Zionist position fails to recognize other side
by Mazin Qumsiyeh
Duke Chronicle 3/6/1998
Israeli historians and public, in the recent words of the Israeli author Ilan Pappe, are beginning to seriously look at "alternatives to the Zionist history" of what really happened in Palestine before and during 1948. Why then and in the midst of a dying Middle East peace process do we use University dollars to invite, in his words an "unapologetic Zionist," to speak about Israel's 50th Anniversary but we do not bring the opposing viewpoint?
Arthur Hertzberg, in his lecture March 1-introduced by his host Eric Meyers, professor in the Department of Religion-spoke as if he and Zionists represented Judaism, stating that the argument between Jews about Zionism and Israel had been settled in the Zionist's favor.
He quickly put down such opposing views as the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, who wrote to a Jewish audience that it takes an "internal revolution... to realize how great as our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews... whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we now saw and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards, and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we robbed, we put up houses of education, charity and prayer while we babble and rave about being the people of the book and the light of the nations." What about an avowed Zionist and leader of Israel Moshe Dayan, who said in 1961, "There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population?"
I would like for the University "celebrating" Israel's 50th anniversary to devote equal time and resources to hear from the other side: that for the six million Palestinians these were 50 years not of celebration and accomplishment but of dispossession, occupation, ethnic and religious cleansing, and apartheid. It is as refreshing to see the chorus of truth published by Israeli authors and peace activists as it is sad to note the same old lines told by Zionists in the United States. I hope that is not the reason why U.S. foreign policy is more right-wing than Israeli society and why a few immigrants to Israel from the United States make up the most radical settlers in occupied Palestinian land and include such "educated" people as Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Muslims while in prayer and now has a monument on "public land" in the occupied West Bank.
Department of Pathology