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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 15, 2003

Joseph Alexander Norland gets personal

Dear Dr Baskin,

Your correspondence with Mr Farkas has come to my attention. The arguments on both sides are so well known, that I will not bother discussing them further, other than to state that I reject your views and take exception with the fact you have even gone as far as to adopt the Arab terminology wholesale.

The object of this letter is merely to explain to you very briefly how I came to support the cause of Israel.

Up until July 2000, I was a mere observer of the Middle East scene, wishing both sides peace and prosperity; I am a non-Jewish Canadian, and this approach is probably characteristic of most of my fellow-countrymen. In July 2000, when Aratrash rejected the extremely generous offer made by Barak, I began a persoanl research project on the matter, focussing initially on writings of non-Jews, such as Col. Richard Meinertzhagen and David Dolan. I had every reason to adopt an anti-Israel stance, since I am an atheist, but in fact, the reverse happened. To my own amazement, the more I researched the issue, the more supportive I became of Israel's cause. In the end I gave up a tranquil retirement to spend most of my day on this cause. Why?

There are scores of reasons, in fact, but I will highlight a handful. In the first place, I found Israel's arguments to be the convincing ones. Specifically, the evidence that Aratrash and his gang had (and still have) no interest in peace, is overwhelming. This, and similar arguments, did the job for my head, but there was the heart, or the conscience, too.

I came to realize that since 1920, if not earlier, the Arabs have pulled the wool over our eyes, manipulating the West and turning it against our sister-democracy, Israel. This angered me.

I came to realize that the injustice inflicted on the Jewish people by the nations of the world -- the US and Canada included -- is enough to make a stone weep. Furthermore, the world has never lacked Jews who joined in the trashing of their own brethren, from Montagu through Bruno Kreisky to Casper Weinberger. To me, you are part of this collection, and I cannot start describing how loathsome it appears to me. In his autobiography, Chaim Weizmann discussed this very issue, asking with great pain, why people like you don't just keep quiet if they refuse to help.

I came to realize that on the issue of the Jewish communities in Yesha, in particular, the demand for ethnic cleansing -- the removal of 200,000 Jews from one part of their ancestral land -- is so outrageous, that no rational person could support this demand (other than the hired pen, Thomas Friedman, of course). Since forever, Jews in the Land of Israel have taken barren hilltops, swamps, and sand dunes, and turned them into a flourishing, democratic paradise. This is the true spirit of Western progress, except that Jews practised this spirit without the extermination of indigenous populations, the latter having been practised extensively by Westerners in the US, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Naturally, my full support is for my brothers and sisters in Israel, especially for the brave souls in the Yesha communities.

In summary, I thought you may benefit from the perspective of a non-Jew, who, like Charles Orde Wingate, Jeane Kirkpatrick and many others, feel privileged to be able to support Israel.

Joseph Alexander Norland