Re: “Why call Israel’s critics anti-Semitic?”, Have Your Say, January 13.
Eric Bahrt calls Israel a “racist nation”, yet it has a large Arab population, with Arab representation in the Knesset, and it is home to many Ethiopian falashas. The true racists in that part of the world are the Arabs. They have never tolerated the Jews, with al-Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, telling Hitler that Jews were the “enemies “ of Arabs too. Though Muslims, Christians and Jews are all historically entitled to reside in the Holy Land, Arab intolerance towards the Jews, in all countries of the Middle East, was one factor contributing to the creation of a safe haven for them in the form of a Jewish state.
As for Mr Bahrt’s calling Israelis “outlaws”, presumably for holding on to the West Bank, which they occupied in the aftermath of the Six Day War, the Israelis offered to return it to the Palestinians if the latter agreed to Israel’s right to exist – the “land for peace” deal. But Yasser Ararat and the Arabs rejected “land for peace”; after all, the whole purpose of their massing their armies prior to the outbreak of the war was to destroy Israel. Egypt, however, agreeing to recognise Israel’s right to exist, had Gaza and the Sinai returned to it.
There is a good non-outlaw reason why Israel continues to occupy the West Bank. Mainly, scepticism about the Palestinians’ willingness to accept the existence of a Jewish state, even if does have Arab citizens. The Israelis calculate if they withdraw to their pre-war borders, they will once again be a tiny country vulnerable to being overrun by determined enemies .
The Israelis are too busy with the task of survival to worry about the kinds of epithets hurled at it by Messrs Bahrt and Noam Chomsky and some members of the UN.