To the Editor:
Philip Kurian's offensive article contains a number of classic stereotypes about Jews including charges of excessive wealth, power and a lack of concern for anyone but themselves ("The Jews," Oct. 18). Indeed, if one were to follow the logic of his diatribe against the Jewish community, Jews would not be entitled to all the rights and opportunities available to other Americans because they are rich and powerful.
In fact, Jews, like others, have basic rights. They have the right to express themselves when faced with a hate-filled initiative such as the Palestine Solidarity Movement program brought to Duke. They have the right to fulfill themselves in society without having to endure accusations of privilege and of "shocking overrepresentation." They have the right and obligation to stand up when the State of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is delegitimized.
None of this makes us anti-Palestinian. To the contrary, we believe that Palestinians should have a state side-by-side the Jewish state. We are aware, however, that the main reason a Palestinian state does not exist is that for too long, Palestinian leaders have the same hateful and destructive attitudes that Duke saw coming out of the PSM conference.
Kurian adds one more absurd accusation that demonstrates his bias: the charge that Jews in America are seeking to belittle and undermine the civil rights movement. Aside from the historic leadership role that American Jews played in the movement for civil rights, we, unlike Kurian do not see these issues as a zero-sum game where working on behalf of our own community means working against someone else. We believe that standing up for Jews and against anti-Semitism and standing up for other minorities is not only not contradictory but is, in fact, the essential ingredient for building a just society.
After the difficulties of this past weekend, one would have hoped that The Chronicle would have been more interested in printing an article to heal the wounds rather than one to further inflame the situation.