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The Big Lie About Israel


Jewish Israeli citizens have diverse views about whether settlements in Palestinian areas should proceed or not. Generally speaking, the vast majority of the "tribe" wants simply to live in peace and "exist".


The issue isn't black and white, but our kind has never been exactly welcomed with open arms after the Holocaust in the Middle East.


The Big Lie About Israel

By Steve Huntley | July 26,2023


The overwhelming denunciation from official Washington of the latest outburst of antisemitism from the Democrat Party’s hate-Israel caucus is of course welcome. Yet, it didn’t confront the big lie behind the racist libel against Israel — that it is the Jewish nation that is the roadblock to the creation of a Palestinian state.


The newest venomous outburst came from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chairman of the “Congressional Progressive Caucus.” “I want you to know that we have been fighting to make it clear that Israel is a racist state,” she declared in Chicago recently.


She’s just the latest member of the extreme left Democrat anti-Israel faction to smear the only democracy in the Middle East, one whose previous government included an Arab political party.


Already on record defaming Israel a couple of years ago as “a racist state” is Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American representing Michigan in Congress. A few years ago, another antisemite extremist, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, characterized U.S. support for the Jewish state as “it’s all about the Benjamins baby.”


The House of Representatives responded to Jayapal’s calumny by passing 412-9 a resolution declaring “Israel is not a racist or apartheid state; Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia; and the United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”


That’s fine as far as it goes. But it doesn’t actually label Jayapal’s statement as antisemitic. And that is exactly what it was.


The racist slander is an attack on Israel’s legitimacy and its right to exist. How is it that among the nearly 200 nations on the globe, it is only the Jewish state that has its right to exist challenged time and again?


And the resolution doesn’t tackle the big lie implicit in what else Jayapal said — “that the Palestinian people deserve self-determination.”


The implication is that Israel is responsible for preventing a two-state solution yielding a Palestinian state.


That is false in every way. The history is clear, unequivocal and damning to Palestinians.


In 2000 with a Camp David summit orchestrated by President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered a comprehensive peace proposal. It would have created a Palestinian state on most of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, a further expansion of the West Bank area over 10 to 25 years, land swaps necessary to achieve the Palestinian state while incorporating in Israel several Jewish West Bank communities, a land connection linking the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and an arrangement for religious sites in East Jerusalem.


The monstrous terrorist Yasser Arafat responded with a bloody campaign of terror, suicide bombings, shootings and slaughter that killed more than a thousand Israelis and, as the Israelis had no choice but to fight back, even more Palestinians. Soon you heard media accounts of a “cycle of violence.” Nonsense. As is always the case, it’s a sequence of violence, with the Palestinians starting the killing.


As the Israelis mourned their dead and the thousands more injured, they saw then, they didn’t have a peace partner.


But the Israelis didn’t give up on their hopes for a settlement.


The Palestinians were given a chance to demonstrate they could govern the Gaza Strip and live in peace with Israel when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all 7,500 Jewish inhabitants from the Strip and closed military facilities there in 2004-2005.


Right from the start the signs were bad. The Israelis left behind economic assets like greenhouses. They were burned as soon as Palestinians gained control of them. It wasn’t long before the vile terrorist gang Hamas took control of the area and the Strip became headquarters for terrorist plots, attacks and rocket barrages against Israel.


Again Israel saw it didn’t have a partner for peace.


Yet, it would take another effort.


The Israelis opened negotiations with new Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in late 2006 (by then Arafat was dead and rotting in hell). In 2008 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sweetened the 2000 Israeli peace plan. For instance he offered a near total withdrawal from the West Bank, placing the Old City religious sites under international control, and Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem so it could be the capital of the new state.


Olmert said it would be 50 years before another Israeli leader would offer such a generous plan and urged Abbas to not “miss this opportunity.” (Olmert was, perhaps unconsciously, channelling the late, great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban who once observed about the Palestinians, “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”)


Well, they missed another opportunity. Abbas walked away from this generous proposal.


Once more Israel learned it didn’t have a partner in peace.


In 2010, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried yet again, this time ordering a 10-month partial freeze on construction in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, to facilitate negotiations. Again nothing.


You notice that it was always Israel offering a plan and concessions. Nothing comparable ever came from the Palestinian side.


Finally in 2014 Abbas did offer up a proposal — not to Israel but to the United States. All you need to know about its deficiencies and lack of sincerity is that President Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, rejected it. There was nothing there worth taking up with the Israelis.


And last month a new poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that only 28 percent of Palestinians support a two-state solution while 70 percent are against it. And a majority expressed support for violence against Jews.


So when you hear someone like Jayapal say “that the Palestinian people deserve self-determination,” remember the history of Israeli peace offers, of Jewish hopes for peace, of never ending Palestinian rejection.


Jayapal spoke up at a mid-July meeting of Netroots Nation, a progressive organization, where pro-Palestinian hecklers shouted down Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a prominent Jewish member of the House and proponent of the far left view that always puts the onus on Israel while excusing the Palestinians. She tried to quiet the crowd by describing herself as “one of the most outspoken voices (in Congress) for justice for the Palestinians.” When it didn’t work, Jayapal stepped up with her dose of antisemitism. News reports don’t record that Schakowsky, who calls herself a “steadfast friend and supporter” of Israel, had anything to say about that.


The disgraceful spectacle in Chicago showcased the American far-left’s ever growing hostility to Israel. That hostility is evident in the kind of venom spouted by Jayapal, Tlaib and Omar, an openly anti-Israel atmosphere on too many college campuses sometimes leaving Jewish students fearful, and the boycott and disinvest campaign against the Jewish state.


Any government leader, politician, international organization or activist group interested in self determination for the Palestinians would tell them to finally, at long last, enter into serious negotiations with Israel.


The record is clear: the Palestinians have never — never — been a partner for peace with the Israelis.




-30-


Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas, has contributed other pieces to johnkassnews, from an examination of the secret jail for Christopher Columnbus and other politically problematic public art to an essay on Americans suffering from Joe Biden gas pain.


For almost three decades Huntley spent most of his career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages.


Before that he was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern University Press has issued soft cover and eBook editions of Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.

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