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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nicholas Kristof, "The Two Israels": Good Jews and Bad Jews

Nicholas Kristof is back to his old tricks.

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "The Two Israels," Kristof writes:

"[Israel is] also a democracy with contradictions. West Bank Jews vote, but not West Bank Palestinians. A Jewish kid in Chicago has a birthright to Israel, but not a Palestinian child next door whose roots are in Haifa.

. . . .

On my visit here to the Negev, I faced two Israels. One is the thriving democracy that many of us admire, the one that gives disgruntled Arab citizens free speech and ballots, that treats the wounded Syrians brought across the border, that nurtures a civil society that stands up for the Bedouin. This is the Israel that anyone can support without risking harm to Arabs. Any of us would plant a tree in this Israel. (Indeed, Rabbis for Human Rights has its own tree-planting program.)

Yet the other Israel has been gaining ground. It’s more nationalistic, more militaristic, more determined to push Palestinians off land in the West Bank, more eager to dispatch the United States to bomb Iranian nuclear sites. This is the Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will represent in his address to Congress scheduled for this week."

Where to even begin?

West Bank Palestinians don't vote? Kristof avoids telling us that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is currently in his tenth year of a four-year term of office as president of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas and his friends in the West Bank refuse to hold elections for fear that they would not fare well for his Fatah party. Israel never once prevented Abbas from holding these elections or postponed such elections.

"A Jewish kid in Chicago has a birthright to Israel, but not a Palestinian child next door whose roots are in Haifa." Implicit in this statement is that Jews do not have their origins in Israel, and Israel is denying Palestinians statehood. A pity that Kristof doesn't take the trouble to examine the multitude of ancient Jewish coins scattered in the soil and sands throughout Israel, attesting to the existence of the Hasmonean Kingdom of the Maccabees, a thousand years before the Arab conquest of this land.

Kristof also makes certain not to mention that in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused. Krisof also ignores the fact that several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements. In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

And Kristof makes a point of ignoring the fact that some 800,000 Jews from the Muslim Middle East were forced to abandon their homes and property, and make their way to Israel. The same thing happened during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, but Kristof would never want to allude to this.

The "other Israel" is "more nationalistic, more militaristic, more determined to push Palestinians off land in the West Bank, more eager to dispatch the United States to bomb Iranian nuclear sites," and will be represented by Netanyahu in his speech before Congress on Tuesday? Well, I favor a two-state solution, and I have never voted for the Likud Party; however, Israel is facing a nuclear holocaust owing to Obama's refusal to abide by his 2012 promises to dismantle Iran's nuclear weapons manufacturing capability, and I very much want Congress to know of the threat facing my family.

Nice try, Nicholas.

1 comment:

  1. I thought Israel's electorate now refelcts the legacy of those "800,000 Jews from the Muslim Middle East" and the larger population of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. How can these Israelis NOT be nationalistic?!

    Ironic that it is the NY Daily News that is for sale...

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