If former Israeli Prime Minister Ahud Barak calls you a terrorist, that's good enough for the editors of The Oregonian(10/16); you're a terrorist. In their editorial, A matter of will, the Oregonian media spinners describe the Palestinians' violent 34-year struggle against Israeli occupation as terrorism. It is surprising the editorial does not pander even further to its Jewish readership by quoting Barak's incomprehensible remark that "now Americans have experienced what Israelis have lived with for years"( OPB 10/16). Barak, speaking before his Portland appearance, actually compared the Israeli experience, with fewer than 200 Jews killed in conflicts with Palestinians over 34 years, with the Sept.11, 2001, attacks where 6000 Americans were killed in a single day.
It's true, Barak and the present Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should know what terrorism is all about - and not because of anything the Palestinians have done. Sharon and Barak have had long association with terrorism through their mentor, a former Israeli Prime Minister, the late Menachem Begin.
According to the BBC feature program honoring the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel (April 1998), after WWII Begin and his right wing militia, Irgun Zwei Leumi, blew up the King David Hotel (1946), killing over 60 civilians in their support for the emerging Jewish state of Israel. Begin and his followers were reviled as terrorists by the British Government. They were condemned as terrorists even by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. In the 1948 war to establish the State of Israel, Begin supervised the massacre of hundreds of Arab women and children in the village of Deir Yassin. Much later, in 1982, Begin sponsored Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon, in the course of which Sharon permitted the massacre of over 800 women and children in Sabra and Shatila Refugee camps. For his involvement, Sharon was forced out of the Israeli government and is known throughout the Muslim world as a war criminal.
On the other hand, if the recent violence by Palestinians, confined as it has been to the disputed lands of Israel and Palestine (and occupied Lebanon), is terrorism, then the American Revolution and all other struggles against tyranny and for political self determination are terrorism.