Letters to the Editor

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ISRAEL: Criticism isn’t based on hatred

Letter by Bradford L. Dillman, Tacoma on July 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm with 41 Comments »
August 2, 2010 9:30 am

Re “Olympia Food Co-op joins long, tragic history of hatred toward Israel” (Viewpoint, 7-27):

Edward Alexander does a great disservice to readers by suggesting that criticism of Israel equates with anti-Semitism or Israel-hatred. Even worse, he misleadingly asserts that those who boycott Israeli-made goods, like the Olympia Food Co-op board of directors, seek Israel’s destruction.

In fact, most progressives in the United States – Jews and non-Jews alike – who urge boycotts, sanctions and divestment against Israel are trying to compel it to withdraw from occupied territory and respect international law. Were Israel to do so, it would bring justice to Palestinians while gaining the peace and security it deserves alongside a Palestinian state.

Ironically, it is the critics of Israel, not our Congress or Israel’s cheerleaders, who might best be able to help the Jewish state live up to its own ideals.

Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. Exactly!

  2. donjames says:

    “… trying to compel (Israel) to withdraw from occupied territory and respect international law. Were Israel to do so, it would bring justice to Palestinians while gaining the peace and security it deserves alongside a Palestinian state.“

    ’Yup, it’s worked out just that way in Gaza so far.


    And where were these people during the Cold War? Lech Walesa would like to know.

  3. Alison7613 says:

    Seriously? No way. These people hate Israel. And if you probe further, they probably hate Jewish people entirely. I have been chased out of places because of my pro-Jewish pro-Israel stance. And I once stood at a peace rally where the “peace” activists were applauding the bombs that flew into Israeli neighborhoods. Shame on all of you. Seriously.

  4. blakeshouse says:

    The “progressives” (pronounced socialists) are working to destroy the US with its agenda, along with everyone and thing that we have worked to build upon since our inception. But hey, maybe they are right on this, after all a broken clock is right twice a day. Obfuscation and lies are wearing thin on the AMERICAN public.

  5. I think a D-9 Caterpiller is the way to deal with anti-semites…

  6. In your letter you say: “Ironically, it is the critics of Israel, not our Congress or Israel’s cheerleaders, who might best be able to help the Jewish state live up to its own ideals.”

    Here is MY problem with that statement. These progressives you laud presume they are right…about everything, and that anyone who does not agree with them is either blind or stupid. The arrogance in your comment above, well…I’ll bet you can’t even imagine that there’s arrogance IN the comment, can you?

    Let me turn it around for you and see how it sounds…”ironically, it is the critics of the current administration, not it’s cheerleaders who might best be able to help the USA live up to its own ideals.”

    You presume that protest coming out of your ideals is noble. What do you think of the Tea Party?

  7. LuckyCharm says:

    If the critics of this administration, including yourself, sozo, were able to articulate even one specific objection to its policies, rather than trying to stoke fears about a general “sense of where this is all taking us,” then maybe your analogy would be valid. Israel’s critics can tell you exactly which actions, in which areas, they wish to see stopped, and what it would take to make them happy. Tea partiers cannot.

  8. The Isreal lobby’s answer to any critism of Isreal’s policies or practices is that the person or group making the critism is a Jew hater. This is a strategy that has worked wonderfully well for many years as it puts the critic on the defensive and diverts the conversation to anti-Semitism. The Isreal lobby even discounts critism from within the Jewish community by labelling such people “self-loathers” as if they have been convinced by a world full of Jew haters that they are bad and should hate themselves. Isreal is a country and like any country it is fully capable of stupid, unjust actions. Disagreement with some policy or action of Isreal does not equate to hating Jews any more than disagreeing with some policy of the U.S. government equates to hating Americans.

  9. Sumner401 says:

    The arrogance in your comment above, well…I’ll bet you can’t even imagine that there’s arrogance IN the comment, can you?

    That should be a very familiar question to you sozo, you’ve been asked it of yourself many times.
    When will you answer it?

  10. goldenrulefan says:

    DonJames, Gaza is still occupied by Israel. Israel has it under brutal siege for the past several years. The Israeli withdrawal was stated by Dov Weisglass as meant to be “formaldehyde to the peace process.”
    Hamas has stated that it would accept a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, the offer that’s been on the table for Israel to take since 2002. All of the Arab states and the majority if not all the non-Arab Islamic states back this offer.
    Yet Israel instead continues in a different kind of p-i-e-c-e of land process, gobbling up more and more of the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

  11. STOP hating the Jews. Hate is not a family value. I urge all libs to throw the brown shirts in your closets into the trash and strive to do the opposite of what national socialists want you to do with Jews. Please try.

  12. To those in ignorance of the topographic attributes of Israel: the Golan Heights would be the equivalent to your fence and your roof of your house. The Syrians could casually saunter right over to the outlook and lob off a few hundred Kasim (or mobile scud derivative missiles) with impunity. Now I know that the map-challenged wouldn’t like that at their home, (would you). One of the first activities of Hamass was to dismantle anything Jewish (wells, farms, buildings, schools etc.) in Gaza. Who are the mindless, hating ideologues?

  13. Jerusalem is one city undivided. It is the capital of Israel.

  14. LC…many people here have given ample reasons, in specific detail, to be disillusioned with this administration. If you find my observations too broad a brush stroke, fine … but surely you are not suggesting that critics on this blog have failed to give sufficient argument to the debate? If you are, you are suffering from a severe case of selective listening.

  15. smcelhiney says:

    Is the co-op boycotting goods from all those nations supporting the destruction of Israel? More than likely not… even more likely that those nations export little besides oil and death.

    I think it’s telling that Israel actually has a vigorous export market. Yet somehow they owe the people attacking them on a daily basis a better life that they won’t give themselves.

    Look at the dollar amounts going to the Palestinians through the UN and compare that to Israel. Siege and starvation… wow, must be why their population growth is higher than Israels.

  16. LuckyCharm says:

    sozo, do all of Obama’s critics speak for you? Can you not come up with even one specific policy or action that you, yourself, oppose, and explain why?

    sm, if Israel has a “vigorous export market,” then why would they even NEED humanitarian aid? Your comparison makes no sense if one territory is blockaded while the other has a free, thriving economy.

  17. OK LC, I’ll take the time to give you what you insist upon, but I doubt that it will change your tune much. Your record appears to be stuck.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT going to rehash the health care debate points. I made many before the the Holy Trinity (Obama-Pelos-Reid) got their way, as did others in this forum. Here’s my summer school report for Miss LC, titled


    Education. I am an educator. The people closest to the kids need to be making decisions about those kids. One hopes that local educators can at least have a say in state matters, but Nationalized Education…no thanks. Imposing national test standards is one of the specific things I don’t like as it will lead to educators competing for RTTT grants, hopeing to get in on some of those “stimulus” dollars. Bribery is poor policy. Finally, the alliance of the national gov’t with the unions is bad news. The unions are every bit as bad as corporate lobbyists … no worse…because they disguise themselves as do-gooders. Finally, and this may be too long-range for you LC, but the paradigm in which the government assumes more and more power over the schools will rob parents of both their power AND THEIR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES. Nationalized education is a scary thought.

    Next, President Obama pushes for amnesty as part of his IMMIGRATION policy.

    As one columnist put it, amnesty is like the Jason character in the horror movie — it refuses to die. It’s and old strategy that does not work. The federal government, rather than positioning itself as an opponent to this new law in AZ should have, instead, acknowledged that IT’S THE FEDS’ JOB to enforce existing immigration laws. Additionally, the feds should divert all that pork spending (stimulus dollars?) directly to the protectin of our southern border.
    Homeland security is the federal government’s job. Another specific in this area is this: the federal gov’t should tighten up I.D. authentication. It is far too easy to obtain false documents to enter this country. Specific enough for you yet?

    Finally, politicians on the left that accuse the right of fear mongering should pause and consider the “crisis-invention” conduct among those they admire and elect. I am speaking here of the Global Warming crisis. I am NOT saying we don’t have environmental concerns, but if ever there was a tale-bearer whose intent isto scare people to death, it’s the GW people, including our president.

    BTW his tips to fathers on the Whitehouse blog bordered on the absurd . Did you know that the government regulates the manufacture of shower heads, to decrease the flow of water that passes through them? How close are we to being told when we can use our furnaces, when we can bathe, when we can turn on the lights at night? Perhaps one day we will look like North Korea looks at night from space…completely dark save one twinkling patch of Hope and Change coming from the Whitehouse ballroom.

    I know I know…that’s far too long-term for this discussion. I’ll close by saying that Obama’s cap and trade policies, though they sound good, when put into practice, will be paid for not by the carbon gluttons of industry but by the middle class when fuel prices soar to cover the costs.

    AND, the heartland (where coal is produced) will suffer job losses and crumbling economies while places like Silicon Valley thrive–to say nothing of all those clever Wall Street guys and gals who will make millions in GREEN-TECH investments, and look noble doing it.

    P.S. For good measure I will repeat a criticism I’ve written about before about a very specific issue: the president sanctions abortion to such a degree that he makes no move to excluse “partial birth abortions” which are in fact, live births. Additonally, he essentially lied when he promised that he would block federal dollars from being used for abortions. I don’t think our president is trustworthy.

    If this is not sufficient LC, you’ll have to deal with it.

  18. artsandcrafts says:

    Nice work sozo, and that’s just a warm up.

  19. Sumner401 says:

    Education. I am an educator.

    Good gawd!
    I think we have just found out why the schools are failing.

  20. Sumner401 says:

    sozo, you do know that all 3 of your ‘issues’ are in fact republican policies.
    No child left behind, you described it’s failings very well yet you somehow claim it’s President Obama’s policy, when it isn’t. As an ‘educator’ you should know this.

    Amnesty was the pillar of the failure bush immigration policy, and it’s why you republicans took a bath on this issue last time the GOP attempted to use it for political gain. The hard fact is, amnesty will have to be part of the solution, you racists will just have to live with it, you did when reagan passed it, you can do it again.

    And then you seriously try to pin the fear mongering label on the Democrats?
    That one is simply too stupid to even entertain a comment.
    Even you know better than that.

  21. artsandcrafts says:

    No child was Teddy kennedy’s baby.

    Barry is implying amnesty.

    Fear mongering is the beddwetter neo-soc m.o. , and everyone knows it, sumn just have their head in the sand.

  22. LuckyCharm says:

    sozo, America’s educational strategy is an outmoded failure, and it places us at risk both economically and militarily. You don’t believe in “bribing” (rewarding) educational success — how then would you propose to achieve it? And how to do that on a national level without some kind of standards? BTW, those standards were developed by experts in the field, not Obama or his cabinet.

    You say, “the alliance of the national gov’t with the unions is bad news.” What alliance? What policies have been enacted that exemplify this “alliance” in your view?

    You’re worried about the “government assum[ing] more and more power over the schools.” Here, you’re just jumping to conclusions again. Rewarding exceptional achievement in no way equates to assuming power.

    Then there’s your “amnesty” objection, also untrue, even if Lush Limp-O likes to throw around that word. From a speech just 3 weeks ago:

    “Today, we have more boots on the ground near the Southwest border than at any time in our history. Let me repeat that: We have more boots on the ground on the Southwest border than at any time in our history. We doubled the personnel assigned to Border Enforcement Security Task Forces. We tripled the number of intelligence analysts along the border. For the first time, we’ve begun screening 100 percent of southbound rail shipments. And as a result, we’re seizing more illegal guns, cash and drugs than in years past. Contrary to some of the reports that you see, crime along the border is down. And statistics collected by Customs and Border Protection reflect a significant reduction in the number of people trying to cross the border illegally.”

    The President then went on to describe his vision for business and individual accountability. NOT amnesty.

    And a federal ID card? Oh, let’s go whole hog and make it biometric with RFID technology, and watch Michelle Bachmann’s head explode as she screeches about the government amassing all this intimate information on every single citizen and storing it in a database! Now THAT would be fun to see. But in order to make it a law, or even to get funding for such a project, it would have to go through Congress. So why don’t you send a nice thank-you contribution to the member who has sponsored this bill? Oh wait, nobody has? Gee…. but I guess your beef isn’t with the President then, either, is it?

    Also, which scary quote do you refer to, in which the President is trying to frighten you about global warming? I missed that one….

    The showerhead regulation has been on the books since 1992, capping delivery at no more than 2.5 gallons/minute. Do you realize how much freakin’ water that is? A car wash only uses 3 gal/min! No, this one has absolutely nothing to do with Obama, and even less with his Father’s Day speech (how you jump from one to the other escapes me, frankly). But as further evidence of your cognitive disconnect, you seem to see no contradiction between calling for tighter federal ID controls and worrying about federal encroachment on our individual lives. Amazing. You must have learned that from Glenn Beck.

    Cap and trade was quite successful in the 70’s to reduce acid rain. And the economy didn’t crumble and the sky didn’t fall. These doomsday predictions coming from the right have been disproven time and again, yet they still work on the attention-deficient American sheeple.

    For your partial birth abortion issue, again that would take a law. Which begins in Congress. You know what to do — support those members of Congress that are pushing for a ban, if you can find them. But don’t try to pin it on the President, because that ball’s not in his court.

    (I don’t know what subject you taught, but it wasn’t civics, was it?)

  23. Great job SOZO, thanks.
    LC-Congress does not utilize “Executive Order” prerogatives.(executive..get it)
    O’Bama “promised” the abortion disclaimer in lieu of Stupak’s “promise” which both parties rescinded the moment that ‘bait-and-switch’ was in place regarding federal funding, whether direct or indirect, of abortion.
    These two characters share the Slime-Ball-of the-Year award..
    Great job SOZO, thanks…

  24. artsandcrafts says:

    Barry gave a speech ??? and we’re suppose to “believe” he won’t “change” his mind?

  25. LuckyCharm says:

    Wrong, lars — the executive order was in fact issued.

    But, uh…. great job. I guess.

  26. You asked for specifics and I gave them to you LC. It’s how I see it, and if you recall, I suggested once before that you obviously look at the world through a different lens than the one given to me, so I see no point in continuing.

    But, rest assured, I will still make observations that invite folks to look at the bigger picture, and I unashamedly maintain that I’m concerned about where the democrats’ agenda will take us as a nation and society.

    Virtually every “progressive” move smacks of creating a greater dependence on government, which ultimately leads to a government with far too much power. Some call it tyranny. You know the old saying about teaching a man to fish, right? And schools, whiile they certainly need improvement, don’t need the federal government in there sending the mixed message that “you should learn how to fish even though if you vote for me I’ll make sure you get a fish anyway.”

    Perhaps schools would improve if the unions didn’t protect horrible teachers from getting fired.

  27. LuckyCharm says:

    What a screwed-up comment system — a couple of my comments are apparently “invisible” now. I can’t see them but when I try to repost, I get the “Duplicate comment detected” error. *sigh* Time to go to the park and get away from this obstinate screen….

    Of course these things always happen on the weekend, too, when there’s nobody at the TNT minding the store. But that’s okay — let’s just outsource it some more, watch the quality degrade yet again, lose more print subscriptions (like they just lost mine), so we can complain about budget restraints leading to a greater need to outsource even more, etc.!

  28. MarksonofDarwin says:

    The outsourcing will continue LC, and I share your frustration with the commenting section. We have only one person to thank for that….you know the one….who pretends to be many?

    I don’t think any news organization is too worried about losing print customers. It’s bail-out season, and they have all queued up to get theirs.

  29. LC-You’ve inadvertently made the same point that conservatism makes.
    Taxes and regulations are two of the top reasons for budget constraints leading to outsourcing ( see post on “Out-Mooring” in Massachusetts–Whatever Happened to Made In America ) , and the Exec. Order got exceptions at the State level re: elective abortions, a detail “fix” after the publicized fact…
    well said sozo…

  30. LuckyCharm says:

    I give up… Here’s my reply to sozo.

    And lars, if gov’t regulation were the reasons the papers are going under, then why do they keep sending me offers to get me to renew my print subscription?

    Newspapers used to do very well in this country — has there been some new set of regulations placed on them recently that are suddenly causing them to fold?

  31. Thanks for the effort LC, but nothing you wrote changes a thing. IMO you are vision-impaired, and I don’t mean that in a mean-spirited way. I mean your vision of a great society is different than mine. We shall see how the world turns.

  32. larsman says:

    LC sez- “And lars, if gov’t regulation were the reasons the papers are going under, then why do they keep sending me offers to get me to renew my print subscription?

    Newspapers used to do very well in this country — has there been some new set of regulations placed on them recently that are suddenly causing them to fold?”

    1) Because the print format IS going under
    2) Because if they get your re-subscription, that will delay that aspect
    3) It’s a geographic enigma to “outsource” a localized news service..(the TNT delivered and reporting from Chiapas Mexico??) and I wasn’t limiting the observation to only newspapers…

  33. beerBoy says:

    Thread drift – nice going sozo!

    The biggest problem with the indiscriminate use to the term “antisemite” to disarm any criticism or protest of the government of Israel’s policies is that is diminishes the word from having any real impact when it is appropriately utilized

    But…..speaking of hatred towards those with semitic heritage……check out these links:



  34. Well, I’ll take the blame for the thread drift, bBoy (back for vacation?) but if you check back, you’ll see that it was LC who jumped on my analogy, which is all I intended it to be, and then, yes… things drifted from the main topic.

    Funny thing, dialogue … Drift Happens

  35. Yep….back from many hikes in Glacier National Park. Kinda makes all this stuff seem rather insignificant.

    And yes – I scanned very quickly and blamed you (sozo) for the drift because of your extensive post about what you don’t like about Obama.

    Obama continues the longstanding tradition of US presidents being Israel’s puppet on a string – though not quite as enthusiastically as his predecessors – as Netanyahu stated in 2001, the US is easy for Israel to manipulate.

  36. The puppet imagery is unfair I think, but I know where you stand on this.

  37. beerBoy says:

    Where I stand is this:

    Two states – with viable, sustainable borders (with water, etc.) based upon the 1948 borders.

    And – all American officials put American interests first.

  38. “Viable sustainable borders?” Wouldn’t it be nice if the USA could pull this off?

    Sorry, didn’t mean to go down another rabbit trail.

    Your solution sounds so simple, bBoy. Why is it so hard to achieve?

  39. beerBoy says:

    There are those, on both sides of the conflict, who have no interest in a peaceful, equitable solution.

  40. 2. Israel is committing crimes against humanity in its ongoing, illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and perpetuation of an apartheid system. Massive Israeli violence against civilians has only increased in recent years. International pressure has proven insufficient to change Israeli policies.
    3. Boycott is a moral, nonviolent strategy for change. It is a campaign in which ordinary citizens throughout the world can make their voices heard.
    4. It is not effective to boycott only Israeli products from the illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, as the Israeli and settlement economies are completely integrated, and crimes against Palestinians occur within Israel as well as within the occupied territories.
    5. Boycott is not a form of punishment of the Israeli Jewish population; rather, it is consumers’ organized refusal to support the Israeli economy as long as Palestinians, both in Israel and the Occupied Territories, are subject to an all-encompassing system of discrimination.
    6. Include parts of your testimony from the 8/12 forum at the Olympia Center.
    7. If you are Jewish it is especially important to challenge the assumption of Tacoma News Tribune and The Olympian that certain groups speaks for the South Sound Jewish Community. It’s actually very diverse and does not hold a monolithic view on Palestine and Israel or the boycott.
    8. Make a reference to the resources on the Olympia BDS site, such as the video statement by Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb in support of the boycott, and the letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Reference Phan Nguyen’s oped in The News Tribune.
    9. From Rochelle Gause’s email prior to the Olympia Center event:
    “The co-op has a specific boycott policy that we have been following to the tee for 2 years, a policy designed to help the co-op remain true to its mission statement of encouraging economic and social justice. Human rights abuses are happening daily, there are no words for the reality on the ground and we truly are responsible with our tax dollars, at the price tag of $940,000 from Olympia alone to Israel each year… The boards decision has not prevented any discussion, in fact, I believe it has started a much needed dialogue in our community.
    “Boycott has proven successful in so many situations in the past, from the Montgomery Bus boycott for civil rights, to the Grape boycott for farmworkers rights. And recently a South African delegation traveled to Palestine and returned calling for boycott of Israel saying some of the conditions they saw were worse than under South African apartheid. It is time to act!”

    Additional information

    * The Olympia BDS website
    * Why Boycott? From the Co-op website.
    * Steve Niva’s article about the co-op boycott.
    * Linda Frank’s letter to the editor in support of the boycott.
    * More letters on the subject
    * FAQ about boycott from IMEU, The Institute for Middle East Understanding
    * 2-page Olympia BDS flyer about boycott
    * And the Palestine Solidarity Seattle website page on boycott

    Additional Reminders in Regards to Letters to the Editor

    * Please write even if you only have time for a brief note. Numbers count. If you are not published, you will be helping someone with a similar viewpoint get into print.
    * The word limit for letters that are intended for publication is 250. Shorter letters are generally easier for papers to publish.
    * Begin your letter with a reference to the title and date of the article or opinion piece to which you are responding. Example: “Re: Olympia co-op boycott debate cordial, passionate”
    * Personal experiences and/or qualifications, when relevant, can be helpful in establishing your authority. However, you can also establish your authority by writing factual, logical, respectful letters. When possible, include a reference to your source, such as, “according to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem,…”
    * Don’t try to respond to every problem with the piece in question. Just pick one or two points to concentrate on.
    * Don’t forget to include your full name, street address and contact phone numbers. The paper needs these to verify that you are actually the author. Only your name and city will appear in print.
    * Please be courteous.

    Thanks for all your support, and thanks for listening!

    Olympia BDS

  41. Ali Abunimah on… “Boycott: A Nonviolent Technology for Peace and Justice in Palestine/Israel”

    Tuesday, August 31, 7-9 pm, The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia NW

    For all the dialogues, discussions, and debates around the Olympia Food Co-op’s recent boycott of Israeli goods, one party’s voice has been shamefully excluded — that of Palestinians. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, is one of the most prominent Palestinian-American commentators on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is coming to Olympia to explain why boycott is an important component for peace and justice for Palestine and Israel.Ali Abunimah has published articles in the newspapers such as the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Democracy Now!, and other news programs. Abunimah was born to a refugee mother from the eradicated Palestinian village of Lifta and a father from Battir in the currently occupied West Bank. “My parents taught me the importance of standing up for your rights but doing so in a way that is not tribal,” says Abunimah. “The Palestinian issue is about universal rights and about equality for everyone.”
    “But it’s precisely because of this sort of ignorance that BDS efforts are needed: to educate the public that the situation in Palestine/Israel is not about “Arab or Muslim vs. Jew” nor even about “Palestinians vs. Israelis.” It is a struggle against a system of oppression and apartheid that privileges Israeli Jews at the expense of Palestinians, violating Palestinians’ most fundamental rights. The premise of the BDS movement is that the key to ending the conflict is for Israel to respect the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people and comply with international law. BDS is a tactic, not an end in itself. The goal is to get to justice, human rights, and equality for all.

    Indeed, the Palestinian civil society’s BDS call makes clear this is a universalist movement that sees anyone who supports universal human rights as a potential ally. Thus it explicitly invites “conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.” And some courageous Israelis, have already done so, launching Boycott From Within.” Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, is one of the most prominent Palestinian-American commentators on the Israel/Palestine conflict. He is coming to Olympia to explain why boycott is an important component for peace and justice for Palestine and Israel. Ali Abunimah has published articles in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times, and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera and other television news programs. Abunimah was born to a refugee mother from the eradicated Palestinian village of Lifta and a father from Battir in the currently occupied West Bank.

    SPECIAL NOTE: For those of you who have attempted to derail previous BDS-related events, please don’t try to get this event canceled through threats and intimidation. The plane ticket has already been bought. We work really hard on this stuff, and it’s not nice of you to try to ruin it. We don’t try to cancel your events.

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