In the late 1970s, when I first went to Jerusalem, I was unaware that editors could and would classify "news" depending on who was doing what to whom. On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. About one in four related stories of torture.
"I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, to let them read it for mistakes," he told me. "They were not pleased.They asked me, "You are not going to publish this book, are you?"I asked, "Were there mistakes?""Not mistakes as such. But it shouldn't be published. It's anti-Israel."
Somehow, despite obstacles to prevent it, the presses had started rolling. After its publication in 1980, I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Back then, there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, demolition of Palestinian homes, wan ton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians.
Speaking of these injustices, I invariably heard the same question, "How come I didn't know this?" Or someone might ask, "But I haven't read about that in my newspaper." To these church audiences, I related my own learning experience, that of seeing hordes of U.S. correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, Moscow, London, Tokyo, Paris. Why, I asked, did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, with a billion people?
"My dear, have you forgotten the Holocaust?"She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state.She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians.
Since Mrs. Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, the dichotomy became apparent: most "liberal" U.S. Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one ~ the Palestinians.
Yet, increasingly, American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion.While the ethical instructions of all great religions ~ including the teachings of Moses, Muhammad and Christ ~ stress that all human beings are equal, militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count.
"We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own."
"are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become "the Bible." And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.
Thus far, most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn't know about Israel. They were indoctrinated by U.S. supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. That being the case, it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. They don't want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel."