Jason Pearlman Letter to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, "Lecturer’s claims about Israel weren’t credible", May 10, 2007 in response to Gwyneth Gibby, "Activist speaks out about life in Palestine in Corvallis talk,” Corvallis Gazette-Times, May 4, 2007.
Jason Pearlman Letter to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, "Lecturer’s claims about Israel weren’t credible", May 10, 2007
Gwyneth Gibby’s one-sided May 5 article on a lecture by Jeff Halper, “Activist speaks out about life in Palestine in Corvallis talk,” repeats without questioning his claim that he “can’t break through to the Israeli people. That’s why I’m here….”
The reason Halper “can’t break through to the Israeli people” is that Israelis understand that his claims about the conflict are totally false. Israel, like the United States, is a democracy, and Halper is unknown and has never stood for election in Israel.
Halper receives funding provided by anti-Israel officials in the European Union, as was revealed by NGO Monitor — created to analyze the abuse of human rights claims by nongovernmental organizations.
Halper’s claims erase the context of Palestinian terrorism and corruption, and ignore the illegal activities — including construction — rampant among Palestinian society. He offensively and falsely compares Israel’s responses to terror and warfare, to the racism of apartheid South Africa, and to the annihilation of 6 million Jews by the Nazis. Halper’s one-sided propaganda does nothing to build bridges between Arabs and Israelis.
Excerpt from Gwyneth Gibby, "Activist speaks out about life in Palestine in Corvallis talk,” Corvallis Gazette-Times, May 4, 2007.
He believes the Israeli government has chosen a policy towards Palestinians, which he likens to the South African system of apartheid, in order to eventually make impossible the idea of a viable independent Palestinian state.
“The Israelis just don’t get it,” Halper said.
He thinks Israelis feel the need to cast themselves in the role of victims. Since the state of Israel was founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust, it is a role that is familiar for Jews everywhere, not just in Israel. But Halper says in the conflict with Palestinians, Israel is much more powerful. By portraying themselves as victims, Israelis can avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
“We can’t break through to the Israeli people,” Halper said wryly. “That’s why I’m here — got to talk to somebody.”
Halper showed the audience a series of photographs of the demolition of a Palestinian home in a village outside of Jerusalem. Selim and his wife, Arabia, both Palestinians, applied several times for a permit to build a home, according to Halper, at the cost of $5,000 per application. Every time they were denied permission. The reason? All of the land in the occupied territories has been zoned agricultural. Israeli settlers can get land rezoned for their own housing, but Palestinians cannot.
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