Israeli researchers provide answer to Ambassador Rae’s anguished question about morality

After reading allegations that Russian troops had looted Ukrainian homes and were selling their goods in a yard sale, Hon. Bob Rae, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN, was shocked. “What kind of a country even does this?”, he tweeted. Fortunately, an Israeli organization which has been researching the Nakba provides the answer. According to an Akevot Institute report, this is exactly what Jewish Israelis did in 1947/48. Read more….

On April 2, Rae noticed a tweet by a Ukrainian reporter named Anastasiia Lapatina accusing Russian troops of stealing and reselling confiscated Ukrainian belongings.

Russians opened a market in Belarus where they sell things they stole from Ukrainian homes, including dishwashers, bicycles, carpets, etc. All this is taken to Belarus in a centralized manner, via Russian trucks. Some things are also shipped to Russia. This is beyond me.” Lapatina tweeted.

If true, this certainly merits condemnation, although based on Lapatina’s long string of anti-Russian tweets, it would be wise to get some independent verification.

Verified or not, it was enough to make Rae go ballistic. “What kind of a country even does this?” wrote Rae, full of indignation.

To answer his pained question, Ambassador Rae needed to look no further than Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily, or to the Akevot Institute, an Israeli research organization.

“Everything was stolen – from refrigerators and caviar to champagne and carpets” says Raz

A new book by Akevot Institute researcher Adam Raz, The Looting of Arab Property during the War of Independence, meticulously documents the mass looting of homes, shops, workshops and farms of the country’s Palestinian residents who were driven out during the Nakba. “Everything from refrigerators and caviar to champagne and carpets was stolen“, says Raz. (Note: Far exceeding any looting by individual Jewish fighters and civilians, the newly-formed Israeli government seized vast sums of commercial and industrial properties, bank accounts, homes, agricultural lands and equipment.)

Ambassador Rae says proudly he is a friend of Israel. He supports the Jewish National Fund and until recently was on the board of directors of Technion University of Haifa, which does a significant part of Israel’s military research. Before being named Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, he travelled regularly to Israel.

If Rae was unaware of this book or of the debate it generated in Israel, (Haaretz newspaper devoted a supplement to it, including an interview with the author), it would be surprising to say the least. CTIP encourages him to check it out.

If, on the other hand, Ambassador Rae WAS AWARE of the extensive looting of Palestinian goods by Jewish Zionists, his “moral outrage” over allegations of Russian troops doing exactly the same thing in Ukraine, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.

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  1. Maybe Adam Raz’s book should be sent to Bob Rae & ask him to comment on its content as a courtesy for the gift……..

  2. There is a very clear answer, in my opinion, to the question of ‘moral compass’ comment by Bob Rae. And he should know better. Following the Holocaust the world seemed to band together and claim in public “NEVER AGAIN”. As much as the Holocaust itself was the product of dogma, the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ claim was likewise absorbed as dogma seemingly by the entire world. The evidence from thousands of years before the Holocaust and certainly from the 78 years since the Holocaust, is this…the human hunger for dogma is limitless unless we confront it individually. And the concept of ‘moral compass’ only applies to individual people, populations and whole countries if they acknowledge and reject the ascension of dogma. So whether we consider Ukraine, Palestine, Rwanda, Chechnya (in the present years) or the treatment of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of indigenous communities all across North America in the 19th century – its the same thing. Might does not make right. Might makes disaster. Might can only be defeated by tolerance, by science, and by compassion. We can do it. But we must want to.

    1. Mr. Sigman,
      thank you. I admit I am not aware of this. Do you have references? If it is as you say, all the more to be astounded by Amb. Rae’s naive (or disingenuous) comments.

      1. thank you Mr. Sigman. I encourage you to send this information along to Canada’s ambassador to the UN Bob Rae. He may be interested to know that American and Canadian troops, are no better than Russian or Israeli ones.

  3. Many times I feel when watching some politicians and others make statements that history started the day before they make these statements or when they were born.

    Statements we have heard recently are an indication that people don’t know or don’t bother to know about history….


  4. Moral outrage is tricky business, since moral blinkers are such a huge part of the human endowment. Better we count to 10 to give time for our cognitive faculties to kick in, before babbling our unfettered midbrain indignations.

  5. It seems that this kind of looting can be attributed to many nations . However in the example given by Mr. Sigman , some of the “spoils of war ” are being returned to their rightful owners. I wonder if there is any evidence in this book by Adam Raz that Israel has returned looted property to Palestinians?

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