowed to the government's intention of presenting the Rabin-Arafat agreements as the will of the people. But The Jerusalem Post has not complied with government directorates and has been critical of government policies, although it has been more than fair in giving equal space to both the left and the right camps of the peace process. (p. 211.)
The author trusts The Jerusalem Post a lot. Philistine: The Great Deception has 1516 footnotes. Of that 512 cite articles from The Jerusalem Post. About a third of his footnotes cite this single newspaper, particularly in the later chapters. There is nothing inherently wrong with choosing to rely so much on a single news source. But what if that newspaper should happen to make a mistake? How would such an author be able to detect and correct any possible error?

On page 212 one heading in this book is entitled, "Treason", labeling Labor Party officials as traitors for meeting with PLO officials before January 1993.
Until the Rabin government voted to lift the ban on meetings with the PLO in January 1993 contact with PLO officials was classified as treason. (p. 212.)
The author fearfully states that units of the IDF were being established to get the settlers out of the territory to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority. They were to be staffed with soldiers unaffiliated with the settlers.
But it is shocking to realize that the Jews--God's elect people--would even consider forming an anti-religious, elite IDF unit for the express purpose of forcefully evicting their brethren who have settled the land in accordance with God's wishes and with the help and encouragement of previous governments. (p. 215.)
At one point Rabin and Peres are labeled insane.
What insanity drives them into adopting a defeated nation status.... (p. 217.)
Rabin's military record in the Israeli War of Independence, the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War is questioned. Certain allegations regarding Rabin during the Israeli War of Independence and the Six Day War cites an advertisement posted in the June 25, 1994 issue of The Jerusalem Post by the settler group, Women in Green. (Compare pp. 219-220 with footnotes 190 and 194 on page 329.)

At one point the author slurs Peres as not Jewish while criticizing the proposal to hand over East Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.
There is no appreciation because their hearts are humanist, not Jewish. (p. 226.)
Ironically the author is not Jewish either.
Establishing a security fence around Israel is diametrically opposed to any concept of peace. Even during 20 years of cruel terror attacks taking place within an existing state of war, Israel did not need such a thing! (p. 227.)
Rabin indeed proposed building a wall. But in time it was the Ariel Sharon led government that decided to build a wall in 2002 during the Second intifada. One wonders if the author objected when such a wall was actually built?

And so we leave Chapter 10, a denunciation of the Rabin-Peres government that later met with such a terrible misfortune when an extremist chose to murder Prime Minister Rabin.

Chapter 11 discusses the surrounding nations. On page 252 another person states that he believes that Iran would get nuclear weapons in "a few years". Twenty years later we are still waiting.

The incident concerning Jonathan Pollard is mentioned on pages 259-261. Pollard is portrayed sympathetically. It is mentioned that Pollard justified himself by claiming that "hundreds of thousands of Israelis" would be killed if he did not do what he did. (p. 260.) His imprisonment is denounced as "degrading and harsh". (p. 261.)
Iran is seen as the most dangerous threat facing Israel today--not militarily, but by its nuclear potential. (p. 262.)
Twenty years later we are still waiting.

In Chapter 12 the author sums up everything.
The Moslem people are also very precious to God, but He does use people and events to accomplish His greater purposes. (pp. 269-270.)
These words are so different from what is stated elsewhere in this book. How could they take such words seriously if they should take note of what is written elsewhere in this book?

On pages 271-272 it is asserted that those who advocate for the advancement of the peace process meet with disasters.
The Sinai was not part of the Promised Land, but Jericho is, as is half of the Gaza Strip and Israel's heartland--Biblical Judea and Samaria--now called the "West Bank" to obliterate the Jewish connection. (p. 274.)
Here the phrase "Judea and Samaria" has been reinterpreted to mean the West Bank.

However the borders of the Kingdom of Judah mentioned in the Bible did not conform to the current boundaries of the West Bank.

Furthermore the name Samaria referred to land inhabited by Samaritans from the 8th Century BC onward. To this day there are Samaritans but today they are a numerically small religious minority. Their land in the time of Jesus did not correspond to the borders of the West Bank.

It was the war of 1947-9 that shaped the West Bank as it is today. This is a new division of the land that did not exist before the war of 1947-9.

Furthermore if the West Bank is "Israel's heartland" how is it that the State of Israel maintained itself without the West Bank from 1949 till 1967?

And so this reading comes to an end.

It is saddening to see one accusing the Rockerfellers of controlling the media. Things are not that simple.

It is sad to see how some choose to be so suspicious towards Palestinians and Arabs in general. It is one thing to condemn acts of violence but to denigrate and stereotype "the great mass" of Palestinians and Arabs as violent and obsessed with sex is wrong, morally and factually. Seeing the way this book describes Palestinians and Arabs in general it seems quite evident that this book deserves to be noted as being Islamophobic.

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