Israeli occupation is cause for concern

In a recent letter, “Peace Center quick to condemn Israel,” the writers essentially assert that serious critics of Israeli policy, such as Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky, are deliberately misstating the facts. They conclude: “Many Americans would consider these men as being on the fringe.”

I can’t speak for “many Americans,” but as a political science professor who has researched, taught and written professionally about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for some 40 years, including in Israel, I think I can claim to speak for a large and growing majority of serious scholars on the matter. The work of Pappe, in particular, is considered to be indispensable to understanding the real – as opposed to the mythological – history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By contrast, Efraim Karsh, whose attack on Pappe is quoted by the writers, is widely and rightly dismissed as a disingenuous propagandist.

I don’t always agree with Pappe, Chomsky or, for that matter, with the Western New York Peace Center, but it is undeniably true that most scholars, journalists, human rights organizations and other serious observers – Israeli as well as American, Jewish as well as gentile – are increasingly horrified at the ongoing Israeli occupation and repression of the Palestinians, which is not only creating misery for the Palestinians but is undermining U.S. national interests and corrupting the Israeli state and society itself.

Jerome Slater