(Note: The opinions on this site reflect my own personal opinions, and not those of the author of the letter, Talia Greenstein)
This letter to the editor has but one change, and yet, its impact is extreme – the Opinion Editor of the Daily Targum, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (she also goes by Amani Alkhat), added the word ‘legally’ to the sentence “Palestinians are not legally forced to take these buses,” as if to say that they were forced by other means. This letter was actually written in response to a piece that Amani wrote, and therefore she actually edited a letter criticizing her. Furthermore, she is, yet again, uninformed – Palestinians are not forced by any means, legal or otherwise, to take additional buses provided to them by the Israeli government so that they can work in Israel.
Just about every op-ed published since has responded to the ad, and I agreed with most of them — until I saw Thursday’s “Religion will not be latest collateral damage” column. There is a difference between stating one’s opinion as just that — an opinion — and stating one’s opinion as fact. For example: “The real IAW is a national campaign to draw awareness to the internationally illegal transgressions of the Israeli government — a political conflict that has nothing to do with religion.”
First of all, if you’re going to write about Israeli Apartheid Week, you should know that it is an international campaign, and you should probably mention that it is part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Furthermore, I have an even bigger problem with the second half of the statement — that IAW “has nothing to do with religion.” Really? It doesn’t?
I beg to differ.
I would have let this slide — but then, it went on to say that the advertisement was an example of “using religion as fodder for political purposes and personal gain,” and that it “did nothing to excuse Israeli transgressions like an illegal occupation, an apartheid wall and now even a new segregated bussing system that forces Palestinians to take designated buses.” That’s funny, because I do not think the point of the advertisement was to excuse Israel of anything.
In fact, it had nothing to do with Israel.
The writer, however, had no qualms using this advertisement as fodder for political purposes: to accuse Israel.
I’d also like to point out that you were misinformed. Palestinians are not legally forced to take these buses — the new bus lines were created for the convenience of the tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel, according to the Israeli Ministry of Transportation. Palestinians may opt to take any Israeli buses if they desire.
It is blanket, out-of-context statements like yours that make people unaware of the facts and disinclined to truly educate themselves. Next time you write an editorial in response to something you do not like, stick to the subject, please. If you had, I’d have been proud to stand with you against that advertisement.