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My Recent Comments
Okay, first, I don't understand why anyone would denounce an organization for holding a public forum on any topic at all. There is nothing as open and transparent and fair as a public forum. People ought to be allowed to express an opinion or a belief or facts without being denounced! Is it disrespectful of one group of people to disapprove and/or be outraged by the abuse and oppression of another? My own ancestors (and those of many of my fellow Americans) were guilty, in fact, of the same things; in their case, it was Native Americans who were oppressed and abused. Reflecting on that past, and realizing how very wrong it was and how uncivilized it was, I wonder why anyone could simply watch the same thing happen all over again: people being pushed out of more and more land, people being denied basic human and civil rights. And of course it has happened in other places as well. But I am actually not, in a comment on a newspaper's web site, going to bring about world peace; not even peace in the Middle East. I do think it rather atrocious that the editor of a newspaper, presumably with a background in journalism (which I understand to involve fair and unbiased reporting) should attack an organization for daring to hold a public forum to even discuss matters regarding Palestine and Israel. This is, after all, the United States; with all our faults, we are entitled to freedom of speech, and a public forum actually represents the foundational rights of our Constitution. So I will give bbridges and JayM100 their place in this particular forum, of course; and here is my response to all three people I see represented here thus far: those two and Leslie Cagan. I do not believe that discussing and questioning Israel's policies and actions is an "attack" on Israel. If Israel feels that is an attack, there is something faulty in Israel's understanding of its nationhood. With nationhood, of course, comes responsibility. I don't see that being part of how Israel treats the Palestinians. It's time to acknowledge everyone's rights and dignity. It seems simple enough to me.
You know, our editorial pretty much spoke for itself, and I don't necessarily need to get into the weeds in the discussion it prompted. But there are two things that should be said.
1. Fair and unbiased reporting is for straight news articles, like the one we had on the event at Pride House. The letter to the editor you're responding to here came in response to our editorial, which is by definition an opinion piece.
2. Supporters of the Pride House event keep likening the boycott-divestment-sanctions movement to regular criticism of a government and attempts to change its policies through persuasion. But BDS is not like writing your congressman, or holding a rally, or making phone calls — it seeks to deprive Israel of concrete economic resources in order to force a change in policy. Sanctions, in fact, are the last step taken against nation-states short of the use of force (see "Iranian nuclear program"). Claiming BDS is the same as simply petitioning a government for a redress of grievances is just inaccurate.