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Boycott coverage

Jen Steiner, Bristol

As a Peace News reader I am very excited and hopeful about the work going on in the peace movement at the moment around oppression.

I was really interested to hear about George Lakey's work in the UK and especially Milan Rai's awesome article and thoughtful personal expression (PN 2549).

I'm excited that we get to take charge and think well about our own identities and each other's, to notice the places where we struggle to think well about ourselves and also each other.

I'm excited to read others being vocal about oppression, making it visible.

This letter is about myself, a white, working-class, Jewish Peace News reader.

I am often very surprised and saddened at the extent of the anti-Jewish feeling and writing in the political Left, and in Peace News particularly. I try to overlook the articles that seem anti-Jewish as I want to carry on as a subscriber, but I'm left wondering if there is a visible and vocal place for Jews (or Arabs and Gentiles) in the peace movements in general, and in Peace News in particular, who believe in a Jewish nation.

Jews are often used as the visible agents of oppression throughout history, especially in financially unstable times, many hundreds of thousands of us have been killed, oppressed and persecuted as such, we are often held out as the politically correct or acceptable scapegoat, even today, and this must not continue.

The stereotype of Jews at the moment is rich, white and Ashkenazi. The actual majority of Jewish people in the world are working-class, people of colour, part of the global majority.

We are all human beings, Jews, Arabs, Gentiles. We are all each others' natural allies.

There's a saying, 'two Jews, 20 opinions'. I appreciate there being a Jewish voice in Peace News' October issue, in the Diary section, but I disagree with the sentiment.

There is a need to stand up against anti-Jewish oppression, in our lives, in the media, particularly as directed towards Israel (as anti-Jewish sentiment is often directed), and also of course a need to rectify the wrongs done to the Palestinian people.

I ask you, do we agree with all of the US's policies? With all of the UK's? No. Yet where is the visible boycott of US goods in our media, for example? Of UK goods? 

I do not agree with all of Israel's policies but that does not make Israel, or Israelis, or Jews bad. 

It does not make Jews or Israel an acceptable target of 'divide and rule' among the Arab nations.

For example, there was a big Occupy movement in Israel, for example, and it was very little reported on, and very much spearheaded by young adult Jews and Palestinians, working-class people, students, talking together night after night, working out how to support each other to take on the struggles.

I would like Peace News to reconsider printing any articles, adverts or any such material that are anti-Jewish: it is unacceptable and not in keeping with the spirit of Peace News, as far as I understand it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I would be happy to hear any thoughts you have as editors of Peace News after thinking about this issue.

Editor Response: 

Thank you, Jen. We will reply next issue! - eds