Let Israeli trees burn

Jewish Voice for Peace, anti-Israel groups, cheer for Jerusalem fires

America’s Woke and Progressive movement identifies itself as environment friendly. It supports the “Green New Deal” and opposes the fossil fuel industry, except in Iran’s case, where it endorses reviving a deal that allows Tehran to export over three million barrels of oil a day.

Supporting the Iran deal is not the only contradiction in the rhetoric of the anti-Israel crowd. “Covering up Palestinians’ presence on their land with foreign trees backfired on Israel and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which planted the climate-inappropriate pine forests that burned in Jerusalem last week,” Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Israel American organization, posted on Facebook. The organization said that the Jerusalem fires exposed “the lies that Zionists ‘made the desert bloom’ and settled on a ‘land without a people’,” and showcased Israeli “colonial myths.”

Jewish Voice for Peace argued that JNF has planted 80 million pine trees, that these “trees have proven to be ill-suited,” and that the “Palestinian environment seems to be rebelling against Zionist interference and domination.”

But Pine trees — both Pinus Halepensis (Aleppo Pine) and Pinus Brutia — are native to the Mediterranean basin, including Palestine. Pine forests in Greeece, Turkey and Lebanon — all Mediterranean — suffered massive fires around the same time that fire consumed wide swaths of Jerusalem forests.

Jewish Voice for Peace and the anti-Israel crowd are also inexplicably angry at the Zionist forestation project, arguing that the Zionists concocted such a diabolical scheme only to prove points made by early Zionist leaders, that the Palestinian landscape was too arid.

If Jewish Voice for Peace does not believe Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weizmann, who both said that the Palestinian landscape “is bare,” with “sad piles of debris” and fields that “lie fallow,” describing the “Holy Land” as a “wilderness” and Jewish settlements as oases, the organization can check out how Rawhi Khalidi (d. 1913), a native of Jerusalem,  described Palestine during his time. 

In his book, Khalidi wrote that migrants to Palestine were only the impoverished Jews from Eastern Europe. “As for Jewish residents of Western European kingdoms, they enjoy freedom and equality, and control finance and trade so much so that it would not occur to any of them that they would leave their profitable lives and settle the arid land of Palestine that is deprived of all aspects of civilization.” 

Before the Zionists started settling in Palestine, the land was arid and agriculture was primitive. Zionists brought with them superior agricultural technology and planted quarter of a billion pine trees (not only 80,000). 

Whether one agrees with Zionism or not, credit has to be given where credit is due: The Zionists have been more environmentally friendly than any other Middle Eastern group. The Zionist environmental agenda even fits with that of the most ardent American Progressives, who put environment above everything else, except in the cases of Iran and Israel, where Hamas has been — since May — flying balloons from Gaza that land in Israel and start fires.

The anti-Israel crowd is willing to twist narratives to make them fit its rhetoric, even if twisting means wishing that all Israeli trees burn. The anti-Israel crowd says that fire is a metaphor that represents rebelling Palestinians, in which case, the burning trees must be a stand-in for all Israelis, a horrible image that the politically amateur anti-Israel Americans fail to notice.