POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY PATRICK MARTIN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL
“Hamas does not maintain an independent judiciary with rule of law.
“Homosexuality is a crime in Gaza, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment. Gays are lucky to make it to prison, they are frequently murdered if exposed.
“There have been no free elections in Gaza since Hamas overthrew the Presidential Authority.”
Oh, please, spare us the highly selective statistics.
A Palestinian who marries an Israeli and the children of such a marriage are punished under Israeli law in a number of ways.
A Christian, under Israeli law, who goes to Israel to do the same proselytizing he or she does anywhere else is to be deported.
Israel is 19% Arabic – not by choice but because those people are the descendents of Palestinians who refused to run from Irgun and Stern Terror in the 1940s – but under Israeli law these Israeli passport holders are second-class citizens.
Israel has an elaborate set of discriminatory rules against non-Jewish citizens. Just holding a passport is not enough for what anyone anywhere else would call equal treatment. You must be part of the class of “the Jewish nation” which Israeli law and courts recognize as something higher and more exclusive than mere citizenship by birth.
Indeed, a senior minister of Netanyahu’s government, Lieberman, favors the deportation of Arabs with Israeli citizenship, and his is a view with a good deal of support in Israel. There are many quotes from prominent Israelis, even rabbis, calling the Palestinians, vermin. How would you like to try making a life with that hanging over your head?
Those are just some of the unfair laws against Arabs and others living as part of Israel proper. The other 4 million or so Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation – Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem – are treated terribly as is plain to the whole world.
Any backward law in Gaza, as against homosexuality, rather pales in comparison to the endless abuse of 4 million people with check points, arrests, assassinations, torture, stealing more land, stealing more water, and a set of regulations against these people designed to make them frustrated enough to leave.
“And now, it would appear that some believe the Israelis will be defeated by obtuse and willfully- ignorant remarks.”
No thoughtful person wants Israel “defeated,” whatever that means anyway.
That is a classic straw-man argument, against the rules of logic.
What honest critics want is an Israel which returns to its borders and treats its neighbors as human beings.
What critics want is the end of Israel’s string of atrocities.
And what Israel’s critics want is an end of the ghastly lies and misrepresentations which stream like Noah’s flood from Israeli apologists with every incident of Israel’s behaving the bloody bully.
“Israel will get through this, alone as in the past.”
Another Israeli apologists’ myth.
Alone? When has Israel ever got through anything alone?
With $3 billion assistance per year from America?
Plus a great power’s guarantee of defence?
With billions in gifts and loans from the Jewish people of North America?
With billions in reparations from Germany – deserved, of course, but hardly standing-alone stuff?
With a free-trade treaty with the United States that many countries would give a great deal to have?
With a constant flow of technical and intelligence assistance from the United States, something no other place on earth receives?
With favorable treatment for its products in Europe?
So bent in Israel’s favor are international arrangements that Israel exports farm produce which is the most subsidized on the planet, using precious water in a dry region whose actual economic cost is many times the value of exported produce.
And, of course, when you can just take someone else’s land and water for your economy, you do have a remarkable advantage, don’t you?
And even more, when everyone is afraid to criticize your most brutal actions, you have still another special advantage.
Stand alone is the last thing Israel does: it’s rather like claiming bravery for what is basically cowardice.
“Funny how those who stole land from the Jews 1200 years ago are complaining how those people stole land from them 70 years ago.”
No one stole land from Israelis 1200 years ago.
The Roman conquered the region in the first century of the Common Era.
There is no record of the Roman’s turning out the inhabitants, and, indeed, expelling the natives was not the practice of Rome.
One Israeli professor eloquently argues that the Palestinians are the true descendants of the ancient Israelis.
Now, as for the “70 years ago,” that is precisely the point of Israel’s critics.
The whole world, including Arab states like Saudi Arabia, accepts or is willing to accept Israel’s existence, despite the rather bloody and unfair events of 70 years ago.
But do we see Israel within the borders of 70 years ago?
No, we see it spreading constantly, its borders always changing, more land and more homes seized from others. Land taken, farms taken, people turned out with nothing.
We see a suppurating wound of abuse to approximately 4 million people (Gaza and the West Bank) who do not live inside the recognized borders of Israel.
We see Israel not permitting even a democratic government (Gaza) to exist without arrests, assassinations, and a horrible blockade.
There would be no problem were Israel to return to its proper borders and to begin treating its neighbors with respect and decency.
Saying anything else just is just ignoring reality.
And saying anything else supports the efforts of an imperial apartheid power imposing its will on everyone a thousand miles around its ever expanding borders.
Which all means insisting that Israel is a democracy only makes one glad there are not more such democracies