The Common Good
July-August 2003

Anti-Semitism and Justice

by Lee Anne Aspra | July-August 2003

WHILE ARTHUR WASKOW makes a few valid points about the anti-war movement and anti-Semitism therein, I am not comfortable being pigeonholed into some particular category of his choosing.

WHILE ARTHUR WASKOW ("Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace, Anti-Occupation," May-June 2003) makes a few valid points about the anti-war movement and anti-Semitism therein, I am not comfortable being pigeonholed into some particular category of his choosing. We all have individual feelings about justice, humanity, and how we should treat one another based on our own research, conversations, experiences, and relationships.

I have studied the history of the region of Palestine for many years, and there are simply elements of that history that will never be just, compassionate, or fair. For some reason, where this subject is concerned, the ability to empathize or place oneself in another's position seem to be nonexistent. How in the world can anyone justify rounding up Palestinian citizens in 1948, putting them on trucks, moving them to internment camps to live in tents for the next 30 years (until cinderblock shelters were built), and taking their homes, land, and lives from them? If this same thing were to happen in the United States, people would be up in arms. It just wouldn't happen. I know people from the region whose families owned farms and homes for many years and were forcibly removed from those homes so that Jewish families could move into them.

The racist tendencies of the Zionist movement and the complete lack of justice in the whole issue of Palestine-Israel is what fuels the frustration and anger of peace-loving, justice-minded people. The anger and frustration is exacerbated by the fact that any attempt to talk about these truths is countered by calling anyone who disagrees with them "anti-Semitic"—which takes the truth and twists it so that the victim becomes the perpetrator and the perpetrator somehow becomes the victim. It's a complete inversion of morality and truth.

That's what is so absolutely maddening about this issue. We are expected to shut up, subvert truth and decency, and support barbaric treatment of an enslaved people. At this stage, I refuse to allow name calling to frighten me into submission and silence. Remember, without justice there cannot be peace.

Lee Anne Aspra
Austin, Texas

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