Writer 'betrays the memory of oppressed people everywhere who died fighting for their rights'

I just finished reading Tim Wessel's absurd Viewpoint, and I am aghast. He bemoans the lack of condemnation of Hamas at protests here in Brattleboro. Now, what can that be likened to?

Back when slavery was still a thing here in the United States, occasionally there would be slave revolts. Sometimes these revolts would end in the death of a vicious slave owner.

So when abolitionists protest slavery, I guess they also ought to condemn the enslaved for daring to raise a hand against their enslaver, according to Mr. Wessel's "logic."

When a woman is raped and that woman manages to get hold of a gun and blow away her attacker, I would also guess that that woman deserves to be imprisoned for murder.

Is that how things are supposed to go, Mr. Wessel? Do you get my drift? Can you even imagine victim-blaming to be wrong?

There have been many lies perpetrated about Oct. 7 that Mr. Wessel seems to cling to. Most serious observers of those events now dismiss out of hand the lie about 40 babies being beheaded.

There is no evidence that Hamas is responsible for massive numbers of civilian deaths, never mind for a charge of intentional genocide. Mostly, they destroyed legitimate military targets and some armed civilians who were former military. It may well be the case that some innocent civilians were killed, but many of those deaths can be blamed directly on Israeli forces who took no care to distinguish civilians. An honest person should admire the lack of civilian casualties compared to what Israel is doing in Gaza today.

Mr. Wessel not only seeks to perpetuate lies about Oct. 7, but he also is wrong about the status of Israel as a liberal democracy.

Whenever anyone states that the 20% of Arabs in Israel proper are equal to Jews, that is a lie. While certain Arab Israeli civilians may well be privileged, the vast majority are subject to ruthless discrimination and oppression.

Their housing choices are much more limited. Their communities are deprived of public services compared to Jewish communities. They are discriminated against in employment. If they drive, they have special license plate that identifies them as Arab, which makes it easier for the authorities to harass them.

There is no freedom of speech or expression in Israel, not even for Jews. There may be more respect for LGBT rights there, but Israel's crimes cannot be pinkwashed away.

Mr. Wessel's clear implication is that critics of Israel may be antisemitic if we reject Israel's right to "self-defense." Actually, Israel's right of "self-defense" is illegal under international law, and the way this "self-defense" is being carried out is absurd.

Because Israel is in effect occupying Gaza, due to its brutal blockade and control of air, sea, and land entrances, any notion of self-defense does not apply.

By contrast, Hamas has every right to resist by attacking Israel. Also, as Mr. Wessel helpfully pointed out, its forces are in underground tunnels below Gaza civilians; therefore, Israel knows good and well that by destroying civilian housing and infrastructure, they're not touching enemy forces. Israel is fully culpable of genocide in its illegal targeting of civilians, because it is too cowardly to attack Hamas forces head-on.

In the end, Mr. Wessel shamelessly responds to Jewish bullying tactics and would bully his own people on the behalf of Jews. By blaming the victim, in this case Palestinians, he also betrays his own Irish ancestors who lost their lives fighting the British. He betrays the memory of oppressed people everywhere who died fighting for their rights.

In the end, he is not nearly as progressive as he would like to think.

Edward C. Morris


This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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