British ‘Muslim Zionist’ tackles anti-Israel bias, blames ignorance
A Muslim Briton has criticized the British community he grew up in, accusing it of “calling for the destruction of all Jews,” which led him to believe that Israel is a “terror state,” an Israeli news site reported on Sunday.
Kasim Hafeez, born to a family of Pakistani origin, now calls himself “a proud Muslim Zionist,” and has embarked on a trip to Israel in an effort to tackle what he deems to be misrepresentations about the Jewish state.
The Briton met with the Israeli press and the country’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, on Sunday. In the meeting, Hafeez said that “much of the hatred and intolerance of Israel stems from ignorance,” the Israel-based Ynet news reported.
“I’ve always said that (the problem) with Israeli advocacy (is that) we’re not getting the truth out there,” he said. “(…) People don’t know the facts. I would say to anybody, come to Israel. See the rights that Muslims have,” he added.
Hafeez recalled his father praising Adolf Hitler, lamenting only the Nazi tyrant’s failure to kill even more Jews during World War II.
“It’s so key that we get the facts out there,” he said. “We’re sitting here in the Middle East’s only liberal democracy, where there are no restrictions on what people can believe. People can vote for their leaders. People of all colors, all races, all backgrounds co-exist here, and people just don’t know,” Hafeez said.
“It’s a beautiful thing, Israel is truly a nation of all its citizens,” he added.
In the meeting, the Briton also relayed what he deems to be the truth about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“A Palestinian state never existed,” Hafeez said. “It’s a fact and people don’t know it.”
He particularly criticized media bias in the United Kingdom, saying that Israel can “do no right in the UK press.”
“Israel is always wrong and everything has a very negative slant.
“It has become very black and white, where the Palestinians are right, and Israel is wrong… It is helping to poison people towards Israel because they are not being told the truth of the conflict. I think there is a case where if you tell a lie enough times, people accept it as being true,” he said.
Similarly on Sunday, a French imam spoke out and denounced “a hatred of Jews,” in an interview with Haaretz.
Hassen Chalghoumi, 40, a well-known Muslim leader in France and a prominent voice calling for intra-religious dialogue, has been dubbed the “Imam of the Jews” by several international media outlets.
In 2006, Chalghoumi publicly acknowledged the horrors of the Holocaust and reached out to Jews in France − things that were unheard of for a Muslim cleric at the time, Der Spiegel reported.
But according to the report in 2010, Chalghoumi’s “enemies would” gather in front of the mosque every Friday, where on one occasion they staged a rally where they raged against Chalghoumi and Zionism.
(Written by Eman El-Shenawi)