Israel: A beacon of democracy unfairly condemned

Unfortunately Tony Walker misses the mark on acceptable criticism of Israel (Comment, 18/4). Israel is not beyond condemnation. I, for one, vehemently oppose settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Israel is not a terrorist state. Quite the contrary. Israel is a beacon of democracy in a region dominated by autocratic and murderous regimes. One only needs to look at Syria and Iran as examples. Yet, it is Israel that consistently incurs the wrath of those on the left.

If these so-called human rights activists were so concerned with the welfare of the Palestinians, they would urge the Palestinian Authority to renounce terrorism, acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and return to peace talks without preconditions. Instead, they direct their vitriol against the Jewish state and this exposes something more malevolent.

Context of random terrorism is needed

Tony Walker misses the point. Criticism of Israel is justified when considered in context because it’s not only about “settlement” or “occupation” as he puts it. The underlying issue is about continued, random, unjustified terrorism against Jews all over Israel and the historical “river to the sea” mentality of a people who seek to be neighbours in their own state. Context in the same sentence as “occupation” or “settlements” is generally lacking in the discourse.

Daniel Smolarski, Caulfield

Praise for a balanced view

Well done Tony Walker for having the courage to present a balanced view on Israel. It is true that one can be supportive of the Jewish people while also being critical of certain actions of the government of the state of Israel. This is no more “anti-Semitic” than it is “anti-Australian” to criticise the Australian government over, say, treatment of asylum seekers.

Mike Puleston, Brunswick

A more even-handed approach is required

It is disingenuous of Tony Walker to take the high moral ground in his criticism of Israel. Walker seems to have a problem in separating the government of Israel from the people of Israel.

It has become convenient to hide behind the actions of the Netanyahu government to level some of the most extreme and continual judgments against Israel no matter what is done. Not only can Walker, and fellow travellers, find no good things that Israelis have achieved over the past 70 years, they never praise the extraordinary advances Israeli scientists have made or the work that so many Israeli hospitals provide for Palestinians and Jews alike nor for that matter the incredible medical support that hospitals in northern Israel have provided for wounded Syrians over the past six years. In fact, there are a huge number activities where Israel Jews and Palestinians work together in harmony. Walker and his friends don’t mention these things because it would spoil their propaganda.

If Walker’s criticism was more even-handed then his views on Israel would have more credibility. Israel is a tiny country continually battling for its survival and little understanding is given by Walker that Israel needs only to lose one war to disappear. Much of Israel’s actions are done under this continual threat. No other country has this pall hanging over them.

Philip Bliss, Hawthorn East