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Letter: Alternative facts

In response to our letter of May 10, Mike Fegelman — who purports to be an “honest reporter” — claims, in his letter on May 15, to quote Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as having said, “we do not support the boycott of Israel.”

He must be referring to a speech Abbas gave in South Africa in 2015. In fact, Abbas said the following then, as reported in Newsweek (and elsewhere) under the heading “ Palestinian Authority president calls for African boycott of Israeli goods”:

"Palestinan Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, yesterday called on African nations to boycott Israeli products produced by companies based in the West Bank … (saying), ‘We must boycott the settlements which were established on Arab land, contrary to international law and resolutions’" (, June 15, 2015).

Abbas made a similar statement in December 2013. Although he did not support a full boycott of Israel, he supported a boycott of Israeli products.

“We do not ask anyone to boycott Israel itself … we have relations with Israel, we have mutual recognition of Israel.”

Clearly supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, as, for instance, the United Church in Canada does — exactly as Abbas recommended — does not imply the dire consequences claimed by “Honest Reporting Canada,” least of all that it is working towards Israel’s annihilation, nor is it anti-Semitism.

A recent EKOS poll of Canadians (see, March 4, 2017) found that “66% of Canadians say sanctions on Israel would be ‘reasonable.’ The poll detail shows this is true “across age, ethnicity, religion, gender, and region.”

As we stated before, BDS is a non-violent means of support for Palestinians, called for by Palestinians, who have lost much under the Israeli occupation — and continue to lose, including land, dwellings, livelihoods, civil rights, not to mention lives in large numbers.


Elke and John Molgaard
St. John’s

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