Denying existence of Palestinians

Nurit Modai (Letters, Jul 6) now seeks to deny the existence of Palestinians.

Though her letter is hugely insulting to Palestinians (they do in fact exist) and is riddled with outlandish and erroneous assertions, it is instructive inasmuch as it gives an insight into the mindset of a diplomatic official in what purports to be the “only democracy in the Middle East”. Of course, many readers will already be aware of such duplicity.

Israeli television station Channel 10 recently reported, based on a diplomatic communiqué, that Deputy Ambassador Nurit Modai seeks to silence Israelis that speak up for the rights of Palestinians. She suggests working “directly against those Israeli activists, [to] humiliate and shame them.” In order to do so she proposes publishing photos that could cause embarrassment to them: “you have to try and hit their soft underbellies, to publish their photographs, maybe that will cause embarrassment from their friends in Israel and their family, hoping that local activists would understand that they may actually be working on behalf of Mossad [Israel’s spy agency].”

Rather than accepting that people might hold a contrary view to that of their government (surely a normal and reassuring thing in any democracy) and working to uphold their rights to speak openly, she seeks to silence these activists and refuses to look at the legitimate concerns behind their objections.

Instead, she bizarrely concludes: “the activity of those activists against the state is, in my evaluation, not necessarily ideological, but grounded in psychological reasons (generally of disappointment with the parents, [or] sexual identity problems).”

While Ms Modai refuses to acknowledge a Palestinian people, her government flouts international law, breaches human rights and ignores the International Court of Justice (their 2004 Advisory Opinion deemed the wall illegal under international law). She refers to the awful situation of Jews displaced elsewhere in the Middle East, but her government closes down discussion of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. In fact, the commemoration of Al Nakba (The Catastrophe) as the campaign of terror is called by Palestinians, is effectively banned.

When defenders of Israeli government policy exalt that nation’s democratic values, one needs to look no further than the treatment of Israeli Arabs (and indeed Israeli activists) as against Jewish citizens to see the duplicitous nature of such a democracy.

Emily O’Sullivan

St Alban’s Road

Dublin 8

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