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Blood libel writ large

Ofri Bibas Levy, sister of Yarden Bibas, held hostage in Gaza with his wife, Shiri and two kids, Kfir and Ariel, talks to the media during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland (Photograph by Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone/AP)

Dear Sir,

Being Jewish is not easy right now. Terrorists murder and torture our babies and grandmothers, and around the world, we see tens of thousands of people enthusiastically supporting the extermination of the Jewish state. And your headline writer thinks that “Jewish saga of victimisation” is truthful or appropriate in these circumstances?

Shame on The Royal Gazette for allowing such a headline. If what you meant to say is that Jews have long been victims of murderous pogroms and terrorist attacks, then you should be saying, “The victimisation of Jews throughout history”. As the headline is written, it implies that Jews are the victimisers, and that is a blood libel.

And shame on you for publishing an article whose historical analysis is incomplete at best and disingenuous at worst.

Let’s start with the opening paragraph: “I thoroughly condemn the actions of Hamas … (but) I express the same sentiment for the non-combatants … of Palestine who are being made to pay for what Hamas did”.

The first question to be asked is, what does Khalid Wasi believe Israel should have done in response to the greatest one-day loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust? Given that Hamas was elected by Palestinians to be their leaders, given that Hamas terrorists make no apologies for using Palestinians as human shields, given that Hamas stores munitions and supplies under schools, hospitals and mosques, given that it is Hamas who block Gazans from leaving the war zone, and given that billions of dollars flowing into Gaza are diverted by Hamas to enrich their leaders who are safely ensconced in their luxury penthouses in Qatar, how exactly is Israel supposed to wage a surgical war against Hamas?

The answer is, it can’t. Hamas declared war and Israel has the right and obligation to defend its country in whatever manner is most likely to succeed.

Next, Mr Wasi writes about “… the nationalist quest for a Jewish kingdom…” There is an enormous semantical difference between “kingdom” and “homeland”. Jews need make no apologies for demanding the same right as other Indigenous peoples: a safe haven from prejudice and, yes, victimisation.

Just to confirm his bias, Mr Wasi says that “…it is alleged that the Russians forged a book called the Protocols of Zion, which foretold a Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world through economic hegemonic control over the economies and politics”.

Alleged? Mr Wasi should know that using the word “alleged” is a shameful weasel clause that attempts to minimise the impact of the philosophy reflected in that book.

Putting aside Mr Wasi’s questionable spin on Jewish history before the Second World War, he outdoes himself with his unconscionable comparison of Israelis to the Nazis. “Hitler decided to exterminate millions of Jews ... in Europe. That is why today it looks like history repeating itself, but this time, at the hands of the very Jews who were similarly expelled by their host when they landed in other people’s lands — and now these people are being called animals by the Jewish leaders”.

Jews lived in Eastern Europe for millennia. They were more German than the Germans, more Polish than the Polish. They weren’t parachuted into other people’s lands; they were citizens of those countries.

Exactly what history is repeating itself? Is Mr Wasi seriously comparing the slaughter of six million Jews to the situation with Gazans whose population has been rising by 3 per cent to 5 per cent per year? There is no attempt by Israel to exterminate the Palestinian people, but there is certainly rightful and appropriate actions by the Israeli military to defend its citizens against terrorist attacks.

Mr Wasi is right about one thing: some Israelis have referred to the rapists and baby-beheaders of Hamas as animals. The description is completely warranted, although it may be an insult to animals which are not remotely capable of committing the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.

Not being satisfied with labelling Israelis as Nazis, Mr Wasi grudgingly agrees that Jews may have been entitled to their own homeland ... “but it should not be at the expense of people who have every right to live in peace in a land that had been established as their home more than 1,000 years ago”. I’m not sure what history books Mr Wasi uses to justify his assertions, but there was never an Arab country called Palestine. There were Arabs living in the Palestine Mandate area, but they saw themselves as Iraqis, Syrians Egyptians, etc. It was Yassir Arafat who invented the mythical nation of Palestine in the 1960s to justify his campaign of terrorism and denial of Jewish statehood.

And guess what, Mr Wasi? Palestinians should be granted internationally recognised territory. That’s why the United Nations offered the Palestinian Arabs their own country in 1948 — a country, by the way, that would have contained most of the fertile land in the region. The Jews were offered mostly desert and swampland, but they happily agreed to the partition of the territory and repeatedly expressed their desire to live in peace with their Arab neighbours. It’s also why Israel offered to recognise and aid in the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on five different occasions, answered each time by intifada and more Jewish deaths at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

One more blood libel from Mr Wasi concerns his statement about Israel “… uprooting 400 Arab villages, killing hundreds and burying their very history of existence”. There are numerous reports of uprooted Arab villages in that era — with virtually no reference to any large-scale death tolls — but there were also a large number of Arab attacks on Jewish villages. And as far as erasing history is concerned, the only efforts to erase history have come from those anti-Semites who refuse to accept the longstanding and profound Jewish ties to Israel.

Not content to libel Israel, Mr Wasi also sets his sights on the United States and Britain who “…sanitised their involvement by making occupation by force a legitimate right of Israel … those who resisted being evacuated from their homeland were deemed anti-Semitic at best or a terrorist at worst”.

Occupation by force? Does Mr Wasi understand that the West Bank — or, more accurately, Judaea and Samaria — were meant to be part of Israel as mandated by the United Nations because of the Jewish people’s historical connections to those lands and that they were seized, illegally, by Jordan in the 1948 War of Independence? And does Mr Wasi know that despite the West Bank being in Arab hands between 1948 and 1967, there were no movements towards a Palestinian state? Finally, does Mr Wasi accept that any additional lands Israel came to possess after 1948 were the direct result of Arab armies attacking Israel in an attempt to erase the Jewish state? History tells us when you lose a war that you started, you might wind up losing territory.

There is the outrageous moral equivalency mirrored in Mr Wasi’s statement that “… Hamas must be taken off the table and so, too, the present Israeli cabinet”. You’re certainly right about the need to obliterate Hamas, Mr Wasi, but how dare you tell Israelis who they can elect and who should lead them? Unlike Gaza, Israel is a democracy with vigorous internal debate and it wouldn’t matter to Israelis right now who is the leader in the Knesset; virtually every Israeli knows that their government must do whatever is necessary to permanently terminate the Hamas threat.

Frankly, if you really cared about Palestinian citizens, you would be right there on the front lines with the Israel Defence Forces because they are the only and the best hope for Palestinians’ liberation from Hamas.


Montreal, Canada

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Published November 17, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated November 17, 2023 at 7:15 am)

Blood libel writ large

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