Toronto Star Columnist Rick Salutin Claims Israel “Colonized The former Palestine Like It Was Still The 1800s”

June 11, 2024

In his latest rambling commentary in The Toronto Star, one of the newspaper’s many regular anti-Israel columnists, Rick Salutin, turned history on its head in his pursuit of his ideological agenda.

Salutin’s June 7 commentary entitled: “The myth of ‘the West’ is being blown up,” posited that Israel was “granted privileged status as a sort of outside member of the civilized West” for a host of shadowy reasons that Salutin did not fully articulate, but suggested that it was due to a mix of “long-reigning political mythology.”

If Israel was ever accepted as a member of the civilized world, it was because it earned it, by being a vibrant liberal democratic state providing equal rights to all its citizens, in sharp contrast to the misogynistic, homophobic and repressive regimes throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Salutin is not satisfied to merely suggest that Israel is undeserving of respect; he made blatantly false statements, evidently expecting that Toronto Star readers do not know better.

He wrote that “Israel gained membership in their ugly and, at a minimum, hypocritical club: provisionally at first and then enthusiastically, after the 1967 war, when it occupied and colonized the former Palestine like it was still the 1800s…”

Salutin’s comment is more than just sloppy or even mistaken; it is profoundly wrong, and a microcosm of one of the most common lies made about Israel.

Beyond ignoring any details of 1967’s Six Day War, namely how Israel was defending itself against an impending onslaught from its Arab neighbours, Salutin misrepresented history to suit his pre-existing agenda.

The lands that Israel won in 1967 in its self-defensive war were not Palestinian; they were administered by Jordan, Egypt and Syria. The lands he is presumably referring to, namely Gaza, Judea & Samaria (commonly called the “West Bank” in the news media) was never part of any sovereign state called Palestine, for such a state had never existed.

As for Salutin’s dishonest claim that Israel had “colonized” the Jewish People’s historic ancestral lands, such asinine comments bear no resemblance to reality.

Colonization refers to “the act or process of sending people to live in and govern another country,” but on no planet can this refer to Israel’s presence in the lands that Jews had lived in for three thousand years, and had never before been part of any so-called Palestinian state.

Salutin’s column read more as a mishmash of freshman political babbling than any kind of serious commentary about Israel’s place in the world.

Rick Salutin has a long checkered history penning such nonsense, and three of his last five columns in The Toronto Star have been about castigating Israel. In April, Salutin offered rhetorical support to the pro-Hamas hate mobs who have attempted to disrupt civic life across North America, saying that “quite a bit” of their antics can be justified due to the Hamas-Israel war.

In January, he praised South Africa’s scandalous accusations of genocide against Israel ­– despite the Jewish state taking more steps to avoid civilian casualties than any military in modern history – simply because of the “discussion it evokes.

While Salutin may embrace such “discussion,” for a columnist, he ought to spend more time learning the facts before he pontificates on a subject he appears to understand little about.

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