Israel Referendum


To the Editors of The Crimson:

We were surprised to read in The Crimson that our statements regarding the proposed referendum that is on the ballot in Cambridge was characterized as "railing" by Colin F. Boyle in his Crimson article of Thursday, September 22. Since we are on record, we are pleased to present to you our views and let you judge for yourselves our statements.

If there is no peace in the Middle East as yet, it certainly is not solely the fault of Israel. The Palestinian record of refusal, not only to negotiate with Israel but even to recognize it, is a known fact. It is also a fact that the P.L.O., which is unanimously viewed as the representative of the Palestinian people, has never abandoned its goal to destroy Israel as formulated in their charter. In addition, the young Palestinians who are rebelling against the Israeli occupation have reiterated, time and again, that their goal is the recapture of the whole land of Israel.

In contrast, nearly half of the Israeli population is on record as being for a political solution to the conflict by swapping territory for peace. At this moment, there are some 20 peace and civil rights organizations active in Israel. So far as we know, no such organization exists among the Palestinians, or for that matter, in any Arab nation. Such has been the record for 40 years.

We believe that the Palestinians, or most of them, want to defeat Israel, to destroy and to recapture the land that they claim was taken from them by the Jews. This was also the goal of President Sadat of Egypt until his realization that to acheive this objective he would have to destroy Egypt in the process. It was this moment of realization that turned him from an implacable foe of Israel into a potential partner for negotiation.

The Palestinians cannot be spared this process. They too have to come to the same realization that in destroying Israel they will destroy themselves. Once the Palestinians reach that realization, and there are indications that some already have, they will then be ready for a settlement of less than the whole land of Israel. At that point, the peace process will move forward.

The referendum proposes unilateral action on the part of the United States against her ally in order to impose a solution, without pressuring the Arab nations, or the Soviet Union, to do the same for their ally. That is grossly unfair, and it plays into the hands of the annexationists on the Israel side and the rejectionists on the Palestinian side.

This was the message that was presented to our congregants. Somehow, "railing" seems to be less than an appropriate description. Rabbi Ben-Zion Gold   Director, Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel   Rabbinic Advisor to the Conservative Minyan   Rabbi Avi Weinstein   Rabbinic Advisor to the Orthodox Minyan   Rabbi Sally Finestone   Associate Director, Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel   Rabbinic Advisor to the Reform Minyan