Friday, February 27, 2009

Letter to Editor: Woodstock Times

While I sympathize with the outrage and passion about Israel´s oppression of the Palestinian people in CJ Mellor´s recent letter, `Disgraceful Silence´ - I have to strongly take exception to the concluding statement. Mellor says, "Much of the blame for this sorry state of affairs rests squarely on the shoulders of U.S. Jews, whose silence over Israel´s conduct, with far too few exceptions, has been nothing but disgraceful, and absolutely raises the issue of dual loyalty."

In the first place, the statement is simply not accurate. Yes, certainly there are many Jews, who out of a misguided sense of loyalty to Israel, cannot face the truth of Israeli apartheid and the disgraceful and brutal history of the Occupation.

That said, there are also many, many Jewish activists, artists, writers and scholars who have spoken out forcefully in defense of the Palestinian people and against the Occupation and who have vigorously opposed the continuing American monetary and military aid to Israel. Many of these same American Jews have traveled to the West Bank and Gaza to stand in solidarity with the oppressed. Many have put themselves on the line, both with nonviolent protests and acts of civil disobedience in the cause of justice. There are probably millions of American Jews who oppose the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. But you won´t see, hear or read much of this in the corporate controlled mass media.

As far as blame, all Americans share in that. It is our collective tax dollars that go at the rate of $10,000,000 per day - yes, that´s ten million per day, to support the Israeli military machine. Recently, Amnesty International found evidence of U.S.-made weapons in Gaza, including the misuse of white phosphorus munitions, a breach of our own US stated policy and international law.

I don´t like the idea of singling out US Jews per se as responsible for what Israel has done. AIPAC, and other pro-Zionist lobbyists, the huge block of fundamentalist right wing Christians and the vast majority of American politicians, white, black, Christian and Jewish who unconditionally support Israel´s actions, are all a part of this mashuga mess.

I don´t think CJ Mellor meant it to be so, but that last statement, more or less placing collective blame on "the shoulders of U.S. Jews" is exactly what anti-Semitism feeds upon. The Israeli Prime Minster recently referred to the rising tide of anti-Semitism throughout the world. Olmert suggested that a good part of the reason for it was the blockade of the Gaza Strip. "We need to remember that the Occupation is a problem for us", he explained. He further argued: "As long as we are presented as Occupiers, we will continue suffer from anti-Semitic incidents." Like any other racial or ethic prejudice, anti-Semitism is a disease, not a solution or an answer for anything. The specter of anti-Semitism hangs over our heads ominously enough - thanks to the unfortunate tendency towards prejudice in many, which has been exacerbated by the horrific and cruel actions of Israeli Zionists and it´s supporters over the last 60 years - we don´t need to add to it.

Tarak Kauff

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