Posted Saturday, July 15, 2000

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Toronto Globe and Mail

July 12, 2000

Why assume innocence?

By Ismail Zayid, Halifax

STATEMENTS by Ed Morgan of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Where Love For Israel Is A Crime -- July 10), Leo Adler of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (letter -- July 6) and others make interesting reading.

I do not have any substantive evidence to judge how fair or otherwise was the recent trial of 10 Iranian Jews. However, I doubt if your other correspondents do, either. Mr. Morgan states that the Jews were tried for "love of Israel," as if Israeli agents would never engage in spying. We do not have to look very far from our borders to see the evidence. Jonathan Pollard, an American Jew, is still serving a sentence for spying for Israel against his own country. [see below] This week, an Israeli agent has been convicted for spying in Switzerland, and there have been many others.

What astonishes me is that all those calling this trial flawed are speaking of violations of human rights and proper legal process. Yet, I do not recall hearing any of them raising a whisper about the thousands of Palestinians who have been held for years and tortured in Israeli prisons in "administrative detention," without trial or charge. Nor do I recall any expressions of concern about the thousands of Palestinian prisoners sentenced in Israeli military courts to lengthy imprisonment on the basis of confessions obtained under torture and written in Hebrew, a language the prisoners do not know.

The question that continues to puzzle us is why, in the eyes of our government and Washington, Israel remains above international law and has this unique immunity from criticism, unlike the other nations of the world.

Ismail Zayid MD, is president of the Canada Palestine Association


If you write to a newspaper don't forget: 1. keep it short; 2. add your mail address and a daytime telephone number. They will not print it otherwise.

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