Monday, August 25, 2008

My Palestinian Wife

By Charley Reese

Every now and then, the rumor arises that I have a Palestinian wife. Some of my kin were highly amused by a debate on that subject that was being conducted by letters to the editor in their local paper recently.

Apparently, it does not occur to anyone simply to ask me. As a matter of fact, I don't have a wife. I'm a widower, and the one wife I had was a sweet Midwestern girl of Methodist, German and Swedish extraction. I don't have a Palestinian mistress or girlfriend. I don't even have a Palestinian bowling pal.

The recurring Palestinian wife rumor, I believe, is a result of some people finding it impossible to believe that an American would have any sympathy for the Palestinian people without an ulterior motive. That is a credit to the effectiveness of the Israeli propaganda machine, which has, for more than 50 years, stereotyped Palestinians as a wild, violent people. It is a stereotype helped greatly by the news media, which rarely reports in depth on anything foreign, and by Hollywood, where lately the venerable Nazi has been replaced as the chief villain by the Arab terrorist.

Actually, Palestinians are a gentle people. If you get to know some and hear their side of the story, you will feel sympathy for them, too, unless you have a flint heart. The Palestinians were run over by history. I know that various ethnic groups in the United States fiercely contend for the title of victim, but the Palestinians had it imposed on them.

There was nothing they could do when the Ottoman Empire absorbed their land. There was nothing they could do when the British Empire took their land away from the Ottoman Turks at the end of World War I. There was nothing they could do when the British Empire created the Palestine Mandate. There was nothing they could do when the British Cabinet, for reasons historians still argue about, decided Palestine would make a nice national home for European Jews when and if the British Empire ever decided to give up its occupation of Palestine.

That it did in 1947, after considerable encouragement by Jewish terrorist organizations – the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin, and the Stern Gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir. Yes, Jews used terrorist tactics against the British occupation, and now Palestinians are using terrorist tactics against the Israeli occupation.


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