Today, HRC Executive Director Mike Fegelman responded to an anti-Israel letter in the Penticton News. Here’s the letter in full which was published today:
Frank Martens recent letter (Penticton Western News, Dec. 23, Thinking of others) is a perfect example of how when baseless accusations are left unanswered, they risk becoming accepted as conventional wisdom.
Since time immemorial, the root cause of the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has been the fundamental rejection of the Jewish State’s right to exist and to exercise self-determination. Had Palestinian Arabs agreed to the 1947 Partition Plan, dividing the land into two states, a Jewish and an Arab state, with Jerusalem under international supervision, the conflict wouldn’t exist today. But instead, Palestinians continued their previous rejectionist dictum by adopting the notorious Khartoum Resolution of 1967: no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no recognition of Israel.
Most egregiously, Marten’s presenting Jews as foreigners or colonizers of their own ancestral and biblical homeland is tantamount to historical revisionism. In reality, when the British Mandate over Palestine expired on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council proudly declared the establishment of the State of Israel. Immediately after, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq) invaded Israel in a war of annihilation. As Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League said at the time: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.” Though Israel won this war, it lost almost 1 per cent of its population as over 6,000 Israelis were killed in the costliest of all of Israel’s wars – all of which were initiated by Arab nations with genocidal intent.
The “Nakba” narrative referred to by Martens seeks to paint Palestinians as perpetual victims and to portray Israel’s creation as an original sin requiring of rectification. Accordingly, present-day Palestinian aspirations have continually been defined as a conquest to replace and conquer the Jewish state.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas – a man whose PhD thesis was tantamount to Holocaust denial — continues to incite his populace to commit terror attacks when he says that “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Naturally, Palestinians indoctrinated to hate Jews, to glorify Palestinian terrorists, and who are financially rewarded for committing terror, have taken Abbas call to action to heart and have carried out a wave of stabbing, shooting and bombing attacks which since Sept. 13, 2015, has seen the murder of 40 innocent people who have been killed in terrorist attacks (including a Palestinian, two Americans and an Eritrean), and 558 wounded. In total, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been: 165 stabbing attacks and 87 attempted stabbings; 107 shootings; 47 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicle (bus) bombing.
Israel is situated in a neighbourhood of the globe where carnage runs high, terrorism reigns supreme and theocratic despots oppress and murder their own people. Israel is the only country that upholds the rule of law, that offers all of its citizens equal civil liberties and that enshrines a free, open and fair democratic system. Apart from being disingenuous, the mistruths promulgated by Frank Martens are themselves obstacles to peace. But for those whose goal is to demonize Israel, that is often the point.