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.

 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

04.26 Why can’t we read anymore?

04.26 Are You Smarter Than an 8th Grader?

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

04.27 Five billion people have no access to safe surgery

04.27 We need our leaders to speak out on climate change, not stay silent

04.26 In India, Profitable Farming With Fewer Chemicals

04.24 Hopes raised for new genetic therapy to prevent inherited diseases

04.24 Can this new blueprint for fossil fuel divestment stir industry to action?

04.23 Hundreds of Chinese Cities Don’t Meet Air Standards, Report Finds

04.23 Oceans are world's seventh largest economy worth $24tn, says WWF report

04.23 Natural Disasters: Preparing for the Big One

04.23 Water Wheel scoops 19 tons of Baltimore's Inner Harbor trash in one day [2:38 video]

04.23 Study Finds Low Cost in Reducing Methane Emissions

04.23 Catching Waves and Turning Them Into Electricity

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & Culture

04.27 Decline in U.S. science spending threatens economy, security: MIT

04.27 The GOP’s demonic alliance: How the religious right & big business are dumbing down America

04.26 Baltimore Freddie Gray protests turn violent as police and crowds clash

04.26 Zombies of 2016

04.25 Hillary Wants a Piece of the Elizabeth Warren Love Fest

04.25 Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying

04.25 'Freddie Gray was me': frustration with police simmers after death in Baltimore

04.25 Baltimore’s ‘Broken Relationship’ With Police

Justice Matters

04.21 The American Nightmare: Debbie Milke Recounts Life on Death Row

High Crimes?

04.24 Armenian genocide survivors' stories: 'My dreams cannot mourn'

Economics, Crony Capitalism

04.27 Opinion: How this debt-addicted world could go the way of the Mayans

04.26 The Revolution Will Not be Fast-Tracked

04.25 The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Death of the Republic

04.23 Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption

04.20 Iceland looks at ending boom and bust with radical money plan

International

04.27 Bill Maher, American hero: Laughing at religion is exactly what the world needs

04.27 Nepal earthquake: fears grow for uncontacted villages as more than 3,600 confirmed dead [1:31 video]

04.25 Angelina Jolie criticizes UN security council for paralysis over Syria

04.24 Seven Must-Read Stories (Week Ending April 25, 2015)

04.24 One Hundred Years of Silence: Turks Slowly Take Stock of Armenian Genocide

04.24 The $18bn arms race helping to fuel Middle East conflict

04.22 UN expert: rich countries must take in one million refugees to stop boat deaths

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: