A soulless recitation of the party line

BRATTLEBORO-At a Jan. 25 dialogue at Georgetown University between an Israeli woman, Robi Damelin, and a Palestinian man, Mohamed Abu Jafar, who both lost family members in the ongoing Mideast conflict, Damelin spoke of how surprised she was by her own spontaneous reaction upon hearing that her son was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

"One of the first things that I said is, 'You cannot kill anybody in the name of my child,'" she said. "I've no idea where that came from. But I knew that I was going to do something to prevent other mothers [...] from experiencing this pain."

Damelin's reaction has astounding impact. It comes from the heart.

What a contrast with the Jewish Voices for Peace article, which sounds like a committee-generated, official communique - a soulless recitation of the party line.

The Vermont/New Hampshire chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace makes no mention - absolutely no mention - of the Oct. 7 atrocities, instead arguing that Jewish concerns are merely over semantics: "Some of the slogans that are associated with Palestinian resistance can feel triggering to some Jewish people who have had the privilege of being shielded from other opinions."

So horror over the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust - slaughtering babies, raping women, burning whole families alive, and taking hundreds of innocent civilians hostage - is dismissed as the reaction of privileged Jews?

Zionist supporters and Hamas supporters each have a narrative to support their position. With their uncritical recitation of a pro-Palestinian version of history, Jewish Voices for Peace is simply another voice taking sides, fanning the flames, a betrayal of those Jews and Palestinians who have have taken risks to assert their humanity.

The mainstream press has failed to bring us the stories of Israeli Jews who have discussed their grief with the very Palestinians who killed their loved ones, and of Palestinians who have met with Jews who killed members of their families.

There is little attention paid to these genuine voices for peace. Yet their courageous example of connecting with one another's common humanity is the only hope.

Steven K-Brooks


This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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