Myths & Facts Online: Preface
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“The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive and repeated.”
— President John F. Kennedy1
I am often asked to name the most prevalent myth about the Middle East. The answer is the suggestion, in one form or another, that Israelis do not want peace.
No one craves peace more desperately than Israelis, who have lived through seven wars and an ongoing campaign of terror for more than six decades. This is why, as this book discusses, Israel has repeatedly sought compromises, often at great risk, that would bring an end to the conflict.
Each time a new peace initiative is launched, our hopes are raised that we will not need to publish another edition of Myths and Facts, which was first printed more than 40 years ago.We remain optimistic that Israel’s neighbors will accept a Jewish state in their midst and take advantage of the great opportunities for working together for mutual benefit. Unfortunately, the "Arab Spring" has created new uncertainty and potential danger for Israel. The upheaval in Egypt has put the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in jeopardy, the takeover of Lebanon by Hezbollah has increased the threat from the north while turmoil in Syria has erased any short-term expectation of peace on that front. Meanwhile, the threat of a nuclear Iran looms over the entire region.
In the meantime, old myths, including ancient blood libels, continue to be recycled, and new calumnies invented. These must not be allowed to go unanswered if we are to progress towards coexistence.
Myths and Facts pulls no punches when it comes to addressing Israel’s responsibility for events and policies that tarnish its image. Friends of Israel do not try to whitewash the truth, but they do try to put events in proper context. That is also our goal. When friends criticize Israel, it is because they want the country to be better. Israel’s detractors do not have that goal; they are more interested in delegitimizing the country, placing a wedge between Israel and its allies and working toward its destruction. The campaign to delegitimize Israel has intensified in recent years and prompted us to include a chapter devoted to the myths promulgated by the advocates of boycotts, divestment and sanctions directed at Israel.
This new edition covers the basics of the history of the conflict and offers documented facts to respond to the most common myths. The pirnted version is not meant to be comprehensive and we have intentionally made this volume shorter while making additional information available online. Material that previously appeared in the books appendices, such as quotations reflecting Arab/Muslim attitudes toward Israel, and the text of treaties, UN Resolution 242 and the Hamas Covenant can be found online as well. Information about Jews in Arab countries was also deleted from the print version but can be found online.
This online edition will be continually updated and contains archived older facts as well as material that was not included in the book. We highly recommend its use because it also contains hyperlinks to the more than 13,000 entries in the Jewish Virtual Library. The complete 2012 edition is also available in PDF format online.
In addition, we have a listserv for weekly myths/facts and other periodic updates. To sign up, fill in the box below.
I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the distinguished group of past editors: Sheila Segal, Wolf Blitzer, Alan Tigay, Moshe Decter, M.J. Rosenberg, Jeff Rubin, Eric Rozenman, Lenny Davis and Joel Himelfarb. I would also like to thank Rafi Danziger, Rebecca Weiner, Isaac Wolf, David Shyovitz, Alden Oreck, Elihai Braun, Sarah Szymkowicz, Avi Hein, Joanna Sloame, Stephanie Persin, Ariel Scheib, David Krusch, Jonathan Lord, Sybil Ottenstein, Stephanie Kogan and Elie Berman for their invaluable assistance in the AICE editions.
AICE is especially grateful to the sponsors of this edition: The Herbert Bearman Foundation, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland and Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz from Bal-Harbour Florida, who contributed in loving memory of the AUSCH and KATZ family members O.B.M. H.Y.D. who perished during the Holocaust in Europe. May their greatness be an inspiration to all people of good will.
“Facts are stubborn things,” observed John Adams, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” The following pages lay out the stubborn facts about the Arab-Israeli conflict. They are the best weapons we have to insure that truth triumphs over myth.
Mitchell G. Bard
Myths & Facts 2012: Read Full PDF Version