I agree with Yale Friends of Israel President Benjamin Alter ’11 that police were outrageous in demanding that his group pay $1,500 to have eight officers on hand with bomb-sniffing dogs for security at a speech by an Israeli general (“Vigil for victims causes a stir,” Jan. 16). Our group, the Middle East Crisis Committee, has for 26 years peacefully protested appearances by human rights abusers at Yale and many other places in the state. Why would one need bomb sniffing dogs? Is it because Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims would be involved in the protest and they should automatically suspected of homicide?
On the other hand it is outrageous that the YFI would invite an Israeli general to Yale at a time when his army was ravaging the Gaza Strip. Let me mention a few of outrages committed by the Israeli military against Palestinians in Gaza: over 250 children killed, horrific burns from phosphorus bombs, 40 dead from a bombing in a UN school, five sisters killed as they slept, a Hamas leader killed with ten of his children, an entire population damaged from three weeks of sonic booms, earth-shattering bombings and fear. Columnist Rueven Padezur writing in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz stated, “At the start of the ground offensive, senior command decided to avoid endangering the lives of soldiers, even at the price of seriously harming the civilian population.” This is the exact opposite of what is required by international law. The entire “operation” was criminal.
Israeli leaders and the Israeli apartheid state have to be opposed by the same means people used in the ’80s to protest South Africa. We call on Yale to divest from any companies doing business in Israel, to refuse to hire Israeli academics or artists or to invite them to forums, or to have any relation with Israeli academic or governmental institutions. Of course, Israelis who oppose the massive human rights violations committed by their government should be welcomed by Yale with open arms.
West Haven, Jan. 26
The writer is a 1969 graduate of Branford College and is the chairperson of the Middle East Crisis Committee.