ZOA Criticizes Secretary Rice For Comparing Palestinians To Blacks During Segregation & Abbas To Martin Luther King
November 30, 2007

Rice’s pro-Arab bias not new

New York — The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly criticized remarks made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which compared the Palestinian cause to that of blacks in segregationist America. While stating that she did not want to draw historical parallels or reflect on her own experience growing up in segregationist Alabama, Rice spoke of understanding Israeli insecurity and fear of violence before adding that, as a black child in the South, being told she could not use certain water fountains or eat in certain restaurants, and that she could therefore understand the feelings and emotions of the Palestinians, saying, “I know what it is like to hear to that you cannot go on a road or through a checkpoint because you are Palestinian … I understand the feeling of humiliation and powerlessness” (Washington Post, November 29, 2007).

Also, last month in Jerusalem, Rice compared the struggle of the Palestinians to that of the African-Americans for civil rights and Mahmoud Abbas to Reverend Martin Luther King, because, in her mind, both were committed to peace. (Haaretz, October 16, 2007).

This is not the first occasion on which Secretary Rice has dignified the Palestinian terror war on Israel’s very existence with inappropriate parallels to other historical struggles. In a speech in October 2006 to the American Task Force on Palestine, Rice compared the PLO/Palestinian Arab movement to the American Revolution and implied a comparison of Palestinian Arab leaders to America’s founding fathers saying, “I know that sometimes a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel must seem like a very distant dream. But I know too, as a student of international history, that there are so many things that once seemed impossible that, after they happened, simply seemed inevitable. I’ve read over the last summer the biographies of America’s Founding Fathers. By all rights, America, the United States of America, should never have come into being.”

In the same 2006 speech, Rice stated that “there could be no greater legacy for America than to help to bring into being a Palestinian state” — although that would mean rewarding Palestinians, who are among the most pro-terrorist societies in the world, with statehood. (State Department , October 11, 2006).

Rice’s statements, particularly her repeated reference to “moderate Palestinians,” ignore the fact that repeated polls show that Palestinians consistently approve of suicide bombings and terrorism (57% and 61% in two September 2006 polls), rocket attacks on Israel (63% in September 2006) and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers (75% in September). An August 2006 poll showed that 97% of Palestinians supported Hezbollah’s actions. Successive Palestinian polls over recent years always show high levels of support for the so-called “right of return.” They also ignore the consistency with which Palestinians have rejected proposed solutions involving Palestinian statehood — the Peel Commission plan in 1937, the United Nations partition plan in 1947, and the Clinton peace parameters in 2000 — because acceptance would have also entailed acceptance of Israel a Jewish state.

By echoing Palestinian propaganda statements, such as her reference to the “daily humiliation of occupation,” Rice ignored the fact that Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not occupied territory but disputed territory — territory, in fact, to which Israel’s religious, political and historical claims are far stronger than Arab claims. Rice didn’t acknowledge that these lands had been illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967 before coming under Israeli control in the 1967 war of self-defense. She also ignored that Israel ceded half of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza, lands in which 98% of the Palestinian Arab population resides. Therefore, how can it be said that Palestinians are “occupied?”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Secretary Rice appears to be deeply morally confused about the Arab war against Israel and thus the true aims of the Palestinians. They are not waging a civil rights struggle against an Israel that sought to rule them. If Arabs had not sought to eliminate Israel in 1967, the Palestinians would never have been under Israeli rule in the first place. Moreover, since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, increasing numbers of Palestinians have lived under Palestinian rule, not Israel rule. Today, more than 95% of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria live under the PA. There is no occupation and, more importantly, this was never the cause of the very violent, terroristic struggle Palestinian Arabs have waged against Israel.

“The Arab war on Israel is not about borders or a Palestinian state, which Palestinians have been repeatedly offered only to turn it down — it’s about their refusal to accept the existence of a sovereign Jewish state. That is the source of their terrorism and that is why Israel is obliged to have security measures, including roadblocks. If there was no terrorism, there would be no roadblocks and the ‘humiliation’ of which Rice complains. Yet one would never know this from Secretary Rice’s wrong and offensive comparison of the Palestinian eliminationist cause with the plight of African-Americans before the civil rights era.

“The civil rights struggle in this country was fought by honorable, peaceable African-Americans and their supporters, not by jihadist murderers, suicide bombers, kidnappers and hostage-takers. How dare Secretary Rice desecrate the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King by comparing Mahmoud Abbas with him? Rice claims that Abbas is dedicated to peace and non-violence. Really? Did Martin Luther King call terrorists ‘heroes’? Did he call terrorist chieftains ‘martyrs’? Did he call upon his followers to direct their guns at Israelis? Did he appoint terrorists to his security detail? Did he shelter wanted murderers in his residence? Did he refuse to confront extremists in his own camp? No — but Mahmoud Abbas has done all these things, and more.

“But then Secretary Rice’s moral confusion is evident from earlier occasions in which she implied a comparison between Palestinian leaders and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. By suggesting that the Palestinians simply seek a state of their own, not the destruction of another people’s state which also happens to be a close American ally, Secretary Rice falsely dignifies the Palestinian extremist agenda and suggests its fulfillment would be a sublime event worthy of the American Revolution. Not only did this imply an odious comparison of Yasser Arafat and Hamas leaders to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; it also ignored the Palestinians’ promotion of Israel’s destruction and their hatred and murder of Jews. The Palestinians’ real goals are made clear by the incitement in the speeches of their leaders and in the media, mosques, schools and youth camps under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). PA maps, atlases and textbooks display no country called Israel. They name streets, schools and sports teams after suicide bombers.

“Dr. Martin Luther King did not seek to destroy America. America’s founding fathers didn’t want to destroy England and its civilians; they simply wanted independence. However, Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah, Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian movement do seek to destroy Israel. There is no comparison to be drawn between them.

“Rice’s comparing the American Revolution, aimed at the establishing of freedom and democracy; or the civil rights movement, dedicated to establishing racial equality; to a Palestinian cause that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel utilizing the constant murder of innocent Jews, is simply obscene.

“ZOA urges Secretary Rice to review all the facts regarding Palestinian actions and motives and to rethink the appropriateness of her analogies. These analogies and pro-Arab bias certainly do not reflect the Administration’s constant refrain of being ‘the most pro-Israel Administration in history.’ “

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