Right­ing fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies

Finweek English Edition - - Front Page - HARRY JOFFE

READ­ING THE VAR­I­OUS let­ters con­cern­ing Is­rael I’m left with the feel­ing they’re so onesided and re­plete with ven­omous bile that most read­ers will be un­likely to be fooled by them. It’s there­fore re­ally un­nec­es­sary to re­spond to many of the ac­cu­sa­tions, which bor­der on the hys­ter­i­cal; but it’s im­por­tant to set some of the fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies right: • First, Is­rael re­ceives US$3bn/ year in aid (not $5bn, as claimed), which is roughly equal to the amount of aid re­ceived by Egypt and Jor­dan. Clearly, aid in it­self isn’t the rea­son for Is­rael’s eco­nomic suc­cess, as th­ese coun­tries haven’t grown their economies any­where close to the rate Is­rael has. Sec­ond, Jews were not “im­planted” into Pales­tine, as claimed, as they have al­ways lived in the area. Ac­cord­ing to the ear­li­est of­fi­cial statis­tics they formed a ma­jor­ity in Jerusalem from at least 1858 and by 1893 there were al­ready 60 000 Jews in what was to be­come the man­date of Pales­tine. Fi­nally, it’s nec­es­sary to dis­pel the myth that Jews were well treated and pro­tected by the Arab world through­out the ages, as claimed. Many his­tor­i­cal works doc­u­ment the pe­ri­odic anti-Jewish erup­tions of vi­o­lence that broke out in many of those coun­tries. The “blood li­bels” in Egypt be­tween 1870 and 1892, the in­fa­mous Da­m­as­cus blood li­bel and pogrom of 1840 and the 1941 mas­sacre of Jews in Iraq are to name but a few ex­am­ples. In con­clu­sion, read­ing the vit­riol con­tained in th­ese let­ters I can only hope that they rep­re­sent a mi­nor­ity view, or else you can’t but de­spair at any hope for peace in the Mid­dle East.

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