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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 30, 2002

Prof Amr Sabry - Rejoinder

On November 28 I posted an article (also posted here), in which I responded to Prof Sabry’s frivolous, specious comparison between Israel and Iraq. Prof Sabry then responded on his site, saying:
Joseph Alexander Norland wrote an answer to this note. A few comments on his answer:
  • UN resolutions: I rest my case.
  • WMD: I rest my case.
  • On attacking neighbors: Prominently missing from the list are Israel's invasion of Lebanon in which 20,000 civilians were killed, and Israel's bombing of Tunisia. Of course both attacks just like everything else Israel does were in self-defense!
  • War criminals: The legacy of Israeli prime ministers is nothing to be proud of. From Deir Yassin to Sabra and Shatilla, it is a consistent pattern of crimes.
  • Internal oppression: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel provides a starting point for discrimination against Israeli Arabs (those 1.1 million living inside the green line). For those more than 3 million living outside the green line (that's the occupied territories), there are zero rights, which brings us to the ridiculous statement that Israel is a democracy! What kind of democracy is that in which 3 million people (something like 40% of the population living in Israel and the occupied territories) cannot vote because they are of the wrong religion?
The Prof adopted the “I rest my case” approach to the first two items, and I have to wonder why he failed to continue in the same vein for the other three points. But since The Prof chose to cite Tunisia and Lebanon, 1982, as examples of “Israeli aggression”, and since he then proceeded to wave the stale canards of Deir Yassin and Sabra/Shatila, I will respond in separate articles in the near future. (Note, however, that I did address Sabra/Sahtila in my previous article, even though the question should be addressed to his Lebanese friends who actually did the killing.)

This leaves the issue of internal repression. I am reminded of the Cold War years, when supporters of the former USSR and its system went out of their way to convince simple folks like myself that no workers paradise can surpass the workers paradise of the USSR. But in the face of the sophisticated propaganda, we still kept asking this straightforward question: if the Soviet workers paradise is so wonderful, how come the workers escape at the first opportunity that opens up (Hungary, 1956, Czechoslovakia, 1968, over and under the Berlin Wall, etc.), and how come nobody in the West tries to move to the workers paradise of the USSR?

The situation with regard to the “repressed Israeli Arabs” is similar - and documented. For example, on May 2, 2002, MEMRI ran an article that concerned Israeli Arabs in an area labelled “the Triangle”. The suggestion was made to hand this area over to a future Palestinian-Arab state and journalists from the leftist paper Ha’Aretz investigated how the “repressed Israeli Arabs” in the Triangle felt about their territory being transferred to the homeland of their people. Here are excerpts from the MEMRI report, based on Ha’Aretz:

Upon hearing a question about the possibility that in the future they [Israeli-Arabs] would find themselves on the east side of the border between Israel and Palestine, they laughed out loud. A young man from Musmus, who asked that his name not be revealed, said: '…I'll never move to the state of Palestine. After all, my job is in Israel; my friends are all Jews; I was born an Israeli and grew up as an Israeli, and no one can come and tell me: Live in a different place.'

Ha'aretz reporter Ori Nir: If an agreement is somehow reached between the two states to adjust the border and move Musmus to the Palestinian state, the young villager says he will relocate to Israel. 'Fortunately,' the young Israeli-Arab said 'I can choose. I have Jewish girlfriends in Tel Aviv, Acre and Ashkelon. I can decide which one I want to move in with…'

Public opinion surveys of the Arab sector indicate that there is a large Arab majority opposed to the idea. A survey of a broad sampling released by Prof. Sami Smooha and Dr. Assad Ghanem a year ago shows that only 30 percent or so of the respondents support annexing Arab settlements in the Triangle and Wadi 'Ara to the state of Palestine. One-quarter of the residents of the Triangle supported such a move. In the cities of Taybeh and Umm al-Fahm, approximately a third of the respondents were in favor of it. In a survey conducted by Prof. Efraim Ya'ar of Tel Aviv University's Steinmetz Center for Peace Studies in October 2000, 23 percent supported the idea. A survey recently released by the Arab-Israeli weekly, Panorama, which is published in Taybeh, noted only 9 percent of a cross-section of Umm al-Fahm residents supported the idea.
The Prof has now to explain how it comes to pass that when asked, the “repressed Israeli Arabs” are willing to go through hoops to remain in the Jewish state rather than join their Palestinian-Arab brethren. Otherwise we shall have to conclude that the “repressed Israeli Arabs”, like the citizens of the Soviet workers paradise, know something The Prof refuses to admit.

Finally, I’d like to underscore that The Prof failed to answer even a single counter-point that I made (see list below): this is an old tactic of ignoring your interlocutor and carrying on with your agenda of attacking. I will discuss this tactic in a subsequent article too.

Partial list of items I mentioned in my previous article, to which The Prof turned a blind eye, a deaf ear and a mute tongue: Arab aggression against Israel, 1947-8, 1956, 1967, 1973; Arabs ignoring UN resolutions on partition, and on Israeli navigation in international waters; Arab countries in breach of UN Charter requiring peaceful resolution of disputes; Iraq using poisonous gas on Iranians and Kurds; Syrian war crimes in Hama; Jordanian war crimes in Black September; Israeli service to the free world by bombing Osiraq.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This article is cross-posted at IsraPundit and at DawsonSpeaks.