The Collins Column, Monday, October 16th, 2000 (the underlines have been added by Radio Islam):
On Israel, Palestine, and Cynics
By Doug Collins
About twenty-five years ago, when I was the editor of the op-ed page at the Vancouver Sun, I wrote a half-page article on good terrorists and bad terrorists, meaning the Israelis and the Palestinians. And so that there should be no mistake about it I ran pictures of good Menachem Begin and bad Yasser Arafat.
Begin, who was to become the Israeli prime minister, was on a fund-raising tour of Canada and the U.S. and had been described even by some Jewish sources as a "Judeo-Nazi," he having been one of the most ruthless terrorists of all. Among other things he was responsible for the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and the massacre at Deir Yassin, in which a couple of hundred old men, women and children were killed and stuffed down wells.
The article inspired many letters, most of them hostile. One person who became very excited was Rabbi Marvin Hier, then living in Vancouver and now dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles. At the time, however, the Sun had a publisher who refused to retreat before the onslaught.
Today, it would be miraculous if the Sun rose with such a piece in its beams, the chairman of Pacific Press being David Radler, who is Jewish, and most of the Hollinger/Southam Press having been taken over by Izzy Asper, who is also Jewish. Asper now controls 13 major metropolitan dailies in Canada, plus 136 other daily and community papers, and has a 50 per cent interest in the Hollinger flagship, The National Post.
The reporting on the current Middle East crisis has been about as one-sided as possible, and no outlet has been more one-sided than the Post. In many ways it is not a bad newspaper. But even though the Israelis may be using gunships against the Palestinians, and even though they have killed 100 of them, including children, the Post's support of Israel could not be more complete. Could it be that its editors have an eye on Izzy, or that he has an eye on them? Perish the thought!
In one issue there were several pictures of Palestinians mobbing Israelis. In another, there was a photo of a Palestinian "using a bow and arrow against Israeli forces", and in another we saw a Palestinian with blood on his hands. Well, when you are desperate for negative news, blood on the hands and bows and arrows are better than nothing. Strangely enough, however, there were no pictures of Israeli aircraft bombing the Palestinians.
It was much the same in the Vancouver dailies.The Province (also under Radler/Asper control) excelled itself with its front page of Friday, Oct. 13, the whole of which was taken up by the headline, "Howling mobs butcher captive Israelis", and the sub-text told us that two Israelis had been killed. Perhaps they got that from their close relative, The Post, which proclaimed, "Lynch mob devours two Israeli soldiers."
Two? Very regrettable. All deaths by violence are regrettable. No man is an island, as the man said. But - forgive me - where were the scare headlines when 2,000 Palestinians were killed in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps? Or when more than 17,000 civilians were killed in the early 1980s during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon?
In the Middle East, butchering seems to be OK provided it is done by the right people. According to Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent, who was reviewing the current crisis, 106 Palestinians were wiped out by Israeli gunners in 1996. Did that ever make any news here? Whatever, it would be a frosty Friday when a Canadian paper ran a headline stating, "106 Palestinians butchered by Israelis".
Consider, too, that the Palestinians were robbed of their country by terrorism, which helped to persuade the British to give up their mandate, and by Harry Truman's decision to push for the creation of Israel against the advice of his own State Department. Jewish-American support was more important than American interests, which according to then Secretary of State George Marshall lay with the Arabs.
It has been the same ever since. When the U.S.S. Liberty was attacked by the Israeli air force, with 36 American deaths, Lyndon Johnson did nothing about it and it soon disappeared from the news. Just a mistake, you know. Now, presidential candidates Gore and Bush outdo each other in grovelling to Israel. Bill Clinton, meanwhile, has stacked the State Department with Jews, beginning with Madeleine Albright, (left), but pretends to be neutral. In New York, Hillary stumps daily for Israel. It's all a bit like sending a cardinal to negotiate with the Pope.
The Palestinians are supposed to forget that Israel is an American dependency to the tune of billions of dollars a year, that the U.S. supplies it with its best weapons, and that American policies in the Middle East are dictated by you-know-who. Never mind. They still have their sticks, stones, and bows and arrows.
It's enough to make a fellow could become a cynic.