November 27, 2012

Letter to the Editor: An Opposing Voice on the Occupation

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To the Editor:

Re: “Silence on the Occupation,” Opinion, Nov. 27

The piece “Silence on the Occupation,” paints a dishonest and morally bankrupt account of Israel past and present. After paying lip-service to the “complicated” nature of the conflict, the column quickly abandons any effort to work through the complexity and instead pens a polemic that does away with context, ignores history and levels some of the most insulting charges I’ve ever seen published in the pages of The Sun.The column charges Israel with the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, and then draws an equivalence between the systematic, racially motivated slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust and Israeli actions toward Palestinians over the past 65 years. The first charge is woefully inaccurate; the second is disgusting.The piece points to the displacement of Palestinians from their homes in 1948 and the recent military action in Gaza as evidence of so called “ethnic-cleansing.” What it doesn’t mention, of course, is that five Arab countries chose war against Israel in 1948 with the intent of pushing Israel into the sea. And when calling the recent Gaza action a “massacre” and evidence of “ethnic cleansing,” the author ignores the measures Israel took to avoid civilian casualties, such as dropping leaflets warning civilians to avoid Hamas positions. The column doesn’t bother to mention that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, only to be rewarded with showers of rockets over Southern Israel. And it can’t seem to fathom that maybe, just maybe, Israel’s military action in Gaza wasn’t “ethnic cleansing,” but a defensive action taken to protect the 3.5 million citizens who found themselves under rocket fire — an action any other country on Earth would have undertaken.So when the column asks me to “decide whether 160 Palestinians dead and six Israelis dead looks like Israeli self-defense,” I won’t fall victim to intellectual laziness and pretend that a body count serves as some sort of perverse scorecard. I’ll keep in mind that almost 1,700 rockets have been launched into Israel this year alone, and that were it not for the Iron Dome missile defense system, many more Israelis would be dead. And while thinking about the topic of “ethnic cleansing,” I’ll remember that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and pawns to further its expressed genocidal aim of killing Jews and wiping Israel off the map, whereas Israel is a democracy with a sizable Arab population that continues to grow.The column made sure to call The Sun’s recent editorial on the competing Israeli/Palestinian protests “an inexcusable act of cowardice.” I’d suggest the author look in the mirror.

Nathaniel Rosen ’13

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