Letter values fear of antisemitism 'above Palestinian lives that have been taken by Israel's genocide'

As Windham County Jews - some of us members of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community (BAJC), and all of us belonging to Jewish Voice for Peace Vermont/New Hampshire - we were saddened and upset to read this letter from BAJC.

It was so disappointing because it values fear of antisemitism more highly than it does the very real 23,000 Palestinian lives that have been taken by Israel's genocide. We, too, want the war to stop, no caveats.

The letter represents a saddening white fragility in our relatively safe community. To hear "from the river to the sea" as an antisemitic "threat of annihilation" is uncomfortably similar to the way some white people feel threatened by hearing "Black Lives Matter."

Asserting that "Israel became [the Jews'] only refuge" after the Holocaust ignores that the opposite happened for the people of Palestine, 750,000 of whom were violently expelled from their homes by Jewish militias.

Palestinians have a word for that event: the Nakba, or Catastrophe. In Hebrew, we have a special word for the Holocaust: the Shoah, or Calamity. The cognitive distortion required to avoid these parallels is astounding.

In this context, we recognize "from the river to the sea" as an expression of Palestinian freedom and belonging to the land that Israel has claimed solely for Jewish occupation.

As Jews, we must face the fact that what happened to us is being done again, this time in our name. We stand unequivocally with Palestinians against their genocide. Never again, for anyone.

We urge other Jews to examine the sources of their fear and find safety in solidarity with people committed to a liberated Palestine for all who live there. None of us are free until all of us are free. Join us.

Jewish Voice for Peace


Southern Vermont crew: Matt Dricker, Abby Mnookin, Elijah Summers, Naomi Ullian, Rebecca Speisman, Alex Fischer, Leo Moskowitz, Dayna Locitzer, Laura Stamas, Maya Faerstein-Weiss, Sonia Silbert, Ali Jacobs

This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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