Extremists on Palestinian Side
It was refreshing to see some clarity from The New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren and to contrast it with the alternative reality of J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami (“J Street Head, Reporter Fear for Israel’s Future,” “Our View: J Street Fantasy,” May 20).
The core issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict is Palestinian and broader Arab refusal to accept a permanent Israel behind any boundaries. Every Palestinian leader, including Mahmoud Abbas, has made it clear that a Palestinian state in the West Bank will not end the conflict but will only be used as a springboard for further attacks on Israel.
A cursory examination of statements by Palestinian leaders and of Palestinian media confirms this. See www.pmw.org for example. Yet another generation of Palestinians is being indoctrinated for endless conflict in the belief that Israel can be dismantled step by step.
Unfortunately, none of this is reflected in mainstream media. Abbas can talk of Jews’ “filthy feet desecrating the Temple Mount” and praise murderers as “martyrs” yet be called “moderate,” while Israeli leaders who are doves by comparison are described as “hard-line” or even “extremist.”
The public incitement to violence by Palestinian leaders simply never makes it to NPR or The New York Times.
It is tragic when groups like J Street try to undercut support for Israel while ignoring unwavering Palestinian intransigence. Can you name any other conflict where the side that is repeatedly attacked and denied the right to exist is pressured by its own people to make ever-more-one-sided concessions to enemies dedicated to their destruction?
Rather than undercut Israel, Jews should expose Palestinian incitement and rejectionism. They should call for Palestinian leaders to be held responsible for their actions. They should tell the history of Arab-initiated wars — and tell the history of Jewish refugees from Arab lands and the plight of Jews under Arab and Ottoman rule.
It is indeed strange that France will host yet another empty parley on the Arab-Israeli conflict on June 3, the day after the 75th anniversary of the Farhud — the massacre of over 180 Jews in Baghdad in 1941, which marked the beginning of the end of Iraq’s ancient Jewish community.
— Doron Lubinsky, Sandy Springs
Ben-Ami Disconnected From Reality
Jeremy Ben-Ami is, indeed, out of touch with reality. He is also neither pro-Israel nor an advocate of a “fair deal for the Palestinians.” His placing the blame for the lack of a resolution of the conflict on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shoulders while ignoring Palestinian intransigence is unconscionable.
Ben-Ami ignores the fact that the Arabs who today call themselves Palestinians could have had a state, bloodlessly, in 1947 if the Arab states neighboring Israel had not gone to war, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Arabs fleeing the area, as well as a comparable number of Jews being expelled from their homes in Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Israel did not say, “The expelled Jews will be kept in transit camps until the Muslim countries compensate them for the homes and businesses they had to leave behind.” The displaced Jews were welcomed, absorbed and uplifted in their new home.
In contrast, the fleeing Arabs became the only refugee group that passes refugee status from one generation to the next. Their descendants are denied citizenship in most Muslim countries as well as being restricted from working in many professional occupations. Their leaders insist that they remain refugees until Israel gives them the homes their forebears fled in 1948.
Mahmoud Abbas does not intend to grant them citizenship in any Palestinian state that may eventually be established.
Do the refugees who today are fleeing Islamic State and the Syrian civil war fear being trapped in a similar refugee limbo for generations? Has the world’s acceptance of the Palestinians’ right to violently resist the occupation (ignoring their leaders’ repeated refusals to negotiate on Israel’s many peace proposals) emboldened the Muslim states to encourage and fund terrorism and enabled the jihadi attacks on New York, London, Brussels, Madrid, etc.?
— Toby F. Block, Atlanta