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Politics and religion

A July 31 letter about the Palestinian conflict seemed to suggest that all “innocents” were on the Israeli side and that the conflict began with Arab aggression after the U.N. created the state of Israel.

The complex history of Palestine includes years of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs that was destroyed by war, British efforts to restore Palestine to both parties, and the emergence of political movements that had little to do with Judaism or Islam. Terrorism was committed by both sides; some of the earliest carried out by Zionist organizations against Arab and British targets. Both sides produced villains, heroes, innocents, and atrocities.

The letter’s speculation that a previous correspondent was anti-Semitic because of questions he’d raised was disturbing. Please, let’s not confuse political institutions with Judaism. One can disagree with the policies of Israel’s government and love the Israelis. This is not anti-Semitism.



A Buddhist teaching bears on the situation: “Hatred does not cease by hatred … hatred ceases by love. This is the eternal law.”

Can we further peace in Palestine by calling each other hateful names at home? Can we not, instead, love both Israelis and Arabs and weep for the loss of life on both sides?




Maya Bohnhoff

Nevada City


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