Letter to the editor:
Emory Students for Justice in Palestine
The op-ed by Anthony Wong recently published in The Emory Wheel illustrates the difficulty in engaging in dialogue over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is futile to engage in dialogue when one side relies on lies to cloud the issue.
Space limitations prevent me from a full refutation, but I will start with a few. First, is the statement that “EJSP deserves credit for starting a discussion.” There is no discussion here, but the real story, which deserves investigation, is how did Residence Life approve the posters in a non-transparent fashion, and did they not anticipate flyers would be posted on doors?
The next few sentences [in the op-ed] refer to the “occupied Gaza strip.” Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip in 2005. Israel does not permit free movement of Gazans into Israel because of the state of war that exists between Israel and Hamas. The other border of Gaza is with Egypt, and Israel does not control this border. Much aid has been given to Gaza to house 60,000 people which has been used to build terror tunnels to burrow into Israel. Iran has sent international aid in the form of rockets and is willing to fight Israel all the way to the last Gazan.
The next statement is a bit misleading as well: “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in refugee camps where their movement and access to aid are restricted, which is in violation of international humanitarian law.”
Actually, the conditions of Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan are truly dire, and if Mr. Wong is really concerned about Palestinians, he should ask the governments of Lebanon and Jordan why the conditions for Palestinians are dire. It also illustrates that Mr. Wong does not care about the plight of the Palestinians but is more interested in attacking Israel. He uses the Palestinians as a tool.
The real blooper of this column is “live in conditions that some even compare to those of Nazi Germany’s Jewish ghettos.” My grandparents were in the Warsaw ghetto and did not survive. The purpose of the ghettos was to kill as many Jews as possible through starvation and disease. The CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has not recorded epidemics of typhus, tuberculosis and other diseases of overcrowding in Palestinian areas, and Palestinian life expectancy is at least equal if not superior to that of other Arab countries.
In my line of work, I pursue a positive message of collaboration with Israeli scientists working on addressing unmet needs in cancer and autoimmune diseases. Instead of tearing down like Mr. Wong does, I strive to build up. I recognize the attraction of tearing things down, because it is a lot easier to tear down than to build up. Personally, I don’t hold much hope of Mr. Wong solving his Israeli and Jewish issues, but I write this column in the spirit of inquiry that Emory prides itself on.
Jack Arbiser, co-president of Emory Hillel 1982, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
Article on Whole Foods Closing
Whole Foods made a business decision to vacate the Briarcliff/Lavista location. While this closing means an inconvenience in obtaining kosher-cut fish, there’s a world of amazing kosher choices and variety nearby, especially for Passover, at The Spicy Peach and The Kosher Gourmet. Community members reevaluating their shopping options should visit these establishments.
No one should be dismayed when a corporation – whether Whole Foods or the Fountain Oaks Kroger – chooses to eliminate a location or a department. These are corporate business decisions following the money. That’s why I prefer independent kosher establishments like The Kosher Gourmet, The Spicy Peach, and Griller’s Pride. With support and ongoing business, they will be successful and consistently available for my shopping needs.
Support your independent, local kosher establishments!
Marsha Londe, Atlanta
Letter to the editor:
Harold Kirtz gave good advice to Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar. I’d like to expand his suggestions a bit.
Rep. Omar experienced life in a refugee camp and should be particularly touched by the fate of the Palestine refugees ¬– UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] designation– who’ve been kept in limbo for three generations. She should be asking Muslim countries to rescind their laws barring Palestine refugees from citizenship, restricting the professions they may pursue, and barring them from owning land.
She should be calling on Palestinian leaders to negotiate on Israeli proposals for the founding of the first-ever Arab State of Palestine while building the infrastructure needed by a viable state. She should also ask that Mahmoud Abbas reverse his current position and grant citizenship to the refugees in the new state.
Mr. Kirtz is absolutely correct that the new state must be willing to live peacefully, beside Israel. That will necessitate the leaders’ admitting to the refugees that they will not be given the homes they claim their forebears fled during Arab-initiated wars against Israel. (ie. Palestine refugees don’t have a right of return to Israel and should be given the choice of becoming citizens of the new Palestinian state or other Muslim countries.)
Toby F. Block, Atlanta