Letter: West and Abdullah Entitled to Their Opinions, But Not Their Own Facts

Dear editor:

Cornel West and Melina Abdullah are entitled to their opinions, but they are not entitled to manufacture “facts.” (“Column: No Doubt That Cornel West Denies Israel’s Right to Exist” Boulder Jewish News April 18, 2024.) The truth is that the Arabs of Palestine could have achieved autonomy, without a drop of blood being spilled, in 1947 if Arab states had accepted the UN Partition Plan for Palestine. But the Arabs rejected the offer and went to war trying to stop the establishment of a modern Jewish state in the Jews’ ancestral homeland. Arab-initiated violence saw 400,000 – 700,000 Arabs fleeing Palestine while Egypt grabbed Gaza and Transjordan grabbed eastern Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, dubbing these lands “The West Bank” and changing its name to “Jordan.” Jordanian occupation of land that is of historic and religious significance to Jews saw Jews being ethnically cleansed from the area, Jewish holy sites being destroyed, and Jewish graves being desecrated. Both Gaza and “The West Bank” were used as staging sites for terrorist attacks into Israel. And Muslim rulers in the Middle East and North Africa, embarrassed that the Zionists had declared independence, drove 1,000,000 Mizrachi Jews from homes in which their families had lived for generations.

Some of the Mizrachim emigrated to France or America. But Israel absorbed and uplifted 800,000 of them, even as food was being rationed in Israel’s earliest day, when Israel was also rehabilitating survivors of the Shoah, and while recovering from damages inflicted by Arab armies. In contrast, Arab states refused to take in the Arabs who’d fled Palestine or their descendants. Nor did Egypt or Jordan offer them any degree of autonomy in Gaza or “The West Bank.” Arab countries insisted (and still insist) that Israel must allow “the Palestine refugees” (as designated by UNRWA) to “return” to the homes the “refugees” claim their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents lost in Israel in 1948. But Israel would be committing national suicide to take in 6,000,000 people (99.5% of them born in UNRWA camps) who have grown up seeing their fellows honored and rewarded for killing Jews.

In 1967, Jordan allied with Egypt and Syria in a war instigated with the open intent of destroying Israel and annihilating her people. Israel won the Six Day War, liberating Gaza and “The West Bank.’ Her offer to withdraw from newly liberated land in exchange for recognition and peace was rejected by the Arab League. The 1964 founding charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization had specified that the PLO had no claim to lands held by Egypt and Jordan at the time. No Palestinian leaders urged the Arab League to accept Israel’s offer of withdrawal so that a Palestinian state could be built in Gaza and “The West Bank.”

Fast forward to 2024. All Palestinians in Gaza and 95% of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria have been living under the administration of leaders of their own choosing since Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords. Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas has built the infrastructure needed by a viable state nor prepared the Palestinians for coexistence with the nation-state of the Jews. Mahmoud Abbas proudly states that the PA’s primary fiscal obligation is maintaining the solvency of the Martyrs Fund which pays lifelong stipends to Palestinians (and/or their families) when those Palestinians answer the call to resist the “Occupation” with violence. Hamas, which has a long history of firing missiles and floating incendiary devices into Israel, is now engaged in a war with Israel following the atrocities committed against Israelis on October 7, 2024; atrocities Hamas has sworn to inflict upon Israelis repeatedly.

In contrast to the Jew-hatred which spews from Palestinian schoolrooms, mosques, and media centers, the nation-state of the Jews grants full civil rights to non-Jews, who are free to vote, run for office, worship as they please, complain about the government, serve in governmental offices and on the judiciary, etc. If Cornel West and Melina Abdullah support reconciliation and peace-making via negotiation, they are on the wrong side of the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

Toby F. Block
Atlanta, GA 

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