Israel must accept it is not only victim

It is unfortunate that three of your contributors (letters, 26 April), supporters of Israeli policies, are unable to tolerate the views of Israelis/Jews with whom they do not agree.

Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East – such democracy is not served by this lack of tolerance and has led to the continual state of military readiness Israel finds itself in.

The assumption that only it has rights and only it is a victim led to Israeli refusal to allow Armenians to erect a monument in memory of its own Holocaust victims (about 1.5 million people) near a Jewish monument.

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It should not be forgotten that Israel was a nation born of terror, and in terrorism. No-one would deny Israelis a homeland, but they should examine the past from more than one perspective. British soldiers were murdered by the Hagannah and Irgun, British office workers were blown up in the King David Hotel; Israel continually takes land from its neighbours, bombs civilians indiscriminately from sophisticated air platforms and assassinates political opponents.

When Israel invaded Lebanon, 20,000 Lebanese were killed. Israel has ignored 63 United Nations resolutions, but any breach by Arabs is condemned. Israel will only be at peace when it acknowledges the aspiration to peace and happiness that others hold.


Rosemill Court

Newmills, Dunfermline

Sarah Glynn and ten others describe themselves as "Scottish Jews for a Just Peace" (Letters, 24 April). But where is the justice in banning a scientific and medical exhibition based on a country that is one of the world's leaders in science, medicine and technology, whose medical work saves many thousands of lives a year?

Should we live in ignorance of such achievements just because a small group hates Israel? Why, in the interest of justice, do they recite Israel's assumed iniquities yet remain silent about six decades of Palestinian terrorism and six decades of innocent Israelis blown to pieces or shot? If they really believe in justice, why do they focus with such animosity on the only democracy in the Middle East, the only country in the region to make human rights a priority, yet say not a word about countries with appalling human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Syria?


Editor, Middle East Quarterly

Newcastle upon Tyne

I have often seen letters written by Joy Wolfe of Cheadle, Cheshire, in Scottish publications. It is a pity that she, Mr Grossman and Ms Selwyn have not acquainted themselves with the facts. For example, Ms Wolfe appears to believe that Israel was responsible for the invention of computers as well as mobile phones and various drugs.

I am a retired journalist, born in Edinburgh of Jewish parents. From the 1960s, I lived in London and travelled extensively in Israel and the Arab countries, carrying out, for four years, the research for my book, Prophets in Babylon: Jews in the Arab world (Faber & Faber). I visited Israel to write something about the 1967 war. I was appalled by the way the Palestinians were being treated by Jews who had taken over their country and were talking about "cleansing the land" as the Palestinians were forced out at gunpoint.

Ms Selwyn has written that "Gaza is not occupied by Israel but by Hamas, supposedly elected". Hamas was democratically elected and there was a cease-fire, which was ignored by Israel although not by Hamas.

Various human rights organisations have reported details of Israel's invasion and siege of Gaza from December to January, 2008-9, which followed an 18-month siege and blockade during which an occupied population experienced starvation, deprivation and trauma on a horrendous scale.

The invasion resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Palestinian civilians. More than 5,400 Palestinians received horrific wounds, burns and amputations. Ten Israeli soldiers were killed (four by their own fire) as were two Israeli civilians.


Nelson Street, Edinburgh