I was surprised and pleased to see that the Huffington Post published this column by David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, about the “rank hypocrisy and transparent double standard” (his headline) when it comes to reporting on the Palestinians. Harris writes:
In a recent edition of The New York Times, after seeing 25 column inches on p. A4 devoted to an article entitled “Israel Rebukes 2 in Attack on U.N. Complex,” I read a short news item two pages later. It wasn’t quite eight lines long, the fourth of five items under “World Briefing.”
Here are the first two (of three) sentences: “A human rights group criticized Jordan on Monday for stripping the citizenship of nearly 3,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin in recent years. Concerned about increasing numbers of Palestinians, who make up nearly half the population, Jordan began in 2004 revoking the citizenship from Palestinians who do not have Israeli permits to reside in the West Bank.”
He goes on to point out that this is indicative of the double standard and hypocrisy when it comes to Arab misdeeds regarding Palestinians compared to Israel’s (real or invented):
Since the story surfaced nearly a week ago, I’ve looked in vain for editorials, columns, op-ed pieces, or letters-to-the-editor on the citizenship policy. Couldn’t find a thing.
I checked on the usual addresses that profess to care about the Palestinian fate – the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories, Arab League, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and Non-Aligned Movement, among others – and found nothing.
I looked at the usually loquacious individuals and groups for whom the Palestinian issue is the alpha and omega of human rights questions – the first and last example of refugees ever produced by conflict – and met a blank slate.
Silence from the mayor of Malmo. Silence from the London School of Economics Student Union. Silence from the British trade unionists who want to boycott Israel. Silence from the Norwegian academics who wish to shun their Israeli counterparts. Silence from those who seek to remove Israeli products from Trader Joe’s and Carrefour supermarkets. Silence from the media outlets that can be counted on to slam Israel for every perceived violation of Palestinian rights. Well, you get the point.
Harris then brings up two other such instances of the silence about Arab mistreatment of Palestinians. One was in 1990 when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait.
After the Iraqi military was ousted, Kuwaiti officials ordered the expulsion of 3-400,000 Palestinians who had been living in the country, in some cases for decades. The Palestinians were accused of having served as a fifth column for Iraq. Out they went.
Think of it: 400,000 Palestinians who were integral members of society, kicked out just like that. Do you remember that incident? I learned about it only in the last few years, when Ann and I began RRW and I began paying attention to refugeee issues. And then there’s the more recent situation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, again around 400,000, most of whom have been there for decades.
“Foreigners,” meaning Palestinians, are restricted from working in over 70 different professions in Lebanon, including medicine, dentistry, law and accounting.
Moreover, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon cannot today purchase property, and those who bought land before 2001 are barred from passing it on to their children. Only Lebanese citizens have the right to form non-governmental organizations. Palestinian refugees must do so through others since they are not accorded the chance to acquire Lebanese nationality.
In Israel, by contrast, Palestinians and anybody else can do all the things the Palestinians are barred from in Lebanon. Those who didn’t flee during the 1949 war, and their descendants, are citizens of Israel with voting rights, political parties, and members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, representing them. You might not have known that. It’s not the sort of thing the self-righteous of the world want to publicize.