Just this summer, this trope made its way into a publication designed to demonize Israel.
- It was the hottest week of the year. All Fadel Jaber wanted was some water for his family. But Fadel lives in the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli government has redirected water pipes to provide swimming pools for Jewish settlers and empty faucets for Palestinians like Fadel.
This canard is repeated over and over again. Martin Sherman wrote to me to advise that two years ago:
- I confronted him (peter Beinart) at UCLA and explained that – at best – he was distorting the incident. He nevertheless ignored the facts and published his book which begins with the his original misleading description to show how much of a lie it is.
And he included this letter.
First let me commend you on a smoothly organized UCLA Hillel event featuring Peter Beinart last week . However in light of the issues raised in the talk I feel compelled to respond – and I apologize for the somewhat delayed response as I have been traveling and have had a backlog to catch up on.
In his talk Beinart took up the theme of his 2010 New York Times Review of Books article in which he chides US Jewry for its almost “Pavlovian”-like support of Israel and for overlooking many alleged Israeli violations of the principles of liberal governance.
As an Israeli, I take issue with virtually all the points raised by Beinart – either with regard to their factual veracity or to substantive significance imputed to them, or to both.
Particularly blatant in this regard was his reference to water, which as it so happens, is a field in which a have a certain amount of acknowledged expertise. (Please see Amnesty’s Travesty & Water in Israel) Accordingly I would be grateful if you could forward this email to the participants in the event – in the interests of fair and balanced presentation of the facts.
Beinart began his address by relating an incident of a Palestinian man being apprehended – in front of his sobbing son – for attempting to “misappropriate” water. What seemed to cause Beinart to be appalled by the arrest rather than the by attempted theft, was his contention that that Israelis consume 4 times more water than Palestinians – which he saw a manifestation of Israel’s illiberal discriminatory malevolence vis-a- vis the Palestinians with regard to water allocation.
Now while Beinart’s claim is roughly true empirically, it totally meaningless as a indication of malicious intent or of purposeful deprivation in Israel’s water policy.. At best the figure is irrelevant; at worst, misleading
For while it is true that the per capita consumption of the Israeli population is much higher than that of the Palestinian population, this is principally a result of differences in demand–rather than in supply – due to the differing lifestyles in the two societies . Similarly different rates of consumption occur between the Jewish and Arab populations within pre-1967 Israel—and between different socio-economic groups within the Jewish population—without anyone raising the claim that this is the result of purposeful …read more