November 13, 2018

Letters to the editor: BDS and David Myers, Israel’s future, Ben Carson and guns

BDS: Anti-Semitic or Strategic?

David Myers’ article acknowledges a number of important points about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, but misses the big picture (“Another Way to Think about BDS,” Oct. 16).

Myers correctly states that while some BDS activists are openly anti-Semitic, others are well-meaning people who think they are simply protesting Israeli policy. But BDS should be judged primarily by its political goals, not the intentions of its supporters. BDS is racist at its core because it denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland — Israel. This is true whether its activists realize it or not.

Myers blames the rise of BDS on — what else? — the occupation. But boycotts existed before 1967, and BDS’s current focus on Israel’s presence in the West Bank is purely strategic. BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti himself said, “Would ending the occupation mean the end of BDS? No, it wouldn’t.”

BDS leaders plan to continue until the Jewish people are returned to statelessness because this is their definition of “justice in Palestine.” The anti-Semitic incidents we see on campuses and elsewhere are an inevitable byproduct of this racist agenda.

Lastly, the strategy Myers prescribes is misguided. One-sided condemnations of Israel without equal or greater pressure on Palestinian leaders will only bolster BDS and undermine efforts to achieve a just peace. There’s no need for the Jewish community to heap blame on Israel while shielding Palestinian leaders from accountability. BDS is already doing that quite effectively.

Roz Rothstein

CEO, StandWithUs 

David Myers responds: I oppose the global BDS movement. Moreover, I think we should hold Palestinian leaders accountable for their corrupt and misguided management of their people’s legitimate aspirations for national self-determination. Where I disagree with Roz Rothstein is in the belief that Israel is right in occupying the West Bank of the Jordan river. We do ourselves no benefit with the head-in-the-sand approach that she favors. The occupation is a political disaster, morally corrosive and a huge weight around Israel’s neck that must be lifted.

Two-State Solutions, Three Opinions

Rob Eshman’s editorial left me ambivalent. While I agree that playing the blame game is trivial and that it is time we stop contemplating the past and start focusing on the future, I do not agree with his opinion on a two-state solution. If a two-state solution meant ending this ubiquitous belligerence between Israel and the countries surrounding it, I believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would jump at the opportunity and wouldn’t “put off big decisions.” However, the Camp David Summit in 2000, where Ehud Barak offered concessions and Yasser Arafat walked out, is a prime example as to why a two-state solution could never work. No matter how much Israel gives in concessions, it will never be enough. While Eshman might be correct that Israel “can’t survive the death of the two-state solution,” Israel won’t be able to survive the life of a two-state solution until the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. 

Amira Felsenthal , Los Angeles

I thought “Sticks, Stones and Centrifuges” (Oct. 16) was brilliant. So well written and meaningful. Thank you. 

Might I offer something that may be of interest? It’s about the statements: “So, can Israel make a bold move here? Given the turmoil surrounding it, given the increasing radicalization and despair of the Palestinians, dare Israel dare?” and “I believe Israel has more to lose by clinging to the status quo than by shaking it up.”

Doesn’t almost every Jew want the same thing? It is the question of what comes next that divides us. Hasn’t Israel always taken bold chances, time and again since its creation, to advance peace with the Arabs? 

Has Israel made huge mistakes? Absolutely. We all know it. Yet Israel must continue to take steps for peace. We are in total agreement on this.

Rob Cherniak, Vancouver 

The Second Amendment and the Second World War

Well, Jewish Journal published yet another rant against conservatives, this time Ben Carson was on the leftist chopping block for stating a belief that, had the Jewish people not been unarmed, Hitler could not have achieved the near-total annihilation of European Judaism (“The Nutty Neurosurgeon,” Oct. 16).

I cannot believe a Jewish publication could not be aware of the anti-Nazi uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, when a handful of Jewish heroes and heroines held off a huge array of Nazi military forces for several weeks with nothing more than a few handguns.

It is highly unlikely that hordes of Nazi soldiers would have entered Jewish homes to haul away our defenseless people had they known each home could have a rifle, perhaps a handgun or two and substantial amounts of ammunition — ready to kill those Nazis on the spot?

Leonard Melman, Nanoose Bay, Canada