web analytics
November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jason Maoz’

A Nation Of Self-Flagellators

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Avi Shlaim, one of the Israeli “New Historians” who in the 1980s and ‘90s helped popularize the precepts of what came to be called “post-Zionism,” is out with a new book, a collection of essays titled Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations.

More interesting than the book itself was the evisceration of its contents by Benny Morris in a lengthy review in The New Republic (read it at www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/derisionist-history). Morris, one of the original New Historians, has in recent years moved somewhat to the right and is now a critic of the views and methodology favored by his former ideological compadres.

Reading Morris’s review and then skimming Shlaim’s book served to remind the Monitor of the incalculable damage done to Israel by a relatively small group of academics whose take on Middle East history is catnip for Israel-bashers and anti-Semites of all stripes.

Think about it: Why should the average person with no dog in the fight and no predisposition to favor one side over the other not view Israel in a negative light when Israeli post-Zionists have embraced nearly every slander voiced for decades by Israel’s worst enemies?

Consider, for example, the canard that the Jews – as a matter of predetermined, officially sanctioned policy – kicked Palestine’s indigenous Arab residents out of the country. The charge was long characterized by mainstream Israeli historians as at best a serious distortion of events that inevitably transpire in a furious fight for survival, but the New Historians have popularized the notion that the Palestinians were expelled en masse by a combination of clever subterfuge and brute force.

Or take the claim by post-Zionists that the Jews who fought for Israeli independence, far from having been the rag-tag, poorly supplied bunch portrayed in conventional histories of the conflict, constituted in reality a finely-honed military corps that actually outnumbered and outgunned Arab forces in many early confrontations.

Never mind that for years Israelis across the political spectrum loudly denounced such a proposition, when voiced by Arab propagandists, as a preposterous lie. At some point in the late 1980s it became the trendy view among Tel Aviv’s intellectuals, and those who presume to be, that Israel’s victory in 1948 was nothing more than the logical result of a balance of forces that from the beginning tilted in Israel’s favor.

To a certain type of Jewish mind, Israel, even in retrospect, can do no right. It only follows, then, that a cash-starved, resource-poor militarily thin new nation has come to be portrayed by revisionist historians as something resembling a colonialist behemoth – one that trampled centuries-old pastoral Arab villages into dust and uprooted untold numbers of gentle Palestinian philosopher-farmers who wanted nothing more than to be left alone to smoke their water pipes and contemplate their sheep in peace and tranquility.

And then there’s the notion that it was the mean old Labor governments of David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett that during the first decade of Israel’s existence spurned repeated pleas for love and friendship from the peace-craving dictator across the Sinai and the sainted Hashemite mini-monarch next door.

In the revisionist’s funhouse-mirror perception of history, Israeli leaders from the state’s earliest days were intent on pursuing a might-makes-right policy that would earn Israel its deserved and enduring reputation as a regional bully.

(The charge looks especially ludicrous when viewed against the harsh realities of the time, which included waves of immigrants whose destitute condition taxed the infant nation’s sparse resources and an American arms embargo that forced Israeli representatives to scrounge the world for scraps of mostly outdated military hardware.)

It wasn’t all that long ago that any Israeli outside the confines of an insane asylum or the hard left (but we repeat ourselves) would have given such an aberrant rewriting of history the scorn it deserved. Not anymore. The post-Zionist mindset, championed by much of the Israeli media, spread rapidly in the 1990s from the highbrow to the hoi polloi, and it still reigns supreme in the country’s newsrooms and on its campuses.

It is no coincidence that the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and their continued championing by Israeli officials through waves of suicide bombings and years of Yasir Arafat’s increasingly transparent duplicity, occurred at the very time post-Zionism was taking such a hold on the Israeli imagination. A country weary of endless conflict, and desiring more than anything else to be accepted if not loved by its neighbors, was ripe for the self-flagellation peddled by the New Historians.

Continued Next Week

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.

Hating America To The Very End

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Howard Zinn, a Marxist polemicist who masqueraded as a historian, died on January 27 at age 87. The Brooklyn-born Zinn was professor emeritus of political science at Boston University and the author of a number of books, but it was his A People’s History of the United States (1980) that more than anything else made him the darling of the media and Hollywood Left.

Zinn was a man quite literally incapable of saying a good word about the U.S. For proof of that, log on to www.booknotes.org, go to “search” and type in “Zinn” to read a transcript of a lengthy discussion between Zinn and “Booknotes” host Brian Lamb. Whenever Lamb tried to get Zinn to say something – anything – positive about his own country, Zinn would become absolutely incoherent.

The indispensable website DiscoverTheNetwork.org (DTN) describes A People’s History as “a Marxist tract that describes America as a predatory and repressive capitalist state – sexist, racist, imperialist – that is run by a corporate ruling class for the benefit of the rich…. Despite its lack of footnotes and other scholarly apparatus, it is one of most influential texts in college classrooms today….”

As DTN documents in quote after quote from the book, Zinn viewed “the founding of the American Republic as an exercise in tyrannical control of the many by the few for greed and profit.”

According to Zinn, “the Founding Fathers … created the most effective system of national control devised in modern times, and showed future generations of leaders the advantages of combining paternalism with command.”

As DTN puts it, “In Zinn’s reckoning, the Declaration of Independence was not so much a revolutionary statement of rights as a cynical means of manipulating popular groups into overthrowing the King to benefit the rich.”

So what countries and leaders did Zinn like? Easy. Mao’s China was, by Zinn’s sick standards, “the closest thing, in the long history of that ancient country, to a people’s government, independent of outside control. Castro’s Cuba “had no bloody record of suppression.”

Zinn, of course, blamed the U.S. for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And America, he insisted, fought World War II not to defeat fascism but to build its empire and accumulate wealth. “Quietly, behind the headlines in battles and bombings,” he wrote, “American diplomats and businessmen worked hard to make sure that when the war ended, American economic power would be second to none in the world. United States business would penetrate areas that up to this time had been dominated by England….”

DTN points out that Zinn was a defamer of America no matter the context, provocation or era. “To the end of his life, Zinn continued to sympathize with America’s enemies, just as he had supported the Soviet Union in the Cold War. In a pamphlet-like tract published after 9/11 called “Terrorism and War,” he portrayed the U.S. as a terrorist state, and Islamic jihadists as people valiantly standing up to America’s empire.”

And Zinn – no surprise, here, as being a credentialed leftist has come to be synonymous with hostility to Israel – could always be counted on to lambaste any Israeli policy and action.

Notes DTN:

Just as Zinn held the United States in contempt, so did he despise America’s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. According to the professor, Israel’s creation in 1948 “meant the dispossession of the Arab majority that lived on that land,” and led not only to “the occupation and subjugation of several million Palestinians,” but also to “what we would today call ‘ethnic cleansing.’ ”Zinn recalled that “after the Six-Day War of 1967 and occupation of territories seized in that war the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai peninsula),” he personally “began to see Israel not simply as a beleaguered little nation surrounded by hostile Arab states, but as an expansionist power.”

With regard to the ongoing Mideast conflict today, Zinn placed most of the blame for “the cycle of violence” on Israel’s allegedly provocative use of disproportionate force….

According to Zinn, Israeli society was replete with deep-seated “xenophobia, militarism, [and] expansionism.”

Despite – -actually, because of – his radical views, Zinn was given a respectful send-off by the mainstream media and received positively worshipful tributes by columnists like The New York Times’s Bob Herbert. Think that would ever happen to a writer or historian as extreme in his or her love of America as Zinn was in his disdain for it?

Krauthammer’s Crystal Ball

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Going through some old issues of The Weekly Standard magazine on a recent rainy day, the Monitor was struck by a November 9, 1998 cover story from the acclaimed columnist Charles Krauthammer that fairly shouted Crystal Ball.

Krauthammer began the piece, titled “The Coming Palestinian State,” with a defense of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance at the Wye River summit (this was, of course, Netanyahu’s first go-round in the prime minister’s chair), a performance that had been derided by critics on both the left and the right.

Netanyahu, Krauthammer pointed out, had by the time of his election in 1996 come to accept Oslo as a fait accompli; had in fact campaigned not on a platform of abrogating the treaty but of insisting on Palestinian compliance and reciprocity.

“The point,” argued Krauthammer, “is that Netanyahu never was a zealot. He has long believed that a solution to the Palestinian question would require some territorial compromise. He was never a ‘Land of Israel’ ideologue. He would, of course, have preferred to hold on to every inch for security reasons. But he understands realities.”

Netanyahu’s primary goals were to halt the one-sided nature of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and to somehow safely steer the country through – if not completely around – the interim territorial withdrawals agreed to by the previous Israeli government.

Yasir Arafat, encouraged by former prime minister Shimon Peres, had been under the impression that even before the start of the “final status” negotiations Israel would hand over approximately a third of the disputed land in each of three redeployments – in effect leaving Israel with no bargaining chips just as the key issues of East Jerusalem and Palestinian statehood were placed on the table.

“Netanyahu’s entire strategy for the last two years,” Krauthammer wrote, “undertaken at huge diplomatic and personal political cost, has been to reduce Arafat’s expectations…. On this he won. Wye ratifies the victory. Arafat had 27 percent of the territories when Netanyahu came to power. Wye gives him 13 percent more. Oslo’s interim phase will end with Israel having given up 40 percent of the land.

“From the Israeli point of view, this is an extraordinary achievement. It leaves Israel with a serious chunk of territory on the West Bank to bargain with.”

It is when he turned his attention to what Arafat received at Wye that Krauthammer’s tone took a dark turn. That additional 13 percent of land promised to Arafat, he noted, was crucial not so much for its size as for the isolated pockets of Palestinian-controlled territory that would now be linked. And with Gaza and the West Bank connected by two special roads, the land under Arafat’s jurisdiction suddenly appeared more than ever like a real state.

And the biggest prize of all, he added, was that President Clinton would shortly travel to Gaza to formally address a large conclave of Palestinians – a visit ostensibly tied to an understanding that Arafat would convene the Palestine National Council for the purpose of excising the anti-Israel clauses in the PNC charter, though it was always unclear how serious the Palestinians were about the undertaking.

What was clear, wrote Krauthammer, “is that an American president will come to Palestine to bless its Congress, address a Palestinian festival celebrating coming independence, and launch it on that road.”

A road, it should be said, that Clinton fully supported. Krauthammer made the point, downplayed or ignored by Jews who loved to contrast Clinton so favorably with the first President Bush, that at the 1991 Madrid peace talks the Bush administration “explicitly declared that it would not support a Palestinian state.”

No such declarations were ever heard from Clinton.

In the end, Krauthammer feared, Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state and the outbreak of war. It was only a matter of time before one side or the other would be forced, most likely by cataclysmic events, to surrender its chief claims.

“That,” he concluded, “is the crisis waiting to happen. For now, Wye is the bridge to that crisis, the last agreement between Israel and the Palestinians we are likely to see before the fateful showdown.”

C-Span Enables Jew-Hatred

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

C-SPAN often teeters on the brink of self-parody, particularly when the hosts of its interview programs stare impassively at the camera while yet another crazed caller recites chapter and verse of the latest conspiracy theories involving the Trilateral Commission 9/11 being an “inside job” or the Bush family’s Nazi/Saudi/Zionist/ KGB/CIA ties (choose one or more and don’t think twice about any seeming contradictions).

Formed in 1979 as, in the words of its mission statement, “a private, non-profit company … by the cable television industry as a public service … to provide public access to the political process,” C-SPAN is deadly serious about maintaining a reputation for non-partisanship – to the point even of allowing viewers to disseminate, unchallenged, all manner of unsubstantiated charges and outright lies.

The ideal of non-partisanship, admirable when it comes to covering Congress and political conventions, can become something else entirely when used to provide respectability to lunatic-fringe callers who spew hate, ignorance or misinformation.

Earlier this month, former CIA analyst and habitual Israel-basher Michael Scheuer was being interviewed by C-Span’s Bill Scanlan on the morning show “Washington Journal” when a viewer identifying himself as “John from Franklin” called in. Here’s the exchange that followed:

John from Franklin: I for one am sick and tired of all these Jews coming on C-SPAN and other stations and pushing us to go to war against our Muslim friends. They’re willing to spend the last drop of American blood and treasure to get their way in the world. They have way too much power in this country. People like Wolfowitz and Feith and the other neo-cons – that jewed us into Iraq – and now we’re going to spend the next 60 years rehabilitating our soldiers – I’m sick and tired of it.

C-SPAN host Bill Scanlan: John in Franklin, New York. Any comment on that?

Scheuer: Yeah. I think that American foreign policy is ultimately up to the American people. One of the big things we have not been able to discuss for the past 30 years is the Israelis. Whether we want to be involved in fighting Israel’s wars in the future is something that Americans should be able to talk about. They may vote yes. They may want to see their kids killed in Iraq or Yemen or somewhere else to defend Israel. But the question is: we need to talk about it. Ultimately Israel is a country that is of no particular worth to the United States.

As journalist Jeffrey Goldberg put it on his Atlantic blog:

“Any comment?” This is what a C-Span host says in reaction to a grotesquely anti-Semitic question? Any comment. Words fail…. I’m calling Scanlan this morning to try to figure out what he was thinking.

Scanlan chose not to respond to Goldberg, but controversy over the incident continued to build on the Internet and finally, a week after the program aired, C-Span acknowledged that Scanlan should not have sat silently by as John from Franklin made his remarks.

“Program hosts, whose role is to facilitate the dialogue between callers and guests, are certainly permitted to step in when a caller makes ad hominem attacks or uses obscenity or obviously racist language,” C-Span said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic agency. “Given that this involves quick judgment during a live television production, it’s an imperfect process that didn’t work as well as it should have that day.”

Sounds good, but here’s the problem: While C-Span can try to spin this particular incident as an unfortunate and rare oversight, its “imperfect process” doesn’t seem to “work as well as it should” on many days.

In fact, the situation with C-Span has become so egregious that CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) has a regularly updated “C-Span Watch” on its website listing example after example of anti-Semitic and extreme anti-Zionist statements made by C-Span callers.

Describing “Washington Journal” on the “C-Span Watch” home page, Myron Kaplan writes: “In recent years, the program has become a platform for anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic callers who are rarely, if ever, interrupted or challenged by the program’s hosts…. Occasionally, guest speakers – journalists, authors, academics, government officials – offer information that counters these distortions and falsehoods. But C-Span hosts themselves almost invariably sit mute or even, at times, reinforce the bigoted rants…. No other ethnic or religious group has been subjected to such continuous and virulent defamation on the network.”

Media Pinheads On Parade

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The Media Research Center is out with its annual Best Notable Quotables in recognition of the most biased, outrageous, or unintentionally humorous media quotes from December 2008 through November 2009.

These are a few of the Monitor’s favorites (as was to be expected, the media’s worship of President Obama came in for heavy representation among this year’s entries). To read the complete selection and to find out which statement was chosen as Quote of the Year, visit www.mrc.org.

Let’s Slander Rush

● “Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name but here’s a sampling: He once declared that [words on screen] ‘Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark,’ said Limbaugh.” – CNN’s Rick Sanchez promoting a made-up quote on the 3 p.m. ET hour of “Newsroom,” October 12.

Saint Ted

● “The heavens were weeping for Teddy Kennedy today.” – Andrea Mitchell noting the rainy weather for Kennedy’s funeral, August 29 “NBC Nightly News.”

● Mary Jo [Kopechne] wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan…. We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history…. [One wonders what] Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows – maybe she’d feel [her death] was worth it.” – Discover magazine deputy web editor Melissa Lafsky, who formerly worked on The New York Times’s Freakonomics blog, writing at the Huffington Post, August 27.

Saint Barack

● You’re so confident, Mr. President, and so focused. Is your confidence ever shaken? Do you ever wake up and say, ‘Damn, this is hard. Damn, I’m not going to get the things done I want to get done, and it’s just too politicized to really get accomplished the big things I want to accomplish’?” – CBS’s Katie Couric in an exchange with Obama shown on “The Early Show,” July 22.

● “The president showed his analytical mind…. He was at his best intellectually. I thought it was a great example of how his mind works…. What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him.” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during live coverage following Obama’s February 9 press conference.

● [Star Trek’s Mr.] Spock’s cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we’ve put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama’s unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock’s…. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result….” – Newsweek’s Steve Daly in his May 4 cover story, “We’re All Trekkies Now.”

● “Reagan [at the 1984 D-Day commemoration] was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is, ‘We are above that now. We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something.’ I mean, in a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world. He’s sort of God. He’s going to bring all different sides together.” – Newsweek’s Evan Thomas to host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” June 5.

● “Between workouts during his Hawaii vacation this week, he was photographed looking like the paradigm of a new kind of presidential fitness, one geared less toward preventing heart attacks than winning swimsuit competitions. The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.” – Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow in a December 25, 2008 front-page story about Obama’s vacation fitness regimen.

● “When they were both walking to the helicopter the other day, Marine One … you could tell, like, they were experiencing the – I’m getting old here – the grooviness, the excitement of being this first American couple heading towards Marine One, which is cool in itself, heading from there to Air Force One, to a quick flight across the Atlantic, on your own plane, and to meet with the world leaders as, like, the centerpiece of the world…. I’m saying it again, I’m getting a thrill…. We agree, we girls agree. I don’t mind saying that. I’m excited. I’m thrilled.” – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking to Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women’s Forum and Washington Post writer Lois Romano about the Obamas’ trip to Europe, April 1 “Hardball.”

Why Obama Will Sweep The 2012 Jewish Vote

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Turns out there are real questions about the accuracy of a Quinnipiac poll showing President Obama’s approval rating has fallen to just 52 percent among Jewish voters. As the JTA’s Eric Fingerhut pointed out in a front-page story in last week’s Jewish Press, the Jewish sampling “was derived from a sample of just 71 respondents, for a margin of error of plus or minus 11.6 percent – a sample size that pollsters generally say makes such surveys unreliable.”

As the Monitor argued earlier this week on Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog, Obama enjoys two important advantages that make him almost a shoo-in to win another landslide among Jewish voters three years from now: He’s a well-spoken, non-threatening black man (a factor not to be underestimated when considering the voting psychology of liberal and moderate Jews), and he’s adamantly opposed to and by the Christian Right.

To put that into historical context, let’s look back at the presidential election of 1984. For a Republican, Ronald Reagan had done exceedingly well among Jews in 1980, winning 39 percent of their votes and holding the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, to an unimpressive plurality of 45 percent. (Third-party candidate John Anderson got the rest.) And then came the 1984 National Survey of American Jews, conducted between April and August that year, which found that while 39 percent of respondents acknowledged voting for Reagan in 1980, some 53 percent said that, looking back, Reagan was the candidate they would have preferred.

Reagan seemed poised to at least hold on to his 1980 share of the Jewish vote – and quite possibly exceed it.

In addition to Reagan’s performance in office, there was, in 1984, the Jesse Jackson factor. The longtime civil rights activist was running for the Democratic nomination, and during the course of the campaign many of his past derogatory comments about Jews and Israel resurfaced, fueled both by his reference, in what he thought was an off-the-record conversation, to New York City as “Hymietown” and his reluctance to separate himself from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The Jackson factor was widely thought to threaten the Democratic Party’s decades-old hold on Jewish loyalties, particularly when a Los Angeles Times poll of African American delegates at the 1984 Democratic National Convention revealed that 75 percent of the delegates pledged to Jackson and almost 50 percent of those backing eventual nominee Walter Mondale felt no need to distance themselves from Farrakhan or his statements.

Come November, however, Reagan actually ended up losing significant ground among Jewish voters. “Exit polls taken the day of the election,” wrote Charles Silberman in his 1985 book A Certain People, “indicated that no more than 35 percent of American Jews, and perhaps as few as 31 percent, had voted for Reagan; the Jewish vote for Mondale was put at 65-69 percent … analysis of the polls indicated that between 25 and 35 percent of the Jews who had voted for Reagan in 1980 switched to Mondale in 1984.”

Reagan’s increasingly vocal embrace of the New – specifically, the Christian – Right scared Jews more than anything said by either Jackson or Farrakhan. Nearly 80 percent of Jews had an unfavorable opinion of the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the most visible face of the Christian Right (never mind that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had presented Falwell with the Jabotinsky Prize in recognition of his strong support of the Jewish state.) In fact, Silberman noted, “more Jewish voters indicated an unfavorable opinion of Falwell than of Jesse Jackson.”

How does this relate to Obama and Jewish support? For one thing, the Republican Party’s identification with the Christian Right is immeasurably stronger today than it was 25 years ago, making it unlikely that liberal or moderate Jews will find a comfort level with the GOP anytime soon. For another, the current generation of American Jews is not nearly as supportive of Israel and Israeli policies as were their parents and grandparents – and support for Israel was the one factor that in the past might have swayed some liberal Jews to vote for a Republican.

If Jimmy Carter, fresh off a disastrous four years in office and displaying a palpable animus toward Israel, could still outpoll his Republican opponent among Jews (and absent the Anderson candidacy Carter probably would have won at least 55 percent of the Jewish vote), there’s no reason to believe even a mediocre Democratic president – particularly if he’s a likeable African American who talks a good liberal game – need worry about Jewish voters.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

When Abba Eban KO’d Mike Wallace

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Last week the Monitor noted that, contrary to popular perception, mainstream media bias against Israel is not something that developed as a result of Israel’s allegedly intransigent negotiating posture, or of Israel’s supposedly disproportional response to terrorist provocation, or of the ascension to power of so-called hard line prime ministers.

No, the tilt against Israel began, slowly at first, in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War and proceeded to pick up steam over the next forty-plus years. But even before 1967 – even when Israel was more of a dot on the map than it is today, even when the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria were in Arab hands, even before there was any talk of Palestinians or a Palestinian state and the conflict was seen as one between Israel and the Arab nations – there already were media figures who brimmed with hostility toward Israel.

The Monitor was reminded of this while viewing a fascinating episode of the old “Mike Wallace Interviews” TV program. The show, which aired on April 12, 1958, focused on the 10th anniversary of Israeli statehood and Wallace’s guest was Abba Eban, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.

Wallace’s tone was prosecutorial throughout, but what makes the interview especially instructive is that many of the arguments made by Wallace against Israel are precisely the same that are still being made by Israel’s enemies more than a half a century later. Again, this was Israel in 1958, nine years before it found itself in possession of any of the territories that, we are now told, constitute the crux of the problem.

The interview can be seen, along with a complete transcript, at www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/digital (select “Mike Wallace”). Eban, by the way, was nothing less than magnificent in responding to Wallace’s provocations.

Here are some highlights:

WALLACE: … An estimated seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were left homeless during the Arab-Israeli war of ‘48. Israel refuses to readmit them; they live in bitterness and such men as historian Arnold Toynbee has said this: “The evil deeds committed by the Zionist Jews against the Arabs are comparable to crimes committed against the Jews by the Nazis.” How do you feel about that?

EBAN: Well, about Professor Toynbee’s statement I can only repeat what I’ve written, that it is a monstrous blasphemy. Here he takes the massacre of millions of our men, women and children, and he compares it to the plight of Arab refugees alive, on their kindred soil, suffering certain anguish, but of course possessed of the supreme gift of life…. The refugee problem is the result of an Arab policy. An Arab policy which created the problem by the invasion of Israel, which perpetuates it by refusing to accommodate them into their expanding labor market, and which refuses to solve the problem which they have the full capacity to solve.

WALLACE: Of course, the problem of the refugees is allied with the problem of territorial expansion on the part of Israel. A major Arab spokesman here in the United States … says, “The area of the territories held by Israel today exceeds by about 40 percent the area of the territories given Israel by the United Nations. Most of this added area,” he says, “was taken by force and should therefore be relinquished by Israel.”

EBAN: Well, I think this gentleman need not to lose any sleep at night worrying about whether the State of Israel is too big. Really there is nothing more grotesque or eccentric in the international life of our times than the doctrine that little Israel, eight thousand square miles in area, should become even smaller in order that the vast Arab Empire should still further expand.

WALLACE: Mr. Ambassador, do you … foresee further territorial expansion by Israel?

EBAN: Well I don’t like the word “further” Mr. Wallace, because, as I have said, our present boundaries rest upon agreements beyond which we have not encroached, but we certainly do not desire to expand our frontiers…. We are prepared to accept a guaranteed settlement with the Arab States on the present frontiers.

Are they so prepared? I wonder whether the issue isn’t one of Arab expansion. Here sit I, the accredited representative of Israel, and I declare that Israel will sign a peace treaty with the Arab states on the present frontier. Now you get an Arab ambassador sitting here to say that he will have a settlement with Israel on the present frontier, and you will really have a story.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/when-abba-eban-kod-mike-wallace/2009/12/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: