Telling the Truth Doesn’t Make Us ‘Right Wing’
Truth is not a political position. Yet some who disagree with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) wrongly label us and similar groups as “right wing,” “ultra right” or even “extreme.” Hurling such labels avoids fair, reasoned and fact-based debate on the issues, and is merely an attempt to delegitimize anyone that the libelers disagree with.
It wasn’t “far right” or “right wing” for the ZOA to predict the Oslo Accords would lead to more terrorism and not peace. Why? Because on the very same date that the accords were signed in Washington, Yasser Arafat broadcast this “stages” message in Arabic: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
Arafat and later Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas failed to fulfill any of their signed agreements under the Oslo Accords. Arafat and Abbas did not stop inciting hatred and violence against Jews, they did not ban terrorist groups like Hamas, they did not collect illegal weapons. Instead, the PA named schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killers, and glorified terrorists with posters and parades. The PA’s official emblems, stationary, school atlases, maps, stamps and textbooks all show Israel as “Palestine.” The PA also teaches its children to use knives and car-rammings to “liberate” “Palestine,” and pays terrorists to murder Jews.
Opposing Oslo was a rational, centrist position.
Similarly, it was not “right wing” to oppose the unilateral Gaza/Northern Samaria withdrawal that heartlessly removed 10,000 Jews from their homes. Druze MK Ayoub Kara correctly warned that Hamas — whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews and for Israel’s destruction — would take over Gaza, and make it a base for attacking Israel. Evacuating every Jew from Gaza without any Palestinian concessions sent a provocative message of Israeli weakness. Opposing the Gaza withdrawal was a rational centrist position. Americans opposed the withdrawal by four to one (63% to 16%, according to a McLaughlin & Associates June 2005 poll). A nationwide referendum in Israel also opposed the withdrawal by 60% to 40%.
It’s also not “right wing” to oppose dividing Jerusalem. It’s a myth that Jerusalem is holy to Islam. The word “Jerusalem” never appears in the Koran; yet Jerusalem appears 700 times in Judaism’s holy books. When Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, it allowed the city to become a slum, and didn’t grant Jews access to their holy places. The Jordanians destroyed 58 synagogues in eastern Jerusalem, and no Arab leader except Jordan’s King Hussein has ever visited Jerusalem.
Supporting the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) is also a rational, centrist and human-rights position. Judea and Samaria is the Jewish people’s ancient, historic and religious homeland, which the Jewish people are entitled to under international law. We are called “Jews” because we are from Judea. If it’s Arab land, why is “Palestine” a Roman name? The PLO’s 1964 charter said that the PLO “doesn’t exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank.” And in 1988, Jordan relinquished all claims to the West Bank.
There is also nothing extreme about opposing a Hamas or Fatah Palestinian Arab state. (Fatah is the PA’s ruling party, and is politically aligned with Hamas.) A Palestinian state would be an armed terrorist state threatening Israel, similar to Hamas-controlled Gaza. According to the AP, Iran bragged three years ago that it had already begun arming the West Bank and that its efforts would lead to Israel’s annihilation.
Thus ZOA’s views are widely shared.
In an October 2016 American Jewish Committee (AJC) poll, 81% of American Jews agreed that the Arabs’ goal is not obtaining territory “but rather the destruction of Israel.” Surely all these Jews are not “extreme” or “right wing.” Most of them voted for Hillary Clinton.
The reality is that the PA does not want a state if it means accepting the Jewish state, or making any significant concessions for peace. The Palestinian Arabs were offered a state in 1937 (Peel Commission); 1947 (UN Resolution 181); 2000 (Ehud Barak offer); 2008 (Ehud Olmert offer) — and they said no every time. They also never established a state when Arabs controlled the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and Gaza from 1948 to 1967.
As Winston Churchill said: “You must look at the facts, for the facts are looking at you.”
The positions of the ZOA and like-minded groups have been proven painfully correct. It’s time to stop labeling our rational centrist positions as “right wing,” or worse.
Mort Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America.