Powell’s Claim That Israel Is Trying To “See How Many Palestinians It Can Kill” Is Reminiscent Of Blood Libel
March 7, 2002

NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly condemned Secretary of State Powell’s statement that Israel’s policy is to “see how many Palestinians can be killed.”

Secretary Powell said in Congressional testimony on March 6, 2002: “Prime Minister Sharon has to take a hard look at his policies to see whether they will work. If you declare war against the Palestinians thinking that you can solve the problem by seeing how many Palestinians can be killed, I don’t think that leads us anywhere.” (New York Times, March 7, 2002)

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “The slur that Israel is trying kill as many Palestinian Arabs as possible is so preposterous and slanderous that it can almost be described as a blood libel. Then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin had good reason to say, in 1982, that accusations that Israel was massacring Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon in 1982 were ‘a blood libel’—such allegations bring back memories of ugly accusations from centuries gone by, when the Jewish people were falsely accused of trying to slaughter non-Jews en masse.”

The ZOA president pointed out that “if anything, Israel has been acting with a level of restraint that defies military logic, by frequently bombing empty buildings, parking lots, or runways, rather than striking more important targets that might result in casualties. Israel is undermining its own defense by doing whatever it can to avoid killing Palestinian Arabs, while the Palestinian Arabs are doing everything they can to murder as many innocent Jews as possible. For Secretary of State Powell to say that Israel’s policies are an attempt by Israel to kill as many Palestinian Arabs as possible is an outrageous slur.”

Powell Never Advocated That U.S. Exercise “Restraint”

The ZOA notes that while Secretary Powell is demanding that Israel “exercise restraint,” his position regarding America’s military policy overseas has always been to advocate more, not less, military force:

* “‘The biggest s.o.b. on the block’ rule. America should enter fights with every bit of force available or not at all.” (Time, April 19, 2001).

* “Go in full force from the beginning rather than escalate yourself into a quagmire. Or don’t go in at all.” (Slate Magazine, March 27, 1999).

* “Overwhelming U.S. force assures success at minimum risk to Americans in uniform.” (Boston Globe, Jan. 19, 2001).

* After an Iraqi attempt on the life of former President Bush (during his 1993 visit to Kuwait), the U.S. fired 23 cruise missiles fired at Iraq’s intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, inadvertently hitting a civilian neighborhood as well. Powell defended the action as “Appropriate, proportional and consistent with Article 51 of the UN Charter.” (Washington Post, June 28, 1993).

* In the Gulf War of 1991, Powell led a force of 540,000 U.S. troops (34% of the Army’s total manpower) —including 4,000 tanks, 1800 planes, and 1700 helicopters— against Iraq because of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Powell also brought in nearly 100,000 additional troops from America’s allies to join the fighting.

* Powell oversaw the December 1989 invasion of Panama, in which 25,000 troops were sent to capture a minor dictator suspected of drug trafficking. The action cost the lives of 23 American soldiers, as well as 315 Panamanian soldiers and hundreds of Panamanian civilians. In addition, thousands of civilians were injured and 10,000 were made refugees. In his autobiography, Powell said the operation conformed to his doctrine of “Use all the force necessary, and do not apologize for going-in big if that’s what it takes.”

* The U.S. has also used massive force in other military operations in recent years, such as its bombings of Libya in 1986, killing dozens of Libyan civilians and damaging foreign embassies (in retaliation for a Libya-sponsored terrorist attack in Europe in which Americans were killed) and its 1983 invasion of Grenada, based on a perceived threat to a hundred American medical students there.

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