Michael S. Robinson is sorely mistaken. (”We are partnered with the wrong side in the Middle East,” Tribune, May 6.)
It is not the Jews who can’t be criticized; it is the leaders of the Muslim nations of the Middle East as well as the Palestinian leaders.
Israel is the nation-state of the Jews in which non-Jews have full civil rights, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to criticize and sue the government, access to medical care and access to higher education. Arabs comprise 20 percent of Israel’s medical students. The Arab List is the third largest party in the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament). The last parliamentary election in Israel was supervised by a Supreme Court justice who happened to be an Arab.
The majority of Israeli Jews are descendants of 800,000 Jews expelled from their homes in Muslim nations in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-initiated war aimed at preventing Israel’s rebirth in the Jews’ ancestral homeland. Between 400,000 and 750,000 Arabs fled that war.
While the Jews were quickly absorbed and uplifted by Israel, Arab leaders condemned the displaced Arabs and their descendants to permanent refugee limbo. They are the only refugees who pass refugee status from one generation to the next and the only refugee group which is allowed to insist that the only solution to their plight is for them to be given the homes their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents fled.
The Palestine Refugees (as UNRWA calls them) will not be granted citizenship in any Palestinian state that may be established. The “moderate” leader of the Palestinian Authority has said so. He has also refused to negotiate on Israeli proposals for the establishment of that state, while calling on his people to “violently resist the Occupation” and making handsome payments to those who answer his call. Payments are highest to those who succeed in killing Jews and are also made to the murderer’s family if the killer dies in the act or is imprisoned.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, openly calls for the death of all Jews worldwide. Some 2 million Palestine refugees now live in Gaza. They have been raised on a steady diet of anti-Jewish invective, trained and equipped to kill Jews. Any unarmed protestors involved in the current March of Return have been bused to the area by Hamas to serve as human shields for people who have been hurling firebombs at Israeli troops, rolling burning tires at the security barrier, and flying flaming kites and balloons into Israeli territory to set Israeli crops on fire.
Based on the views expressed in this column, I must conclude that Mr. Robinson really doesn’t seek to improve the lot of the Palestine refugees. Their suffering, inflicted by their own leaders, simply provides him with a platform for expressing his obvious anti-Semitism.
Toby Block is from Atlanta