Letter to the Editor: Nakba is not a Persian Restaurant

To the Editor:

Where are the millions of Palestinians in the Diaspora? What are they doing? Why can’t they counter one whacked guy like Mad Al D? He rants now like Prof. Shockley once did. Yet millions can’t/won’t/don’t confront him. Why not? How badly do Palestinians want a state if they can’t counter one loon?

Where is the boycott of Israeli products in the USA? Where is the effort to remind Americans that Sharon is no more like Seinfeld than Goebbels was like Clark Gable?

Where is the effort to remind Americans of Arab-Americans like Tony Shalhoub, Jamie Farr, Casey Kasem, Paul Anka, James Zogby, Former Senate Majority, Leader George Mitchell, Selma Hayek, Danny Thomas..?

Palestinian statehood depends on one thing: AMERICAN, not European, public opinion. Yet Arafat wore Arab headdresses and guns, looking like a loon, instead of appearing statesman-like in Brooks Brothers suits. He should have deferred to an Oxford-educated spokesman.

So it goes.

Stop speaking to the Arab choir. Start reaching American farmers in Kansas.

Stop letting Israel determine terms and definitions. As long as you let the charge of "terrorism" stand nothing you say will matter. Like him or not, President Clinton never let 24 hours go by without countering negative aspersions. Palestinians hear themselves called terrorists and say nothing. They don’t "get" that in America silence equals agreement. That is, Palestinians seem to agree that they ARE terrorists.

Hamas’ leader should have weekly fireside chats explaining his people’s condition to Americans. He doesn’t. Why escapes me.

I’ve never seen group more hell-bent on losing than Palestinians. They refuse to master mass communication in the Information Age. They have little sense of what their PRIMARY audience (Americans!) needs to be moved. Year after year they complain about the unfairness of their lot while that lot worsens. The Jewish Diaspora is organized. The Palestinian Diaspora is not. Ergo, the former always wins.

Where are the attention-getting, media-attracting protests in America?

The few protests there are remain feeble, done mostly by "liberal" Jewish groups more intent on helping Israeli PR than ending Palestinian suffering. They act like German debating societies "pondering" the plight of Jews in the Reich while actual Jews were sent to concentration camps.

There is no sense of war in America. Most of us live like we’re at peace: vacations, nightclubbing, business as usual. Few can point to Iraq on maps.

Your talking about The Nakba falls on deaf ears. Jews occasionally use "Shoah." Mostly, though, they use English ("Holocaust"). Why? Because their prime audience speaks English! Most Americans think "The Nakba" is a Persian restaurant.

And Palestinian students at universities? Invisible. Ergo, ineffective.

I strongly suspect there’ll be another 60 years of ever-worsening conditions for Palestinians. And why not, since they don’t seem to mind. There are no massive, Gandhi-like marches to protest conditions.

Why aren’t rich Palestinians sending cheap digital cameras and picture-taking cell phones to the Territories so Israeli abuses can be documented? Pictures speak louder than words.

Where is the "in-your-face, up-yours, eff-you" Palestinian response to Israel?

Abbas comes across as a loser, not a leader. He’s a tired, wimpy-acting man, ready to be Israel’s patsy. Haniyeh is more like Gerry Adams, more unafraid to show some guts.

Would WWII Germans "recognize" the Reich like Israel wants Palestinians to do for it?

Why Americans aren’t told Israel has no Constitution?

Americans are a fair people, given facts. You are not giving them facts. We can’t hear what you don’t say.

-Robert S
Brookline, MA, USA

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