Civility, believe it or not, can be taken too far. Take for example, this letter by Robert Cohen, JCRC president, in January second's Detroit Free Press:
Although Terry Ahwal's guest commentary of Dec. 27 conveyed a one-sided picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was encouraging to see it conclude with support for a two-state solution ("Gingrich's claim that Palestinians are 'invented' displays a pandering style of foreign policy").Lovely, isn't it? The very model of civility. It is even-handed, forgiving, non-confrontational, walking on the sunny side of the street with both hands outstretched in friendship.
Jews and Arabs often strongly disagree about where to lay blame for their conflict, but we can agree that both Israelis and Palestinians have suffered greatly. We cannot forget past events that brought Israelis and Palestinians to where they are today. But peace can only be realized if both peoples move forward toward a settlement they negotiate directly with each other based on a shared vision of a better future.
The problem is that Terry Ahwal took the opposite stance. Read his column here.
Pretty nasty, isn't it? It's not only divisive (to the Metropolitan Detroit community) and confrontational, but it's a pack of lies, which anyone who knows anything about the history of the Middle East can easily expose. Unfortunately, as we know, when it comes to slandering Israel in the mainstream press, the slanderers are allowed to create their own facts; fact-checking be damned. The ultimate lie, sitting atop a stinking pile of defamation and dishonesty, is the final paragraph:
Gingrich should know that we Palestinian people live and exist and are the indigenous population of Palestine. For the interest of peace, Palestinians are willing to live side by side by Israel as equal and no amount of denial will eradicate us.Do I really have to explain the unabashed mendacity of those fallacious claims? I don't think I do, but I think Mr. Cohen should have shown some support for the Jewish community and exposed Ahwal's lies in the Free Press. I'm sorry Mr. Cohen, but "one-sided" is quite a limp-wristed attack on a piece that demanded a strong response. But what's worse is the morally equivalent tone of what follows.
You credit Ahwal for his support of the "two state solution"? Palestinian leadership is interested in a one state solution, and guess which state that solution doesn't include.
Yes, Palestinians and Israelis have both suffered . . . at the hands of the Palestinians.
Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Palestinians and Israelis don't share the same vision. The Palestinian vision is a land without Israel and without Jews. That's more than strong disagreement. That has to be acknowledged when answering libels against Israel and against Jews. You want to compromise with evil? Move over, and let those of us who are willing to raise our voices speak.
Recall what Golda Meir had to say about compromising with our enemies:
I guess we have no choice. Either we do everything that is possible, and may seem to others as impossible, and just give up. Or we do everything that is really impossible and we remain alive. There’s one more basic thing that I think that people outside of Israel must realize, and if they understand and accept that, maybe other things will fall into place.I await a response. But please be civil. I'm very sensitive.
For instance, we’re not the only people in the world who’ve had difficulties with neighbors; that has happened to many. We are the only country in the world whose neighbors do not say, “We are going to war because we want a certain piece of land from Israel,” or waterways or anything of that kind. We’re the only people in the world where our neighbors openly announce they just won’t have us here. And they will not give up fighting and they will not give up war as long as we remain alive. Here.
So this is the crux of the problem: it isn’t anything concrete that they want from us. That’s why it doesn’t make sense when people say, “Give up this and give up the other place. Give up the Golan Heights,” for instance. What happened when we were not on the Golan Heights? We were not on the Golan Heights before ’67, and for 19 years, Syria had guns up there and shot at our agricultural settlements below. We were not on the Golan Heights! So what, if we give up the Golan Heights, they will stop shooting? We were not in the Suez Canal when the war started.
It’s because Egypt and Syria and the other Arab countries refuse to acquiesce to our existence. Therefore there can be no compromise. They say we must be dead. And we say we want to be alive. Between life and death, I don’t know of a compromise. And that’s why we have no choice.