Letter to the Editor: Response to Hillels of Georgia

Letter to the Editor: Response to Hillels of Georgia

// AJT //


Dear Editor,

I commend Hillel of Georgia for wanting to criticize the ASA’s call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, but a statement which notes only that the ASA action is the wrong tool for delivering the “condemnation, boycotting, and international interference in its domestic policy” that “Israel (might) deserve…” is hardly a strong defense of Israel.

The fact is that the ASA should be applauding the diversity of Israel’s colleges and universities, where Arabs and Jews attend the same classes; where Arabs and Jews are taught by faculties whose members include Arabs and Jews; where Arabs and Jews conduct research in laboratories headed by Arabs and Jews.

A brief history lesson should be given to bring the situation into perspective. Israel liberated the West Bank from an illegal occupier (Jordan) in a defensive war while protecting her people from openly-announced genocidal intentions.

Israel’s offers to withdraw in return for recognition and peace were soundly rejected by the Arab world. Israeli communities occupy less than 5 percent of the West Bank, are located in areas of strategic, historic, and religious significance to Israelis, and actually provide employment opportunities for Palestinians.

Organizations which seek to improve the lot of the Palestinian people should be calling for an end to anti-Jewish incitement and an acceptance of the Israeli vision of “two states for two peoples” (entailing a willingness of the Palestinian state to live side-by-side, in peace, with the nation-state of the Jews).

Let’s raise our expectations of the Palestinian leadership and tell them that we expect that they will truly negotiate (rather than acting as if Give and Take means that the Israelis give and the Palestinians take, to paraphrase Prime Minister Netanyahu).

And rather than accepting the Palestinian dictum that “Israel cannot be a Jewish state if it has 1,000,000 Arab citizens”, let us reply, “Israel is a Jewish state and a democracy; we expect that the Palestinian state will give full citizenship to all its inhabitants, including Jews, Christians and peoples of other faiths, as well as Moslems.”

Toby F. Block

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