Dear Editor,Thank you Jerry Epstein for participating in Chad Abraham’s article, “Shades of Gray,” in the Aug. 7 Aspen Times Weekly. As a Taoist, I recognize that two opposing sides must exist to support each other. Without letters from Jerry and other opponents, I wouldn’t have as much of an opportunity to detail in the valley’s newspapers why I believe Israel’s occupation of Palestine should end.Epstein’s comments in the article made apparent the need to further explain my motives. First, I must again address accusations of denigrating the Jewish Bible. I’ve never said the Torah is bad, wrong, or contains only warlike scriptures. I simply questioned whether passages contained in Deuteronomy were being used to justify Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land. Recently I saw an interview with a Jewish woman who had just arrived in Gaza to protest Israel’s withdrawal of Jewish settlements. The reporter asked why she had come and she replied; “Because this is my land.” The reporter asked; “How can this be your land? You just got here yesterday!” The woman replied; “God gave this land to the Jews.” So apparently, I was not wrong in wondering whether the Bible plays a role in the situation.Though I’ve mentioned many times that I wish peace for the people of both Israel and Palestine, accusations of one-sidedness still occur with disturbing regularity. The description of me as “pro-Palestinian” is technically incorrect. I could just as well be described as “pro-Israeli” since I desire an end to violence for them as well. I am pro-peace, pro-justice, pro-human.Epstein asks why I concentrate on Israel and neglect human rights violations occurring in other parts of the world. Contrary to his belief, it has nothing to do with a desire to pick on Jews. The fact that Israel’s main population is Jewish is inconsequential. My argument is with the policies of the Israeli government and U.S. support of those policies. I’m not anti-Semitic; I’m anti-occupation, anti-oppression, anti-apartheid.After 9/11, I wanted to be part of finding a way to prevent further attacks on American citizens. I opposed the war on Iraq because U.S. military presence and setting up puppet governments in Arab lands were two reasons al-Qaida gave for the 9/11 attacks. U.S. support of Israel was the third reason. While Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, Israel was at least one-third to blame.Currently, a large portion of our tax money goes to support Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Supporting a government that brutally oppresses its Arab/Muslim population continues to be a powerful recruiting tool for terrorists. Consequently, Americans have a grave stake in finding a solution to the Middle East conflict.It’s in the interest of the Israeli people as well as the Palestinians to establish justice and peace. It’s also in the American interest, and with family and friends residing in vulnerable U.S. cities, it’s in my personal interest. Once and for all, these are my only motives for opposing Israel’s occupation of Palestine.Sue GrayCarbondale
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