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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Abbas the "moderate" and Google fun

Just for fun I decided to Google "Abbas moderate" in news.google.com. I came back with 3760 articles, most of which sounded like:

"Early results showed the moderate candidate Mahmoud Abbas overwhelmingly..."
"
The ones who emerged with relatively moderate views, like Abbas, gravitated toward the mainstream Fatah..."
"
Abbas, a moderate Palestinian leader advocating non-violent struggle for an independent state..."
"
Moderate Fatah faction candidate Mahmoud Abbas is the front-runner to succeed him in the first Palestinian election since...."
"
Abbas has staked out a moderate, pragmatic approach to dealings with Israel, saying he wants to open negotiations with Sharon..."
"
Mr. Abbas, a moderate who has raised hopes of a renewed peace process by calling for a "demilitarization" of the intifada..."
"
In the last week, Abbas, a moderate opposed to armed struggle with Israel, has sought to woo younger, more militant Palestinians by toughening his rhetoric..."
"
Saadi believes the likely election of moderate businessman Mahmoud Abbas..."
"
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is a moderate who deserves to succeed the late Yasser Arafat in Sunday's presidential election."

I am especially tickled at the many articles that say, as a fact, that the Holocaust denying Abbas, who referred to Israel as "the Zionist enemy" and said he will defend terrorists from Israel, who has shown not the slightest deviation from the maximal Palestinian positions on the "right of return" or the borders of an eventual Palestinian state - is a "moderate."

Now, how many articles can be found that refer to Ariel Sharon, who is making plans to give up parts of biblical Israel unilaterally, who has in many speeches (never reported by the press) reached out to Palestinians who want peace, whose army has sustained incredible casualties to avoid hurting Palestinian civilians, who has accepted a two-state solution - all very far from the right-wing Israeli positions - how many can be found to call him a "moderate"?

Words matter. When people read for years that Sharon is a "right-wing hawk" and that Abbas (and even Arafat) is a "moderate pragmatist", is it any wonder that the world hates Israel?