Hatred vs. Peace

Hatred vs. Peace

April 21, 2000 - The New York Times

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A comprehensive and durable Arab-Israeli peace requires more than signed agreements. What is needed are concrete steps to build a culture of peace.

As Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak takes bold and courageous initiatives to achieve a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, to withdraw Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, and to negotiate with Syria, hatred of Jews seethes in the Arab government-controlled media and in many Arab schools, religious institutions, and professional societies. Some recent examples:

The Palestinian Authority-appointed Islamic Mufti of Jerusalem last month publicly trivialized the Holocaust just before meeting Pope John Paul II, echoing a view often published in newspaper articles and editorials across the Arab world.

Syrian textbooks are replete with anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and open calls for the extermination of Jews.

Professional societies in Egypt and Jordan, countries formally at peace with Israel, prohibit contact with Israelis. The Jordanian Journalists’ Association expelled one member for committing the “crime” of visiting Israel, and compelled three others to sign an apology.

While Israeli diplomats originally invited to a University of Cairo conference on March 28 were turned away at the door, the Arab League, also meeting in the Egyptian capital, called for an immediate end to Jewish immigration to Israel.

The Palestinian Authority’s official news outlets have asserted that Israel is spreading deadly viruses throughout the Arab world.

Arab media have depicted, in words and cartoons, Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Foreign Minister David Levy as Nazis.

Such virulent anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the Arab world must no longer be tolerated.

The spreading of hatred and the pursuit of peace cannot coexist. Which will it be? The fate of the region may depend on the answer.

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