Newspaper logo  
 
 
  Why Is Israel a World Pariah?

COMMENTARY:

Why Is Israel a World Pariah?

by Michael Suedfeld

There is no reason to hate or demean Israel in proportions so out of whack with its actions and significance.
This is a critical time in Middle East history. Both the Palestinians and Israelis are eyeing painful concessions to achieve lasting peace and no one in the world is more acutely aware of this than Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The way forward is not through old rhetoric and the dredging of past events but through conciliation and dealing with the hard realities of 2005. Unfortunately, one of those realities is that some people, when presented with the possibility of turning to peace and progress, will be unable to leave their tired views behind.

How else to explain those such as William Hughes who, in this publication last month, went on a vitriolic tirade against Sharon and the nation he heads? Hughes repeated the many mantras of Israel-bashers, relying on falsehoods and half-truths to reach his goal.

It is fruitless to comment directly on such attacks. Those who forward them are on a mission. They want a very public humiliation, if not the outright dissolution, of the Middle East’s sole traditional democracy; the country that ranks highest among Middle East nations when rated for human development[1]; a country that is a world leader in technological, medical and other scientific advances[2]; a country with less than three per cent of the Middle East’s population[3]; a country that is such a minute portion of the Middle East geographically, it can be measured in tenths of a per cent; a country with few natural resources and none of that most precious Middle East commodity--oil.

Rather, I challenge readers to ask themselves: why is Israel a world pariah?

Is it because of its actions? There are numerous areas around the world where the death tolls are hundreds of times higher and where oppression--particularly of women and minorities--is a routine part of daily life, including most, if not all, other Middle East countries.

Is it because of Sharon? Since Yasser Arafat’s death, Sharon has released hundreds of prisoners[4], allowed convicted and exiled Palestinian terrorists to return to their homes[5], strengthened his commitment to removing Gaza settlements, relaxed travel restrictions[6], removed checkpoints and turned over security to Palestinian forces[7]. As for war crimes, if Sharon’s guilty so, too, are numerous world leaders with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan leading the list. Sharon may have stood by as between 500-1,000 innocents in Sabra and Shatila were murdered by Christian Phalangists (Arabs, not Jews or Israelis), Annan did exactly the same thing in Rwanda (500,000-plus dead[8]), in the former Yugoslavia (more than 100,000 dead[9]), and, today in Sudan (an estimated 300,000 dead[10]).

The Jenin refugee camp reporting was one of the great shams of modern journalism, yet people still cite it as if there were actually a massacre there.

Is it the media? As the second Intifidah began, there were 350 press organizations with permanent representatives in Israel and another 1,300 arrived shortly after[11]. Those people were there to write “hard” news even if they had to create it. The Jenin refugee camp reporting was one of the great shams of modern journalism, yet people, including Hughes, still cite it as if there were actually a massacre there.[12]

Do we hold Israel to a higher standard than its neighbors? That’s unfair to Israel but more so to Arabs. Lebanese historian Kemal Salibi described it this way: “The liberal tradition in the West tries to impute to the behavior of the native or the underdog an idealist position which is not really there...When it comes to the thinking about Middle East politics, the American liberal mind is often chasing rainbows. They are living in a world of delusion.”[13] Arabs are not children and would be best served if we in the West demanded better from their leaders.

Is Israel perfect? No modern nation is. Israel is, however, home to a kaleidoscope of people from some 100 national backgrounds of diverse races and cultures.[14] The Arab Muslim, Christian and Druze minorities comprise approximately 20 per cent of the population.[15] Druze serve with distinction in the Israeli Defence Forces. There are Arab members of the Knesset[16], Arab members of the courts, including Supreme Court[17] and, in the last two World Cup of Football (soccer) qualifying games, Arab-Israelis scored the tying goals becoming, at least briefly, national heroes.[18] In contrast, Jews can’t even visit countries such as Saudi Arabia.[19]

In short, there is no reason to hate or demean Israel in proportions so out of whack with its actions and significance. At least not for anyone really interested in peace, justice and the other ideals this publication’s operators profess to espouse.




William Hughes Replies:

Michael Suedfeld’s spiel, “Why is Israel a Pariah?” follows the party line of apologists for the Sharon Gang, like David Horowitz. They smear the critics of Israel by engaging in name-calling and by ignoring the factual record. I suggest Mr. Suedfeld write another rant. This time he should try to rationalize the scheming of Israeli leaders to push the US into another unjust, illegal and immoral war. The victim will be Iran! And once again, only America’s sons and daughters will die there, not Israel’s.


Copyright © 2005 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on April 11, 2005.

 

03.26 Natural gas leaks from power plants, refineries, 100 times greater than thought

03.25 THE PLANT NEXT DOOR

03.25 Colorado Youth Score Decisive Legal Victory Against Fracking Industry

03.25 Keystone XL: Trump issues permit to begin construction of pipeline ["Stupid is as stupid does." –Forrest Gump]

03.25 Rotavirus vaccine could save lives of almost 500,000 children a year

News Media Matters

03.27 PBS is the only network reporting on climate change. Trump wants to cut it

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

03.29 With House Vote, GOP Puts Your Personal Online Data Up for Sale [not just loss of privacy, its new data gathering that could be used to hurt you]

03.29 Soybeans could surpass corn plantings amid solvency concerns for US farmers

03.29 America has never seen a party less caring than 21st-century Republicans [an immoral, sociopathic focus]

03.29 America's deportation squads want to expel our neighbours. We are saying no

03.28 The Feuding Kleptocrats

03.28 Trump signs four bills to roll back Obama-era regulations

03.28 A white supremacist slew a man in Manhattan. Why is the president silent?

03.28 Is the US facing an epidemic of 'deaths of despair'? These researchers say yes

03.28 The Trump Administration’s War on Science

03.27 How the Disappearing Middle Class Threatens Our Democracy [Citizen's United ruling is ruining America]

03.27 How the Disappearing Middle Class Threatens Our Democracy

03.27 'Whoa, Whoa, Whoa': Sanders Says Democrats' Intransigence Is Solution, Not Problem [videos]

03.27 The DLC Lives: "Third Way" Democrats Are Trying to Push the Party Rightward

03.27 Donald Trump's dizzying Time magazine interview was 'Trumpspeak' on display

03.27 Protesters target Connecticut's uber wealthy with 'tax bills' in bid to end loophole

03.27 'People aren't spending': stores close doors in 'oversaturated' US retail market

Justice Matters

03.29 HOW THE WHITE HOUSE AND REPUBLICANS BLEW UP THE HOUSE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION [FBI's investigation continues (until AG Sessions figures out a way to stop it?)]

03.24 TRUMP’S RUSSIA PROBLEM IS FAR FROM MARGINAL

High Crimes?

03.29 Spanish court to investigate Syrian 'state terrorism' by Assad regime

03.26 Iraq suspends Mosul offensive after coalition airstrike atrocity

03.25 The US Is Bombing Syria So Much That Watchdogs Can't Keep Up

03.25 Mosul's children were shouting beneath the rubble. Nobody came

Economics, Crony Capitalism

03.29 Richard Posner: “The Real Corruption Is the Ownership of Congress by the Rich”

03.25 Wall Street First

03.23 Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam

International

03.29 Donald Trump, Lost in Africa

03.29 An Unholy Alliance

03.29 Millions are on the brink of starvation in east Africa. We must act fast [food delivery is very difficult]

03.29 Broken promises for the children of Bangui abused by peacekeepers

03.29 'They take us very seriously now': how co-operatives could take back Kampala [organized co-ops could raise employment wherever corporations won't invest]

03.28 Negotiations to ban nuclear weapons begin, but Australia joins US boycott

03.27 Two Years of Uncertainty: Europe Prepares for Tough Brexit Negotiations

03.27 Left Behind: Germany's Race to Catch Up in the Startup World

03.27 A Wounded Metropolis: London in the Age of Terror and Brexit

03.26 Foreign companies flock to build nuclear plants in the UK [what could go wrong?]

03.26 Congolese militia decapitates more than 40 policemen as violence grows

03.26 Africans are rising - we can hold our leaders to account and build a better kind of future

03.26 Rise of Hindu ‘extremist’ spooks Muslim minority in India’s heartland

03.26 Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron face off for the soul of France

03.26 'A runaway crisis': Argentina activists aid shanty towns state has left behind

03.26 In war-scarred Gaza, water pollution behind health woes

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web

Public Service Ads: