Nicholas D. Kristof visited Arabs and their Jewish supporters in Judea-Samaria, and believed their stories. Nationalist Jews refused his request for interviews.
Mr. Kristof’s lead paragraph sets the tone: “Israel goes out of its way to display its ugliest side to the world by tearing down Palestinian homes or allowing rapacious settlers to steal Palestinian land.” Definitive facts or factual definitions?
His “noble” Israelis are the “courageous and effective voices on behalf of oppressed Palestinians,” such as Arik Ascherman, executive director of Rabbis for Human Rights. That organization’s volunteers “sometimes serve as human shields to protect Palestinians – even if that means getting arrested or beaten.”
Kristof “…visited a rural area in the northern W. Bank where Jewish settlers have taken over land that Palestinian farmers say is theirs.” Check land registration?
“If we try to enter our land, settlers will be waiting, and we will be beaten,” an Arab tells him. “Last year, he said, he was hospitalized with a broken rib, after settlers attacked while he was picking his own olives.” He said. American children send money so that the rabbis can replant an olive tree for an Arab whose grove was uprooted by Jews.
Arab youths stoned the car of the head of Rabbis for Human Rights. [What! Those nice Arabs who are always the victims of Jews, initiated violence?]
Tarring with a broad brush, Kristof writes, “The most lucid unraveling of Israel’s founding mythology comes from Israeli historians.”
The journalist concludes that the most religious Middle Easterners may be the most hateful. “By challenging religious extremism, Rabbis for Human Rights redeems not only Israeli values, but also Jewish ones.” Examples of hatred by religious Jews? (NY Times, 7/8/10, A25.) Kristof admits hating them.
Sure nationalist Jews refused his request for interviews. Many have found themselves misquoted or exaggerated to look bad. I have known such victims. Kristof could have checked with their representatives and even with the government, to get their side.
What is ugly and rapacious is stealing land to build houses, as thousands of Arabs do in Israel and in the territories. Not that Kristof is aware or will acknowledge, as shown by his omitting the reasons for demolition.
I have been reporting for years Jews’ protests, usually non-violent, and Arabs’ protests, usually violent. Police tend to arrest the Jews, sometimes with brutality, but rarely arrest Arabs, except, more recently, when they throw rocks at troops guarding the security barrier. If the situation were as Kristof reports, then his Jerusalem Bureau would have reported it with gusto.
False Arab land claims go back to early Mandate days. Although the British Mandatory authorities sympathized with the Arabs and were notoriously antisemitic, they ruled against about 97% of the many Arab land claims. That is how fraudulent they were. Arabs would sell Jews land, and then other Arabs would claim to be the owners of it. When Zionists paid tenants, people who never worked there came and applied for payments as tenants.
Again in our time, Arabs present forged records of ownership, claim they did not sell a house whose sale was videotaped, refuse to stop squatting, and commit violence against Jews moving in.
Arabs try to drive Jews off the land, rustling their livestock and stealing their equipment. I have reported many cases of Arabs attacking Jewish drivers, hitchhikers, women, hikers, students, urbanites, and farmers, but not a word of that from Kristof. The Arabs have a culture of violence, Judaism does not.
Kristof implies that the government sides with the Jews. I have reported many hardships that the government imposes on Jews in the Territories. Special regulations were set up to harass Jews there. Prosecutors bother them for petty things, but rarely indict Arabs who attack Jewish farmers. I have reported Arabs and their leftist supporters digging up Jews’ crops and claiming that their own, pruned trees were destroyed by “settlers” and that they should be compensated for it. Apparently Kristof is not aware of the Arab practice of moving livestock onto Jewish ranches or planting crops on Jews’ fields, and then, in accordance with ancient mores, claiming the land as theirs.
Referring to the “new historians” as “historians” is a stretch. I have reported their ignoring Arab sources that make damaging admissions, their quoting out of context, their misrepresenting Zionism, their general dishonesty. Of the four original new historians, two were Communists – can’t rely on them. These new historians are driven by ideology not by fact-finding. And it is not really history that they write about, they write about events I remember and see they falsify.
In recent months, some young Jews may be retaliating against Arabs whom they do not know to have been the ones to harm them. That is not right. But when Jews discharge pistols even in the air, to warn off attackers, police arrest the Jews, not the attackers. Arabs accuse those Jews of shooting them, but try not to let their bodies be checked for the non-existent wounds. Police take the Arabs’ word for it and arrest Jews. In Israel, Jews are not supposed to defend themselves.