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Nurit Modai, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, claims that the “Middle East is the only region in the world where Mein Kampf is a best-seller” (Letters, Jul 6).
One has to wonder how Ms Modai discovered this ‘fact’ when there are no official best-seller lists in any Arab country.
No doubt what she is referring to is an AFP report from 2001 in which a Ramallah bookseller claimed he had sold less than 10 copies of said book per week during Aug 1999, immediately after a ban on the publication of the book had been lifted by the Palestinian Authority. Compare this with Amazon.com, which has over 400 English language translations of Hitler’s vile works.
Yet this non-story became distorted by Israeli propagandists into the all purpose “Mein Kampf is a best-seller in [insert Arab country here]” — the implication being that if such a thing were true, it would somehow legitimise Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinian people. Strange thinking indeed.
Despite claiming ahistoricism on the part of John McCarthy, it is Ms Modai’s letter that is replete with historical inaccuracy. Her effort to claim that the Palestinian people don’t actually exist is not only demonstrably wrong, it is deeply ironic given that before the forcible creation of the Israeli state in 1948, there was no such thing as an ‘Israeli citizen’.
The assertion that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, with freedom of speech and the rule of law” not only ignores the democracies in Lebanon and Turkey and the slow democratisation of Egypt, but elides the fact that in practice Israel is a democracy for Jewish people only.
According to civil and human rights groups in Israel, Palestinian citizens are subject to many discriminatory laws within the state. The rule of law doesn’t necessarily mean that the law is just.
One of these laws is a de facto ban on commemoration of ‘Al Nakba’ (The Catastrophe), how Palestinians refer to the Zionist campaign of terrorism and ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 indigenous people from their homes in 1948 to facilitate the creation of the Israeli state. So much for Palestinian culture and free speech.
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