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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

In Defense of Israel: A letter to a Member of Parliament

The Hon. Mark Holland

House of Commons * Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0A6

June 16, 2021

Dear Mr. Holland;

I was shocked to receive a copy of your letter about the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas.

While I appreciated your letter’s heading – “my support for an Israel-Palestinian two-state solution”, the letter appears to contain various erroneous assertions, which must be corrected:

You wrote that the “attack at the Al-Aqsa Mosque was completely unacceptable…it was extremely upsetting to see images of violence and aggression towards Muslim worshippers who were present at Al-Aqsa for their evening prayers”.

As is well known by now, Israel was not responsible for the violence that ensued. In fact, many of the worshippers were previously incited by Hamas and had brought with them rocks to attack Israeli police officers and disturb the peaceful prayers in the holy city of all worshippers of all faiths.

I am very concerned that in your letter, you did not condemn Hamas – a designated terrorist organization – who began the war by launching missiles at Jerusalem in the first place. Over the course of the war, Hamas launched 4,500 missiles indiscriminately on Israeli civilians. Sadly, a number of Arabs and Jews were murdered by Hamas’ missile attack. Where is your condemnation?

More importantly, you say “we are reviewing the conclusions of the UN Human Rights Watch Report”. However, Human Rights Watch is actually an independent organization that is not affiliated with the United Nations. If you can clarify exactly which report you are alluding to, that would be appreciated. On the assumption that you might be referring to its April 27th report accusing “Israeli authorities of the crime of apartheid and persecution” – this report has been widely condemned by the international community.

As well, when you say “we are reviewing” – would you kindly clarify you are saying that the Canadian government is reviewing?

Given the rising tide of antisemitism here at home in Canada and assaults on the Jewish community, I think it’s incumbent on all political leaders to treat both sides fairly and more importantly, tone down the rhetoric. I urge you to clarify some of the above noted discrepancies or please feel free to reach out to me to discuss them further. In my humble view, as Canadians we should be making every effort to promote pluralism and co-existence where we can all feel safe and secure.

Yours truly,

Avi Abraham Benlolo

ABOUT: Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities, was founding President and CEO of a major organization in the Jewish community, has raised over $150 million for charities and is a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree, Ph.D. coursework and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights. As a supporter of Israel, he is proud to have established "The Avi Benlolo Scholarship Fund in National Security" at Haifa University.

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