(I sent the following email to Michael Ignatieff on January 9th. To date, I have received no reply.)
Dear Mr. Ignatieff,
As a proud member and supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada, I would like to express my profound disappointment in the comments you made yesterday in Halifax regarding the situation in Gaza.
Your statements, whether you intend them to or not, are coming across as identical to the position of the Conservative government - and for that matter, that of the Bush administration. I don't know if those comments accurately or fully reflect your true opinions, or if you are simply trying to be cautious and inoffensive. But hearing you echo the simplistic notion that only Hamas is to blame for civilian casualties and anything Israel does in its own defense is justified, only seems to confirm everything your worst critics have said about you.
I agree with your condemnation of Hamas and appreciate your support of Israel's right to defend itself. But surely it is possible for a man of your intellect to express that support, and at the same time articulate something a little stronger than a vague "concern" over the growing humanitarian crisis and the appalling and disproportionate death toll among innocent Palestinians, particularly children.
Tens of thousands of Israelis have been taking to the streets to protest their government's actions. Prominent members of the Jewish community in Toronto and elsewhere have publicly called for an end to Israel's killing of innocent civilians in Gaza while condemning, equally, Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel. And yesterday, Jimmy Carter - who probably knows more about the Middle East than anyone in North America - wrote his own account of the events of the past year which manages to detail Israel's own culpability for the current situation without in any way excusing the actions of Hamas.
If all these people - none of whom could ever be described as 'anti-Israel' - can bring themselves to criticize Israel's blockade of Gaza, the killing of UN aid workers, the bombing of UN schools and other appalling incidents, while simultaneously condemning the attacks on Israel, then surely you can find a way to do the same.