August 08, 2001

Seeds of Peace - Camp or Brainwash?

August 8, 2001

About three years ago we began hearing about an idyllic camp, Seeds of Peace, in Maine whose objective was to bring Israeli and Arab teenagers together for a month in the summer. There the campers participate in sports, camp activities and discussion groups and really get to know each other and discuss their animosities and lay the foundation for peace in the future. What a grand idea! How could anyone criticize? Then I saw the names of some of the supporters of the camp.

One local name stuck out immediately - Terry Ahwal. Have you ever read any of the articles she writes in our papers? They are virulently anti-Israel and full of Arab lies and propaganda. Another supporter listed was Saeb Erakat, who has long been chief advisor to Yasser Arafat! Do you know of any good works done by Yasser Arafat?

Then two years ago several campers - Palestinian Arab and Israeli Jews made a movie depicting the life of the campers and their experiences back in their native lands. David Bar-Ilan, former editor of the Jerusalem Post wrote an article in the Post of February 4, 2000. He stated that the film was "so tilted in favor of Palestinian Arab arguments, so unquestionably sympathetic to Palestinian grievances, that it becomes a propaganda instrument rather than an ode to friendship. "

Bar Ilan received a letter from three of the four Israelis featured in the film who took part in its production. They wrote, "We did not make the movie as it claims. The movie was produced, only in part, by us and most of our footage, including its most significant statements from our point of view was discarded. We did do some preliminary editing. …But the final version is not really ours …

Just this week many of us received an elegant invitation to attend a fundraiser for this camp and suspicions of the last few years were enhanced despite the impressive list of people involved that had understandably been attracted to this apparently worthwhile cause. The special honored guest is Ambassador Martin Indyk, long known to have taken every possible anti-Israel position while a member of the American State Department. As far as he has been concerned Israel could never give enough and he was happy to appoint the son of John Zogby, pre-eminent Arab propagandist to his staff. Other surprising names on the Honorary Committee included Congressman David Bonior and Congressman John Dingell and former Senator Abraham.

Just before the last Congressional election Jonathan Tobin, Editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and frequent contributor to the Jewish News treated us to a mind-boggling summary of Congressional voting as determined by the Arab Lobby. The Lobby created a Hall of Fame and a Hall of Shame list depending upon how the Congressman voted on Pro-Arab, Anti-Israel legislation. Unfortunately, Michigan did very well with the Arab Hall of Fame electing Bonior and Dingell along with John Conyers and then Senator Abraham.

Is it unreasonable to suspect the format of a camp supported by known Arab political leaders, Arab sympathizers and anti-Israel politicians? I don't think so.

If one is able to throw off the blanket of apparent idealism, what is the purpose of the camp as far as the Arabs are concerned? Is it not possible that the purpose is to make the vulnerable Jewish child, frequently uneducated in the history of his own people, sympathetic to the gross lie that the Jews have stolen Arab land and they have no business being there? What do you think those discussion groups are about in the camp?

Do you think they discuss the five major wars in which the Arabs have attacked the Jews attempting to drive them into the sea or the 2000 years of persecution of Diaspora history or the Five Books of Moses or the fact that the land of Israel was Jewish over 3000 years before the Arabs even existed? Or does the history lesson start in 1948 when the Jews "first came out of the ghettos of Europe and stole Arab land?" Do you think the Arabs are advised that Israel was created as a Jewish homeland, a final sanctuary for persecuted Jews the world over? Are the Arabs advised that they have 21 other nations with over 250 million people in which to live? Or are they are told there have been 1179 attacks on Israelis in the last 60 days?

Or rather do you think the Jewish kids are told that it is only fair that they share this land with their camp buddy and all of the above is just rumor and ancient history? The decision is yours.

Jerome S. Kaufman, Political Commentator

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman at 03:52 AM | Comments (0)