LETTER: Israel-Palestine Dialogue


I write to commend your editorial (Feb. 4) about the need for constant remembrance of the Holocaust and indeed of the persecution of Jews throughout history. However, I would also query a letter (Feb. 11) by Philip Salzman in reply to this editorial.

Mr. Salzman challenges your attribution of recent anti-Semitic attacks mainly to the political far-right (including presumably Islamist extremists) and suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes are more prevalent on the political left.

Such an assessment is complicated by the tendency of the current government of Israel and its supporters to label as “anti-Semitic” any criticism of Israel, particularly with regard to its policies toward non-Jewish Palestinians

This tendency was evident, for example, in the recent response of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the announcement that prosecutors of the International Criminal Court will be investigating some alleged actions of Israeli security forces toward Palestinians.

A public opinion survey conducted last year by EKOS Research Associates found that a large majority of Canadians reject branding criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. Furthermore, a large majority of Canadians want the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged war crimes wherever they occur, including Israel.

It is encouraging that many Jews inside and outside Israel are also increasingly concerned about the injustice of the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians and are reaching out to Palestinian interlocutors to try to find a new way forward based on truth and reconciliation. Examples of this dialogue can be found in some recent podcasts on the website of the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace. Let us hope that this tentative dialogue bears fruit.

Peter Stokoe



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