HRC Letter In Hill Times Rebuts Columnist’s Accusing Israel of Human Rights Abuses & Completely Ignoring Palestinian Terrorism

In The Hill Times on March 13, columnist Mukarram Zaidi accused Israel of committing human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. However, in so doing, Zaidi completely ignored how Israeli politicians and society at large reject violence against Palestinians, all while the Palestinian leadership – and much of Palestinian society – celebrates the murder of Israelis.

On March 27, HonestReporting Canada was granted space in the Times to rebut Zaidi’s accusing Israel of gross human rights abuses and his efforts in ignoring recent deadly Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.

Opinion columnist failed to mention riot was widely condemned in Israeli society, too: Fegelman

A March 13 column in The Hill Times by Mukarram Zaidi saw the author point the finger for recent violence between Israelis and Palestinians squarely at the Jewish state using popular anti-Israel tropes, but his claims are unsupported by facts. Zaidi commented on a recent assault on a Palestinian village by a group of Jewish extremists, which saw one Palestinian regrettably die. While horrific, Zaidi neglected to mention that this riot was widely condemned in Israeli society as being deplorable, from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to President Isaac Herzog, to the thousands of Israelis who contributed to a crowdfunding campaign for the Palestinian village raising close to a million dollars. Israel also arrested a number of Israelis in connection with the violence.

In contrast, when two Israeli civilians were gunned down while driving on a highway by a Palestinian terrorist—which Zaidi does not mention—senior Palestinian officials paid a condolence visit to the terrorist’s family. An official Palestinian Authority statement referred to the killer as having died while committing an act of “martyrdom.”

Tragically, there is no shortage of such instances and it’s important to point out that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian casualties in 2023 are confirmed terrorists. For example, after a Palestinian terrorist recently shot and killed seven innocent Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue in January, celebrations erupted throughout Palestinian towns, with candies and sweets being distributed, car horns honking, revellers yelling “God is great,” and fireworks being set off.

While Israel has made multiple painful concessions for peace—including the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, where it removed all Israeli soldiers and civilians from the coastal enclave, to peace offers made to the Palestinian Authority—Israel has shown that it’s ready and willing to forge a peace agreement with its Palestinian neighbours.

And yet, it’s against this backdrop that Zaidi demands that the Canadian government attack Israel for its alleged “human rights abuses?” Such a demand is the height of absurdity. Israel may not be perfect, but it’s a country governed by the rule of law and is the only free nation in the Middle East, according to a recent report by Freedom House.

As a liberal democracy, Israel should absolutely be held to a high standard, but to utterly dismiss the Palestinian Authority’s role and responsibility in perpetuating violence and the suffering of its own people, and to demand no accountability from the Palestinian leadership, is to look for an easy, convenient answer, even when it is demonstrably wrong.

Mike Fegelman
Executive Director
HonestReporting Canada


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