Palestinians and Jews deserve a homeland
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.