The bulletin’s spring issue highlighted Professor Alan Dershowitz’s statement: “The long history of Palestinian terrorism against Jews, which began in 1929, was motivated by religious bigotry.” (Hearsay) The charge is grossly overstated and misleading. There have been lots of reasons for Palestinian anger and violence. In the 1920s and ’30s, this certainly stemmed in large part from the Palestinians’ realization that the Zionists then immigrating in large numbers were not like the Jews who had come in earlier centuries; the new arrivals intended to convert Palestine into their own Jewish state, thus denying the existing Arab Christian-Muslim majority the right of self-determination. In later years, many Palestinians who were driven from and/or denied the right to return to their homes had reason apart from religious bigotry to be angry at Israelis.
It’s depressing that, in this country, one can be reasonably sure that if someone like ex-President Carter publishes a serious critique of Israel he will be subjected to widespread vilification and intimidation—while Professor Dershowitz can rest assured that if he fires off an over-the-top slander of a whole Arab people it will be picked up and widely circulated by the media as an interesting comment.