They Say/We Say: Peace with the Arabs is impossible as long as they continue to teach their children to hate Jews

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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Is Peace Possible?

They Say:

Peace with the Arabs is impossible as long as they continue to teach their children to hate Jews and to kill Israelis. As long as Arab leaders do not effectively fight incitement and anti-Israeli propaganda, efforts to make peace are in vain.

We Say:

Incitement against Israel and Jews is a serious problem that must not be ignored or dismissed, particularly in light of the Jewish people's painful history. It plants the seeds of hatred in successive generations and helps cultivate a culture of intolerance toward Israel and Jews. Expressions of hatred and incitement to violence clearly don't advance the cause of peace.

However, making the total elimination of hatred and incitement a condition for peace negotiations is a prescription for making things worse, not better.

Continuing the status quo of Israeli occupation will only deepen Arab resentment and hatred of Israel. It will also deepen Israeli demonization of the Palestinians. The fact is that incitement and hatred go both ways. Friends of Israel tend to focus on Arab inflammatory rhetoric, but there is no shortage of hateful rhetoric on the Israeli side as well, in addition to Israeli policies toward the Palestinians that the Arab world (and much of the rest of the world) views as offensive, racist, or unjust. Anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incitement must also be rejected. A fundamental tenet of democracy is that discrimination and incitement against any people based on their religion or ethnicity is unacceptable, and neither acts by extremists nor profound political disagreements change this.

Hatred, incitement, and racism are all serious obstacles to peace. Combating this problem must be an important element of U.S. bilateral relations and regional policy in the Middle East and around the world. Both sides must work to contain and eliminate them, and the Palestinian Authority deserves credit for the extensive and ongoing efforts it has made in recent years to address this problem.

Efforts to achieve peace - and the eventual achievement of peace between Israel and her neighbors - are aimed at providing security, stability and well-being to both Israelis and Arabs. Such efforts, if successful, offer the best way to change negative and antagonistic attitudes on both sides.