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Open letter reflects journalists’ ignorance of history

by admin

2 December 2023, The Australian, Letters

Yet again Henry Ergas provides a masterclass in history (“Open letter an exercise in distorting history”, 1/12). With clinical precision he reveals the fundamental errors of those who, as journalists, should know better of the founding of the state of Israel and who draw apparent moral equivalence between the genocidal horrors of Hamas and Israel’s fight for national survival. As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” – an aphorism, as recently displayed on the streets of our cities, applicable in spades to those whose braying ignorance is exploited by the wicked purveyors of anti-Semitism.

John Kidd, Surfers Paradise, Qld

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Thank you, Henry Ergas. It is refreshing and heartening to read the truth of the history of Israel presented with such clarity amid the sea of disinformation in much contemporary media.

Your letter also draws attention to the desperately needed reforms and excision of corruption required in institutions of the UN, such as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and the continuing harm effected in the funding of these institutions.

Let us stop funding UNRWA.

Helen Kamil, Caulfield South, Vic Henry Ergas’s failure to make any reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s religious dimension, especially the sacred attachment to the land held by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims alike, results in a serious misreading of the conflict’s broader historical context.

The Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, in accordance with the sacred writings of the Torah, the Koran and the Bible respectively, have their own separate notions of what it means to be given the so-called Promised Land by the one God.

Far from being simply a homeland, these religious traditions decree their connection with the land of Israel to be immutable and non-negotiable. Most notably, Jerusalem holds a place of cosmic significance as the eternal city on which the promised end times are expected to find their prophetic fulfilment.

Vincent Zankin, Rivett, ACT

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Henry Ergas rightly calls out the distortion of history in last week’s open letter from journalists to Australian media outlets urging newsrooms to “adhere to the truth” rather than “both-sides – ism”, including providing historical context in reporting on the Middle East. Ergas, who displays a consummate knowledge of Middle East history, rightly points out the falsehood of the endlessly repeated claim, echoed in the letter, that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their native lands in 1948 to make way for the state of Israel.

Many such endlessly repeated falsehoods regarding the history and governance of the Jewish state of Israel are spawned by anti- Semitic attempts to delegitimise it. This relatively new form of anti- Semitism was recognised by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which in 2016 presented a new definition of anti- Semitism to the world in Bucharest under the chairmanship of Romania, a definition since adopted by more than 1000 global entities.

In relation to Israel, it is designed to explain where and how anti-Israel animus can become a form of anti-Semitism, separate and apart from criticism of Israel. These include drawing analogies to the Nazis, declaring Israel a racist endeavour, holding it to standards expected of no other democratic state, and holding Jews collectively responsible for its actions.

Some critics of Israel have unfairly claimed that the definition is intended to label them as anti- Semites. In fact, its careful wording leaves a wide berth for legitimate criticism of Israel.

Alan Franklin, St Ives, NSW

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Yet again the erudite Henry Ergas has published an instructive essay on an important subject of public debate that is corrective of fallacy, destructive of prejudice and a much-needed remedy for those (such as the writer) whose knowledge of the subject has been obscured by the cobwebs of years.

Ergas has provided a necessary balance to the recent letter from journalists to Australian media outlets and, in doing so, exposes the mendacity of that publication concerning the modern history of the state of Israel in the Middle East and the incessant antipathy thereto by the Arab states and their adherents, whether terrorist Hamas or otherwise.

Ian Dunlop, Hawks Nest, NSW

Article link: https://todayspaper.theaustralian.com.au/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=59abb0a3-7bb4-4c86-b685-ecf47a85ad3f
Article source: The Australian | Letters | 2.12.23

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000