Opinion » Letter to the Editor
In “Students celebrate Israel” (April 26), Anna Uhls reported that Michael Faber said the celebration of Israeli statehood is not a political event: “It’s not a time to debate, but a time to celebrate.”
Like Faber, I am an American Jew. However, as an advocate for human rights that are not based on race, ethnicity or religion, I recognize that the creation of Israel has had enormous political consequences.
When the U.N. partition plan offered Palestinians 45 percent of the land, Palestinians owned 94 percent of the land, and there were an estimated 1,269 million Arabs living in Palestine as opposed to 608,000 Jews. During the 1948–49 Arab-Israeli wars, hundreds of thousands of Arab Palestinians were pushed into exile. Palestinians who remained within the new Israeli state were placed under martial law. For Palestinians, Israeli statehood created a catastrophe.
In 1967, the state of siege shifted from Palestinian citizens of Israel to Palestinians living in the newly acquired Palestinian territories. For 40 years an apartheid system within the West Bank and Gaza has protected the rights of Jewish settlers while subjecting Palestinians to military rule.
While many American Jews come to Israel to enjoy a supportive cultural environment, Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated as traitors if they advocate for equality. In the occupied territories, the Israeli government has created a matrix of control that has transformed Palestinian villages into closed ghettos and curtailed access to their fields, employment, health care, schools, places of worship and families. As a Jew, I find no joy in institutionalized persecution.
Associate Professor of Politics