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Necessary Illusions Copyright © 1989 by Noam Chomsky




[From the appendix of Necessary Illusions]


Appendix V

 

4. The "Peace Process" in the Middle East 56

The task of "historical engineering" has been accomplished with singular efficiency in the case of the Arab-Israeli conflict, arguably the most hazardous issue in world affairs, with a constant threat of devastating regional war and superpower conflict. The task has been to present the United States and Israel as "yearning for peace" and pursuing a "peace process," while in reality they have led the rejectionist camp and have been blocking peace initiatives that have broad international and regional support. This remained the case as 1988 came to an end with the diplomatic flurry discussed in chapter 4, to which we return.

From the late 1960s there has been a substantial consensus in favor of a political settlement on the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders, with perhaps minor modifications. In the early stages, the terms of this broad consensus were restricted to the rights of existing states, and were, in fact, very much along the general lines of official U.S. policy as expressed in the Rogers plan of December 1969. By the mid-1970s the terms of the consensus shifted to include the concept of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with recognized borders, security guarantees, and other arrangements to safeguard the rights of all states in the region. At this point, the PLO and most Arab states approached or joined the international consensus. Prior to this, the consensus was strictly rejectionist, denying the right of self-determination to one of the two contending parties, the indigenous population of the former Palestine.

To avoid misunderstanding, I should stress that I am departing from standard convention and am using the term "rejectionist" with its actual meaning, referring to the position that rejects the right of self-determination of one of the contending parties. Thus, I am not adopting the conventional usage, which applies the term "rejectionist" only to those who deny the right of self-determination to Jews. The strictly racist conventional usage is designed to fortify, by tacit assumption, the doctrinal requirement that Palestinians lack such rights. Note also that evaluation of the status of such rights, in one or the other case, is a separate matter, which I do not address here.

The United States has been opposed to all of the arrangements of the international consensus, both the earlier plan that conformed to official U.S. policy and offered nothing to the Palestinians, and the later nonrejectionist alternative that recognized the parallel rights of both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. The United States preferred to block a political settlement that might have been feasible, and (rhetoric aside) to fund and support Israeli expansion into the territories. Both major political groupings in Israel have always adamantly opposed any political settlement that does not grant Israel effective control over the resources and much of the land in the occupied territories; they differ only in the modalities of this rejectionist stance, which denies the right of self-determination to the indigenous population.57 The U.S. administrations have generally supported the position of the Israeli Labor Alignment, which calls for a form of "territorial compromise" that would satisfy these basic demands. U.S.-Israeli rejectionism has been so extreme that Palestinians have even been denied the right to select their own representatives for eventual negotiations. Thus, the United States and Israel have adopted a position comparable to the refusal in 1947 to allow Jews to be represented by the Zionist organizations in the negotiations of that time, a position that would have been regarded as a reversion to Nazism had it been put forth.58 One would be hard put to find any questioning in the media of the U.S.-Israeli position in this regard, a fact of no small interest for those intrigued by the primitive nature of contemporary Western culture.

The media have had the task of presenting extreme rejectionism as accommodation and the soul of moderation, and suppressing the efforts of the Arab states and the PLO to advance a nonrejectionist settlement, depicting the PLO in particular as violent extremists. These responsibilities have been fulfilled with dedication, skill, and great success.59

U.S. efforts to derail a political settlement can be traced to 1971, when the administration opted for Kissinger's policy of "stalemate" and backed Israel's rejection of a full-scale peace proposal by President Sadat of Egypt that was framed in terms of the international consensus and official U.S. policy. These events therefore had to be excised from history. Consequently, standard doctrine holds that that it was only six years later, in 1977, that "Egyptian President Anwar Sadat broke through the wall of Arab rejectionism to fly to Jerusalem and offer peace to Israel in the Israeli Knesset"60 -- on terms less acceptable to Israel than those of his rejected proposal six years earlier, which offered nothing to the Palestinians. It would be difficult to discover anyone who is willing to break ranks on this crucial doctrine of the propaganda system.

In the years between, the October 1973 war had taught Kissinger and the Israeli leadership that Egypt could not simply be dismissed with contempt, as had been assumed in the mood of post-1967 triumphalism. They therefore moved to the next best policy of excluding the major Arab deterrent from the conflict so that Israel would be free, with U.S. support reaching phenomenal levels, to integrate the bulk of the occupied territories and attack its northern neighbor while serving the United States as a "strategic asset." This policy was consummated -- whatever the intentions of the participants might have been -- at Camp David in 1978-79. In this context, Sadat's 1977 peace initiative was admissible.

An associated doctrine is that Sadat's "break with Arab rejectionism" in 1977 remains unique. It is therefore necessary to expunge from the record such events as the session of the U.N. Security Council in January 1976, when the United States vetoed a resolution advanced by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, supported by the PLO and even "prepared" by it according to Israel, which called for a two-state diplomatic settlement in the terms of the international consensus, with territorial and security guarantees. On the rights of Israel, the proposal of the Arab "confrontation states" and the PLO reiterated the wording of U.N. Resolution 242, calling for "appropriate arrangements...to guarantee...the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." This is the first of many endorsements of U.N. 242 by the PLO, with the backing of the major Arab states.

These facts are unacceptable. Accordingly, they quickly disappeared from official history and have remained unmentionable. The same is true of the unanimous endorsement by the Palestine National Council (PNC) in April 1981 of a Soviet peace proposal with two "basic principles": (1) the right of the Palestinians to achieve self-determination in an independent state; (2) "It is essential to ensure the security and sovereignty of all states of the region including those of Israel." It has also been necessary to suppress a series of initiatives over the years by the PLO and others to break the diplomatic logjam and move towards a two-state peaceful settlement that would recognize the right of national self-determination of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, regularly blocked by U.S.-Israeli rejectionism.

The general Washington-media position has been that Palestinians must be satisfied with Labor Party rejectionism, which grants Israel control over the occupied territories and their resources, while excluding areas of dense Arab settlement so that Israel will not have to face the "demographic problem," a term devised to disguise the obviously racist presuppositions. In these areas, the population will remain stateless or be administered by Jordan. These options are overwhelmingly rejected by the people of the territories, but that fact is deemed irrelevant on the traditional principle that people who are in our way are less than human and do not have rights.

During these years, the rejectionist stand of the United States has been taken as a historical given in the media and the intellectual community generally, hence not subject to discussion. Thus, Times correspondent Thomas Friedman writes that Arafat "has to face the choice of either going down in history as the Palestinian leader who recognized Israel in return for only, at best, a majority of the West Bank or shouldering full responsibility for the Palestinians' continuing to get nothing at all."61 These are the only choices, for the simple and sufficient reason that only these options are permitted by the United States. In a Times Magazine article of October 1984 deploring the growing strength of "extremists, and all those in the Middle East who reject compromise solutions," Friedman places primary blame on the Arabs, particularly Yasser Arafat: "By refusing to recognize Israel and negotiate with it directly, the Arabs have only strengthened Israeli fanatics like Rabbi Kahane, enabling them to play on the legitimate fears and security concerns of the Israeli public," which still has "a majority for compromise." This was a few months after Arafat had quite explicitly called for negotiations with Israel leading to mutual recognition, a call officially rejected by Israel, dismissed without comment by the United States, and unreported in the New York Times, which even refused to publish letters referring to it.62 But no matter: Arafat's call for negotiations and mutual recognition is an "extremist" refusal "to recognize Israel and negotiate with it directly," and the refusal of the Israeli Labor Party to consider this possibility is moderation and search for compromise. Pursuing the familiar conventions, Friedman writes that "it took Anwar Sadat to bring out the moderate in Moshe Dayan and Menachem Begin," referring not to his rejected peace offer of 1971, which is ideologically unacceptable and therefore does not exist, but to the less forthcoming proposals of 1977, admissible to the historical record because they were issued after the United States and Israel had recognized that their larger goals were unattainable.63

For the Times editors, the willingness to accord both contestants equal rights is defined as "rejectionism"; that is, nonrejectionism is rejectionism, another example of the utility of interpretations. It is fair, they say, to criticize "Israel's hard-fisted repression," but it is necessary "to complete the record" and recall the background reasons, specifically, the "sterile rejectionism" of the Palestinians, and the Arabs generally, which leaves Israel little choice. Deploring the "intransigence" of "the Arab heads of state" in June 1988, the editors write that "while they didn't reject the Shultz peace plan outright or insist on Palestinian statehood, they hardened their stance on the need for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories." This is unfortunate: "Rejectionism is a formula for endless paralysis." "Rejectionism" here means not rejection of the right of one or the other of the contending national groups to self-determination, but rather rejection of the Shultz peace plan, which denies this right to the Palestinians but is moderate and forthcoming by definition, because it is advanced by the United States. The editors call upon "the West Bankers," who "have been ill-used by PLO exiles and their let's-pretend declarations" calling for Palestinian self-determination, to go beyond "defying occupying soldiers" and "to take the harder step," that is, to accept the U.S.-Israel conception of peace without Palestinian self-determination. The editors even state that "Israel can't be blamed because Palestinians spurned Security Council peace plans"; for example, the two-state Security Council resolution supported (or "prepared") by the PLO in January 1976, and vetoed by the United States -- but nonexistent, because inconsistent with ideological requirements.64

The attitude is reminiscent of a stubborn three-year-old: I don't like it, so it isn't there. The difference is that in this case, the three-year-old happens to be the information services of the reigning superpower.

The option of a nonrejectionist settlement that accords Palestinians the same human rights as Jews does not exist, because the United States and Israel oppose it; that is a simple, unchallengeable fact, the basis for further discussion. Similarly, it has been taken for granted that the Palestinians, unlike the Jews, do not have the right to select their own representatives, a particularly extreme form of rejectionism. The "peace process" must be crafted so as to protect these principles from scrutiny and awareness. Success has been brilliant, as I have documented at length elsewhere.65

As the quasi-official Newspaper of Record, the New York Times must be more careful than most to safeguard the preferred version of history. As already noted, when Yasser Arafat issued a call for negotiations leading to mutual recognition in April-May 1984, the Times refused to print the facts or even letters referring to them. When its Jerusalem correspondent Thomas Friedman reviewed "Two Decades of Seeking Peace in the Middle East" a few months later, the major Arab (including PLO) initiatives of these two decades were excluded, and attention was focused on the various rejectionist U.S. proposals: the official "peace process." Four days later, the Times editors explained that "the most important reality is that the Arabs will finally have to negotiate with Israel," but Yasser Arafat stands in the way "and still talks of an unattainable independent state" instead of adopting a "genuine approach to Israel" to "reinforce the healthy pragmatism of Israel's Prime Minister Peres" by agreeing to accept King Hussein as the spokesman "for West Bank Palestinians" -- regardless of their overwhelming opposition to this choice, irrelevant in the case of people who have no human rights because they stand in the way of U.S. designs. That Peres's "healthy pragmatism" grants Israel control over much of the territories and their resources is also unmentioned. Shortly after, in yet another review of the "peace process" under the heading "Are the Palestinians Ready to Seek Peace?," diplomatic correspondent Bernard Gwertzman asserted -- again falsely -- that the PLO has always rejected "any talk of negotiated peace with Israel."66

Note that Gwertzman need not ask whether Israel or the United States is "ready for peace." For the United States, this is true by definition, since "peace" is defined as whatever Washington is prepared to accept. And since the Israeli Labor Party, with its "healthy pragmatism," is basically in accord with U.S. rejectionism, it too is automatically "ready for peace."

The commitment to falsifying the record on this crucial matter reaches impressive levels. On December 10, 1986, Friedman wrote that the Israeli group Peace Now has "never been more distressed" because of "the absence of any Arab negotiating partner."67 A few months later, he quoted Shimon Peres as deploring the lack of a "peace movement among the Arab people" such as "we have among the Jewish people," and saying that there can be no PLO participation in negotiations "as long as it is remaining a shooting organization and refuses to negotiate."68 Recall that this is almost three years after the Israeli government's rejection of Arafat's offer for negotiations leading to mutual recognition.

Six days before Friedman's article on "the absence of any Arab negotiating partner," a headline in the mass-circulation Israeli journal Ma'ariv read: "Arafat indicates to Israel that he is ready to enter into direct negotiations." The offer was made during the tenure of the "healthy pragmatist" Shimon Peres as Prime Minister. Peres's press advisor confirmed the report, commenting that "there is a principled objection to any contact with the PLO, which flows from the doctrine that the PLO cannot be a partner to negotiations." Labor party functionary Yossi Beilin observed that "the proposal...was dismissed because it appeared to be a tricky attempt to establish direct contacts when we are not prepared for any negotiations with any PLO factor." Yossi Ben-Aharon, head of the Prime Minister's office and Yitzhak Shamir's political adviser, explained that

There is no place for any division in the Israeli camp between Likud and the Labor Alignment. There is in fact cooperation and general understanding, certainly with regard to the fact that the PLO cannot be a participant in discussions or in anything... No one associated with the PLO can represent the issue of the Palestinians. If there is any hope for arrangements that will solve this problem, then the prior condition must be to destroy the PLO from its roots in this region. Politically, psychologically, socially, economically, ideologically. It must not retain a shred of influence... The Israeli opposition to any dealings with the PLO will lead to the consequence that it will weaken and ultimately disappear... This depends to a considerable extent upon us. For example, no journalist may ask questions about the PLO or its influence. The idea that the PLO is a topic for discussion in the Israeli press -- that is already improper. There must be a consensus here, and no debate, that the PLO may not be a factor with which Israel can develop any contact.69
None of this was reported in the mainstream U.S. media, though Friedman was alone in using the occasion to issue one of his periodic laments over the bitter fate of the only peace forces in the Middle East, which lack any Arab negotiating partner.

Friedman's services are much appreciated. The Times promoted him to chief diplomatic correspondent, and in April 1988, he received the Pulitzer Prize for "balanced and informed coverage" of the Middle East, of which these are a few samples. This is his second such award. He received the first for his work in Lebanon, but he observed that at that time the pleasure was marred because the award came just after the bombing of the American Embassy in Lebanon, at "a moment very much bittersweet." This time, however, the award was "unalloyed, untinged by any tragedy," an interesting reaction on the part of a journalist covering Jerusalem and the occupied territories, where apparently everything had been just fine in the preceding months of violent repression of the Palestinian uprising.70

On the occasion of his receipt of the Pulitzer Prize, Friedman had several long interviews in the Israeli press,71 in which he repeated some of the fabrications he has helped establish, for example, that the Palestinians "refuse to come to terms with the existence of Israel, and prefer to offer themselves as sacrifices." The tone of racist contempt is no less noteworthy than the falsehood. He went on to laud his brilliance for having "foreseen completely the uprising in the territories" -- which will come as something of a surprise to his regular readers -- while writing "stories that no one else had ever sent" with unique care and perception; prior to his insights, he explained, Israel was "the most fully reported country in the world, but the least understood in the media." Friedman also offered his solution to the problem of the territories. The model should be south Lebanon, controlled by a terrorist mercenary army backed by Israeli might. The basic principle must be "security, not peace." Nevertheless, the Palestinians should not be denied everything: "Only if you give the Palestinians something to lose is there a hope that they will agree to moderate their demands" -- that is, beyond the "demand" for mutual recognition in a two-state settlement, the longstanding position that Friedman refuses to report and consistently denies. He continues: "I believe that as soon as Ahmed has a seat in the bus, he will limit his demands."

The latter phrase is interesting. One can imagine a similar comment by a southern sheriff in Mississippi thirty years ago ("give Sambo a seat in the bus, and he may quiet down"), though it is hard to believe that a U.S. reporter could make such a statement today about any group other than Arabs. In fact, anti-Arab racism is prevalent in respectable circles in the United States, a matter to which we return.

After being promoted to chief diplomatic correspondent of the Times in recognition of his achievements in having provided "balanced and informed coverage" of the Middle East, Friedman turned to the broader responsibilities of this new position, informing the reader, for example, that in Central America, "after eight years of a failed Reagan Administration approach, Washington has one realistic option -- to seek change through the diplomatic initiative opened by the leaders of Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras" -- and opposed throughout, we are of course to understand, only by the totalitarian Sandinistas.72 It is impressive to see how little effort it takes for the well-trained intellectual to learn the lines. Another Pulitzer Prize doubtless awaits.

A year after Shimon Peres's rejection of "direct negotiations," the Hebrew press in Israel headlined Arafat's statement that "I am ready for direct negotiations with Israel, but only as an equal among equals," and Shimon Peres's report that "the PLO is ready for direct negotiations with Israel without an international conference."73 Israel again rejected the offer. A few days later, Arafat reiterated the PLO call for "an independent Palestinian state in any part of the territory of Palestine evacuated by the Israelis or liberated by us," adding that this state should then form "a confederation with the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Syrians, and why not, the Israelis."74 Again, the North American reader was spared knowledge of these facts.

On January 14, 1988, Arafat stated that the PLO would "recognize Israel's right to exist if it and the United States accept PLO participation in an international Middle East Peace conference" based on all U.N. resolutions, including U.N. 242.75 Once again the New York Times refused to publish Arafat's statement, or even to permit letters referring to it -- though the facts were buried in an article on another topic nine days later. Arafat had expressed a similar positions many times, for example, a few months earlier in an interview in the New York Review of Books, and in a September speech at a U.N. Nongovernmental Organization (N.G.O.) meeting, also unreported in the Newspaper of Record, in which he called for an "International Conference under the auspices of the United Nations and on the basis of international legality as well as of the international resolutions approved by the United Nations relevant to the Palestinian cause and the Middle East Crisis, and the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 and 338."76

In March 1988 the New York Times at last permitted readers a glimpse of the facts,77 but in an interesting manner. A front-page headline read: "Shamir and Arafat Both Scornful of U.S. Moves for Mideast Peace." Two stories follow on the villains who scorn the peace process. One deals with Yitzhak Shamir, who says that "The only word in the Shultz plan I accept is his signature"; the other, with Yasser Arafat, who repeats his endorsement of all U.N. resolutions including 242 and 338, once again accepting Israel's existence in return for withdrawal from the occupied territories and calling for Palestinians to be represented in negotiations through their chosen representatives.78 George Shultz soberly and honorably pursues the peace process; the extremists on both sides scorn his efforts.

In a similar vein, the press reported in 1984 that the Israeli Supreme Court would permit "two extremist political parties" to run in the elections, one of them Rabbi Kahane's Kach party, which "advocates the eventual expulsion of all Arab residents of Israel and the West Bank of the Jordan River," and the other, the Progressive List, which "wants Israel to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization and form a Palestinian state on the West Bank" -- the two forms of extremism.79

In April 1988, Arafat again endorsed partition, referring explicitly to the principle of a two-state political settlement, not the borders of the original U.N. Resolution of 1947. The next day, Defense Minister Rabin (Labor) announced that Palestinians must be excluded from any political settlement, and that diplomacy can proceed only "on a state-to-state level." A few days earlier, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir (Likud) had informed George Shultz that "U.N. Resolution 242 does not contain territorial provisions with regard to Jordan," meaning that it excludes the West Bank; the government of Israel is thus on record with a flat rejection of U.N. 242, as understood anywhere else in the world. In February, the Platform Committee of Herut, the core of the governing Likud coalition, had reiterated its longstanding position that the right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, including all of Jordan, is "permanent" and "not subject to any higher authority," though they do not "propose to go to war on Amman," at least now. Deputy Prime Minister Roni Milo (Likud) had announced earlier that "we have never said that we renounce our right to [Jordan], though in the context of negotiations with Jordan we might agree to certain concessions in Eastern Transjordan," granting Jordan some of its current territory (the reference is presumably to the largely uninhabited desert areas). Later in April 1988, the Labor Party once again adopted a campaign platform rejecting Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and Rabin clarified that the plan was to allow 60 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be part of a Jordanian-Palestinian state, with its capital in Amman. Both major Israeli political groupings thus confirmed their extreme rejectionism, though in their characteristically different guises. The respected Israeli diplomat Abba Eban, an advocate of the Labor Party variety of rejectionism, comments on "the awkward fact that the Israeli government does not support [U.N. 242] at all"; specifically, "there is no trace of [resolutions 242 and 338] whatever in the Israeli coalition agreement because the Likud negotiators in 1984 resisted the Labour proposal to include 242 as one of the sources of Israeli governmental policy."80

All of this passed without notice in the mainstream press.81 The press did, however, report that George Shultz, pursuing his "peace mission" in Jordan, announced that the PLO or others "who have committed acts of terrorism" must be excluded from peace talks, which would leave the bargaining table quite empty and surely would exclude the speaker. He also "explained his understanding of the aspirations of Palestinians," Times reporter Elaine Sciolino wrote, by citing the example of the United States, where he, Shultz, is a Californian, and George Bush is a Texan, but they have no problem living in harmony. The Palestinian aspirations into which he shows such profound insight can be handled the same way.82

At the Algiers meeting of the Arab League in June 1988, the PLO circulated a document written by Arafat's personal spokesman Bassim Abu Sharif, submitted to the major U.S. media and reported in a cable to the State Department on June 8. The document once again explicitly accepted U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, explaining why the PLO will not accept them in isolation. The reason, long understood, is that "neither resolution says anything about the national rights of the Palestinian people, including their democratic right to self-expression and their national right to self-determination." "For that reason and that reason alone," Abu Sharif continued, "we have repeatedly said that we accept Resolutions 242 and 338 in the context of the U.N. Resolutions which do recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people." The same considerations are what underlie the insistence of the United States and Israel that the PLO accept U.N. 242 and 338 in isolation, thus implicitly abandoning their right to self-determination. The Abu Sharif statement was published in the small democratic socialist weekly In These Times. The Washington Post refused publication. The New York Times published excerpts as an opinion column, accompanied by a front-page news story headlined "An Aide to Arafat Comes Under Fire: Hard-Line Palestinian Groups Criticize the Adviser's Call for Talks With Israelis." The article focuses on the condemnation of Abu Sharif by George Habbash's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and groups that oppose the PLO, barely mentioning the contents of the proposal. It is possible that the Times withheld publication until they could frame the story in this manner.83

Recall that it was after all of this that the Times editors condemned the "sterile rejectionism" and "intransigence" of the Palestinians and the Arabs generally, in their June 13 editorial cited above. A few weeks later, Faisal Husseini, a leading West Bank moderate, was again placed under administrative detention, this time for publicly advocating the Abu Sharif proposal at a Peace Now meeting, a fact too insignificant to merit a story in the Times (see below). Peace Now's association with Husseini in mid-1988 could be interpreted as indicating oblique support for the nonrejectionist two-state proposal that Husseini advocated, though subsequent Peace Now statements make this interpretation doubtful.84 Husseini had emphasized -- accurately -- that he was taking a position long advanced by the PLO. If Peace Now did intend to signal in an ambiguous way its support for something like Husseini's position, then we could conclude that for the first time, Israel has a nonrejectionist peace movement comparable to the PLO, apart from the margins of the political system. These words, though accurate, would be virtually incomprehensible in respectable political discourse in the United States.85

The events of late 1988 again revealed the utility of this extensive government-media campaign to eliminate Arab and PLO initiatives from the historical record while depicting U.S.-Israeli efforts to derail a political settlement as "the peace process" and their rejectionism as moderation. As noted in the text, the Palestine National Council, meeting in Algiers, called for an international conference based on U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 (which recognize Israeli rights but say nothing about the Palestinians) along with the Palestinian right of self-determination. One might have imagined that this very clear reaffirmation of the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians would have raised some problems for U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. The expected PNC announcement did, in fact, arouse such fears. They were expressed, for example, in a headline in the more dovish segment of the American Jewish press reading "Israel girding itself for Arab peace offer," all pretense that Palestinian moves towards peace would be welcome having been abandoned as the dread moment approached.86

But the fears of peace were quickly put to rest as the PNC peace proposal passed through the media filter. For the editors of the New York Times, it was simply "the same old fudge that Yasir Arafat has offered up for years," a "wasted opportunity," another refusal to abandon "the rejectionist formulas." Once again, a clear nonrejectionist stance is "rejectionism" because it does not accord with the U.S.-Israeli position rejecting Palestinian national rights. With regard to the PLO's reiteration of the position on terrorism endorsed by the entire world apart from the United States, Israel, and South Africa this is just "the old Arafat hedge," the editors scornfully observed.87

A few weeks later, the ever-annoying Arafat stated explicitly in Stockholm that the PNC declaration had "accepted the existence of Israel as a state in the region," reiterating in a joint declaration with American Jews that the PLO affirms "the principle incorporated in those United Nations resolutions that call for a two-state solution of Israel and Palestine" and calls for an international conference "to be held on the basis of U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 and the right of the Palestinian people of self-determination without external interference." The Times again reacted with contempt, as did both major Israeli political groupings and the U.S. government. The editors explained that once again, "the endorsement of Resolutions 242 and 338 also contains vague allusions to other U.N. declarations, not excluding those that impugn Israel's legitimacy." That statement is flatly false: the only U.N. resolutions to which Arafat made reference are 242, 338, and those that recognize the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. The editors also reiterated the official position that Arafat did not go far enough in "rejecting terrorism," meaning that he did not join the U.S. government and the Times in their splendid isolation off the spectrum of world opinion, a simple matter of fact that the Newspaper of Record has refused to publish.88

The Times editors went on to say that the PLO "seems to have crept closer to accepting Israel's right to exist" though "how far the P.L.O. has moved is hard to tell." The U.S. must therefore stand fast, and "keep the pressure" on Arafat "for more clarity." Their meaning is transparent. Only when the Palestinians explicitly and without equivocation abandon their claim to human and national rights, in accord with State Department-Times directives, will their position be sufficiently clear to merit consideration.

The Los Angeles Times described the Algiers declaration as "the first official hint of a PLO interest" in abandoning their claim for "sovereignty over the whole of Palestine," though "it would be stretching things to use any word stronger than `hint' to describe what came out of the PLO meeting in Algiers." The PLO proposals for a two-state settlement incorporating the right of all states to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, negotiations leading to mutual recognition, etc., for well over a decade, do not qualify as "hints" because they have been excised from the historical record. Particularly troublesome, the editors continue, was that "the PLO's proclamation doesn't define the boundaries of a Palestinian state"; Israel's refusal to do the same from its founding has never been troublesome. The Washington Post, anticipating the PNC statement, was hopeful, because "for the first time reasonable people can ask if Palestinians are at least moving toward peace"; fair enough, on the assumption that historical facts do not exist if they would compel us to acknowledge unpleasant truths about ourselves.89

Among columnists, the spectrum extended from doves who described the Algiers declaration as "a clumsy but potentially significant move" (Judith Kipper of the Brookings Institution), to George Will, who explained that the German word for "two-state settlement" is "Endloesung, meaning `final solution'." At the dovish extreme, Anthony Lewis applauded this move "in a constructive direction" even though the resolution "was not as clear as we would like," and the PLO must still be excluded from negotiations because of its failure to "unambiguously renounce all terrorism" -- that is, to join the United States and Israel (and, of course, South Africa) in defiance of the world. Boston University history professor Allen Weinstein, president of the Center for Democracy, questioned whether we can trust Arafat's alleged "moderation." We can test it, he suggested, by calling upon him to order a unilateral pause in the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) "as a valuable good faith gesture in shaping future US response to the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people"; Weinstein does not indicate what the United States and Israel would then do to meet these "legitimate demands," or why they did not respond to them prior to the Intifada.90

One of the most intriguing reactions was in the Christian Science Monitor, which has been unusual in its occasional willingness to recognize that Palestinians too might have human rights, including the right to national self-determination that is accorded to Israeli Jews. The Monitor presented two columns: the president of the American Jewish Committee presented the case for denying a visa to Arafat and thus sending a message to the PLO that "it must stop trying to destroy Israel," while Monitor correspondent Scott Pendelton, representing the opposite pole of expressible opinion, urged Shultz to reconsider the decision to bar Arafat from speaking at the United Nations. After all, Pendelton argued, "with the United States' encouragement, PLO moderation had been learning to crawl. Our ultimate aim, supposedly, was to help it to walk." Facts aside, the racist arrogance of the formulation is worthy of note. Pendelton goes on to sketch the outlines of a fair settlement. Since "our primary concern is Israel's security," the only question is: "How far can we go toward addressing Palestinians' grievances?" The basic principle, then, is that the indigenous population simply does not have the human rights of Jews. "Giving Palestinians something to lose would guarantee their good behavior," Pendelton urges, adopting the Thomas Friedman stance. So they ought to be granted some kind of "state," but "Israel should expect to retain military bases in the West Bank and Gaza, overflight rights, and lots more stuff"; this "stuff" remains unspecified, except that it will allow Israel to "walk away with everything it needs" in addition to peace. As for the Palestinians, they should understand that if they "so much as look funny at Israel, we'll step back and let Israel annex your new state and drive all you people into the sea." "If Arafat agrees to such a brutally blunt condition," then he will have made a statement of "honest intentions" that is clear enough for us, the advocate of the doves concludes.91

In short, sheer unalloyed rejectionism throughout, laced with racist contempt for the lesser breeds. The entire spectrum is a counterpart to extremist elements among the Arabs.

Much attention is given throughout to the reaction of American Jewish leaders and organizations. The doves among them described Arafat's explicit acceptance of Israel in a two-state settlement as "a further small step on the road, though there were reasons to fear that the expressed attitudes would not survive a political settlement" (Arthur Hertzberg). The director of the Anti-Defamation League criticized Arafat's statement as "encumbered" and "conditional," when what is needed is "utter clarity" (Abraham Foxman). The chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations" described Arafat's declarations as "a thinly disguised version of the same old propaganda line" and dismissed his acceptance of Israel as a "meaningless" recognition of existing reality; his desire to destroy Israel is "unmitigated," and that is all that counts (Morris Abram).92 In short, the only satisfactory step for the Palestinians is national suicide, with "utter clarity." The meaning of these positions is not discussed.

In Israel, Peace Now reacted to these developments by taking a "new position" that "has surprised many," the Israeli press commented: namely, Peace Now published an advertisement calling for negotiations with the PLO, thus abandoning the extreme form of rejectionism that denies the Palestinians even the right to select their own representatives for negotiations. Peace Now did not, however, move towards a political position of the sort that the PLO had advanced in January 1976 and repeatedly since, calling for a peaceful two-state political settlement. The Peace Now ad asserted falsely that "in Algiers the PLO abandoned the path of rejection...and adopted the path of political compromise"; that step had been taken thirteen years earlier when the PLO backed (or, if the president of Israel can be believed, "prepared") the proposals rejected by Israel and the United States, and that step had yet to be taken by Peace Now. The ad urged that Israel "speak with the PLO" to determine "if the PLO has really adopted the path of peace as declared in Algiers." The advice is sound, except that it omits the major question: has Israel, or Peace Now, finally adopted the path of peace? Peace Now spokesman Tsali Reshef stated that "It isn't we who have undergone a transformation so much as the PLO," with its "revolutionary change" in Algiers, recognizing U.N. 242 and a two-state settlement. The change in Algiers was anything but revolutionary, as the record clearly indicates. What had changed was that Peace Now had now separated itself slightly from Labor Party rejectionism, moving along with mainstream opinion -- which, a few months later and after no further change of any significance in the PLO position as we will see, registered support for negotiations with the PLO by a margin of 54 percent to 44 percent.93

While one can, quite properly, point to ambiguities in PLO formulations, to their corruption, deceit, foolishness, and terror, that shameful record is praiseworthy in comparison with that of the Israeli Labor Party and Peace Now, which still had not reached the level of commitment to a peaceful settlement articulated by the PLO and the "confrontation states" well over a decade earlier.

Notably missing from the discussion in the U.S. media was any suggestion that the United States or Israel should depart from their clear and unambiguous rejection of Palestinian rights, or should renounce terrorism.94 There is no thought that denial of Palestinian self-determination is a form of "Endloesung." The only question that may be considered is whether the Palestinians have moved far enough towards our position, which is by definition the right one, therefore unquestioned. The doves say that the Palestinians are learning, and we should reward them for their painfully slow progress; the hawks warn that it is all fraud and delusion. The more forthcoming argue that for the first time the Palestinians have made sounds that reasonable people might listen to, departing from the "old Arafat fudge": namely, endorsement of a two-state settlement based on the right of self-determination of both peoples, the call for negotiations and mutual recognition, and the other proposals that do not even qualify as "hints." The tough-minded refuse to concede even that. A well-crafted history is a powerful instrument.

December 1988 brought a series of events that provide yet another dramatic indication of the ability of the media to adapt instantaneously to the needs of state propaganda. The media consensus, as expressed by the editors of the New York Times, is that in mid-December the PLO underwent a "seismic shift of attitude," for the first time "advanc[ing] towards a serious negotiating position." Recognizing that the PLO had now met all U.S. demands, Washington made the "momentous decision" to talk with them. It is now "reality time" in the Middle East, Thomas Friedman added; whether there will be any progress depends "in large part on how the P.L.O. leadership responds to the dose of reality they are expected to get in their talks with United States diplomats."95

Let us now turn to what actually occurred.

We must, first of all, not overlook the broader context. The Palestinian uprising from December 1987 undermined the assumption that the Palestinians could simply be disregarded. Their resistance was becoming costly to Israel on many levels, a threat to its services to the United States and perhaps even to its social and economic integrity. Israeli rejectionists of both Labor and Likud began to recognize that the Palestinians could not be as easily suppressed as they had supposed, joining a few others who had already come to this conclusion. U.S. analysts were drawing the same conclusions. The rejectionism of the U.S. intellectual community, overwhelmingly dominant, also was beginning to erode, accelerating as the costs of the Intifada to Israel became clear. Even some of the leading hatchet men, who for years had been denouncing advocates of a political settlement as left fascists, self-hating Jews, and the like while producing a steady stream of apologetics for Israeli repression and atrocities, began to fashion for themselves a role as long-term advocates of a political settlement and critics of Israel's lack of compassion (typically blaming the Likud government and exculpating Labor, which has a comparable record, worse in some respects).96 Israel's costly failures in Lebanon from 1982 had led to a similar reassessment, as had Arab military successes in the October 1973 war, which made it clear that the Arab states could not simply be ignored and that it would be best for Israel and the United States to arrange a Sinai settlement. Some change in policy towards the Palestinians, at least at a symbolic level, was therefore likely, on the basis of a reassessment of costs. Against this background, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the illusions that had served for so long. Correspondingly, from early 1988 Arab peace initiatives began to be reported, however deceptively, and to elicit some kind of limited reaction.

Turning to the events of December 1988, after the November Algiers declaration the United States refused to permit Arafat to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York, in clear violation of law. The Assembly session was moved to Geneva, where Arafat essentially repeated the positions already articulated. Washington's response was that Arafat had not met its conditions, which were, once again, clearly stated:

  1. "Acceptance of Resolutions 242 and 338"
  2. "Recognition of Israel's right to exist"
  3. "Rejection of terrorism in all its forms"

These U.S. positions must be adopted by the PLO "clearly, squarely, without ambiguity," the State Department continued. The media endorsed this stand. The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story entitled "The Ambiguous Yasir Arafat," and others deplored his evasiveness as well. The concept of "ambiguity" was explained by John Chancellor of NBC: "The trouble with Yasser Arafat is that his native language seems to be ambiguity. He never quite says what you want him to say."97 How unreasonable.

Recall what is at stake in the three conditions. Resolutions 242 and 338 call for the right of all states in the region to "live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." This condition had been endorsed by the PLO in January 1976 in those very words, and repeatedly since. But the PLO had always added a "qualification." It also insisted upon those U.N. resolutions that recognize the right of the Palestinians to national self-determination in a state alongside of Israel. The first of the State Department requirements is that the PLO abandon this "qualification," thus abandoning the right to self-determination.

The second point is a bit different. No state in the international system is accorded an abstract "right to exist," though states are accorded the right to exist in peace and security. The difference is fundamental. Thus, the United States explicitly denies the "right to exist" of the Soviet Union in its present form (as demonstrated, for example, in Captive Nations Week, or in high-level planning documents such as NSC 68). But it agrees that the U.S.S.R. has the right to be free from foreign attack or terror, that is, to live in peace and security. For the Palestinians to agree to Israel's abstract "right to exist" would be for them to accept not only the fact but the legitimacy of their dispossession from their land and homes. That is why Israel and the United States insist on this precise wording. "It is essential that these words be spoken," a State Department Middle East expert asserts. It is not the "existence" of Israel but the "right" of existence that is at issue, National Security Adviser Colin Powell insists: "It's the right of Israel to exist that is the essential acknowledgement that we need."98 Israel naturally agrees. The U.S. media and intellectual community do so as well, for only such total humiliation and renunciation of even abstract rights on the part of the Palestinians will justify the attitudes that intellectual circles had displayed towards them for many decades.

The third point we have already discussed. It is not sufficient for the PLO to take the position on terrorism held by virtually the entire world; it must join the United States, Israel, and South Africa off the spectrum of world opinion, clearly and unambiguously renouncing the right of people to struggle for self-determination against racist and colonialist regimes or foreign occupation. Again, the media agree with near unanimity, while continuing to suppress the fact that this is precisely what is at issue.

The alleged reasons for the U.S.-Israeli stand are "security"; only if Arafat says the magic words will Israel be secure, according to government-media doctrine. The absurdity is transparent. Suppose that Arafat were to waltz into the Knesset wearing a yarmulke and singing Hatikva, proceeding to pledge undying loyalty to the State of Israel while condemning Palestinians as undeserving sinners, temporary visitors in the Land of Israel who will be eternally grateful if the rightful owners of the entire land grant them the gift of a mini-state in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel's security would not be enhanced one iota. Security is based on facts, not words. In fact, the idea that the Palestinians threaten Israel's security can hardly be taken seriously; if the longstanding PLO proposals for a two-state diplomatic settlement were accepted, it would be the Palestinian state that would face security problems, contained within the traditional tacit alliance between Jordan and Israel, the regional superpower. Israel doubtless faces severe security problems, in part of its own making because of its rejection of the possibilities for diplomatic settlement since 1971. But the Palestinians pose a security threat only in that Israel's capacity to defend itself against really dangerous enemies will doubtless erode as its military forces are trained not to fight wars but to break the bones of children. The threat is understood by Israeli military specialists, and is one reason why the Intifada is leading them to reconsider the wisdom of holding the territories. One well-known military historian, Martin van Creveld, observes that "What used to be one of the world's finest fighting forces is rapidly degenerating into a fourth-class police organization. To realize the way such a force will fight when confronted by a real army, one need look no further than the Argentinians in the Falkland Islands."99

The issue of Arafat's refusal to pronounce the words written for him by the State Department -- what the media term his "ambiguity" -- is not at all "frivolous," as the editors of the Washington Post rightly assert while misstating the reasons.100 If the PLO were to accept the State Department position clearly and unambiguously, it would fall into a diplomatic trap. It would then have renounced its right to national self-determination (the "qualification" to 242), accepted the legitimacy of everything that had happened to the Palestinians in the past, and renounced any right to struggle for self-determination -- for example, the right to endorse popular committees in a "liberated village," or the right to approve if the inhabitants of the village throw stones at army units invading to prevent such attempts at self-government and to arrest, torture, beat, or kill the perpetrators of such crimes. PLO agreement to these terms would be a substantive achievement for U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. It would mean that if the Palestinians made any move towards self-determination, or even spoke words to that effect, they could be accused of reneging on their solemn commitments, proving that they are mere barbarians as the United States and Israel had always known, and abandoning any rights whatsoever. They could then be "driven into the sea" or the desert, in accordance with the prescriptions of the doves, as we have seen. Whatever Israel and the United States now choose to do to them would be legitimate, after this demonstration of their worthlessness. The weapon would always be available, held in reserve, if the PLO were to accept the demands of the U.S. government and the media.

By mid-December 1988, the U.S. government was becoming an object of ridicule outside of the United States for its insistence that Arafat not only accept the positions long regarded as reasonable in the international community, but pronounce the exact words written for him by the State Department. Boxed into an untenable position, Washington turned to the usual technique of the powerful: the "Trollope ploy" (see chapter 4, note 40): When the adversary refuses to accept your position, pretend that he has done so, trusting the media to fall into step. In the world of necessary illusions, then, the adversary will indeed have accepted your position, and you may proceed as if that had happened, punishing him as required for any departure from the solemn commitments that you have invented for him. An added benefit is the psychological satisfaction derived from the claim that Third World nuisances have been humiliated, while in return we now grant them the great gift of admission to the master's chambers for some meaningless conversation. Furthermore, these pretenses have the practical advantage of reinforcing the doctrine that a stern and uncompromising stance is the only way to deal with the lesser breeds. Recall the reinterpretation of the diplomatic defeat of the United States in August 1987 as a proof that our resort to violence finally compelled the reluctant Sandinistas to accept U.S. terms. The actual facts are quite irrelevant if the information system can be trusted to obey and if its power to mold opinion is sufficient in the countries that matter (the Western allies). This is the device that Nixon and Kissinger used to destroy the Paris peace agreements in 1973, and that the Reagan administration adopted to undermine the Esquipulas Accord. In fact, it is virtually a reflex, and it typically works like a charm.

Adopting this procedure, the State Department announced that in a news conference in which he said nothing new of any moment, Arafat had finally accepted the U.S. position on all three issues, so that now, in our magnanimity, we would agree to talk to the PLO (and to inform them, politely, that Palestinians have no rights or claims). As more perceptive analysts recognized, this "sudden and dramatic reversal of US policy...got the Reagan administration out of a corner into which it had been painting itself" as the administration "snatched the slender straw of Arafat's press conference in Geneva as an elegant way out of an increasingly untenable position."101 The standard media interpretation was, however, quite different: the U.S. had not changed its position at all; rather, firmness had paid off and forced the ambiguous Mr. Arafat to accede to Washington's just demands, proving that the U.S. should continue to "hang tough," as the Washington Post editors put it.

The news columns of the New York Times reported that "State Department officials declined to speculate about what may have convinced Mr. Arafat to embrace the American formula after so many years of refusing to do so." Over and over, they reiterated that the PLO had met the U.S. terms "by renouncing terrorism, recognizing Israel's right to exist and accepting important United Nations resolutions on the Mideast." The Washington Post praised the Reagan administration for having "scored an unexpected diplomatic coup by drawing the Palestine Liberation Organization into formal acceptance of the state of Israel." There was much derision of "Palestinian semantics." The story was that Arafat had tried to evade the stern U.S. requirements, but finally succumbed, there being no further escape. Thus, after much squirming, Arafat had finally spoken the words that gave the PLO the privilege of an invitation to lunch with U.S. officials. This "stunning breakthrough" is a triumph of U.S. diplomacy, the Times editors announced, admonishing Secretary Shultz to "hold Arafat responsible" for any "violence within Israel and the occupied territories." The Boston Globe editors asserted that "Yasser Arafat has spoken the words he had to say in order to meet American conditions for open contacts with the PLO," including "his belated declaration of Israel's right to exist in peace and security." "Henceforth," the editors warned, "the PLO can be held to the pledges he made." Columnists added that the United States should persist in the "tough approach" that had "got Mr. Arafat this far along by repeating the same three conditions year in, year out"; this steadfastness should force Mr. Arafat the rest of the way, to accommodating the "legitimate interests" of Israel and Jordan by abandoning even marginal claims for self-determination (Daniel Pipes). Thomas Friedman spelled out "reality": Arafat had finally recognized "Israel's right to exist," and must now talk to the Israelis just as Sadat, "during his first negotiations with Israel after the 1973 war," finally understood that Egypt "would have to talk to Israel directly and in language that Israelis would find sincere" (recall that Egypt had offered a full peace treaty in 1971, recognized as such officially by Israel, but rejected because the Labor government felt that they could gain territorial concessions by holding out, as they frankly explained). As the U.S. proceeds to administer a "dose of reality" to the PLO, Friedman continued, it should advise the Palestinians to "agree to a two-month cease-fire in the uprising, in exchange for Israeli agreement to allow them to hold municipal elections." Note that it is the Palestinians who must "agree to a cease-fire" in the occupied territories, from which the reader is to understand that it is the Palestinians who have been "firing" on the Israeli army.102

Subsequent commentary proceeded along the same lines, virtually (or perhaps even completely) with no exception. President Bush, in his first news conference, explained that we agreed to "communicate" with the PLO (but not "deal with" them, as he hastened to emphasize, correcting a slip of the tongue), because of "their acceptance of three principles," those we had formulated for them; "As long as they stay hooked and stay committed to those three principles, we will have quite appropriate meetings with the P.L.O." What has changed is that the PLO has "dramatically I'd say -- agreed to the -- to the principles that are part of our policy," saying the magic words. Times correspondent Joel Brinkley, along with many others, went further, adding that "Yasir Arafat, the P.L.O. leader, is saying openly for the first time that he wants to solve the Palestinian problem through negotiation," a real breakthrough, an offer that the U.S. and the world have "tentatively accepted." Recall that Brinkley's comment is quite accurate in the world of necessary illusion that the Times has so carefully crafted over many years; Arafat's repeated proposals to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict through negotiation exist only in the irrelevant world of reality, from which readers of the Times have been scrupulously protected.103

Turning to the facts, which quickly disappeared from the scene as anticipated, in his magic words Arafat recognized "the right of all parties concerned in the Middle East conflict to exist in peace and security, and, as I have mentioned, including the state of Palestine, Israel and other neighbors, according to the Resolution 242 and 338"; thus he "accepted the state of Israel" in the terms he had offered thirteen years earlier, and repeatedly since, with the same "qualifications" as always and with no endorsement of Israel's abstract "right to exist." He "renounced" terrorism in all its forms (the State Department had insisted only on "rejection"), while he and other officials made it clear in accompanying statements that the PLO "would not abandon either attacks on military targets in Israel or the year-old uprising in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip."104

In short, Arafat repeated the former PLO positions. The only changes were that whereas in January 1976 (and often since) the PLO adopted the wording of U.N. 242, endorsing the right of all parties "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries," Arafat now spoke of their right "to exist in peace and security"; the change is zero. As before, he insisted on the "qualification" that the Palestinians have the right of self-determination, clearly referring to "the State of Palestine" alongside of Israel. He refused to accept Israel's abstract "right to exist," on which the U.S. had insisted as the crucial point. Instead of "condemning" and "rejecting" terrorism as before (see chapter 4), he "renounced" terrorism, while retaining the internationally recognized right of struggle for self-determination against racist and colonialist regimes and foreign occupation.

The version presented by the State Department and the media is false in virtually every particular. That fact, however, makes not the slightest difference. The necessary illusions have been established. Accordingly, Arafat can be held to the "pledges" that he has not made, and the Palestinians can be punished if they fail to live up to these solemn commitments. Note again the close similarity to the techniques adopted to undermine the Esquipulas Accord, among other familiar cases.

Seeking to extract what advantages one might from these developments, William Safire expatiated on the crucial difference between the words "condemn" and "renounce." True, he conceded, Arafat had previously "condemned" terrorism (as well as "rejecting" terrorism, he fails to add), but now he had followed our orders and "renounced" it, tacitly conceding that he had previously endorsed it. From the point of view of the security of Israel -- Safire's alleged concern -- or any other issue of possible human significance, the difference is so small as to be near invisible. What impresses Safire, however, is that the United States has imposed a satisfying form of humiliation on the victims of U.S.-Israeli repression and rejectionism, righteously forcing them to concede that they, and they alone, have sinned.105 At the other extreme of the acceptable political spectrum, Paul Berman urges Israel to "take your enemy's watery words and dig a moat for them, and...try to seal your enemy behind a channel of his own promises. By making him repeat his words endlessly, and linking big words to tiny measurable commitments, and the tiny to the large." There has been progress, "if only that Arafat's lies flow today in a better direction than when he was dazzling his own people with news of the secular democratic state to come," Berman continues, while extolling Abba Eban (the "grand veteran of Israeli Labor," and long-time advocate of its rejectionism) and Irving Howe ("easy and weighty, socialism's truest voice," long known for silence over Israeli atrocities or denial of them, and venomous denunciation of Daniel Berrigan, the New Left from Palo Alto to Scarsdale, and an array of other villains whose crime was to tell truths that he preferred not be heard). Neither Safire nor Berman, nor the spectrum between, call upon Israel and the United States to "renounce" their terrorism and their rejection of any political settlement; there are no injunctions that these regimes must be sealed behind a channel of their own promises, compelled to repeat their words of contrition and renunciation endlessly, and to direct their lies along a better course. And the necessary illusions about the diplomatic history remain firmly in place. The imperial arrogance and racist contempt for those in our way are as striking as the easy dismissal of unacceptable fact.106

While all eyes were focussed on Palestinian ambiguity, the press reported that "soldiers raiding the West Bank village of Deir al-Ghusun" shot and killed an Arab, among the many who were killed and wounded in a new outburst of Israeli violence with daily killings. To further underscore the U.S.-Israeli attitude towards terrorism, the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution deploring a large-scale Israeli armed attack near Beirut. Shimon Peres, praised in the media as Israel's leading dove, explained that there is no Palestinian partner for negotiations and that Palestinians have no right of national self-determination because Israel determines that their cultural relations with Jordan bar any "notion of artificially dividing the Palestinian people" -- though Israel will allow the people of the West Bank and Gaza "free and secret elections" without Israeli interference, once they abandon in advance the one principle that they would uphold, with near unanimity, in free elections. Israel formed a coalition government based on the familiar demands of both major political groupings: "No talks with the P.L.O. for sure, no Palestinian state between Jordan and the Mediterranean, and no retreat to the 1967 borders." The coalition agreement also called for up to eight new settlements a year in the occupied territories, with U.S. funds.107

There are no ambiguities here. Similarly, the media remain unwavering in their services to derailing any possible peace process as long as Washington persists in its own unambiguous rejectionism.

One aspect of this service is suppression of the position of the United States after the spectacular achievement of U.S. diplomacy. According to the Israeli press, Washington advised Israel to stop requesting that the United States terminate its dialogue with the PLO because these requests "only add significance to the dialogue." Defense Minister Rabin expressed his great satisfaction with the dialogue in late February because it was a delaying action, intended to grant Israel at least a year to suppress the Intifada by "harsh military and economic pressure." This interpretation is reinforced by the protocols of the first meeting between the United States and the PLO in Tunis. These were leaked to the Egyptian journal Al-Mussawar, which is close to President Mubarak, and published in translation by the Jerusalem Post, which could hardly contain its pleasure over the fact that "the American representative adopted the Israeli positions." U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Robert Pelletreau stated two crucial conditions: the PLO must call off the Intifada, and must abandon the idea of an international conference, accepting the U.S. demand for direct negotiations between the PLO and Israel (which Israel, incidentally, refuses). With regard to the Intifada, the U.S. position is that

Undoubtedly the internal struggles that we are witnessing in the occupied territories aim to undermine the security and stability of the State of Israel, and we therefore demand cessation of those riots, which we view as terrorist acts against Israel. This is especially true as we know you are directing, from outside the territories, those riots which are sometimes very violent.108

The U.S. position, then, is that the Palestinian uprising is terrorism aimed at destruction of Israel, and the PLO must order it to cease. Once the Intifada is brought to a halt, matters will revert to the situation that prevailed before, when the U.S. government cheerfully supported and lavishly funded Israel's brutal repression of the population and its steps towards integration of the territories within Israel, while the media systematically avoided the ongoing atrocities, praised the "benign" occupation, and hailed the occupiers as "a society in which moral sensitivity is a principle of political life" (New York Times, right after the Sabra-Shatila massacres); and the left-liberal intelligentsia praised this "ebullient democracy" striding towards democratic socialism (Irving Howe) while slandering those who called for a political settlement and had the impudence and temerity to observe, quite inadequately, that all was not quite as delightful as was being depicted.109

With regard to direct negotiations, the matter is hardly more subtle. The international community supports a political settlement; the United States does not. Therefore, the international community must be excluded from any role, because it would be an irritant, pressing for the kind of political settlement that the U.S. has rejected for many years. More generally, as we have seen in other contexts too, the international community must be excluded as much as possible from interfering on U.S. turf -- much of the world, including the Middle East -- though the U.S. is willing to turn to it when preferred methods of exercising control have failed. In "direct negotiations," without the interference of those who might press for peace, Israel can continue (with U.S. support) to reject any proposal for meaningful negotiations or political settlement, even if Israel can be brought to take part in the charade.

The "dose of reality" administered to the PLO is, therefore, very much along the lines of what the Times chief diplomatic correspondent thought necessary, and conforms exactly to the demands of Israeli rejectionism, as the Jerusalem Post editors exulted. The United States has succeeded, once again, in throwing a wrench in the "peace process" and blocking the prospects that appeared to be developing, much to the consternation of Washington and Tel Aviv.

All such matters must be excluded from discussion in the media, and are, even in the glare of publicity over the remarkable and spectacular U.S. diplomatic achievements of December 1988.

While the United States won a major diplomatic and propaganda victory, forces may be set in motion that Washington cannot control, exactly as in the other cases we have discussed. The world is not as easily managed as the media. That, however, is another topic.

This is only a brief sample of a very large record. One has come to expect such services on the part of the New York Times, which, Boston Globe Middle East correspondent Curtis Wilkie observes, "has historically been Israel's chief conduit for news for American consumption."110 But the pattern is far more pervasive, virtually exceptionless.

I mentioned earlier that one should not dismiss the undercurrent of racism that runs through the discussion of the Israel-Arab conflict. That is the meaning of the tacit assumption that the indigenous population does not have the human and national rights that we naturally accord to the Jewish immigrants who largely displaced them. The assumption is rarely challenged, or apparently even perceived. That is true when the denial of Arab rights is merely presupposed, and remains so even when the expression of racist attitudes is crude and explicit. A number of examples have been mentioned. It would be an error to think of them as merely scattered cases.

Consider, for example, a New York Times Magazine article by Thomas Friedman entitled "Proposals for Peace," outlining his ideas about a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. He begins by introducing "an elderly curmudgeon named Sasson," a representative of "the Israeli silent majority." The article asks what will convince this silent but reasonable ordinary man -- whose alleged views turn out to be remarkably like Friedman's -- to agree to a political settlement. "Sasson is the key to a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement," Friedman holds. Two proposals are offered that might satisfy Sasson; these are presented as speeches by some Israeli political figure who would be farsighted enough to listen to Friedman's advice. One is Friedman's south Lebanon proposal, already discussed: place the territories under the control of a mercenary force backed by Israeli might, and warn the Palestinians that if "they put one of ours in the hospital, we'll put 200 of theirs in the morgue," and Israel will "obliterate" whatever the Palestinians construct if they threaten Israel "in any way." The second is a "diplomatic solution" along the lines of Labor Party rejectionism, with enough power deployed to convince Israelis "to ignore Palestinian poetry" that they do not like.111 Again, the familiar racist arrogance.

Notably missing is any Palestinian Sasson, or indeed any recognition that it might matter what Palestinians think or want. The discussion of proposals for peace is based on the assumption that all that matters is what is good for the Jews. Friedman takes great pains to explain to American readers Jewish attitudes into which he feels he has much insight: the attitudes of Sasson, or Ze'ev Chafets, the American-born former director of the Israeli Government Press Office, sympathetically portrayed as he calmly explains that his son would drop a nuclear bomb on the Rashdiye refugee camp "without a second thought" if he felt that Israel's security were threatened. There is no indication that Friedman understands anything about the Palestinians, or cares to. They are a nuisance that Israel cannot get rid of, and for its own good, Israel should give Ahmed a seat on the bus to shut him up. That ends the discussion.

The racism is often not subtle at all. We read that Times correspondent Stephen Kinzer is offended by the willingness of the Sandinistas "to express solidarity with Palestinians, M-19s, and other Third World detritus" (Joe Klein); replace "Palestinians" with "Jews" and no one will fail to recognize the echoes of Der Stuermer. The same reaction would be elicited by a complaint that New York is "underpopulated," meaning that it has too many Blacks, Hispanics, and Jews and too few WASPs; but there is no reaction to a reference to the "underpopulated Galilee," meaning that it has too many Arabs and too few Jews (Dissent editor Irving Howe in the New York Times). Liberal intellectuals express no qualms about a journal whose editor reflects on "Arab culture" in which "no onus falls on lying," on a "crazed Arab," but "crazed in the distinctive ways of his culture. He is intoxicated by language, cannot discern between fantasy and reality, abhors compromise, always blames others for his predicament, and in the end lances the painful boil of his frustrations in a pointless, though momentarily gratifying, act of bloodlust" (New Republic editor Martin Peretz). Comparable statements about "Jewish culture" would be recognized as a reversion to Nazism. Gary Hart was forced to terminate his presidential candidacy because of alleged indiscretions, which did not include his withdrawal of money from a bank when he learned it had Arab investors: "`We didn't know it was an Arab bank,' said Kenneth Guido, special counsel to the Hart campaign. `We got him (Hart) out of it as soon as we knew'." Nor was Walter Mondale accused of racism when he returned campaign contributions he had received from Arab-Americans or, in one case, a woman with an Arab-American surname, "for fear of offending American Jews," the Wall Street Journal reported; or when he accepted the endorsement of the The New Republic. Change a few names, and the meaning of these facts is evident enough. In the New York Times, William Safire condemns "the world's film crews" for their coverage of "a made-for-TV uprising of a new `people'...in Israel's West Bank"; such derision of Jewish resistance to comparable abuses would be unthinkable, apart from neo-Nazi publications, but this passes without notice. It is pointless to discuss the journal of the American Jewish Committee, considered one of the most respectable voices of conservative opinion, where a lead article seethes with bitter scorn about "the Palestinian Arabs, people who breed and bleed and advertise their misery"; this is "the obvious key to the success of the Arab strategy" of driving the Jews into the sea in a revival of the Nazi Lebensraum concept, the author of these shocking words continues. We may, again, imagine the reaction if a respected professor at a major university were to produce the same words, referring to Jews.112

There is no space to comment here on the vicious racist depiction of Arabs in novels, television, cartoons and cinema, or the crucial support in the American Jewish community for Rabbi Kahane, who is commonly denounced as a Nazi in Israeli commentary, and for other groups within Israel that are only marginally less extreme in their intentions with regard to the Arab population and attitudes towards them.

Those who express their fear and concern over manifestations of anti-Semitism among Blacks and others might be taken seriously if they were to pay even the slightest attention to what is said by their friends and associates. They do not.

The matter of racism and the Arab-Jewish conflict is more complex. The anti-Arab racism that has become so familiar as to be unnoticed has been accompanied by apparent concern over anti-Semitism; that the qualification is accurate is evident from a closer look at the revision that the concept of anti-Semitism has undergone in the process. There have long been efforts to identify anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in an effort to exploit anti-racist sentiment for political ends; "one of the chief tasks of any dialogue with the Gentile world is to prove that the distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is not a distinction at all," Israeli diplomat Abba Eban argued, in a typical expression of this intellectually and morally disreputable position.113 But that no longer suffices. It is now necessary to identify criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitism -- or in the case of Jews, as "self-hatred," so that all possible cases are covered.

The leading official monitor of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, interprets anti-Semitism as unwillingness to conform to its requirements with regard to support for Israeli authorities. These conceptions were clearly expounded by ADL National Director Nathan Perlmutter, who wrote that while old-fashioned anti-Semitism has declined, there is a new and more dangerous variety on the part of "peacemakers of Vietnam vintage, transmuters of swords into plowshares, championing the terrorist P.L.O.," and those who condemn U.S. policies in Vietnam and Central America while "sniping at American defense budgets." He fears that "nowadays war is getting a bad name and peace too favorable a press" with the rise of this "real anti-Semitism." The logic is straightforward: Anti-Semitism is opposition to the interests of Israel (as the ADL sees them); and these interests are threatened by "the liberals," the churches, and others who do not adhere to the ADL political line.114

The ADL has virtually abandoned its earlier role as a civil rights organization, becoming "one of the main pillars" of Israeli propaganda in the U.S., as the Israeli press casually describes it, engaged in surveillance, blacklisting, compilation of FBI-style files circulated to adherents for the purpose of defamation, angry public responses to criticism of Israeli actions, and so on. These efforts, buttressed by insinuations of anti-Semitism or direct accusations, are intended to deflect or undermine opposition to Israeli policies, including Israel's refusal, with U.S. support, to move towards a general political settlement. The ADL was condemned by the Middle East Studies Association after circulation of an ADL blacklist to campus Jewish leaders, stamped "confidential." Practices of this nature have been bitterly condemned by Israeli doves -- in part because they fear the consequences of this hysterical chauvinism for Israel, in part because they have been subjected to the standard procedures themselves, in part simply in natural revulsion.115

Anti-Semitism, in short, is not merely conflated with anti-Zionism, but even extended to Zionists who are critical of Israeli practices. Correspondingly, authentic anti-Semitism on the part of those whose services to Israeli power are deemed appropriate is of no account.

These two aspects of "the real anti-Semitism," ADL-style, were illustrated during the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign. The Democratic Party was denounced for anti-Semitism on the grounds that its convention dared to debate a resolution calling for a two-state political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In contrast, when an array of Nazi sympathizers and anti-Semites were exposed in August 1988 in the Bush presidential campaign, the major Jewish organizations and leaders were, for the most part, "curiously blasé about both the revelations and Bush's response to them," largely ignoring the matter, John Judis comments.116 The New Republic dismissed as a minor matter the "antique and anemic forms of anti-Semitism" of virulent anti-Semites and Nazi and fascist sympathizers at a high level of the Republican campaign organization. The editors stressed, rather, the "comfortable haven for Jew-hatred on the left, including the left wing of the Democratic Party," parts of the Jackson campaign, and "the ranks of increasingly well-organized Arab activists," all of whom supported the two-state resolution at the Party convention and thus qualify as "Jew-haters."117

The point is that the ultra-right Republicans are regarded as properly supportive of Israel by hard-line standards, while the Democratic Party reveals its "Jew-hatred" by tolerating elements that believe that Palestinians are human beings with the same rights as Jews, including the right of national self-determination alongside of Israel. Following the lead of the major Jewish organizations, the Democrats carefully avoided the discovery of anti-Semites and Nazis in the Republican campaign headquarters and the continuing close links after exposure.

The same point was illustrated by the revelation, at the same time, that the Reagan Department of Education had once again refused federal funds for a highly praised school history program on the Holocaust. It was first rejected in 1986 "after a review panel member complained that the views of the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan were not represented." Republican faithfuls charged the program with "psychological manipulation, induced behavioral change and privacy-invading treatment" (Phyllis Schlafly); citing "leftist authorities" such as New York Times columnist Flora Lewis, British historian A.J.P. Taylor, and Kurt Vonnegut; being "profoundly offensive to fundamentalists and evangelicals"; and even being "anti-war, anti-hunting" and likely to "induce a guilt trip." A senior Education Department official attributed the rejections to "those on the extreme right wing of the Republican Party." In 1986 and 1987, this particular program had been "singled out for a refusal." In 1988, when the program "was the top-rated project in the category [of history, geography, and civics], created by then-Education Secretary William J. Bennett," the entire category was eliminated.118

But "the extreme right wing of the Republican Party," whatever its attitudes towards Nazis and the Holocaust, is adequately pro-Israel. There was no detectable protest, and the issue did not arise in the last stages of the election campaign.

The cheapening of the concept of anti-Semitism and the ready tolerance for anti-Arab racism go hand-in-hand, expressing the same political commitments. All of this, again, is merely "antique and anemic anti-Semitism."

Media services to Israel have gone well beyond praising the "benign" occupation while Palestinians were being subjected to torture, daily humiliation, and collective punishment; suppressing the record of Israeli terror in Lebanon and elsewhere and its conscious purpose of blocking steps towards political accommodation on the part of the PLO; hailing the "liberation of Lebanon" in 1982; and properly engineering the historical record on such matters as diplomacy and terror. The media have also been "surprisingly uncurious" on the Israeli nuclear threat, as observed by Leonard Spector, specialist of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on nuclear proliferation. They remained so even after ample evidence had appeared on Israel's nuclear forces and its testing of a nuclear-capable missile with range sufficient to "reach the Soviet Union." In 1984, Spector's Carnegie Foundation study of nuclear proliferation identified Israel as "by far the most advanced of eight `emerging' nuclear powers, surpassing the nuclear capabilities of earlier contenders such as India and South Africa," the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe reported.

The Globe headline read: "Israel may have 20 nuclear arms, report says." The New York Times report of Spector's study by Richard Halloran the same day is headlined "Nuclear Arms Races in Third World Feared." It mentions Israel once, namely, in having helped to reduce the danger of nuclear proliferation by bombing the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. Spector's 1987 study on nuclear proliferation was reported in the Boston Globe on page 67, in the Amusements section, under the headline "Report says Israel could `level' cities," quoting him as saying that Israel may have acquired enough nuclear weaponry "to level every urban center in the Middle East with a population of more than 100,000." The New York Times report by Michael Gordon the same day makes no mention of Israel. It opens by warning of Libyan efforts to acquire a nuclear capacity, then turns to suspicions about Pakistan, Iran, and India.119

The London Sunday Times revelation of Mordechai Vanunu's testimony on Israel's nuclear arsenal with an across-the-page front-page headline on October 5, 1986 was barely noted in the U.S. press. The New York Times eliminated a brief wire service report from its national edition, publishing a few words on Israel's denial of the charges the next day, and other major journals were hardly different. Reviewing media coverage, Nabeel Abraham found "no editorials or commentaries, pro or con,...on Israel's new status as the world's sixth nuclear power" in the following six months, and only a few news references, mostly downplaying the story or fostering doubts about its authenticity (citing Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, November 9).120

Also unmentioned was an interesting observation by the scientific head of France's atomic energy establishment during the period when France helped Israel build its nuclear weapons plant in Dimona, reported in the London Sunday Times on October 12, 1986. He commented that

We thought the Israeli bomb was aimed against the Americans, not to launch it against America but to say "if you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us, otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs"
-- a conception of some potential interest to the American public, one might think, particularly in the light of its earlier roots, going back many years.121

Vanunu's abduction by Israeli intelligence and his secret trial in Israel also received little notice. When his trial opened three weeks after the London Sunday Times had prominently reported the details of his abduction in Europe, the New York Times reported only that "it is still not entirely clear how Mr. Vanunu, who disappeared from London last September, was brought back to Israel to stand trial."122

There are many similar cases of protection of Israel in the media, some already discussed; to add another, consider the September 1987 statement by Foreign Ministry Director General Yossi Beilin (a Labor dove) that Israel's sanctions against South Africa are "symbolic, psychological," and will not hurt the $240 million yearly trade between the two countries, unreported in the New York Times.123 South Africa too benefits from selective attention. Thus, when a South African naval force attacked three Russian ships in the Angolan harbor of Namibe in June 1986, sinking one, using Israeli-made Scorpion missiles, there was no mention in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, the news weeklies, or other journals listed in the magazine index; the Washington Post published only a 120-word item from Moscow reporting Soviet condemnation of the attack, on page 17.124 The reaction might have been different if a Libyan naval force had attacked U.S. commercial vessels in the port of Haifa, sinking one, using East German-made missiles. [....]


57 There has been a most remarkable campaign in the United States to justify this stance by denying that the Palestinians are more than recent immigrants, occasioned by a book by Joan Peters that received almost unanimous applause in a euphoric reception among American intellectuals. For discussion of this most illuminating episode of recent intellectual history, which actually merits much closer study, see essays by Norman Finkelstein and Edward Said in Said and Hitchens, Blaming the Victims. Finkelstein's important study exposing the fraud, which was well known early on in the propaganda campaign, was unpublishable in the United States. It was only after the book appeared in England, and was utterly demolished by reviewers (in part, relying on Finkelstein's unpublishable analysis), that its American enthusiasts, or at least the less audacious among them, broke ranks and dropped the matter, some claiming falsely that they had not known before about the fraud that was being perpetrated with their assistance. This is a revealing story that has yet to be properly told.

58 Like any historical comparison, this one is inexact in some ways. To mention only the most obvious discrepancy, and the one least likely to be recognized, support for the PLO among the Palestinians, by all available evidence, is far beyond support among Jews for the Zionist organizations in the mid-1940s.

59 For further details and the background factors, see Fateful Triangle; Pirates and Emperors; and my articles "The Palestinian Uprising," Z Magazine, May 1988, and "The U.S. and the Middle East" (see chapter 3, note 23). The latter also reviews some important documentation from the Israeli diplomatic record. See the same sources for references, where not cited below.

60 Mary Curtius, Boston Globe Magazine, Aug. 14, 1988. The example is more interesting than most, because Curtius is an independent and knowledgeable Middle East correspondent. For a sample of many other cases, see Fateful Triangle, chapter 3, 2.4.2. Major journals have even rejected letters to the editor correcting false statements on this matter.

61 Friedman, NYT, Aug. 7, 1988.

62 For details, see Pirates and Emperors, chapter 2, note 58 and text, and sources cited.

63 Friedman, "The Power of the Fanatics," NYT Magazine, Oct. 7, 1988.

64 Editorial, NYT, June 13, 1988.

65 See references of note 59.

66 NYT, March 17, 21; June 2, 1985.

67 Peace Now had never clearly separated itself from Labor Party rejectionism. On its unclear and vacillating positions, considerably misunderstood in the United States, see below.

68 Friedman, NYT, Dec. 10, 1986; March 27, 1987.

69 Yitzhak Ben-Horin, Ma'ariv, Dec. 4; Ma'ariv, Dec. 5; Eyal Ehrlich, Ha'aretz, Dec. 19, 1986.

70 AP, April 1, 1988. In the New York Times, these events were reported accurately by John Kifner, a fine journalist for many years, and by other media, in the early months of the uprising.

71 "The Man who Foresaw the Uprising," Yediot Ahronot, April 7; Hotam, April 15.

72 Friedman, NYT News in Review, Jan. 29, 1989.

73 Hadashot, Jan. 7, 1988; Ha'aretz, Dec. 31, 1987.

74 Interview, Nouvel Observateur, Jan. 7, 1988.

75 AP, Jan. 15; Toronto Globe and Mail, Jan. 15, 1987; also published in several local newspapers in the United States.

76 NYRB, June 25, 1987. U.N. English translation, quoted in The Other Israel, Newsletter of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Nov.-Dec. 1987.

77 To be precise, the PLO support for the nonrejectionist political settlement vetoed by the United States at the United Nations in January 1976 was reported (NYT, Jan. 27, 1988), but then disappeared from history.

78 NYT, March 12, 1988.

79 "Israeli Supreme Court lets two extremist parties run," Christian Science Monitor, June 29, 1984.

80 Ha'aretz, April 12; Jerusalem Post, April 13; Shamir, Ha'aretz, April 7; Herut, Dorit Gefen, Al-Hamishmar, Feb. 29, 1988; Milo, then chairman of the Likud bloc in the Knesset, Maariv, Jan. 3, 1984; Globe and Mail, April 26; Rabin, Tony Banks, Jane's Defence Weekly, May 7; Eban, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 3, 1988.

81 See my articles in Z Magazine, May, July 1988. I found no other mention.

82 Sciolino, NYT, April 6, 8, 1988.

83 In These Times, June 22, distributed several days earlier; New York Times, June 22, 1988. In subsequent weeks, there were continued indications of controversy within the PLO over the Abu Sharif initiative.

84 As of 1988, Peace Now -- unlike the PLO -- had never proposed a nonrejectionist peace settlement. Individuals associated with the group have done so, while others (notably Abba Eban) maintained an association with it while clearly advocating Labor Party rejectionism (see, e.g., his "The Central Question," Tikkun 1.2, 1986). As of April 1988, leading activists in Israel were unable to provide me with a single textual example of support for a two-state settlement, and I can find none. Funding literature of November 1988 cites Peace Now's willingness to "talk to Palestinians" who advocate a nonrejectionist political settlement, so that other Palestinians can be "encouraged to renounce violence and fend off rejectionists." But there is not a word to indicate that Peace Now joins their Palestinian interlocutors (specifically, Faisal Husseini) in adopting a nonrejectionist position. See below for further confirmation of this conclusion.

85 In the intellectual climate in the United States, often semi-hysterical on these matters, it is perhaps worth adding that the review of the factual record does not entail that the PLO is an admirable organization. In fact, it has proven over the years to be incompetent, corrupt, foolish, and often murderous, particularly in the early 1970s. These are matters that I have often discussed for the past twenty years. They have no relevance in the present connection, just as the long record of Zionist violence was not relevant to evaluating the right of Jews to be represented by the Zionists in 1947, or their right to national self-determination in Palestine.

86 Jewish Post and Opinion, Nov. 16, 1988.

87 See chapter 4. Editorial, NYT, Nov. 16, 1988.

88 Editorial, Dec. 8, 1988; Steve Lohr, "Arafat says P.L.O. Accepted Israel, NYT, same day; official statement, same day.

89 Editorials, LAT, Nov. 16, WP, Nov. 15, 1988.

90 Will, BG, Nov. 20; Kipper, Lewis, NYT, Dec. 1, 1988; Weinstein, BG, Dec. 4, 1988.

91 CSM, Dec. 8, 1988.

92 Peter Steinfels, Dec. 8, 1988.

93 Aryeh Dayan, Kol Ha'ir, Nov. 25; Peace Now advertisement, Nov. 23; poll, Yediot Ahronot, Dec. 23, 1988.

94 An exception is a column by William Raspberry, pointing out that Israel's commitment to terror continues unabated and that "the real sticking point for Israel is not PLO `ambiguity' but insistence that the Palestinians no less than Israelis have a right to a homeland" (WP, Dec. 14, 1988). With regard to terror, the same can be said about the United States. It is difficult to overlook the fact that this near-unique recognition of reality was written by one of the few Black columnists in the United States.

95 Editorial, NYT, Dec. 21, 1988; Friedman, "Reality Time in Mideast," NYT, Dec. 19, 1988. On Friedman's version of "reality," see below.

96 On the actual record of apologetics for Israel and venomous attack on anyone who departed from the party line, quickly effaced from history when the conditions of respectability changed, see Peace in the Middle East?, chapter 5; Fateful Triangle, 146f., 263f., 378f. Some of the transitions are startling.

97 State Department conditions, NYT, Dec. 14; Marie Colvin, NYT Magazine, Dec. 18; Chancellor, NBC evening news, Dec. 13, 1988, reported to me by Marilyn Young. For a succinct legal analysis of the U.S. obligations to the U.N., see Alfred P. Rubin, CSM, Dec. 15, 1988.

98 Richard Strauss, BG, Dec. 14; Charlotte Saikowski, CSM, Dec. 15, 1988.

99 On the early stages of the Israel-Jordan alliance, see Avi Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan (Columbia, 1988). Van Creveld, Jerusalem Post,, Feb. 1, 1989.

100 Editorial, WP Weekly, Dec. 19, 1988, lauding Shultz for having "hung tough on the principled conditions of 1975" and for denying Arafat a visa, a "useful signal." The editors state that "the 1975 conditions were drafted at a time when Israel had a government prepared to exchange territory for peace if there were a negotiating partner." The facts, however, are that Israel's Labor government explicitly refused to deal with any Palestinians on any political issue, and the U.S. and Israel rejected the land-for-peace offer at the U.N. Security Council. See Fateful Triangle, and for more detail on the Israeli government attitude at the time, Towards a New Cold War, 267f. Israel's reaction to the U.N. session was a gratuitous bombing of Lebanon, with over fifty killed. The U.S. reaction was to veto the resolution. The media reaction has been to deny the facts, as in this editorial.

101 H.D.S. Greenway, BG, Dec. 15; see also Randolph Ryan, BG, Dec. 16, 1988, the only example I found where the elementary facts about the State Department conditions are recognized.

102 Alan Cowell, NYT, Dec. 19; Robert Pear, NYT, Dec. 15; editorial, WP Weekly, Dec. 19; "Palestinian Semantics: Arafat's Changing Words," NYT, Dec. 15; editorial, NYT, Dec. 16; editorial, BG, Dec. 16; Pipes, "How the U.S. Should Handle Arafat," Dec. 20; Friedman, "Reality Time," NYT, Dec. 19, 1988. On the facts concerning the 1971 negotiations, which Friedman has always suppressed or denied, see Fateful Triangle, chapter 3.

103 Bush News Conference, NYT, Jan. 28; Brinkley, Jan. 29, 1989.

104 "Palestinian Semantics," NYT, Dec. 15; Alan Cowell, NYT, Dec. 19, 1988.

105 Safire claims that "Mr. Arafat, by accepting the hated word renounce, promised to cut out what his organization had been doing in the past," by which he apparently means that Arafat promised to cut out what he, Safire, considers to be terrorism. That, however, plainly does not follow; it only follows that Arafat promised to cut out what he, Arafat, considers terrorism. The issue turns again on the right of struggle for self-determination against colonialist and racist regimes and foreign occupation, accepted by the entire world apart from the United States and Israel. Safire's contorted argument misses this point and thus collapses.

106 Safire, NYT Magazine, Jan. 1; Berman, "What is a Jew?," Village Voice, Jan. 3, 1989. On Howe's actual role over many years, see the references of note 96.

107 BG, Dec. 19; NYT; Peres, Op-Ed, NYT, Dec. 21; John Kifner, NYT, Dec. 20, 1988. On casualties, see Daoud Kuttab, Middle East International, Jan. 20, 1989, citing figures of thirty-one killed (including children) from mid-December to mid-January, the highest monthly total since the preceding March, and 1,000 injured. The horrifying details are regularly reported in the Hebrew press. See, for example, Yizhar Be'er, Kol Ha'ir, Dec. 30, 1988, reporting the results of an intensive investigation of the "day of slaughter" in Nablus on December 16, two days after Arafat allegedly said the magic words. For some details, see my article in Z Magazine, March 1989.

108 Hadashot, Feb. 14; Rabin, Nahum Barnea, Yediot Ahronot, Feb. 24; JP, Jan. 6, 1989. Emphasis in JP. It is not impossible that U.S. and Israeli intelligence actually believe that the Intifada was initiated by the PLO and is directed by it. There is ample evidence from the documentary record of the incapacity of intelligence, the national political police, or the political leadership to comprehend the reality of popular movements and popular struggles. The idea is simply too threatening, and cannot be faced or comprehended. It is also necessary to bear in mind the ideological fanaticism that often colors intelligence reports and the higher-level interpretation of them, also amply documented.

109 See references cited earlier; NYT, Nov. 6, 1982.

110 Wilkie, BG, Dec. 1, 1985.

111 NYT Magazine, Oct. 30, 1988.

112 Klein, "Our Man in Managua," Esquire, Nov. 1986; Howe, NYT Book Review, May 16, 1982; Peretz, New Republic, Aug. 29, 1983, May 7, 1984, among many examples; Brooks Jackson, Wall Street Journal, March 23, 1984; Matt Moffett, WSJ, Aug. 30, 1984; Safire, NYT, Sept. 5, 1988; Ruth Wisse, Professor of Yiddish Literature at McGill University, Commentary, May 1988.

113 Eban, Congress Bi-Weekly, March 30, 1973.

114 Nathan and Ruth Perlmutter, The Real Anti-Semitism in America (Arbor House, 1982); see Fateful Triangle, 14f., for more extensive quotes and discussion.

115 Colin Campbell, NYT, Jan. 30, 1985. See Fateful Triangle (11f.) and Pirates and Emperors (29f., 46n) for some references to the condemnations by Israeli doves of the hysteria, fanaticism, Stalinist-style methods and sheer cynicism that they see -- correctly, in my view -- as profoundly harmful to the interests of their country.

116 Seven were discharged from the Bush campaign after the revelations, four of them retaining their leadership positions in the Heritage Groups Council, the ethnic outreach arm of the Republican National Committee. See Russell C. Bellant, "Will Bush Purge Nazi Collaborators in the G.O.P.?," Op-Ed, NYT, Nov. 19, 1988.

117 Judis, In These Times, Sept. 28; New Republic, Oct. 3, 1988. See David Corn, Nation, Oct. 24, 1988, for more on the "haven" for "anti-Semites and fascist sympathizers" in the Republican party. Also Holly Sklar, Z Magazine, Nov. 1988; Charles Allen, Village Voice, Nov. 1, 1988. On the downplaying of the story by the New York Times, see FAIR, Extra!, Sept./Oct. 1988.

118 Ed Vulliamy, WP Weekly, Oct. 24-30. See also Christopher Kenneally, BG, Oct. 16; David Korn and Jefferson Morley, Nation, Nov. 7, 1988.

119 Spector, Op-Ed, NYT, March 17, 1988, noting that not a single question was raised to Prime Minister Shamir about this matter in his press conference in Washington and TV interviews; LAT-BG, NYT, Oct. 31, 1984; BG, NYT, Feb. 25, 1987.

120 Abraham, AAUG Mideast Monitor, April 1987.

121 See Fateful Triangle, chapter 7, section 4.2.

122 Sunday Times, Aug. 9, 16; NYT, Aug. 31, 1987. Also Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, reporting the Sunday Times story. On media unwillingness to report "unflattering stories about Israel that are routinely covered" in the Israeli press, and the reasons for it, see Robert I. Friedman, Mother Jones, Feb.-March, 1987.

123 AP, Sept. 19, 1987.

124 Victoria Brittain, Guardian (London), June 6; Anthony Robinson, Financial Times, June 7; Economist, June 14, 1987; also BBC world service.

 

 


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Zionist Organization

Judaism and Zionism inseparable

"Jewish History" - a bookreview

Revealing photos of the Jews 

Racist Jewish Fundamentalism

"Jews" from Khazaria stealing the land of Palestine

The U.S. cost of supporting Israel

Turkey, Ataturk and the Jews

Talmud unmasked
The truth about the Talmud


Israel and the Ongoing Holocaust in Congo

Jews DO control the media - a Jew brags! - Revealing Jewish article

Abbas - The Traitor

Protocols of Zion - The whole book!

Quotes - On Jewish Power / Zionism

Caricatures / Cartoons 

Activism! - Join the Fight!