Posted by: University of Mississippi | March 24, 2009

Letters in the Daily Mississippian March 23rd and 24th

Israel Should Not be Singled Out

22 March 2009

To the editor:

In the March 13 paper, Dan Blazo said he did not single Israel out; however, he did not propose divestment from ALL companies that are in the arms business, something more in line with CAN.

He did not mention the military suppliers of Turkey, which has bombed Kurdish villages, both in Turkey and in Iraq, while in pursuit of Kurdish liberation groups.

Nor did he include U.S. Internet firms that feel turning over names of dissidents to the secret police is better than losing business. No, he only mentions Israel and yet he claims that he is not singling Israel out.

He equates the Hamas and Israeli government’s acts of violence. They operate from different rules of engagement. Israel tries to minimize casualties of non-combatants, including warning them to stay under cover if they are going to be fighting Hamas nearby, while Hamas simply tries to kill as many Jews as possible, preferably those who can not fight back.

Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005; since Hamas has taken over in 2007, they have used it as a launching pad for rockets and mortars randomly aimed at Israeli towns, which is against international laws. Over 3,000 were fired in 2008 alone.

Blazo said, “We must uphold international laws designed to protect innocent civilians.” Should this not also apply to Israeli civilians or is he once again singling them out?

His fellow traveler, Justin Head, defended last summer’s Russian invasion of Georgia but condemns Israeli efforts to stop the bombing of its innocent civilians.

Is Israel the only country in the world that is not allowed to defend itself? Or is he just singling out Israel again?

Therefore, we must bring attention to the injustices perpetrated upon the Israeli people in order to help ease their suffering.

David Sanders
Research scientist



To the Editor:

In yesterday’s paper, David Sanders’ letter to the editor asks, “Is Israel the only country in the world that is not allowed to defend itself?  Or is [Blazo] just singling out Israel again?”  A published research physicist should know better than to purport such outrageous dichotomies.   A university professor should avoid straw man fallacies, especially when debating with students.  Sanders demonstrates an unprofessional, unacademic, and unscientific system of logic in his letter. 

 Of course Israel has the right to defend itself.  “Self-defense,” however, does not apply to the safeguarding of illegal settlements in an occupied land.  George Orwell once said, “Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac.”  Zionist imperialism is no exception. 

 Israel continues to erect illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.  The 42-year occupation of the West Bank is the longest occupation in modern history.  Israel continues to partition Palestinian communities with “Jewish only” roads, impose oppressive policies like nightly curfews and incessant checkpoints, and further stifle the Palestinian economy.

So which side is exercising self-defense in this conflict?  The Palestinians launch missiles at foreigners who illegally construct settlements on Palestinian land.  These settlements are rigorously defended by the fourth largest military in the world, and, essentially, by the largest one as well.  Israelis launch “shock and awe” style attacks upon densely populated civilian regions in order to “defend” their illegal, imperial settlements from the natives’ homemade rockets.

Dr. Sanders should embrace the virtues of academia and set a positive example for students by participating in an honest debate.  Rather than intentionally misrepresenting the opposition’s argument, he ought to approach the issue like a true scientist: unbiased and in search of truth.

Asma Al-Sherri
Public Policy, Arabic, and Political Science Freshman



To the Editor:

David Sanders’ letter to the editor is full of deception and misinformation.  Some inconvenient facts are conveniently left out of his attack on the divestment resolution.

Dan Blazo’s letter to the editor emphasizes that the Israeli military is not the only entity in violation of international human rights laws.  Rather, the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the war crimes accompanying this illegal exercise of oppression makes the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict the most urgent concern for the international community.  No other conflict on earth is so directly perpetuated by the products and services of American corporations –corporations in which Ole Miss is part owner. This conflict has the most extensive global consequences, as it has been a causal factor in both Gulf wars, the September 11th attacks, and the ongoing “War on Terror.”  This conflict has involved more innocent civilians over a longer period of time than any other ongoing struggle.

According to the Global Policy Forum, Israel is currently in violation of more UN Security Council Resolutions than any other country (32).  Sanders is right to point out the inhumanity of Hamas’ military tactics, but wrong to portray an ethical dichotomy between the “lesser evil” and the “terrorists.”  Blazo’s ASB Resolution makes clear that Ole Miss is not to invest in any corporation that supports Hamas or the Israeli military, thus the “singling out of Israel” is a false interpretation of our current investment portfolio: Ole Miss is not invested in any arms dealers for Hamas.

6,348 Palestinians and 1,072 Israelis have been killed since September 2000.  During that period, twelve Palestinian children have been killed for every slain Israeli child.  Israel illegally occupies land in the West Bank and launches massive air strikes on densely populated Palestinian villages when Hamas launches primitive homemade rockets toward the colonial settlements.  Collective punishment is used by the Israeli military as a gruesome scare tactic.  Even President Obama recognizes the plight of Palestinians living under occupation, as he made clear when declaring, “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people” in September, 2008.

Mr. Sanders, it seems, does not understand the purpose of a divestment campaign: to expose and pressure oppressive governments to cease practicing their policies of oppression.  The enormous success of the South Africa divestment campaign did not mandate that all injustices in the world be confronted with equal attention.  Such a strategy would be completely void of practical viability.  The international divestment campaign targeting Israeli Arms dealers is well underway, and Ole Miss could catalyze this social movement for peace.  If Mr. Sanders wishes to launch divestment campaigns for the other forces that violate human rights laws, I encourage him to do so.  In the meantime, Senator Blazo is justified in focusing on this Israeli/Palestinian conflict for divestment efforts. 

Ryan DePalma
Journalism Junior



The March 23, Letter in reference, “Israel Should Not Be Singled Out” is frighteningly misguided. His title “Research Scientist” surprises me, as his article lacks even the most basic research.  A good researcher takes samplings from multiple sources, which in turn reduces anomalies.  David Sanders claims, “Israel tries to minimize casualties of non-combatants…”  If this is true, then Israel must not try too hard.  The fighting from 27, December 08 to 19 January 09 claimed 1100 Palestinians (of which were between 300-450 civilians) to thirteen Israelis (3 civilians). Research Mr. Sanders; research.

It is a shame to live in a country that boasts a spirit of freedom and liberty and righteousness while disregarding any meaningful attention to true injustice.  Israel is the second highest receiver of U.S. aid (economic + military) and receives about 25% of the entire U.S. total foreign aid.  As a country with about the third highest level of college graduates in the world, why should Israel need the aid of the U.S.?

Some say, “Israel is a bastion of democracy in the middle-east.”  This is false.  Israel rejected the legitimate election of Hamas.  Regardless of one’s opinion of Hamas, it is folly to reject legitimate elections.

Not only does the U.S. reject the Palestinian election; it provides military aid to Israel.  This aid has been, and is continuing to be, used to create a state that segregates Palestinians from Israeli society; made to travel in separate places, subject to unwarranted searches and seizures.  The U.S. media does not report this.  Politicians will not speak about it.  And the apathy of the ASB – I am disappointed to say – echo this sad trend.

What do you stand for ASB? Because you can’t stand for anything if you’re sitting down for everything!

Trey Vaughan

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