Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Don’t Believe Your Ears

Saeb Erekat, the longstanding Palestinian negotiator, announced on Israeli radio today that the Palestinians will not accept Israel as a “Jewish state” (never mind that it already is)—that description carrying with it, of course, a prohibition on Israel’s being flooded with the millions of descendants of the Arabs who left Palestine before and during the 1948 War of Independence, people currently languishing under the awful custodianship of UNRWA in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.

Erekat is legendary for what could politely be called his casual relationship to the truth. In one of his finer moments, in 2002, he was shrieking to every Western reporter who would listen that the IDF had slaughtered over 500 civilians in Jenin and buried them in mass graves (the reporters not only were listening but believing, and thereafter not caring very much at having been lied to). But all of that unpleasantness is so much water under the bridge at this point. Erekat is a favorite of the press corps, and little things like false accusations of a massacre should never be permitted to undercut future media appearances.

And so today, in refusing to assent to the existence of something that is already real—a Jewish homeland—he said that “no state in the world connects its national identity to a religious identity.” I wonder if Erekat is familiar with the two largest states in the Middle East—Saudi Arabia and Iran—that do exactly that, and in far more sensational fashion than liberal, democratic Israel? Are any of the journalists who routinely make themselves the receptacles for Erekat’s garbage going to ask him, in his next media appearance (occurring moments from now, I feel safe predicting) to explain this strange proposition? It is amazing that this clown continues to command attention from journalists.


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