Letter: Being Pro-Palestinian
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Letter: Being Pro-Palestinian

Toby F. Block responds to an Editor's Notebook column about Linda Sarsour.

Linda Sarsour speaks during a panel discussion on anti-Semitism at the New College on Nov. 28. (Screen grab from Jacobin Magazine's video)
Linda Sarsour speaks during a panel discussion on anti-Semitism at the New College on Nov. 28. (Screen grab from Jacobin Magazine's video)

Michael Jacobs is correct in saying Jewish anti-Zionist groups, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, pose more danger than Linda Sarsour and the BDS movement (“Sarsour Isn’t the Real Threat,” Dec. 8). The sad truth is that, while many people equate being anti-Zionist with being pro-Palestinian, most of Israel’s enemies do little if anything to advocate for the Palestinian people or to help them in achieving statehood.

In the first decade after her rebirth, Israel absorbed and uplifted 800,000 Jews thrust from their homes in the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Their descendants make up the majority of Israel’s current population.

In contrast, Muslim leaders (including Palestinian leaders after 1964) conspired to keep the descendants of Arabs who fled the Arab-initiated 1948 war in refugee camps until “the Zionist entity” could be destroyed and the “refugees” could be given the homes their forebears fled.

People seeking to alleviate the poverty and statelessness of the “refugees” should be urging Muslim countries to rescind their laws barring Palestinians from citizenship and restricting the professions in which they may work.

In addition, anyone who wants the Palestinian people to have a better future should be urging the Palestinian leadership to stop “claiming they want a state with East Jerusalem as its capital” and to start working toward that goal by negotiating with Israel. (Both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas flatly rejected Israeli proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state, on essentially all the disputed land, with the possibility of shared governance in parts of Jerusalem; neither even offered a counterproposal.)

Effective negotiations would require the Palestinians to drop their stance that only Israel needs to make concessions, that signing a peace treaty will not end the conflict and that the “refugees” will not become citizens in the new state (i.e., that Israel must allow herself to be overrun by millions of “refugees” who have been raised on a steady diet of anti-Jewish invective for decades).

Yes, it is possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian (people). But mouthing the narrative of those who seek to replace the nation-state of the Jews with a Muslim-majority state does the Palestinian people no good at all.

— Toby F. Block, Atlanta

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