UPDATE: October 23, 2018:
On October 18, the Lethbridge Herald issued the following correction:
In light of the Lethbridge Herald’s correction, HRC has amended our commentary per below.
Original Alert: October 17, 2018:
In an op-ed published in the Lethbridge Herald today, HRC Executive Director Mike Fegelman condemned the attempts of retired lawyer Fuad Abboud, who compared Jews to the Nazis claiming that Israel puts Palestinians in prison camps with “concentration camp-like conditions”. This repugnant claim is antisemitic and it fans the flames of hatred.
See our commentary online here.
BY LETHBRIDGE HERALD OPINON ON OCTOBER 17, 2018.
Honest Reporting Canada
Re: Lethbridge Herald: Dave Mabell: “Israeli-Palestinian peace hope begins at grassroots” (Oct. 18):
According to the Lethbridge Herald’s Dave Mabell, retired lawyer Fuad Abboud outrageously linked the situation in the Palestinian territories to the suffering that Jews endured in concentration camps. His statements were allegedly made in an address to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) on Oct. 11.
In referring to a fictional “Gaza prison camp, where Israeli officials are said to be holding Palestinians in concentration camp-like conditions,” Abboud trumped up libelous claims that Jews – who were once the victims of the Nazis in the Holocaust that saw the murder of six million Jews – are now the victimizers carrying out a genocide of Palestinians. It should be noted that comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy and actions to that of the Nazis fits the European Union’s, U.S. State Department’s and Canada’s Ottawa Protocol’s working definition of anti-Semitism.
As Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University noted, comparing “Jews to Nazis is not only ill-informed, it demonstrates a certain prejudice – anti-Semitism – which will never help resolve the situation. Whatever one thinks of Israeli policy, to describe it as akin to the Nazi policy of murdering all of European Jewry is to engage in anti-Semitism and a form of Holocaust denial.”
Furthermore, make no mistake, Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel and have lived there, uninterrupted, for over 3,000 years. The dream of a Jewish state is the essence of Zionism, a movement founded by Theodore Herzl which preceded the Holocaust.
Indeed, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 saw the British government endorse the creation of the Jewish national home in Palestine. The declaration represented a national commitment by the British government for Zionist aspirations in Palestine, which ultimately laid the groundwork for Israel’s founding, without which, the Jewish state may never have been created.
It’s troubling to note that it was just last year that the Lethbridge Herald reported that Israel’s very existence and the removal of the world’s only Jewish state was openly discussed as a potential solution to the Mideast’s problems at another SACPA event. Mohammed Abushaban, a Palestinian-Canadian interpreter, reportedly described the mere existence of Israel as a constant source of instability requiring rectification at that event.
In back-to-back years, comments made by speakers at SACPA events have fanned the flames of hatred against the Jewish community of Canada and supporters of Israel.
Enough is enough.
Mike Fegelman is executive director of HonestReporting Canada, a non-profit organization ensuring fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel. https://honestreporting.ca.