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The news media publishes the lies and distortions of many pro-Israel activists without bothering to double check the facts. They offer cautions that comments should be civil but they allow the authors of the columns to libel anyone who believes that Palestinians have rights and that violence in the Middle East is caused by increasingly hostile and extremist activism in Israel itself.
By Ray Hanania
This week, a pro-Israel activist who formerly worked with the anti-Arab organization the “Anti-Defamation League” in Seattle, Robert Jacobs, published a column that blames the Palestinians for all of the problems in the Middle East while whitewashing crimes committed by Israel.
The column was misleadingly titled “Israel must defend its citizens as any country would” and it ran in the Seattle Times newspaper.
The column begins by asserting, “The columnists, commentators, professors and idealistic students who push a one-sided image of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict don’t promote the peace they say they seek.”
But the truth is that the author is the primary offender of the principle he just spelled out.
Jacobs writes, “They place the blame on Israel and misrepresent the facts, claiming that there is a moral equivalency between Hamas firing thousands of missiles at civilian targets and Israel trying to protect and defend its citizens.”
No, Mr. Jacobs. Palestinian activists demand that Israel recognize the rights of Palestinians and to recognize Palestine as a state. They demand that Israel end its campaign of violence and terrorism against Palestinian targets. And they demand that people like you stop lying. Stop misrepresenting the facts.
The “moral equivalency” you offer is twisted and distorted and untrue. You exaggerate Israel’s side while lying about the Palestinian side, and then compare the two to make your lies look like the truth.
The truth is Israel instigates the violence against Palestinians using jet airplanes, soldiers, tanks and missiles of their own. And when Palestinians respond to the attacks, people like Robert Jacobs lie to cover up Israel’s war crimes, exaggerating the conflict to place all the blame on Palestinians and pretend that Israel did not in fact instigate the violence.
Jacobs is guilty of the very accusations he makes in his column against the Palestinians. But his lies and distortions expose someone who must really oppose peace and supports the continued brutality against the Muslim and Christian Palestinians those who disagree with him.
He claims Israel doesn’t want the conflict. Well, neither do Palestinians. But Israel controls all of the land and refuses to share the land. They have the brutal military that is oppressing Palestinians and strangling the citizens of the Gaza Strip.
Jacobs doesn’t tell the whole truth. He fails to note that Israel confiscates (steals) lands from Christians and Muslims living in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and then uses that stolen land to build “settlements” that are built exclusively for Jewish-only residents.
Israeli Democracy means Democracy for Jewish citizens but Apartheid discrimination, oppression and violent bullying of its non-Jewish citizens and occupied prisoners.
And it’s not just the Muslims that Israel is discriminating against. It’s the Christians, too.
I am Christian. My father was born in Jerusalem and my mother was born in Bethlehem. My father’s family was expelled by Israel in 1948 and the lands owned by my mother’s family were confiscated in 1967 and placed in a racist limbo that prevents non-Jews from claiming property in Israel.
Israel cleanses the land of Christians and Muslims and then asserts that because the Christians and Muslims are not there, the lands should go to the State or to Jewish citizens of Israel for development and racist settlement.
Many of my relatives are also “Israeli citizens” living in pre-1967 Israel and they face constant discrimination. Israel prioritizes the needs of Jewish Israelis above the needs of non-Jewish Israelis. So many schools, which are “Jewish-only” in Israel receive huge amounts of government support while schools for Christian and Muslim children receive nothing.
Israel wants non-Jews to not only leave Israel through its discriminatory policies, but it also wants to bully and intimidate non-Jews living in the occupied lands to leave also, of face brutality and even death.
Robert Jacobs claims that Palestinians are responsible for the killing of many Israelis but he doesn’t explain that Israel provokes many of the incidents. Israel kills far more Palestinians than Palestinians kill Israelis.
It’s true, when Israel attacks and kills Palestinian targets, some Palestinians respond with anger and violence. But while Jacobs argues that Israel has a right to defend itself, he doesn’t argue that Palestinian Christians and Muslims have a right to defend themselves against Israeli violence.
The sheer imbalance in the brutality is something Jacobs ignores in his column. Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians int he past few years in comparison to less than 100 Israelis killed during the same period.
Is the real problem that Palestinians are killing Israelis, or that Israelis kill a thousand times more Palestinians?
I am surprised the Seattle Times didn’t call him on so of his most outrageous assertions. For example, Jacobs argues Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005 and Hamas used it as a base to attack Israel.
“In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, leaving the Palestinian Authority (PA) in charge. Hamas took over from the PA in a violent overthrow. Since then, Hamas has fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel. More than 5 million Israelis live in Hamas’ missile range. More than 500,000 Israelis have less than 60 seconds to find shelter after a rocket is launched at Israel.”
He continues with his exaggerations and writes, “From 2005 to 2009, Israel did little to stop the thousands of Hamas missiles. Finally, after four years, Israel responded in 2009. For a few months, the missiles stopped. Then they started again and, after thousands more missiles, Israel responded in 2012.”
Here’s the truth. Israel withdrew its soldiers and dismantled its extremist “Jewish-only” settlements that were built on Palestinian lands in the Gaza Strip in 2005, and then surrounded the Gaza Strip with a brutal military contingent that almost weekly fired missiles and weapons at Gaza citizens.
Israel frequently attacked civilian targets in the Gaza Strip after it “left” using jet airplanes that dropped napalm, white phosphorous, and fired thousands of missiles into civilian neighborhoods. Having killed Palestinian civilians, the Israelis would point to the feeble resistance of Palestinians who use rockets that couldn’t even come close to the advanced weaponry used by Israel.
The answer to prevent Hamas rockets from being fired is to prevent Israel from killing Palestinian targets, invading Palestinian lands, and expanding Jewish-only settler terrorist settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
- (Click here for a factual overview of the conflicts Israel started that provoked Hamas rocket attacks, intentionally so Israel could use the conflicts to achieve their settler land goals.)
- (And if you want to know the truth about Hamas and how Israel helped get the organization on its feet int he 1970s as a strategy to fight the PLO, please read this article, too.)
Israel engages in a brutal practice called “collective punishment,” something Jacobs didn’t explain.
“Collective punishment” is when Israel kills an individual accused of violence of terrorism (but never tried or convicted), and then punishes the families and neighbors of the victim with violence, and then confiscates the land and possessions of the victim’s survivors.
Jacobs notes that Palestinians name their streets after “terrorists” but fails to mention that Israel does the same, naming their streets after terrorists and electing terrorists to their government. Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were both murderous terrorists who were elected prime ministers of Israel. SO was Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, killers who murdered civilians under the Israeli propaganda that they had a right to protect their country.
Who murdered Yitzhak Rabin and brought the peace process to an abrupt halt? A Palestinian? No. The murderer was an Israeli Jewish citizen from one of Israel’s extremist settlements who is till today a celebrated hero in Israel.
Jacobs pretends that Israeli terrorists don’t exist, but they do, more so than Palestinian terrorists.
He uses many ridiculous and vicious blood-libel stereotypes to disparage Palestinians, like his claim that Palestinians “give candy” to their children to celebrate the murder of Israelis. That is a disgusting lie.
He fails to point out that very few Israelis are ever brought to justice for their crimes when the victims are Christian or Muslims.
Robert Jacobs is an example of a disgusting new generation of pro-Israel and anti-peace extremists who use the “big lie” to portray themselves as “the victims” when in fact Israel is the oppressor targeting non-Jews as a part of a national plan to steal non-Jewish lands and deny non-Jewish rights.
Palestinians want peace. They have recognized Israel. They have agreed to a State that is less than 40 percent of the land of Historic Palestine. They support peace based on “Two-States.”
The truth is Israel’s governments have rejected the Two-State Solution. Increasingly, Israel’s government leaders have advocated racist and brutal policies to intimidate non-Jewish civilians in their control to flee the country and the occupation.
They have expanded settlements instead of stopping settlement growth or dismantling the illegal settlements. Jacobs fails to mention that Israelis in and out of the settlements teach their children hate, too. A hatred of a worse kind, by an oppressor against the oppressed.
The problem is not that Palestinians reject Israel right to exist. The problem is that Robert Jacobs, the Israeli government and the growing Israeli extremist movement reject the right of Palestine to exist.
What Robert Jacobs doesn’t want anyone to see is that Israel commits more acts of violence and killings than the Palestinians.
The fact that Palestinians will just not run in the face of this Israeli brutality is the real consternation that has provoked the racist commentary from Robert Jacobs that was published in the Seattle Times.
Jacobs concludes with this unbelievable hypocrisy that he violates through ad through in his ugly hate filled column: “Columns that misrepresent the facts on the ground do nothing to promote that change.”
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and for TheArabDailyNews.com, and TheDailyHookah.com.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com www.arabnews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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