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June 05, 2003

All Wet in Toronto

There is no URL for this e-mailed piece from Honest Reporting (they post at their site some time after sending out via e-mail)
On Sunday, Toronto Sun contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis submitted a column that begins with the journalist's admission of deep, familial pro-Palestinian sympathies, then proceeds with a host of inaccuracies to support his claim that the road map is "a lopsided deal that is only good for one side" (Israel's). Among the distortions and errors:

-- Margolis states that the road map was grudgingly "accepted by Israel with undisclosed key reservations." The 14 Israeli reservations were made public and are easily available (click here to view); instead of doing his homework, Margolis suggests sly Israeli concealment.

-- Margolis claims that Abbas is being forced to "renounce the right of return of 1.5 million refugees." In fact, the road map's third stage calls for "a just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue." A mass "right of return," moreover, lacks any international support.

-- Margolis claims that Arafat, "the democratically elected PLO leader," has been wrongly sidelined by Bush. Democratically elected? Even the Israeli left recognizes that the 1996 Palestinian elections were a sham. Former CIA director Jim Woolsey said, "Arafat was essentially elected the same way Stalin was, but not nearly as democratically as Hitler, who at least had actual opponents."

-- Margolis decries Israel "annexing large chunks of former Palestinian lands." Historically, set borders of an autonomous Palestinian region have never existed; on what basis, therefore, are any lands considered "Palestinian"? Margolis also objects to Israeli land acquisitions "after the 1948 war" and "conquered in 1967," with no reference whatsoever to the Arab hostility that caused those wars.

-- Margolis claims that the settler community forms Sharon's "political core support." Sharon's Likud party won 31% of the vote in January; West Bank and Gaza residents are just 3.9% of the Israeli populace, and many settlers support parties to the right of Likud.

In the article, Margolis proudly affirms his credentials: "I have been steeped in Mideast affairs since the early 1950s." But with so many inaccuracies, this article is all wet indeed.

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