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Setting Siddiqui straight (letters to the editor, National Post)

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  • 3 May 2016
  • National Post – (Latest Edition)

Setting Siddiqui straight

Re: Don’t Blame The Media For Islamophobia, Jonathan Kay; Gaps In His Argument, letter to the editor, April 26; On Kay’s Column, letter to the editor, May 2.

While I do not accuse him of having a “thinly veiled hatred of Israel” and being“incessantly anti- Zionist” I do take exception to letter writer Haroon Siddiqui’s use of the phrase “Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.” These lands are not, and never have been occupied. They are, as noted in UN Resolution 242, which ended the 1967 war, disputed territories whose final status is to be negotiated by the antagonists. To paraphrase the old saw … Siddiqui is entitled to his own personal opinions but not to his own personal facts.

Frank Glazier, Toronto.


I was rather amused to read Haroon Siddiqui’s thin-skinned response to Jonathan Kay’s column, accusing Postmedia of fanning the flames of “Islamophobia.” My late husband, newspaper publisher J. Patrick O’Callaghan (Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Windsor Star) said that the streak of anti-Semitism that had always been present in the pages of the Toronto Star, was much more pronounced during Siddiqui’s tenure as managing editor. A case of the pot calling the kettle black, perhaps?

E. Joan O’Callaghan, Toronto.


Apparently having free access to the Star’s pages to spread his misinformation is not enough for Haroon Siddiqui. He now seeks to do the same in the National Post. As anyone who has the slightest knowledge of international law and recent Middle East history can tell him, his assertion there is an “Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands” is nothing more than Palestinian propaganda. Israel “occupies” land that was given to the Jewish people under international law by the League of Nations, enshrined in the Mandate for Palestine and Chapter 80 of the UN Charter. Before that happened, there was no state of “Palestine” and most of the land was state land, certainly not “Palestinian land.”

The only thing that can change the law is Israel’s agreement to do so — and the Jews of the Middle East have been offering to share their land with the Arabs since 1937, before the state of Israel was officially created. It’s the Arabs who have consistently refused and who continue to reject every Israeli invitation to negotiate in good faith. Siddiqui knows all this. What he apparently doesn’t appreciate is that most National Post readers know it, too.

Stephen Tannenbaum, Thornhill, Ont.


Nowhere in Joel L. Goldman’s letter does he state that Haroon Siddiqui cast aspersions on Israel during his recent talk at the Aga Khan museum. Instead, Goldman was pointing out that, given Siddiqui’s well- known views on the subject of Israel (clearly, he’s not a fan), ones that have had the tendency to fan the flames of Israel- hate, it is pretty rich of the Star’s “editorial page editor emeritus” to blame certain media outlets, the Post included, for “aiding and abetting Islamophobia in Canada.” Hence, Goldman’s “pot- calling-the-kettle- black” quip, which, granted, may be somewhat overused, but which was entirely apropos here, whether or not Siddiqui mentioned Israel during his 40-minute lecture.

Mindy G. Alter, Toronto.

Links: original article…”Don’t Blame the Media for Islamophobia” by Jonathan Kay


Haroon Siddiqui’s reply (6th letter):


Re: Don’t Blame The Media For Islamophobia, Jonathan Kay; Gaps In His Argument, letter to the editor, April 26.

In a speech at the Aga Khan Museum on “Media, Muslims and Free Speech,” I argued that the media — especially the Post group of newspapers, which now includes the Sun chain of tabloids — have aided and abetted Islamophobia in Canada. Jonathan Kay, writing in the Post, took issue with that. Fair enough.

Along comes letter-writer Joel L. Goldman, accusing me of having a “thinly-veiled hatred of Israel” and being “incessantly anti-Zionist.” This is a reference to my past columns in the Toronto Star critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, now approaching 50 years. Many Jewish Canadians take exactly the same position, as do many Israelis.

None of this, however, has anything to do with Kay’s column or the excerpts from my speech published in the Star, on which he based his commentary, or my entire 40-minute speech, in which Israel was not mentioned once. The Post could have easily checked that out.
Haroon Siddiqui, editorial page editor emeritus, Toronto Star, Toronto.

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