Response to ‘Fighting anti-Semitism’ commentary

May 30, 2018 GMT

Stephan Lesher’s opinion piece (“Fighting anti-Semitism with a broad brush,” May 23) contains important inaccuracies and incorrect implications.

First, Lesher says that “Israel has been a harsh, bullying occupying force in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.” The reality, however, is that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and turned Gaza over to the local populace, leading to takeover by Hamas and, in turn, the recent violence. Israel has also, over time, ceded autonomy over most of the so-called West Bank to the Palestinian Authority (PA), maintaining a presence only for vital security.

Moreover, neither Gaza nor the West Bank are “Palestinian territories.” The status of both awaits final status negotiations if the PA ever agrees to negotiations after years of refusing.

Second, Lesher implies that Israel bears blame for Gaza’s electricity shortage and for troubles with its infrastructure and economy. He omits that Gaza lost electricity because the PA, to pressure Hamas, reduced its payments. He also omits that Gaza’s infrastructure and economy have suffered from Hamas’ diversion of material and money from infrastructure and human needs to construction of terror tunnels to infiltrate Israel and manufacture of rockets and missiles for attacks on Israel.


Third, Lesher minimizes Hamas’ role in the violence. However, Hamas orchestrated it and placed its fighters behind women and children to overrun the border at 13 locations. Captured Hamas fighters carried maps showing the location of Israeli towns and schools so they could kill Jews, as their leaders urged, if they breached the border. Because of Hamas’ central role, almost 80 percent of the fatalities were Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives.

I could continue, but I believe you are getting the idea.

Mark I. Fishman



(Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting)