Big Lie | Letters | Chicago Reader

Big Lie 

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Dear Ms. True:

It's a pity the Reader was suckered, in your front-page plug (November 12) for a Palestinian documentary, into printing Nadia Oehlsen's embarrassingly false account of Israel's war of independence. Your reviewer's crude bias is revealed by this whopper: "Most Arab violence at the time, including at least two of three massacres of Jews by Arabs, was immediately preceded by Jewish attacks on Arabs."

Thus does your reviewer use Quaker-financed film to tell us that Arab "massacres" were somehow justified. The salient fact starkly omitted by your reviewer is this: The United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, and that six Arab armies then invaded the country in order to throttle the new Jewish state. The suffering of both Arab and Jewish civilians resulted from the war precipitated by that invasion.

It would be pointless to counter one atrocity tale with another, even though a fair observer might start with the 1929 massacre of religious Jews in Hebron by Arab mobs. Doesn't the Reader's "historian" know there is a process going on in which two peoples are supposed to be emphasizing a vision of a peaceful future rather than distorting mutual past sufferings? Your Ms. Oehlsen has every right to describe Palestinian suffering. But she harms the causes of peace and truth by presenting a "Big Lie" version of history in which Arabs are absolved of responsibility for their actions. Ms. Oehlsen's account is the equivalent of telling how the Japanese people suffered during World War II without mentioning Pearl Harbor.

Joel J. Sprayregen

Chicago

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