A UCLA Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Saree Makdisi , appears to have an axe to grind. He does not say it openly but he is probably unhappy (or at least he should be) with the true face of the Arab Palestinian movement and looks for a scapegoat to divert the issue and vent the never ending anger of the self-victimized. He found such a target in Avigdor Lieberman, but his recriminations betray the deep seated queasiness which is spreading among the pro-Palestinian crowd. And so he tries to conceal from himself the internal feelings that threaten his long established beliefs which he has so inextricably tied to the foundering Palestinian cause.
In a hardly veiled defense mechanism, Makdisi projects onto Lieberman all the despicable characteristics of the Palestinian Arab society in order to create a fake external threat. Substitute Hamas, non-Jews and the Palestinians to Lieberman, Jews and Israel, respectively, and this is what you get, in Makdisi's own words:
The addition of the Hamas party to the Palestinians' ruling coalition - and the [election] of Hamas to the [government of the Palestinian Authority] - has also occasioned some discomfort among the Palestinians' most earnest supporters. But the Hamas ascent to the Prime Ministership should give pause to those who so vigorously defended Carter for using the term ["peaceful Palestinian state"] to describe Palestinian policies.
We are told that Hamas is unhelpful; that it is the wrong partner for the current President [Mahmoud Abbas]; that it is unlikely to facilitate peace with the Israelis; that it is unrestrained and irresponsible - and even (according to most newspapers) that it is a strategic threat [to the Palestinians].
This consensus is not a reaction to Hamas' insalubrious background - though former [terrorist organizations] rarely rise to national office in any country - but rather to the fact that it is willing to dispense with diplomatic niceties and to express the Palestinians' ambitions in their crudest and most unapologetic form.
Hamas wants a Palestine free of the land's Jewish population.
The only thing that distinguishes Hamas from run of the mill politics in the Palestinian Authority is that it is willing to take the Palestinians' vision of themselves to its logical conclusion. Rather than tolerating Jews as second or third class citizens, it wants them out altogether.
The issue, then, is not that Hamas is more racist than other Palestinian politicians. It is, rather, that it shamelessly utters what most of its peers dare not say aloud.
I am sure Professor Makdisi will appreciate this exercise in "comparative literature." I have no doubt that unbiased observers - not likely the kind one could find in Makdisi's circle of academics - would acknowledge that the plagiarized version (of which I am the undisguised author) is infinitely more truthful than Makdisi's original.
In the second part of his article, Professor Makdisi uses this made-up foundation around Lieberman to build upon it the most grotesque analysis of Israel any academic could write. He criticizes Lieberman for his intention to "bounce" non-Jews. Who are these non-Jews to be bounced? We should thank the Islamic Movement in Israel for telling us, in the most vivid terms, who these people are. Last April, Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of that Movement, gathered 30,000 followers in the stadium of Kfar Kana, an Israeli Arab town in lower Galilee. To raucous applause, the Sheikh urged the crowd to "save Jerusalem from the hands of the Jews" and assured them that "Jerusalem will soon be the capital of the world Islamic nation, and it will be governed by a caliph." And this, from only a small portion of the Israeli Arab population, in a small village of Galilee. So, before Makdisi dares to criticize Israel, he should point first to any Arab country where a similar public demonstration would be allowed and second, to any country in the world where sedition of this magnitude against the state could be tolerated, let alone condoned. Professor Makdisi cannot resolve himself to face the reality of a Jewish State whose Zionist foundation is the reconstitution of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the ancestral land of their forefathers. Even after 60 years, Makdisi cannot countenance the idea of a single Jewish island in a menacing ocean of 21 Arab states. He should get used to it. Israel is not where it is by stealth, conquest or mass conversions at the edge of a sword. It is there by international law, which recognized long ago the historical connection of the Jews to the Land of Israel and which supported the reconstitution of their national home in what was then known as Palestine. And since Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, its population should be predominantly Jewish. Its non-Jewish residents should accept this fact, respect the Jewish character of the country, swear an oath of allegiance to the state and, most certainly, refrain from incitement to its destruction. To those non-Jews who abide by the laws, the privilege of citizenship should be granted. To those who openly long for and often act toward its destruction, their citizenship should be revoked. Sheikh Salah and his followers should be high on that list, together with some Arab parliamentarians who sit in the Knesset. This is what every democracy in the world would do and I am sure Professor Makdisi knows that, notwithstanding his misplaced recriminations.
Rather than projecting on Lieberman the worst traits of the Palestinian Arab society, we should praise Lieberman for bringing some common sense to the generous citizenship laws of Israel which have been abused for too long by too many.
Salomon Benzimra contributed to this article.