Is That Me?…Who Says So? I do!

I can’t find one good thing to say about this cover of World Over: A Magazine for Young People from 1976. My Israeli compatriots and I were being told not to trust in any P.L.O. representative’s sincerity in wanting to resolve the conflict other than withThis magazine is for youth. The cover is so offensive and hopeless in its depiction of a "P.L.O. Statesman" it makes me less hopeful. terrorism, not even “honest” warfare soldier against soldier. I know this not to be the case at all now, but at the time, I believed that if only there were a Palestinian partner for peace, we could have had it. There were Palestinian leaders who were genuinely willing to work with Jews and Israelis to move beyond conflict into a better future. Based on what I’m looking at in Allan Solomonow’s voluminous files, even Yasser Arafat was willing to live side by side with an Israeli state as far back as the mid-1970s though you  could also point to statements and actions by him and the PLO that confuse the issue.

Here is the “About the Cover” description of the magazine cover below:

‘Here is WORLD OVER‘s view of a Palestine Liberation Organization delegate to a future Middle East peace conference, waving an olive branch and dragging his dove on a very tight leash. While the delegate is dressed something like an honorable diplomat, with his bow tie, take a careful look at his dove, representing a P.L.O. viersion of peace. The dove’s head is a ticking grenade, just about to explode; his body is an armored tank; and his tail is made up of sharp and menacing bayonets. It seems that P.L.O. terrorists can only “negotiate” through war. And until the P.L.O. learns the true meaning of peace, Israel cannot consent to their participation in future peace talks.’

I shudder when I replace all the P.L.O. references in that paragraph with Israeli ones. It feels more true if I do that, given all the advanced weaponry that Israel unleashes on a regular basis, looking at news reports from across the ideological spectrum, and then if I listen to pro-Israeli speakers in their own words. It’s deadly chuptzpah.

The exceptional affront by Israel — and which IS the responsibility of Israeli, Zionist and Jewish leaders then AND now — is their wholesale denunciation of their enemies and how they have argued passionately, at times absurdely and even violently, against anyone who wanted to open lines of communication with the P.L.O. (and now Hamas). They pleaded their case and are still making the same dehumanizing arguments against Palestinians. Inflammatory statements, propaganda and indocrination of Jewish youth here and in Israel has been egregiously racist. No matching pieces from the Arab world can make this okay or justified. “Two wrongs don’t make a right” is even more true in the adult world as in a child’s.

It angers me how critics of Israel like myself are so vilified, even called violent terrorists when we take up expressly nonviolent strategies. The haters are making things up and obscuring the truth so loudly that it is hard for people to see through the the smoke of their own teargas and artillery.

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