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Letters to the Intermountain Jewish News: Re – Farer and Prince

February 15, 2009

Note: I enclose copies of letters sent to the Intermountain Jewish News in response to a letter to the editor by Dick Wisott labeling Dean Tom Farer and myself anti-Israel and `Israel bashers’. (see below). Don’t know if the paper will print them. I thank those who took the time to respond. rjp


To the Intermountain Jewish News,

Among Jews, it is an old tradition that some blindly defend the powers that be and denounce others who are said not to be Jews. Thus, Amaziah against Amos or Isaiah. The latter who are also Jews speak the truth – those things which the powerful refuse to acknowledge. Looking back, it is not hard to sympathize with Isaiah and Amos.

Dick Wisott says that two of my colleagues and friends are anti-Israel without giving a single argument that any judgment in the columns is wrong. Is it wrong to say that Gaza is not a state, but a kind of ouitdoor prison? Or that Israel alone has an army and air power to carry out terrible carnage against the inhabitants? Or that the civilians only crime was the status of being Palestinian as the innocents in the Warsaw ghetto the crime of being Jewish?

Hamas has fired rockets into Israel and killed civilians. In the recent exchange, it murdered 7, including a 7 year old boy. Some large number of Palestinian children, perhaps 300 were murdered by Israeli weaponry, and many more injured. If we see that every child, Jewish and non-Jewish, is of equal value and holy, and pray that they may be spared from slaughter, can we as human beings and as members of a people who suffered pogroms and the holocaust, not speak the truth? When Tom Farer asks whether there was not some alternative to this wanton killing by the occupying power, he offers several options for a decent Israeli government policy. Are these not worthy of consideration? How are any of them “anti-Israel”? If Mr. Wisott offered a single fact or reason against any of these arguments, one might be able to see whether Tom’s particular options are plausible or implausible. He doesn’t. For now, the words of Amaziah are, sadly, his.

Alan Gilbert, John Evans Professor, Josef Korbel School of Intenritonal Studies, University of Denver


I want to thank Dick Wisott for calling my attention to the good work that Rob Prince and Tom Farer are doing to lift up a more accurate picture of Israel’s mistaken policy and behavior (that is supported in knee jerk fashion by the United States through political pressure from AIPAC). It is refreshing to know that there are many Jews, perhaps a majority, who do not accept those policies of the Israeli government and the radical imperialist militarists driven by ideology rather than true peace making and truth telling. Thank God for these two scholars, courageous enough not to be cowed by the kind of pressure AIPAC brings and I am sure will continue bring to bear on them. Too many truly wise and informed scholars have lost their jobs and been maligned for bringing the truth to the table.

I have always admired the genius of the Jewish faith in all its sacred literature in preserving a strong self critical aspect in all things, preserving the David and Bathsheba story along with the murder of Uriah, all the debate about whether or not to have a king, and all the prophetic judgment about how Israel fell from the covenant and so gave meaning to the exile. That literature helped to form my own understanding of my Christian faith. But AIPAC doesn’t get it. To examine the uncomfortable truth about anything is to be faithful to God and not to be anti-Semitic or self hating. Farer and Prince are faithful Jews as well as honest scholars. Amen

Bob Kinsey (note: Kinsey was the Green Party candidate for the US Senate in the 2008 elections. He got more than 50,000 votes)


To the Editor:

Thanks to Dick Wisott and the Intermountain Jewish News for presenting some of Tom Farer and Rob Prince’s perspectives regarding Israel and Gaza. (letters, February 13 edition) Dick’s contribution to a dialog on whether Israeli actions help or hinder the search for peace and security would have been greater if he had engaged with Farer and Prince’s views. Instead, he merely denounced them. This adds only heat, not light.

Joel Edelstein, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, Emeritus
University of Colorado, Denver


To the editors:

This is in response to Dick Wisott’s letter in the Intermountain Jewish News. Mr. Wisott, the time has passed when all criticisms of Israeli policy can be silenced by simply labeling the critics as anti-Israel, as you do in “Beware anti-Israel professors at DU.” These days you actually need to address the criticisms. When the International Red Cross is moved to public rebuke over Israel’s actions in Gaza, and senior UN officials, as well as such respected human rights groups as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Israel’s own B’Tselem have called for an investigation into possible war crimes, Israel’s supporters in this country must pay attention. To encourage the violence with which Israel maintains its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is not to support Israel since these tactics are, in the first place, immoral, and in the second unsustainable.
Juliet Wittman
7241 South Boulder Road
Boulder, Colorado 80303

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