The west must guard against anti-Semitism, warned Israeli diplomat Ishmael Khaldi in a talk to 130 people at St Mary’s on the Harbour in Castletown last Saturday, where he had been invited to speak by church vicar Rev Dr Jules Gomes.
Mr Khaldi, who is Israel’s first Bedouin Muslim diplomat, said he often gets asked how a Bedouin Muslim could represent a Jewish state.
He said: ‘People know little or nothing about it (Israel) only what the media tell them, it fuelled my desire to speak.’
He said: ‘Israel is the only democracy in the middle East, it is an oasis of freedom. If you look at the Christian communities in the Middle East the only one thriving is in Israel.’
Accusations of Israel being an ‘apartheid state’ are, he said, based on ‘false fact’, adding: ‘The enemy is Hamas [and its] poisonous hate.
‘The civilian population in Gaza is affected and that is ‘a tragedy, we understand it more than anybody.
‘War is war. It happened to the British troops in Afghanistan. We are not targeting schools.’
He said the ‘challenge’ is in the west.
‘There is lots of discrimination against Israel,’ he said. ‘The British media are portraying the wrong picture. The battlefield is not Gaza, I hope there will be peace there soon. It’s what’s happening in the west, someone like George Galloway [who called for Bradford to be an ‘Israel free zone’ in support of Gaza], the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, pure anti-Semitism is happening – silence is the biggest enemy.
‘If you see something 70 years after the horrors of the holocaust and say nothing, you are part of it.’