Other People's Mail

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Palestinians Denied Their Voice

To the Oakland Tribune, June 22, 2012

The recent letters in opposition to an Alameda County Palestinian Cultural Day clearly show that there is a coordinated effort to deny Palestinians their voice, even in the most benign of settings.

Last September, the Museum of Children's Art canceled an exhibition of children's art from Gaza under pressure from Israel lobby groups. Now we see another Palestinian cultural event withdrawn at the last minute after similar tactics.

Readers should ask why so much effort is expended to censor the Palestinian narrative. It seems the lobbyists are determined to squelch anything contradicting claims that Palestinians are terrorists and have no culture, history or land of their own.

It is good that their efforts are coming to light. Readers may want to examine the facts themselves to discover what the censors are frantically trying to suppress.

The truth is easy to find-on the Web sites of human rights organizations, the Red Cross, the blog of our own beloved Alice Walker, and hundreds of other outlets. Check it out.

Barbara Erickson, Berkeley, CA

Israeli Official Not Deserving

To The Denver Post, June 26, 2012

An Israeli government official (President Shimon Peres) receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Really? Just recently, Israel announced the building of 300 new homes for Jews on Palestinian land-in yet another land grab from the Palestinians. These are actions of defiance and not of defense. When are the Israelis going to be held responsible for their terrorist actions? Whose freedom does this medal represent? The photo of President Obama shows that he knows that these masters of deception are undeserving of such an honor.

Fred Wilkins, Superior, CO

Missing the Message

To the Toronto Sun, June 30, 2012

Re: "A hateful paradox" (Michael Coren, June 23): The hysterical attacks against Queers Against Israeli Apartheid fail to address its main message, which is that Israel is an apartheid state. The best people to provide an objective opinion on the subject are the South Africans who experienced and suffered under apartheid-not Coren or another Israeli lobbyist. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa said what he saw in the Holy Land is an apartheid system worse than what black Africans experienced in South Africa. The Human Research Science Council of South Africa conducted a study of the occupied West Bank and Gaza in 2009 and concluded that Israel has implemented an oppressive system of racial discrimination which grants privileges to Jews over non-Jews and that this amounts to apartheid.

Khaled Mouammar, Richmond Hill, Ontario

Third Intifada?

To The New York Times, June 24, 2012

Nathan Thrall raises crucial issues about the failures of the "peace process." But he does not mention two critical points.

First, while the dwindling support for traditional Palestinian leaders is apparent, a diverse, empowered civil society movement has emerged that has appropriated for itself the job of figuring out how to end the 1967 occupation and achieve other Palestinian rights. Second, that movement's most effective method yet for bringing nonviolent pressure to bear on Israel is the boycott, divestment and sanctions strategy known as BDS.

Originally endorsed by 170 Palestinian organizations, BDS has emerged as a global campaign. Just last week we saw its power here in the United States, when the pension giant TIAA-CREF divested $72 million in Caterpillar stock from its socially responsible fund, following Morgan Stanley Capital International's removal of Caterpillar from its index of socially responsible corporations. Israel's military uses Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish Palestinian houses; a Caterpillar bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier killed the American peace activist Rachel Corrie in Gaza in 2003.

A third intifada reflecting the failure of the current "peace process" may in fact be under way already-this time a global intifada rooted in nonviolent economic pressure to end Israeli violations. …

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