Letter to the New York Times
By Dave Lippman
August 10, 2016

To the Times Public Editor:

Students and the Middle East Conflict, by Linda Wertheimer (August 3, 2016), about conflict between Palestine and Israel supporters on campuses, is not journalism. It reads more like an AIPAC think-tank piece. Some examples:

“…Jewish students’ fears that their culture is under attack.”
         It’s not their culture, it’s their alternating between the destruction of and the theft of someone else’s culture. They’re celebrating “Taste of Israel” with pomegranate seeds, hummus, falafel, and pita. Taste of Palestine, anyone?
“…separation barrier running through the occupied West Bank, which Israel built to thwart Palestinian suicide bombings and shootings…”
         No. To seize land. You just quoted their rationalization, which was always a lie. Don’t do stenography for ethnic cleansers, please. It’s not kosher.
“…he heard a [Students for Justice in Palestine] member speak about what Palestinians lost when Israel became a state in 1948.”
         What did they lose? Some paintings? Their dog? Maybe their whole country?
“…a panel discussion on cultures affected by colonization…”
         affected – is that a synonym for demolished?
“…kaffiyehs, the iconic symbol of Yasir Arafat…”
         No, of Arab culture, and specifically in this case, of Palestine. When you distort the truth about a people in order to destroy their peoplehood, you are engaging in genocide. Lying about the culture of a people whose land you are taking, appropriating both the land and the culture for yourselves – how is this not genocidal?
“To leaders of Jewish organizations, those lines are frequently blurred. They equate supporting the B.D.S. movement to supporting Hamas and the destruction of their homeland.”
         Their homeland? My Palestinian friends who grew up there can’t go there. Any Jew from anywhere can move there, myself for instance, while Palestinians continue to be evicted.
“…a survey of 3,199 Jewish students and recent graduates from some 100 universities. A quarter said they had been blamed for actions of Israel…”
         Israel claims to speak for all Jews. Unless Jews repudiate Israeli colonial demolition of Palestine, they are implicated. Silence is complicity. Anyone knows this.
“…in March, protesters marched to the front of a classroom and loudly chanted, “Israel is an apartheid state.” The guest speaker was an Israeli diplomat whose topic was the art of diplomacy…”
         Key anti-apartheid South Africans will tell you that Israel is a worse apartheid state than South Africa was. When Israeli diplomats speak of the art of diplomacy, they are engaged in Brand Israel, a project of the Israeli Foreign Ministry dedicated to whitewashing Israeli dispossession of Palestine – kind of like what the Times does in this article.
“Northeastern University’s chapter [of Students for Justice in Palestine] was suspended for the remainder of the school year after its members slipped 600 strongly worded mock eviction notices under dorm room doors to mirror the eviction of Palestinians. The notices reminded some of the expulsion of Jews during the Holocaust.”
         The irony is that the mock evictions are based on real ones that Israel issues to the indigenous people of the land. Those who “love Israel” can only think of their own people, and not what those people do to others.  But let us not point that out in a “news” paper.
“Both sides lay claim to the land. Both sides have been victimized.”
         Equalization of unequal things. One stole the land from the other. Look it up. It’s called the Nakba. It was terrorism, and it continues. Anyone knows this, except people who read the mainstream press. Jews were victimized, but not by Palestinians.
“It pains me,” she said softly, “to see events in the world dividing communities that are meant to be together.”
         That’s your conclusion? Reminds me of things I wrote for my high school paper after they were dumbed down by the advisor. The “events” “dividing” “communities” are colonial domination and decimation. Say their name! Or turn in your journalism license.

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