After it ran the op-ed article by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl calling for a boycott of Israel, the Washington Post published a piece titled, “If you love Israel, don’t boycott it,” by Elliott Abrams, which blamed the Palestinians for the conflict: “The fundamental problem is the widespread Palestinian rejection not of Israeli settlements but of the existence of the state of Israel.” Mr. Maher Massis, PhD, director of advocacy at the Coalition of Palestinian American Organizations, then submitted the following letter to the Post on October 28. The newspaper has not published the letter, though it has published six letters on the original article in its print editions. “It is not hard to miss that not one Palestinian voice was published, either in print or online,” says Dorgham Abusalim, who passed along Massis’s letter. “Palestine is part and parcel of this conversation, and I remain baffled at how many mainstream outlets dismiss Palestinian views.” –Editor.
A foolish pseudo-intellectual cherry-picks history?
We read with interest “We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel,” published on October 23 by Steven Levitsky and Glen Weyl, and the ensuing reaction by Elliot Abrams.
It is typical of Abrams to quickly dismiss the argument of Levitsky and Weyl, or any argument that proposes a reasonable and fair conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for that matter. The problem at hand is not about what the “lifelong Zionists” expressed — they are indeed entitled to their own opinion. Rather, it is Abrams’ failure to bring forward a moral case against the conscientious decisions of well-informed Jews, and numerous others, around the globe. It is then unsurprising that Abrams’ placated such turpitude with a deliberate effort to shift the blame, and place it squarely on Palestine, using a diatribe of recycled talking points that bear no credibility or a sophisticated understanding of Palestinian history.
Abrams conveniently neglects basic facts. For instance, the role of Jewish militias Lehi and Irgun who wrecked havoc and terror against Palestinians and carried out the Deir Yassin Massacre in 1948. Incidentally, records reveal that these terrorist groups committed hundreds of attacks throughout Mandatory Palestine against Palestinians in an effort to forcefully displace them. Many members later became part of modern Israel’s military and political elite. Another fact: Palestine’s fair share of difficult compromises such as the historic recognition of Israel in 1988. And, last but not least, the continued Israeli occupation across the land, including Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
It is foolishly ironic that Abrams demands candid conversation while he is involved in biased congressional hearings that incite against Palestine, without the slightest hint of willingness to accommodate the Palestinian perspective. Needless to say, he too must candidly come to terms with himself and to know whether he stands on the right side of history. After all, his track record does not exactly lend authoritative credibility to his views.