Dear HonestReporting Subscriber,
Why is The Dubliner, which claims to be “widely regarded as the definitive guide to Irish culture”, publishing an op-ed piece that not only disputes Israel’s right to exist but also denigrates Jewish history and culture at the same time?
In the immediate aftermath of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call to ‘wipe Israel from the face of the map’, this magazine’s November issue publishes an opinion piece alluding to the same idea by former Irish Labor Minister Justin Keating (pictured below). While couched in less violent terms than Ahmadinejad, Keating claims:
the Zionists have absolutely no right in what they call Israel, that they have built their state not beside but on top of the Palestinian people, and that there can be no peace as long as contemporary Israel retains its present form.
Keating not only takes issue with Israel’s right to exist but, unlike any serious historian, also questions the entire Jewish historical and religious connection to the land, asking:
Did the Jews of the Old Testament come from what is now Israel? The answer is No.
Quoting Israel’s Declaration of Independence – “The land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people” – Keating calls this a “self-serving and untruthful Zionist myth”, ignoring more than 3700 years of Jewish ties to their historical homeland. Also ignoring the fact that Jews have lived there throughout this period, Keating portrays the Jews as “people who occupied some land two thousand years ago for a historically brief period, to the detriment of those who have been there since.”
Continuing his historical revisionism into the 20th century, Keating claims that the Balfour Declaration did not give “the Zionists the right to establish a state in Israel.” This, despite the fact that the 1917 document was included as part of the British Mandate for Palestine and specifically referred to “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and to the moral validity of “reconstituting their National Home in that country.” In addition, the Mandate was backed by the members of the League of Nations in 1922, the forerunner of today’s UN.
Keating even states that the UN Resolution of 1947 did not give Israel the right to exist as a sovereign state, claiming:
they [the Zionists] have continuously and relentlessly violated that resolution for more than half a century, so that any tatters that now remain are void, by their action.
This, despite the fact that the Resolution did indeed legitimately give birth to the modern State of Israel, a recognized member of the UN with the same legal rights as other member states including the Republic of Ireland, in whose government Keating once served. In addition, while the Zionist movement accepted the Resolution for partition, Keating completely ignores its rejection by the Arab states that proceeded to invade the newborn Jewish state in an attempt to annihilate its people.
Referring to the Jewish contribution to civilization, Keating concludes by claiming:
Zionists have betrayed all of this, and that is a tragedy not just for Jews, but for all of us.
Does Keating’s vitriolic attack on Jewish history and Israel’s right to exist have any place in the pages of an Irish cultural magazine?
Comments to The Dubliner: email@example.com
For more detailed historical information on the myths raised by Justin Keating, see Myths and Facts Online: Israel’s Roots by Mitchell G. Bard.
BBC UPHOLDS COMPLAINT AGAINST PLETT’S TEARS FOR ARAFAT
At the end of October 2004, HonestReporting highlighted BBC Mideast correspondent Barbara Plett’s emotional attachment to Yasser Arafat following her public revelation that:
when the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry… without warning.
Despite a flood of complaints from HonestReporting subscribers, the BBC initially cleared Plett of any wrongdoing. Following an appeal, however, the BBC Board of Governors has upheld part of the complaint, stating that Plett’s comments “breached the requirements of due impartiality”.
According to the BBC website, the BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden has apologized for what she described as an “editorial misjudgment”. She said it appeared Plett “unintentionally gave the impression of over-identifying with Yasser Arafat and his cause”.
While this begrudging apology certainly does not go far enough in addressing the BBC’s Mideast coverage, which is the subject of the majority of complaints received by the corporation, congratulations to those who kept up the pressure on the BBC and also contributed to its Israeli-Palestinian Impartiality Review. Following the recent deadline for submissions on 25 November, HonestReporting awaits with interest the publication of the report in the spring.
CHANGES TO BBC COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
Staying with the BBC, a number of HonestReporting readers inform us that complaints to the BBC are no longer accepted by direct e-mail. Instead, the complainant is now directed to a web-based procedure at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints. We hope that you will not be discouraged from ma
king your feelings known to the BBC in the future.
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.