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