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

08.29 10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans’ All-Charter School System Has Proven a Failure

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

08.29 Psychology experiments are failing the replication test – for good reason

08.29 Climate change legislation approaches pivotal showdown with oil industry

08.29 World's biggest coal port joins fossil fuel divestment push

08.28 Pesticides Killing Bees: Study Shows What 'Everybody's Suspected'

08.28 Gun Control: Where Each of the Presidential Candidates Stands [an IQ test]

08.28 The Raging Future of American Wildfires

08.28 The day we stopped Europe’s biggest polluter in its tracks

08.28 The key to water security could be lurking in a New Mexico sewage farm

08.28 Digging into big coal's climate connections

08.28 Texas teenager creates $20 water purifier to tackle toxic e-waste pollution [video]

08.27 DOE Attempts to Jump-Start Concentrated Solar

08.27 The Drought Isn't Just a California Problem

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

08.29 Donald Trump and the shadow of Europe’s far-right

08.28 America’s Great Infrastructure Stagnation

08.28 Gun violence in America, in 17 maps and charts

08.27 4 Reasons Why a Biden Run Would Help Sanders

08.27 Watch Poverty in School Districts Escalate Before Your Very Eyes [interactive map]

08.27 Why Louisiana Fought Low-Income Housing in New Orleans After Katrina

Justice Matters

08.29 Phone hacking: CPS may bring corporate charges against Murdoch publisher

08.28 Future Jails May Look and Function More Like Colleges

08.28 The Case Against Cash Bail

High Crimes?

08.27 Mustard gas 'likely used' in suspected Islamic State attack in Syria

08.27 Tolerant and multicultural, Palmyra stood for everything Isis hates

Economics, Crony Capitalism

08.29 Europe [and America] shouldn’t worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism<

08.29 CEOs Call for Wage Increases for Workers to Address Inequality! What’s the Catch?

08.25 The Emerging-Market Currency Rout

International

08.29 Paris prepares to rid its streets of cars for one day

08.29 A manifesto for conscious cities: should streets be sensitive to our mental needs?

08.29 'Nazi gold train': deathbed confession may have revealed location

08.28 Rx for Prosperity: German Companies See Refugees as Opportunity

08.28 Vietnam to free 18,200 prisoners in amnesty, but no political activists

08.28 Japanese police bracing for gang war as Yamaguchi-gumi mafia group splits

08.28 Migrant crisis: up to 200 dead after boat carrying refugees sinks off Libya

08.28 Hungarian police arrest driver of lorry that had 71 bodies inside

08.27 Mass Migration: What Is Driving the Balkan Exodus?

08.27 The Big Dig

08.27 Rape, ignorance, repression: why early pregnancy is endemic in Guatemala

08.27 Denmark reveals €800m tax fraud – the country's biggest

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: