Israel Piece Did Disservice to Readers

Last week the Alameda Sun published an “expert” commentary by Paula Rainey (“All Things Israel,” May 31). Setting aside the fact that whether or not Israel is part of our heritage should be up to us, the Jewish people, to determine the fact that Rainey took the occasion of the Jewish Heritage month to dump on the Jewish state is telling.

Rainey is a devotee of BDS, which stands for Boycott Divest, Sanction of Israel, a campaign with which the Jewish people have been dealing for quite some time. It’s based in lies like, to quote Rainey, “[T]he Israeli government continues to deliberately kill and maim thousands of Palestinians who are opposing their forceful confinement to the world’s largest concentration camp that is Gaza[.]”

This statement is an example of the blood libel, the belief that Jews kill innocents for kicks. It’s contemporary reincarnations are variants of the Muhammad al Durah hoax, a September 2000 alleged murder of a 12-year-old boy from Gaza which the French TV2 has later admitted, in court, never happened. Similarly, a few weeks ago international headlines screamed of 70 or more Palestinians murdered by Israeli Defence Forces.

Predictably, 50 or more of the dead were later confirmed to be HAMAS terrorists on their way to break into Israel to murder civilians. The terrorists from this ayatollah-sponsored group also flew swastika-decorated kites with Molotov cocktails that started fires inside the Jewish state and bombed areas adjacent to Gaza.

Never mind that there is not an Israeli solder in the Strip, and that Israel withdrew a decade ago. Gaza is not the most densely populated area in the world, and it also shares a border with Egypt — so Israel doesn’t control all of its perimeter. 

Income inequality in Gaza is something to be discussed, to be sure. Ordinary people might not fare well, but the terrorist elites make it quite nicely. Regardless, the area is sprinkled with bazaars, fancy hotels and manicured lawns. Google “beautiful Gaza.” Aushwitz and Warsaw Ghetto, the two infamous locations, were something entirely different.

Israel’s supporters pointing this out doesn’t amount to, as Rainey puts it, “Silencing criticism and chilling honest discussion and outrage.” We are setting the record straight.

Rainey claims that California’s anti-BDS bill includes individuals who merely “refrain from” doing business with Israel, reframing her group’s activity as a matter of individual consciousness. BDS would much prefer to bypass the individuals to get governments to sanction the Jewish state. Their ultimate goal is destruction of Israel, and the campaign to isolate Israel is designed to demoralize us. They will fail.

Anti-Semites are right: we are a stubborn people. We spent millennia in foreign lands and kept our religion. We survived pogroms and the Holocaust. Israel survived three wars of annihilation. And it prospers. It absorbed millions of refugees, most of them from the Middle East and North Africa. 

Just this Friday, for instance, we commemorated the Farhud, the Holocaust-era massacre of Iraqi Jews by Arab nationalists in coordination with the Nazis. Israel grants full citizenship rights to one million Arabs. 

The majority of East Jerusalem Palestinians prefer to live under Israeli sovereignty. Other Palestinians are more than happy to hold well-paid jobs with Israeli companies — and that’s precisely the kind of businesses the BDS proponents want you to boycott.

Lebanese American writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb commented that on a micro level people just want to get along, and that if it wasn’t for the outside powers seeding discord, there would be peace in the Middle East.

That ought to resonate. After all, what made this country great is the belief held by many ordinary Americans that all politics is local. I was born and raised in a very large country that relied on central planning, and, believe me, the difference is real.

Arguably, the City of Alameda is going though the biggest scandal in its history. Yet instead of investigating and calling attention to corruption of the City Council, local papers print opinion pieces about events on other continents that they poorly understand. I don’t think they serve the people of Alameda well.


Katya Sedgwick lives in Alameda.

Editor’s note: The Alameda Sun opinion page is open to everyone regardless of viewpoint.