To the Editor:

In “Divestment backers must be fully rejected” (12/2), School of Management Dean Jefferey Garten and Law School Dean Anthony Kronman seem to think their positions grant them the right to make declarations without support. For these deans, and particularly the dean of a reputable law school, to call Israel’s policies of extrajudicial killings, legalized torture, systematic collective punishment, and the denial of unalienable universal rights to its indigenous Palestinian population “justified measures” is nothing short of scandalous. No one denies that Israel has a wonderfully free press, stellar human rights, and vibrant judicial system for most of its citizens, much as apartheid South Africa had for its white citizens. Yet what the deans deliberately ignore in their distortion is that these freedoms and rights, along with citizenship, are denied to 3.5 million indigenous Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to preserve Israel’s artificially constructed demography. It baffles me how anyone in the 21st century can not only defend a country maintaining a racist system to preserve an ethnic majority, but also attack those demanding universal human rights. At one point, as if to show sympathy for Palestinians, they describe the Palestinian population as longing “for a homeland of their own.” Palestinians are not searching for a homeland; they have one, and its name is Palestine. Such comments, intended or not, legitimize the popular Israel ideology of “transferring” (i.e., ethnically cleansing) Palestinians and sending them abroad to go search for a new homeland. In their distorted, relativist logic, the deans see denouncing the reprehensible human rights abuses of Arab dictatorial regime as justification for Israel’s abuses. Alarmingly, this was the same argument supporters of apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia made by comparing themselves to other African countries like Angola. To say that supporters of justice in Palestine ignore the issue of peace illustrates that neither of the deans have bothered to think twice of our goals. Our whole mission is to realize the full rights of all Palestinians and Israelis as equal citizens with equal rights and eradicate the plague of ethnonationalism that has spilled so much blood in the past century all over the world. We realize that as long as there is a system of racist colonial subjugation there can be neither peace nor prosperity for either side.

Sammy Mansour ’03

December 2, 2002