Opinion Your Views — 07 August 2014
Divestment does not equal anti-Semitism

By George Byrd, Falls Church

To the editor:

Some of the arguments opposing the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from companies connected to Israel sound very much like the ones set forth by the whites of South Africa prior to the end of white minority rule in that country under apartheid.

Nonetheless, the world refused to buy into the idea that the whites’ 400 years of history in South Africa gave them the right to oppress that country’s other inhabitants. Likewise, being on the receiving end of ANC bombings did not give whites carte blanche to engage in acts of aggression against their fellow civilians.

Most of all, nonviolent objections to white privilege and domination were not equivalent to a campaign of hatred being waged against whites. They were a rational response that successfully kept South Africa from evolving into a Rwanda-style tragedy.

While divestment is a polarizing issue, it is much more polarizing to insist that anyone disagreeing with your opinions is guilty of hate, racism, anti-Semitism or any other “ism.” Israel, which is quickly losing ground in terms of its demographic majority (another similarity to South Africa), has a limited amount of time before a one-state solution will be imposed on it.

The time for making peace is sooner rather than later — name-calling and vitriol doesn’t further the discussion.

 

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