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August 16, 2007

Bisharat Bashes Israel Again

The San Francisco Chronicle has sunk to new depths with its August 15 Op-Ed by George Bisharat, "Boycott movement targets Israel."

Factual problems with the Op-Ed include the following:

* The boycott is not "a citizen-led boycott" -- it is being led by groups known for their longstanding opposition to Israel's existence.

* The comparison with South Africa has no basis in fact whatsoever. South Africa systematically discriminated against its own citizens based on race. By contrast, one-fifth of Israel's citizens are Arabs, and they enjoy full and equal rights. Indeed, Israeli Arabs enjoy more civil rights than the citizens of any majority-Arab country.

* Israel has taken security measures against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, who are not Israeli citizens -- in response to a violent campaign of terrorism in which Palestinians have specifically targeted and massacred Israeli civilians -- including children -- in homes, schools, buses, discos, malls, ice cream parlors, and pizzerias. This is in no way comparable with South Africa's policies, which were motivated by racism, not security concerns, and discriminated among South Africa's own citizens.

* It is the Arab world which is guilty of ethnic cleansing. Beginning in 1948, Arab governments from Morocco to Iraq drove 900,000 Jews from their homes in the Middle East and North Africa, seizing from them everything but the clothes on their backs. Jordan was particularly brutal in ethnically cleansing the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem of all of its Jews -- systematically destroying virtually all of the ancient quarter's synagogues, using ancient Jewish grave markers for roads and latrines, and thereafter barring all Jews from entering the Old City, let alone praying at the Western Wall, until Israel recaptured the quarter in 1967.

* To this day, the Jewish victims of this massive ethnic cleansing have never been compensated.

* Israel does not practice torture. In fact, Israel's Supreme Court has banned the use of torture. By contrast, torture is systematically used by most of Israel's Arab neighbors, including the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist organizations that are currently holding three Israeli soldiers hostage in violation of international law.

* The "occupation" is a consequence of Arab intransigence, not lack of Israeli interest in peace. In 1948, the Arab world attempted to strangulate Israel at birth, but lost. In 1967, the Arab world united once again in what Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser publicly boasted was an attempt to destroy Israel, but once again, Israel prevailed. Yet on June 19, 1967 -- just 9 days after the completion of its stunning victory in the Six-Day War -- Israel offered to return virtually all of the territories it had captured in return for peace. The Arab states rejected the offer. In later decades, when Arab leaders Anwar Sadat and King Hussein made it clear they were seriously interested in stopping the violence, Israel traded captured land more than three times its own area in exchange for peace with Egypt and Jordan. Israel made painful concession to the Palestinians under the Oslo Accords, and unilaterally, in an attempt to reach a lasting peace agreement. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have been unwilling to make serious efforts toward that goal, refusing to put an end to terrorist attacks and incitement against Israel.

* The territories referred to are disputed, not occupied. United Nations Resolution 242, the basis for Arab-Israeli negotiations including all of the accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, recognizes this fact in calling on the parties to negotiate the final status of the West Bank.

* In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians a state born in peace on virtually all of the land in dispute, with a capital in part of Jerusalem. The Palestinians rejected the offer and responded with a war of terror.

* The Islamic Republic of Iran has indeed attacked people through its Hezbollah proxy and alliance with Hamas. Iran has been responsible for numerous deadly terrorist attacks on Israelis and Jews across the world. Iran's president has publicly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

* The author denies that his focus on encouraging a boycott against Israel is hypocritical or motivated by anti-Semitism. But his desire to punish Israel, one of the most free and democratic countries in the world, and his conspicuous lack of interest in such human rights atrocities as Palestinian terror against Israelis, Iran's threat to annihilate Israel, or the Sudanese government's ongoing genocide campaign against black Africans in Darfur, suggest otherwise.

Stephen Silver

Posted by LG at August 16, 2007 10:41 PM

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