March 18, 2008, - 1:31 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
I rarely read the “Letters to the Editor” in Detroit’s two major newspapers. When it comes to The Detroit Newsistan, I skip its editorial page and op-ed pages altogether. Other than birdcage liner, those pages have become the spouting platforms for Islamists, including a Hezbollah agent and former Khomeini official.
But the Wall Street Journal, well that’s a different story. I try to read the paper’s “Letters to the Editor,” every day because the letters are well-written, often share important information, and are as enlightening as the editorial content of the paper. And important people read them.
But there are exceptions. Yesterday, a propaganda letter by pro-Palestinian ignoramus Ed Kendall of Eastover, South Carolina, unfortunately got through editors and made its way onto the page with this enormously false statement:
Almost all the Arab radical organizations we now face: Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., got their start struggling for justice for the Palestinians. This fight has been the major generator of extremism in the Middle East. It’s vital to our self-interest that America be evenhanded in the Arab-Israeli conflict; this would do more for us in this critical and unstable region than anything else.
But this statement is patently false because, as I’ve noted on this site extensively, Hezbollah was founded well before Israel was ever in Lebanon, and it was founded not by Sunni Palestinians, but by Shi’ite Muslims who were oppressed by Palestinians conquering them, killing their sons, and raping their daughters. While I don’t know whether the Journal will publish my response or publish it in its entirety, here’s the “Letter to the Editor” I wrote, correcting this highly inaccurate information:
To the Editor:
In his March 17th letters to the editor (Letters, March 17), Ed Kendall fallaciously claims that Hezbollah got its “start struggling for justice for the Palestinians.” He could not be more wrong.
On the contrary, Hezbollah, originally known as “The Organization for the Oppressed of the Earth,” was founded in response to Palestinian occupation of Lebanon. At that time–from the mid ’70s until the early ’80s, Palestinians captured and destroyed Shi’ite (and Christian Lebanese) property and killed the sons and raped the daughters of the Shi’ites of Southern Lebanon who are now the nucleus of Hezbollah in Lebanon. South Lebanon–today’s Hezbollah sub-state of Lebanon–was then known as Fatah-land, as the P.L.O. dominated it by force–allied with a brutal leftist Lebanese militia, the Morabeitoun, headed by Ibrahim Kleilat. That is why Hezbollah was founded, not in support of the Palestinians who oppressed Hezbollah’s members.
Much of this was documented in the front-page reporting of New York Times reporter David Shipler, no friend of Israel’s, when he reported on the horrors that Shi’ite Muslims (and Christians) in Lebanon suffered daily and en masse at the hands of the Palestinians who controlled Lebanon from West Beirut to Lebanon’s southern border. Shipler’s July 25, 1982 front-page story, “Lebanese Tell of Anguish of Living Under the P.L.O.,” detailed how Arafat and company nearly established a Palestinian State . . . in Lebanon. And he reported on how the Shi’ite Muslims in the heart of Hezbollah-controlled South Lebanon welcomed the Israelis as liberators from that awful life of terror.
While it is true that Hezbollah’s memory bank has unfortunately been erased of the experience of Israel as its liberator, this quote–among many–from Mr. Shipler’s July 1982 piece says it all:
“Some are still circumspect, afraid the P.L.O. will return after Israel withdraws; others open up in a spirit of relief [about the Israeli liberation].”
Also documenting this, Shi’ite Lebanese Fouad Ajami–a frequent Journal op-ed contributor–wrote at the time in U.S. News and World Report:
“They boarded ships firing in to the air, freeing the Lebanese to embark on a new history of their own. . . . Israel had done for Shi’ites–Lebanon’s largest and most disadvantaged community–what they had been unable to do for themselves. In a chapter now long forgotten, those villages in the southern hinterland had welcomed Israel’s push into Lebanon.”
To assert, as Mr. Kendall does, that Hezbollah was founded by the Palestinians’ then-victims in support of their then-oppressors is to engage in utter myth and revisionism.
Oh, and by the way, HAMAS was also founded to oppose Fatah/the P.L.O., not to help fight in favor of the Palestinians per se.
Please read my extensive column on Palestinian aggression in Lebanon and why Hezbollah was founded–against the Palestinians, not in support of them.
Tags: Arafat, Beirut, Christian Lebanese, David Shipler, Debbie Schlussel Detroit, Ed Kendall, editor, Fatah, Fouad Ajami, Hamas, Hizballah, Ibrahim Kleilat, Israel, Lebanese militia, Lebanon, Lebanon's southern border, memory bank, New York Times, Organization for the Oppressed of the Earth, reporter