Criticism is fine, but it must be justified

What a scurrilous letter from Ruby Mabatha (US’s Harris has blind spot on Israel, The Mercury, August 31).

Her letter is full of half-truths and anti-Semitic tropes, not just because of her criticism of Israel, but it’s the language she uses. Anyone has the right to criticise Israel, however, it must be justified.

Mabatha calls Israel an apartheid state; that’s the first untruth. She claims Israel sends snipers to kill unarmed civilians, that’s the second. Can she highlight one incident, citing names, dates and places? I thought not.

Rocketing demolitions of Palestinian homes is another well-worn cliché. Has she forgotten that Hamas, the terrorist organisation hides in schools and hospitals deliberately, so they can blame Israel for any human rights abuses?

Mabatha also claims that Kamala Harris, the running mate of Joe Biden who has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next president of the US, has a blind spot when it comes to Israel. Just because Harris is a vocal proponent of Black Lives Matter, doesn’t mean that she has to side with the oppressed Palestinians as Mabatha refers to them.

In fact, the Palestinians have brought their woes on themselves by refusing to negotiate with Israel for a peace agreement.

But back to Harris: she may not have voiced her opinion on the Palestinian issue but Biden has. Just this week the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported that the Democratic presidential candidate pledged to fight BDS (Boycott and Disinvest Campaign), fight anti-Semitism and protect Israel’s security.

Biden also said that if he became president he would take steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in accordance with US law, work to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington, the JTA said. Now as Biden’s running mate, Harris probably agrees with those sentiments. So I don’t know what else Mabatha expects Harris to say on the Palestinians. She certainly won’t, as Mabatha has done, stir the flames of hatred against the Jews and Israel.

Mabatha, your letter does nothing to further the debate; it just highlights your bias when it comes to Israel.

BRIAN JOSSELOWITZ

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