A time of heartbreaking conflict, two views ring true

I am writing to stand with Nancy Braus and Samia Abbass in their respective Viewpoints [Voices, Dec. 20].

The two pieces are related in my view insofar as they express the feelings of both a Jewish woman and an Arab woman at a time of heartbreaking conflict that affects not only Jews and Arabs but all of us.

Braus's piece, "For Jews on the Left, a terrible position," speaks to the effect the Middle East catastrophe has had on those of us who are Jewish.

I am among those Jews on the Left who believe that Israel has a right to exist, but so, too, do people of Palestinian descent. That does not make us antisemitic, it makes us humanists whose hearts are breaking in this moment for all who suffer oppression, as we have throughout our history, and as long-suffering Arab people have, too.

I share in the growing fear among Jews because we know that "never again" are hollow words as we watch the triple-digit increase in antisemitic attacks and threats.

We also shudder at the assaults on free speech and other punishments that so many human rights advocates are being subjected to, as Braus enumerates. As she notes, "this is the exact trajectory of the Third Reich" that comes "at a time when we are facing the most terrifying existential crisis of our times."

I, too, wonder if I will be arrested for what I say or write. It's an awful feeling, which is why I'm grateful for her piece. I know that at least I am not alone.

Samia Abbass's piece, "Wear the keffiyeh with pride. Wear it with knowledge," was illuminating and important. It humanizes the Arab people through the lens of culture and history. I so much appreciated her explanations about the meaning and symbolism of the keffiyeh.

I will save her column for the next time I teach my class on resistance movements, because it speaks to the universal human need for dignity, freedom, security, identity, and hope, which all resistance movements do. This one has been overlooked for far too long.

Elayne Clift


This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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