The Thomas affair
Re "Don't single out Thomas," Opinion, June 12
It is no surprise that professor Saree Makdisi downplays the offensiveness of Helen Thomas' remarks; like her, he also refuses to acknowledge that the land of Israel is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.
The Jewish claim to a home in historic Palestine is not due to the Holocaust but to religious ties rooted in historic fact. Thomas' attitude that the Jews are European interlopers in the Middle East was also held by the Palestinians in 1948. This destructive and hateful belief led them to refuse to share a tiny part of the Middle East and to start a war that caused their own displacement.
Makdisi has used the Helen Thomas affair as a vehicle to make another of his diatribes against Israel. In doing this, he resorts to meaningless generalizations, unproven and out-of-context quotes and subjective interpretations of historically ambiguous events. He again brings up the apartheid canard and the disingenuous "single democratic and secular state for both peoples" Trojan horse.
None of this changes the facts. Makdisi wants to give Thomas "the benefit of the doubt." Doubt about what? She said that Jews should go back to Germany and Poland. If she had added "back to the ovens," would it be more clear to Makdisi?
My praise for Makdisi's article regarding Thomas' remark about Israel. It is unfair that the Palestinian people are paying the cost of the Nazi Holocaust, whereas the German people have their own sovereignty and a healthy economy.
I read Makdisi's Op-Ed with great sadness. He starts off in such a promising manner, saying that a "just and lasting peace in the Middle East fundamentally requires reconciliation between Palestinians and Israeli Jews." I certainly agree with that.
But he turns bitter. Referring to Israel, he says that "such a state could only have been created in a multicultural land by ethnically cleansing it of as many non-Jews as possible."
This is hateful. It illustrates why peace is so elusive. Peace will only come when people on both sides are willing to see beyond their prejudices and agree to compromise. Sadly, that time seems to be a long way off.
In his misguided plea for a single, secular democratic state that would eliminate the Jewish homeland, Makdisi asks, "Are we seriously to accept the idea that some people have more rights than others?"
I would remind him that in Israel, Arabs serve in the Knesset and enjoy the freedom to worship as they please.
Perhaps the professor is suggesting other countries in the region rewrite their constitutions and change their form of government. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, you can practically be prosecuted for BWJ: Breathing While Jewish.