Letter to the Editor: A response to an opinion article on a cultural boycott of Israel

To the Editor of the Daily Campus,

On September 15, the Daily Campus Opinion page had an article questioning the appropriateness of a cultural boycott of Israel. It pointed out that such a boycott would further separate the parties when reconciliation and communication are needed if the conflict is to move towards a peaceful end. I agree with this conclusion. The inventors and proponents of the boycott movement would not agree, since their goals are not peace, with Israel but the destruction of Israel. This is a cornerstone of the Palestinian movement and has been stated and restated many times by their leadership.

The economic boycott is also part of the boycott plan, as an additional means to cause hardship to Israeli citizens and to increase organized international opposition to the Israeli state. The “justification” of the boycott is in part the occupation of Palestine. There is no occupation of Gaza. All Israelis left years ago, when governance was turned over to the Palestinians, who then elected Hamas as leaders. This was followed by Hamas attacks on their moderates, with some being killed; others escaping; and probably a few hiding their political positions in order to survive. Hamas immediately started to manufacture and fire rockets at Israel. They sent an endless stream of attackers to set off bombs, including suicide bombs as Israeli markets, schools and restaurants, and on busses. These attacks were aimed at civilians, possibly because they are easier targets and the numbers of dead and maimed will be higher. There was a Palestinian outcry over the security measures that were then put into place, including the construction of fences to control access by bombers to Israel.

Israel had been constructing settlements in the West Bank. Some of its citizens believe that this is land that belongs to them because of its long history as a Jewish homeland. In my view, Israeli leadership is using them as a bargaining chip to attempt to get the Palestinians to resume peace talks. It seems that these settlements are such an irritant to the Palestinian leadership, that they periodically agree to peace talks, but only if the settlements are stopped as a precondition. Israel then freezes the settlements, talks start, and the Palestinians soon lose interest and the talks end. Thus the resumption of settlements seems to be the only trigger that will get the Palestinians to consider peace talks.

It is worth noting that Israel has agreed to a two state solution on more than one occasion, only to have it rejected by the Palestinian leadership whose stated objective continues to be the destruction of Israel, rather than peaceful coexistence.

For those interested in peace in the Middle East, I urge you to understand the barriers to peace before you choose where to support economic or political pressure.

Howard Raphaelson

Non degree student