March 22, 2010
What Tibi didn’t tell readers about Israel
In “Israeli extremism exposed” (Opinion, March 12) writer Ahmad Tibi just puts a new lead on charges he made nearly a year ago in a New York Times Op-Ed column, “A Harsh Reality for Palestinians” (April 6, 2009).
Mr. Tibi again claims Israeli law discriminates against Arabs in favor of Jews, and he draws parallels with “Jim Crow discrimination” and “apartheid South Africa.” Yet he’s a deputy speaker of the Israeli Parliament and has to concede that Israeli Arabs “are able to vote and hold office.” They also can serve as Supreme Court judges, senior diplomats, ranking military officers and, at least once, Miss Israel. Jim Crow? Apartheid? I don’t think so.
Mr. Tibi rails against “Israel’s subjugation of Palestinians in the West Bank.” However, most Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank are under daily jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority; Israel’s renewed military presence there came in response to the terrorism of the second intifada.
He bemoans “the occupation” but omits Palestinian rejection of Israeli-U.S. offers of a West Bank and Gaza Strip state in exchange for peace. Mr. Tibi charges Israel with “abusive treatment of Palestinians in the territories” but is silent on the United Nations’ 2005 ranking of the Palestinian standard of living as higher than that of Arabs in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Syria and Yemen.
He notes U.S. aid to Israel and laments that “Palestinian citizens of Israel scarcely see the American largesse.” American aid to Israel is military assistance, so most Israeli civilians don’t see that money, either.
Mr. Tibi claims to be “a Palestinian citizen of Israel,” sort of like being “a Canadian citizen of the United States.” But his nationality is Israeli, just like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s. Unlike Mr. Netanyahu, before he first won a parliamentary seat, Mr. Tibi was an adviser to Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and expressed, on Israeli television, feelings of camaraderie with Hamas leaders.
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America