Friday, August 05, 2011

If You Repeat A Lie Enough Times…

Rabbi Kaufman

For a while now, there have been discussions in the United Nations Security Council and in the General Assembly in which envoys advocating for the creation of a Palestinian state have referred to “Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Lands.” I’m sure we will hear at lot more of that talk as September approaches. It is said that if you repeat a lie often enough people begin to accept it as truth. There are no “Palestinian Lands” if such a term means lands which legally belong to a Palestinian state because no such state has ever existed, nor does one exist today. As part of the peace process, an attempt is being made to create such a state. The correct language to use to apply to territories over which Israeli control is not internationally recognized but over which no other nation has both had previous sovereignty and a recognized legal claim is “disputed territories.” The correct way to refer to the Palestinians living in those territories, in my view, is as “Palestinians living in disputed territories under Israeli occupation.”

The peace process has wrongly come to be seen as primarily about the creation of a Palestinian state rather than about the preservation of the Jewish one and even more wrongly, has come to be seen as a process of restoring to the Palestinians lands that were taken from their state (they were not) rather than correctly being seen as a process in which a nation that has never existed, Palestine, is being created out of disputed territory controlled by Israel so as to preserve the Jewish and Democratic nature of Israel.

Some will argue that the differences are just semantics, but those who play down these issues or ignore them entirely are really causing harm to the peace process. “Two states for two peoples” is fundamentally about maintaining a viable state for one of them, the Jewish people. The premise of the peace process should be as I have written before “First, do no harm.”

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