Information is legit
Dear Editor: So Jerry Epstein (Letters, July 9) would rather enjoy his second home in beautiful Aspen than discuss the suffering of people half a world away whose only home has been destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. Good for him! Hopefully someone will take his place who can express their opinions without disgracing the Jewish perspective with racist anecdotes and skewed versions of history.How about some moderate Jews who acknowledge Israel’s abuse of their Palestinian brothers and sisters? After all, in addition to the Tikkun organization mentioned in Dale Pollekoff’s letter (July 9), there are others such as the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (www.icahd.org), Rabbis for Human Rights (www.rhr.israel.net), bat shalom (www.batshalom.org), and b’tselem (www.btselem.org) who denounce Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians (without, I assume, being labeled anti-Semitic). Incidentally, my position would be exactly the same if the Israelis were Muslim and the Palestinians were Jewish.My information comes from legitimate sources like the U.S. State Department report on human rights in Israel (2003): “The Government did little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country’s Arab citizens, who constituted approximately 20 percent of the population but did not share fully the rights and benefits provided to, and obligations imposed on, the country’s Jewish citizens … government spending was proportionally far lower in predominantly Arab areas than in Jewish areas … . As a result, serious distress prevailed in the Arab sector … including poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system, and substantially defective infrastructure … . Israel’s overall human rights record in the occupied territories remained poor … as it continued to commit numerous, serious human rights abuses … . Israel censored Palestinian publications, raided and closed media outlets, blocked publications and broadcasts, and periodically detained or harassed members of the media and clergy. Israeli security forces carried out [house] demolitions, curfews, and closures that directly punished innocent civilians … destroyed numerous orchards, olive and date groves, and irrigation systems on Palestinian agricultural land. Israel constructed parts of a large security barrier inside the West Bank, isolating residents and limiting access to hospitals, schools, social services, and agricultural property.”Genocide is defined as a coordinated plan of actions to destroy essential foundations of national groups, the objective being the disintegration of their political and social institutions and economic existence, and the destruction of personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and the very lives of individuals with the purpose of complete annihilation of the national group. If, as has been stated by Rabbi Mintz and others, Judaism teaches justice and compassion, then why aren’t Israel’s genocidal actions against the Palestinians condemned by the entire Jewish community?Regardless of the schoolyard argument as to “who started it,” the fact is that both the Palestinians and the Israelis do exist, have a right to exist, and have a right to exist in peace and dignity on their native land. Let’s work from those self-evident truths toward an equitable solution for both parties, devoid of the extremist rhetoric and juvenile excuses that perpetuate the misery of these children of God.Sue GrayCarbondale
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