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THE UNITED STATES: Two approaches to the Middle East



Following the mass pro-Israel rally in Washington this week, the Zionist lobby in Congress staged an event coordinated with it. The spokesmen were a bipartisan group: Steve Israel, R. Deutsch, Jorel Kingston, Steve Rothman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The chamber was almost empty; the target was the public watching on C-Span. There were maps to illustrate the talks, but soon these became diatribes: There never was a Palestine state; Iran and Iraq are new countries; Jordan consists of land which really belonged to Israel; look at the map and compare the sliver of Israel with the vast area belonging to the Arabs, etc. To describe these presentations as one-sided is putting it mildly. The tone reminded me of Fallaci, who must be in touch with the Zionist lobby in the US. Such talk infuriates the Arabs, and makes them even more anti-US. This is evident from Arab television, which is uniting the Arab world as it never was united before. It would be ironical if the creation of Israel brought this about.

Meanwhile, a more balanced view was being presented, but with a minimum of publicity, at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington by the International Solidarity Movement. The speakers were members of a delegation it sent to Israel. One young Jewish woman. Josiaa Maru, gave a quiet, thoughtful account of the situation in Al Azza Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. The International Solidarity Movement is, in its undramatic way, contributing to peace in the Middle East. The Zionist lobby is not.

Ronald Hilton - 4/18/02


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