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Vilified for fair criticism of Israel

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WE REFER to the letters in The Star of May 20 in response to Emma Daitz’s article (“South Africans plant the seed for the politics of solidarity”, May 15) about the Stop the JNF (Jewish National Fund) trip to Israel/Palestine, which focused on the hospitality shown to the group by Palestinians.

The Jewish group’s trip was a small gesture by Jews who wished to draw attention to human rights violations against Palestinians, the destruction of Lubya being but one such example.

Don Krausz relies on the Zionist narrative of Jews settling an unoccupied land. This story is now referred to by history academics as “mythistory” as it is simply untrue. Ilan Pappe, in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, refers to authoritative documents now contained in Israeli military archives that Palestine was in fact a densely populated land by the late 19th century prior to the commencement of the colonisation by European Jews. In 1948, when the British Army left Palestine the armies of the Hagannah and Irgun surrounded Palestinian towns and villages, leaving a narrow gap for the population to exit making it clear that death would await those who did not. The archives also tell a very different story from the Zionist version – that, in fact, the armies of the Arab league were ragtag and did not constitute a serious threat to the nascent Jewish state.

The exception perhaps was that of Trans Jordan and this threat was neutralised by an agreement with Israel that it would obtain sovereignty over the West Bank in return for largely staying out of the war.

The episode remembered as the Nakba, or catastrophe, by the Palestinians was called such because hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were robbed of their properties by the Zionist militarists.

The writers suggest Daitz is demonising Israel yet it appears to us that the writers – Krausz, L Hotz, Monessa Shapiro and Allan Wolman – are attempting to demonise Daitz. They accuse her of ignoring historical facts yet the writers are silent on the facts referred to above as well as other terrorist actions of the Irgun and Hagannah.

These armies, the forerunners of the IDF (Israel Defence Forces), committed other terrorist attacks on civilians such as the blowing up of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and the assassination of the UN mediator Count Bernadotte in September 1948, ostensibly because of his call for the Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return home. This despite the fact that he saved countless Jews from the Nazis.

Finally, it is outrageous to label Jews and others who draw attention to Israeli human rights abuses as causing anti-Semitism.

Ironically, it is Israel that is fanning the flames of antiSemitism through its collective punishment of Palestinians – creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza which functions as the largest “open” prison on the planet, killing thousands of civilians in the recent war, detaining without trial thousands of Palestinians since the Israeli occupation began and the continual settlement and violent colonisation of the West Bank – and doing so in the name of all Jewish people.

Written by:
Jews for a Free Palestine

• David Sanders and Shereen Usdin

Retrieved from:

  • The Star Early Edition, 

    • 3 Jun 2015