SUN-TIMES: Conflict in Israel, Palestine is political — not religious

sun timesOn Feb. 12, the Sun-Times published a letter by Maniza Azam [a CAIR-Chicago intern] in which she discussed Israel’s double-standards as illustrated by its relief work in Haiti and restriction of relief work in Gaza. She titled the letter “Israel’s kind acts in Haiti create double standard” but the paper ran it as “Jews hurting Palestinians“. This title is dangerously misleading.

Saying that “Jews [are] hurting Palestinians” is a sweeping generalization and falsely gives the impression that all Jews are hurting Palestine. In reality, many Jews — even in Israel — sympathize with the Palestinians and criticize their own government’s policies toward Gaza and the West Bank.

Jews in Israel were also among the first to note the double standard of their government helping Haiti while creating a humanitarian crises in Gaza.

The conflict in Israel and Palestine is political, not religious. It is not between Jews and Muslims; it is between the government of Israel and the people of Palestine (who are Muslim and Christian).

At no point in her letter did Maniza state that “Jews are hurting Palestine.” In fact, she acknowledges that Jews believe in “repairing the world” and she commended them for acting on that mandate in Haiti. When the media conflates Jews with Israel, it makes it harder to discuss the real problems facing the Mideast peace process.

Amina Sharif,

Communications Coordinator,

Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago