I am saddened to see the IR give over its pages to such a blatant collection of lies and distortions as appeared in Monday’s Your Turn (“Israel no beacon of democracy, diversity”).
The writer indulged in such absurd untruths that the IR had a responsibility to fact-check it, even if it did not reject its hate-filled tone as unsuitable. And one hardly knows where to begin the refutations.
The biggest single lie may be this one: “Israel confiscated 78 percent of the Palestinian homeland in 1948 through military aggression against a civilian population.”
Israel did not start this war.
But here is the truth: “The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 broke out when five Arab nations invaded territory in the former Palestinian mandate immediately following the announcement of the independence of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.” (from the US State Department’s Official History)
Israel is the most tolerant country in the region
And here’s a good one: “Surely Israel’s most notable characteristic remains its violent intolerance of diverse cultures, ethnicities and religions…Clearly Israel does not want a multicultural population, does not want diversity...”
Israel (which has a 20 percent Arab population) was established by United Nations Mandate as a Jewish Homeland precisely because it had been amply and undeniably demonstrated that the Jewish people, the most persecuted in history, needed and deserved a state in which the lives of Jews would never be held cheap. It is still Israel’s “most notable characteristic.”
As for intolerance, few nations can hold a candle to Israel’s Arab neighbors in that department. When Israel was founded, persecuted Jews in every Arab country fled there as fast as they could. (The Christians in Arab countries like Egypt’s Copts) may wish they had a similar refuge.) And the Palestinians who favor peaceful coexistence with Israel are nowhere to be seen; unlike the Israeli dissidents referred to, their Palestinian counterparts are all dead, victims of Palestinian “solidarity.”
“Nonetheless, Israel continues to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, and East Jerusalem continues to be ‘Judaized’”. Oh, the horror – Jews in Jerusalem! But the fact is that when Arab states controlled Jerusalem, Jews were denied access to their holiest shrines (presumably an example of Arab ‘multiculturalism’). Under Israeli occupation, all holy shrines are open and worshippers of all faiths are protected…by the Israeli Army.
Israel seeks peace
And of course, the writer conveniently ignores the key fact most awkward for those who seek to blame Israel: Palestinians could have had peace and their own country in the West Bank and Gaza; but they turned it down, remaining committed to Israel’s total destruction.
As former President Bill Clinton put it in his autobiography “My Life,” in 2000 at Camp David, “It was historic; an Israeli government had said that to get peace, there would be a Palestinian state in roughly 97 percent of the West Bank, counting the swap, and all of Gaza, where Israel also had settlements. The ball was in Arafat’s court.”
Arafat refused, preferring endless war (Intifada) to peace, just as his predecessors had done in 1948.
The Palestinian people are indeed victims; but they are victims of their own leaders and the ideology of race hatred used to rule them.
The IR owed its readers a retraction and an apology.