Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peace Now's Lara Was in Doha to Our Shame - and Her's

David Gerstman has sent out a post, "Lara in wonderland", on the participation of Americans for Peace Now's Lara Friedman which I repos in part:

On February 26 and 27, there was an International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha Qatar. It featured participants from all over the Middle East.  Among those speaking was Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority and Israel's supposed peace partner.

...Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was a neglected backwater of the Arab world. There were essentially no Muslim pilgrims going there. And while thousands of Christians would indeed visit Jerusalem every Easter, that number increased dramatically after Israel regained possession of the holy city.

Abbas is pushing lies and incitement, and his speech is filled with hypocrisy about things like freedom of worship when he would ban (or, at best, severely restrict) Jews from ever visiting their holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and elsewhere if given half a chance.

This speech reveals the ugly face of Mahmoud Abbas and how he is not interested in peace or co-existence at all, let alone the truth.

...The denial of a historical Jewish connection to the land of Israel, is a blatant violation of the terms of Oslo Accords. Unlike the building of apartments in Jerusalem, no creative interpretation is necessary to reach this conclusion. Yet there's been precious little comment about this obstacle to peace declared by the "moderate" leader of the Palestinians.

One American who was at the conference, was Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now. Though she denies that she went as a representative of her organization, she is identified as being with APN on the list of participants. Her presence at this anti-Israel hatefest discredits her and her organization.

It was however an eyeopening experience for Dr. Friedman, as she wrote after the first day of the conference...:

If representatives of the organization that sponsored the Arab Peace Initiative cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the legitimacy of Jewish equities in Jerusalem, they should know that they discredit their own professed interest in peace. Their framing of the future of Jerusalem as a zero-sum game only makes it more likely that Israel will continue asserting its current power over East Jerusalem to hinder the vision of two states living in peace with a Jerusalem as a shared capital.

All throughout the day, it was unfortunately the same story. Participants talked about Jerusalem as if Jewish history did not exist or was a fraud — as if all Jewish claims in the city were just a tactic to dispossess Palestinians...
It is my hope that the rest of the conference will deal more honestly and more constructively with the reality...I regret that the conference so far has not taken the issues related to Jerusalem more seriously, and I am proud that I am here representing a truly pro-peace — and thus be definition pro-Israel — perspective. Much of the discourse here thus far has been personally objectionable and even painful to me, but I believe my presence here is important for the cause of peace.

What Lara Friedman heard at the International Conference on Jerusalem is nothing new. The commitment of the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority to peace is dubious, as evidenced by statements they continue to make eighteen years after Oslo. If Friedman cared to know about them, she would. But her career as a "Zionist" is marked by holding Israel mostly (if not completely) to blame for the failure of peace despite the many concessions even the most "right-wing" governments of Israel have made.

Will this serve as a wake up call to Friedman? It hardly seems likely. Her response to the hatred and denial she heard was disappointment not outrage. No doubt she will return to the United States and continue finding fault first with Israel.

What will Americans for Peace Now do? Will it disassociate itself from Friedman? Or will it continue functioning without apologizing for the actions of its officer?


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