June 18, 2002
Letter to the Globe and Mail (re: Wente on Israel)

In her Counterpoint (Saturday, June 8), Margaret Wente remarked that union condemnations of Israel "says suicide bombings have to stop, but doesn't mention who directs them." But the reader is left hanging. Who does direct the suicide bombings? Arafat? Palestinians as a whole? More than likely, it's the same people who usually "direct" suicide bombings: extremist terrorist groups.

posted by dru in letters

By contrast, Israel's atrocities are committed by a military acting unambiguously on behalf of a democratic government, which at least suggests that they could stop killing innocents and bulldozing homes if they wanted to.

By remaining vague on the point of who directs suicide bombings, Wente seems to be suggesting that she knows something that no one else does. I'd love to hear what inside information she has, but the analogy that follows suggests that her vagueness was a result of lack of research, not special information.

Wente writes: "saying that Israel invaded the territories is like saying the US invaded Japan without mentioning Pearl Harbour." Indeed, wouldn't it have been slightly different if the US had massacred Japanese and leveled their homes until most of the population fled to Korea and China? Interesting, too, would have been the international reaction when thousands of US settlers were, at great cost to the American taxpayer, strategically placed all over Honshu with the express goal of retaining control of the island.

Instead, the US (in that instance) helped Japan set up a self-sufficient, democratic system that ended up working for the Japanese, not against them. If only Israel had done the same.

All of this is not to say that one cannot find fault with the ways in which many unions have issued "emergency" condemnations of Israel, but Wente's equation of loathing of Israel's grim, long standing oppression of the Palestinian people with "Jew-hating" is both intellectually dishonest and factually false. Just ask many of the Jews who show up to pro-Palestinian rallies, among many other reasonable people who have done their homework.

In the end, the majority of Palestinians, are, as Wente says of Canadian workers "not particularly political." So why do they deserve to continue to bear the brunt of 54 years of alternate impoverishment and terrorization? The answer lies in no small part with the willingness of journalists and columnists and like Wente to ignore the facts, doing everyone a disservice.

Go ahead, criticize unions for condemning Israel, but do it intelligently and do your research.