It’s a question of real estate, says Barrett.
Question: How do you explain American Muslim antipathy toward Israel
Barrett: It is a question of partisanship. It’s a question of real estate. It’s a question of a historical clash over a . . . you know a place in a . . . in a much disputed, much beloved, tiny slice of existence in the Middle East. You know I would not say all Muslims; but I would say it’s pretty safe to say most Muslims, but particularly Muslims who have their roots in the Arab, world view Israel as an illegitimate entity. They think it was wrong to set the country up. They think Palestinians were unjustly chased from their land, and that Israel is an oppressor state. Now most of the more sophisticated Arab Americans understand that Israel is not going away, and that what needs to happen is some kind of compromise. And many of them are entirely willing to talk about such things and so forth. But they may be wary of doing that in public. They may be wary of doing that with Jews. And what they are very resentful of – and here, whether you agree with them on the merits or not – their procedural complaint is very legitimate. And their procedural complaint is it is very difficult in this country to voice hostility toward Israel; to voice support for the Palestinians; to voice strong criticism of the nearly unanimous bipartisan support for almost anything the Israeli government does. So whether I, Paul Barrett, am a supporter of the Israeli government or not, I can entirely sympathize with the protests that I, American citizen of Arab decent – a Muslim from anywhere in the world feel I should be able to stand up and criticize Israel and what it does. That seems legitimate to me. Recorded on: 12/4/07