Letters to the Editor: Let the Religions Redress Grievances

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In response to “Joining Forces to Campaign Against the Occupation Is No Danger for the Jewish Community,” by Henry Rosen and Max Fineman, January 5.

I wholeheartedly concur that campaigning to end Israel’s occupation does not pose an existential threat to Jewish communities. Independence, equality, freedom and justice are universal moral values that apply to all humans irrespective of religion, culture and political affiliation.

We have witnessed a grim and tumultuous year across the Middle East and the Gulf region characterized by political and religious rivalries for hegemony and power, human rights abuses, the oppression and persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, medieval acts of savagery, arbitrary detention and unfair trials.

These have been perpetrated by people of all faiths. There is nothing Islamic about such horrendous crimes, in the same way Christianity had or has nothing to do with domestic violence, the apartheid regime in South Africa, the appalling mistreatment of the elderly and the downtrodden, anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and child sex abuse by physicians, clergymen and others.

In the same way, Judaism has nothing to do with home demolitions, racism, extrajudicial killings, the Judaization of the West Bank and Jerusalem, economic siege and the criminalization of any political activism for Palestinian rights.

Divine religions espouse tolerance, peace, love, justice and freedom. It is time to join forces to redress genuine grievances, or risk further undermining global security and stability.

Dr. Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Amman, Jordan

Eroding Jewish self-determination

In response to “I’m an Israeli Leftist and I’m Not Afraid,” December 28.

In his article, Avraham Burg proudly announces that he isn’t afraid of being a “leftist” in Israel. What is worrying is that he doesn’t seem afraid of Israel’s future even if “the right is dismantling Israel.” He imagines that Israel easily can be “reassembled” after the right is gone.

Wouldn’t it be better to try to change course before it’s too late? Unfortunately, Burg has no realistic alternative to offer Israelis who want Israel to remain a democratic and Jewish state. He has not only lost faith in God but also in Israel. He can live in Israel without “being the sovereign and master.” He means he favors a one-state or binational solution.

This is also what he is advocating abroad. He has been claiming for some time that borders don’t matter and that there are no nation-states in Europe. He is of course totally wrong. The European Union is made up of sovereign nation-states that have agreed to pool their resources and transfer some of their decision-making to common institutions.

There is no precedent to the solution Burg has in mind – neither in Europe nor in the Middle East – and it would never work in practice. Such a solution would result in new conflicts and mean the erosion of Jewish self-determination. The Jews would soon become a minority and the Palestinian majority might abolish the democratic institutions.

Mose Apelblat