In his Feb. 15 column, Mansour O. El-Kikhia creates an Israeli straw man and then beats the stuffing out of it. Contrary to his assertions, most supporters of Israel who publicly criticize President Carter do not label the former president an anti-Semite. Our organization, CAMERA, exposed his account as a one-sided, distorted depiction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by meticulously documenting the numerous falsehoods in his recent book.
El-Kikhia falsely accuses Israel of practicing apartheid, yet 1.4 million Arabs living in Israel possess full legal standing, voting rights and are free to profess their faiths. This contrasts with Palestinian controlled territory, where Jews are not allowed to even reside. Israeli measures to separate themselves from Palestinians were a response to the spate of suicide bombings by Palestinian infiltrators into Israeli cities; they were not motivated by racial concerns.
Meanwhile, the true apartheid practiced by Arab states against non-Muslims in Sudan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere is ignored by El-Kikhia. So deep is the hatred in Saudi Arabia, that to even bear an Israeli stamp on one's passport bars a person from entering the desert kingdom.
If the professor is intent on finding apartheid, he need look no further than Islamic republics like Saudi Arabia, where non-Muslims are forced to live as second class citizens, unequal before the law and fearful of openly professing their faith.
El-Kikhia gets his basic facts wrong too. There are no Jews only roads in the West Bank. There are bypass roads to Israeli settlements that allow free access to both Arab and Jewish Israelis, but limit access to Palestinian Arabs due to the threat of terrorist attacks on travelers, which occurred during the Intifada in 2000-2004.
He likens the Palestinians to aborigines of Canada or Australia, but there is a big difference. Unlike the Palestinians, the aborigines were not part of a great Arab nation, comprising 23 states that span two continents and covering five million square miles of land and possessing vast oil wealth, which denies the right of a small non-Muslim minority to its own state. And the aborigines were not trying to make every last Australian and Canadian disappear through war, terrorist attacks and suicide bombings.
Steven Stotsky, senior research analyst,
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America