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Israel has ‘right to exist and to live in self-determination and peace’

Victoria White’s column (Opinion, July 24) on the Israel/Palestine conflict is flawed in so many ways. Here are two. First, Israel is not a colonial state and was not created as the result of “the mania for ethnic cleansing that started in Russia,” whatever that means.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews travelled legally to Palestine and purchased land there in the early 1900s to escape anti-Semitic persecution and be in control of their own destiny. Before and during the Second World War Britain prevented many more thousands of European Jews trying to flee persecution from entering Palestine, due to Arab pressure. That’s one way the Holocaust is related to the current conflict.
After the war the United Nations tried to share Palestine between Jews and Arabs. Arabs
rejected this and attacked the small (less than a million) Jewish community there. Israel fought back and has been defending its right to exist ever since.
Nearly half the Jewish population in Israel is descended from Jews who fled or were expelled from Arab countries in the 1940s-1960s. The Arab Israeli conflict is much more complex that the European colonial conflict White depicts.
Second, White says the British and American publics are “bombarded with Israeli propaganda” and creepily bemoans “the strength of the Jewish lobby in the US.”
This insults our intelligence. Maybe we are pro-Israel because we understand the history of the conflict better, and support the right of Israel to exist and defend itself against thousands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets, and against the suicide bombers who killed nearly 1,000
Israeli civilians before the security wall was built.
What is currently happening is tragic, and I hope a ceasefire and peace talks can be restarted soon.
But the conflict will not be resolved if Europeans believe the flawed analysis that Victoria White puts forward as history. Israel has a right to exist, and to live in self-determination and peace.
Sean Cahill
325 E 12th St.
New York NY


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