Rep. Cantor: Palestinian Culture Is Source Of Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

May 23, 2011 12:59 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Speaking before the annual AIPAC Policy Conference over the weekend, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told thousands of pro-Israel activists that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is grounded in Palestinian culture and its penchant for "resentment and hatred."

CANTOR: Sadly, it is a culture infused with resentment and hatred. But it is this culture that underlies the Palestinians and the broader Arab world's refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. And this is the root of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. It is not about the '67 lines.

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Cantor's words were received with a thunderous applause. The cheerful crowd in attendance was naturally excited to hear the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, and one of the most important political leaders in the entire Western world, tell them that Israel's decades-long occupation — which many Israelis see as dangerous to the country's long-term survival — is entirely the fault of the Palestinians and their supposed cultural deficiencies.

Cantor's bit about the Arab world not accepting Israel is also not supported by the facts. As Merav Michaeli explains in Haaretz:

Nine years ago, the 22 Arab League countries submitted a proposal for ending the conflict with the Palestinians and for full normalization with them. The leaders of the people that insist on being persecuted chose not to confuse themselves with the fact that 22 Arab countries were recognizing Israel and accepting its right to exist in peace alongside them. That is why our leaders simply ignored it. To the point where barely 15 percent of the Israeli public is even aware of the existence of the Arab initiative.

Obviously, Cantor is expected to say as many glowing things about Israel as humanly possible when talking to pro-Israel activists. But buttering up the crowd is still no excuse to make stuff up.

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