Rethinking Middle East relations

As a Jewish-American in this community, I have protested Israel’s occupation of Palestine since 1999. The realities of American and Israeli imperialism have become clear to increasing numbers, especially since the second Intifada in 2000. Nevertheless, these realities are constantly challenged by well-funded propagandists.

The Daily Illini chose to publish an advertisement from a group (perversely) called “Facts and Logic in the Middle East” in its April 20 edition. While I am a free speech absolutist, I would note that such a hateful and racist advertisement would never be permitted if it were titled “Can the U.S. — Can the World — Afford a Jewish State?” instead of the advertisement’s actual title, which replaces “Jewish” with “Palestinian.”

The ad claims: “Bloodthirsty violence wreaked by Islamic terror groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Tunisia has created epic instability in the Middle East. This regional jihad is being waged by the Islamic State, al Qaeda affiliates, al Nusra Front, Hizbollah, Hamas, Houthi rebels and, most prominently, Iran.” It fails to mention the fundamental, aggressive and ongoing roles of the U.S. and Israel in fomenting such violence.

The ad claims: “While Israel, the United States and other nations have worked in good faith to create a Palestinian state, the Palestinians themselves have consistently rejected requirements that would ensure Israel’s security and survival.” The historical truth is, of course, the exact opposite.

These blatant distortions occur in a repressive local environment that has over the years been enforced by campus administration, Hillel, Jewish Federation and others; all in support of absurd and self-aggrandizing notions of Israeli and American purity and exceptionalism. For either of these countries and the Middle East to move toward peace with justice, this hideous propaganda has to be deconstructed and replaced by truths that ultimately are relatively easily understood.

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    Israel is not a victim; it is a perpetrator.

    David Green, Academic Professional