Divestment from Israel: a step away from peace
The Dec. 6 article "From churches, a challenge to Israeli policies" conveyed many of the diverse - and often conflicting - viewpoints on the topic of divestment from Israel, including the positions of hitherto underexposed parties: pro-divestment Jews and antidivestment Christians.
As a Jew myself, I was heartened that the article referred to the Jewish community's instinctive response to being singled out. Our history teaches the potentially huge destruction that follows from being isolated. Notwithstanding the perceived justification of supporters of divestment, many Jews are deeply offended by divestment. It's as hurtful to them as blacklisting or Star of David armbands.
Most Israelis support a liberal middle-ground involving a two-state solution. Peace supporters around the world would achieve their greatest effect by helping that majority. Divestment only antagonizes - and strengthens - Israel's right wing.
I truly appreciate that while the leaders of the Presbyterian Church are urging divestment from Israeli companies involved with aggression, they are also thinking of investing in Israeli companies that aren't involved.
However, I fail to see the connection with Israel's security wall and aggression. The only reason the wall is being built is to stop suicide bombers from crossing into Israel to kill people, and it has saved the lives of Israeli citizens - both Jewish and Muslim.
I realize that the wall has caused disruption in the lives of Palestinians, but how is this inconvenience worse than the repeated carnage wreaked by the bombing of innocent lives on Israeli buses and in cafes, schools, and markets?
Sara L. Cannon
Santa Monica, Calif.
In my opinion, if you want to see who the real oppressors of the Palestinians are, look at the Arab Muslim world. Palestinians are not allowed citizenship in any Arab state other than Jordan.
I am so sorry that the Bush administration has continued to contribute millions of dollars of US tax money to Israel every day. Some of that money is probably being used for humiliation and severe restraints imposed by the Israelis on the daily lives of our fellow humans, the Palestinians.
As a Presbyterian who supports social programs, I am proud of my church when it endorses the relief of human misery regardless of race, creed, or color.
Before we divest, we need to consider our own glass house. How would we respond if our buses were attacked by suicide bombers on a routine basis? How would we deal with neighboring countries who fueled these attacks? While a fence is a blunt (and effective) instrument in saving lives, is it more just than armed incursions and assassinations?
When the Arab-Israeli situation is seen as it really is, the US and the world will support Israel's imperfect attempt to protect its civilians while guarding civil rights for all.
Palestinian life is nearly unendurable and little distinction is made between those who support violence and those who do not.
It is important to be involved in a genuine dialogue about how investments affect the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. The current situation is hazardous to both.
There can be no hope for anyone until changes are made. To the extent that we can, we should exercise influence which encourages efforts for peace and for an increase in human rights in the region.
Sally H. Hundley
Park Forest, Ill.
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