Open Letter to NYT’s Roger Cohen: Even Harder Truths

Dear Roger,

Over the past few months I have saluted your courage in seeking to open the eyes of New York Times’ readers to some of the differences between Zionist propaganda and what the facts on the ground in Israel/Palestine are telling us.

Your latest column, Hard Mideast Truths, published on 12 February and which I tweeted, was, I think, your most explicit to date. (I imagine you got a bucket load of organised hate mail for it).

You didn’t pull any punches on a number of key issues. “Domestic U.S. politics constrain innovative thought – even open debate – on the process without end that is the peace search… The United States ends up as ‘Israel’s lawyer’ rather than an honest broker (that was you endorsing Aaron David Miller’s observation)… The conflict gnaws at U.S. security, eats away at whatever remote possibility of a two-state solution is left, clouds Israel’s future, scatters Palestinians and devours every attempt to bridge the West and Islam… Past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people… Nor can the solemn U.S. promise to stand by Israel be a blank cheque to the Jewish state when its policies undermine America’s stated aims…The U.S. objective is a two-state peace. But day by day, square meter by square meter, the physical space for the second state, Palestine, is disappearing… America has allowed this self-defeating process to advance to near irreversibility… It does not make sense for America to bankroll Israeli policies that undermine U.S. strategic objectives.”

Some of us with lengthy, firsthand and intimate experience of the conflict have been saying this and much more for many years, but we were, and still are, denied a hearing in the mainstream media, in America and actually everywhere. This has happened mainly because the mainstream media censors itself out of fear of offending Zionism too much or at all. (All of you who write for the New York Times will know exactly what I mean). So the fact that you, Roger, are being allowed to cross some of Zionism’s red lines in public print is, I hope, a sign that the prospects for “open debate” in America are improving. My own contribution to the process of assisting what passes for democracy in America to work for justice and peace in the Middle East is a an epic book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the American edition of which is being published by Clarity Press in three volumes (Volumes 1 and 2 published, Volume 3 coming).

In your 12 February piece you also noted that the “existential threat” to Israel is “overplayed” (in reality Israel’s existence has never, ever, been in danger). So there was, you added, room “for America to step back and apply pressure without compromising Israeli security.”

You also wrote this (my emphasis added) “If there are not two states there will be one state between the river and the sea and very soon there will be more Palestinian Arabs in it than Jews. What then will become of the Zionist dream?

One implication, whether you intended it or not, is that Zionism is on its way to committing suicide in the sense that the Jewish state (actually it’s a Zionist state not a Jewish state) could be voted out of existence. Sadly there is another very possible scenario and the purpose of this open letter is to draw it to your attention.

When Zionism’s in-Israel leaders finally get the message that the Palestinians are not going to accept two or three Bantustans on parts of the occupied West Bank which they could call a state if they wished, it’s by no means impossible that they, Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, will resort to a final round of ethnic cleansing. It could start with the “transfer” of Israeli Arabs, which some Israeli leaders openly advocate; and it could end with Israel creating a pretext to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan or wherever. A Zionist, Nazi-like, final solution to the Palestine problem. A Zionist holocaust.

Put another way, and to answer your question, the Zionist dream becomes (as I think it was always bound to become) a terrifying nightmare for all, and by all I don’t mean only the Arabs and Jews of the region. I mean all of us, everywhere.

That really could happen.

Something to think about?

Best wishes,


PS I’m sure my American publisher would be delighted to send you a copy of my book. Should I ask it to do so?

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and globally as a researcher, author, and a correspondent for ITN and the BBC. Read other articles by Alan, or visit Alan's website.

2 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on February 15th, 2010 at 10:00am #

    If ‘jews’ had been persecuted to any degree and any place-time, they being not a people but comprisng hundred or so ethnicities, cldn’t have been ‘persecuted’ as a people but most likely beacause of their behavior; such as separatism, numerous misteachings, perceived superiority, banking practices.

    The socalled persecution of ‘jews’ in the past may have been much of an invention by ‘jews’ as is the socalled antisemitism; their landlesness or restriction where they cld live and work, etc.

    Even the name “jew” was stolen. Most or all of them are of euroasian origin; having no connection whatever with any shemites.

    In usssr ‘jews’ were as protected as any other people. They even had a republic or autonous region in birobidjan. Nevertheless, ‘zionists’ began demanding their ‘return’ to israel because they were persecuted.
    The fact is, these people are cultists. But cultists support fascists in US; so they are welcome in US and not to mention their money!
    In an idyllic social structure, ?all cults wld disappear. That’s why most ‘jews’ are strongly asocialistic.
    And thse people are now persecuting some americans because of support for a criminal state and US warfare which cost a bundle; money wasted cld have fed and medicly treat many people. tnx

  2. Rehmat said on February 16th, 2010 at 6:07pm #

    On February 9, 2010 – the Intelligence Squared Forum held a debate in New York City (home to country’s largest Jewish population). The topic of discussion was “Should the US step-back from its special relationship with Israel?”. The result of a poll taken of the audience after the debate was – 49% in favour, 47% against and 4% undecided. Roger Cohen, The New York Times columnist in his speech in favour of “step-back” told the audience:

    “What also makes the relationship special is incredible largess that United States shows toward Israel, over the past decade, US$28.9 billion in economic aid. And on top of that, another US$30 billion in military aid, that’s almost US$60 billion. That’s 10 times the GNP of Haiti that is being gifted to a small country. Now I ask you, to what end this money is being used. Ladies and Genrlemen, we would submit that its end often inimical to the American interest”.