On July 18, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that “Israel itself is a mistake” because “the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism.” (See here for an analysis of Cohen’s column.)
CAMERA responded to the column with a letter that ran in the Post a few days later. The letter follows:
Righting History in the Middle East
Saturday, July 22, 2006; Page A16
Richard Cohen [“Hunker Down With History,” op-ed, July 18] wrote that Israel, which he describes as “a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims,” is “a mistake.” This, he explains, is because the country faces hostility from the jihadists of the world.
If Mr. Cohen believes the liberation of the Jewish people from a history of oppression is a mistake because anti-Semitic movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah object to Israel’s existence, would he also have thought the emancipation of slaves in the United States was a mistake because white supremacists in the Jim Crow South objected to their freedom?
Like other Israeli citizens, members of my (non-European) family do not believe their existence as Israelis is a mistake. As Iraqi Jews, they have been living in the Middle East since before the rise of Islam and the Arab conquest of the region. But as minorities in Iraq, they were second-class citizens; their rights were granted and removed based on the whims of their leaders, and they were forced to endure frequent anti-Jewish riots.
Only when they came as refugees to Israel, their ancestral homeland, could they finally determine their own future with freedom and equality.
Senior Research Analyst
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America