boycott israeli goods 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As soon as the first-ever conference of Arab expatriates hosted in Cairo earlier
this month by the League of Arab Nations closed, the fanatics dropped from their
damp dark caves and started to scream that it was a sham.
backed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is calling on
Palestinians and Arabs who are expatriates living in the West but more
importantly in the United States, to organize.
The conference concluded
with many goals including creating an “organizational framework for Arab
expatriates” while fostering “a dialogue of civilizations, cultures and
Pro-Israeli media and pundits immediately criticized the
conference, complaining that too much of it was focused on the Palestinian issue
and that much of it was based on confronting Israeli extremism rather than
The conference clearly endorsed the Arab Peace
Initiative outlined in 2002, one that Israel continues to run from because it
requires tough compromises.
But more importantly, the Palestinians and
the Arab League want to rip control of the Palestinian cause from the hands of
fanatics and extremists in the United States whose sole mission has been to
block peace and to reinforce the power of Hamas, the terrorist religious
Immediately, Arab and Palestinian fanatics started
launching public attacks against the conference and it is a growing theme they
are selling to the Palestinian diaspora which sympathizes with the fanatic anger
but support the moderate strategies. It sounds contradictory but for most
moderate Palestinians, Israel has given them nothing to cheer about at all and
everything to jeer about.
Almost all of Israel’s actions since the Oslo
Accords have been geared towards maintaining the status quo while granting some
power to the Palestinians, except the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Israel
wants to keep all of Jerusalem, all of the settlements, wants Palestinians to
recognize it as a Jewish state.
IT IS about time that the Arab League
nations finally did something. Their failure to lead has created a void which
has allowed a small cabal of Palestinian extremists in the United States and
Europe to hijack the Palestinian cause.
And they are no better than
Israelis, speaking from both sides of their mouths, too. A good example is the
movement to boycott products sold by Israelis that are manufactured or grown in
the occupied West Bank. The movement is spearheaded by a group called Jewish
Voice for Peace.
They say they target products made in the West Bank but
many of their leaders are working hand-in-hand with Palestinian-American
extremists who are also targeting products made in Israel.
Palestinian extremists are anti-Semitic and driven by hatred. They say one thing
but always mean something else.
Israelis don’t help much, as I have
already pointed out. Instead of drawing a proper line on things like
anti-Semitism, Israel’s supporters like the Anti-Defamation League and the
Zionist Organization of America headquartered in New York, call everything
critical of Israel anti-Semitic.
What Israelis don’t realize is that
their broad stroke, knee-jerk attacks of anti-Semitism, against even the
harshest critics of Israel, like the venerable Helen Thomas, only weaken the
moderate Palestinian voices.
In a way, Israeli actions often strengthen
the Palestinian extremists and maybe that is intentional. Many Israelis don’t
want to give up anything. They don’t want peace. And the Palestinian extremists
help them get away with this unacceptable status quo.
As long as the
Palestinian extremists have the upper hand, this Israeli strategy will
But the Expatriate Conference in Cairo can change that, especially
if they follow through with concrete actions to strengthen the voices of
Palestinian and Arab moderates in the West and particularly in the United
More importantly, they need to reach out to Palestinian
moderates, slam down the extremist voices and speak consistently about peace
based on the 2002 plan. Israelis, believe it or not, are no different than
And if they believe peace is genuine, they just might support
it.The writer is an award-winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show