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

March 17, 2003

Alice, through the looking glass

International theater of the absurd


by Alyssa A. Lappen

Contrary to policy laid out last June, President Bush on Friday announced plans to reward a decade of official Palestinian Authority hatred and anti-Israel incitement. Not to mention its current terrorist war on Israel--dating from 1993 or September 2000, depending on how you count. From 1993 to September 2000, Arab terrorists murdered 256 Israelis. Afterwards, they murdered another 758 and maimed over 5,000 Israelis in some 16,500 more attacks (not including stone-throwing).

Relatively fewer Israeli casualties don’t render Israel the aggressor. Consider graphs 2.9 and 2.10 in “An Engineered Strategy.” Some 55% of Palestinian fatalities (probably more) were combatants, likely combatants or violent protestors; nearly 70% of Israeli fatalities were noncombatants.

The announcement hinged on Yasser Arafat's choice of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as Palestinian Authority “Prime Minister,” with no election. Forget for a moment Arafat's apparent failure in the PNC. Why would the President consider this the change he demanded last year, or more democratic than the phony election that cemented Arafat’s power? As Daniel Polisar noted last year, the PA constitutes thugocracy and everyone associated with it is a thug.

Even Kofi Annan admits that the PA’s war fails every test in international law, violating every war convention known to man. Who’d expect otherwise from leaders claiming Israel’s July 2000 peace offer was really a causus belli, that Dennis Ross lies through his teeth? Oh, yes, and that Israel poisons their water?

To pretend that Oslo architect Abu Mazen is not part of Arafat’s terrorist war is equally absurd. Only on March 3, in London’s Asharq Al-Awsat, Abu Mazen said, “Military activity... is not efficient…. The Intifada must continue and it is the right of the Palestinian people to resist and use all possible means.…" In other words, Abu Mazen calls for limiting "Shahada -Seeking" [suicide] operations" only insofar as "attack in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.” (emphasis added)

Yet that, friends, is what President Bush now pretends. Clearly U.S. State Department pressure forces the Israel Defense Force to pretend, too. The IDF removed the translation of Abu Mazen’s violent intentions from its website on March 12, two days before the White House announcement, according to Israel National News.

Why else would anyone whitewash Abu Mazen’s Holocaust denial? Or his claim that “the Zionist movement was a partner in the slaughter of the Jews.” (Jerusalem Post, Jan. 26, 1995) After World War II, he wrote, “word was spread that six million Jews were amongst the victims and that a war of extermination was aimed primarily at the Jews . . . The truth is that no one can either confirm or deny this figure. In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller -- below one million.” Citing French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, Abu Mazen claims, “The historian and author Raoul Hilberg thinks that the figure does not exceed 890,000.” This is a shameful lie, write Jewish studies scholar Rafael Medoff and Yale historian David S. Wyman.

Shouldn’t The New York Times directly confront Abu Mazen with his outrage? Dozens of Pultizers notwithstanding, the “newspaper of record” lets him off easy. ("When I wrote `The Other Side,' we were at war with Israel," Mr. Abbas told Maariv. "Today I would not have made such remarks.") Considering the Times' dreadful record, it's no small wonder.

Other reports mislabel Abu Mazen a “moderate.” Take this BBC whitewash: “A highly intellectual man, Abu Mazen studied law in Egypt before doing a PhD in Moscow. He is the author of several books.” And he’s “called for a halt to armed attacks on Israeli targets,”--as much a lie as Abu Mazen’s own Holocaust denial.

So, here we have it, plain and simple. Holocaust deniers, those defending Holocaust deniers or those praising the Holocaust are reviled, unless they a) teach linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, b) work for an Egyptian government weekly Al-Akhbar or the like or c) work for that world famous “moderate and peace activist,” Yasser Arafat himself.

--Alyssa A. Lappen