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December 21, 2000
Amos and Ahmed

NileMedia and Israel's Famous Amos
By Ahmed Amr.


Memo to our readers: If you missed chapter one it is because 'Famous Amos', the author has yet to grant us the permission to print his letter. And we are not at liberty to identify our 'Famous Amos', only to tell you that he is an Israeli of some stature in Journalism.

Dear Amos: We at NileMedia make no bones about practicing advocacy journalism. Although I am not a Palestinian, I am Egyptian-born and have long taken an interest in Arab-Israeli matters. As for PR, well that happens to be an Israeli specialty. I am not a publicist. I am a pamphleteer and an honest one at that.

I am well acquainted that you have some of the most balanced editorial policies in Israel. But I did notice that you seem to have an exclusively Jewish staff. Let the Arabs of Israel into your newsroom and let them vent the grief in their hearts to your readers. From where I stand, Israelis are always talking amongst themselves about how to deal with their 'Arab' problems.

I have a rather different take on resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. If it were just about land for peace then what is there to bargain about. The Palestinian need both and it will be finally up to Israel do decide the amount of the land and the quality of the peace. The cafes in Tel Aviv seem as relaxed as ever. Peace is not absent behind the 1948 lines. So, Israel has Peace at home and troubles in the colonies. Israel has had thirty-three years to come to terms with the fact that these people will not disappear.

The Palestinians are carrying very deep collective scars. It is not just that Israel vacated them from their ancestral homes or the agony of having two generations living under occupation, in exile or as a minority in Israel. It is that the whole world stood by and allowed it to happen. Fine speeches have been made, but when push came to shove, Israelis have always been left to have their way with the Palestinians.

Then there is the matter of denying what was inflicted on these people. At some point down the line, Israelis will have to deal with the fact that their history is not just a history of being victims to Nazi thugs. It is also a history that has manufactured millions of Palestinian and Arab victims. It is a history where the native people have been demonized beyond human recognition. That is what allows Israeli tank crews to fire 800mm shells at the Palestinians resisting occupation with stones.

Moving on, consider the fact that Israel has a man like Sharon in public life. How disgraceful is that? That he has ascended to the highest rank in the Likud party should trouble every Israeli. You might have heard of how Netenyahu was shouted down in the Bay Area. They would not hear him and he was given a police escort to the Airport. Sharon's treatment was different only because he was in New York and hosted by Rubert Murdoch, a man whose media properties include FOX and the New York Post.

How could anyone expect the Palestinians to negotiate with a man like Sharon. You know his history. What exactly is the difference between Sharon and Haider? Haider, the right-wing Austrian maverick has only practiced the rhetoric of violence and national chauvinism? Sharon has done the deed and would do worst if given the chance. In many other countries he would be considered guilty of inciting hate crimes. How does a man who had a hand in the three day massacre at Sabra and Shatilla become the head of the Likud in the year 2000?

One way or the other, Israel will have to come out of its intoxicated stupor and come to terms with the legacy of Zionism, a legacy that must be confronted, dealt with and put to rest. Enough damage, already. So, Israel can continue to win the PR battle in Tel Aviv and New York, but what is needed is to win the hearts and minds of the Palestinians, Something, the Israelis have been reluctant to do out of fear of what it might do to their national 'self-rightous' character.

In the next forty days, every Israeli should be encouraged to read a history book about the Palestinians. One that is not censored or published by the Israeli state. There has been enough recycling of historic mythology that only adds salt to fresh wounds. No people, certainly the Palestinians, will ever accept a version of history that maligns them and sends out the message that "you deserved it". They did not come to you looking to usurp your lands, you came to dispossess what was then a peasant society. It was wrong and every Israeli government has put its portion of poison into the vile mix they serve the Palestinians.

Perhaps, you are more comfortable talking amongst yourselves and affirming each other's conclusions. Besides, how can you break this kind of news to your children? They too must be allowed to grow in an environment saturated with Zionist mythology. Otherwise they might not be able to stare a Palestinian in the face, much less mow them down with tank shells.



Amos Schocken (aka Famous Amos)
Publisher of Ha'aretz Responds to NileMedia
DNA is irrelevant and ridiculous


Amos Schocken,Publisher of HA'ARETZ Refuses NileMedia's DNA challenge
NileMedia to Famous Amos
Take the DNA challenge

NileMedia and Israel's Famous Amos

January 6, 2001