Dear Mr. Bennett,
I see on Twitter that you have turned down a trip to come visit my country, Israel. In your note, you say that you will come in the future, but “it will be to see not only Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza.” What changed your mind was this article in the Times of Israel, so you say.
I don’t make it a habit of calling people liars, but I am not buying it. I read the article and it is harmless. It hardly claims that Israel plans to “use” you, but quotes Tourism Minister, Yariv Levin:
“I am sure that, after the experiences that the players will enjoy in Israel and after they have seen the unique tourist sites and the special atmosphere here, they will become ambassadors of good will for Israel.”
The way you portray it in your silly diatribe is as if the Israeli government had a sinister plan to trick you. You know what our main trick here in Israel is when dealing with people like you, who have developed an opinion of our country as racist and unjust, but have never visited our country? It is simply to introduce you to Israel and the Israeli people, so you can develop an informed opinion. That is all the minister was saying.
But let’s be honest, here is what most likely happened. Others on the left saw that you were going to ‘evil’ Israel and began to call you out. They told you what to think about Israel. They probably said, “visiting Israel is like a vote for Trump.” If your cancellation really is because of Israel’s supposed injustice, why did you agreed to come in the first place? But wait, what’s this?
An open letter signed by pro-Palestinian groups, activists and high-profile supporters including Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover and Alice Walker had urged the athletes not to go. (timesofisrael.com)
Dr. King Loved Israel
It is kind of funny that you posted a picture of Dr. King with your statement that you are not coming to Israel. Dr. King loved Israel and did not see her as an occupying, oppressive force. But then again, Dr. King did not have twitter trolls to tell him how to think.
“The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world” —MLK
“Thousands of Years” Really?
In your note you say:
“When I go to Israel — and I do plan to go — it will be to see not only Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza so I can see how the Palestinians, who have called this land home for thousands of years, live their lives.”
British Minted Palestine Coin from 1927. There has never an actual Palestinian Arab currency in History.
No, there have not been Palestinian Arabs here for “thousands of years”, or a thousand years, or even one hundred years. The word “Palestine” was given to the region by the Romans in 135 AD, after crushing the second Jewish revolt. It had no connection whatsoever with any Arab ethnicity. By the 20th century, a Palestinian was anyone who lived in what is now modern day Jordan or Israel. It had no ethnicity attached. Before Israel’s birth in 1948, even Jews who lived here called themselves Palestinian.
A coin from 1927, when the British controlled the region of Palestine has the word in English, Hebrew and Arabic. If Palestine were an Arab ethnicity, then why in the world would they use Hebrew? In fact, Arabs didn’t mint Palestinian coins, the British did. The Jewish-owned newspaper was the Palestine Post.
Only in the 1960s did some Arabs began to call themselves Palestinian as national identity, as Yassar Arafat, the father of modern day terrorism (as in ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda), led the Palestinian Liberation Organization with the goal of destroying Israel.
“No Palestinian People”
Many Arab leaders took issue with his use of the term Palestinian. The Syrian President Assad said, in 1976, to so-called Palestinian leaders:
“You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Do not forget one thing: there is no Palestinian people, no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria! You are an integral part of the Syrian people and Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the real representatives of the Palestinian people.”
He correctly saw Palestine as a region, not an ethnicity.