For some time now, after reading pointedly anti-Israel news coverage and opinion pieces in the Los Angeles Times, I have wondered to myself how long it would be before the Times actually editorializes in favor of the elimination of the world's only Jewish state. Almost immediately, I would chide myself for irrational paranoia. Now, well, it appears that I was neither irrational, nor paranoid.
In this week's Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, in a column entitled "That's Where the Debate is Going," David Peyman and Sam Yebri recount a meeting that they and three senior officials of the Jewish Federation had with an unnamed "senior editor of the Los Angeles Times editorial page." The purpose of the meeting had been to protest the publication in the Times opinion section of a an opinion piece by Hamas political deputy Mousa Abu Marzook on Jan. 6, during the peak of the Gaza conflict. No context was given to the Times reader, who might be unaware that the Hamas Charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic state, but describes Jews as the enemies of Islam and calls for their murder.
Not terribly impressed, the editor responded, according to Peyman and Yebri, with this chilling rejoinder: "He then made a startling observation — that whether Israel should continue to exist as a Jewish state or whether Hamas’ grievances are valid and justified ... 'that’s where the debate is going.'”
This conversation might just as easily occurred with the editorial staff of the New York Times, but the Los Angeles Times is my hometown newspaper. The point is that nearly 61 years after Israel's birth, pursuant to a United Nations resolution, the debate is still over its right to exist. That is today, as it always has been, the essence of the Arab-Israeli conflict. What has changed is that American and Western European liberal elites are now prepared to think the unthinkable: If the Arab world is unwilling to tolerate the existence of Israel, then the "final solution" (and I use those words both deliberately and approriately) is the elimination of Israel.
If these pundits were capable of any honest, objective analysis, they would be compelled to admit that the choice is not between Israel and a secular, democratic, bi-national state, but rather between Israel and another despotic "Judenrein" (cleansed of Jews) Islamist state, and most likely a failed state at that. They would supplant a democracy that, whatever its shortcomings in obtaining full equality of Jew and Arab, nonetheless offers its Arab citizens more civil liberties, more freedom and more educational and economic opportunity than are enjoyed by the citizens of any Arab nation. They ignore that Israel is one of the few success stories of all the nations that came into existence after the Second World War. They also ignore the likely fate of Israel's five million plus Jews if left to the not so tender mercies of Hamas.
Fortunately, the fate of Israel is not in the hands of the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times or the New York Times. It is much more in the hands of the Israeli people and ultimately in the hands of God, who really is the all Merciful and all Compassionate, as our Islamic brothers describe him, and surely will protect his people from the hands of their enemies.
To all our readers, Chag Pesach Sameach--Happy Passover.