C-SPAN, the cable television industry’s public affairs network, has a Jewish problem. Made plain by the chronic indulgence of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel callers to the daily Washington Journal program, defamation of Israel and its supporters has seeped into C-SPAN’s Book TV show as well. A case in point was Book TV’s July 1 “interview” by Phyllis Bennis (of the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies) of the anti-Israel academic Fawaz Gerges from the London School of Economics. Gerges promoted his new book Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment?
CAMERA’s three-year-long C-SPAN Watch survey has demonstrated that Washington Journal hosts permit no other country or religious or ethnic minority to be vilified repeatedly as are Jews and the Jewish state. Now the Bennis-Gerges effort becomes Book TV’s second such recent anti-Israel gang-up.
Gerges, falsely transforming the Jewish nation that includes many Holocaust survivors and their children into a potential holocaust perpetrator, warns of an allegedly dreadful outcome if America doesn’t force Israel to accept Palestinian demands: “The United States has an obligation to save Israel from a very particular point of view that unless they take into account, basically, the right and the obligations of the Palestinians, and at the end of the day acknowledge them as a separate community, you might end up with a one state solution or a mini-holocaust [of the Palestinians at the hands of Israelis]…” Even for Bennis, this is too much. She mildly dissents, “I don’t see that as a possibility.”
But the claim is false: Israeli settlements are not “illegal under international law.” Stating Israeli settlements are “illegal under international law” is a false Palestinian claim that grossly misrepresents U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, on which all successful Arab-Israeli negotiations since the 1967 Six-Day War have been based.
Resolution 242 clearly avoids stating Israel must withdraw from all of the territories gained in this war. The resolution stipulates rather that Israel withdraw from some of the disputed territory, but not necessarily all. Former U.S. Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow, one of the drafters of the resolution, has commented on the this fact relative to the resolution’s wording: Motions to require the withdrawal of Israel from “the” territories or “all the territories” occupied in the course of the Six Day War were put forward many times with great linguistic ingenuity. They were all defeated both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council.
Security Council Resolution 242 remains the basis for subsequent peace plans including the Israeli-Palestinian 1993 Oslo accords that requires only Israeli military withdrawal from unspecified portions of territory gained in self-defense in 1967, and Israel has already withdrawn from most of the territory – the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza Strip.
Team Bennis-Gerges gives an unwarranted pass to the Palestinian Arabs and their leaders for failing to honor their obligations under agreements aimed at achieving peace. For example, the Palestinian Authority has been in violation of key requirements of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Accords, including those to dismantle the anti-Israel terrorist infrastructure, end anti-Israel incitement and resolve all outstanding issues through negotiations. Meanwhile, the charters of both major movements of the Palestinian Arabs – Fatah and Hamas – call for the elimination of Israel. This puts them on the wrong side of the U.N. Charter since they vow aggression against a member of the United Nations. But the world body, which maintains anti-Israel agencies such as the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” as constituent elements violates its own charter daily when it comes to Israel, a point neither Bennis nor Gerges mentions.
Contrary to Gerges’ ostensible concern about Israel perpetrating a holocaust against Palestinian Arabs (whose numbers and standard of living have grown dramatically since 1967), it has been Palestinian Authority leaders who’ve insisted in recent years that any West Bank and Gaza Strip “Palestine” must be free of Jews. This while 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs with equal civil rights. Again, Bennis and her guest, obsessed with non-existent dangers posed by Israel, miss a real Arab-Israeli stumbling block.
Palestinian incitement to hatred and violence against Israel and Jews continues in violation of Article 26 (2) of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in violation of Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Article 26 (2)] implicitly condemns incitement to hatred/violence against other ethnic/religious groups in textbooks but Palestinian textbooks inculcate such hostility against Jews and Israel. The U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/37 (No. 4) “Condemns incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism.” Regardless, the P.A. continues its hate-indoctrination causing the U.S. State Department, if not Bennis and Gerges, to take notice.