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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 12/23/2010

A suggestion to promote Middle East peace

By Jennifer Rubin

On Monday, I made a number of suggestions for productive actions (e.g. fire George Mitchell, work on building Palestinian institutions, and commit to regime change in Iran) that the Obama administration could take in the wake of the breakdown of the Middle East "peace process." (Once it's stopped, is it still a "process"?)

Andrea Levin, president of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, e-mails to add an item to the list:

Israel and the US should continually and relentlessly insist on the cessation of anti-Israel/anti-Jewish bigotry pouring out of [Palestinian National Authority] media, mosques, public discourse. This has to be stated and re-stated and made central to achieving peace. Because it IS central to achieving peace. Unfortunately, much of the media have no interest in reporting this.

This is a critically important point. The parties can sit in conference rooms (separate ones, I suppose, since the Palestinians have bugged out of direct talks) for months or years (and they have). The U.S. can give billions to build roads, schools, courtrooms and other governmental facilities in the West Bank (and we have). But how does Israel live side by side with a peaceful Palestinian state so long as Palestinians are taught appalling anti-Semitism, the Palestinian Authority honors terrorists, and Holocaust denial is a mainstay of Palestinian discourse?

On the Weekly Standard blog, Rachel Abrams, a similarly troubled friend of Israel, wrote of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which operates in the West Bank:

UNRWA's history books -- in accord with the 1982 doctoral thesis of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, which asserted that the Holocaust was a Zionist-Nazi plot that eliminated only a few hundred thousand Jews, and the beliefs of a whopping 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs, who deny the Holocaust ever happened at all -- include no mention whatsoever of the extermination of European Jewry.

A few years ago, a prominent U.S. official was shown a Palestinian indoctrination video intended to encourage children to become martyrs. She remarked that the film amounted to "[h]orrific abuse of children. How can you think about building a better future ... if you indoctrinate your children to a culture of death?" That was then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.

If Secretary of State Clinton and the rest of the Obama team spent a fraction of the time they have collectively wasted on settlement freezes on public and private pressure to end the "culture of death," wouldn't we be a lot farther down the road to peace? Yes, we need Palestinian institutions, but they have to be more that propaganda outlets for hatred and extremism.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 23, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Israel  
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It's a combination of our tendency to overlook the really big issues when there's a small one that will substitute, and the standard liberal tendency to refuse to criticize the really horrible aspects of different cultures.

Posted by: keepandbear | December 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

How about ending the US project (under General Dayton) to train and arm a PA army that has no other raisin d'etre than to attack Israelis?

(Spare me the bit about training it to fight Hamas.)

Posted by: IsraelP | December 23, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

A number of years ago a spokesperson for the New York Times was asked why the paper refused to report on all the anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. The person's answer was that the Times considered mutual hatred to be inevitable in any regional conflict and therefore not newsworthy. I think this kind of mentality may play a role in the problem too.

Peter Shalen

Posted by: shalen | December 23, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration, by the way, in it's consistently anti Israel and pro Palestinian diplomatic approach, is behaving no differently from the way every other previous American administration has dealt with the Palestinian Israeli peace process.
The only discernable difference is that the Obama administration is considerably more obvious in it's actual hostility towards Israel, and it's fawning towards the Palestinians.
The plainest example of American indifference towards Palestinians provocations the almost total lack of serious American condemnation of the routine and unprovoked Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli schools, kindergartens, town, and settlements around the now Judenrein Gaza Strip.
Contrast this almost hysterical American indifference to Palestinian attacks on Israel with the serious and bitter American reactions to Israeli self defence measures taken in response to these unprovoked attacks.
The suggestions that Ms. Rubin and Ms. Levin have made have some merit and might actually result in some miniscule progress in the Palestinian Israeli negotiations. However the simple and tragic truth is that the Obama administration cannot even bring itself to condemn Palestinian terrorist rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and yet has no problem finding the time and the will to censure any and all self defence measures taken by Israel.
And by the way, these Palestinian rocket attacks are increasing in number and becoming more dangerous and will inevitably result in another massive Israel reprisal raid into the Gaza Strip sooner rather than later.
A forceful and harsh American condemnation, by Obama and Clinton, of these Palestinian attacks might be useful in preventing another round of Palestinian Israeli fighting.
Unless of course this is what Obama and Clinton are hoping for.

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 23, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Excellent points made by CAMERA, and the UNRWA textbooks.

Why does the United States and other donor countries who financially support the PA either directly or through UNRWA, not learn from the history of post-WW2 Germany and Japan?
What changed in the education of those post-war populations to change the way successive generations of German and Japanese children learned history?

The Obami still fail to press the Saudis on their agreement to change Saudi-supplied textbooks throughout the world of Islam.

If the donor countries who financially support the PA either directly or through UNRWA, do not pressure these changes, who will?

Posted by: K2K2 | December 23, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

As long as Jews keep on settling in Palestinian land how can anyone be surprised at their "anti-Jewish bigotry"?

Posted by: smt123 | December 23, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, I could see how your deomcracy plans might not work in that environmnet!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse


The name for what your suggesting is "nation building" and it hasn't worked for us anywhere since South Korea. (only a few remember the Bush Adminsitration's ludicrous attempt to create an Iraqi stock market, or their "new Iraqi flag" with the same colors as the Israeli flag).

There is no peace process. There is no two state solution.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 23, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The Jewish Forward today addresses the question of Palestinian incitement and hate speech, pointing out the impressive progress that the Palestinian Authority is making in this regard.
Here is a link to the Forward's important story:

Posted by: orinir | December 23, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The Israeli Minister says;” Political warfare is replacing actually the warfare on the battlefields," he said. "If they tried to take us on militarily and they could not and then economically and they could not, and with terror and they could not, now the front is political warfare.
If Palestinians cannot express their frustration and Zionists occupation and expansion democratically, what they can do? If America and Americans and their Senators and Congress men have any shame left, they must stand up and STOP this barbarism, genocide, brutality and inhumane treatment to 5 million human beings at once. By not resolving this issue amicably, our law makers are breeding terrorism and hatred in the minds of millions around the Globe. Our reputation and credibility is sinking day by day and we have to live under fear similar to our friends in Israel

Posted by: citysoilverizonnet | December 23, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

More whining demands from zionists about what needs to be done to make them happy is not a "suggestion to promote Middle East peace."

Posted by: Thoughtful-Ted | December 24, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

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