The front page of the New York Times Sunday Review featured one of the most biased, one-sided, historically inaccurate, ignorant and bigoted articles ever published by that venerable newspaper. Written by Michele Alexander, it is entitled: "Time to Break the Silence on Palestine," as if the Palestinian issue has not been the most over-hyped cause on campuses, in the United Nations and in the media. There is no silence to break. What must be broken is the bigotry of those who elevate the Palestinian claims over those of the Kurds, the Syrians, the Iranians, the Chechnyans, the Tibetans, the Ukrainians, and many other more deserving groups who truly suffer from the silence of the academy, the media and the international community. The United Nations devotes more resources -- time, money and votes -- to the Palestinian issue than to the claims of all the other oppressed groups combined. Some of these other groups cannot even get a hearing at the United Nations.
The suffering of the Palestinians, which does not compare to the suffering of other groups, has been largely self-inflicted. They could have had a state, with no occupation, if they had accepted the Peel Commission Report of 1937, the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the Clinton-Barak offer of 2000-2001, the Ehud Olmert offer of 2008. They rejected all these offers -- responding with violence and terrorism -- because they would have required them to accept Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people -- something they are unwilling to do even today. I know, because I have asked President Mahmoud Abbas that question directly, and he has said no. The Palestinian leadership has always wanted there not to be a Jewish state more than they wanted there to be a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian issue is not "one of the great moral challenges of our time," as the article insists. It is a complex, nuanced, pragmatic problem, with fault on all sides. It could be solved, if Palestinian leaders were prepared to accept the "painful compromises" that Israeli leaders have already agreed to accept. Had the early Palestinian leadership -- which collaborated with Hitler -- not, with all the surrounding Arab states, attacked Israel the moment it declared statehood, it would have a viable state. Had Hamas used the resources it received when Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005 to build schools, hospitals and industry, instead of using these resources to construct rocket launchers and terror tunnels, it could have become a "Singapore on the Sea" instead of the poverty-stricken enclave its leaders have turned it into. The Palestinian leadership -- Hamas as well as the Palestinian Authority -- bears at least as much responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians as do the Israelis.
Alexander condemns "Palestinian homes being bulldozed" without mentioning that these are the homes of terrorists who murder Jewish babies, women and men. She bemoans casualties in Gaza -- which she calls "occupied," even though every Israeli soldier and settler left in 2005 -- without mentioning that many of these casualties were human shields from behind whom Hamas terrorists fire rockets at Israeli civilians. She says there are "streets for Jews only," which is a categorical lie. There are roads in the disputed territories that are limited to cars with Israeli license plates -- for security reasons. But these roads are open to allIsraelis, including Muslims, Druze, Christians, Zoroastrians, and people of no faith. But as Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) reminded us, when you repeat a lie often enough people believe it.
The most outrageous aspect of Alexander's screed is her claim that MLK inspired her to write it. MLK was a staunch Zionist, who famously said: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism." MLK would have been appalled at Alexander's one-sided attack on the nation state of the Jewish people and especially on her misuse of his good name to support anti-Israel bigotry.