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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DANIEL FINKELSTEIN IN THE TIMES

Daniel,

I believe your remarks are short-sighted.

Comparisons with Nazi Germany indeed go too far, but they should also clearly signal you and other defenders of Israel’s bloody excesses how deeply many are offended by Israel’s barbaric practices.

The entire line, one we read repeated in so many places, that Hamas is responsible for this savage attack is false.

But it is more than false: it seeks to blame the victims for the bloodshed they suffer.

Israel has made not one honest effort to deal with Hamas, although Hamas clearly stated early on that an understanding could be reached. Hamas also kept scrupulously the previous ceasefire, demonstrating they kept their obligations.

Israel simply wants to eliminate Hamas. This is, on a small scale, the way those running the Third Reich did think, although we all know they pushed this to limits of human horror. It is certainly the way apartheid South Africa felt about the African National Congress.

Israel also shows no respect for democracy. The claim is made, over and over, that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

But democracy has nothing to do with behaving as a bully or even a tyrant. The American Confederacy, apartheid South Africa, France in Algeria, and indeed Israel prove that. As does America’s creation of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

In a democracy, an angry or prejudiced majority can behave every bit as badly as people under any other form of government, and they often do.

In Canada or America, the Charter and Bill of Rights are intended to protect the minority against such a majority. That is the intent, and it is why America has felt it must keep its barbarism offshore. Some respect for principles.

Israel has no Bill of Rights. Likely it never will, because it is extremely difficult to create one that has any meaning for a national identity based on religion.

But even if it had one, likely it would follow the practices of the U.S. in keeping its horrors outside its borders.

Of course, as soon as we mention borders, we come to the issue of what are Israel’s? They are truly undefined. They don’t resemble those of the international agreements in the early 20th century. They don’t resemble those for the UN acts establishing Israel.

Anyone knows you talk to your enemies if you want peace. Israel is no different.

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