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Times Columnist Kristof Shows His True Colors

By: Ed Koch

I read Nicholas D. Kristof’s New York Times column of October 6 with its headline “Is Israel Its Own Worst Enemy?” and concluded on finishing it that it is Kristof who is truly an enemy of Israel.

As is fashionable nowadays, Kristof blames Israel for the lack of progress in the peace process with the Palestinians, claiming, “Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements.”

Why? One million, five hundred thousand Muslims live in Israel. Why do the Palestinian Authority and its supporters like Kristof believe the West Bank should be “Judenrein” or that Jews may not live in a part of Jerusalem when they have lived in all parts of Jerusalem for 3,000 years until the Jordanians drove them out in 1948?

Why, when a two-state solution comes into being and borders are agreed upon and Jews are located on the Palestinian side, shouldn’t Jews have the choice of remaining on as Palestinian citizens or resident aliens or leaving?

Nothing offended me more and showed Kristof’s true colors and antagonism to Jews than his claim that the Obama administration “humiliated itself” at the UN by making it clear it will veto any effort to create a Palestinian state outside of direct negotiations between the parties. What is humiliating about insisting that the Palestinians recognize the state of Israel and negotiate all of their differences?

Is Kristof implying that Obama is being pressed into taking that stance against his will, or against the will of the American people? Is he implying that the Jews forced him into taking that position?

Kristof calls for the pre-1967 borders with land swaps. Does he tell us how that is possible when Hamas believes it is entitled to occupy Tel Aviv and its charter states that every Jew entering Palestine after 1917 must be expelled? Has Kristof ever criticized Hamas’s charter and its numerous acts of terrorism intended to accomplish this goal?

Kristof criticizes the fact that Israeli citizens have become more conservative on “border[s] and land issues.” Why shouldn’t they? Former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barack and Ehud Olmert offered to settle borders giving the Palestinian state 97 percent of the West Bank, which they rejected.

Many supporters of Israel believe Palestinians are not interested in a two-state solution, one Jewish and one Palestinian, but seek instead a return of Palestinians to Israel so as to ultimately overwhelm the Jewish state and make it a Muslim state. Has Kristof ever addressed that possibility?

The criticism Kristof lodges against Hamas is limited to “And Hamas not only represses its own people, but also managed to devastate the peace movement in Israel. That’s the saddest thing about the Middle East: hardliners like Hamas empower hardliners like Mr. Netanyahu.”

As Ronald Reagan once said, “There he goes again,” equating terrorists with Israeli “hardliners.” Surely, Kristof knows the difference.

The Israelis have concluded, and I agree, that the Palestinian leadership does not want peace. Within the last two weeks, the Quartet asked both parties to go back to the negotiating table and talk without preconditions. The Israeli prime minister immediately said “anywhere, anyplace.” The president of the Palestinian Authority said “no” unless Israel agrees to a settlement freeze and negotiates based on indefensible 1967 borders.

Has Kristof criticized Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, for his refusal?

In his column, Kristof urges Palestinian women to engage in civil disobedience that could, he knows, end in violence and be met, he says, with “tear gas and clubbing,” ending with “videos promptly posted on YouTube.”

So there we have it. Kristof wants a physical confrontation or have the state of Israel and its military lay down their arms and submit to threats of violence rather than defend their people. What an outrage. I have no doubt he is repelled by the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria at the hands of the Syrian army, yet he expresses no qualms at what would follow to the Jews of Israel were Arab armies or terrorists to enter a vanquished Israel.

Kristof attacks Israel for “burning bridges” with Turkey. I believe it is Turkey that has effectively declared war on Israel. Turkey recently expelled Israel’s ambassador and Turkey’s prime minister said he will send Turkey’s navy to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, a blockade a UN commission has just said is legal under international law and intended to prevent the Hamas government in Gaza from bringing even more rockets and other arms from Iran into Gaza.

So if the Israeli navy continues the blockade, and the Turkish navy seeks to break it, and there is a naval clash, clearly Kristof will blame Israel for protecting its people from attack, the first obligation of any government.

Kristof closes with his usual disingenuous mea culpa, saying, “Some of my Israeli friends will think I’m unfair and harsh, applying double standards by focusing on Israeli shortcomings while paying less attention to those of other countries in the region. Fair enough. I plead guilty. I apply higher standards to a close American ally like Israel that is a huge recipient of American aid.”

Does he care that the Palestinian Authority now includes Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, and receives millions in American aid? Does he care that Egypt, which allowed the Israeli embassy to be sacked, gets $2 billion in American aid?

Frankly, I have no hesitation in calling Kristof by his rightful name: an enemy of Israel.

Ed Koch served as mayor of New York from 1978-1990.

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