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).
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.
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?
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.
for HaCohen's specific claims:
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.
reason the Israeli government did not destroy Goldstein's
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
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.