Taking the necessary stand

A recent letter sent by a brave Israeli, Jacob Katriel.

President Lorna Mardsen, York University, Canada.

Arbitrator Russel Goodfellow

Dear Madames/Sirs,

I am writing as a (Jewish) citizen of Israel, as a former officer in the Israeli army who took part in some of its wars (including those that I knew at the time to be unjust), and as an activist in the cause of peace.

I was born in British Palestine (the part that is now Israel). I am writing as a person who knows about the issues involved more than any of you, and for whom these issues matter more than for all of you put together.

I firmly believe that the freedom of expression includes the right to hold distorted and biased views that are totally inconsistent with an honest examination of reality. I am, therefore, not criticizing you for accepting at face value the Israeli denials of the brutality of the occupation and of Israel’s deep-rooted desire for taking control over the whole of Palestine (or, at least, as much of it as it believes the International Community will possibly tolerate) and reducing or eliminating the Palestinian presence in it. In short, the fact that Israel pretends to be seeking peace while doing precisely the opposite.

I do criticize, in the strongest terms, your attempt to present any criticism of the conduct and policies of the State of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism. I hope that upon seriously examining the issues involved you will realize:

1. That the Israeli covers a consistently brutal occupation.
2. That the Palestinian people have a very valid cause.
3. That many Jews, in Israel, Canada, and elsewhere, are honest and courageous enough to speak up and stand for justice and peace.
4. That anti-Semitism is a despicable attitude that should be opposed and denounced.
5. That abusing anti-Semitism to silence criticism of Israel is one of the most despicable forms of denial of the severity of the crime of anti-Semitism and of its past horrible consequences.
6. That Jews, having been the most racially persecuted people on the face of the earth for almost two millennia, should be the first to denounce brutality and injustice, not practice and support it.

Sincerely yours,
Jacob Katriel
Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
Haifa 32000, Israel

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