- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2001

With skill, determination and success, the Palestine movement and its allies have learned to use versions of democratic tools that give them vastly important political weapons against Israel. They are used by the Palestinians every day, around the world.
Israel and other countries that consider themselves democracies no longer notice or even seem to care that Yasser Arafat, leader of a terroristic uprising against one of these democracies, is one of the best-known and admired men in the world. Compared to the world esteem of those Israeli leaders who have tried to woo him, he is walking away in their political pants.
It takes two sides to win or lose a war which is what the Israeli-Palestinian struggle has been for more than a half-century. It was not a war for pieces of paper scratched out over years of negotiation. It was a war for creation of a new country called Palestine, and the survival of another nation-building itself in the same region.
The first assumption of democracy has been that a government must have the support of the majority of the people. Israelis knew from the beginning that the majority of Arabs would not want them ever sovereign.
But they believed that with time the majority of Arabs who decided to remain in the new Israel would learn to admire its methods of government, its freedoms, efficiency and consumer abundance. It did not happen.
Israelis also believed the Arabs who did not remain in Israel, would be helped and absorbed by the neighboring Arab nations. It did not happen. That would have helped Israel, which the rulers did not want one bit.
The fury of the Arabs in and out of Israel against Israel rose, some of it an outgrowth of defeat in the battles. But when it looked as if the Israeli dream of two nations in a rose garden might come true, the strength of the Arab and Muslim apparatus was switched on to use their version of the democratic instrument tool of informing their people and foreigners.
Their technique was specialization concentration on the literally satanic nature of the Jew and Judaism, and the devil's assignment to befoul and then destroy Islam and its worshippers. The goal was to broadcast and print Jew-devil often enough to make it a part of the Israel-Palestine struggle.
Jews worried, but not enough.
In my four of years reporting from India and Pakistan I never heard or read an anti-Jewish word. When I returned there for visits in the '60s onward, I read anti-Jew filth and saw it on videos. A Hindu extremist party added Jews to their hate list and Adolf Hitler to their heroes in a country where in the '50s a man named Cohen was chief of the Indian Navy.
The sewer flowed even more in Pakistan, and antagonism could be smelled near the prime minister of Malaysia — and in European countries where Palestinian propaganda operated efficiently.
In the West and Israel itself, the propaganda against Israel comes often from some members of the press and government officials, including opposition Israeli politicians that Ariel Sharon had to take into his coalition a hard price.
These officials and journalists, in Israel, America and Europe, have come to believe, or did long before the current insurrection, that there is no difference between trying to overthrow and destroy a democracy, as the Palestine movement is doing, and defending one. This is the mental distortion called moral equivalency.
Reporters write that violence broke out in Jerusalem, without specifying it was the Palestinians who broke it out and was not the cause of insurrection in any case.
Only a few days ago, Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister who lost his job when Israelis were sickened by his cornucopia of offered concessions to Mr. Arafat, which were again refused as not enough, now has the courage to say Mr. Arafat showed "little evidence" of negotiating in good faith.
The next day Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli Cabinet hard-core peacenik under Mr. Barak, demanded negotiations again, quick. He does not have the courage to say it would be with Mr. Arafat again. So he names nobody.
For years, I have written that peace will not come to the Mideast until it opens itself to democracy within the Arab nations themselves, not perverted thousands of miles away to damage Israel further. And everywhere that protecting a free country is considered the same as trying to kill it, the practice of democracy becomes the practice of suicide.

A.M. Rosenthal, the former executive editor of the New York Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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