Rabbi who went after Helen Thomas has supported ethnic cleansing

on 11 Comments

Sorry I can’t use this contributor’s name but he/she makes some good points, to the rabbi who exposed Helen Thomas.

Dear Rabbi Nesenoff,

Helen Thomas has been rightfully criticized for her comments to you.  Yet you are on record at your website supporting the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians without a word of criticism from any journalist I’ve read.  You wrote:

"So after the Holocaust in the late 1940s it was a (sic) natural for the Jews to go back there– to their land and reclaim it again. And with the world feeling really guilty right after the Holocaust it made it that much easier to get the land back and kick out hundreds of thousands of Arabs who were living there and dwelling peacefully with their families and loved ones. But it was ours first as it was promised to us by G-d in the Torah so we have a claim to it. And that’s why we have a Jewish Homeland and so I went there this summer with my family for my son’s Bar Mitzvah."

You seem to think this argumentation is acceptable for some people, but insufficient to convince a wider audience and yet in making a broader case you compound the problem: "In the final analysis, the Arabs of Palestine ended up with nearly 85% of the original territory of that area, and it’s called Jordan, or in reality, their ARAB Palestinian state!"

So you’re on record regarding Jordan being the Palestinian state.  This is very similar to the language used by Helen Thomas, but when it comes to Palestinians losing homes and land no (or few) journalists stand up for them and do the research into your own viewpoints. Since there are still millions of Palestinians living between the river and the sea, what rights do you see them as having? Should they be "transferred" to Jordan as some in the Knesset propose and as the ZOA seems to support?  Should they have their own independent state comprising the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip?  Or should they have full equal rights with Israel’s Jewish citizens — one person, one vote — in one state?  (According to the human rights organization Adalah there are over 30 laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel so it isn’t reality-based to say there are equal rights now for Palestinian citizens of Israel. And clearly Palestinians in the territories have even fewer rights with the dual standard of law that exists there — one for Jewish settlers and one for Palestinians.)

Please elaborate your position, and do you repudiate your previous position of support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or do you think Israel should extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with no Palestinians present?

Do Palestinians expelled from Ashkelon (as late as 1950), where you studied for a year at age 14 according to your website, have a right of return to Ashkelon (what they called Al-Majdal)?  If not, why not? 

Finally, you write, "The truth is that 70% of the Arabs who left in 1948 – perhaps 300,000 to 400,000 of them – never saw an Israeli soldier! They did not flee because they feared Jewish soldiers or Jewish thugs…." Do you deny the massacres of Palestinians that took place in some Palestinian villages, most infamously in Deir Yassin in April 1948 before the establishment of the state of Israel and the entry into war by several Arab states?

I would appreciate answers to all of these questions as I am deeply troubled by the views you have spelled out. Helen Thomas has apologized. Will you apologize for the viewpoints you have spelled out on your website?

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