To the editor:
(re: “AOC and how she works with Jews: It’s personal,” Nov. 19)
I would hope that Rabbi Elchanan Poupko would be more careful with his accusations of anti-Semitism regarding Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It is dangerous to use slander against people who have thoughtful, informed viewpoints that differ from our own.
It is equally dangerous to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of the Israeli government, a dogma that is currently being popularized by Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration, and other elements of the far right.
Anti-Semitism is hostility or prejudice toward Jews, not criticism of a government that claims to represent the Jewish people. There are many proud Jews both in Israel and in the United States — myself included — that disagree with policies of occupation, annexation, separation, and the denial of human rights.
Are we considered to be anti-Semitic for our humanitarian concerns?
I cannot speak for U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez regarding her decision not to attend the event celebrating Yitzhak Rabin. But perhaps she had the courage to listen to the voices of displaced Palestinians who do not view Rabin as a hero.
In fact, in addition to supporting occupation and settlement in the West Bank as prime minister of Israel, a complete examination of Rabin’s record as general and head of the Israeli Defense Forces reveals his brutal treatment of Palestinians both as general and head of the IDF.
It is not surprising that many people are not rushing to erect a statue in his honor.
It is important to listen to all voices and all parties in the Middle East if true peace is ever to be attained. This includes raising the voices of Palestinians who are always excluded, both in peace efforts and civil discourse.
Accusations of anti-Semitism against critics of Israeli policy only serve to further repress free speech.