Letters 'feel like attack on the history, memory, and safety of Jewish people'

We all want the war in Gaza to stop, now.

But here, where we live, it is frightening to see recent letters in local papers not just criticizing the policies of Israel and its current government, but also including phrases and arguments questioning the very existence of Israel. These feel like an attack on the history, memory, and safety of Jewish people.

Within our parents' lifetimes, millions of Jews were murdered across Europe and kicked out of all Arab countries, while the U.S. refused entry to ships full of Jews, sending some back to die in concentration camps. Israel became their only refuge. Everyone understood that "from the river to the sea" was a call for Arab armies to drive Jews into the sea. This refrain still holds that threat of annihilation today, as Hamas has echoed and viciously demonstrated.

Instead of inciting division and defensiveness, let's build on the hope that Jews can (and still do) coexist with Palestinians, and Arabs regionally. Many people work for peace and justice in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza - there as well as here.

Let us keep advocating to end the war, for long-term peace and justice, for better government in Israel, for hope and humane government in Gaza, and to end Hamas's murderous dictatorship and free their hostages.

We're certain you comprehend the unease we experience when swastikas and other antisemitic graffiti surface, as they did recently on a town mural and increasingly in area schools.

What might not be immediately apparent is that when you - our friends, neighbors, and colleagues - make statements implying Jews have no right to live in Israel, you also frighten us.

Thanks for listening.

Brattleboro Area Jewish Community Committee Against Antisemitism


Rabbi Amita Jarmon, Stephan Brandstatter, John Ungerleider, Michael Knapp, Selma Schiffer, Jenn Bennett, Ellen Appel Bronstein, Sue Lederer, Kate Tarlow Morgan, Faith and Abe Schuster

This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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