Saturday Star - - OPINION -

A JOUR­NAL­IST of Kevin Ritchie’s ex­pe­ri­ence should ex­er­cise more care when choos­ing ex­am­ples to il­lus­trate his think­ing.

In his lat­est col­umn, he fo­cused on the demise of Helen Zille and of­fered three ex­am­ples to il­lus­trate how those who held the moral high ground can find them­selves neg­a­tively ex­posed with the pas­sage of time.

Other than Zille putting her foot in her mouth, he men­tioned the one-time pop­u­lar­ity of Paul Kruger in Europe, and the ini­tial sym­pa­thy of­fered to the Bo­ers who were seen to be fight­ing a just cause. In the case of both, their fi­nal lega­cies left much to be de­sired.

His third ex­am­ple, that despite six mil­lion Jews dy­ing in the Holo­caust, Is­rael to­day stands ac­cused of prac­tis­ing apartheid.

It is as­tound­ing that some­one with so much in­for­ma­tion at his dis­posal can arrive at so pe­jo­ra­tive a con­clu­sion. Despite the in­dis­putable fact that Is­rael is the only to­tal democ­racy in the Mid­dle East (see Free­dom House) with the ben­e­fits ap­pli­ca­ble to ev­ery sec­tor of pop­u­la­tion, Ritchie man­aged to equate Is­rael with the de­cid­edly un­demo­cratic sys­tem of apartheid.

This is lazy jour­nal­ism of which too much ex­ists, par­tic­u­larly vis-à-vis Is­rael.

Per­haps Ritchie was in­flu­enced by this past week’s re­port pub­lished by the 18-mem­ber UN Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Western Asia, all of which are Arab/Mus­lim states which pre­dictably con­demned Is­rael for prac­tis­ing apartheid.

How­ever, he should also know that the re­port was drawn up by Richard Falk, an avowed Is­rael-hater and con­spir­acy the­o­rist, who was sacked from the UN af­ter re­ceiv­ing three warn­ings by Ban Ki-Moon for his bla­tant anti-Semitism; who ac­cused Amer­ica of be­ing be­hind 9/11 and who claimed Is­rael was re­spon­si­ble for the Bos­ton bomb­ing.

Is Ritchie aware that Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res in­sisted on the with­drawal of this re­port, as did Nikki Ha­ley, US Am­bas­sador to the UN, who called it “false and defam­a­tory”? Con­dem­na­tion came from the UK, Canada and sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries.

One can only hope that jour­nal­ists like Ritchie will ex­er­cise more care in fu­ture when com­ment­ing on these mat­ters.

Vic­tor Gor­don

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