I agree with Conrad Nadell that the hate, incitement, and misinformation emanating from the Arab media and Arab religious and political leaders toward Israel and Jews is an obstacle to peace. (“To reach peace, reeducate the Palestinians,” Jan. 10.) After all, for Israelis to take risks for peace, the rhetoric of hatred must be significantly contained, since it cannot be completely eradicated. And insisting that the U.S. and the international community make financial support for the Palestinians contingent upon banning hatred and incitement in Palestinian schools, media, and mosques should be a given.
However, the rhetoric of hate can and must be countered with robust diplomatic efforts. Unfortunately, the current Israeli government has taken no meaningful steps to try to advance diplomacy. And giving lip service doesn’t count. If anything, the contrary is true. The government’s provocative expansion of settlements in the West Bank sends the absolute wrong message about its peace intentions.
In the end, to allow Arab hate rhetoric to be used as an argument for not pursuing diplomacy is not only counterproductive but dangerous for Israel’s survival, because neither the status quo nor time is on Israel’s side. Due to demographic realities, unless this conflict is resolved within the framework of a two-state solution, as advocated by J Street, the State of Israel may cease to be a Jewish and democratic state, becoming instead a bi-national state where Jews are no longer the majority. If that happens, it will spell the end of the Zionist enterprise.
Let’s be clear about one more thing: A two-state solution to the conflict is not a favor to the Palestinians. It is a core Israeli interest for the country’s survival as envisioned by its founders. So let’s not make reeducating Palestinian society about hate a prerequisite for diplomacy or peace — unless we want to replace Israel with a bi-national state.