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Ron Radosh

In an interview with Stern appearing today at Frontpagemag.com, Stern himself tells us what he out to prove in his article:

My broadside shows how the Palestinian campaign for statehood is based on a historical big lie. The lie is that the Palestinian people were dispossessed by the new state of Israel in 1948 and that the current Israeli government is still preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. I show that from the beginning of the conflict almost a century ago it was the Jews who were willing to compromise, to accept the so called “two state” solution, while the Palestinian leadership refused to even consider a sovereign Jewish state in the Muslim Middle East. Moreover, this rejection, which was backed by violence at every turn, was driven by Islamic doctrines of Jew hatred.

It is, of course, easy for many of us to assert this truth. It is another thing to prove it, as powerfully and succinctly as Stern has done now.

One thing Stern shows is what a liar Mahmoud Abbas — the man who heads the Palestinian Authority and whom so many believe is a viable partner in a two-state solution — is. He takes apart a recent op-ed Abbas had published in the anti-Israeli New York Times, the source of authority for the hate-Israel, left-wing crowd. Recently, a little noticed item about Abbas appeared in a New York Times report from Israel written by Ethan Bronner, its top correspondent in the Middle East. It should have received major attention, but few outside of Stern — who called it to my attention — noticed it.

The article is ostensibly about the decision of Abbas to go on with his delusional bid for UN membership for the Palestinian Authority. It contained the following incredible yet revealing statement: Abbas was talking to 20 left-wing Israeli intellectuals. Evidently, like their anti-American counterparts in academia, Israel too has the center of anti-Israel sentiment in its universities. Somehow, professors seem exempt to reality, perhaps because they continually live in a dream world.

He started by claiming he wanted negotiations, and informing his audience that he had met secretly with Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, the private talks led nowhere, and he would therefore go to the UN. As usual, Abbas said direct talks with Israel could begin if only Israel carried out a short-term freeze in building settlements — which of course, they did before, with nothing coming of it. He added the talks had to accept the indefensible 1967 lines, and he refused to accept recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. All this we already know. And yes, Abbas claimed that he and the Palestinians want “to live in peace and security” with Israel, not delegitimize it, but only to legitimize a Palestinian state. And of course, he and his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat say they want a two-state solution. But they always add they will never give up the “right of return,” which means, as everyone knows, they are not serious.

But the key sentence in the story, which should have been the page one headline, is the following. Abbas said:

We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years.

Look at that sentence carefully. Abbas is saying, not as is usually the case, that Israel is an occupying power not because it controls Gaza and the West Bank, but because it has occupied them from the beginning when it created a Jewish state!

In other words, it is not current policy of the Netanyahu government that has caused the failure of peace, but the very creation in May of 1948 of the state of Israel!

To Abbas and his cohorts, evidently all of Israel is occupied territory and is illegitimate. Israel, as the Left used to say, and as Noam Chomsky’s followers do today, is an imperialist-Zionist-colonialist entity, meant to rule over the Arab masses.

Speaking of the Left, Stone tackles one of the great myth-makers about Israel, a man whose writings had tremendous influence on the Left — the late I.F. Stone. As he says in his interview:

The lion of the old and new left, Izzy Stone, posthumously shows that the Palestinian nakba narrative is another big lie concocted to avoid having to own up to the failures and self-destructiveness of the Palestinians own leaders, from the days of Haj Amin al-Husseini to Mahmoud Abbas.

Present at the first war against Israel waged by invading Arab armies, Stone reported the Arab exodus as not being caused by Israeli aggression — as he later would argue — but by Palestinians running away to avoid the fighting.

Stern says he hopes his “little book helps readers see through the lies about the conflict told by the Palestinian leaders and their liberal allies in the West.” He has indeed done just that, and in fact better than any similar accounts published in the past by others. It is hard to get someone to read an entire large book, such as the many written by Alan Dershowitz in defense of Israel. But people will take out the time to peruse a brief account written in a lively fashion. Stern has, as he hoped, provided a “concise historical narrative” that  “can help arm pro-Israel Americans with the facts and arguments they will need.”

So, I end with a plea. Buy Stern’s book, and send it to your friends and relatives!

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