Pales­tini­ans and Jews de­serve a home­land

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

EDI­TOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

In his let­ter, “It’s time to pass anti-BDS legist­la­tion,” Rabbi Dovid Asher makes a case for Vir­ginia to en­act leg­is­la­tion out­law­ing BDS: boy­cott, di­vest­ment, or sanc­tions against prod­ucts made in Is­rael. He cites anti-Semitism as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. BDS is a strat­egy em­ployed by in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions who wish to ap­ply eco­nomic pres­sure on Is­rael to cease its mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion and gov­ern­mentsanc­tioned Jewish set­tle­ments of the West Bank.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment and its cit­i­zens have re­mained staunch sup­port­ers of Is­rael’s right to ex­ist ever since its for­ma­tion in 1947. How­ever, on­go­ing eco­nomic sup­port of Ne­tanyahu’s gov­ern­ment has been called into ques­tion as it con­tin­ues to defy calls by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to cease il­le­gal West Bank set­tle­ments, en­dan­ger­ing hopes for a Pales­tinian home­land. Since our own fed­eral gov­ern­ment has failed to act in this re­gard, BDS was born.

The rabbi’s ar­gu­ment is flawed by equat­ing con­dem­na­tion of Is­rael’s poli­cies to ha­tred of Jews. I sup­port Is­rael’s right to ex­ist; that does not make me anti-Is­lamic. Like­wise, supporting a home­land for the Pales­tini­ans does not make me anti-Semitic; nei­ther does ob­ject­ing to a rene­gade Is­raeli gov­ern­ment that de­fies U.N. man­dates by con­tin­u­ing to pro­mote Jewish set­tle­ments in the West Bank.

The Pales­tinian is as much my brother as the Jew. Only if each is al­lowed a se­cure and ac­cept­able home­land will there be any chance of peace in the Mid­dle East. If govern­ments, in­clud­ing our own, fail to act in this re­gard, we as cit­i­zens have ev­ery right, af­firmed as free speech by the Supreme Court, to make our dis­plea­sure known by peace­fully boy­cotting Is­raeli prod­ucts. The best way for the rabbi to fight anti-Semitism is to work for a Pales­tinian home­land.

DAVID EL­LIOTT. HEN­RICO.

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