This letter was sent to the Daily Gleaner in response to Richard Blaquiere’s letter below. The letter has yet to be published.
Notwithstanding his title – “Fredericton committee leaves out the facts on Israel” (25 Nov 2008) – Richard Blaquiere in 600 words fails to tell us a single fact about Israel or the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Instead, he tells us how he feels: Israel has a right to exist and prosper. Israel has a right to protect its children. It’s simple, he says.
If it’s so simple, can it be universalized?
Do Palestinian mothers have a right to protect their children? The UN tells us that Palestinian children die at rate of 9:1 compared with Israeli children.
Do Palestinians have a right to exist and prosper? The UN tells us that 75% of the population in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, is dependent on food rations. The Red Cross says Israel’s blockade on Gaza has led to “devastating” consequences including steadily increasing rates of “chronic malnutrition.”
Israel exists. It prospers. But where is Palestine?
Fredericton committee leaves out the facts on Israel
Published Tuesday November 25th, 2008
By Richard Blaquiere
For the Daily Gleaner
The Fredericton Palestine Solidarity Committee, in a recent letter to this paper, chastised the N.B. Human Rights Commission for choosing the Asper Foundation’s Holocaust and Human Rights Studies program as worthy of the N.B. Pioneers of Human Rights award.
Photo: The news of the day: A newspaper reader at a coffee shop in Jerusalem reads an ad by the Palestinian Authority published in an Israeli newspaper Nov. 20. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has taken his case for a peace deal directly to ordinary Israelis, assuring them in Hebrew-language newspaper ads that a withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and parts of Jerusalem would bring them full recognition by the Arab world. The ad says 57 Arab and Muslim countries would establish diplomatic ties with Israel in exchange for a withdrawal from the lands that would make up a Palestinian state.
This was done because the Asper family believes, as do I, that Israel has a right to exist where it is and how it is.
I also support the contention that, until the anti-Zionists and anti-Semites stop their attacks against the sovereign state of Israel and the Jewish people around the world, and until they cease their murderous rhetoric and stop applauding and celebrating the deaths of Jewish children, Israel must and will do what it has to do to survive.
I was one of the authors of support for this award being given the Asper Foundation. Through the Holocaust and Human Rights Program, Woodstock High School has brought students to visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum every year since 2005.
That visit and the study program that precedes it and the volunteer hours in the community that are an essential component of the program have affected every child who dared to look into the darkness and be witness to the evil that men do.
Both of my daughters participated and I am proud to be part of that program. I have also visited the death camps of Poland and walked through the fields where the ashes of many of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Holocaust were buried.
The Fredericton Palestine Committee cites statistics from the Palestine Liberation Organization to support its position of hostility toward Israel. It is intellectually dishonest to present casualty figures and not mention that Israel is defending itself from attacks by terrorists who want to destroy the country and intentionally target civilians.
The PLO, once sworn to the annihilation of Israel, is hardly a bastion of factual and objective data gathering.
Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism sifted through and disguised by the rhetoric of international politics and absent the politics of compassion. To be an anti-Zionist is to be anti-Jewish and opposed to the existence of the state of Israel. That is clear.
It’s a given that the deaths of innocent civilians are tragic. I too mourn the deaths and plight of Palestinian caught up in the hostilities.
The Fredericton Palestine Solidarity Committee’s website, however, ignores completely the unprovoked deaths of thousands of Israeli civilians over the years since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
They choose not to mention and condemn Palestinian terrorists and their supporters who murder, then celebrate the deaths of Israeli grandmothers.
The Palestinian leaders, like the Fredericton committee, rarely publicly condemn and denounce the murderers of Jewish children. The committee’s website is devoid of anything that suggests that Israel and the Jews might be victims. They choose to ignore the fact that Palestinian terrorists intentionally hide amongst their own people in order to maximize civilian
They choose to ignore the disturbing phenomenon of government officials, religious leaders and the media in several Arab countries promoting the lies, even in elementary schools, of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Holocaust denial.
Israel has a legal and moral right to exist and prosper, and Israel has a right to protect its children against an enemy committed to its destruction.
It is that simple.
Richard Blaquiere lives in Woodstock. Send comments to
Read the letter by the Fredericton Palestine Solidarity condemning the award to the Asper Foundation here