Letter to the Editor

Eliza Klein

To the editor: 

I am writing to express my exasperation regarding the op-ed “Standing against the right of return: Analyzing the logical inconsistencies in BDS’ arguments,” published in the Record last week. I am a proud Jewish student, and I stand in unwavering solidarity with the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and the Palestinian Right of Return. Contrary to what the op-ed suggests, BDS is a nonviolent, rights-based movement started by ordinary citizens in Palestinian civil society. It targets oppressive policies and the institutions and companies that uphold them, not Jewish people. Anyone who is interested in learning more about BDS should feel free to reach out to me; my unix is eak2.  

I resist the notion, articulated in the op-ed, that safety and security for Jews will come in the form of a militaristic nation-state. I truly do not believe that it is possible for Jewish safety to come at the expense of Palestinian human rights. Furthermore, the op-ed contends that Israel should be celebrated as “a refuge for Jews everywhere.” But Israel is not my homeland; it is not my birthright. I am proud to be a member of a vibrant Jewish diaspora that has thrived for thousands of years, and to suggest that an ethno-nationalist state project halfway across the globe is my true home is not only offensive, but is eerily reminiscent of Trump’s hateful rhetoric: Trump recently stated to a group of American Jews that Benjamin Netanyahu was “their” prime minister, for example. 

Williams students: If you oppose white supremacy, Muslim bans, and deportations in the US, then you must oppose them in Israel as well. Criticizing Israel for its decades of occupation, human rights abuses and state-sanctioned violence is not antisemitic. In fact, to call the struggle for Palestinian dignity, equality and freedom antisemitic is deeply insulting to the atrocious lived experiences of violent antisemitism my ancestors faced.  

I know that my Jewish values compel me to oppose injustice in the world wherever I see it. Like thousands of Jews across the country and across the world, I stand with BDS, the Right of Return and Palestine – not in spite of my Jewishness, but because of it. 

Eliza Klein ’19 is history major from Cambridge, Mass.