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Upholding western values

July 3rd,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

This is a letter responding to the article in your June 19-25, 2024 edition, titled “Hills activists rally for ‘Peace and Justice’”. They state they are a group “united by an opposition” to what they call “genocide and colonization.” Ending genocide and imperialism is something we all seek. However, if this statement pertains to the Palestine/Israel conflict, it is misguided. The presence of Jews in the region where Israel now exists predates that of the Palestinians by approximately 1,000 years, and Jews have continuously been present in that region for about 2,500 years. The country of Israel is not a colonizer. It was intended to be a safe haven created for Jews after the Holocaust, in a region where they were known to have a long history, and it is the only Jewish state in the world that they can call home. A country that began as a refugee state in a desert wasteland that was attacked mere hours after its creation can hardly be considered a colonizer.

The word “genocide,” a word that is so overused it risks losing its meaning, cannot possibly be employed to mean both the intended and malicious wiping out of an entire people, as Hitler attempted during WWII, and the carefully considered, legitimate use of force by a country defending itself after the most vicious attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has publicly stated that it will attack Israel again and again. They have no regard for their own citizens and use them as human shields. They hide in concrete tunnels and purposely ensconce themselves and their arms caches in and under schools and hospitals to maximize civilian casualties, all in the name of vilifying Israel, even as Israel seeks to minimize these casualties. Sadly, all wars cause death. It seems Israel is a country held to a much higher standard than all others. 

As Westerners, I find it curious that, in the name of anti-oppression, we seek to defend regimes that are clearly oppressive. Palestinian society severely limits freedom of speech, freedom of religious expression, women’s rights and gay rights, to name a few. Israel, by contrast, is a democracy offering all these rights to its citizens and has been a safe haven for members of the Palestinian LGBT community for years. Shouldn’t we be throwing our support behind the only democracy in the Middle East, a country that shares our values?

The activists in your article claim they are not anti-Semitic. However, describing Israel as a genocidal colonizer can hardly be cast in a different light, considering the tenuous nature of the accusations. If not Israel, where should Jews go?

Stephanie Turple

Chelsea, QC

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The office will be closed from July 10 to July 23. There will be NO EDITION published on July 17 or 24. Our next edition will be on July 31.

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A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

Letters

Hills peace and justice group giving us hope

The Editor, In response to Stephanie Turple’s “Upholding western values” (July 3 edition) and what the group Hills for Peace and Justice calls (H4P&J) “‘genocide and colonization’” (June 12 edition) As per the March 26, UN Human Rights Council’s reasonable...

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