Most of us formed conclusions about 9/11, and /or have images burned into our brain that will never leave us.
The most striking of those images and moments for me was the sight of a terrified woman running from the World Trade Centre asking “Why us? Why us?”
How is it that the United States has become the focus of so much extremist Islamic hate and a symbol of so much evil?
Two significant issues spring to mind:
The first is simply one of size. The United States is a Christian superpower, not just in terms of population, wealth, and military strength but also in terms of media reach. Inevitably, as extremist Muslims despise everything western, the United States makes the best target for hate propaganda.
The second is that the USA has a significant Jewish population, and a great deal of Jewish money has made its way from the USA to Israel over the years.
Israel is the enemy and so, by extension, is the USA.
A recent edition of Q&A – Protests and Palestine – contained some interesting moments.
A question from an audience member
JENNINE ABDUL KHALIK:
… I am of Palestinian descent. My parents were refugees, my grandparents refugees, my great grandparents refugees. The state of Israel was established on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the displacement of three quarters of the Palestinian population. Palestinians have since been subjected to apartheid and a military occupation and the continued confiscation of their land and resources. How can we confront the popular pro Israel narrative that Israel is a democracy?
Israeli born historian and panellist
…The Jewish establishment before the creation of the State of Israel has prepared a file on every Palestinian village and neighbourhood in Palestine so as to prepare the Jewish forces when the opportunity would come for taking over these villages and the files had a map and aerial photography and a very detailed explanation of what to expect once the village would become Jewish property in terms of wealth, in terms of number of people and what to accept in terms of resistance.
… every Jewish settlement in Israel is built on the ruins of a Palestine settlement.
Panellist, Sydney Barrister, and a board member of a fund-raising organisation for Israeli civil rights and social justice organisations.
… the real tragedy of 1947 and 1948 was that there was no Palestinian state established.
… The United Nations proposed a partition plan which there'd be a Palestinian State established alongside a Jewish State.
… the Palestinian people announced forcefully and without reservation that they rejected the plan. They rejected the concept of having a Jewish state next to a Palestinian state. Had they accepted the plan, had they accepted the two State solution then, then the opportunity for the war and for what happened afterwards would never have arisen and what happened was that on December the 2nd, 1947 there was a general strike proclaimed in Jerusalem. There were riots. Jewish shops, people were attacked.
The Palestinian leader at the time, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was a man who had spent the war years, and don't forget this is 1947, this is two and a half years after the end of World War II, the Palestinian leader, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was a man who had spent the war years in Berlin being photographed shaking hands with Hitler
Stupid behaviour by a Palestine leader does not justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. A Palestinian refusal - a Palestinian refusal to accept the partition claim may be justified, may be not be justified. What is not justified is punishing the Palestinians by depopulating half of that ... we have to understand what happened in 1948. Imagine half of the population of a country were forcefully expelled. Half of the villages of the country were destroyed. Half of the towns were demolished. Now is this the right punishment for the wrong vote in the United Nations? Is this the right punishment for a leader who made a stupid mistake during the Second World War? This is not a tragedy. 1948 is a crime against humanity.
After all the pogroms throughout the centuries with Jews never being able to own land in any country they lived in and being forced from their homes time and time again as portrayed so well in my favourite musical Fiddler on the Roof and after the horrors of the Holocaust, isn't it just for Jews to have been given a place to call their own?
…Of course the Jews were entitled to have a safe place and in many ways the Palestinians were willing to give them a safe place. What they were not willing to give them is the right to take over their homeland.
… imagine if these boat people today would have knocked on the door of Australia and said "My dear people of Australia, 2,000 years ago, it used to be my homeland. You have to give me half of it now and a third of it later on". This would never be accepted by anyone in Australia and rightly so.
Yeah. In light of what the lady ahead said, why is it that other people and nations like the Kurds, Assyrians and Gypsies were not given their right place of a homeland and why was there a special privilege to the people of the Jewish land? …
Whatever we think about the way empires were dismantled or people resettled after World War II, we would be silly to ignore a widespread perception that the United States, The West, or even the United Nations will never side with an Arab nation in a conflict with a non-Arab Nation.
We might conveniently forget the involvement of the British in a great number of conflicts, or that the US rarely acts alone, but will easily remember Americans have recently been involved in wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in the Persian Gulf.
It took a while for the US to become involved in WWI, but the war itself was partly a war of The West v the Ottoman Empire.
I find it intriguing Irving Wallach thinks an alliance with Hitler is somehow justification for the dispossession of Palestinians. Military alliances are often nothing more than empty posturing or tactical measures, and an awful lot of people lined up to shake hands with Hitler.
The bottom line is that many of us have been born on soil that was once occupied by different peoples. We are also often born where we are born because one or more of our forebears were themselves dispossessed or devalued. Quite frankly, if there is an afterlife and I qualify for a spot in heaven, I’ll be keeping an eye out for Oliver Cromwell.
Behind every category of race, nationality or religion there are real people with real family histories, all struggling to find or keep a place for themselves within a welcoming community.
Those who feel most despairing of ever finding what they need will often settle for what they think they can have.