To the editor:
(re: “It’s North Bronx groups vs. Dinowitz on BDS,” June 2)
Thank you for your coverage of issues affecting our community, both local and global.
I am writing however, to highlight a glaring and problematic inaccuracy on the front page of your paper. Now obviously, when discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict, you will attract the ire of many people, claiming that all of the coverage is biased and that only their “side” is correct. That is not why I am writing.
I write, rather, to take issue with the statement on your front page that proponents of boycott, divestment and sanction “want the Israeli government to stop holding Palestinians in settlements against their will.” This is not just a misrepresentation of the issue, it is an utter failure to grasp or describe the “settlement policy,” which is the flashpoint of disagreement in the conflict.
Israeli settlements generally refer to Jewish towns, villages and neighborhoods built in areas won from Jordan after Jordan joined the Six Day War by attacking Israel from its east. The expansion of settlements is seen by Palestinians and many Israelis as an obstacle to peace.
They may be right, or they could be wrong. But in any event, no Palestinians are “being held in settlements against their will.” This is just a grave inaccuracy, which betrays the lack of any basic familiarity with the conflict.
People from both sides of this conflict share misinformation and propaganda daily. Unfortunately, it spills into real-life danger for New Yorkers when Jews are attacked on the streets, called “baby killers,” and even non-Zionist Jews in Monsey, Williamsburg and Jersey City are targeted for murder for being “colonizers.”
Israel and Jews are blamed for police brutality, gun violence and election losses — by both the left and right — every day. There are enough distorted truths out there, the propagandists don’t need help right there on the front page of your paper.
In a weird way, maybe this inaccuracy was appropriately indicative of the nature of this conflict and the BDS discussion in 2022. It is a fire largely fueled by people on the other side of the world from it, completely ignorant of the lethal realities faced by Israelis and Palestinians every day.
I know you can do better.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Better phrasing for us to have used would have been “occupied Palestinian territories.” The word “settlement” in this context can be confused with the Jewish settlements in the same area, which was not the intended meaning here. The BDS movement claims Israel is guilty of human rights violations, which includes limiting Palestinian movement in those territories.