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March 3, 2010

Open Letter to NYT's Roger Cohen

Dear Roger, Over the past few months I have saluted your courage in seeking to open the eyes of New York Times' readers to some of the differences between Zionist propaganda and what the facts on the ground in Israel/Palestine are telling us.

Your column, Hard Mideast Truths, published on 12 February and which I tweeted, was, I think, your most explicit to date. (I imagine you got a bucket load of organised hate mail for it).

You didn’t pull any punches on a number of key issues. “Domestic U.S. politics constrain innovative thought - even open debate - on the process without end that is the peace search…

The United States ends up as ‘Israel’s lawyer’ rather than an honest broker (that was you endorsing Aaron David Miller’s observation)… The conflict gnaws at U.S. security, eats away at whatever remote possibility of a two-state solution is left, clouds Israel’s future, scatters Palestinians and devours every attempt to bridge the West and Islam…

Past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people… Nor can the solemn U.S.  promise to stand by Israel be a blank cheque to the Jewish state when its policies undermine America’s stated aims…The U.S. objective is a two-state peace. But day by day, square meter by square meter, the physical space for the second state, Palestine, is disappearing…

America has allowed this self-defeating process to advance to near irreversibility… It does not make sense for America to bankroll Israeli policies that undermine U.S. strategic objectives.”

Some of us with lengthy, firsthand and intimate experience of the conflict have been saying this and much more for many years, but we were, and still are, denied a hearing in the mainstream media, in America and actually everywhere.

This has happened mainly because the mainstream media censors itself out of fear of offending Zionism too much or at all. (All of you who write for the New York Times will know exactly what I mean).

So the fact that you, Roger, are being allowed to cross some of Zionism’s red lines in public print is, I hope, a sign that the prospects for “open debate” in America are improving.

My own contribution to the process of assisting what passes for democracy in America to work for justice and peace in the Middle East is a an epic book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the American edition of which is being published by Clarity Press in three volumes (Volumes 1 and 2 published, Volume 3 coming).

In your 12 February piece you also noted that the “existential threat” to Israel is “overplayed” (in reality Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger). So there was, you added, room “for America to step back and apply pressure without compromising Israeli security.”

You also wrote this (my emphasis added) “If there are not two states there will be one state between the river and the sea and very soon there will be more Palestinian Arabs in it than Jews. What then will become of the Zionist dream?

One implication, whether you intended it or not, is that Zionism is on its way to committing suicide in the sense that the Jewish state (actually it’s a Zionist state not a Jewish state) could be voted out of existence.

Sadly there is another very possible scenario and the purpose of this open letter is to draw it to your attention.

When Zionism’s in-Israel leaders finally get the message that the Palestinians are not going to accept two or three Bantustans on parts of the occupied West Bank which they could call a state if they wished, it’s by no means impossible that they, Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, will resort to a final round of ethnic cleansing.

It could start with the “transfer” of Israeli Arabs, which some Israeli leaders openly advocate; and it could end with Israel creating a pretext to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan or wherever. A Zionist, Nazi-like, final solution to the Palestine problem. A Zionist holocaust.

Put another way, and to answer your question, the Zionist dream becomes (as I think it was always bound to become) a terrifying nightmare for all, and by all I don’t mean only the Arabs and Jews of the region. I mean all of us, everywhere.

That really could happen.

Something to think about?

Best wishes,

Alan

PS I’m sure my American publisher would be delighted to send you a copy of my book. Should I ask it to do so?

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