Cliff May

To celebrate July 4th, Americans shoot off fireworks – a colorful reminder of the struggle for independence. This month, Israelis have been celebrating 60 years of independence and any store-bought pyrotechnics are superfluous: The rockets’ red glare can be seen in Israel’s skies night after night, courtesy of Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza and is openly dedicated to the annihilation of the Jewish state.

If we want peace between Israel and the Palestinians we need to marginalize the radicals and empower the moderates. That’s the conventional wisdom. There’s one problem with it: Moderates wield no power in Gaza.

Meanwhile, over in the West Bank there is Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah, Hamas’ rival. He is reportedly furious over President Bush’s recent remarks to the Israeli parliament looking forward to the120th anniversary of Israeli independence – a time, Bush predicted, when Israel will live in peace with an independent Palestinian neighbor.

Abbas told reporters: “The Bush speech at the Knesset angered us … I frankly, clearly and transparently asked him that the American position should be balanced."

This, too, has become conventional wisdom. The problem with it: If my goal is to kill your two children and your goal is to keep them alive, a balanced position – one midway between the two – would endorse the murder of one of your kids.

Such balance is relentlessly on view in the mainstream media. For example, to commemorate Israel’s 60th year of independence, the Washington Post ran a front page feature on two men, one Israeli, one Palestinian, both born sixty years ago “into a land at war.”

The story neglects to mention how that war began: The U.N. passed a resolution that established Israel and called for an Arab state as well. Jewish leaders agreed. Had Arab leaders done likewise, Palestinians also would be celebrating 60 years of statehood this month -- and there would have been no war and no refugees.

Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.