November 19, 2012

Letters: From Guernica to Gaza

An interesting crop of letters in today's Guardian some good, some bad.  Here are some good ones:
The two large and very similar photos of women, one a grieving Palestinian, the other an Israeli in shock (Report, 17 October), trade in a grotesque deception: that Israel and Gaza are suffering in equal measure. If it is no surprise that Netanyahu seeks re-election by pulverising Gaza and claims that Israel is the victim of Palestinian aggression, it is however reprehensible for the Guardian to plug the shop-worn fable of equivalence. The fourth most powerful (and US-backed) army in the world is once again bludgeoning one of the most oppressed, impoverished and overcrowded places on the planet. No matter that Israel struck first or that Hamas fired rockets, this absurd horror has been going on for years. There is no equivalence between occupied and occupier, prisoner and jailer. What we are watching again is the shooting of fish in a barrel.
Bruce McLeod
Skipton, North Yorkshire
As Jewish supporters of Palestinian rights, we have once again watched in horror as Israel escalates its lethal bombardment of the civilian population of Gaza. Numerous people, including children, are being killed or wounded. Israeli casualties came only after Israel, having started the slaughter by killing a 13-year-old boy in Gaza on 8 November, shattered a truce by assassinating the military leader who had negotiated it. So who is the terrorist and who wants peace?
Israel's political-military leaders cynically escalate the conflict, trying to justify their blockade of Gaza and acting tough in the runup to government elections. Having turned Gaza into an open-air prison, they again punish the Palestinians for electing leaders who attempt to resist the illegal occupation.
Too many of our media collude with the official Israeli version: that the attacks are "targeted" retaliation for rockets launched from Gaza. Despite hand-wringing by some western governments, they encourage Israeli belligerence by labelling Hamas a terrorist organisation, supporting the Gaza siege and denying Palestinian rights, both within and outside Israel. We support the peaceful campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) designed to help achieve those rights.
Miriam Margolyes
Alexei Sayle
Mike Marqusee
Seymour Alexander 
Jo Bird
Haim Bresheeth
Elizabeth Carola
Ruth Conlock
Mike Cushman
Nancy Elan
Susan Elan
Pia G Feig
Deborah Fink
Sonya Fraser
Claire Glasman
Tony Greenstein
Ruth Hall
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Selma James
Michael Kalmanovitz
Berry Kreel
Leah Levane
Rachel Lever
Les Levidow
Moshe Machover
Martine Miel
Simon Natas 
Diana Neslen
Juliet Peston
Renate Prince
Frances Rifkin
Larry Sanders
Vanessa Stilwell
Sam Weinstein
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Devra Wiseman

Jonathan Freedland really should take off his blinkers (A battle that solves nothing, 16 November). The conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is not just about who started firing the most recent lot of missiles. It's about a decades-long refusal by the Israelis to acknowledge the background – their occupation, annexation and frequent destruction of Palestinian olive groves, homes and wells; their refusal to be bound by international law over their settlements; the "Berlin Wall" they have erected through farms; the checkpoints that prevent critically ill people from getting to hospital – that has provoked Hamas intransigence and bitterness. If Jonathan Freedland – let alone the Israelis – cannot take this on board, can there be any hope for reconciliation?
Fr Julian Dunn
Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

And finally, for the good ones:
As a Jew who escaped the Holocaust in a Kindertransport 74 years ago and who voluntarily joined the British army to help fight the evil of Nazism, I utterly condemn the disproportionate response of the Israeli government to the Hamas rocket attacks. I am dismayed that both the British and American governments have given Israel carte blanche for these acts of barbarity in Gaza. Has the world learned nothing sinceGuernica?
Emeritus professor Leslie Baruch Brent 
Typically, in the interests of balance, there are some appalling ones too including one from a "Professor Marc Saperstein" of Cambridge, who Tony Greenstein claims is a fake of some sort. Don't tell me there's a hasbarista shortage.

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