A response to Mervyn Bennum’s letter in the Weekend Argus

Weekend Argus Editor

Dear Sir

Mervyn Bennun exercise in sophistry (Sunday Views April 8, Apartheid defences used) is filled with specious reasoning and fallacious argument with the intention of deceiving, and fools nobody but those who wish to be fooled.

His stigmatising of Israel is not new and is indeed is the cornerstone of the BDS movement. Even before the BDS movement’s creation, Jews and Israel had to fight for their place in the global economy while being boycotted by the world’s Arab nations.

The denial of Israel’s right to exist is the cornerstone of the entire Arab strategy. Israel has made valiant attempts on at least five occasions to negotiate a peace deal with the Palestinians, although as victors in all the wars it was forced into, it had no moral obligation to do so. In every case it was rebuffed and the infamous Kartoum 3-No’s are still in place and form part of their manisfesto: No peace, No negotiation, No recognition of Israel.

Besides Bennun’s antisemitic strategy to delegitimise the only Jewish state and to hold it to different standards from the rest of the world, he hides behind the argument that he is not antisemitic but “anti-Zionist”, all the while seeking to blur the distinction between the two concepts. On the one hand, he disregards Jews’ right to self-determination, despite promoting his distorted definition of Zionism as an apartheid system that seeks to take over control of land and resources and forcibly remove Palestinians and engage in ethnic cleansing. Even more so, he seeks to rewrite any manifestation of Jewish identity that does not fit his propaganda to align Jews with the South African apartheid regime.

Bennun devalues his argument by quoting from propaganda and not from independent sources. I refer him to Freedom House, which evaluates countries throughout the world and apportions a percentage score dependent on each country’s human rights performance. Israel, (79%)  despite facing constant terrorism, ranks above every country in the Middle East and North Africa, with Syria scoring a low of minus-one and Jordan a high of 37%. Israel’s record is better than South Africa’s (78%) and just behind the USA (86%).

Since June 2016 Israel has worked to keep starvation away from thousands of Syrians and provide basic medical treatment to those who cannot access it in their war ravaged country. How does this equate with “shabby racism”? The Syrian case is a state of affairs brought about by the apartheid state of Sysria, about which Bennun has nothing to say.

Rodney Mazinter

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