Letter: Misinformed letter writers | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Misinformed letter writers

Misinformed letter writers

I don’t believe Sean Elias’s Jan. 21 assertion that Maurice Emmer is an intellectual lightweight (“Obligated to respond,” The Aspen Times, commentary). Emmer is obviously just misinformed and has been taught to fear and hate Arabs, like many American Jews. Take Elaine Sandler’s Jan. 22 letter (“Maurice Emmer is no intellectual lightweight,” The Aspen Times, commentary); she embarrasses herself by exposing her racial prejudice and repeating ugly myths such as “The Palestinians hate life. They prefer death, destruction and misery.”

In her defense, this is likely the only narrative she’s ever heard. The blame for such ignorance and bigotry lies with Jewish leaders who, rather than teaching their religious ideals of tolerance, equality and human rights, instead promote the colonialist expansion of Israel by leading their congregations to believe that Palestinians are just violent animals who deserve to be exterminated.

Thinking that “Palestinians (are) terrorist thugs who cannot under any circumstances manage to run a state if they had one” allows American Jews to feel no remorse when thousands of defenseless people are wounded and killed by Israeli bombs, as happened last summer with Israel’s military attack on civilians in Gaza. And just to be sure no inkling of guilt seeps in, every time Israel slaughters innocents, American Jewish leaders redouble their efforts to convince their congregations that the Middle East conflict is all about Arab violence and hatred of Jews and that Israel is completely blameless and justified.

Thus, American Jews live in ignorance of the real nature of the conflict, never knowing that the “Democratic diamond in the Middle East rough” imposes an unjust system of government over the stateless Palestinian people. American Jews have no idea that Israeli Jews are given preferential treatment and provided basic amenities and rights, which Palestinians under Israeli occupation are denied. They don’t understand that the Palestinian economy has nothing to do with incompetent Arabs and everything to do with the restrictions and impositions of the Israeli occupation, because occupation is a word seldom uttered in American Jewish congregations.

Nothing that paints Israel in a bad light gets through the narrow filter, so people like Sandler and Emmer are at a disadvantage when it comes to arguing Israel’s case. Because of the intense brainwashing they received from their leaders, their comments appear racist and unintellectual.

It’s remarkable that the same people who were persecuted mercilessly only 70 years ago now commit atrocities against another people using the same methods of promoting fear and prejudice. In reality, Palestinians are no more hateful and destructive than Jews are greedy and miserly.

Perpetuating ugly stereotypes only serves to prolong the suffering and pain of both Israelis and Palestinians, and allow the continuation of an untenable situation that must end if there is ever to be peace between them. So my advice to Jews who have been taught to love Israel by hating Arabs: go educate yourself with documentaries like “Five Broken Cameras.” You’ll be amazed at what your religious leaders have been keeping from you.

Sue Gray