Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Two state solution referendum is preferable to divestment

By
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

To the Editor:

In Kyle Price’s ’20 recent op-ed, the author opposes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel. As a Jew, I’m reluctantly against BDS and fearful that it could become a camouflage for blatantly anti-Semitic activities.

That said, Price’s article is shockingly oblivious to the existential problem that propels radical solutions like BDS. Notwithstanding the op-ed’s vigorous defense of the allegedly equal status of Palestinian-Israelis, it is a smoke screen to avoid peering into the abyss — the status of about five million Palestinians who reside in the West Bank and Gaza.

For over 50 years these individuals have been occupied or blockaded by the Israeli state. Their numbers exceed the population of 27 states in the United States. This population is stateless, lacks freedom of movement and has grossly inadequate access to water, electricity and medical care. It is consigned to poverty.

Though one can build walls so you can’t see them and pretend they don’t exist, they profoundly exist to me. I have visited and shared meals with them and heard about their aspirations and frustrations. I have felt love and fear for their children. Like many of us, they awake each morning, take their kids to school and go to work. They love their children no less than we love ours. Yet for many of them, the future is beyond bleak.

The thought that some people are worth less than others is the root of our worst problems. The separation wall and blockade against Palestinians entering Israel makes it seem as if Israel believes Palestinians are less deserving than Israelis and Jews. We cannot be oblivious to the inhumane desperation of five million souls and still think we are civilized. Empathy is the oxygen of morality.

It is unproductive to play the blame card. There’s plenty of blame on both sides. We cannot change the past. Let’s create a better future.

In Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence, it identifies itself as a Jewish, democratic State. Right now, it is not fully either. Only the establishment of a Palestinian state can fulfill this promise. The current Israeli government has fought every attempt at a two-state solution.

The Knesset moving closer to annexing the West Bank, which may follow Israel’s April elections.  Israel is pursuing an unconscionable path that will lead to more moral indignation and international isolation. Increasingly it will be termed an apartheid state. The radicals will gain adherents until a two state solution is agreed and enacted.

Thus, the UCS referendum should be refocused to provide a resolution supporting a two State solution, rather than one promoting BDS and the dangerous precedent it sets.

Stephen Robert ’62 P ’91 LHD (hon.) 2004, former chancellor of Brown

3 Comments

  1. Beer Baron says:

    It would be difficult to find anything remotely accurate in this unintentionally-hilarious, Orwellian-rewriting of history masquerading as an anti-Israel editorial, but I will restrict myself to the following two points:

    First, the myth of Arab Muslim victimhood is cheap propaganda stemming from the failed Arab attempts to destroy Israel and throw its Jewish population “into the sea.”

    The anti-Israel left continues to pander to the irrational, bigoted demands of the Middle East’s Arab Muslim countries to suppress the region’s only non-Muslim state in favor of yet another Arab Muslim country.

    That blatant disregard for the rights of anyone who is not an Arab Muslim is precisely the reason why the Jews of Israel had to fight for national independence.

    The mere existence of Israel proclaims the national rights of the Jewish INDIGENOUS population of Israel; a country and a people that predate Arab colonialism and will outlive it as well.

    Second, this editorial is literally the very definition of irony. The author complains about Israel’s treatment of its Arab non-citizens (who are lucky enough to live in Israel) while ignoring the fact that in EVERY Muslim-majority country in the world Jewish citizens are denied equality of rights under the law.

    • TheMechanicalAdv says:

      Arabs didn’t suddenly appear when Islam was invented. Before Islam, Palestine was the home of Jewish Arabs. Today, most Israeli Jews are the descendants of European chalutzim.

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