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March 4, 2021

Reasonable criticism or baseless slurs?

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The problem with so-called peace activist Avigail Abarbanel is not that she is critical of Israel, but that she frames much of her criticism in half-truths and untruths.

She says she always believed in the ‘Israel right or wrong’ mantra, and like most Israelis, did not question the actions of their government towards the Palestinians. The only mantra that all fair-minded people hold in this context is Israel’s right to exist, not that everything it does is beyond criticism, which is what she seeks to imply. And there are few more robust media outlets anywhere in the world than in Israel, where the population is vigorously critical of its government.

She accuses Israel of conducting ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. In view of the fact that the Palestinian population has grown by three million since Israel was established 64 years ago, one would have to conclude that either Israel has done a very poor job of ethnic cleansing or Ms Abarbanel is delivering yet another falsehood.

Finally, she trots out the predictable canard – that Israel is an apartheid state. Are readers aware that an Arab judge, sitting in an Israeli court, recently sentenced a former president of Israel to seven years for sexual misconduct? And that’s an apartheid state? She insults those who did suffer under apartheid.

As a political entity, Israel should be criticised when it errs, just as all nations should be. But engaging in baseless slurs serves only to retard the cause of peace.

Vic Alhadeff, chief executive officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies



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  1. Predictable response from an Israeli Govt. spokesman to Avigail’s criticism.

    Israel’s attitude towards the Palestinians has not only invited a parallel with apartheid, the spectre of Naziism has also been raised, as ‘lebensraum’ is carried out on the West Bank where Palestinians, holding legal right to homes and lands going back generations, are kicked out to make way for recent arrivals from the US and Romania inter alia.

  2. Am I wrong but wasn’t the 1948 UN Resolution a 2 State policy. Palestine and Israel.

    60 years later the story continues, maybe Israel’s moral, ethical and spiritual obligation is to reconcile this wrong.

  3. Why don’t us Aussies try to sort out our own backyard before pontificating about the world, particularly Israel. South Africa has done much better than Australia in returning land previously ‘grabbed . We are the overfed carbon plunderers that infest this land like so many maggots,losing species,trampling biodiversity infesting the lifegiving rivers with our livestock ‘s wastes,stretching untold lines of 5 strand barbed wire across the landscape
    Israel can’t relax in a land in which they are outnumbered as jews. Would you ?It has every right to exist.Jerusalem an international holy site maybe accessable to all. Personally I’m totally gratefull for the great cultural gifts the jews have given us. Seriously ,think about it. Einstein,Bob Dylan.Lenard Cohen,. Tchikovsky,, Mahatma Gandi The Pope jesus christ the list goes on

  4. Vic Alhadeff makes sense. Nick, you’re not wrong. What a pity the Arabs didn’t accept the UN’s decision, made war as soon as the Israeli state was declared, and the Palestinians are still paying the price for their appalling leadership. The only reason they are still refugees is because the Arab states around them make sure they stay that way. Unlike Australia, they refuse to ratify the UN Refugee convention, and treat the Palestinians abominably.


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