I’m really, really afraid to write this letter
Jacksón C. Smith

Hey Jacksón,

I appreciate your effort at grappling with this massive issue. I too am Jewish, and understand where you’re coming from. As a Middle East Studies major who spent time abroad in Jordan, where 1/3 of the population are Palestinian refugees, I’ve spent much of my time in college studying the conflict from an academic perspective. And what I think trips up a lot of people is that they don’t have a full understanding of the conflict and its history. People who are pro-Palestine don’t hate Israel a priori, they’re angry about the fact that Palestine existed before Israel, and then Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, effectively violently expelling thousands and thousands Palestinians from their land and replacing them with Israeli settlers. I would strongly encourage you to educate yourself more about the history of the conflict.

For example you said about the eviction notices “I cannot express the fear that permeates the Jewish community when we saw those eviction notices. Most of us have family or distant relatives directly impacted by the Holocaust, and all of us feel the loss of millions of our people even today.” First off, I lived at Pitzer when these eviction notices were posted, and they were posted on every single door. Saying that they were posted only on Jewish students doors is a rumor and false. Second, the point of the eviction notices is to illustrate what Israelis are doing to Palestinians. True, many many Jews were evicted during the Holocaust. But why does that make it okay for them to then turn around and evict Palestinians from their homes? This is about Israeli foreign policy, not Judaism or anti-Semitism. Certainly, people conflate those all the time. But again, I would strongly advise you to better understand the violent, colonialist history of Israel before you discuss feeling victimized by protest movements designed to make you empathize with the people Israel oppresses.

It’s not that Israel is a “white aggressor,” it’s that they have a systematic policy of discriminating against, targeting and removing Palestinians from their homes. To live in Palestine today is to be a second class citizen with no control over one’s movement, livelihood, etc. I would be happy to discuss this at greater length with you.

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