If the Israelis wanted to defeat the Palestinians, Israel would immediately
recognize a Palestinian State in Gaza, the West Bank and even east Jerusalem
rather than embrace policies that push Palestinians to unite. If they did that,
all the Israelis would have to do is sit back and watch as the Palestinians tear
Yes, the tragedy of the Palestinians isn’t that they
are victims of injustice at the hands of the Israelis. It is their own tendency
to destroy themselves from within.
The most powerful factor keeping
Palestinians together as a people is the anger they share in response to
injustices by Israel. But that’s a pathetic reason for unity. Worse, anger
easily turns into hatred and hatred easily turns into violence, terrorism and
killings. And violence undermines even the most just of
Palestinians hate Israelis but they hate themselves even
Palestinian activists spend as much time bashing their own people
as they do bashing Israel. The truth is that for the Palestinians, bashing
Israel results in nothing but more defeats and losses. Bashing other
Palestinians makes them feel better, and serves to distract their community from
their inherent leadership failures.
Yes, it’s true. The Palestinian
leadership is a failure, and the activists who lead the hatred, for example
against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, a moderate Palestinian
like myself, and against anyone who dares to challenge their fanaticism, are the
Let’s define failure. In nearly 100 years of battling
Jewish immigrants and then the Israeli people, the Palestinians have failed to
establish sovereignty over one inch of historic Palestine.
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DIFFERENCES between Israelis and Jews on one side and the Palestinians and the
Arab World on the other is striking.
For example, Israelis and Jews
recognize that the American public is the single most important public
constituency in the world. The Arab World marginalizes the American public,
brushing them off as “ignorant” and “uneducated.”
That may be. But
there’s a reason the most powerful lobbying group in the world, AIPAC, operates
out of Washington, DC, not London, Paris or the Hague.
the importance of the American public means recognition of the significance of
American politics. Some of the wealthiest people funding the presidential
candidates in the United States are not Arabs who have billions at their
disposal, but Jews.
Newt Gingrich this week pulled to the front of the
Republican field of candidates seeking to unseat Democrat President Barack Obama
in November’s presidential election.
Gingrich did that with the backing
of one of the wealthiest people in the world, Sheldon Adelson.
the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom
, and the owner of lucrative
casinos in Las Vegas. He put up more than $5 million to fund a “Super
Pac” that has been bashing Mitt Romney and that is helping
Although Arabs hate Gingrich because he called the Palestinians
an “invented people,” the fact is that Gingrich has very moderate views on
Israel and Palestine. In interviews with my journalist colleague Ali Younes, who
covered the South Carolina Republican primaries, Gingrich explained that he
would recognize and support a Palestinian state if Hamas and the Palestinians
recognized Israel and renounced violence.
Forget about the politics of
Gingrich’s words. Mainstream Palestinians renounced violence years ago and
continue to live in the limbo of occupation, while Hamas goes back and forth,
one day pretending to be moderate and the next vowing retaliation for brutal
Israeli air strikes.
But as a veteran journalist and now columnist, I
know presidential candidates will say anything to win elections. In other
words, that Gingrich called Palestinians an “invented people” is meaningless in
terms of what he might do to bring about compromise if elected
The bigger question, though, is where is the Palestinian or
Arab version of Sheldon Adelson who is willing to put up much of his wealth to
support the interests of his people? Arabs do not own newspapers, television
stations or put any real money into the Palestinian lobbying. Pro-Israel groups
have donated more than $51 million to candidates, according to the Washington
Report on Middle East Affairs. In contrast, Arabs have only donated
The Arabs, though some may be talented, have a lot of
loud-mouthed activists who scream and spew hatred. There’s the great jazz
musician whose hatred of Israel borders on anti-Semitism. There’s the
talented writer at the Electronic Intifada whose words are driven by hatred of
These hate-driven activists have compromised mainstream Arabs,
putting them in a headlock of oppression. Moderate Arabs are discouraged
from expressing their views or espousing moderation in the face of the bullying
and threats from the fanatics who spend more time and energy beating up their
own people than turning legal claims against Israel into meaningful
I was sitting with a group of Arab journalist friends recently
at al-Manar restaurant outside of Chicago in Bridgeview, which is the hub of the
local Palestinian Muslim community.
What struck me as odd was the
restaurant was empty, save for our group. It was lunchtime on a
Sunday. Down the street, Arabs were standing in line at two American
restaurants owned by Greek Americans.
The real secret is that the
Israelis don’t have to work hard at defeating the Palestinians. All they have to
do is let Palestinians undermine themselves.The writer is an award
winning columnist and radio talk show host. He can be reached at
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