Roger Cohen is at it again. The Islamic Republic’s favorite columnist and mullah apologist is up to his old antics, criticizing Israel and its democratically elected Prime Minister, while giving the Palestinian Authority’s unelected strongman, Mahmoud Abbas, a free pass. It seems that whenever the banal and unimaginative Cohen runs out of material, he reverts to his default favorite past time of criticizing the only democracy in the Middle East, while skewing or ignoring the facts so that they comport with his convoluted views.
Cohen’s latest drivel centers on the so-called “two-state imperative” and how Israel risks losing its Jewish and democratic character if the scheme is not implemented in expeditious fashion. To make his point, Cohen cites skewed and misleading Arab demographic figures and notes that there are currently 4.4 million Arabs living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Where Cohen gets this dubious figure from is unclear. Moreover, Cohen fails to note that Israel no longer “occupies” Gaza, having withdrawn its military forces and civilian residents in 2005. There is not a single Jew living in Gaza. Gaza is officially Juderein, as the Nationalist Socialists would say. Consequently, Gaza’s 1.4 million residents cannot and should not be included when computing demographics.
That leaves us with Judea & Samaria (the "West Bank" in Cohen’s vernacular) and East Jerusalem. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), there are 2.6 million so-called Palestinians residing in these areas. Yet when we subtract Gaza’s population (1.4 million) from Cohen’s initial count (4.4 million) we are left with 3 million residents, representing a 400,000 discrepancy between the PCBS and Cohen’s figures. As I stated, Cohen is opaque when it comes to providing sources and he offers no explanation for such a glaring discrepancy.
The PCBS’s figures themselves are highly suspect. The PCBS is an agenda-driven arm of the Palestinian Authority. Its methods are dubious and motivations suspect. For example, the PCBS’s census data on Judea and Samaria include some 400,000 overseas residents. It also includes 300,000 residents of East Jerusalem, who are already counted as Israeli Arabs by Israel’s CBS. Consequently, even assuming that the PCBS figure of 2.6 million is accurate – and there is ample reason to doubt its veracity – that count must necessarily be reduced by 700,000 (300,000 double counted Jerusalem residents + 400,000 overseas residents) bringing the total figure down to 1.9 million residents. That’s a far cry from Cohen’s original 4.4 million. Moreover, Cohen neglects to note, likely deliberately, that according to the most recent data, the average Jewish woman in Israel is having more children than the average Arab woman. Cohen’s fear-mongering, demographic boogeyman falls short and represents nothing but the same old banality from self-hating pseudo-intellectuals, afflicted with a variant of Stockholm Syndrome.
This isn’t the first time that Cohen has played fast and loose with numbers. In the context of Israel’s 2008-09 anti-terror Gaza offensive, Cohen routinely cites casualty figures noted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a partisan, virulently anti-Israel group. What he deliberately fails to note is that the PCHR figures have been vociferously disputed and that even by Hamas’s own account, more than half of those killed in the fighting were Palestinian combatants.
Cohen begins and ends his column with references to Nelson Mandela. The symbolism here is difficult to ignore and cannot be understated. He is quite clearly using the reference to equate democratic Israel with the Apartheid relic. The Apartheid analogy is often regurgitated ad nauseam in BDS forums and among International Solidarity Movement (ISM) types and its acceptance is regulated to a marginal, mostly anti-Semitic, lunatic fringe. Cohen, well-crafted in the art of self-preservation, knows full well that the analogy is beyond defamatory and that is why he attempts to forward the platitude in subliminal fashion. To openly accuse Israel of practicing Apartheid (or moving in that direction) would only serve to invite a flurry of rightful indignation and further tarnish his already battered image.
Lastly, Cohen’s article ignores the 800-pound gorilla in the room. He implies that Prime Minister Netanyahu is rejectionist, but offers no such criticism for the duplicitous, Holocaust-denying Abbas. I recently authored a piece detailing the Palestinian Authority’s endgame. In it, I argued that the Palestinian Authority views the peace process in tactical rather than strategic terms, a way of securing “Palestine” in its entirety through guile, double-speak and subterfuge, from the “River [Jordan] to the [Mediterranean] Sea.” Past statements – some of which thought to have been off-record – by Yasser Arafat and other high level Palestinian officials lend credibility to this notion.
Indeed, any lingering doubts about the Palestinian Authority’s nefarious intentions were confirmed by the PA’s Religious Endowments Minister, Mahmoud al-Habbash. In a Friday sermon delivered just days ago, Habbash equated negotiations with Israel to a medieval pact signed between Muhammad and his rivals, which he violated once achieving sufficient strength and military parity. Arafat had issued similar statements in 1994 (barely a year after signing an agreement with Israel) in what he thought was an off-record talk in a Johannesburg mosque.
More astonishing than the statements, however, was the fact that they were made in the presence of Abbas and much of his cabinet without protest; similar to the way Egypt’s now deposed Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Morsi, mouthed concurrence with a sermon that called for the destruction of the Jews. There are just two differences between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas officials do not wear ties and are brutishly honest when it comes to their intentions concerning the “descendants of apes and pigs.” PA officials are more polished, with tailored Italian suits. They speak with forked tongues and their smiles and handshakes belie their true pernicious intentions.
Roger Cohen is either mendacious or willfully ignorant. The facts are indisputable yet Cohen chooses to obfuscate and ignore. Perhaps Cohen should take a more circumspect look at the decrepit state of the Arab world before advocating for a twenty-third Arab state, one whose maximalist goal seeks the annihilation of the Middle East’s only democracy and expulsion or subjugation of its indigenous inhabitants.
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