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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 27, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Real change for Israel, Palestine

Remove our support, policies will change

Thank you for publishing the op-ed by U.S. Reps. Brian Baird and Keith Ellison [“U.S. should insist on real change in Israeli-Palestinian relations,” Opinion, guest commentary, April 26].

Their firsthand observation of the damage wrought on Gaza by Israel’s January attack should help to convince more citizens to urge our new national government to change its policy of support for the racist, repressive Israeli regime. Only by constructive engagement with political moderates in Israel can we hope to counter its increasingly unjust and authoritarian government.

When Jeff Halper, head of the Israel Committee against House Demolitions, spoke in North America earlier this year, he said that when change comes, as it must, it can only come “from outside Israel,” from the withdrawal of support.

The U.S. and Canada together form a mighty bulwark of support for Israeli apartheid. Remove that support, and we will see Israeli policies change.

— Martha Roth, Vancouver, B.C.

Pressure on Israel will only worsen situation

Congressmen Brian Baird and Keith Ellison sound like a mother who bursts into a bedroom to discover the kids are fighting. Their simplistic plea for “real change” is a sophomoric scolding akin to, “I don’t care who started it, just wait until your father comes home.”

Their view, in the case of the Palestinians, has the odor of the soft bigotry of low expectations. It says, “They’re simple Third World Arabs and we can’t expect them to act civilized, so we have to forgive their acting out,” as we say about children. They look the other way when “acting out” includes unspeakable evil and wholesale murder.

In the case of the Israelis, the congressmen’s call for some unspecified U.S. pressure or intervention is utterly insulting. Where is the recognition of Israel’s 61-year struggle for nothing more than peace? Perhaps their ability to order around bank and auto CEO’s has gone to their heads.

Take a deep breath, gentlemen. Israel will deal with it. Anything the U.S. does at this point to pressure Israel will make things worse. Let’s have support, not pressure, for America’s best friend and ally in the Middle East.

— Robert Wilkes, Bellevue

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