In a March 11, 2015 Op-Ed with San Diego Union Tribune (Is the U.S. – Israel Love Affair on the Rocks) – Professor Steve Kowit, a retired poetry professor at Southwestern College and member of the very inaptly named “Jewish Voices For Peace” (“JVP”), which regularly teams up with groups that attack Israel and seek its destruction, claimed it is, and then proceeded to assert that it should be, based on a number of outright lies and half-truths.
The good news (for those who love freedom, democracy and the truth) is that notwithstanding Professor Kowit’s radical wishful thinking, according to the latest Gallup Polls over 64% of Americans support Israel. Only 12% of Americans actually side more with Palestinians, while a combined 24% favor both sides, favor neither side, or have no opinion at all. In a nation that is split nearly 50/50 on almost everything, that is a true landslide. The reasons for this overwhelming support for Israel are clear, and despite the gross anti-Semitic implications in Professor Kowit’s article, it is not because of “powerful American Israel Public Affairs” campaign funding; it is because most Americans recognize in tiny democratic Israel the same values, love of life, and freedom we see and cherish in this great country. Most Americans also recognize Israel has been fighting for over 70 years the same terrible hatred and radical ideology that led 19 men to fly 3 planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9-11, and which led the Taliban to slaughter 15 Christians in Pakistan on March 14, 2015 and which causes crowds of Iranians to regularly, since 1979, chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
It is precisely because most Americans so strongly support freedom loving and life affirming Israel that people like Professor Kowit resort to lies and misleading half-truths in order to try to convince Americans we should no longer support our most reliable ally in the most dangerous part of the world, a part of the world that is virtually on fire with radical extremists, where: well over 200,000 people have been slaughtered in Syria, ISIS is rampaging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Tunisia; Shiite extremists are fighting Sunni extremists in both Iraq and Yemen, and Lebanon is completely under the thumb of Iran and its terrorist proxy army, Hezbollah.
Despite the fact that the Middle East has never been more dangerous and unstable, and America and Israel have never needed each other more (particularly in terms of military and intelligence cooperation); Professor Kowit and his JVP cohorts try to demonize the world’s only Jewish state with numerous libels and distortions. Following the anti-Israel playbook, in his Op-Ed, Professor Kowit takes a quote by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, completely out of context to make it seem as if Ben-Gurion believed that the Jews “stole” land from the Arabs. While it is true that in 1956 Ben-Gurion said that the Arabs “only see one thing,” which is that “we have come here and stolen their country,” Ben-Gurion wasn’t making some sort of absurd confession (as Professor Kowit implies). To the contrary, he was noting that one of the obstacles to peace is what the Arabs’ believe, and sadly, Palestinian Arabs and much of the Arab world (all governed by dictatorships), still believe a lot of crazy things, including that (1) Israel was responsible for 9-11, (2) Jews kill Muslim children in order to use their blood for baking Passover Matzah, and (3) an incredible 84% of Palestinians believe that “Israel is the likely culprit” behind the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks in Paris [https://www.timesofisrael.com/most-palestinians-think-israel-involved-in-paris-attacks-poll/#!]. Plainly speaking, like many people governed by evil dictatorships, the Palestinians believe a lot of awful things, none of which are true or helpful to the cause of peace.
To add to the JVP campaign of demonization against the one Jewish State, Professor Kowit wrote that he and his cohorts have decided to drive a truck around San Diego with libelous misleading statements about Israel. One of the statements they are planning for these billboards of hate is that “since September 2000, Israel’s military has killed one Palestinian child every three days, using U.S. tax dollars.” Like everything written by Professor Kowit (and his fellow Israel haters), this is a gross distortion.
Moreover, given the premise of Professor Kowit’s misleading diatribe against Israel, it is truly ironic and evil that he and his cohorts picked September 2000 as their starting point. After Israel offered Yasser Arafat at Camp David something that has never existed in the history of the world – an independent Arab country called Palestine, on 97% of the West Bank and all of Gaza, with its capital in East Jerusalem – Yasser Arafat rejected that offer (something former President Bill Clinton call a “colossal historical blunder”) and launched in September 2000 a brutal terror campaign called the Second Intifada. A terror campaign where Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up in restaurants, nightclubs, buses, and Passover holiday celebrations, and killed over 1100 Israelis, all innocent. In response to this horrific terror campaign, in 2002 the Israeli Army went into the West Bank and in tough, often face to face, combat, fought Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PLO terrorists.
Since 2000 Israel has also 3 times had to fight Hamas terrorists in Gaza, because even though Israel completely evacuated every Jew from Gaza in 2005 (including the bones from cemeteries) and the Palestinians could have turned Gaza in the next Singapore or Hong Kong, they let Hamas take over and turn Gaza into Afghanistan (under the Taliban), where Gays are executed, political dissidents are dragged from the backs of motorcycles, and millions of Dollars are spent on rocket launchers and terror tunnels. Since 2005 over 12000 rockets and missiles have been launched at Israelis from Gaza; and virtually all of these rockets and missiles were launched from within civilian areas and aimed at civilian targets – a double war crime.
As a result of these reprehensible terror attacks on Israel, the Israeli Army has unfortunately had to fight 4 wars since 2000 in order to put a stop to these attacks and give its citizens some peace and quiet (something every country owes to its citizens). And in all of these wars, fought in densely populated areas against an enemy that does not wear any uniform and hides among civilians, the Israeli Army, over the past 15 years has killed a total of 8,599 Palestinians, many of which were Islamic Jihad, Hamas and PLO terrorists. So apparently, Professor Kowit and his fellow Israel haters at JVP want everyone to completely forget the cause of all of these wars and want people to also believe that almost every Palestinian killed by Israel in these wars (caused by Jihadist terror attacks against civilian targets in Israel) was an innocent child and not a Hamas or Islamic Jihad supporting, rocket launching, terror tunnel attacking terrorist. Common sense and reality tell us otherwise. Notably, in the last war in Gaza, 2100 Palestinians were killed, which the U.N. – using figures supplied to them by Hamas! – claims were 70% civilian. While civilian losses are tragically part of most modern wars and such a civilian to combatant ratio would place Israel’s military squarely within the performance of the U.S. and NATO forces in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan, there are good reasons to question these Palestinian figures and argue that the percentage of Gazan civilian casualties in 2014 was lower than 50%. On December 1, 2014, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported on its detailed, name-by-name analysis of Palestinian fatalities in Operation Protective Edge. Of all of the fatalities who could actually be identified, around 45 percent were non-combatants, while 55 percent were combatants. That would mean that despite the fact that Gaza is densely populated, and despite the fact that Hamas terrorists fired rockets and missiles in and among civilian populations centers, the Israeli Army (accidentally) caused far less civilian casualties than any other military fighting under similar circumstances, including the U.S. Military (which also goes out of its way to avoid collateral damage). Yet, rather than laud the Israeli Army for its extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties in the face of a terrorist enemy that wants, like ISIS, to kill every Jew in the world and to establish a radical Muslim Caliphate throughout the region, Professor Kowit and his fellow Israel haters at JVP mislead Americans with bogus billboards and claims.
Of course, the most bogus of these claims by Professor Kowit in his Op-Ed, and the crux of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict, is the notion that Israel “stole Palestinian land.” First, this claim ignores the fact there has never (EVER) been a country called “Palestine” at any time in history; it has always been a region identified with Jewish history and the Jewish people. Second, this claim ignores the fact that there has never been a time over the last 3,000 years when Jews did not live in the area referred to now as the modern State of Israel. Third, it ignores the fact that every bit of land Israel currently has control of, Israel won in defensive wars launched against it by Arab dictators in self-described “wars of annihilation.” Fourth, it ignores the fact that every time these same dictator-led Arabs have been offered to have a significant portion of the land of Israel become the 22nd independent Arab country in the world, including in 1936, 1948, 2000, and 2008, the Arabs have rejected that offer if meant agreeing to a Jewish State in any part of the land of Israel; which (sadly) is the real cause of this conflict and the ongoing bloodshed – – the unwillingness to agree to Jewish sovereignty anywhere in the Jew’s indigenous, ancestral homeland.
Peace will only be possible when the overwhelming majority of the Arabs governed by Hamas and the PLO stop believing crazy things (such as that Jews kill Muslim kids to use their blood for Passover Matzah), stop believing that they can destroy the one Jewish State, and start (as Prime Minister Golda Meir famously said back in 1957) “loving their children more than they hate us.” That is something, which would actually be worthwhile of a campaign by an American university professor, like Professor Kowit, instead of this deceptive JVP campaign of lies against the only democracy and the only place in the entire Middle East where women, Christians, Jews, Gays, Druse, Muslims, atheists, … can enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and so many other rights and freedoms that those of us in the USA and Israel often take for granted. Of course, that would require asking for the Palestinians to take responsibility for their constant choice of war over peace year after year since 1936, and sadly, that is something Professor Kowit and his fellow Israel haters at JVP will never do. They rather just lie about Israel.