Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:
Paul Simon has a song that says, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." We're no doubt all guilty of this selective interpretation of reality, but Palestinian leaders take the fault to pathological depths. They simply look straight-on at the facts and say they aren't so.
For starters: Despite all of biblical history, the Palestinians deny a Jewish connection---and therefore any rights---to the Holy Land. Despite Israel's remarkable 60-year history, Palestinian maps of the Middle East exclude the Jewish state, denying to their school children that Israel exists. Despite voluminous, incontrovertible evidence, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's doctoral dissertation was a denial of the Holocaust.
President Obama is often also selective about the facts. During his trip to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim state in the world, Obama took the opportunity to criticize Israel's continued building of new residences in its capital, Jerusalem. He neglected to mention that Israel has never agreed to stop building in Jerusalem---it was certainly not part of the now-expired settlement freeze Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to almost a year ago. Obama also neglected to mention that Indonesia is either so racist or so in denial of Israel's existence that it refuses to allow Israelis into its country.
A no doubt well-meaning former President Bill Clinton committed a similar error when he filed an op-ed in the New York Times last week. To encourage further Middle East peace efforts, Clinton praised former Israeli Prime Minister Yizthak Rabin's generous peace-seeking overtures toward the Palestinians in 1993. Clinton quotes Rabin as saying:
"Enough of blood and tears. Enough. We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred toward you. We, like you, are people---people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, to live side by side with you in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men. We are today giving peace a chance, and saying again to you, enough. Let us pray that a day will come when we all will say, 'Farewell to the arms.'"
Clinton rightfully confirmed that these sentiments and offers were further extended by Israeli prime ministers Barak and Olmert. But what Clinton neglected to say is that no Palestinian leader has come close to saying such words about Jews and the state of Israel. Indeed, hatred toward Israel and Jews is rampant and condoned by the Palestinian Authority in Palestinian media, schools and mosques. Indeed, we have never heard a Palestinian leader pray for a farewell to arms against Israel.
This week's FLAME Hotline, by Moshe Arens, former Israeli defense minister and ambassador to the U.S., cogently highlights the reality gap in the Palestinian version of history and therefore in peace negotiations. Specifically, Arens argues, the Palestinians must accept responsibility for their own history and stop blaming Israel. (President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton would likewise do the Palestinians---and the peace process---a favor if they would spoon a strong dose of this truth and realism to the Palestinians, instead of constantly pressuring Israel to make additional, unrequited concessions.)
Please review this outspoken analysis of the counter-productive Palestinian "narrative" of history and pass it along to your friends using the "Forward to a Friend" button at the bottom of the article. The truth can only help Israel, and by spreading the word, you are providing valuable help to the Jewish state . . . as well as to U.S. interests.
Thanks for your continued support of Israel and FLAME!
How many times have you heard someone complain that "Israel just doesn't have good public relations"? Maybe you've even said the same yourself. But have you seen FLAME's latest hasbarah---our ad on "The Unrelenting and Virulent Hatred of the Arabs: Will peace ever be possible under those conditions?"---which has appeared in publications nationwide, including college newspapers, with circulation in excess of 5 million? Please take a look at it, and if you agree that FLAME's brand of outspoken public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to http://www.factsandlogic.org/make_a_donation.html. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.
The Palestinian narrative is a falsification of history
If true peace is ever to reign among Israel and its Arab neighbors, the Arabs have to recognize that what they call the Nakba was a self-inflicted tragedy.
By Moshe Arens, HaAretz, November 3, 2010
The legendary TV sleuth Columbo used to question witnesses to a crime he was investigating by confronting them brusquely: "Just give me the facts," he would say. He was not interested in hearing conflicting subjective accounts of the kind that appear in Akira Kurosawa's famous film "Rashomon," where each of the witnesses to a crime gave his subjective impression in mutually contradictory ways. The facts: That is all he wanted to hear. The facts: That is what is required of those who teach history to our children in school when they teach the history of Israel's War of Independence.
Some years ago, the Ministry of Education instructed schools to teach our children the "Palestinian narrative" in addition to the Jewish (Israeli?) narrative of the events of Israel's War of Independence. Now that this instruction has been countermanded, a demand is voiced by some that the "Palestinian narrative" nevertheless continue to be taught in our schools. Are there really two narratives which our children should be taught? Is history no more than a collection of conflicting narratives?
The "narrative" mode of history is something of recent vintage, a fad not likely to persist. It is the facts that we want our children to be taught in history lessons. There may be different interpretations of certain events that may need to be elaborated, even when the events themselves have been established beyond doubt. It is only when the actual course of events has been difficult or impossible to ascertain that there is room for presenting different versions.
As a matter of fact, the narrative form of teaching history seems to have struck root primarily in Israel. Would anyone suggest that in American schools the "Japanese narrative" of the American-Japanese conflict during World War II be taught alongside the "American narrative"? Is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 no more than the American version? Or how about teaching in Russian schools the "German narrative" of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941? This seems too preposterous to contemplate.
So why is this happening in Israel? Yes, there is a "Palestinian narrative" of the 1948 war, and it is called "Nakba." But as every student of that war and the still-living witnesses know only too well, the Nakba version is no more than a pack of lies. No juggling and politicized interpretations of the events of that war, in which one percent of the Jewish population fell fighting against the Arab attack, can change the fact that the Arab world—the local Arab militias and the regular armies of the neighboring Arab countries, plus Iraqi forces—attempted to destroy the Jewish State in a war they started immediately after the UN resolution dividing western Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in November 1947.
Six thousand Jews—soldiers and civilians—fell in that war fighting against the Arab onslaught. Where the Arabs were successful the Jewish population was killed or deported, and all Jewish property was destroyed. What happened in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and in the Etzion bloc in May 1948 when they fell to the Jordanian Legion was a portent of the fate that awaited the entire Jewish community had the Arabs won this war. All this has been effaced in the "Palestinian narrative."
Is it suggested that this falsification of history should be taught to schoolchildren—Jews and Arabs—in Israel.
It is true that the Arab population of Palestine suffered grievously during that war. But it is also beyond doubt that this tragedy was brought on them by the decisions taken by the Arab leadership. It is essential that this part of the history of Israel's War of Independence, of the "Israeli narrative" if you like, be taught in our schools to Jewish and Arab children alike. And if true peace is ever to reign among Israel and its Arab neighbors, it is important that the Arabs recognize that what they call the Nakba was a self-inflicted tragedy.
Just as real peace could come to Europe after World War II only after Germans abandoned the "German narrative" and accepted the true history of the war that Germany started, so only abandonment of the "Palestinian narrative" and acceptance of the true sequence of the events of 1947-48 can serve as a basis for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.