Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2012, Pages 5-6
Letters to the Editor
The West Should Support Palestinian Diplomatic Efforts
The recent admission of Palestine as a full member of UNESCO was a wonderful victory for the peaceful diplomatic efforts of the Palestinian Authority. The lack of support by several Western nations, notably Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and the USA, was a disgrace. These nations are effectively giving the Palestinians no choice. All nations who are attempting to thwart the peaceful, diplomatic bid for Palestinian statehood are telling the Palestinians: (i) Palestinians cannot use terrorism, and (ii) Palestinians cannot use peaceful diplomacy. Well, what strategy should the Palestinians then use? These nations are putting the Palestinians in an impossible situation, effectively demanding that the Palestinians must do it all Israel's way, or nothing. Such a demand would never be acceptable to any nation in Palestine's place, particularly at a time when nations stand idly by while Israel—again—breaks international law by accelerating settlement building in spiteful protest. This situation would be comical if it were not so serious. The Palestinians should be praised and supported for adopting a peaceful diplomatic approach to obtaining statehood.
Dr. Rory E. Morty, Giessen, Germany
The Palestinians certainly can't win as far as Israel and its international accolytes are concerned. That's why such nonviolent campaigns as the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement are so crucial—and why Israel is so afraid of them.
Alone Again, Unnaturally
As I listened to the announcement re Palestine's membership in UNESCO on the BBC yesterday, I felt a great sense of joy, especially when the assembly broke into cheers. Then, unfortunately, the U.S. had to make me feel like a spoil sport and a big bully by announcing that õt would withdraw its support from UNESCO. A State Department representative went on to say that all of this would damage the chances for peace and more such blah, blah. Well, from now on definitely it is the U.S. and Israel that will be isolated. There has been so little gained by playing the U.S.-Israel game, so the threats only show the U.S. to be once more supporting a policy that means further loss of face for the U.S. While U.S. actions and words make me very sad and frustrated, I am proud the Palestinians have stuck it out and are showing the world that bullies do not always win.
Linda Thain-Ali, via e-mail
The situation is somewhat analagous to a parasite killing the host that gives it life. It raises the question of what causes a parasite to be suicidal—for in the end, both die.
An Uninfluential Superpower
The U.S., the only superpower, as we are told, can only really gain 12 or 13 votes in the entire world! And look at the nations that did not vote "for us"—the United Kingdom, France and Italy—as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, and the country we just "liberated," Libya......all because of the strength of the U.S. Israel lobby and upcoming national elections.
The U.S. has worked itself into a terrible corner because of Israel…now all the American people must suffer. This situation is hard to believe from groups of diplomats all with their many degrees and experience who at heart are really ward politicians!
If Palestine joins other international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, will the U.S. refuse to pay dues and lose voting rights? Why does such a tiny nation many time zones away have such sway in Washington??
Keep Up the Good Fight!
Rick Curtiss, via e-mail
Our U.N. correspondent Ian Williams ponders the implications of the UNESCO vote, and Washington's response, on p. 14 of this issue.
December's Back Cover
Last week we received the December issue. I'm writing to say that the photos of Ellen Siegel and Ghada Karmi on the back cover are great! They attest to the old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words." Bravo for publishing these pictures. I hope you will promote them in other places.
Kathryn Habib, via e-mail
We sent out a special action alert entitled "Two Anniversaries" on Nov. 15, the 23rd anniversary of President Yasser Arafat's 1998 declaration of Palestinian independence, and also noting the approaching 63rd anniversary on Dec. 11 of U.N. Resolution 194 guaranteeing Palestinians the right to return to their homes. To join our e-mail list (and read our previous action alerts), visit our Web site, <www.wrmea.com>. For the story behind Siegel and Karmi's friendship and commitment to justice, see managing editor Janet McMahon's article "A Friendship Based on a Common Struggle Survives the Test of Time" (Aug./Sept. 1992 Washington Report, p. 35), written the year of their second demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in London.
A Phony Justification
In "The Myth of Israel's Insecurity" by Ira Chernus in the May/June 2011, a horrific photo of the Hamas office in Gaza includes words in the caption "…after it was targeted by Israeli warplanes, along with three other sites in the Gaza Strip, in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel."
As we all know, Israel's 22-day attack on Gaza of 2008-2009 had nothing to do with missiles from Gaza: Israel had ignored its obligations under its cease-fire agreement with Hamas from the beginning of the June 2008 agreement. Israel then violated the cease-fire by killing Palestinians on Nov. 5, 2008, then refused Hamas' offers to renegotiate a cease-fire!
Supporting the phony justification that the vicious Israeli attacks were in response to Hamas' actions entrenches pro-Israeli propaganda which is already re-writing this history.
Karin Brothers, Toronto, Canada
The photo to which you refer showed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's Gaza City office building after a March 2011 attack by Israeli warplanes. As we recall, we did confirm that there had been prior Palestinian rocket attacks, but we take your point that those attacks undoubtedly were in response to Israeli actions. We shall redouble our efforts to tell the complete story in our photo captions as do the articles they illustrate.
The Kennedy Assassination
On Nov. 21, Marquette University Prof. John McAdams was a guest on Joy Cardin's Wisconsin Public Radio talk show. The topic was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although I tuned in late, I suspect that there was one theory concerning the assassination that he chose not to discuss.
That theory was cited by a 22-year veteran former Republican congressman from Abraham Lincoln's old district in Illinois. In March 1992 he said in theWashington Report on Middle East Affairs:
"It is interesting—but not surprising—to note that in all the words written and uttered about the Kennedy assassination, Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, has never been mentioned."
President Kennedy was adamantly opposed to Israel's becoming a nuclear power. Israel's Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was adamantly determined to obtain nuclear weaponry.
In his last letter to President Kennedy, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion wrote:
"Mr. President, my people have the right to exist, and this existence is in danger."
Washington Jewish Week editorialized on Oct. 9, 1997:
"Israel need not apologize for the assassination or destruction of those who seek to destroy it.
"The first order of business for any country is the protection of its people."
In light of the fact that Ben-Gurion and Zionists felt that Israel had to become a nuclear power, Israel too had an interest in removing President Kennedy from office with bullets?
It is certainly within the realm of possibility that Israel's Mossad had the means, motive and the opportunity to lethally dispose of President Kennedy and anyone else deemed a threat to Israel's existence. It benefited with President Johnson's lavish foreign aid and also the cover-up of the USS Liberty attack by Israel which no one in the White House believed was an accident.
William Gartland, Rio, WI
In his article written in response to the release of Oliver Stone's movie "JFK," former Rep. Paul Findley (whose memoir, Speaking Out, is available from the AET Book Club) cites theories attributing the Kennedy assassination to the FBI, CIA, LBJ "henchmen," Cuba and the Mafia, and concludes: "Am I accusing the Mossad of complicity? Absolutely not. I have no evidence of such. My point is simply this: on this question, as on almost all others, American reporters and commentators cannot bring themselves to cast Israel in an unfavorable light—despite the obvious fact that Mossad complicity is as plausible as any of the other theories."
Certainly Israel has shown itself to be not averse to taking American lives, we might add.
A Demand for Balance
In your November issue, p. 19, you accuse MEMRI, a pro-Israel organization, of "selectively spotlighting." I'm glad the Washington Report never does that. For example, when you show a photo of a Palestinian injured by an Israeli, as you did on p. 16, I know the reason you never show Israelis/Jews maimed or killed by Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims is that these photos don't seem to come to your attention or across your desk. Otherwise, you would show them, of course, since your magazine is, as you say every issue (on p. 5), "balanced."
Jerry Axelrod, Huntingdon Valley, PA
We're sure you've sent countless letters over the years to The New York Times, The Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets asking why they always feature front-page photos of Israelis/Jews maimed or killed by Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims, and rarely the other way around. But perhaps "All the News That's Fit to Print" doesn't actually promise balance, so maybe not.
At any rate, let us refer you to our Web site <rememberthesechildren.org>, which lists every Israeli and Palestinian child under 18 killed since September 2000. Through August 2011, the totals were 125 Israeli children killed and 1,470 Palestinians.