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October 21, 2010 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-10-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Opinion

A MIX OF IDEAS

Editorials are posted and archived on JNonline.us .

Greenberg's View

Editorial

Tainted Talks

H

owever the latest round of U.S.-
brokered peace talks play out
against the backdrop of Israel's
lifting of a partial freeze on settlement
construction in the West Bank, one
thing is for certain: It's hard to pinpoint
the Palestinian Authority's motives in
any negotiations.
The Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) ambassador to Lebanon says
engaged talks "are not a goal," but
rather another stage in the Palestinian
"struggle." The overriding intent is to
delegitimize Israel.
That's not surprising.
The official daily newspaper of the
P.A., Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, reported that
PLO Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah
described the peace talks as part of a
broader scheme to isolate Israel, "threat-
en its legitimacy" and portray it as a
"rebellious, racist state."
In the Sept. 9 article, Abdullah
maintained that the goal of bringing
attention to Israel's "war crimes" and
isolating the Jewish state is succeeding.
"Many Israelis in senior positions:' he
stated, "are afraid to travel to European
countries lest they be put on trial for

their crimes."
He used the example of what hap-
pened to South Africa in the wake of
apartheid, a term that means "separ-
ateness?' The National Party govern-
ment enforced a system of legal racial
segregation in South Africa from 1948
to 1994; essentially, white rights pre-
vailed over the non-white majority. The
Palestinians, of course, consider Israel's
military and settler presence in the West
Bank a kind of Jewish attempt at con-
trolling the Arab majority.
While the P.A. is a governing power in
the West Bank, the PLO considers itself
the sole legitimate representative of the
Palestinian people. It holds wide diplo-
matic relations and enjoys U.N. observer
status.
Abdullah told Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that
"Israel will not be dealt a knock-out
defeat, but rather an accumulation of
Palestinian achievements and struggles,
as happened in South Africa, to isolate
Israel — to tighten the noose on it?'
He believes Israel faces international
isolation with doubt cast on its legiti-
macy "because of its actions and the
war crimes?'

THE
DELEGITIMIZATION EFFORT t*

His anti-peace rhetoric fits with
similar statements broadcast on P.A.
TV, the official television station of the
Palestinian Authority.
Shortly after the so-called peace talks
resumed in Washington in September,
P.A. TV chose to rebroadcast a 3–year-old
"educational documentary" that describes
the Israeli cities of Haifa, Acre, Ashkelon
and Jaffa as well as the Sea of Galilee as
"Palestinian?' The intended message: To
envision a world without Israel.

Consider these excerpts from the TV
program, as provided by the Israel-
based Palestinian Media Watch: "Haifa
is a well-known Palestinian port" and
"Jaffa, an ancient coastal city, is the
bride of the sea and Palestine's gateway
to the world?'
Remember this official PLO-P.A.
mindset — as disturbing as it is — as
the off-again, on-again "peace talks"
between the Israelis and Palestinians
ebb far more than they flow. ❑

Speak Out Against Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Boston/JTA

I

n recent months, our society has
devolved into one more and more
characterized by polarization, rage,
stridency and partisanship.
We find ourselves in a time where peo-
ple are put to loyalty tests, where one's
motivation in disagreeing is interpreted
in the most cynical way no matter the
record of the individual. And it opens
one up to hyperbolic charges of one
kind of another. People can't just have
different legitimate opinions anymore
— they are charged with being guilty of
betrayals, of conspiracies, of abandon-
ment of principles, of endangering all
our values.
Most symptomatic is the tendency to
exploit issues associated with an ethnic,
racial or religious group by reviving or
updating stereotypes about a particular
community.
Unfortunately, this is not new to
America. The classic case study is

the treatment of African
Americans.
As American Jews, we have
been subjected to virulent
anti-Semitism, often with
the acquiescence of govern-
ment or its apathy. Catholics,
too, were victims of religious
prejudice. As recent as 50
years ago, some questioned
whether a Catholic should
be president: Would John
F. Kennedy be directed by
the pope rather than the
American people? Mormons
continue to be ridiculed for their reli-
gious beliefs.
Now, as a result of the debate sur-
rounding the mosque near Ground
Zero, we are witnessing a surge in anti-
Muslim bigotry. It is evident that this
surge is taking place with greater force
now than at a time when one might have
expected it, immediately after 9-11.
At that time, we were worried about

an explosion of hatred against
American Muslims, particularly
after there were a few serious
incidents following the terror-
ist tragedy. As things turned
out, anti-Muslim bigotry did
not explode. Yes, there were
incidents, and even one is too
many, but dire predictions did
not materialize.

On The Rise
But now, nine years later, we are
seeing a surge of incidents. I
believe it is related to the broader
trends in America — the lack of civility,
the tendency to see enemies all around
and the reinforcement of prejudicial views
rather than diverse views.
Islam is one of the world's great reli-
gions. But like Judaism and Christianity,
Buddhism and Hinduism and others, if
it isn't your religion you most likely have
little knowledge, if any, of its beliefs and
practices. Ignorance has always been one

of the common denominators of those
who are bigoted against "the others?' And
ignorance can breed fear, which too easily
can become hatred.
The Muslim community in America is
being confronted by ugly, in-your-face
religious bigotry and we must speak out
against it, educate against it and label it
anti-American.
Therefore, despite the fact that there is
a serious enmity between the Children
of Ishmael and the Children of Isaac;
despite the fact that the greatest con-
veyer belt for anti-Semitic incitement
in the world today comes from the
Muslim world — in the Middle East,
in North Africa, in Europe and even in
Latin America; and despite that llamas,
Hezbollah, Al Qaida and Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad and his Iranian regime
purport to speak in the name of Islam,
and commit to end Israel's existence
and to the destruction of the Jewish
people — when religious bigotry rears
its ugly head against Muslims, we must
Speak Out on page 42

October 21 • 2010

41

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