I have read several articles on the recent controversy regarding the Associated Students of Madison divestment resolution, and I found one particular letter to the editor, which claims it is oppressive to stand in opposition to the resolution, to be extremely offensive.
Anti-divestment ideas are latest in long trend of oppression“Anti-Semitic.” “Hateful.” “Divisive.” “Disgusting.” These were all words I heard as descriptions for the Associated Students of Madison resolution targeting companies Read…
As a Jew, I feel the letter expresses open anti-Semitism, and the author scapegoats Jews and Israel for all problems of institutional racism. It is one thing to criticize the State of Israel and its policy towards Palestinians. It is undeniably true injustices occur in Israel, as they do in the U.S. and all over the world. But it is entirely another thing to label a resolution that indiscriminately targets all Israeli companies on the grounds that Israel “profit[s] on the oppression of black and brown bodies.” The singling out of Israel with regards to the issue of racial discrimination is why this article is anti-Semitic. Moreover, Jews are a religious group, and there are Jewish people of many races and ethnicities.
Supporting Israel does not mean you cannot support Palestine and Black Lives Matter.
I feel this letter demonizes UW students who defend Israel and is counterproductive to facilitating a harmonious community. I, by no means, intend to denounce the author, and am glad they have expressed their important viewpoint. But I think it’s important to critique it.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions does not only target companies that exploit Palestinians. It targets all Israeli companies, even those which are guilty of no such abuses. Additionally, economic cooperation between Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians is likely the only way forward in establishing lasting peace in the region. I am a supporter of the State of Israel, but I also support the establishment of a Palestinian state. I believe black lives matter and that institutional racism is a very real problem in the U.S. and Israel.
But I do not appreciate the denunciation of the Jewish community through the BDS movement and resistance to dialogues on campus. Lack of dialogue is why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues.
David Agronin ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in philosophy.