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December 1998 
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A JEWISH AMERICAN WRITES PASSIONATELY TO MER

NOTE TO READERS: As we wrote you last week, for financial reasons we have been forced to suspend regular publication of MER. As we explained, this too is one of the "realities" we all have to deal with if we want to have any serious and independent organizations when it comes to issues relating to the Middle East. Consqeuently, your financial support is urgently needed so we can not only resume publication but also improve and promote MER in the crucial year ahead. In recent months we have been invited on many radio and TV programs, including MSNBC, FOX and BBC; and we have substantially improved our Web site making it possible for people throughout the world to easily contact MER. Much more can and should be done -- but we can do so only if we can have your help and support now. So please, before the new year comes in a few days, send your check to MER at POBox 18367, Washington DC 20036.

Unusual and passionate letters about MER continue to come to us. A few days ago we published a letter from a very thoughtful 21-year-old student of International Affairs. We've now learned she is an American, born in California, of Muslim background who has been recently studying in both Pakistan and the U.S. The letter that follows is from a Jewish American living in San Francisco. Indeed, MER is one of the very few organizations dealing with Middle East affairs that has people of many religious and ethnic backgrounds enthusiastically involved.

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Subject: Re: Letter To Readers and Supporters of MER Date: Fri, 25 Dec 1998 From: David Campbell To: MID-EAST REALITIES

I'm sending in my check for $180 (ten times chai) in the hope that you will be able to resume publication of MER ASAP.

In exchange for this money, I will now subject you to my story (all things come at a price!) (feel free to use all or any part of this):

Like all good Jewish kids, I was spoon-fed the Zionist line along with my Bar Mitzvah training. Even after my visit to Israel (a guided tour with the liberal-Zionist NFTY/UAHC) raised some questions about whether Israel really meant what I had been taught, I remained a Zionist. Even after "Operation Peace for Galilee" crossed the Litani (thereby violating its stated aims), I remained a Zionist, though no longer in support of that particular invasion.

It was only much later, during my involvement in the anti-apartheidmovement, that I finally rejected Zionism and Israel in its entirety. Not just because of Israel's well-documented, extremely close ties to the apartheid regime in South Africa (which was excused by "necessity"); but because of its *resemblance* to that regime. The final straw was when I heard the rhetoric used by South African Afrikaaner defenders of apartheid - and recognized it as the very same rhetoric, often word-for-word, that was used by Zionists, including myself! ...

Theodore Herzl said that he wanted the Jews to have a nation (in Hebrew, "goy") "like all the others." He succeeded, with the result that Jews have become goyim "like all the others." Jews are doing to Palestinians precisely what has been done to us. Displacement and dispossession, collective punishment, "administrative detention", torture, and all other manner of denial of basic human rights, are being practiced in the name of the Jews. What kind of Jews are these?

I haven't been religious for a long time, but I still remember and uphold the lessons I was taught as a youngster, about what it means to be a Jew.

Rabbi Hillel, when asked to sum up the Torah while standing on one foot, proclaimed, "That which is hateful to yourself, do not do to others."

He also asked, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

We cannot simultaneously follow these, and similar, basic precepts ofyiddishkeit (and menschlichkeit), and defend Zionism. In fact, if we are to follow these precepts consistently, self-respecting Jews must take it upon ourselves to actively and visibly oppose Zionism. "It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it..."

It is all the more important to maintain the "still, small voice" that MER has provided.

Justice, justice, justice, shalt thou pursue!

David Campbell San Francisco


 

 

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