Righting factual inaccuracies
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.