Letter: Condemning Israeli Government is not anti-Jewish

I AM member of the recently formed group Rotherham Friends of Palestine as covered earlier this year in the Advertiser.

I am concerned about the ongoing human tragedy in Palestine. In 1948 the world witnessed the forced expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages. Since 1967 Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Over 500,000 settlers live in illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land whilst five million Palestinians are refugees. Israel continues to this day to divide, segregate and imprison Palestinians in their own land and uses disproportional violence to suppress dissent.

As a group we are concerned for peace and prosperity for all people. We condemn racism in all its forms. However, there has been an escalation in charges of anti-Semitism in the media and by some politicians. This is an attempt to close down opposition to the actions of the Israeli government. Fortunately, there are many Jewish organisations that have the courage to speak out against the ongoing injustices. I recommend Jewish Voice for Peace and, a bit more of a mouthful, The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions or ICAHD UK. They put a lie to people who argue that condemning the Israeli government is anti-Jewish.

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For any chance of a lasting peace both here in Rotherham and the UK, as well as in Israel and Palestine, there is a need to recognise each other as human beings who, for the most part, desire little more than a secure home, work, education and health care. Is that too much to ask for in a world that is materially richer than at any time in its history?

Jonathan Smith, Clifton Bank, Rotherham