MY ARAB SYMPATHIES | 2001-09-13
When I entered the University of South Carolina in 1957, the media hated two groups of people to the extent that they were not considered human. Those two groups were Southerners and Arabs.
I knew a lot of Palestinian refugees who had been treated worse by Israel, literally, than American law would let you treat a dog.
In fact, Arab students led the charge to get me elected to the Student Senate. You could say I was the only conservative in history to WIN an election because of the support of an ethnic minority (See November 28, 1998 - YOU NEVER WIN WITH THE BLACK VOTE).
I was even considered by some Arabs at USC to be a spokesman for their side. I have always deeply appreciated that kind of trust from any group.
In 1959, one my best buddies in Germany was the German representative of the Arab League.
I have mentioned the Bobby Kennedy episode (that I alone seem to remember) in Whitaker Online before, and I will repeat it here
A Palestinian refugee living in the United States shot Robert Kennedy. Earlier that same night, as part of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Kennedy debated his opponent Eugene McCarthy in California. The debate was carried on national TV.
As a Southerner and a friend of Palestinian refugees, I was used to vicious insults and bloodthirsty threats against those I sympathized with. But what Kennedy and McCarthy said they planned to do to Arabs that night froze even MY blood.
Remember that both of these men were PEACENIKS in Vietnam. But they were also competing for the Jewish votes and money in the Democratic primary in California. I have never heard more cold-blooded threats against Arabs than I heard from those two peaceniks that night!
For this reason, I doubt that that debate will ever be rerun on television or even reproduced where it is easy to find.
As I listened, I thought how I wold feel if I were a Palestinian. Obviously I don't condone murder, but I understood what had happened to Sirhan Sirhan.
Liberal environmentalists are allowed to understand the Unibomber without condoning his actions. But I am not allowed to understand Sirhan Sirhan without advocating murder, or to side with the America Firsters without being a traitor.
For once, George W Bush got it right. The attack on America was not murder or terrorism, it was an act of war.
I have been one of those who has understood and spoken for Arab grievances all my life. I am the last person on earth to blame all Arabs for these massacres of Americans. I know the difference, and I know it very well indeed.
But I am not a Wordist. If you attack America, you are my enemy, and no one is more of an enemy of those who have chosen to make war than this old redneck.