Saturday, October 30, 2010


Friday's Sydney Morning Herald - a clear minded response to lunacy.
Israel's freedoms in eye of beholder

For an alternative to Antony Loewenstein's polemic against Israel ("Western politicians prefer to ignore Israel's inherent racism", October 28) I refer readers to Freedom in the World: Israel 2010 by Freedom House, a venerable and widely respected non-governmental organisation.

Under the Freedom House criteria, Israel has the highest of seven rankings for political rights and the second highest for civil liberties. It is the only country in the Middle East rated "free". Its media is described as "vibrant and independent".

Although Israel describes itself as a "Jewish and democratic state", freedom of religion is respected, with Christian, Muslim and Bahai communities having jurisdiction over their members in matters of marriage, divorce and burial.

The judiciary is independent and regularly rules against the government. Freedoms of assembly and association are respected. Workers may join independent unions and have the right to strike and bargain collectively. Women have achieved substantial parity at almost all levels of society. Openly gay Israelis are permitted to serve in the armed forces.

Certainly, some serious discrimination exists in Israel, as in other democracies. But overall, not a bad record for a country faced with neighbours such as Iran and Syria, and organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Peter Wertheim Executive director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Sydney

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I quote from the SMH letters editor Mike Ticher:-

"Arguments about Israel and Palestine often seem to go on in parallel tunnels with no connecting passages, and that was neatly illustrated by the response to Thursday's pieces by Antony Loewenstein and Colin Rubenstein. Many argued strenuously and coherently against one or the other, but almost no one tried to draw conclusions from a synthesis or overview of the two."

Excuse me Mr. Ticher but how do you draw conclusions from a synthesis of anything that includes input from Loewenstein?

The only conclusion I've ever reached from reading his bullshit is that Lebanon has been occupying Israeli land for 62 years and it's time to end the occupation!