Making sure Americans hear only one story



When Zionist forces murdered Arab Palestine with premeditation in 1947-8, not only did they kill thousands of Palestinians and expel 80-90% of the native population from its homes, but they also followed up the ethnic cleansing with the bulldozing of hundreds of Palestinian villages in many cases 1000s of years old. Nowadays most scholars are aware that Zionists compounded their main crime against the native population of Palestine with an atrocity against the disciplines of ME archeology and anthropology [If Christian Zionists were sincere in their beliefs and religion, this fact, on principle, would be highly disturbing), but philologists are generally less aware of the wealth of diachronic and synchronic Arabic and Semitic linguistic data that Zionists destroyed as they uprooted the native population of Palestine.


Occupied Voices and Controlled Discourse by Joachim Martillo 2007
Rafael Medoff describes "The Day Nathan Straus Went to Church" in Zionism and the Arabs (An American Jewish Dilemma 1898-1948). Nathan Straus is the wealthy philanthropist after whom the Israeli city of Netanya is named. The important Zionist leader, Rabbi Stephen Wise, persuaded Straus to send Reverend John Haynes Holmes, pastor of New York's Community Church to Palestine. The Zionist settlement impressed Holmes, but Holmes spoke with Palestinian Arab leaders and developed strong reservations about the undemocratic nature of the Zionist program. When another Zionist leader Julian Mack reported Holmes's findings to Straus, Straus rushed to the Community Church on Sunday, April 7, 1929, to "set Holmes straight" before Holmes could present the results of his conversations with Palestinians to his congregants.
The pattern of the effort to control the presentation of Palestinian views and opinions to the American public has not changed over the last 75 years. Under Zionist rules Americans are supposed to hear Palestinian voices only through sanctioned mediators or through the approved filter.
Wendy Pearlman addresses the disconnect between American discourse and ordinary Palestinians in her new book, Occupied Voices (Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada). She states in the "Introduction" on page xxvi, "Furthermore, it is my belief the widespread misrepresentations of Palestinians and the general dearth of materials allowing them to tell their own stories makes a collection of exclusively Palestinian interviews crucial at this time. For reasons of common culture and political history, Westerners tend to be more familiar with the Israeli narrative than its Palestinian counterpart. Palestinians deserve a forum in which they can speak freely. We in America, in Europe and even, if not especially, in Israel stand to gain tremendously if we stop and listen."
Americans are so well trained at this point that the reviewer from Publisher's Weekly probably attacked the whole premise of the book purely out of conditioned reflex. He appears to believe that Pearlman should have been correcting and reeducating Palestinians instead of researching and revealing Palestinian opinion to the US public.
[Pearlman's] book grows out of her sojourn and 'provide[s] a window into the human dimension of their struggle' by letting the Palestinians speak for themselves. Think of it as Studs Terkel goes to the Middle East -- except that only one side in the conflict gets to speak. The first thing that emerges from these interviews is that the Palestinians have suffered a great deal -- if someone hasn't been hurt, jailed or degraded by the Israeli occupation, they know someone who has. 'The army just opens fire whenever it wants to,' says Mahmoud, whose house was razed by the Israeli army. But while Pearlman says her aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some readers will come away only with despair, a sense that the conflict will never be settled. One Palestinian after another here shows an inability to see any legitimacy in the Israeli side, or to support an end to the current intifada or any attempts at peace-the moribund Oslo peace process is seen as a sellout. And when Pearlman fails to question such statements as that Israel has failed to comply with any U.N. resolution since 1948, many readers may despair regarding Pearlman as well.
Despite the misguided complaints of the above review, American readers should be grateful that Pearlman has published this book, for the current level of US involvement in the ME requires that all Americans be aware of current Palestinian thinking whether true or false. If Palestinians believe something that Americans do not, Americans might want to consider the possibility that common wisdom in the USA may be wrong.
Pearlman's transcriptions of Palestinian opinion are all valuable.
Suzanne's comments on p. 54 are particularly worthwhile because US reporters and political analysts, who for the most part do not read or speak Arabic, rarely challenge Zionist and Israeli claims that Palestinian school textbooks are loaded with anti-Semitism and incitement.
President Bush never fails to express his sympathy for victims of Palestinian terrorism even though he never criticizes Israeli state terrorism, but the toxic terror culture in Israel/Palestine is beyond understanding unless one is aware of the casual cruelty of Israeli policy even when the State of Israel does not employ deadly force. I direct the reader to pages 135-6 of Pearlman's book.
This little book is a gem that should be in the library of anyone that tries to comprehend the issues in Palestine and the ME. It has flaws but they are minor. I wish the book had been accompanied by a CD that contained the original interviews. I understand the absence. Providing such a CD would have required effort from a sound engineer and probably would have delayed publication. Nevertheless, the value to  a specialist in linguistics would have been immense.
When Zionist forces murdered Arab Palestine with premeditation in 1947-8, not only did they kill thousands of Palestinians and expel 80-90% of the native population from its homes, but they also followed up the ethnic cleansing with the bulldozing of hundreds of Palestinian villages in many cases 1000s of years old. Nowadays most scholars are aware that Zionists compounded their main crime against the native population of Palestine with an atrocity against the disciplines of ME archeology and anthropology, but philologists are generally less aware of the wealth of diachronic and synchronic Arabic and Semitic linguistic data that Zionists destroyed as they uprooted the native population of Palestine. If a CD had accompanied Occupied Voices, a specialist might have been able to analyze it to determine how much of the unique regional Palestinian phonemic, morphological, semantic and syntactic dialect features still survived among the current generation.

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