Yesterday, I mentioned the faked photograph that accompanied an Op Ed in the Melbourne Age by Palestinian advocate Randa Abdel-fattah entitled "Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians"
It would appear that the same piece of propaganda has also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald which today published this excellent response:-
"Israel a home for both Jews and Arabs"
Randa Abdel-Fattah portrays Israel as a place which uses ''laws, weapons and propaganda … to safeguard the 'purity' of a Jewish-only state'' (''Freedom and dignity are basic rights for all, even Palestinians'', July 7). The reality is very different.
Some 77 per cent of Israel's total population is Jewish. The other 23 per cent are Palestinian Arabs, Bedouin, Druze and other groups. All of them are fully fledged citizens with the same voting rights as Jews. There are Arab members of the Israeli Parliament and Arab judges in Israeli courts.
Jews and Arabs use the same public transport, eat in the same restaurants, attend the same hospitals, share the same beaches, shop at the same malls, play in the same sports teams, attend the same universities and work together in many occupations.
True, there is still serious discrimination against minority groups in Israel, especially in employment, government spending and access to services. Serious racial discrimination exists everywhere, including Australia. But that does not mean Australia is a state based on racial purity.
The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza seek the establishment of a specifically Palestinian state and many of them (and not just Hamas) have said they want it to be a specifically Arab and Muslim state which will exclude Jews.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the simplistic ''goodies versus baddies'' contest some people make it out to be. It's about the real world struggle of two nations, each of which is determined to live in freedom, independence and security.
Peter Wertheim executive director, Executive Council of Australian Jewry