County Legislator Joel Tyner as well as Vassar's Students for Justice in Palestine are not anti-semitic radical thinkers, as falsely labeled in this column, but people deeply devoted to principles of justice. Like Joel Tyner, I am in accord with Jewish Voice for Peace that works to achieve a lasting peace for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis based on equality, human rights and freedom. I have visited Jewish relatives in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as Christian and Muslim Palestinian families in Israel and the West Bank. I have witnessed three different governing systems there: one for Jewish Israelis, one for Palestinian Israelis and one for Palestinians in the West Bank (and Gaza) - or what has been known since '67 as 'The Occupied Territories' - now disappearing from Zionist parlance to claim these Palestinian lands as 'Judea and Sumaria' of old.
A vicious system of apartheid enforced by IDF military rule reigns in the 'Occupied Territories' while Palestinians in Israel suffer third-class degradations and treatment. The only people who live under a so-called 'democracy' in Israel are Jewish. Not only are there American individuals who speak out against this system like Joel Tyner and groups like Vassar's SJP but also Jewish Israeli individuals and groups that express outrage at their government that deprives diverse people in their state of dignity and human rights.
County Legislator Joel Tyner has always worked for human rights for citizens of our county and our country. When our country gives billions of dollars including military aid to Israel, we as U.S. citizens turn a blind eye to anti-democratic practices and instead support the ongoing violent oppression of the Palestinian people. Hurrah for Joel Tyner for his stand!