Israeli Discrimination

Any hopes that the Globe & Mail would resolve to be more even-handed in its coverage of the Middle East must have been dashed when you selected Joel Cuperfain's outrageous propaganda piece for your January 1 Letters Page.

While Mr. Cuperfain paints a rosy picture of Israeli's benevolence towards the Palestinians under their control, all the evidence from objective observers suggests that, far from enjoying equality, the Palestinians suffer from a host of grossly discriminatory measures. These include the very fundamental right to citizenship which the Israeli government dispenses freely to all professed Jewish immigrants (most of whom have no ancestral relationship with Palestine) while denying citizenship to Palestinians who were born there. Palestinians under Israeli control are denied freedom of expression, freedom of movement and to a large extent economic freedom, including the right to retain or purchase property. They have been deprived of water for agricultural purposes and much of their land has been seized (in effect, stolen) and placed at the disposal of foreign-born Jews.

In the circumstances, it is both ludicrous and deceitful to say that "the only significant distinction between Israel's Jewish and non-Jewish citizens is that Arabs are not required to serve in the Army."

As for the "guaranteed" religious rights, the State of Israel has strenuously attempted to Judaize the Holy City of Jerusalem, beginning with the execution of the elderly Christian Keeper of the Garden Tomb in 1967 (an atrocity, like most committed against Palestinians, ignored by the Canadian media) and culminating with the creeping annexation of the Christian Quarter and military occupation of other Christian centres such as Bethlehem. Far worse has been the obliteration of hundreds of Christian Arab villages to make way for Jewish settlers, a notorious example of which was the Biblical village of Emmaeus (Emwas) which was demolished and the residents killed or banished in an operation virtually identical to the Nazi destruction of Lidice during World War II.

This reality may not constitute "discrimination" in Mr. Cuperfain's vocabulary but I have yet to hear of the Israeli Government taking similar measures against Jewish residents.


Ian Macdonald

January 1, 1992