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Israel, the little land speck which is the "cause" of the "Arab-Israel" conflict.

You like potato and I like potahto

You like tomato and I like tomahto


Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.

Let’s call the whole thing off

When the Gershwin brothers (Ira and George), wrote those lyrics, they hit on a truism. People can be talking about the same thing only saying them differently. Does it matter?

You bet it does-Especially when it comes to the Middle East.

Take for instance, the phrase “Israel-Palestine Conflict.” You barely have to type the “P” of Palestine into the Google search field and there Google goes, filling in the rest of the phrase so you don’t have to. It’s a thing. That’s in spite of the fact that the entity known as “Palestine” does not, at this point, exist.

Not to mention, the word “conflict” suggests two warring factions, when this is not the case.


Professor Ruth Wisse said it best, “People talk about the Arab-Israel conflict. I think the term itself is a lie and if at all possible, the term should be avoided. What you have is the Arab war against Israel.”

I agree.

This is a very important distinction.

And it’s the reason I grit my teeth when a State Department spokesperson responds to news of an Arab terror attack on Jews by “urging both sides to exercise restraint” or to “refrain from perpetuating the cycle of violence.”

This is the sort of language that suggests two kids fighting in the sandbox. One kid hits the other, the other hits him back.

Does it matter who starts the squabble?


Because this time it could be Kid A who starts the violence, and the next time it could be Kid B who starts up. No matter which kid starts the fight, the other is sure to continue.

Because it’s a cycle–A cycle of violence: Round and round she goes and where she stops, nobody knows.

Except that nothing could be further from the truth.

The Arab War against the Jews is not the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. It’s not BIG BAD ISRAEL with guns and munitions, and the poor weak Arabs who have naught but kitchen knives and little pebbles. That’s a misrepresentation of the truth.

Or rather, to paraphrase Professor Wisse, it’s a lie.

It’s a war, not a conflict. And this language makes all the difference, in spite of the Gershwin brothers, Ira and George.

During World War II, no one called it, for instance, the Germany-Allies Conflict.

You know why?

Because that’s not what it was. There was an aggressor. And the choice of the Allied forces was to defend the innocent against the aggressor or give in, give up.

Would anyone have dared characterize that war as a conflict, equating the Nazis with the Allies? Hitler with Roosevelt?

In entering the war, was the U.S. perpetuating the cycle of violence? Of course not.

And that is why I get angry, every time a State Department spokesperson speaks about a “cycle of violence” in reference to Israel. It’s insulting. It’s saying my side, Israel, a sovereign democratic nation, isn’t any better or less culpable than the evil Arab terrorists who attack us.

It’s blaming the rape victim for gouging out the eyes of her rapist to make him STOP.

With this language, the State Dept. equates attacks with the defense of same.

Which means that Israel can never win, can never be innocent.

The only way out of this label is to submit to the knives and die. That will stop the cycle, you see.

This is my ALLY? This country that calls for me not to defend myself, and for my army not to defend me?

You like potato and I like potahto

You like tomato and I like tomahto

Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.

Let’s call the whole thing off

The use of such dishonest language, referencing cycles of violence, under cover of being fair and balanced, proves conclusively that the State Department is neither fair nor balanced, nor an ally.

Because the only way for Israel to refrain from “perpetuating the cycle of violence” is to offer up its neck on the altar as a sacrifice to peace.

The only way to stop the violence is to DIE.

And that is the undercurrent running behind those pat phrases suggesting equality between victim and attacker, ally and foe. Israel needs to stop reacting. Israelis, when attacked, need to curl up and die. And not, as Yonatan Azarihab did, for instance, fight back.

Remember him? He’s the guy who fought with his attacker, pulling the knife out of his own body and stabbing his attacker to death. Because when someone is killing you, you can either kill him or die.

Yonatan Azarihab, fought with his attacker, pulling the knife out of his own body and stabbing his attacker to death

There is no cycle of violence between Israel and its Arab population. There’s one side bent on killing as many Jews as possible, and the other side, just trying to live a fruitful, peaceful life.

There is absolutely no difference between Arab violence against Jews in Israel and Muslim violence against Belgians in Brussels. The aim is the same. Exactly the same.

It’s not a cycle. It has no root cause. It isn’t borne of poverty or despair.

It’s pure hate. It’s evil.

And the only way to end it is to say it straight up.

And deal with it.




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Blogger and mother of 12, Varda Meyers Epstein is a third-generation Pittsburgher who made aliyah at age 18 and never looked back. A proud settler who lives in the biblical Judean heartland, Varda serves as the communications writer for the nonprofit car donation program Kars4Kids, a Guidestar Gold medal charity. The author's political opinions are her own and not endorsed by her employer.


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