I've got to say something about the Helen Thomas affair. (See this article too.) I hope no one will need a further demonstration of the power of Israel's amen chorus in the United States. Her snarky extemporaneous remark was ill-advised, and she apologized. (It was also vague; she might have been referring to settlements in the West Bank rather than pre-1967 Israel.) But no one ever got fired or blacklisted for believing the Palestinians should "go back" to where they came from -- allegedly, Jordan, Egypt, etc. (They didn't really come from there. They were always in Palestine.) Indeed, lots of people believe -- with impunity -- that the Palestinian people are a fiction! ("There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.... It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn't exist." --former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969.)
Helen Thomas, unlike the sycophants who make up the White House press corps, at least had the courage to ask hard questions of power (also this one), such as, Why attack Iraq? Or, What motivates Muslim terrorists? Might it have something to do with America's brutality and callousness in the Middle East? As a woman of Christian Lebanese heritage, she has every justification for being critical of Israel. Silencing her is something many people have wanted to do for a long time.
I'll end this with a quotation from David Ben Gurion, a founder of Israel and the Jewish State's first prime minister. Don't bother to doubt its authenticity. It has been quoted many times, and I am not aware of anyone's even claiming it is not genuine. It comes from a respected Jewish source. There are many similar quotations from Israel's founders, going back to Herzl. They are not hard to find. Compare it to Meir's statement above.
Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. [A patently false statement. --sr] We come from Israel, it's true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been antisemitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations' time, but for the moment there is no chance. So, it's simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipe us out. [Emphasis added. Nahum Goldmann, The Jewish Paradox, p. 99]Does this mean that anyone should "go back" to anywhere? No, it does not. Much time has passed. But it does give some perspective on who ultimately are the aggrieved parties. Before you can get perspective, however, you have to take your friggin' head out of the sand. You cannot do history a priori.
Here are a few links to articles I wrote nearly 20 years ago: