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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 19, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Letter to the Editor: Politics professor responds to Ithacan editorial

Thank you for your editorial on IC Loves Israel Day pointing out that the name is politicized and misleading, hence inappropriate (April 18). I would have said as much had I accepted The Ithacan’s invitation to share my thoughts on the subject, but I didn’t. I feel it shouldn’t fall largely to Muslim critics of Israel’s policies to do the work of pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a conscience: that the Israeli state has dispossessed Palestinian people, occupied their territories, and feels no compunction using disproportionate violence against them. (I distinguish between the Jewish people and the state of Israel since plenty of Jewish people are also critics of the state’s policies.)

I also hesitated to say anything because Muslims who support the right of Palestinian people to their homes and homeland are invariably dubbed anti-Semitic, as I have been, and as was Ilhan Omar in a recent op-ed in The Ithacan. For that matter, Jewish critics of Israel’s policies are routinely labeled self-hating. It is terribly wearisome to be slandered in this way.

Surely, loving Israel does not carry with it an obligation to support colonizing, dehumanizing and terrorizing the Palestinian people or impugning and silencing those who speak up against such practices.

Asma Barlas

Professor

Department of Politics

328 Muller Center