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Kristof's Tortured Reasoning on Israel

By Ed Koch

The hostile views that Nicholas Kristof expresses in his March 18, 2007 New York Times column correspond with those held by former president Jimmy Carter.

Kristof is distressed that the Democratic Party leadership is too supportive of the State of Israel. He says that he prefers the view of U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barak Obama who recently stated, "Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people," for which he says Obama was "scolded."

Kristof does not mention that Palestinian suffering has in large part been brought on by the Palestinians' own actions. Their leaders rejected the United Nations vote in 1947 dividing historic Palestine into two states: one Arab and one Jewish. They supported or actively participated in at least seven wars against Israel: the 1948 War of Independence, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1968 War of Attrition, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon War [1] and the 2006 Lebanon War [2]. Their leadership declared two intifadas (insurrections) in 1987 and in 2002, which still goes on.

Kristof blames Israel for all the troubles of the mideast citing the speech of King Abdullah of Jordan as proof. The King stated, "The wellspring of regional division, the source of resentment and frustration far beyond, is the denial of justice and peace in Palestine."

How do the King and Kristof explain the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran, the war of Egyptian military forces in a military coup creating the Yemen Arab Republic, the occupation by Syria of Lebanon, the threatened war by Syria against Jordan stopped by Israeli tanks, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, and the genocide currently engaged in by the Sudanese Arab government against the black Sudanese of Darfur? They don't. Surely they were not the result of Israel's existence. Kristof says, "Though widely criticized, King Abdullah was exactly right: from Morocco to Yemen to Sudan, the Palestinian cause arouses ordinary people in coffee shops more than almost anything else." Kristof is implicitly defending the Palestinian suicide bombers who have killed over a thousand Israeli civilians and maimed many more.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) under Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA) under its current Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, elected by Hamas, actively support and currently engage in terrorist acts against the State of Israel.

Kristof denounces President Bush for treating Israel as an ally. He writes that he would prefer the relationship that existed before the Bush administration with the U.S. role as "an honest broker in the Middle East" and having a "tradition of balance."

He has kind words for Harry Truman, forgetting that Truman on behalf of the U.S. recognized the State of Israel before any other nation did, despite the threat of then Secretary of State George Marshall to resign. He has kind words for Lyndon Johnson, forgetting that Johnson sent the U.S. fleet to the Mediterranean at the side of Israel as a warning to the Soviet Union then militarily threatening Israel. Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest friends of Israel second only in my opinion to George W. Bush, is given kudos by Kristof and an exemption from criticism probably because of his great popularity. Had Kristof been writing a similar column in 1939 or at any time before December 7, 1941 and Pearl Harbor, would he have denounced FDR for making clear his intention to assist Great Britain against Hitler's Germany? Would he have urged instead that the U.S. remain neutral and assume the role of an impartial honest broker? If Kristof had been with Charles Lindbergh in Madison Square Garden denouncing the Jews and the U.S. support of Great Britain, would he have applauded or been repelled?

Kristof denounces Israel's building "a better fence" or seeking "more weaponry." What does he mean? That in his opinion Israel may not erect a fence to help keep the terrorists out? Does he suggest that the U.S. should deny the sale of new weapons to Israel unless it also makes them available to the Palestinians? Kristof's tortured reasoning led to the fall of the Spanish Republic to which we would not sell arms to defend itself from Franco's fascist armies which were supported by Hitler and Mussolini.

Ultimately, Kristof predicts, the Palestinians will turn to "chemical, biological or radiological weapons." In my opinion, the Palestinian radicals are now an extension of the Islamic terrorists seeking to bring Western civilization, including Israel, to its knees. Hamas continually refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel; it refuses to recognize agreements with Israel agreed to by prior Palestinian governments; and it refuses to renounce violence. The European Union has declined to provide funds to the current Palestinian government until it meets those conditions. Does Kristof opposes those conditions?

Kristof clearly wants the U.S. and the Democrats seeking the presidency to end what every president since John F. Kennedy has called "a special relationship" with Israel - that of an ally - and create a new climate of neutrality. Even the Arabs have accepted that special U.S. relationship with Israel; nevertheless, they have asked the U.S. to take the role of mediator/broker, knowing that only the U.S. would be able to get Israel to make concessions based on hopes and promises rather than concrete confidence-building measures by the Palestinians and their supporters.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.

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