In his op-ed, “Stupidity or Cowardice? Europe refuses to recognize apartheid towards the Palestinians” ⁠1, Ferry de Kerckhove acknowledges that “a historical shortcut never does justice to the facts”, but proceeds to make dangerous shortcuts all the same.

Thus, he claims that Israel would have appropriated all of Palestine, but the reality is quite different. We will mention in particular that Israel accepted the plan of partition of the territory creating a Jewish State and an Arab State following the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the resolution 181 on November 29, 1947. The representatives of the Palestinian people had persisted in their refusal to create an independent Arab State alongside Israel. Furthermore, this assertion that Israel appropriated all of Palestine presents a reductionist vision of the right to self-determination of the Jewish people, ignoring the fact that Israel is both the ancestral and contemporary home of the Jewish people. Jews are native to the area, where they have maintained a continuous presence for over 3,000 years.

The Jewish Diaspora, including that of Canada, is made up of descendants of Jews forcibly dispersed from the Middle East. Moreover, this week will begin the holiday of Passover, the Jewish Passover, a holiday that celebrates the biblical Exodus of the Israelites from slavery imposed by the Egyptians to freedom in Israel. During their Passover prayers, Jews around the world will fondly wish “next year in Jerusalem,” as they have done for centuries.

So what is Ferry de Kerckhove referring to when he says “Israel has never really come on board, with one exception, for the idea of ​​a Palestinian state”? We imagine he does not refer to the fact that Israel formally recognized the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination in the 1993 Declaration of Principles. Nor in the years following Oslo, at Camp David⁠ in 20003 and then at the Taba summit in 2001⁠4, Israel offered several territorial concessions. And what about the 2008⁠5 proposal in which then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the equivalent of the entire West Bank as part of US-brokered peace proposals? that would have enabled the establishment of a Palestinian state? Could it be that M. de Kerckhove does not know?

According to Ferry de Kerckhove, accusing Israel of apartheid is highly justified and he cites an Amnesty International report in support of this assertion. By deliberately misapplying international human rights principles, this report diminishes the gravity of the most heinous crimes committed against humanity. The report also ignores the fact that, like those of Canada, Israel’s democratic institutions are based on the rule of law and the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary. Regardless of their ethnic or religious background, citizens of Israel are guaranteed equality before the law. While solid, Israeli democracy is not perfect, and the majority-minority dynamic leaves room for improvement, much like our own experience in Canada.

Furthermore, the notorious report denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination, demands behavior from Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation, and notably opposes any policy aimed at strengthening the Jewish character of Israel while not opposing any of the 80 countries in the world that have a state religion. Strange coincidence that these accusations of apartheid are aimed at the only Jewish state in the world.

According to this text and many others, which seems to be the worst state when it comes to racism and discrimination? The Jewish nation, the State of Israel. The one and only true democracy in the Middle East. A place where everyone is equal before the law. The inflammatory accusations circulating about the only Jewish state in the world demonstrate a worrying double standard. Is it misunderstanding or rather bad faith? The question is valid…