In a jab at Israel, and in an ignorant and insulting assault on the historical record, Ecuador’s ambassador to the United Nations, Horacio Sevilla Borja, recently equated Zionism with Nazism. He dredged up this shameful analogy in a speech at the General Assembly to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“We repudiate with all our strength the persecution and genocide that in its time unleashed Nazism against the Hebrew people,” he said, quoting from a speech that the late Fidel Castro of Cuba delivered at the United Nations in 1979. “But I cannot remember anything more similar in our contemporary history than the eviction, persecution and genocide that today imperialism and Zionism do against the Palestinian people.”
Demanding the immediate establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, Borja said that Israel and Palestine should coexist in “conditions of peace and security.”
Borja’s appeal for a two-state solution did not deviate in the least from the international consensus that partition is the only practical, realistic and equitable method of resolving the Arab-Israeli dispute. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads a government that opposes Palestinian statehood in practice, has paid lip service to the concept.
But Borja’s effort to compare the plight of the Palestinians with that of Jews in Europe during the Holocaust is nothing less than odious.
The Palestinians have suffered greatly since the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Few, if any, observers would try to refute that fact. But Borja’s claim that the Palestinians have been subjected to “genocide” by Israel is a brazen affront to the truth. How he can possibly draw an analogy between the Nazi program of extermination and the fallout of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war is beyond understanding and belief.
If Borja had been a conscientious person, he could have researched the topic properly and reached conclusions based on irrefutable and indisputable facts. Instead, he dipped into Castro’s baseless and inflammatory speech to reach unwarranted and, one must say, idiotic conclusions.
Borja’s contention that the Palestinians were evicted from their homes and properties en masse is a lie as well. As we know, some Palestinians were forced out of Palestine/Israel by the Israeli army during the course of the war. Yitzhak Rabin, in his capacity as a junior army officer, participated in the expulsion of Palestinians from Lydda (Lod) and Ramle (both of which had been assigned to a Palestinian state by the 1947 United Nations partition plan). Rabin admitted as much in the Hebrew-language edition of his memoirs.
In Haifa, though, the Jewish mayor urged Arab residents to stay put.
The vast majority of Palestinians, however, were encouraged to leave by the Palestinian leadership, which expected them to return after Israel’s defeat. Still others left out of fear they would be killed if they remained behind in their homes.
The 160,000 or so Palestinians who opted to remain were not harmed, though their community was subjected to military rule until 1966 and some of their lands were confiscated by the Israeli government.
Borja could have immersed himself in the facts had he really cared about the whole truth, not just merely bits of it. But being a propagandist, he swallowed the lies that Castro and others of his political persuasion have disseminated over the years.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa should issue an apology and reprimand Borja, but this is unlikely to happen. Correa, having described Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2014 as “genocide,” recalled Ecuador’s ambassador to Israel and announced he would open an Ecuadorian embassy in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority.
It would thus appear that Borja’s false equation of Zionism with Nazism was inspired by Correa himself.