I had a very UNPLEASANT conversation with a Montreal radio broadcaster who I never had much of a relationship with other than to say hello and goodbye.
Before yesterday, it’s been at least 6 or more years since we last spoke. I contacted her about doing voice-work for my ad agency, since she is incredibly talented, and would do a fabulous job voicing radio spots for some of our clients.
During our telephone conversation, we got around to speaking about politics, which somehow led us to speak about the Middle East, specifically about Israel and the so-called Palestinian people.
According to her; Israel really has no claim to the land it “occupies”. That the Palestinian people have been pushed off of their land, much like the Europeans pushed our Native Population off of theirs. That the Israelis are brutal against the much weaker Palestinians. And that Israel will not give the Palestinians a chance.
For the cherry atop the whipped-cream, according to her; most of the Palestinians, including all of Israel’s Arab neighbors want peace with Israel. And only a small minority of Arab extremists wish Israel harm.
When I argued the case for Israel, dating all the way back (3000 years) to the reign of King David to prove Jewish (Israeli) national legitimacy in the Land of Milk and Honey, she scoffed and said that it was irrelevant.
When I explained that there never was a Palestine, still isn’t a Palestine, and never was a Palestinian people, she said of course there is a Palestine and a Palestinian people.
When I pointed out that Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian, and that all those who call themselves Palestinians are in reality Egyptians, Lebanese, Jordanians or Syrians, she laughed again, and said that they are Palestinians if that is what the want to call themselves.
When I told of her that the JNF (Jewish National Fund) bought the land from the few Arabs who lived at that time in what is now Israel proper, dating back to 1901, she ignored it.
When I pointed out that the Arabs began to move into the land purchased by the Jews, because these new Zionists provided employment and infrastructure, she continued to laugh.
I didn’t bother to point out that several hundred thousand Jews from Arab countries were disenfranchised, beaten, raped, robbed and kicked out of their Arab homelands when Israel was a start-up nation just prior to Independence and recognition by the United Nations in 1948. She probably would have laughed at that too.
I also didn’t bother to mention that before Israel won the 6 Day War (1967), the Arabs who lived on the West Bank were in fact Jordanian. And in Gaza, they were Egyptian. I’m certain she wouldn’t have understood that.
She also would not have understood that the people who (today) call themselves Palestinians, were actually the subjects of the Turkish Ottoman Empire until the Empire fell in 1918 at the conclusion of the First World War.
I know that she found it capricious when I told her that there was no Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon until Europe carved this area up after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, creating these new countries and borders, because she laughed even harder.
She never heard of Balfour (1917), and suspected that Israel was first promised to the Jews sometime after World War II.
I would have wasted my breath mentioning the Peel Commission (1937) that pushed hard for a Jewish State prior to the Holocaust.
She kept repeatedly telling me that I should stop arguing with her because I was wrong. And I would lose. But I was so upset that such a bright and talented person could be so uniformed that I refused to stop.
But she was right about me losing the debate:
In her last statement concerning our “discussion” before I stopped, she said:
“Israel, like Palestine was not a country”.
“Of course Israel is a country” I said.
“Yeah. Who says so”? was her retort.
“The United Nations says so”. I said in total frustration.
“Well that doesn’t change anything”. she replied.
Not even knowing that Israel is a recognized country renders any and all opinions she has of the Middle East conflict worthless.
No one can ever win when debating with someone who is so far removed from reality, history, fact, truth, and nothing more than unfounded prejudicial opinions.
I’ve known her for many years, and I don’t suspect that she is an anti-Semite. If she was an anti-Semite, I would understand her willingness to be ignorant.
But since I believe that she is not a Jew-hater, I have to wonder how many others out there share her biased, distorted, uniformed and revisionist view as an “honest” opinion of something they know nothing about.
I’d rather she be an overt Jew-hater. At least then, I’d be able to understand why someone such as her could be so hostile to Israel. In her case though, and in the case of millions of others just like her, there is no understanding.
Animosity towards an entire people (Israelis) built upon ignorance is an extremely frightening prospect. She was right. It’s an argument against her that I can not win.
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