171. Israel still has long way to go on admitting facts

The truth about such events as: the 1948 war, the massacres of Deir Yassin and Kafr Kassem, the forcible expulsion of Palestinians etc. is starting to seep slowly into Israel's history textbooks used in the classrooms (news story, Oct. 15). Undoubtedly, Israel is on the right track but it still has a long way to go.

Even though the facts about these shameful events and many others were known all along, Israeli revisionist historians started to write about them only a little over a decade ago, and only now have they made their way into textbooks.

It is unfortunate, however, that many in Israel are still opposed to the truth. Yossi Sarid, the Israeli Education Minister, in his reply to them said: "We don't need these myths anymore." It is refreshing to see Israel facing up to the truth.

Here, in the United States, the truth about Israel has an even harder time. The chapter on the Middle East in my son's history book, for instance, is totally inadequate. A reader of my Web site, mideaswatch.com, sent me an e-mail rehashing the same old "myths." Letters to the editor of this and other papers, written by Israel's apologists, are still distorting the facts.

If peace is ever to be achieved in the Middle East it has to be built on truth and justice. The good news is that the Israelis have started working on the truth. The bad news is that justice hasn't even crossed their minds.

October 20, 1999