Gershon Baskin lecturing in front of Students at Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Israel’s Baskin Case

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Gershon Baskin is analyzed by the director of the Israel Resource News Agency & The Center for Near East Policy Research.

Gershon Baskin, writer for the Jerusalem Post,writes an opinion column in which he weaves questionable facts that represent his own ideas. As an opinion writer, Baskin is entitled to his opinion. The question is whether the time has come for the Jerusalem Post and others who take Baskin at his word to challenge the questionable statements of supposed fact that Baskin weaves into his writings.  

Kane Rooks, a Jerusalem based journalist, has done the following  research into Baskin’s writings, documenting a record of columns misrepresenting the reality of Israel.

This week Baskin  is a featured speaker at Jewish Federations in the US, which provides an opportune time for his listeners to do learn more about the perspective of their guest.

A selection of questionable declarations from articles found on Baskin’s website and on many news websites follows:

PA President Mahmoud Abbas is open to possibilities in reaching an agreement what will provide Israel with all of its security needs.[1]

It is easy to speak to the people on the other side of conflict, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, using Facebook and other social media.[2]

Even though the Arab world and Palestinian leadership declined the partition plan in 1947, the same plan is the only solution that exists today 68 years later.[3]

The current Israeli-elected government is the most racist it has ever been, which will lead Israel to being almost completely isolated internationally.[4]

The State of Palestine, recognized by at least 153 countries and by the United Nations, will confront Israel in every forum and convention possible.[5]

The BDS campaign when officially supported by the State of Palestine, will focus on the illegitimacy of occupation and not Israel’s existence, as an attack on occupation refers to 1967 and not 1948.[6]

The Palestinians will try to make the point that are not calling to destroy Israel, but only for the right of existence of the Palestinian people on their own lands occupied by Israel in 1967. [7]

The Palestinian government led by President Mahmoud Abbas can only control the outbreak of violence in areas under their control. In areas outside of their control and in Israeli control, violence will be rampant.[8]

Even if Israel will get a period of temporary relief if a national unity government is formed, the Palestinians will double their efforts and focus on the illegality of settlements and much less on war crimes accusations against Israeli leaders and officers.[9]

There is no trust between the Palestinians and Israelis. Israel cannot be both democratic and a Jewish nation state if it continues to deny the Palestinians right to self-determination. The Palestinians have agreed to a non-militarized Palestinian state without an air force, artillery and tanks. An overwhelming majority of Gazans would agree to demilitarization if it was exchanged for peace. [10]

Netanyahu has never been and will never be a partner for peace. Netanyahu and Bennett lie about how Israel does not control the Palestinians, as they claim the PA controls 98% of the Palestinian people in the ‘West Bank’. There is no Palestinian sovereignty and no Palestinian control. Israel completely controls areas A, B and C. Boycotts, sanctions and divestments will only increase if Israel does not change its rhetoric.[11]

Israel is not alone, it has peaceful allies in Egypt and Jordan. Regional coordination can only be optimized through a peace process and an end to Israel’s occupation.[12]

Binational states don’t exist or work, partition is the only solution. Israel claims that it does not rule over the Palestinians because 98% of the Palestinians come under direct rule of the PA. The PA might take care of waste removal, social and health services, and education but the real government in the ‘West Bank’ is the Israeli Civil Administration. The PA has no ability to do anything, and it needs Israel’s approval on almost everything. When Israel does not approve, Israel withholds tax revenues, limits movements, and closes roads. The Palestinian people are not free and no status of peace will ever emerge from this reality. With 62% of the ‘West Bank’ under full Israeli control and new settlements sprouting on ever hilltop, if a two state solution doesn’t come quickly, it never will.[13]

The only way to demilitarize Gaza is to ensure it becomes part of Palestine and that Israel ends its occupation. Hamas will reject this initiative, but the people of Gaza and Palestine will support it.[14]

Israel could address the security issues (concerning Gaza) with Abbas as well as all of the political issues and empower him and other moderates at the expense of the extremists.[15]

As long as the Palestinians refrain from violence, their diplomatic strategy will be successful and occupation will come to an end. 134 countries have already recognized Palestine. The Palestinians see enormous progress being made through BDS.[16]

Almost all Israelis and Palestinians want peace. The Palestinians recognized Israel but that wasn’t good enough for Israel. The Palestinians must gain its freedom and liberation from Israeli occupation. The Palestinians are concerned that if they recognize Israel they will lose the right of return. Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian people made the strategic decision of giving up the right of return when it declared independence of the Palestinian state on the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.[17]

Quotes from the book The Negotiatior, Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas.

Hamas, while being an acronym for the Islamic Resistance movement, also means “enthusiasm” in Arabic.[18]

In 1988 the PLO adopted a two-state solution and in 1993 the official leadership of the Palestinian people entered the peace process with Israel based on mutual recognition.[19]

“Hudna” is an Arabic term meaning truce or cease-fire based on Islamic law.[20]

Dr. Ahmed Yousef, Haniyeh’s political adviser and one of Hamas’ main ideologues, is considered a moderate.[21]

Prime Minister Haniyeh needed to distance himself from the Schalit kidnapping, because the attack had been conducted by the military branch of Hamas which doesn’t consult the political branch. [22]

Ghazi phoned Gilad’s father Noam six days after he was abducted. His main message was that he was alive and being treated in accordance with Islamic law, which strictly governs the treatment of prisoners.[23]

Ghazi Hamad was a serious, sincere, calm and optimistic person.[24]

It felt bizarre going through Hamas security even though I had been invited, I received a warm welcome.[25]

Gilad Schalit would not have come home if Ghazi Hamad would have not taken a personal responsibility for keeping an open channel between Israel and Hamas.[26]

Khaled Mashal generally speaks about a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. “The emphasis today is on non-violent resistance. Some Hamas leaders have clearly weighed the steep price they have paid for launching rockets against Israel and the consequent pressure by Palestinian President Abbas on them to put down their arms. Hamas, in Gaza, has occasionally enforced cease-fire understandings and has even established a special force aimed at preventing rocket fire against Israel by other militias. This is not insignificant.”[27] “

Schalit was kidnapped by rogue organizations that at the last moment brought Ahmed Jaabri and Ezzedin al Qassam into the picture… Despite the attempts of some leaders – such as Prime Minister Haniyeh – to separate themselves from the abductors, Hamas’ political leadership had to bear responsibility for the actions of these rogue militias. Ultimately, powerbrokers and poor Gazans alike paid a very high price for an abduction not of their choosing.”[28]

“While I expressed genuine empathy with the suffering of the Palestinian people, more than once Ghazi expressed sorrow over the killing of innocent Israelis.”[29]

“As long as there are Palestinians in Israeli prisons and the conflict continues to breed hatred, there will be Palestinians who believe that the only way to free those prisoners is by abducting Israelis – civilians or soldiers. Most Palestinians perceive that Israel is not generous about releasing prisoners.”[30]

Declarations made by Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) about Palestinian school books:

“The Palestinian text books have confused messages and it is not difficult to come to the understanding that the main political theme imparted to the students is that Israel should not exist and that is essentially the Palestinian goal. Assuming that this is not the political message that the Palestinian Authority adheres to, there is a need to make real revisions and amendments in the Palestinian text books.”[31]

“I know that educators in Palestinian and people in the education department writing the textbooks wanted to write Israel, wanted to write different text under the maps, but they were told by the highest level politicians in Palestinian that that was not acceptable.”[32]

“There are no direct instances that reflect a denial of Jewish connection to the Holy Land and the holy places in it However, the terms and passages used to describe some historical events are sometimes offensive in nature and could be construed as reflecting hatred of and discrimination against Jews and Judaism.”[33]

“Generally speaking, coverage and presentation of history and historical facts is characterized as being selective. In addition one notices some elements and dimensions of imbalance and bias in the presentation of some ancient, recent and modern historical events that transpired in the region.”[34]

“The recently published textbooks reviewed contain no negative sentiments towards Judaism or any other religion for that matter. Except for a couple of accounts of historical events and anecdotes about Jews (Jews marry for money, Reading and Anthology, Grade 9, Part 2, p. 22) that could be viewed as an instance of ethnic stereotyping, and one historical account about Christians (Knights of St. Johns in the Island of Rhodes described as sea pirates, Arab History, Grade 9, p. 7), the textbooks are devoid of any blatant or negative representation of either Christians or Jews. Monotheistic religions are mostly mentioned in positive contexts and are viewed in positive light. One unsettling observation, however, is the lack of direct and clear references to Christianity and Judaism in spite of ample contexts to include them in the presentation of new material.”[35]

“The textbooks contain frequent references that relate to resisting the Israeli occupation of the territories taken in 1967. These references are frequently associated with the concepts of resisting and liberating as national and religious duties. There is no clear evidence or express call for liberating the land of historical Palestine. However, the vagueness and lack of specificity to the 1967 borders may give the impression that is call is made with reference historical Palestine including the territory of the State of Israel.”[36]

“A good number of maps presented across the curriculum show Israel, the ‘West Bank’ and the Gaza Strip as one geographic entity (without demarcation lines or differentiated colorings). Historically Palestinian cities (e.g., Akka, Yafa, Haifa, Safad, al-Lid, Ar-Ramla, Beer As-sabe) are included in some maps that lump together the areas controlled by the PA with those inside the State of Israel. No map of the region bears the name of Israel in its pre-1967 borders. In addition, Israeli towns with a predominantly Jewish population are not represented on these maps.”[37]

“The textbooks include multiple references that portray Israel and Zionism in a negative light. However, no evidence was found of direct calls for the destruction of Israel. Except for calls for resisting occupation and oppression, no signs were detected of outright promotion of hatred towards Israel, Judaism, or Zionism. If the lack of ample references to the State of Israel in the body of the texts and on the maps as denial of its existence, no evidence was found that points to an intentional attempt to do so. There is, moreover, no indication of hatred of the Western Judeo-Christian tradition or the values associated with it.”[38]

“Several passages in the Arabic Language, Grade 9; Our Beautiful Language, Grade 4, Part 2; National Education, Grade 4, Part 1 textbooks include references that reflect a continuous Arab presence in the region (some references date that presence back to the ancient Canaanites and Jebusites) even though this claim has considerable contention amongst historians contesting this as historical fact. Other racial, ethnic and religious groups that inhabited and/or had control over the region are not dealt with explicitly in many of the textbooks; especially noted is the lack of reference to Jewish presence.”[39]

“The practice of appropriating sites, areas, localities, geographic regions, etc. inside the territory of the State of Israel as Palestine/Palestinian observed in our previous review, remains a feature of the newly published textbooks (4th and 9th Grade) laying substantive grounds to the contention that the Palestinian Authority did not in fact recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people.”[40]

IPCRI: corrections to their report by Dr. Arnon Groiss:

CMIP has found the IPCRI report to be lacking on three specific levels:

Technical Treatment of the Findings

• IPCRI has not made a systematic effort to gather all the available material. Many findings, including decisively important ones, are left out.

• The researchers appear to have relied on second-hand information, including CMIP’s reports, with no real verification.

• External views and explanations were introduced by the researchers into the report, side by side with the source material.

• The source material is paraphrased or summarized, with no reliable system of reference.[41]

Use of the Findings in the Report

• The IPCRI researchers do not combine pieces of evidence to form a whole picture. Each piece is treated separately.

• Important findings are sometimes presented with no comment.

• Some of the presented findings are false.

• Findings are sometimes presented in a misleading manner.

• There is a tendency on the part of the researchers to “explain” findings that seem unpleasant to them – either by themselves or by PA officials, to minimize the importance of such findings, or blur their meaning.

• On the other hand, they tend to highlight other findings.[42]

Assessment

• The assessment tends to be more lenient than the evidence upon which it is supposed to be based. It often ignores important findings or distorts them.

• There are instances in which false conclusions are given, in complete contradiction to the findings.

• In some other cases, unsubstantiated statements and conclusions are made.

• Important issues are sometimes ignored and no conclusion is given in their case.

• At least in one case, a conclusion is phrased in a misleading way.

• There are cases in which the researchers do not ask all the right questions necessary for the research of a certain point.

• The IPCRI researchers tend to ignore implied messages in the findings.[43]

[1] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/the-citizens-challenge-from-despair-to-hope/

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/the-world-is-not-against-us/

[4] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/this-is-what-you-voted-for-and-this-is-what-you-will-get/

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/the-no-decision-elections/

[10] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/a-cautious-peace-but-peace-nevertheless/

[11] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/sake-israel-netanyahu-must-sent-home/

[12] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/new-idf-chief-staff-gadi-eisenkot/

[13] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/vision-real-peace/

[14] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/my-initiative-for-security-stability-peace/

[15] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/encountering-peace-ending-the-cycle/

[16] http://gershonbaskin.org/insights/saving-the-two-state-solution/

[17] http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Palestinians-get-over-it-and-recognize-the-Jewish-nation-state-395109

[18] Pg. 5

[19] Pg. 9

[20] Pg. 10

[21] Pg. 12

[22] Pg. 13

[23] Pg. 16

[24] Pg. 27

[25] Pg. 41

[26] Pg. 239

[27] Pg. 264

[28] Pg. 265

[29] Pg. 266

[30] Pg. 267

[31] http://newappeal.blogspot.co.il/2004/12/rubbish-from-iht-on-palestinian.html

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] http://sites.xkute.co.il/ipcri2/index.php/publications/research-and-information/71-analysis-and-evaluation-of-the-new-palestinian-curriculum-report-ii-2004?showall=&start=1

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] http://sites.xkute.co.il/ipcri2/index.php/publications/research-and-information/71-analysis-and-evaluation-of-the-new-palestinian-curriculum-report-ii-2004?showall=&start=1

[41] http://www.impact-se.org/docs/reactions/institutes/IPCRI3.pdf

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.