When someone you support says something objectionable, something that’s inconsistent with your values and incongruent with your beliefs, you generally have two options. You can distance yourself from the offensive message — “I mostly agree with this person, but must take exception this time.” Or, you can try to rationalize away the disagreement — the other person was misquoted or mistranslated, the comments were taken out of context, etc. But Linda Frank (“PA does not call for Jew-free state,” Letters, Aug. 16) has found an ingenious, if dishonest, third option: To simply deny the distasteful statement ever took place, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence and plenty of publicity. Despite clear facts, Ms. Frank plays the role of the toddler in the sandbox, sticking her fingers in her ears and singing, “La-la-la, I can’t hear you!”
The inconvenient and unpleasant truth flies in the face of Ms. Frank’s head-in-the-sand, hear-no-evil naïveté or plain ignorance. Mahmoud Abbas most definitely did say, publicly, unambiguously, and repeatedly — most recently in a speech in Cairo three weeks ago, not a two-year-old “rumor” from two years ago — that there would be no room for Israelis in a future Palestinian state. (And it is the Palestinians who equate “Israeli” and “Jew”; Israeli Arabs — whom they consider their brethren — obviously would not be excluded from Palestine.) In contrast, of course, any suggestion that 1.6 million Arabs — one fifth of Israelis — should lose their Israeli citizenship or their homes in Israel when a Palestinian state is established, would be — rightly! — loudly, swiftly, and universally denounced. This is another instance of toddler logic — “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine, too” — demonstrating that Mahmoud Abbas and Linda Frank are birds of a feather.
People who claim to be working toward peace and human rights must start by facing and acknowledging the truth, including the nature and views of some of the players they support. Lies, myths, and falsehoods are not a constructive basis for engagement, let alone for reconciliation or peace.