On CBC As It Happens on Friday July 31, former Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayon was interviewed by Anchor Laura Lynch who when questioning Mr. Dayon, implied that Israeli settlements caused alleged Jewish extremists to murder a Palestinian toddler recently in an arson attack in the west bank. Anchor Laura Lynch, who was standing in for regular CBC Radio host Carol Off, also had the temerity to question whether Mr. Dayon himself bore any responsibility for the appalling attack on an innocent Palestinian child.
Here’s a short transcript of the interview:
Lynch: “Israeli police spokesman Luva Samri said earlier it appeared this was a so-called “price tag” attack which is a reference to settlers who exact retribution on Palestinians in part for any Israeli government limits on settlement expansion. You and your Yesha Council support settlement expansion, so do you feel any responsibility for this, for what has happened?”
Dayan: “No, not what so ever. On the contrary, we may be the most outspoken critics of these extremists, they oppose us as well: our policies, our pragmatism… so in no way. I must tell you that when I was Chairman of the Yesha Council, I myself innumerable times went to the Inspector General of the Police, to the Chief of Staff of the Army, to the Attorney General of the State of Israel, and begged them – literally begged them to be more harsh and mostly to be more effective in combatting these bands of criminals.”
Lynch: “… I know you reject any sense of responsibility for what has happened, but I’m wondering more about tone and example, you have opposed any freeze on settlements in the west bank, you have opposed a two-state solution, doesn’t that help to elevate tensions with Palestinians to create an environment where this type of violence happens?”
Dayan: “No. Look we are in the midst of a national conflict… There is a national conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, I don’t see any correlation between that fact and the fact that there are criminals on both sides that exert violence as their tool to carry out the conflict… I remember that six months ago I went to visit a neighbour of mine in Ma’aleh Shomron in the community where I live, a 12-year old (Israeli) was hospitalized exactly in the same conditions (as the Palestinian deceased toddler) burned by a molotov cocktail that was thrown through the father’s car by a Palestinian terrorist and they are responsible for these acts, the criminals themselves, the terrorists themselves, and the people that incite them to do that.”
Lynch: “But you know how many people say that the settlers are doing the wrong thing. They’ll say what happened today should be blamed on the settlers and the drive to keep and expand the settlements in the west bank. What do you say to that?”
Dayan: “We are maybe the most demonized population in the world. One of the tragedies of the conflict is that people talk about us, the so-called “settlers,” without taking even the smallest effort to know us, to hear us, to listen to us. We do every possible effort in our hands to educate, to prevent. The attempt to generalize, to put the blame on all of us because of our political motivations, because of what we see as Israel’s right and interest, I think it’s completely out of order.”
Lynch: “Now I want to get your reaction to what the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said today, he said “Such an incident wouldn’t have happened if Israel’s government hadn’t insisted on continued settlement construction and offering protection to settlements.”
Dayan: “Laura: Are you seriously thinking that the fact that my daughter wants to build her home next to mine in Ma’aleh Shomron is a cause for terrorism? That’s absurd.”
Lynch: “You’re reducing it to one single building, we’re talking about settlements that continue to be built in these areas.”
Dayan: “And in what moral world is the construction of a home for a newlywed family, a thing that condones Palestinian terrorism against Israel and incitement against Israel?”
Lynch: “You know, you well know, these are disputed lands.”
Dayan: “Well yes, they are disputed lands and they question that is being done by many, including by diplomats in the so-called Road Map for peace in the Middle East between the prevention of Palestinian terrorism and the prevention of Israelis building their homes in Judea and Samaria, in my view is an abhorrence of morality, is exactly the opposite. The attempt to compare, a terrorist, Jewish or Palestinian, that detonates a bomb in a crowded pizzeria to a family that builds its home in disputed lands, okay, I agree to that. I think that’s the exact opposite, and a moral equivalence.”
Dayon, sounding completely taken aback by this CBC host’s appalling statements, charged the CBC host with drawing a moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorists who blow themselves up in pizza parlours, and Jews who build in the disputed territories. Dayon made it clear that there is no justification for violence and he even ridiculed the offensive line of questioning by this CBC anchor calling it “absurd”.
Dayon, who like Israel’s Prime Minister, immediately and unequivocally condemned the arson attack that killed the Palestinian toddler and he described it as an act of “terror” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Irrespective of one’s position on settlements – which are a divisive topic in Israel and abroad – Ms. Lynch deserves to be reprimanded for implying that settlements caused the murder of this Palestinian child, and for questioning if Mr. Dayon bears any responsibility for this attack.
Please send a complaint to CBC Editor-in-Chief Jennifer McGuire at Jennifer.McGuire@CBC.ca and refer to CBC Anchor Laura Lynch’s interview with former Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayon on July 31 where she implied that Israeli settlements caused extremists to murder a Palestinian toddler, and that Mr. Dayon, may bear some responsibility for this child’s death.