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         Letter to the editor, Hebrew Watchman, June 7, 2007, page 13

         Reader Supports Israel, not Policies

    My compliments on printing the article "Leftist Jews try to balance community, opposition to Israel" in your May 17 issue. I do wish the title had been "opposition to Israeli Policy" rather than just "to Israel".  This was a remarkably  even-handed and nuanced article on an extremely touchy subject.

    I'm a devoted Jew, my grandfather was an orthodox Rabbi and refugee from Europe. I consider myself an ardent Zionist, in the sense that I very much want a safe and peaceful home for the Jews in their historical homeland, and a place where it is assured that any Jew can go when they need to go somewhere.  That makes me an ardent supporter of an Israel with very much its present basic structure.

     But supporting Israel doesn't mean I have to support every current Israeli policy, any more than being a patriotic American means I have to support every  current US policy. I'm convinced that the present Israeli treatment of Palestinians is not the way to get to a peaceful and safe state for Jews.  The Palestinians feel the same aspirations for statehood as the Jews do; they have as strong an attraction to the land. I don't see any solution but a two-state solution, with Jews having the right of return in a Jewish state, and Palestinians able to return to a Palestinian state.

     It will take us a long time to overcome the hatred. It will take time and money, to get the Palestinians out of camps and into homes and jobs, to desalinate water and distribute it fairly.  We did that for the Jews coming to Israel in 1948 and for the Russians arriving more recently.  We (the Jews but not just the Jews) will have to do that for the Palestinians too. But we need to get started, unless we want to fight until the last Palestinian and the last Israeli are both dead.

       My wife and I will be leaving shortly to travel with a group sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and the Fellowship of Reconciliation,, to visit pro-peace groups in both Israel and the occupied territories.  I expect to be somewhat uncomfortable in the group, where "anti-occupation" rhetoric may sometimes outweigh my own views, but I think the group needs a voice at least as Zionist as mine.

Edward Ordman

The article referred to was a report on a meeting of the organization Jewish Voice for Peace
Part of this was posted on the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) website, where reader posts are anonymous, 05/22/07 @15:46.  If it is still on-line,  you can see the article I was commenting on  by clicking here.

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