Ran HaCohen Distorts My Position on Israel
by David Horowitz
FrontPageMag.com
January 23, 2002

I never enjoy reading the attacks of people who begin by lying about what I said and insulting me based on their lies. HaCohen without evidence or citation accuses me of hating Arabs and being ready to sacrifice his life to satisfy my hatred. No one who has actually read my article on Israel could have failed to notice its concern for the Palestinian Arabs living on the West Bank who have been abused for fifty years by the rulers of the Arab world. So HaCohen begins, so to speak, on two left feet (and goes rapidly downhill from there).

Thus, I don't see Israelis as America's "colonial army" (the comic-strip fantasy of the political left) and made this unmistakably clear in my original piece by treating America's support for Israel strictly as an act of humanity. It was only in response to Scott McConnell's claim that America had no self-interest in defending Israel that I came up with an argument that it did.

To butt into a discussion that has been hitherto civilized and respectful and start out with a series of vicious ad hominem smears is nasty indeed. The character assassination continues even after HaCohen has finished his throat clearing. My argument is "too trivial to analyze" (so why are you bothering?); it is "shameless," "repulsive" and "racist," even "genocidal." Why does this all feel so Leninist to me?

Five paragraphs into his "argument" HaCohen finally gets to a point. I didn't mention the settlements, he charges. True. There was a reason. First because the Jewish settlements in the Sinai were disbanded after Egypt signed a peace settlement with Israel. So there is no particular reason to think they would be an obstacle to a serious Palestinian interest in peace. Second because even if the settlements are not disbanded, there is no reason to suppose that they would remain part of Israel after a peace was signed. In fact, the only reason the settlements are an issue is that the Arabs will not contemplate a Jewish presence in Arab lands. Whereas a million Arabs are settled in Israel. This alone should make honest third parties consider whether there are really two sides to these issues.

Now for HaCohen's specific claims:

  1. The number of Jews killed by Arabs from 1993 to 1999. I cited my source, which is taken from the official figures of the Israeli Defense Forces (i.e., the government). It is available at www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org (Myths and Facts of the Middle East). I'll stay with this number, but it doesn't really matter. Even one Israeli killed by PLO terrorists is a violation of the Oslo Accords. The Accords were a deal: Israel would create a Palestinian authority, arm a Palestinian police force and turn over lots of land in exchange for one thing: the Arabs would renounce violence as a means to achieving their goals. Hence even one dead Israeli is too much, let alone 395 or 1,000 or whatever. As for the 95% figure, I never claimed that this is what the Palestinians have now. As is clearly stated in my article, it is what Barak offered and the Palestinians refused.

  2. The reason the Israeli government did not destroy Goldstein's home is that, as HaCohen concedes, "most Israelis indeed condemned the crime" which was the point of the passage in the article HaCohen thinks he is demolishing. By contrast the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian community en masse support the suicide bombers, whose families are officially rewarded. One effect of destroying their homes is to neutralize the material incentives offered by Arafat to would-be killers. The entire of town of Tulkarm was in the streets celebrating after an agent of Arafat's Fatah invaded the Bat Mitzvah of a thirteen year old and gunned down 6 innocent Jews.

  3. My sentence about assassinated Arab leaders probably should have read "who attempted to make peace with the Jews." The two other assassinated Arab leaders were King Abdullah of Jordan, and Bashir Gamayel of Lebanon. Abdullah was in the process of making peace, Gamayel had made one. The difference between the assassination of Rabin and the other assassinations is that behind Rabin were Peres and Barak and many others like him. In fact all Israeli leaders, including Sharon, have shown that they will accept a reasonable peace (as at Camp David).

  4. This argument in respect to the Camp David peace misses the point entirely. The point was that once a peace agreement was reached satisfactory to both sides, the Israelis gave up what they had occupied, even though in this case it meant giving up Sinai oil. In other words Israel is serious about peace. The logical conclusion is that the reason there is no peace with the other parties involved is because Arafat, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq do not want peace.

  5. I gave the source of the 1948 figure for Jews in Israel. I stand by it. There would be no Arab refugees if 5 Arab states had not attacked Israel at birth. The claim that the Israelis ethnically cleansed the region is false and does not square with the fact that the Israeli press at the time complained about the Arab "fifth column" who fled "at the first sign of trouble" (i.e., when the nation was attacked) or that the Israelis gave the Arabs who did not flee more rights than they have in any Arab state. HaCohen doesn't mention the 600,000 Jews driven from their ancestral homes in the Arab Middle East who wound up as refugees in Israel (and whom the Israelis took care of in contrast to the Arab states including Palestinian Jordan who did not take care of the Palestinian refugees). I am not going to engage in arguments about whether the Israelis drove out thousands or not in 1948 because it is futile. This history has been rehashed many times. Readers who are interested can consult the websites of the opposing camp. In this as in other matters, I have relied on www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org and the book Myths and Facts About the Middle East which is available on this site, and which answers what looks like virtually every leftist myth about the Middle East that HaCohen and his anti-Israeli friends have invented.

  6. The claim that a "right of return" is granted by the 1948 UN resolution misinterprets that resolution and greatly exaggerates what its authors had in mind. The resolution states that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and to live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest possible date..." There are few Palestinians today who would qualify as wishing to live in peace with the Israelis. But it is 50 years, three wars and decades of government sponsored hate since this resolution was devised. Among other things, the UN resolution did not contemplate a lasting refugee problem entirely created, as I pointed out in my article, by the Arabs' refusal to resettle the refugees. Or that the refugee population would grow to ten times its original size through this Arab refusal (which spanned the 20 years that the West Bank was a part of Palestinian Jordan) and through Arab procreation. To repeat: there are very few Arabs living today who once lived in territorial Israel. On the other hand there are millions of Jewish descendants of people in Israel who were forcibly deprived of their homes in Europe and throughout the Middle East and who have no hope of reclaiming their ancestral residences. If there is a claim of humanity in the refugee problem as it exists today, that claim needs to be made against the Arab states and the Palestinian authority who have spent billions on war against Israel but nothing on making the lives of the Palestinian refugees better.

  7. HaCohen's last point takes the cake for stupidity. As I pointed out in the original article, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan just to name three relevant ones are states carved out of territory conquered by England and France from the Ottoman Turks. It would be truer to say that every nation in the world has begun in a conquest than to make appeals to fantasies like "international law" which is a law of convenience, not of nature.

I realized when I read the first few sentences of HaCohen's attack that he would not provide an analysis of my argument, let alone a refutation of its conclusions. In my original article I deliberately avoided the particular claims of atrocities on either side of treaties broken, agreements abandoned etc. etc. My intention was to provide an overview of how the present impasse in the Middle East came to pass through events spanning almost a century. By viewing the patterns of this history this was my claim it is possible to see beyond the particular claims and counter-claims to the larger picture. It is this larger picture that indicts the Arab states and the Palestinian leadership.

Unfortunately but not unexpectedly HaCohen doesn't want to look at this larger picture and thus to join the actual argument. Instead, he prefers to wallow in his self-hatred as a Jew and as the ungrateful and treacherous citizen of a western democracy that is under assault in a hostile environment: the Islamo-fascist Middle East.

Mr. HaCohen has wasted his time and mine. Perhaps, however, it will not a waste of time for the regular visitors to this site, particularly if they ask themselves what they are doing in bed with the anti-Western left that HaCohen represents.

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