This letter was written by a British Muslim named Kasim Hafeez
Dear Margo MacDonald,
One must really question with what knowledge or lack of you have managed to come to this most bizarre conclusion. The State of Israel of was created by the United Nations acceptance of the Palestine partition plan United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181. Unfortunately the Arab states refused to accept the Jewish state and indeed had incited numerous riots and pogroms against the Jewish population in the region prior to 1948, thus the war of 1948 took place where the fledgling state of Israel had to defend its people from the might of several Arab nations.
Now I don’t understand how Israel is an “artificial state”, and I’d like to know what other states you would class as equally illegitimate now that you feel it is appropriate on national television to declare an independent sovereign nation, whose independence was ratified by the United Nations, as artificial.
My parents and grandparents are from Pakistan, a state that only came to being in 1947 after a similar partition plan to split the state between its Muslim and Hindu inhabitants. I know for a fact that Muslims had not had a continuous presence in the area that became Pakistan for 2000 years unlike the Jews of Israel, and I know that no area of Pakistan is considered as a holy land or integral to the Muslim faith like the land Israel is to the Jewish people.
Millions of people crossed the frontiers of Pakistan and India’s frontiers as they ended up on the ‘wrong’ side yet I don’t see either side making case’s for the right to return. Also in this vein when Bangladesh (former East Pakistan) declared independence from Pakistan in 1971, “West Pakistanis” that were stranded in Bangladesh when the Pakistan army withdrew have had no international clamor to alleviate their suffering.
Indeed, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is not addressing the plight of the Biharis despite the fact that a 2006 report estimated that between 240,000 and 300,000 Biharis live in 66 crowded camps in Dhaka and 13 other regions across Bangladesh and have no voting or citizenship rights. Yet no special UN body is set up to assist them, in fact the UN Refugee body will not assist them and self-righteous politicians and activists don’t seem so eager to condemn the Bangladeshi government, who has refused to grant these peoples any rights. Yet you condemn Israel, a state that is a democracy and has done much to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people, brought about largely by their own corrupt leaders, and offered those who wished to remain in the State of Israel after independence full citizenship. Let’s not forget that it was the Arab states that refused every partition plan. The double standard is sickening.
As someone who was brought up with strong anti-Semitic and anti- Israel views, I would urge you to (as I did) actually research the facts and try and learn the truth about Israel which wildly contradicts the steady stream of hate filled rhetoric about the Jewish state you’re constantly exposed to. The views you expressed on the Big Question only encourage the most radical Islamist voices in my own Muslim community and do nothing to support peace in the region.
British citizen, Muslim, Proud Zionist and possible descendent of people from an ‘artificial state’ by your reckoning