Letter From Israel
by Ran HaCohen

January 23, 2002

David Horowitz Rewrites the Past

An American Jew, David Horowitz, wrote a 5,000-word article "proving" that "...Israel Is The Victim And The Arabs Are The Indefensible Aggressors In the Middle East." I always enjoy reading the work of an American Jew who defines himself as non-Zionist, but who is nevertheless ready to sacrifice my life in his hatred towards Arabs. I sometimes have the feeling that some American Jews see Israel as their colonial army: they provide us with weapons and money, and we in return should gratefully kill and die, giving our sponsors both entertainment and something to be proud of. And just like the West was more interested in good fiction (books, films) on the colonies than in their actual situation, so these American Jews seem to be more interested in their own imagined Israel and its fictitious history than in the actual Mid-Eastern realities. It's a safe game they are playing. And a nasty one.

The general scheme of Horowitz's argument is too trivial to analyze: the Jews are always good; the Arabs are always bad. Racism is inherent: "the Palestinians are a community of suicide bombers," he writes shamelessly. Some of his arguments are simply repulsive, like the manipulative use of Israel's peace camp: "There is no Arab 'Peace Now' movement, not even a small one, whereas in Israel the movement demanding concessions to Arabs in the name of peace is a formidable political force." The Israeli peace camp would be very grateful to Mr. Horowitz for using its very existence as an argument against peace.

Like official Israel, Horowitz offers no explicit solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he hints again and again at Jordan being the Palestinian state. And like official Israel, Horowitz does have an implicit solution, clearly legible between the lines, as well as between Sharon's battle-lines: ethnic cleansing, either by deporting the Palestinians to Jordan, or by direct genocide, or by a combination of both. Israel is waiting for the right moment to do that, and is meanwhile preparing the ground in terms of international public opinion; Horowitz's article is part of this campaign to prepare the hearts for genocide – not "the Palestinians' genocidal agenda for the Jews," as Horowitz demagogically writes, but an Israeli genocidal agenda for the Palestinians, materializing day after day in front of our blindfolded eyes. Israeli generals hint at it when they repeatedly talk of the present period as "the second part of 1948" – the year he first ethnic cleansing of Palestinians was launched.

But above all, it is Horowitz's use of history that deserves attention. Several readers rejected my earlier claim, that distracting the discussion from the present to the past is an ideological strategy. Horowitz's article is an excellent demonstration of what I meant.

As Antiwar.com columnist Scott McConnell observes in his "open letter," Horowitz does not use the word "settlements" even once in his entire article. This is symptomatic: the present situation, in which three million Palestinians live under a most murderous Israeli occupation, with no political and human rights, their homes bulldozed at Israel's will, the women giving birth in Israeli checkpoints, scores and dozens of them killed every month, even the wretched infrastructure left by decades of occupation systematically destroyed, an entire people pushed into starving reservations, cut off and surrounded by tanks and barbed-wire, and hundreds of Jewish settlements that control and dispossess – all these are simply swept away under the heavy carpet of a fairy-tale about "3,700 years" (sic!) of Jewish history.

"History contains a myriad of details," I wrote in an earlier article; "you can always find some detail that will embarrass your opponent. If not, invent one – who can check?" Well Horowitz is a master in inventing such details, too many for me to check. I hope the following few will suffice to make the point.

Just A Few "Mistakes":


These are just a few examples. They are all biased the same way: portraying Israel as the good guy, Arabs as the bad guys. They accumulate to turning reality upside down: the victimizers become victims, the victims – victimizers. In trying to defend Israel, Horowitz first ignores the present, with which he cannot cope, and while turning to the past he is forced to invent a fairy-tale full of intentional distortions. As Israel's crimes intensify, the price of defending it is bound to rise: more force will have to be used to oppress the Palestinians, more truths will have to be suppressed and more lies be propagated to convince us that wrong is right.

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