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Web Letters | The Nation

Why boycott only Israel?

These various organizations that seek to punish Israel and it’s academics because of its alleged denial of Palistinian rights need to extend their focus to all nations suppressing the rights of their minorities. But, if they did that in support of their principles, they would be boycotting most of the world’s nations. Is there a single Arab nation that supports academic freedom or the civil rights of its people or its minorities? What about a boycott of Russia and China, of most African nations? As a retired academic, I support academic freedom and civil rights, but I apply my values universally, not to one nation. Why make Israel the prime target? Is there a tendency toward myopia in this case? All other repressive nations get a pass. Let’s target the Jews instead. They’re used to it.

Richard Damashek

Chicago

Jan 4 2014 - 10:04am

Engage, don’t boycott

The same left-wing extremists who want to boycott Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and a country where every single day Israeli television, radio and internet sites blast their government and call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have no problem at all with countries such as Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Sudan and many, many more that deny women their civil rights, and their citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and the freedom to criticize their government without being imprisoned or murdered. Israeli academics and their institutions of higher learning are the first people and places where the policies of the Israeli government are questioned on a daily basis.

To single out Israel is clearly an act with anti-Semitic overtones. The leftists who love to condemn Israel sadly remain silent when the dictators in China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan and Zimbabwe silence anyone who disagrees with them. Israel is not without fault, and the occupation of Palestinian land is not benign and it must end with two states living side by side in peace, but boycotting the very people who condemn the treatment of Palestinians is stupid. It’s one thing to boycott the purchase of any goods that come from the occupied territories, but by boycotting Israelis who want an end to the occupation is shortsighted and reeks of anti-Semitism.

Mark Jeffery Koch

Cherry Hill, NJ

Dec 17 2013 - 11:38am