Oct 29, 2012

Heidi-Jane Esakov - letter

Open letter Ms. Esakov following her letter to Chief Rabbi Goldstein

Ms. Esakov,

I am writing as a fellow Jew, South African and Israeli after reading your letter to Chief Rabbi Goldstein  - “Do not speak in my name”+  (21/08/2012).

While some of the content is factually wrong (see below), unsupported and seems simply thrown in to serve biased sentiments and obsessive agenda, the logic which fans the content and arguments is twisted and places stumbling blocks before the blind. If this is your intention, you needn’t read the rest of this letter.
Relying on your statement - “as a researcher who focuses on Palestine-Israel, it is my duty to step back from my anger and engage intellectually and honestly”, I would expect intellectual engagement and intellectual honesty too. Furthermore, I am glad to see that you are “committed to justice for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis….and prefer not to personalize the debate but rather “remain[s] rooted in intellectual engagement”. I commit to upholding the same moral duty and commitment. I would thus like to clarify that each and every statement, historic fact and/or comment can and will be supported by credible links and other informative reliable resources.   

After your short introduction, in which you state that you will “ensure that the personal is not lost to the political” and “remain rooted in intellectual engagement”, you accuse Goldstein personally, of abusing his office and “unapologetically becoming a propagandist for Israeli crimes”. I did some research and cannot find the likes. The only reference I found attributed to Goldstein, regarding the Goldstone report, is a statement regarding  commission member Chinkin’s article and statements about "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defense – it's a war crime"1 before even having researched anything. As a researcher yourself, you know that assumptions and presumptions preceding any findings are the antithesis of research, fact-finding and reporting.

You brought up the point of a “blind-spot” in your first paragraph. Unfortunately, as a researcher, you seem to have one yourself.
Remember that even when it became painfully apparent, and the United Nations displayed evidence, that Israel had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes during the 2008-09 Israeli war on Gaza, leaving about 1,400 civilians dead, including hundreds of children, and having destroyed places of education and worship, you used your religious office to defend and condone the indefensible, unapologetically becoming a propagandist for Israeli crimes.
Lots of water has passed under the bridge since the Goldstone report, including Goldstone’s remorse.2 You seem to lack some researched information and owe an explanation to your readers to fall in line with your “commit[ment] to justice for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis”, unless leading readers astray is part of your agenda.

You insinuate that Israel purposely “destroyed places of education and worship”, “during the war on Gaza”. Israel has no, and had no policy to destroy places of worship or education, nor did it proclaim war on Gaza. Had the mighty Israeli military machine wanted to destroy all places of worship and education it quite easily could have. Israel did not go to war on Gaza either. Israel initiated an operation against Hamas and splinter group terrorists to stop indiscriminate rocket fire at civilian targets. Despite being a legitimate legal and immediate right, under any law system, Israel initiated the operation after thousands of rockets were launched at civilian targets and countless negotiation attempts to stop it, including a ceasefire intentionally broken by Hamas. Hamas terrorists and their splinter groups were the only targets. British Colonel, Richard Kemp testifies to this3,4 and testified at the UN too5.

It is common knowledge, almost 4 years after Operation Cast Lead, that the number of civilian casualties is not 1,400 as you falsely wrote and missed in your research6, 7.  Even the Goldstone report did not invent such a number, rewrite this as history or distort facts so blatantly. 

Presenting a simplified snapshot of event or situation is considered poor journalism in the field of journalism and is totally unacceptable in research. There are countless anti-Israel hate sites and speakers whom, for now, I would like to believe that you do not want to be associated with. Actually, some research shows that you took part in an anti-Israel hate fest alongside Friedman, Kasrils, Said, Basam, Mohammed, Abdullah et al.  
You continue and claim that Mr. Ebrahim is correct in saying that visiting Israel gives legitimacy to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. When asked if travelling to China gives legitimacy to China’s occupation of Tibet, Mr. Ebrahim said that “We do not recognize the occupation of Tibet”8. Is it correct to assume that Mr. Ebrahim has singled out Israel as the worst perpetrator of human rights violations? Please bear in mind, Darfur, Rwanda, Tibet, Syria amongst others. Mr. Ebrahim might like see what Mr. Kenneth Moshoe, a fellow Member of Parliament has to say about the “Apartheid Israel” he constantly refers to9.

I was going to break down every point you made in your letter but shall suffice with the above, pending your reply. The more I research your “moral duties” and “commitment to justice for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis” the more doubts I have to your real intentions and suspect foreign elements in your commitment to intellectual discourse and “research”. I hold this view after not finding any mention of anything concerning Israeli or Jewish interests or concerns. Not one. Nor do I find any mention of one step that the Palestinians need to undertake in order to bring about peace. Not one. Instead I am witness to pure Anti-Israel bias at best, and blatant lies as second.

This leads me, and the wary reader, to conclude that you are not a “researcher who focuses on Palestine-Israel” but someone who has jumped onto the anti-Israel bandwagon with popular misleading banners. Your target audience might be the unwary and ignorant reader, but only you and I live with that knowledge, meanwhile. Ironic that you write “Palestine-Israel” and not “Israel-Palestine” – Palestine first, yet the focus is on Israel, another subtle hint.