Several letter writers have supported the Olympia Food Co-op’s boycott of Israeli products related to Israel’s supposedly inhumane blockade of Gaza. I believe these writers lack understanding of history and context.
Hamas, the terrorist group which controls Gaza, has as its avowed goal, not the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, but the total destruction of Israel.
When Israel’s forces and settlers left Gaza a few years ago, Hamas responded by launching hundreds of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. All countries have the right of self defense. Imagine our government’s response if terrorists launched rockets into America from Mexico.
Comparing Israel’s policies to apartheid is obscene. Apartheid was a decades-long, unconscionable program by the white minority to control the the black majority. Israel’s policies vis-à-vis Gaza are short-term tactical measures to protect its citizens and get the Palestinians to the negotiating table. Remember, Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East and is a steadfast ally of the U.S.
This is not a battle between Islam and Israel. About 20 percent of Israel’s citizens are Arabs (mostly Muslims) who practice their religion freely with all the other rights and privileges of citizenship. This is a battle between a small democratic state trying to survive against hostile states like Iran and terrorist groups like Hamas which celebrate the killing of Israeli citizens.
These groups don’t tolerate dissent or express interest in compromise. Where is the co-op’s outrage over their atrocities?