This is an email sent by a British Muslim supporter of Israel named Kasim Hafeez (see his bio below), to Jim Bollan, West Dunbartonshire Council member and fierce proponent of his council’s boycott of all Israeli goods. It is being posted here with Mr. Hafeez’s permission:
Subject: Scottish Council Israel boycott
From: Kasim Hafeez
Date: Friday, 3 June, 2011, 10:12
Dear Mr. Bollan
I hope you are well today.
If I could just draw your attention to certain articles contained in the Hamas charter, their calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state over the current state of Israel, their repeated call for violence against Israeli civilians, firing rockets in to Israeli towns, and walking Fatah members off roof tops during their takeover of the territory: Surely you cannot in all good conscience believe Hamas are freedom fighters.
You have stated that “It is the Israeli State that practices apartheid.”
Apartheid is defined as:
1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against non-whites.
2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation
You show a blatant ignorance to situation on the ground in Israel and play the rather silly game of wanting to use buzz words to emphasise your point.
If Israel is an “apartheid state” Why are their Arabs in all facets of Israeli society, the Judiciary, parliament, the military and the civil service? Or would you like to causally over look that fact as it does not fit in to the narrative that you would like to put across to promote your racist and immoral boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East?
You talk of the Arab uprisings. Have you not considered that Arabs in Israel have not taken part in any uprisings because the Israeli democracy safe guard’s their rights, and, as UN statistics have shown, for instance, that Israel’s Arabs indeed have the highest literacy rates of Arabs anywhere in the Middle East.
The shocking hypocrisy of a boycott against Israel is all too apparent, I hear no calls for a boycott against Saudi Arabia which suppresses the rights of all minorities even of Muslims from other sects. Why is there no boycott of Iran who still use stoning as a punishment? One must question what your agenda really is. And, please, spare me your stock reply of being a humanitarian, as wouldn’t, if that was indeed the cases, boycotting China over its oppressive policies (or any number of totalitarian regimes in the world) be in order if that was the case?
My sympathies go to the citizens of West Dumbartonshire Council who, unfortunately, have in office some who are more concerned with praising Hamas than actually improving the life of their constituents.
One would hope for peace in the Middle East between nations and the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, but as long as people like yourself, who have the luxury of going home and not having to deal with the conflict day-to-day, create further barriers to dialogue by praising terrorists a resolution will just get further away.
Kasim Hafeez’s Bio:
Growing up in a Muslim family in England I was subjected to the drip of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda. I found myself developing fiercely anti- Israel sentiments in my teen years and was convinced that Israel was always wrong. It was not until I read the ‘Case for Israel’ by Alan Dershowitz did I start to have doubts about my own beliefs about the conflict. I decided to visit Israel for myself to get a perspective on the situation on the ground and it truly changed my life. In Israel I found a flourishing democracy, a modern state which guaranteed freedom for all its citizens, where all Muslim’s, Christians and Jews worshiped freely and minorities played an active role in society. It felt like home.
After returning to the UK I began to research extensively and came to my own conclusion on the matter, and since then I have been proud to call myself a Zionist, and an advocate for Israel. I feel it’s necessary to educate people about the real Israel and not let them be led by the same lies and inflammatory rhetoric which once governed my views. I am currently working on a campaign to this effect.
If we believe in democracy, freedom and truth when it comes to the Middle East we must speak up for Israel.